My Top Tips For Cruising Newbies

I’m currently nestled on my couch with a glass of wine and in my feelings because I’m no longer on a beach in the western Caribbean. This year for my bday I decided to cruise Royal Caribbean and it was the best vacay decision I’ve made to date. Since I’ve never been on a cruise, I was sure to do extensive research to prep for it. But with as much research as I did, I still walked away with some key tips that I thought I’d share with other newbies out there. If you’re thinking of cruising in the future, these are my top tips for getting the best out of your experience.

Book Excursions in Advance

Even though I knew I should have, I decided to wing it and out of the three ports we stopped at I was only able to book an excursion for one. To make matters worse, it was an excursion I was least interested in, swimming with stingrays and sharks. Not a good idea.

Just Take The Stairs

They say you can expect to gain one to two pounds a day on a cruise and I was on a seven-day cruise. As much as I told myself I would get up and work out, after a night of drinking and stuffing myself, I just wasn’t feeling it. After forcing myself to go for a run one morning, I decided to just opt for the stairs when I could. As a result, I only gained five of the seven to fourteen pounds expected.

Stock up On Medication

If you end up not feeling the best, medication on the ship will cost you. I recommend buying three key medications in advance to save money and be prepared just in case you come down with something. Those three are Dramamine, Advil, and Milk of Magnesia. 

Bring Your Own Alcohol and Water

Depending on the cruise line you can bring on a wine bottle per person and water. Everyone knows that the drinks will cost you a leg and an arm but there are ways around that (you didn’t hear it from me). And to avoid having to drink warm water from the sink or go to the buffet every time you’re thirsty, I highly recommend getting water to leave in your room.

Pay Gratuity in Advance

You have options to pay gratuity when you book the cruise or wait until the last day. When you’re budgeting it would be smart to do this in advance because that extra one to two hundred dollars can come as a big surprise when you get your final bill. 

Get The Dining Package

There are plenty of free dining options (Park Café is my favorite spot) but I expected the food quality to be much better overall. Thankfully,  I got a 3-night food package for the specialty restaurants and tried Chops Grille, Izumi, and 150 Central Park. Great food and atmosphere at all three.

At Least Two Formal Night Outfits

There will be two formal nights on the ship, which includes the main dining room and the specialty dining as well. Even if you decide not to go, I think it’s good to have extra options for the nights when everyone has on their Sunday best.

Bring Plenty of Cash

I was on a budget and only brought around one hundred dollars in cash but I blinked and it was gone. I say bring around two hundred in cash for port days. I only intended to buy gifts for family, so I personally think that will hold you over if your goal is the same.

So, there you have it. My top tips for cruising newbies. If you’ve cruised before, I’d love to hear more tips if you have any.