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Cruising For The First Time

Mar 15, 2008
If you are like a great many people, you have often thought about going on a cruise, but you are hesitant to really give it a try.

Perhaps you do not know if you had enjoy the experience, or maybe you think that it would cost too much or that you had be bored or overtaken by seasickness.

If you are concerned that you may become seasick, here's a news flash for you - cruise liners have been built for many years with stabilizers that limit the rocking motion of the waves. Some cruise ships even have billiard tables that adjust to stay level, so the waves are not a problem!) And seasick pills are quite effective - you can take them before you have a chance to get sick.

Plenty to Do-

If you are afraid that spending your days at sea could become tedious or boring, take a cruise to the Caribbean or along one of the coasts where you land in a different port just about every night. On a coastal cruise, you usually do not spend that many nights at sea. However, if you decide to cruise across the Atlantic or Pacific, then you will be shipbound for a much longer period of time.

Even if you do end up spending a lot of time on the ship, do not worry there is a huge variety of things to do on board - walking around the decks, swimming, shuffleboard, dancing, gambling, eating, and of course - drinking. Now, that last two may sink you (and the boat, depending on how much weight you gain!) if you are not careful.

Cruise lines are really floating five-star restaurants and there is always a place to get something to eat on the ship. From sunrise breakfasts to midnight buffets, to round-the-clock room service, you will never go hungry!

Most cruise ships have two seatings for dinner. One at 6PM and a second one at around 8 pm, so in order to keep your appetite under control, you may want to go for the first seating at 6 pm.

What About Formality?

Perhaps you are afraid that shipboard etiquette is too confusing, that you all feel like an untrained, uncultured oaf. Get that idea out of your mind - except for higher end cruise lines, there isn't much in the way of formality on cruise vacations these days.

There might be one formal night in a five-day cruise, so you might want to rent a tux or a gown on shore to take with you (you can also do this on board the ship, but of course, everything is a bit more expensive at sea). Even then, only about half the passengers dress up formally and no one is barred from the dining room for not dressing in formal attire. Though most nights are casual, it is a good idea for men to bring a jacket and a sports shirt.

It Won't Cost a Fortune

Cruising is not just for the wealthy. There are all sorts of bargains, particularly on discount Internet sites. For example, a recent five-day Caribbean cruise out of Miami, with stops in the Grand Caymans and Key West, cost $400 per person for a delightful cabin on the upper floors with a big window. That didn't include airfare, although you can book cruise packages that do include airfare.

However, in regards to the total cost of your cruise, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Additional Expenses

Your cruise experience can incur some additional expenses. You are expected to tip the waiters and maids at the end of the cruise, at the rate of about $3 to $4 per day. Also, on most cruise lines the food is included in the ticket price, but any alcoholic drinks are not, so you can run up a bit of a bar bill if you aren't careful. And if you become obsessed by the onboard casino, some dollars could float away pretty quickly there as well.

Most ships also offer tours when you arrive in the various ports and run between $30 and $40 per person. To save money, you can choose to wander around town on your own or hire a cab, which can often be cheaper.

Arriving on Time

Since you will probably be flying to the departure point, you might want to leave a day before the cruise begins, just in case the plane is delayed or your luggage misses your flight. By arriving early, you will have a chance that any delayed or misplaced luggage will find its way to you before the ship sails.

What If You're Alone?

Cruising is not just for couples - you will find cruises for singles, as well as families, groups, women, gay and lesbian, alumni, themed cruising and much more. You do not need a significant other to cruise - just an Internet connection and a good head on your shoulders.

Study travel website message boards for those looking for roommates and travel buddies. Get to know the person and determine whether you are looking for a constant companion or merely a bunkmate. Just keep your safety in mind as you make your plans!
About the Author
Ranju is the assistant editor of TRAVEL-ENTERTAINMENT and is an "Under the Radar" Internet Entrepreneur who's been quietly selling various products for the last 8 years. Get more money-saving travel tips at TRAVEL-ENTERTAINMENT
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