Simple Things That Shock First-Timer Passengers On Cruise Ships

Never taken a cruise before? At one time we were all cruise rookies and not quite sure what to expect. There’s a lot that’s different in cruising compared to other vacations. And even if you’re a veteran, sometimes you can still get thrown for a loop.

Whether you’re a first-time passenger or you’ve sailed before, here are a number of things that may surprise you about taking a cruise.

1. Limited time in port

If you’re taking a week-long cruise with three ports of call, you might think that means you have three days at port and four days at sea. The ratio is actually more like one day at port and six days at sea.

That’s because the ships actually only port for eight or nine hours on average before they sail away again. For instance, a ship might dock at 8 a.m. and have all aboard be at 4:30 in the afternoon. Added up, a 7-day trip often has only about 24 hours of time combined in ports.

Cruise lines are moving toward having longer port stays in some cases, but by and large, you’ll spend a morning and afternoon in port, but the rest of your time on the ship.

2. Size of ships

Everyone knows that cruise ships are big. It’s not until you are actually at the port getting ready to board that you realize how big they can be. Consider that cruise ships can rise 200 feet above the water – the equivalent of a 20-story building.

Meanwhile, today’s new ships are almost always more than 1,000 feet long, which is longer than a city block. On the ship, you get an even greater appreciation for their size. Inside the ship are full promenades, restaurants, and thousands of cabins. There are nightclubs, atriums, double-decker theaters, and more.

Everything that you would expect to be in a modern resort is on the ship, and it’s a full-size version- not something scaled down to fit on the cruise.

3. How stable ships are

A few times a year there is always a news story about a cruise ship that hits a storm. The most compelling of these stories has video filmed on the ship of the rocking and rolling as the cruise ship fights through the waves

The truth is, 99% of cruises aren’t like this at all. In fact, given the size of the ships and technology designed to make the ship sail smoothly, most of the time you don’t even feel the ocean.

That’s not to say you won’t feel the ship moving at all. If the waves are big enough, you can definitely feel the ship rock a bit. But if you’re expecting that you’ll feel the movement of the ocean constantly, that’s likely not the case.

4. How easy it is to get “Lost”

Think that it’s going to be easy to navigate the ship? Think again. It famously takes even seasoned cruisers a couple of days to get their bearing on a new ship. That’s not to say that you will get lost and not be able to find your way back to the cabin.

After all, if you just walk a little bit, you’ll eventually find elevators or stairs that can take you to the deck you want to be.

Instead, we’re referring to the fact that it’s very easy to get turned around, walking forward on the ship when you want to walk back and vice versa. This is easiest to do when you are in the hallways with cabins.

Row after row of cabin doors that all look the same, and no windows in the hallway, can make it feel like a maze. Don’t worry though, after a day or two, you’ll be navigating the ship like a pro.

One tip? Recognize the major spots like the pool deck, dining room, and promenade and use those as landmarks to get your bearings.

5. You can still find quiet spots

Four thousand people, plus crew, on a ship. That’s about the size of a city block. Yes, cruise ships are large, but they also have a lot of people. If you head to the pool on a sunny day, it will be packed with people.

What’s surprising, however, is that you can still find plenty of quiet spots on cruise ships if you want to get away from the crowds.

In the evenings, the pools decks clear out, giving you practically the entire area to yourself. Inside the ship is the same story. Places like the ship’s library are quiet and few people are usually there.

Each ship is a little different depending on the layout and the venues. It might take a day or two to discover the spots that don’t attract a lot of people. But once you do figure it out, you have your own little “private” space despite being on a full ship.

6. The amount of sales pitches

Massages, arts, drink packages, jewelry and the list goes on. These things, and much more, are what you’ll be pitched as a passenger on a cruise ship. You might think that once you’ve bought your ticket that you’re done spending money.

In fact, about 30-40% of cruise line revenue comes from spending by passengers on the ship.  And you’ll definitely be tempted to spend. From announcements over the intercom to stacks of sales flyers delivered to your stateroom door, it’s almost shocking how much advertising you’re hit with when cruising.

To be fair, if you’re looking to purchase a massage or something on the ship, these flyers can tell you about sales and discounts that can save you money. But if you’re not in a shopping mood, they can simply be an annoyance.

7. The amount you can pack

If you’re like most people, then you think about flying when you are packing luggage these days. Air travel and baggage are like oil and water. Between bag charges, carry-on space, and having to check luggage, it’s a pain to pack hardly anything for a plane.

You might be surprised that cruising is completely different. Have two big suitcases? Bring them. What about full bottles of shampoo? You can bring those too. What if you only have a small suitcase? That’s fine as well.

In short, there are few restrictions on the size of your luggage or how much you can bring. Best of all, there are no charges for bags. So, pack big, little, or in between. It’s all allowed on a ship and you don’t have to worry about the cost.

