New cruisers often have questions about what to do on a cruise, but are to timid to ask if they are doing the right thing or not.
Cruises are a very welcoming type of vacation, but there are definitely some traditions and unwritten rules that you should be aware of before you step foot onboard.
If you are among the many people going on your first cruise, here are the top questions newbies have but are too shy to ask (so I will answer them for you).
How much food can I order at the main dining room?
When you eat in the main dining room, nearly the entire menu is complimentary (there are a few add-ons for dinner that cost extra, like lobster) and you can order as much food as you want.
You can (and should) feel free to order as much as you want. In fact, the staff will encourage you to do so as a means of trying things out.
Unlike a land-based restaurant, the main dining room food is included and there are no limits on what you can order. Whether you cannot choose between two options, or want to nibble on a few different appetizers, you can order as much as you like from the menu.
You can even order more food in the middle of the meal. If an appetizer or entree does not satisfy, you can always order something else off the menu.
Can I change tables if I don't like the people sitting with us at dinner?
Meeting people on a cruise is a fun maritime tradition, but occasionally you might be seated at dinner with someone that just does not jive with your personality.
The good news is you can be re-seated upon request if the people you are seated with are not a good fit. All you need to do is speak to the head waiter and request a table change.
You might be able to get a table alone, or be moved to a different table with different table mates. Occasionally, you may need to change your dining time or between traditional and My Time Dining.
Should I pack beach towels for the cruise?
After you break out your suitcases to pack all your clothes, be sure to leave your beach towels at home.
Royal Caribbean provides towels for guests to use at the pools on its ships and to take off the ship on shore excursions.
You can get as many towels as you need from the pool deck, and exchange them for clean ones at anytime.
Keep in mind that you just need to bring the towels back before the cruise ends, or Royal Caribbean will charge you a $25 per towel fee.
How do I get a chair by the pool?
You may have heard that on sea days, the pool deck can get busy with lots of guests wanting to enjoy fun in the sun.
If you are looking to get pool chairs, you can definitely get chairs with a little bit of hustle.
The easiest way to get chairs is to make sure you get up to the pool deck early enough in the morning. If you arrive before 11am, there are usually some chairs around. Moreover, there are chairs all around the pool deck, with plenty of extra chairs if you do not need to be in view of the pool.
Another tip is to not be shy about asking other guests if chairs are being used.
Do I have to tip everyone?
Gratuity on a Royal Caribbean cruise has gotten easier over the last few years, but tipping is definitely part of the cruise culture.
All guests have the choice of pre-paying their gratuities before the cruise, or having a daily automatic gratuity that is charged each night of the cruise. This automatic gratuity is charged per person, and covers the service provided by your stateroom attendant and dining room staff.
In addition, when you order or buy something on your ship, an automatic gratuity will be charged on top of the base price. So if you order a beer, or go to the spa, expect an 18% on top of the price listed.
Speaking of drinks, if you buy a drink package, you will pay a service fee on top of your drink package that covers gratuity for all drinks you order with the drink package.
Do I have to dress up on my cruise?
It can be confusing and a little bit nerve-wracking to hear about dress codes on a Royal Caribbean ship, but it is not nearly as fixed as it sounds.
There are daily dress codes, but they apply to the main dining room only. Dress codes never apply to walking around the ship or most venues.
If you do want to adhere to the dress codes in the dining room, it is far more relaxed than you might think. Even on "formal night", that just means you wear something nicer than the other evenings, and that can be as simple as a button down collared shirt with slacks for men, or a cocktail dress for ladies.
Specialty restaurants have their own dress codes that supersede the main dining room dress code, and these are usually smart casual. Specialty restaurants can be good alternatives to the main dining room on formal night if you do not wish to dress for that.
In addition, there are plenty of complimentary dining venues that have no dress code you can dine at for any mean (including dinner) to avoid having to wear anything resembling a collar or heels.
Do I need to take my passport with me on shore excursions?
The answer to this question depends on what you have to do versus what you should do.
Unless told otherwise, most Royal Caribbean shore excursions do not require you to bring your passport off the ship with you on excursions. The exception can be some destinations where you may cross an international border.
I believe you should bring your passport with you off the ship to ensure that if on the very unlikely chance you were stranded in a foreign country, you could easily depart without the hassle of going to a consulate or embassy to get an exit visa. Yes, there is risk of having it lost or stolen, but that is true of any personal valuables you take off the ship with you, such as cash, phones, etc.
Am I going to gain weight on my cruise?
There is no shortage of food on your cruise, as you will find something to eat 24 hours per day around the ship. That sounds like a recipe for gaining weight, but it does not have to be like that at all.
Just like you have access to food at home day and night, just because it is there does not mean you have to eat atgluttonous levels.
Royal Caribbean provides a good mix of healthy foods, in addition to comfort foods. You will find salads, fruit, stir fry bars, and even indications on main dining room menus of healthier alternatives.
There is also a fitness center available to use on every Royal Caribbean ship. The majority of the fitness center is included in your cruise fare, with access to free weights, weight machines, bikes, treadmills, and more. Fitness classes are also available on a per-class cost basis.
You can also burn some of those calories by taking the stairs instead of using an elevator, or engaging in active shore excursion.
Will I get seasick?
Hopefully not, but getting seasick is a (unlikely) possibility.
Many first-time cruisers are very worried about getting seasick on a cruise, but cruise ships are massive vessels equipped with stabilizers that will chart the smoothest paths possible to ensure a comfortable voyage.
When it comes to cruise in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, sea conditions are most often calm, and repeat cruisers will tell you that getting seasick is a very rare occurrence.
If it does occur, there are lots of great remedies to quickly and effectively combat the symptoms. You can take over the counter medications, talk to your doctor about a prescription for special patch to put behind your ear, or try out one of the many homeopathic remedies, such as ginger supplements or acupressure wristbands.
Will I be bored?
It is not uncommon to hear from someone that has never cruised before that they fear they will be bored and/or feel trapped onboard, but this could not be further from the truth.
Cruises are so much more than bingo, ballroom dancing and eating. Royal Caribbean in particular has built a reputation for offering an incredible amount of activities and things to do on the ship. It is your choice to do as many (or as little) of them as you choose.
In addition to lounging by the pool, there is a wide variety offered. Since the exact offerings depend on the ship, try looking at a past Cruise Compass from the ship you intend to sail on to get a sense of what is offered. These past daily newsletters will give you a ballpark idea of what to expect on your sailing.
In short, you will absolutely not be bored. If anything, you will find too many good things you want to try.
Do you still have a question?
If you still have a cruise question, don't be shy, andpleasefeel free to ask it in the comments below!
What do first time cruisers need to know? ›
- Prebook activities before you leave home. ...
- Plan to arrive at your departure city a day or more before the cruise. ...
- Pack a carry-on bag. ...
- Switch your cellphone to airplane mode. ...
- Don't assume the cruise is all-inclusive. ...
- Pace yourself. ...
- Understand automatic gratuities. ...
- Watch the clock.
- What is included in the fare? ...
- Do I qualify for any discounts? ...
- Can I save if I tweak my travel dates? ...
- What are cabins like in the next category up — and down? ...
- What's the best cabin in my category? ...
- What can I book in advance? ...
- What are my options for dinner seatings?
One tip for first-time cruise anxiety: don't go alone. It may be a good idea to vacation with a friend or loved one. If you are looking forward to some peace and quiet but don't want to look awkward and lonely, consider pre-booking shore excursions and tours.What age group goes on cruises the most? ›
16. The average cruise passenger is 47 years old
- 12 and under – 9%
- 13 to 19 – 6%
- 20 to 29 – 9%
- 30 to 39 – 11%
- 40 to 49 – 15%
- 50 to 59 – 18%
- 60 to 69 – 19%
- 70 and over – 14%
The average age of a cruise passenger is now under 48, says the CLIA 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, with millennials being the most enthusiastic cruisers of the future. Nearly all the ocean ships of member lines will be back in service by August – more than 75 per cent are already operating.What should I bring on my first day of cruise? ›
- Extra Bags. A day pack, a bag for dirty laundry, a plastic bag for wet bathing suits, Zip-Loc bags for snacks ... ...
- First-Aid Kit. ...
- Your Favorite (Nonalcoholic) Beverage. ...
- Laundry Alternatives. ...
- Power Strip.
On This Page
- Drink alcohol responsibly.
- Buddy up.
- Practice in-cabin safety.
- Be safe on your balcony.
- Use your safe.
- Get to know your steward.
- Don't carry large amounts of cash.
- Don't accept an invitation to crew quarters.
Different from aquaphobia, which is the fear of any type or amount of water, thalassophobia is an irrational fear of deep, dark bodies of water and what may lurk beneath the vast surface. This fear can cause someone to become scared of sea travel and being far away from land.How do you relax on a cruise ship? ›
You can grab a deck chair or a hammock and soak up the cruise environment. Many Serenity Decks also have their own hot tubs and bar area. You can cruise peacefully with a frosty beverage in hand or spend some “me” time in the hot tub. In our opinion, the ultimate way to relax on a cruise ship is with a nap!What triggers travel anxiety? ›
Some people may experience travel anxiety because of negative past travel experiences or because they have an anxiety disorder. Travel anxiety may relate to specific activities, such as driving or flying. It can also involve a general fear of crowds, being unable to leave a space, or the unknown.
What is the best cruise line in the world? ›
- Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 78.98. MSC Cruises. ...
- Royal Caribbean International. Score 72.49. Carnival Cruise Line. ...
- P&O Cruises. Score 76.61. Azamara. ...
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Score 76.63. Star Clippers. ...
- Grand Circle Cruise Line. Score 89.47. ...
- Atlas Ocean Voyages. Score 88.78.
Royal Caribbean is definitely the best cruise line for active young adults. Their ships are chock-full with features catered to the younger, more active crowd. There are climbing walls and surfing simulators, martini-mixing robots and a plethora of bars, nightclub and entertainment venues.What is the average age of cruisers on Royal Caribbean? ›
Royal Caribbean International appeals to adventure-seeking families as well as couples and singles in their 30s to 50s. The median age is low-40s, slightly lower on three- and four-night cruises and slightly higher on longer cruises of 10 or more nights.How long should a first-time cruise be? ›
What's the ideal cruise length for a first-timer? A week or so is the sweet spot for most first-time cruisers, which will offer three to six ports. Three-day sampler itineraries won't allow you to explore more than one or two destinations, and you can't decompress as thoroughly, either.What should I know before working on a cruise ship? ›
- There are no days off.
- You work long hours.
- Contracts are 4-9 months long.
- You're on call 24/7.
- Small living quarters.
- No privacy.
- It's like college all over again.
- The food is not the same for crew and guests.
The bottles come in three flavours - Wild Raspberry, Juicy Watermelon and Lush Guava - and require two bar staff to open them and pour.