By: Amanda Magnus
If you read Kristen’s post from earlier this week then you know we are talking about cruises. And I’m okay with that because it is cold in Wisconsin right now and thinking about warmer weather is a nice mental escape! Kristen gave some awesome tips on what to do if you are booking a cruise and I am going to tell you about my first cruise and give you some tips along the way!
Brian and I took our first cruise together in February 2017. Brian had been on a cruise before but this was my first one. We decided to go on Norwegian Cruise Lines and did a Caribbean cruise. The first thing I suggest doing once you choose your cruise line is to sign up for their rewards program. Even if you aren’t sure if you will continue with that cruise line in the future it doesn’t hurt to start earning points right away. These points can get you different perks when it comes to boarding and other discounts on the ship. You can also get deals on future cruises.
We personally tried Norwegian and loved it so we have stuck with them for planning future cruises like the one we are going on in February 2020. Some cruise lines have designated dinner times that you eat your dinner during a certain window of time but Norwegian doesn’t do that so you can go and eat whenever you feel like it any time of day. They also have deals that you can add when you book your cruise like specialty dining and the drink package. The drink package can be expensive if you pay for it but when it’s included as a deal then you just pay the gratuity on it and it’s definitely worth it then.
So, when we first got on the ship we of course had to check it all out. These ships are huge! There is so much to do on board. I suggest when you get on the ship to look at entertainment options and get that stuff booked right away. We did keep one of our phones on us so that we could enter stuff in the calendar to keep track of everything we wanted to do. Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring a dressier outfit for going to shows in the evening or for a nice dinner on board.
Another tip is if you enjoy spa services they will sometimes offer a discount on days that the ship is at port. So if the ship is docked at one of the stops for the day spa services are sometime discounted for that day since they will be slower due to a lot of people getting off the ship to explore. The spa is expensive on board but the massage I had was the best I’ve ever had so it was well worth the extra money. And I went on a day we were at port so the discount helped.
Finally, the main thing is to just have fun! Don’t stress about having to have a plan and have everything figured out. I am definitely a planner but it was nice to just go throughout our day and be able to pick and choose in the moment what we wanted to do.
Hopefully this helps if you are planning a cruise! Do you love cruises? What is your favorite cruise line and why?