There are many ways to enjoy a holiday. While some people jet off on a destination trip abroad, others prefer a quiet getaway at the country side with the family. But have you explored the wonders of a cruise ship?
If you haven’t, we urge you to try it because it is usually an unforgettable experience. Contrary to what you might think, it won’t necessarily gulp your savings. There are different packages for different budget types. Whether you are going solo, as a couple or with friends, there is always a suitable option. Even family cruise ships are available too.
So, for your next trip, consider spending it sailing along the sea with the salty breeze in your hair and adventure in the air. You won’t regret it.
Should you decide to, here are some important things to check, so you can you enjoy a safe and amazing experience.
- Plan your itinerary and gear
Holidays on a ship are the ultimate cruise. With onboard meals, entertainment and accommodations, it is easy to forget that you need more planning than usual. Where do you plan to go? Does the ship have an online navigational chart? What do you need to pack? Even if it is local, plan it as you would any other trip. Take a photo ID, medication and so on.
What should you wear? It depends on the events planned for the trip. Some cruises might have formal dinners, while others are laid back partying. Either way, you want to be prepared. Pack both formal and casual wears; tux for guys and an evening gown for women.
- How do you get the best deal on a cruise?
As mentioned previously, there are different cruise ships for specific occasions. Each of them will charge differently. If you have a favourite cruise line, sign up for their newsletter. Like most service providers, cruise ships offer special sails from time to time.
Once you subscribe, you will receive frequent notifications whenever there is a special offer. The early birds often get the best deals, so you want to act fast. Group bookings are usually cheaper, so if you have a significant other or a group of friends, convince them to sign up too. The more, the merrier!
- Find out what their medical or emergency policies are
It is always good to take precautionary measures, especially when you are doing something for the first time like vacationing on a cruise ship. Check if they have a specific procedure for medical emergencies. Do they have a resident medical team? Is there provision for airlifting someone to the nearest hospital? Some cruises will stop at the nearest port for a sick individual to catch a flight.
According to P.K Sheerle, CEO of Gifted Healthcare, a decent cruise ship must always have medical personnel on board. “We hire out some of our travel nurses to accompany such cruises in case there is a medical issue on board,” she says.
Don’t forget to inquire about their refund policy if an on-board emergency cuts short your cruise.
- Check whether the ship is family or child-friendly
If you are planning on going as a family, it is important to know that not every ship is equipped to accommodate children. Inquire specifically about such arrangements so that you don’t get err…embarrassed, if you arrive at a cabin with alternative programmes scheduled.
But that isn’t the only reason why. Family-friendly cruise ships are often equipped with loads of children’s entertainment such as book’villes, supervised playrooms and fun-themed sections. This also allows you to catch some quiet time with your partner and explore other areas of the ship.
- How do you prevent motion sickness?
Not everybody was born with the stomach for the sea. Motion sickness is real, but if you don’t have the sea legs, it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a wavy holiday. I often recommend to people to buy Sea Bands. They are little elastic bands that you can wear on your wrists; they push firmly against your pressure points and help keep sea sickness away.
You may also take with you some Dramamine or Bonine. Pop them as prescribed by your physician right before you board the ship to prevent motion sickness. Be sure to get the now-drowsy kind. You don’t want to sleep away your holiday!
Beware of booking a cruise ship solely on its price. While great bargains are good, such services often come with a caveat. Look through all the offerings properly and choose something that is most suitable for your needs.
Since you will be eating a lot of delicious food, don’t forget to try the gym if available (take your gym clothes). Use the steps between decks as they are also an effective way to exercise.
Finally, there will be many activities on the ship, such as gambling, buffets, special classes, ice skating and so on. But don’t be under any pressure to try them all. Find what resonates best with you and your friends, and enjoy responsibly. Good luck!