I thought it would be useful to write a short post with some of the things I initially think would be useful, as a first time cruiser. Areas such as packing, security and getting on board.
Firstly if you are booking a cruise with Royal Caribbean get yourself onto the website, there is so much on there, from hints and tips, to information that you need to complete before your cruise, also a couple of things that you can print out like luggage tags.
I think travelling alone as I was, I was perhaps a little more nervous than I would usually be, but it was all so easy and went completely without a hitch. I didn’t arrange transfers to the ship so just hopped into a taxi. If you do this, make sure you bring your suitcase with you (if you have transfers this is all sorted on your behalf once you have collected from the carousel. I simply told my taxi driver, I needed to go to the port, he asked which ship and dropped my off right by it – remember to bring currency though for the taxi! As I got out of the taxi, I was asked my room number (these are allocated to you before you arrive) my suitcase tagged, and put on board for me. Such a smooth transition!
– I then went through to an area (it’s all really very well sign posted) where my documents were checked and I was allocated a card called a Sea Pass, the same size and shape as a credit card. Now this Sea Pass is so important, it not only lets you into your room, it is your ID to get on and off the ship. It also means that your stay (whilst you remain on the ship anyway) will remain paperless, so you don’t need to carry money with you. I made sure I also gave my credit card details at the beginning to them, so that any extras I did purchase would be taken straight off.
You then board the ship using the card. I was greeted by a Michael Jackson impersonator, who was so good I really wished I’d have recorded him, maybe next time Of course once you get on ship, it can feel overwhelming, as it is so incredibly big. However, there are prompts to help you find your way around if you get lost. Look out for the interactive TV screens (near each of the doorways as you enter the stateroom areas) using touch screen technology you can work out where you are, and how to get to your destination. There are also perspex ships, on every floor, which point the direction that the ship is travelling in, and show what level you are on, and what main areas can be found on each floor. There are also handy guides outside each of the lifts. Its almost impossible to get lost!
Now I stayed in a stateroom with a balcony, and boy that made for some glorious views each morning! I was actually really surprised by the large size of the room. It had a huge (and incredibly comfortable) bed and a sofa bed too, a curtain could be pulled to divide the two. A large dressing table area with two drawer units, and a fridge. Also a double door wardrobe, big enough to put your suitcase in as well once you had emptied it. There is also more storage with a shelf area inside the wardrobe and the safe. The safe I used to store my iPad, passport, jewellery wrap, kindle and there was still plenty of space, it’s not large enough for a laptop though.
Finally I thought in this post I would cover packing, as I think that was one of the things I was most anxious about.
Make sure you bring your toiletries, there is soap for the sink, and some combined shampoo and shower gel in the bathroom, but I would just bring the toiletries that you love to use. If you do forget something, there is a general store available on board, or you could treat yourself to some of the duty-free toiletries as I did.
In terms of clothing for me, I enjoy getting dressed up, so I brought an outfit for the day, and one for the evening. Everyday there is a given dress code. You will be told what this is before hand, and reminded the day before in the magazine that is left in your room each evening. It is fairly relaxed though, for example, it is a formal evening you could get dressed to the nines in a ball gown and tux, and not feel out of place but generally a dress, shirt, tie and trousers are also completely appropriate. It really is up to you how dressed up, or not you want to be. I thought it was definitely all part of the experience, and seeing all of the outfits in the evening was fab, if it was a party night some even came in fancy dress. You do need to put some thought into clothing for the day, as if you are going on trips, they are tiring and there can be lots of walking, so remember comfy shoes, light rain coat and a small bag. There were people in shorts and jeans in the day whilst on deck, and of course as there are so many fun activities to have in the water, you really must remember swimming things.
So I hope this is a useful guide for the first time cruiser. I think for me, the most important thing is do what is comfortable for you, have fun and relax!
This was a press trip for me to experience the cruise as a first timer. I was given a 5 day cruise and flights in order to review the cruise. No other payment has been given.