I was lucky enough to go on my 5th cruise recently, so I’m working on really understanding what I’m doing on a cruise. But I remember my first cruise like it was yesterday and I made quite a few mistakes.
This blog post is for everyone on a cruiser for the first time, whether you’re still wondering if cruising is right for you, or you’re booking your first cruise and need some ideas to make your vacation go a little more smoothly. It’s for people!
I just returned from a 7-day cruise on Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess. We left Southampton and went to Guernsey, La Rochelle, France, Bilbao, Spain, and La Coruña, Spain. It was unbelievable!
This is exactly the cruise I took and it just departed in 2023
Here are all Princess cruises on Sky Princess departing from the UK next year
On the Sky Princess homepage, you’ll find everything you need to know.
So here are 10 things you need to know before taking your first cruise…
Cruises are for all ages – and they’re great for multigenerational family holidays
What we often see on cruises are multi-generational family vacations with young children, parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents cruising together.
Cruises are perfect for this type of vacation because they cater to many people.
- Easy for the whole family as you can start from the UK
- All ships are easily accessible so strollers and wheelchairs are welcome
- Each family member can choose a stateroom according to their budget and preferences
- You can choose to eat together or separately
- There’s plenty of activities and entertainment for everyone onboard
- There is a kids club for young people
- You can do whatever you want at each destination, so you don’t have to be together 24/7
- Some families may choose to stay on board and relax
- It’s a great way to be together without feeling on top of each other
Cruises can be as formal or relaxed as you like
Many people think that cruises are very formal and that you have to wear a ball gown or a three-piece tuxedo every night!
The truth is, you can do this if you want, but you can also avoid it if it’s not your thing.
Most cruises have several “formal nights” where guests are encouraged to dress up in a nice rag for the evening. But if you don’t want to do this, you can avoid it completely and have a room service dinner or a casual dinner at a buffet restaurant. You can wear smart/casual clothes to a specialty restaurant and never look out of place.
And the rest of the nights that aren’t “formal nights” can be spent wearing whatever you feel comfortable with.
As with any night out, there’s a very casual atmosphere in the early evening, and later in the evening you’ll start to see people dressed up.
It was really fun to be able to combine a formal evening with a very relaxed evening.
There were also nights where we got to dress up and eat delicious food. Some nights we went to nightclubs drinking alcohol. One night we spent most of the evening watching a movie in the hot tub. Then one night we brought home pizza and cookies, took them to bed, and had dinner in our pajamas.
Cruises are great for young families and teens
Did you know that cruises are perfect for families with young children and teenagers?
If you have young children, you can travel stress-free and see lots of exciting places that are hard to see by road, train or plane.
If you have teenagers or tweens, a cruise is a great way to give them some independence.
All guests receive a medallion when they board a Princess Cruise. A medallion is a small device that holds all your important information. This can be used as a key to enter your stateroom, pay for items, and staff will know if you need assistance or have dietary restrictions. You also have the option to track your family’s location using the Medallion app. This means you can let your older kids explore freely while always knowing where they are!
I was 13 years old the first time I went on a cruise and I loved it. I was “too cool” to play with my parents, but too young to actually do anything on my own. I made friends at the teenager club and I’m sure a medallion would have given my parents even more peace of mind!
Cruises can be really affordable
It is a common misconception that cruises are very expensive. Actually, it’s not (or it doesn’t have to be anyway!)
Of course, you can also book a stunning sky suite and dine at a specialty restaurant every night.
But you can also book an interior room and stick to the great food options included in the price. That will make for a surprisingly affordable vacation!
The cruise I took was a seven-night cruise from Southampton to four beautiful destinations (so no extra flights) for less than £1,000 per person, including meals and soft drinks. I think it’s an absolute bargain.
But they can also be super luxe
Inside the best suite on the ship!
One of the great things about cruising is that you can also add a ton of upgrades to make it truly luxurious. You can also book one of the largest and most luxurious suites on board and dine at our specialty restaurant each night. Daily massages and facials are available at the spa. You can go shopping every day, splash some money at the casino, and even book admission to the Sanctuary!
Cruise ships feel like enormous holiday resorts
You have to be on a cruise ship to really understand the atmosphere of the ship. To be honest, it’s more like a small floating city or holiday resort on the sea. I can’t believe I’m on a boat!
Play tennis or basketball, go swimming, hit the gym, go to a nightclub, choose from a number of bars, restaurants, cafes and buffets, go to the theater, go to a spa or casino, and more. It still amazes me how someone could do something like this. Very… on board!
Trust me, it doesn’t feel like you’re really on a boat!
Days at sea are the best
You may think of cruises as visiting new destinations, but there’s something magical about waking up to a new destination every morning and having the chance to discover a new country so easily there is!
But days spent at the beach are also magical!
I’m one of those people who needs a little encouragement to relax and a day at the sea is the perfect opportunity. You have no place to belong and nothing to do but have fun.
We spent two days at sea on our recent cruise and loved it!
We had a leisurely breakfast on our stateroom balcony, went swimming, got a massage, visited the spa, relaxed in The Sanctuary, sunbathed, read a book, watched a movie in the hot tub, and ate a lot. The pizza bar near the pool was great so we had lots of pizza!
A cruise ship is a foodie paradise
There are many restaurants on board. Even after a full week on board the Sky Princess, we didn’t get a chance to eat at all the restaurants and cafes!
My favorite meals are:
- Sushi at Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar
- Crown Grill Lobster and Steak
- A stunning multi-course wine maker’s table experience at Soleil
- Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria’s Lasagna Trio
Cruising is a luxurious and relaxing way to see a lot of places
It’s hard to find a week-long vacation where you can visit three countries and four new destinations without the stress of dragging a suitcase!
I think cruising is the easiest and most relaxing way to visit lots of new places.
I would like to go on a cruise that takes 2-3 months and goes to various places!
Cruises are so romantic!
It’s also a great way to spend time with friends!
During the cruise, we saw many couples on their honeymoon. I met another couple who had just taken early retirement and this was their way of celebrating and it seemed like they had such a beautiful and romantic week.
Cruises are all about delicious food, sunset cocktails, evening shows, long lunches, and leisurely breakfasts. The idea is to walk around a new city or relax on a new beach.
There’s no rush or stress. It’s just total relaxation and romance!
Despite having been on five cruises, my husband and I had never been on a cruise before, so a cruise is next!
Endless entertainment at night
There’s also a nightclub!
I had a hot stone massage and it was fantastic
Loved the opportunity to dress up most nights on board