Top tips from cruisers
If you're new to cruising and have a few fears then take look at these top tips from some cruising veterans.
Name: Annie Selander
Occupation: Tour Director
Country: New Zealand
Number of cruises done: 105
Top tips: Do your homework and pick the right ports of call, on the right ship at the right time of the year for the right duration.
Alaska, for example is a great cruise for first-time cruisers because it's only seven days and allows you to get a feel of how you are on the sea. The best sights in Alaska - which is a must-see - are in the Alaskan winter; but if you're heading to the Mediterranean or South America, choose their summer.
You'll also need to decide whether you prefer a smaller ship 9good for first-time cruisers) or a large one (the bigger ships are better for longer cruises with lots of sea days because they handle potential rough seas better).
Cruising in our winter is a great way to escape the cold.
A land, sea and air package or group travel are great for first-time cruisers - all you have to do is turn up.
Pay your gratuities upfront. They're not included in your fare and can be a nasty surprise at the end of your cruise.
Name: Mark Weston
Number of cruises done: 49 - and I'm currently doing five more in the Caribbean, two of them back to back plus a two-week cruise.
Top tips: Dont pack too much. Get used to travelling light.
Talk to and meet as many people as possible. Don't miss any of the entertainment or shows and definitely eat - and it doesn't hurt to do a little exercise each day, especially when you do as many cruises as we do.
We have cruised with most cruise companies, but now stick to three because we have built up our loyalty points and do get some great benefits: free drinks, laundry, free internet, priority boarding etc.
A soon as you get home, get your next cruise booked. Live life to the max, none of us know our expiry date. Don't put it off, just do it.
Name: Joanna Rix
Country: New Zealand
Number of cruises done: 2
Top tips: If you're worried about seasickness, don't get a cabin right at the front of the ship - it can get bumpy on rough seas. Midship is best, with staterooms above and below you, rather than public spaces, so you don't get bothered by late-night partiers or early risers.
If you're travelling with Celebrity Cruises, check for the beauty spa specials that get delivered to your room along with the daily schedule. You can get some fantastic multi-treatment deals on days the ship is docked.
If you don't like crowds when you're relaxing or working out, use the spa pools or gym while everyone else is at dinner or exploring the latest port of call.
Ladies, buy a lanyard - yes it's a little geeky, but it'll save you carrying around a bag, the embarrassment of having to get another card issued, and time wasted in hunting it down in your bag, your pockets, your stateroom ...
Name: Magdolna Ori
Occupation: Personal assistant
Number of cruises done: 7
Top tips: Forget the world as soon as you get on board, relax and enjoy because everything is taken care of for you.
Meet and mingle! It is better to share your experience when having fun - and you will always learn something new.
Name: Tracey Kaufman
Number of cruises done: 1 on the Voyager of the Seas
Top tips: Walk and up and down the stairs to go between all the floors on the cruise instead of using the elevator. It is a great method of incidental exercise and it might even be quicker at certain times!
Pack a small day bag with all the essentials (sunglasses, camera, sunscreen, book, iPad etc) you require for the day when you leave your room for breakfast in the morning. Then you can go straight to enjoying all the services, entertainment and facilities on board without going back to your room.
Do you have any cruising tips to share? Leave a comment below.