What to expect on your first cruise
Your holiday begins when the porters whisk away your luggage and you’re handed a colourful, exotic Bon Voyage drink. Your luggage will magically appear in your cabin later, so you’ll want to make sure you take a carry on bag with all the essentials, including swimwear if you fancy hitting the pool straight away.
You’ll also receive your own electronic cruise card, rolling your boarding card, room key and onboard credit card all into one. Then head to the deck to wave goodbye to the crowds gathered at the port, and get ready for your first adventure out on the horizon.
Home away from home
From the moment you step on board you’ll be in awe at the world of possibilities right on your doorstep. After the safety “muster drill” and organised ship tours of your first few days, you’ll quickly come to find your way around and see how things work.
A daily newsletter will arrive in your cabin each evening, outlining the schedule for tomorrow’s activities and entertainment. And your Cabin Steward will be there behind the scenes, keeping your room fresh and sparkling clean each day.
You’ll also find little havens of private space dotted around your cruise, from the blissful spa to the adults-only deck area complete with private cabanas.
Cruise entertainment is no longer just about jazzy singers and Vegas-style casinos. From extravagant theatres to cool night clubs, ice-skating rinks to rock climbing walls, there’s something for everyone out at sea.
Adventure junkies will love the first ever, two-tiered racetrack aboard the new Norwegian Joy, due to set sail in 2017, as well as the Oasis of the Seas’ thrilling zip cord that zooms right across the ship.
You’ll find opportunities to learn new skills, such as cookery classes with celebrity chefs, or the Smithsonian Collection with knowledgeable experts and renowned scholars on board Regent ships. And Crystal even offer voluntourism adventures, where guests can volunteer on a community-building project at their destinations. Just how will you find the time to do it all?
Image via BBC
From Moet to Michelin-stars, culinary tours and celeb chefs, cruises are a hub of unique tastes, flavours and delicious delicacies. Think exclusive partnerships with world-famous chefs like Marco Pierre White, James Martin (above) and Nobu, as well as once-in-a-lifetime culinary tours to the food meccas of the world.
Of course, these usually cost an extra fee. But you can always eat for free on a cruise at the many venues included in the costs of your cruise fare.
Sample the multicourse menus of the main dining rooms or visit the 24-hour buffet whenever the munchies strike, complete with deli sandwich counters, sizzling woks, stone-baked pizzas and fun pancake stations.
Read more: The foodie’s guide to cruising into 2017
Dress to impress
When you’re on holiday, it’s time to let your hair down. Your days at sea are all about comfort and relaxation, so make sure you pack your shorts, summer dresses and bathing suits.
For the majority of lines, most evenings are smart casual too. But some parts of the cruise or certain nights in the itinerary are likely to have a more formal dress code, giving guests the chance to don their evening finest.
There may also be some optional theme nights thrown into the mix, from Mexican Fiesta parties on the deck to Country and Western saloon shindigs.
And of course, the reason you took to the sea in the first place. Venture into the heart of each exotic, foreign destination through a variety of excursions and tours.
Uncover tropical islands and bustling metropolises, ancient civilisations and sparkling glaciers. Visit penguin colonies in the Falkland Islands or go wine tasting in Provence.
Haggle at a bustling Moroccan spice market or sip Jamaican rum at a tropical, island plantation. Tours can be booked onboard at your ship's excursions desk but this is usually the most expensive way to explore each destination.
Independent cruise agencies have all the cheaper, local connections, and can source the best deals because they have no financial affiliation to any large, international company.
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