7 Tips for Your First Cruise


JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with a global family of foreign exchange students and rescue pets. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com.

You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. Gray says:

    JoAnna, this is a great article. I’ve read a number of “first-time cruiser” type articles in the past, but you have some advice here I’ve never seen before–like the bit about getting your passport stamped, and it being hard to stay on the machines when you work out. I was shocked to read that the *average* person gains 7 to 14 pounds–that is an enormous amount of weight to gain in a short period of time. If that’s the average, morbid curiosity has me wondering what the most weight is that someone has gained on a single cruise.

  2. Faraz says:

    Good & helpful list JoAnna. I have 2 comments.

    First, don’t be afraid to arrange your own shore excursions if the cruise ship’s choices don’t appeal to you. At Playa de Carmen, a friend and I decided we wanted to do a dive trip…but on a small boat without 50 others. We found a small operator online and booked directly with them…and they were cheaper to boot! Obviously, passengers should make sure to take extra safety precautions and use common sense.

    Second, totally agree with researching demographics. Although this is not as straightforward given today’s large ship populations. Passengers can use the roll call feature on cruisecritic.com’s site…also we provide a similar service on meetoncruise.com. The idea is to meet and get to know who you are cruising with.



  3. Excellent advice! Especially about being more mindful of what you eat – it’s so easy to overindulge when the food is included, so unless you’re careful you wind up consuming many more calories than you should!

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the cruise and conference!

  4. I’m about to take my first cruise in just a couple of weeks — on a press trip aboard the actual Love Boat — and your advice is just brilliant! (So much so, I’m going to share your post with my Facebook fans. 🙂 )

    I had no idea that passport stamps required prior arrangement, and really appreciate the reminder about packing light. I’m picturing an average stateroom as a bit like my old NYU dorm room…Now, please wish me luck on not shoveling food into my craw all day and night…

  5. Jen the Marx says:

    Hi JO! Thank you and great article, as usual. (The one for the Vietnam trip blew the other entries away, IMHO) Mom, Patta, Mr. Patta and I are cruising in less than 10 days – my first cruise, so this was perfect timing and great advice. I have been excited to get my newly-renewed, strangely naked passport some stamps, so I especially appreciate that tip. I would love to tell you that you are so lucky to lead such a charmed life, but I know you have worked and earned every bit of it. Congratulations and thank you, again!

  6. JoAnna says:

    @Melanie ~ I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’m so jealous you’re traveling on the Love Boat! What a fun experience!

    @Jen ~ Great to see you stop by! Where will you be cruising? Drop me a note and let me know all about it … I’m always up for living vicariously through anyone on the road!

  7. Candice says:

    I would totally love to try a cruise experience sometime. Having to pay for the drinks puts a little damper on the experience, but I suppose those desserts make up for it!

  8. Anil says:

    Cruises try to get you into that ‘do whatever’ mentality and you overeat and spend. Good advice on knowing what’s under your plan before getting on board.

  9. Great tips JoAnna. Because I love cruising, I learned early that eating what you want and not all that is available is the key.

    As long as I eat a small breakfast, lite lunch, I can have a dessert if desired for dinner. That with exercise, and I don’t gain weight.

    There were times when I was not as disciplined, and had dessert at lunch and large breakfasts–disaster with 5 pounds at the end.

    It’s been a great learning experience and I’ve enjoyed the ride learning more each time.

    Your comments were all right on target. I had forgotten the questions I had early in my cruising experience.

  10. If I may expand on your excellent tips, decide what you want to do before you board. That is both the kinds of activities you want to participate in while aboard and what you want to do in ports. There are too many choices to leave it to the last minute and you’ll just feel overwhelmed. You’re on vacation! That’s no time for feeling stress. Do your research ahead of time to see what you want to do; if you want to shop then know what kinds of stores are available and what you want to find. If you’re into beaches, find out what the beaches are like and what activities are available there.

    Cruise lines keep the prices low because they know they will make it up once you’re aboard. Again, research is the key to saving money. Here is an interview with David Kirkland that gives some great tips for saving money on your cruise. http://www.cruisedork.com/dork-chat/episode-1-david-kirkland-author-intelligent-cruiser/

  11. Jay Floyd says:

    I didn’t even think about getting my passport stamped in Mexico. Bummer. Next time. We had a great time. I love the information here and I’m a definite cruiser now for sure. Thanks for the great tips for next time!!

  12. Emma says:

    Those were some excellent tips. The weight gain issue that you mentioned , that’s quite true. I remember my wife telling she gained a couple of pounds in that one week we set out on cruise adventure from Blount Small Ship Adventures . It was a one week thing, but definitely learned quite a lot from fellow cruisers. 🙂

  1. February 5, 2010

    […] over at KaleidoscopicWandering.com gives 7 tips for people taking their very first cruise. Helpful stuff, but she omits information about avoiding the Bermuda triangle, pirates, and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *