Taking a cruise with your partner or family is one of the most relaxing vacations. There’s something about the sea that makes a holiday onboard a ship enjoyable and memorable.
And a major gain here is being able to visit several places in one trip. You are not only able to explore main cities but even small islands and villages you may not reach when you choose to take the plane to your preferred destination.
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) revealed that 11.9 million people set sail on a cruise in North America alone in 2013.
“The best cruises are the ones you take with family. No matter where you go, or what you do, the truth is as long as you’re spending time with your family, a cruise is going to be special and bring joy,” according to a Holiday Cruise Line representative.
“The Caribbean is always one of the most popular destinations. St. Martin, St. John, Antigua,St. Thomas, and Santa Cruz just to name a few are some of the most picturesque archipelagos in the entire world. And the fact they’re so close to Florida makes going on cruises one of the most exciting things you can do with your family,” he added.
When planning for a cruise holiday, it’s best to do your research ahead of time in order to be prepared for the trip. You need to arm yourself with the right knowledge so you can enjoy the vacation with loved ones without the stress.
Choose Your Ship and Destination
Check out the different cruise lines on the internet and their destinations. This should be the first part of your research work to help you make a guided decision.
You can choose a cruise ship that starts and ends its journey near your place. Or you can always choose one that sails to your favorite destination regardless where it departs.
Some things to take into consideration are onboard facilities, the size, clientele, health and wellness amenities, sports facilities, entertainment areas, swimming pool and outdoor activities.
A theme cruise is also a great option particularly if you have kids. The Disney Cruise and the Soul Train Cruise are two popular examples.
Be Prepared for the Weather
Regardless of your destination, always be prepared for the heat, bright sunshine, rain and even chilly weather. Must-bring accessories if you’re heading to the islands are your sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat or cap.
It’s ideal as well to bring along a sweater to keep you warm while you’re out on the deck watching the sunset or just taking a stroll after dinner.
Bring Casual and Formal Wear
Casual wear is the best to bring during your cruise vacation but don’t forget to bring formal wear as well. This is because most cruise ships hold a special formal dinner on one evening during the entire duration of the trip. This presents a good opportunity to be in your best formal attire and to experience a formal dinner with family and new friends.
Do keep in mind to pack light, too. If you’re heading to the Caribbean, bring along only light clothes such as sundress, maxis, jeans, shirts, shorts and sandals in addition to your accessories. Do not forget to include, though, your formal dress.
Be Outdoors at Sunrise/Sunset
A great time to be outdoors is during sunrise or sunset whether in your room’s balcony or on the deck. You just might be lucky to see wildlife in the early morning such as dolphins or whales. Otherwise, dusk and dawn are the best times to marvel at the beautiful ocean views right there in front of you.
Learn the Ship’s Layout
Cruise ships are huge and to ensure that you and your company don’t get lost inside, you need to study the vessel’s layout. You can ask for a ship map to help you find the pool, lounges, spa, gym, restaurants and most importantly, your cabin.
Read the Daily Bulletin
A bulletin is often provided to all passengers. You’ll get it in your cabin upon arrival and delivered every evening to inform you of the next day’s activities. It also includes the time and location hence, keep it with you.
Make Special Requests in Advance
You need to inform the cruise line ahead of time if you have a particular allergy or illness during the time of your tour. This will let the ship crew know in advance and enable them to provide special attention to you such as in the food served to you.
Befriend the Cabin Steward
Making new friends onboard is a great way to enjoy your cruise and one person you should not miss to befriend is the cabin steward. This crew ensures that your cabin in good condition while you’re on holiday so share your smile and don’t forget to thank the person for his service.
Grab a Pool Seat Early
If you’re planning to get exposed to the sun and take a dip in the pool, make sure to get a seat early. Do bring your towel and another one to use as a seat cover.
Remember, though, that it’s best to be near a shade as the heat from the sea can be intense.
Bring a Waterproof Camera
This is a must-bring tool that you should never forget. It will be handy when you’re visiting islands and you want to take a dip in the crystal clear seawater. It’s a great opportunity to snap photos while you’re on the beach snorkeling or simply swimming around.
There are many health benefits to be gained when joining a cruise tour.
A Holiday Cruise Line representative believes using a vacation, especially a cruise to relax, wind down, and recharge your internal batteries is a great way to stay healthy. “They reduce stress almost immediately. As soon as you get on a cruise, you feel the water beneath you gently rocking your entire ship, there’s not doubt that you’ll start feeling more relaxed and centered. You and your entire family will have an opportunity to come together, leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind you, and allow you to make an immediate change in your attitude for the better.”
Most cruise tour offer health and wellness activities to passengers such as yoga classes, fitness classes, have gyms, and any other amenity you can think of. Also, cruises almost always have great healthy food options.