Tips for First Time Cruisers blog
7 Top Tips for First Time Cruisers

We understand that cruising can be overwhelming for the first time – which cruise type is right for you, which company will give you the best value, which cabin should you stay in, which package suits you...the questions are endless!

We're here to help. So, we have put together a handy guide for first time cruisers!

Choose your Cruise Wisely

With such a wide selection of cruise types available nowadays, choosing your cruise is a key step in ensuring you have the cruise of a lifetime! Ocean cruises are the traditional cruise type, and the one that comes to mind almost immediately when you think of cruising. These ocean liners sail open sea and are much like large moving cities, with everything you could ever want or need on board. On the other hand, river cruising, which has become more popular in recent years, has much smaller and more intimate ships. These ships can often dock at ports not accessible by large ocean cruise liners, and offer some fantastic itineraries. Adventure cruising is the newest addition to the cruise market, and proving to be popular among younger generations. With destinations such as Alaska, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica and jam-packed itineraries, adventure cruising brings the great outdoors to you!

Pack Efficiently

When packing for your cruise, really consider the activities you will be partaking in, both onboard and on land. Dinners, evening entertainment, gym, spa, pool, sightseeing…the list could be endless! Like any varied trip, layering is key, so bring lots of light layers and if you are lucky enough to have a pool on your cruise ship, don’t forget your swimming gear! Depending on the cruise, it’s not always a formal affair for dinner. Think smart casual, like you would dress in any up-market hotel. If you want to go all out in a full-length gown or tuxedo then go for it – you won’t look out of place at all!

Book your Offshore Excursions in Advance

One of the biggest misconceptions about cruising is that you should book your shore excursions on board. Or course you can do this, but just know that you may not get a place on your preferred excursion, or worst still, it may be full! Some cruise ships limit their excursions to a small number of people, so it is worth taking the time to plan ahead. Know that you do not have to do any excursions if you don’t want to. You can simply disembark and enjoy your surroundings, or better yet, you can stay onboard and experience the ship with far less people. Most activities/shops/entertainment stay open even on port days, so you may wish to enjoy a less crowded ship.

Sea Sickness

It is unlikely that you will experience seasickness on an ocean liner, simply given the size of the ship. However, if you are prone to seasickness, or suffer from a weak stomach, do pack some medication with you (available from any pharmacy) or ask a member of staff to assist you.

Top Tips for First Time Cruisers

Pack a Carry On Bag for the First Few Hours

When you first check onto the ship, you will be among hundreds of other people who are doing the exact same thing!  With that amount of people come all of their luggage, so it stands to reason it may take a few hours before your bag arrives at your stateroom. To avoid this waiting around, and to ensure you can dive straight into activities/relaxing/eating, pack a carry on bag with your bathing suit, change of clothes, ID, travel documents, camera, sunscreen etc.

Cruise Terms to Know

If you have never been on a ship before, there are some basic terms that you should familiarize yourself with before embarking. The ‘bow’ is the front of the ship, the ‘stern’ is the back of the ship, ‘port’ is the left side of the ship (when facing the bow) and ‘starboard’ is the right side of the ship (when facing the bow).  Another useful tip; never refer to the ship as a boat! This is a bit of a taboo subject in cruising circles, in that a ship can carry a boat, but a boat cannot carry a ship, a very large distinction. 

It’s for People of All Ages

Cruising is traditionally thought of as being only for older people and couples, but this is just simply not true! The sheer variety (and popularity) of specialized cruises and ships begs to differ. You can go on a themed cruise (for example a music festival) a specialised solo-traveller cruise, a family cruise, with the most amazing water park on board or even a themed river cruise (think cruising down the Mississippi river in America’s Deep South!) There is so much variety on the cruise market that you are guaranteed to find a cruise that suits you, your budget and your age group.

If you are considering your first cruise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Cruise Specialist, Adele. With years of experience, she will be able to guide you in choosing the best cruise for you.

Get in touch today by calling 01 241 0800 or emailing

Book your cruise with Joe Walsh Tours

Posted 07/11/2019