Tips for First-Time Cruisers

Curious about cruising? Read more for advice from our travel advisors!

Have you been hearing from others about their amazing cruise experiences but you’ve never cruised yourself? If you weren’t already aware from looking through your friends’ and families’ social media posts, 2023 was a record year for cruising! According to the 2023 CLIA State of the Cruise Industry report, more people planned to cruise in 2023 than 2019, and those numbers are forecast to keep growing in the coming years.

If you have questions before you take your first steps onboard, About the Memories Travel is here to help! We’ve asked our agents to answer a few frequently asked questions from first-time cruisers. Their input below will help you feel confident in taking that first step in booking your trip and joining the cruising craze in 2024!

Why Would Someone Choose a Cruise as a Vacation?

A cruise takes away a lot of the hard parts of other vacations- you only have to unpack once, while visiting multiple destinations. You are transported between destinations. Your meals are taken care of. Your children are taken care of and entertained. It is a great way to see more of the world without so many logistics. Mackenzie Clark

How Do You Choose Between So Many Different Cruise Lines?

My family will select a cruise based on the best travel dates for our schedule or for the itinerary. Once we narrow down our dates and where we wish to visit we look at the cruise lines sailing at that time then find one that is best for our budget and lifestyle. Not all are created equal so it is so important to weigh out the pros/cons for each one. At times due to busy schedules it might be the dates that win. Jen Filling

What do you think is the ideal number of nights for a first-time cruiser?

If you’re worried about being on the ship too long or getting sea sick, a 4-night cruise with at least 2 stops is a great option.  You’ll have time to enjoy the ship and activities and have time in ports so you are not on the ship without getting off for longer than 24 hours.  It will give you a chance to experience a cruise, days in port and days at sea.   – Julie Juneau

What’s the biggest mistake you see people making when they’re planning a cruise?

First timers have a tendency to overbook themselves. Cruises are an opportunity to take it easy. You don’t need to book an excursion for every port day or multiple excursions on the same day. Take time to explore the ship! Cheryl Lechner

Will I need to have a passport?

It’s highly recommended that you have a passport, and some cruise lines may require it. If you are on a closed loop cruise (leaving and returning to the same U.S. port) you may be able to sail with a birth certificate and other identification. But you will want to avoid the possibility of ending up in another country for a medical or other emergency without a passport by getting one before you sail. – Becky Popelka

What’s the best way to get to and from the port from the hotel or airport?

There are so many options, renting a car, shared shuttle, private transfer, rideshare and more! This depends on your travel party, your budget and your preference. Rideshare will be your most economical option, but if you need car seats or have more than 6 in your travel party private transfers will likely be your best option. This is a great reason to use a travel advisor, as they can help you sort through the options and make the best choice for your group.Cheryl Lechner

I’m worried about motion sickness. What are your best tips?

Be prepared!  Don’t wait to feel sick before you start to use the precautions.  Start a day before the cruise and continue until a day after the cruise.  It is always best to be prepared!  Staying mid ship both vertical and horizontal is helpful as well.  I like having a balcony/verandah as well.  Having that space outdoors to visit is helpful for me.  – Jen Filling

I’m an introvert. Will all the activities on a cruise require that I’m interacting with other people all the time?

There are a wide variety of activities offered on a cruise.  You can always attend an event and participate at the level you are comfortable with, even if that is just watching from the side.   –Julie Juneau

Leaving my children at a kids’ club makes me a little nervous. What is it like?

Cruise kids club staff are well trained and have activities planned for every age group. They can tell when a kid (or parent) is nervous and do help put them at ease. Kids are dropped off securely, and families have a code word for pickup. On Disney Cruise Line, kids wear a band that tracks them so they know their location at all times. Our kids have so much fun in the kids clubs, it is hard to get them out for meals!Mackenzie Clark

If you could go back to the first cruise you ever went on, what would you do differently?

I wish we had taken a longer cruise. Our first cruise was only 3 nights, which is only 2 full days on the ship. We barely unpacked, learned our way around the ship and enjoyed a few activities before it was time to disembark. I think a 4-night with at least one day at sea would have allowed us more time to explore and relax.Julie Juneau 

And the number one recommendation from our team when it comes to making sure your first cruising experience is the best it can be?

Work with a knowledgeable travel advisor!

Not using an experienced travel advisor is the biggest mistake a new cruiser can make. There are so many details and just having that person there to help is priceless in my opinion. Use a travel advisor, it costs you nothing and can help you in so many ways!Jen Filling

If you’re feeling a bit more confident about booking your first cruise after reading this, reach out to your About the Memories Travel advisor to start the conversation. Or complete our general quote form to be paired with one of our outstanding travel advisors. We’re here to help!