10 things you should know before going on a cruise


There’s a lot to think about when planning a cruise. Where do you want to go? How long will you go for? What time of year is best? And that’s before you’ve considered things like what kind of cabin to book, which clothes to take, the tipping etiquette, and how many excursions to do.
For a first-timer, going on a cruise holiday can feel a bit overwhelming. But help is at hand.
If you’re thinking about going on a cruise holiday or are wondering why so many other people can’t get enough of cruising, here are ten of the most important things you need to know before you go on a cruise.

1 Cruising is good for your soul

The first thing you should know is that going on a cruise is good for your health. In fact, it’s better for your wellbeing than any other kind of holiday. Research carried out by scientists at the University of China revealed that cruise holidays are particularly beneficial for our well being and those benefits can last for up to six months.

2 You can get seasick on a cruise

You might imagine that a cruise around the Caribbean is a seasick-free zone. And if you were to ask a cruise company, they’d tell you that a cruise ship’s stabilisers help prevent motion sickness. But make no mistake, you can get seasick on a cruise. The best thing is to make sure you are well prepared. This means stocking up on seasickness medication and Sea Bands (elastic straps you wear on your wrists that press against your pressure points to reduce feelings of motion sickness).
You can also be strategic when booking your cabin. If you’re prone to getting seasick, you might want to book a cabin in a high deck, around the middle of the ship. As well as offering the best views, these cabins also offer a smoother sailing experience.

3 What you should pack

The first rule of packing for a cruise is to pack light. No one cares if you wear the same outfit more than once so pack washable, quick-drying clothing. Most ships will have self-service laundries (and irons) so you can give any dirties a quick clean when needed.
Even if you’re heading to guaranteed sunshine, always pack a jumper because it can get chilly on-board cruise ships. As far as shoes are concerned, you’ll need a pair for walking, a dressier pair and some flip flops if you’re off to sunnier climes. Check the itinerary to see how many formal nights there are. Formal doesn’t mean tuxes and ball gowns (unless you want it to), a suit or a stylish cocktail dress will do you proud.
Whatever you pack, make sure you take out cruise insurance before you go to cover all your personal belongings, money and luggage.

4 Book a few excursions

Cruising is a great way to see the world so you should consider doing some onshore trips. You have two options. You can either book an excursion with the cruise company or book with an external provider. The former will ensure you are treated well and are back on board the cruise ship in plenty of time. The latter may give you more freedom (and prove to be cheaper) – just make sure you don’t miss the departure time!
If you want to see as many new places as you can and get the best value for money, do plenty of research before you leave. Check bus timetables, decide what sights you want to see, see how much free time you get as part of an itinerary, and compare prices. Cruise insurance can be tailored to the destinations and activities you choose.
And remember, there’s no shame in staying on board. Most large cruise ships have restaurants and activities galore to keep you busy.

5 You’ll need your ID to go ashore

If you have booked an excursion, you’ll need to show some ID as you go ashore. Leaving a cruise ship is essentially like leaving a no man’s land – there’s a customs process to go through first. This is not a huge issue in itself, but when you have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people wanting to disembark at the same time the queues can be pretty long.
Beat the rush by leaving the boat early, and having all your documents (passport, insurance, ship ID card etc) within easy reach.
A cruise setting off on a wide body of water between mountains

6 Is a cruise holiday good value?

As far as holidays go, cruising is not cheap. However, if you compare the cost of a cruise holiday to the equivalent cost of visiting as many countries on a full-board basis, then it offers great value for money.
Plus, there are always lots of activities included in the price. Different cruise holiday companies will have different inclusions, but most will offer meals in casual dining areas, musical and theatre shows, fitness classes, lectures, parties, cinemas, pools and entry to clubs. In terms of what’s not included, you can expect to pay more for spa and salon services, internet access, shopping purchases and premium dining.
Talking of getting value for money, specialist cruise insurance will cover you in ways that standard holiday insurance won’t. For example, it can protect you if you miss a port due to bad weather.

7 Cruisers are a diverse bunch

Guess what? Cruise ships are not full of pensioners. They are full of people who love to travel, see new places and can afford to do it in luxury. You will find a mix of ages on board a cruise ship, and will meet plenty of like-minded people who are looking to enjoy their holiday and have a great time. There are also adult-only cruise ships if you prefer a child-free zone.

8 Food vs fitness

The food offered on cruise ships is amazing – and there’s always plenty of it. This can be a good and a bad thing because if you like to get your money’s worth (who doesn’t?), your waistline might suffer. However, all is not lost. Cruise ships come equipped with plenty of health and fitness options – gym, fitness classes, running track and swimming pools. So, you can have your dessert and eat it.

9 Don’t call it a boat

Only the most novice of cruisers make the mistake of calling a cruise ship a boat. This is widely regarded as a huge faux pas. Dropping the word ‘boat’ into polite conversation in the formal dining room is kind of like swearing. There are some things cruise insurance can’t cover you for! If you want to make friends, always refer to the boat as a ship!

10 You’ll probably get addicted

Chances are, most people you’ll meet on your cruise holiday will have been on a cruise ship before. That’s because it’s addictive. If it’s your first time, prepare to get hooked.
If you want to make sure your cruise is completely stress-free, be sure to take out cruise insurance before you leave. At Insurance Choice, our team of specialists will find the right cruise insurance to suit your requirements.

But why get Cruise specific insurance?

There are a many benefits that may not be covered by general travel insurance. These can include cover for:

  • Missed Cruise Port
  • Cruise Cabin Confinement
  • Unused Cruise Excursions
  • Cruise Itinerary change

Make sure to check your policy before you set sail to see what you are covered for.