That said, there are a few restrictions on what you can bring, but they are pretty simple. Just don’t bring on any beer or liquor, nor should you bring anything that could start a fire (candles, clothes, irons, etc.). Hair straighteners and curling irons are ok.

Don’t bring weapons or drugs either even things like pot that are legal in some states, aren’t allowed on cruise ships.

8. Gratuities on purchases

By the time you board the ship, you should be well aware of gratuities. These days the charges are applied automatically to your account. In fact, you might have already paid your daily gratuity amounts by the time you step on the ship. But that doesn’t mean you’re done with tipping.

On the ship, pretty much any consumable or service you buy – food, drink, spa services – is going to have an automatic gratuity tacked on. This amount is usually 18 – 20% of the cost, depending on the cruise line.

So, a $100 massage is actually around $120. An $8 beer is actually around $9.50. These extra charges are tacked on automatically to the price, but be careful. When you get the bill, it will have the price with the gratuity added. And then another line for an additional tip. Feel like being generous? Then by all means tip more. However, it’s not required.

9. Easy to meet new buddies

Now, we’re not saying that everyone on a cruise ship is always full of sunshine and rainbows. But if you’re on a cruise then it’s a good chance the person next to you is going to be on vacation mode as well. That means in general people are in a great mood on the ship. This makes it easy to strike up a conversation, share a drink, and make new friends.

So, don’t be shocked if you actually make a few new buddies after a little time on the ship, even if you weren’t necessarily trying to.

10. Pack some cold clothing

If you’re headed to Alaska, you likely pack for cold weather. But if you’re headed to the Caribbean, you might be shocked that it gets cool there too. During the day you don’t have much to worry about.

Caribbean days are sunny and warm. Even occasional rainy days are still warm. During the evenings, however, the temperatures drop. It might only drop into the 70s, but at sea with the wind blowing as the ship moves through the night, the wind chill can make it pretty cool.

It’s at least jacket or hoodie weather if you don’t just decide to stay inside the ship instead. And inside the ship’s AC can work sometimes a little too well in some spots. Bottom line, you’re going to want to bring something a little warm, even if you travel in the middle of summer.

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    about us

    CruisesforSingles.net is dedicated to providing quality information on the subject of Cruises for Singles and in particular various other cruise ideas for customers and merchants online.

    Cruises for Singles

    Simple Things That Shock First-Timer Passengers On Cruise Ships

    Never taken a cruise before? At one time we were all cruise rookies and not quite sure what to expect. There’s a lot that’s different in cruising compared to other vacations. And even if you’re a veteran, sometimes you can still get thrown for a loop.

    Whether you’re a first-time passenger or you’ve sailed before, here are a number of things that may surprise you about taking a cruise.

    1. Limited time in port

    If you’re taking a week-long cruise with three ports of call, you might think that means you have three days at port and four days at sea. The ratio is actually more like one day at port and six days at sea.

    That’s because the ships actually only port for eight or nine hours on average before they sail away again. For instance, a ship might dock at 8 a.m. and have all aboard be at 4:30 in the afternoon. Added up, a 7-day trip often has only about 24 hours of time combined in ports.

    Cruise lines are moving toward having longer port stays in some cases, but by and large, you’ll spend a morning and afternoon in port, but the rest of your time on the ship.

    2. Size of ships

    Everyone knows that cruise ships are big. It’s not until you are actually at the port getting ready to board that you realize how big they can be. Consider that cruise ships can rise 200 feet above the water – the equivalent of a 20-story building.

    Meanwhile, today’s new ships are almost always more than 1,000 feet long, which is longer than a city block. On the ship, you get an even greater appreciation for their size. Inside the ship are full promenades, restaurants, and thousands of cabins. There are nightclubs, atriums, double-decker theaters, and more.

    Everything that you would expect to be in a modern resort is on the ship, and it’s a full-size version- not something scaled down to fit on the cruise.

    3. How stable ships are

    A few times a year there is always a news story about a cruise ship that hits a storm. The most compelling of these stories has video filmed on the ship of the rocking and rolling as the cruise ship fights through the waves

    The truth is, 99% of cruises aren’t like this at all. In fact, given the size of the ships and technology designed to make the ship sail smoothly, most of the time you don’t even feel the ocean.

    That’s not to say you won’t feel the ship moving at all. If the waves are big enough, you can definitely feel the ship rock a bit. But if you’re expecting that you’ll feel the movement of the ocean constantly, that’s likely not the case.

    4. How easy it is to get “Lost”

    Think that it’s going to be easy to navigate the ship? Think again. It famously takes even seasoned cruisers a couple of days to get their bearing on a new ship. That’s not to say that you will get lost and not be able to find your way back to the cabin.

    After all, if you just walk a little bit, you’ll eventually find elevators or stairs that can take you to the deck you want to be.

