First Time Cruising Tips

Hi there my travel-loving friends! Right about now I am getting ready to go spend a day frolicking about in Costa Maya, Mexico. For updates on our trip this week, be sure to follow me over on Instagram (link at the end of this post!) Alright, let's get started with this week's topic >>

Getting ready to embark on your first cruise? Well here are a few tips I'd like to send your way!

Cruising tips | Tips for first time cruisers | Cruising hacks |  Cruise Carry-on | Cruise Vacations | Travel Blog | Ashley Rae Co.

Tip Number One: Pack a Carry-on

If you have never cruised before, you're going to want to remember this little tidbit. When you first board your cruise, you can expect to be without your main luggage for a few hours. Sometimes you can go on into the evening before you receive your bags. Unless you decide to pay extra to get your bags faster, packing your important items in a carry-on is what I recommend.

What should go in your carry-on? Well you obviously want to have your passport, your ID, any medications, a change of clothes, your wallet, boarding pass, any other important information. These are your MUST haves. You may also want to pack a light snack in case you get hungry while you're waiting to board. But don't worry, as soon as you get onboard, all the food and drinks you could want will be available to you! I would also pack some headphones as well as a power bank or your phone charger.

If you're taking kids, make sure you put whatever you may need for your kids in your carry-on. And if your kids are old enough, let them carry their own bags onto the ship! And that's it! Nothing too crazy... Just enough to get you by for a couple of hours.

Rethink Your Luggage

If you're someone who finds yourself in a messy room very quickly, I recommend going for a duffle bag rather than a suitcase. This will mean less space when your bags have been unpacked. Another great option is for you and the person you're traveling with to maybe share a suitcase. Last time Johnny and I took a cruise (for our honeymoon) he packed a suitcase and I packed a duffle bag. It was nice to get mine completely out of the way! This go 'round we are going to try just sharing one suitcase; which brings me to my next tip. >>

Pack Light

Seriously, do you need 12 outfits for your 5 day cruise? If your answer is "YES, ABSOLUTELY!" Well then carry on, my friend! I only suggest packing light to make things less of a headache for you. The only outfits you really need to pack will be for dinner because the rest of the time, you will more than likely be in a bathing suit or shorts and a t-shirt or tank. Now if you're going somewhere that is not tropical, I get that is a completely different scenario HOWEVER... I still believe in packing light! You can absolutely wear an outfit more than once, or find a way to switch it up a little bit. Minimalism is one thing I've grown fond over the past year, and I love to practice it with my packing!

Early Check-in

When it is time to complete online check-in, opt for the earliest boarding time that you can. The sooner you get on the ship, the better (in my opinion!) Some may disagree and say to just get on later before the ship takes off, but you're already paying for that first day, so you might as well get onboard and start eating and drinking (especially if you purchased a drink package!)

When You First Get Onboard

Take this time to explore! Entrances to staterooms will more than likely be blocked off by the time you get on the ship. If they are not blocked off, but your bags still have not arrived, I recommend checking out your room last! 

Take a full-on tour of the ship. Get to know everything and take notes of places you want to go during your trip. There are so many different things to do onboard! I also recommend grabbing a drink for your self-guided tour ;) 

Once you're done with your exploring, then head back to your stateroom to check it out and once your bags arrive, I recommend going ahead and getting them unpacked so that you can have the rest of the afternoon/evening to do whatever you want! 

Your Stateroom

Get to know your stateroom! Memorize what number you're in, and if you have children going with you that will at any point be by themselves, maybe decorate your door so they can find the room easy. I also recommend this if you have a husband like mine who can't always remember room numbers (even though it is printed on your card that stays with you at all times!

Your stateroom has a lot of great features and storage, but there are so many great ways to maximize the use of your stateroom, so be sure to stay tuned for my Cruising Hacks blog post coming out next Wednesday!

For more advice on your first cruise, please feel free to contact me to help you with your booking and I will walk you through everything!

Happy Cruising :)


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