First-time Cruiser Preparation Checklist

Congratulations on booking your first cruise! The excitement can be overwhelming, but as a first-time cruiser, it is important to be prepared before and during your cruise in order to have a safe, convenient and stress-free experience. In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare for your cruise and enjoy every moment of it. Below is a checklist of things that need to be done before taking your first cruise ship ride!

Before the trip:

  • ☐ Know the luggage allowance and restrictions.
  • ☐ Create a packing list.
    • ☐ Do not forget to refill your prescriptions and bring important maintenance medicines such as an inhaler spray for example, if you are asthmathic.
    • ☐ Bring medications that help relieve nausea and vomiting such as Bonamine®, in case of unexpected motion sickness or sea sickness. They are usually overpriced when you purchase them onboard.
    • ☐ Bring personal hygiene necessities and toiletries such as your deodorant, napkin, bath sponge and toothbrush. Even though the cruise ship provides some of these items, they’re usually the disposable ones so using your own is always better.
    • ☐ Bring rubber slippers, extra socks and comfortable shoes. Although the cruise provides slippers, they’re usually the fabric ones that are only intended for bedroom use, so bringing a pair of rubber slippers that can be wet in case of emergencies is preferable.
    • ☐ Do not forget your phone charger and powerbank, as well as extra batteries for other gadgets such as your camera and laptop.
    • ☐ Make sure to bring enough sets of clothes, including underwear.
    • ☐ If you plan to go swimming, make sure to bring a swimsuit and wet bag as well.
    • ☐ Bring a laundry bag in order to be able to separate dirty clothes with clean clothes easier once you’re already on board.
  • ☐ Aim to pack as lightly as possible.
  • ☐ Decide what to wear on the day of your trip. Consider the destination, weather and activities you intend to do.
    • ☐ As much as possible, wear comfortable and non-slippery shoes in order not to have a hard time when crossing the gangway and climbing the accommodation ladder.
    • ☐ Wear gloves, preferable leather. The accommodation ladder has sharp metal edges sometimes and its handles can be slippery, so having a tighter grip ensures being able to climb and go down safely during emergencies
  • ☐ Find out what’s included in the cruise package.
    • ☐ Does it include unlimited wi-fi? How about unlimited cocktails? Got a free breakfast buffet?
  •  ☐ Consider adding laundry services to your cruise package.
  • ☐ Book shore excursions. Shore excursions, also known as cruise shore excursions, are arranged by cruise companies as an extra package.
    • ☐ Know the types of shore excursions that your cruise is offering.
    • ☐ Choose which types you’re interested in:
      • ☐ General sight-seeing tours?
      • ☐ Water sports shore excursions?
      • ☐ Adventure Tours?
      • ☐ Cuisine and culture tours?
      • ☐ Wilderness and wildlife excursions?
      • ☐ Others
  • ☐ Complete and print out cruise documents. Be sure to make copies.
    • ☐ Passport
    • ☐ Visa
    • ☐ Itinerary
    • ☐ Flight boarding pass (if needed)
    • ☐ Vaccination certificates
    • ☐ Driver’s license
    • ☐ Valid Government IDs
    • ☐ Bank cards
    • ☐ Credit cards
    • ☐ Medical insurance cards
    • ☐ Prescriptions
      ☐ Consider availing a travel insurance for your own safety.
  • ☐ Let friends and family know where you’re traveling.
    • ☐ Provide them your cruise contact info and flight number.
  • ☐ Find friends or family members to watch over your home while you’re away, if possible.
  • ☐ Call your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’re traveling.
  • ☐ Contact your network provider and consider signing up for an international roaming plan.
  • ☐ Find the cost of the cruise ship’s wi-fi.
  • ☐ Obtain a small amount of foreign currency for shopping and tipping.
    • ☐ Contact your bank about a week before departure to order foreign currency.
    • ☐ Set a daily tip budget.
    • ☐ Budget your possible personal expenses.

Once you get onboard and the excitement becomes too overwhelming, it could be easy to forget that you are sharing your vacation with thousands of other people, crew and passengers alike. As such, you must never let down your guard despite all the fun. Here are some things to remember to avoid spoiling your first cruise experience:

During your cruise:

  • ☐ Don’t carry large amounts of cash.
  • ☐ Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • ☐ Prepare to put your phone in airplane mode to avoid international roaming charges.
  • ☐ Listen when the staff talks about safety precautions and emergency procedures.
  • ☐ Pay attention during the muster drill.
  • ☐ Know where the life vests are located. Sit close to its location for easier access.
  • ☐ Locate where the emergency exits and fire exits are.
  • ☐ Know who to talk to in case of in-cabin emergencies.
  • ☐ Don’t advertise the fact that you are traveling alone (if you are).
  • ☐ Practice in-cabin safety.
    • ☐ Not all cabin doors automatically close, so give them a pull when you leave and a push when you are inside to make sure they click shut.
    • ☐ If the door has a deadbolt, use it.
    • ☐ If it doesn’t, ask for a door stopper from your cabin stewards. They usually carry plenty.
  • ☐ Use your safe, especially for your valuables.
  • ☐ Get to know your steward.
    • ☐ Ask their name and be friendly. There’s a higher chance of them remembering you and will immediately notice if someone other than you is trying to get into your room.
  • ☐ Never accept an invitation to crew quarters. Being friendly might be nice, but it could result in the instant dismissal of the crew, and you will be likely asked to leave on your next port stop.
  • ☐ Be safe on your balcony.
    • ☐ Check your balcony before sleeping.
    • ☐ Keep the door locked at night.
    • ☐ Don’t leave the door open when you are not in your room, especially in port. 
  • ☐ Drink alcohol responsibly. This could avoid potential accidents, such as falling off your balcony or falling in the hands of someone who could take advantage of you.

And of course, make lots of memories, take lots of photos and savor every moment. Because after all, you only live once and you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while. Enjoy!

For more tips in booking a cruise and planning your itinerary, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! Book a call here.

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