    Instead, we’re referring to the fact that it’s very easy to get turned around, walking forward on the ship when you want to walk back and vice versa. This is easiest to do when you are in the hallways with cabins.

    Row after row of cabin doors that all look the same, and no windows in the hallway, can make it feel like a maze. Don’t worry though, after a day or two, you’ll be navigating the ship like a pro.

    One tip? Recognize the major spots like the pool deck, dining room, and promenade and use those as landmarks to get your bearings.

    5. You can still find quiet spots

    Four thousand people, plus crew, on a ship. That’s about the size of a city block. Yes, cruise ships are large, but they also have a lot of people. If you head to the pool on a sunny day, it will be packed with people.

    What’s surprising, however, is that you can still find plenty of quiet spots on cruise ships if you want to get away from the crowds.

    In the evenings, the pools decks clear out, giving you practically the entire area to yourself. Inside the ship is the same story. Places like the ship’s library are quiet and few people are usually there.

    Each ship is a little different depending on the layout and the venues. It might take a day or two to discover the spots that don’t attract a lot of people. But once you do figure it out, you have your own little “private” space despite being on a full ship.

    6. The amount of sales pitches

    Massages, arts, drink packages, jewelry and the list goes on. These things, and much more, are what you’ll be pitched as a passenger on a cruise ship. You might think that once you’ve bought your ticket that you’re done spending money.

    In fact, about 30-40% of cruise line revenue comes from spending by passengers on the ship.  And you’ll definitely be tempted to spend. From announcements over the intercom to stacks of sales flyers delivered to your stateroom door, it’s almost shocking how much advertising you’re hit with when cruising.

    To be fair, if you’re looking to purchase a massage or something on the ship, these flyers can tell you about sales and discounts that can save you money. But if you’re not in a shopping mood, they can simply be an annoyance.

    7. The amount you can pack

    If you’re like most people, then you think about flying when you are packing luggage these days. Air travel and baggage are like oil and water. Between bag charges, carry-on space, and having to check luggage, it’s a pain to pack hardly anything for a plane.

    You might be surprised that cruising is completely different. Have two big suitcases? Bring them. What about full bottles of shampoo? You can bring those too. What if you only have a small suitcase? That’s fine as well.

    In short, there are few restrictions on the size of your luggage or how much you can bring. Best of all, there are no charges for bags. So, pack big, little, or in between. It’s all allowed on a ship and you don’t have to worry about the cost.

    That said, there are a few restrictions on what you can bring, but they are pretty simple. Just don’t bring on any beer or liquor, nor should you bring anything that could start a fire (candles, clothes, irons, etc.). Hair straighteners and curling irons are ok.

    Don’t bring weapons or drugs either even things like pot that are legal in some states, aren’t allowed on cruise ships.

    8. Gratuities on purchases

    By the time you board the ship, you should be well aware of gratuities. These days the charges are applied automatically to your account. In fact, you might have already paid your daily gratuity amounts by the time you step on the ship. But that doesn’t mean you’re done with tipping.

    On the ship, pretty much any consumable or service you buy – food, drink, spa services – is going to have an automatic gratuity tacked on. This amount is usually 18 – 20% of the cost, depending on the cruise line.

    So, a $100 massage is actually around $120. An $8 beer is actually around $9.50. These extra charges are tacked on automatically to the price, but be careful. When you get the bill, it will have the price with the gratuity added. And then another line for an additional tip. Feel like being generous? Then by all means tip more. However, it’s not required.

    9. Easy to meet new buddies

    Now, we’re not saying that everyone on a cruise ship is always full of sunshine and rainbows. But if you’re on a cruise then it’s a good chance the person next to you is going to be on vacation mode as well. That means in general people are in a great mood on the ship. This makes it easy to strike up a conversation, share a drink, and make new friends.

    So, don’t be shocked if you actually make a few new buddies after a little time on the ship, even if you weren’t necessarily trying to.

    10. Pack some cold clothing

    If you’re headed to Alaska, you likely pack for cold weather. But if you’re headed to the Caribbean, you might be shocked that it gets cool there too. During the day you don’t have much to worry about.

    Caribbean days are sunny and warm. Even occasional rainy days are still warm. During the evenings, however, the temperatures drop. It might only drop into the 70s, but at sea with the wind blowing as the ship moves through the night, the wind chill can make it pretty cool.

    It’s at least jacket or hoodie weather if you don’t just decide to stay inside the ship instead. And inside the ship’s AC can work sometimes a little too well in some spots. Bottom line, you’re going to want to bring something a little warm, even if you travel in the middle of summer.

    Recent Comments

      you might also like

      about us

      CruisesforSingles.net is dedicated to providing quality information on the subject of Cruises for Singles and in particular various other cruise ideas for customers and merchants online.

      Cruises for Singles