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All You Need to Know About Cruising

What could be better than exploring all your favourite destinations in one? With cruising the impossible is possible, whether you spend seven days at sea or a month sailing to some faraway places. You’ll be taken to destinations you’ve always dreamt about and some you’ve never even thought about discovering. It’s all about exploring the beauty of the world in a whole new and exciting way.

Not to mention, it’s great value for money. That is, if you know what you’re looking for. Cruising comes with its own rules and ways of life, that’s why we’ve put together all our hints and tips so you can be an expert at life at sea.

What’s included?

Cruising is a fantastic way to save a fortune and experience a wide range of cultures and destinations all in one. All Inclusive plays a huge part in this, who wouldn’t love endless amounts of food and drinks? And if your cruise doesn’t include the All Inclusive package, you’re still guaranteed a bundle of free amenities to enjoy.

Most of your entertainment and restaurants onboard are free no matter what board basis you choose. You might have to pay for your drinks if you decide to just go Full Board but, with everything from piled high plated buffets to the traditional five-course settings you don’t have to worry about food. That’s not all, West-End styled productions, live bands and soaring acrobats are all free too!

And, if that wasn’t; enough, you’ll enjoy dipping your toes in the pool, rushing down waterslides and grabbing a good book from the library – all for no extra cost. There are endless possibilities with cruising and most won’t cost you a penny.

However, if you want something a little more special, such as themed restaurants, top branded spirits or a massage or two from the spa you’ll have to pull out your wallet. But don’t worry, you can always upgrade to All Inclusive if it’s not already included in your price.

Money, money, money

Tips are customary and while you don’t have to pay them, it’s expected in the world of cruising. Keep your eyes peeled though, some cruise lines such as Thomson Cruises include tips and charges in their price, so you don’t need to worry about a thing when you get there. However, if that’s not the case, the policy is around 10% or so, per bill.

The standard rate for tipping is usually £12.50 per person, per day on average. But if you’re taking full advantage of your free services you won’t need to worry about keeping loose change handy.

Many cruise lines operate on a cashless basis and provide you with a ‘cruise credit card’ to use onboard for all purchases – from drinks to spa treatments, or a souvenir from the gift shop, you should never need your wallet. As a thank you for booking with your cruise line, you may even receive some free money to spend onboard, which will be applied to your card – what a treat! At the end of your cruise your bill will usually be popped through your door and you’ll simply pay your balance off at the reception desk. However, some cruise lines may use different payment methods, so be sure to check with your cruise line before your sailing.

Luggage allowances

Firstly, if you’re flying to any destinations before, during or after your cruise you will have to stick to the airline’s weight restriction. However, if you’re sailing from the UK port the luggage allowance can vary for each cruise line. But, to give you a rough idea some cruise lines will allow up to 90kg of weight. That’s more than enough for you to bring along your entire wardrobe, and plenty of room for that cocktail dress and other essential holiday items. It’s safe to say your luggage allowance is pretty flexible, but always check with your cruise line first before you get carried away with packing.

For security reasons, breakable items, valuables, jewellery, laptops & other electronical devices and medicines should be packed in your hand luggage and kept with you at all times.

Dress to impress

With so many different kinds of destinations in one, you may be asking yourself – what do I pack? It’s always tempting to pack a full wardrobe no matter where you’re going and even though you usually have a generous luggage allowance for the ship – resist the urge.

It’s all about packing the essentials. Make sure you don’t forget your swim suit. From the beaches in Spain to making a splash in one of the onboard pools, you’ll need one at some point. Of course if you want an impressive tan, it’s a must.

You’ll also need a good pair of comfy shoes! Trust us you don’t want to ruin a day in Rome with blisters. You only have one day in most ports, so you’ll want to make the most of your destination. If you’re not spending the day lounging around the beach, you’ll probably be exploring – so ladies, say no to heels when you’re on a mini adventure in Dubrovnik.

Many cruise lines have themed parties or formal nights, so dig out your finest cocktail dress or tux and prepare for a night of endless fun. Don’t worry though you’ll be notified in advance of any parties through email, ensuring you don’t miss out!

When in doubt it’s always best to check with your cruise lines via their website. Apart from that, pack whatever you feel comfortable in and have the time of your life.

Shore excursions

One of the best parts of cruising is the shore excursions. Many cruise lines aim to give you an experience of a lifetime with bucket-list worthy activities that you wouldn’t even think of doing or didn’t know existed. It’s a great way to see the destinations and the best way to fit in so much culture and fun, in one day. You may even be lucky enough to experience an overnight stay at your favourite destination, making the possibilities endless.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the island by yourself though, sometimes getting lost through the cobbled streets of Mykonos is the perfect way to discover hidden island treasures. However, you’ll need a tight schedule if you don’t want the ship to leave without you. so. If you’re worried about timing or unsure about what to do, booking an excursion with your cruise line can be a stress-free way to spend a day in port.

Are you ready to take on a unique and exciting way of seeing the world? Check out our cruise deals here and prepare for an adventure.