For those who have never stepped foot on a cruise ship, you may have a few questions. And rightly so! While cruising may seem like a simple endeavor to some — you step on board and go where the ship takes you — there are a lot of small things you can do to ensure that your vacation exceeds all expectations. As avid cruisers ourselves, we’ve put together this list of tips to help you make the most of your cruise.

Choose a Balcony Stateroom: It’s worth it to upgrade to a balcony stateroom or suite. Having that personal outdoor space to sit peacefully and enjoy the ocean vistas will come in handy throughout the voyage.

Arrive the Day Before: Flying to your departure port early in the morning is not a pleasant way to begin your voyage. Arrive a day early and enjoy the port city — we can help you with hotel reservations and destination highlights.

Tour the Ship: As soon as you step on board, learn your way around as best you can, especially in relation to your cabin location. Be sure to notice the carpet; it often has signs to point out where the front and back of the ship are located, giving you a much-needed bearing.

Avoid the Buffet on Embarkation Day: Everyone goes straight to the buffet for lunch on embarkation day. Instead, scout out the smaller restaurants around the pool area and grab a gourmet veggie burger and boardwalk fries.

Make Reservations: Specialty restaurants and spas can fill up quickly, especially at peak times of the day, so make reservations as soon as possible. You can always cancel them later if you need to.
Buy the Drinks Package Early: If you do plan to buy an alcohol package or soda card, do it before your voyage or on day one in order to get the most bang for your buck. Sure, the upfront price tag might give you a bit of sticker shock, but it makes the rest of your time on board feel like a true vacation.

Have a Plan for Each Port: You usually have anywhere from four to 12 hours in a port, so have a good idea what you want to do before you leave the ship. Our advisors can help you with excursions and give our advice about each on