Everything you Need to Know About Cruises

cruises

​Everything you need to know about Cruises! 

Plus, the best cruise tips around.

If you want a vacation that is stress free and allows you to explore multiple destinations within one trip, a cruise is most definitely the way to go. Steph has been on five cruises and each one was an absolute blast!

Out of all the cruise lines, one of the most memorable we both went on was a family cruise on Royal Caribbean’s ‘Allure of the Seas’ ship in 2013 and it was incredible! It was the largest ship in the world at the time so it was absolutely beautiful. The food was out of this world, the entertainment was amazing, and the Caribbean beaches we went to had beautiful white sand and bright blue water. Every single experience was 5 star and top notch! We love Royal Caribbean cruises.

how to cruise

Vacations should be all about enjoyment and far far away from the land of stress. So cruises are the way to go. If you’ve never been on one, let us convince you to try one with our top notch cruise tips. Keep reading.


Today we want to share everything you need to know about cruises. This will include seven crucial parts.

Part One: The Top 5 Reasons we Love Cruises

Part Two: How to Choose the Right Cruise for You

Part Three: Cruise Line Style Options

Part Four: How to Book a Cruise

Part Five: Travel Insurance​

Part Six: Things to Know Before You Leave for your Cruise

Part Seven: What to Expect on the Cruise



By the end of this you’ll be ready to go on a cruise of a lifetime!




Part One: The Top 5 Reasons we Love Cruises


#1 Convenience of transportation

Cruises make traveling from one destination to the next very convenient. Think about it: if you’re going to the Bahamas and Saint Thomas from Miami, is it easier to catch multiple flights between them? Or to take one cruise to them both? A cruise eliminates the annoyance of flying (for some people). You don’t have to worry about what liquids you’ve put in your carry-on and you don’t have to waste time sitting at the airport and going through security. The cruise is simple: you get on, you get off at each destination, and you get off. If you live near a cruise port city, this is the perfect vacation for you (ie Floridians)! If you don’t and you have to fly to get there, this is an added expense, so keep that in mind.


#2 Less Decision Making

Steph’s family is the definition of indecisive. Whenever on vacation, they stand around and ask “what do you want to do?” a million times. No one wants to decide where to go, especially when it comes to picking a restaurant out of hundreds of options that is not only good but affordable. Hallelujah for cruises because they take the stress out of deciding what to do! It’s quite simple actually: walk out your cruise room and go wherever you want on the ship. You can relax at the pool, go to the gym, catch a show, gamble, eat, or dip your toe into some adventurous activities like rock climbing or ziplining.

In a big city there are hundreds of options but on a ship you have less options, making it easier to decide what to do. If you have kids or teens, you can get them set up in the kid’s programs and the adults can enjoy adulting. When it comes to eating out, you can indulge at the nice dining rooms with first-class service or enjoy a more casual buffet-style dinner. Having less options is a blessing in disguise!


#3 Five Star Experience

Depending on the cruise line, most cruises are truly a five star experience. You are treated so well. It’s no wonder there’s usually around a thousand cruise staff on most larger ships. There are staff members all over the boat whose sole purpose is to make your vacation the best experience possible. Your rooms are well taken care of, there are activities everyday for your entertainment, and your servers in the dining room are similar to those you’d find at a Michelin-star restaurant. Who doesn’t want to be treated well while on vacation?


#4 Experience More

A cruise allows you to visit more than one destination while on one vacation. So you get to see more cities, you get to have more experiences, and you get more opportunities for excursions. Every stop you get off at, you get to choose what you want to do. Most people opt to go to the beaches. However you can also go shopping or choose an excursion. From scuba diving, to snorkeling, hiking waterfalls, and ziplining...many adventures await you!


#5 Cost

Going on a cruise is like a 4-for-1 deal. Instead of paying for a flight, a hotel, a rental car, and meals- you get it all for one price! Keep that in mind when researching cruises. The price may look high however everything is included. The only additional costs are tips (for staff), excursions (optional), alcoholic beverages, alternative dining (a few select dining restaurants besides the buffet and dining room), spa use, and any shopping you may do. All in all, a cruise gives you major bang for your buck!


Don’t stop reading yet. Now we are going to share how to choose the right cruise for you.

how to cruise


Part Two: How to Choose the Right Cruise for You


Cruise dates (what the weather is like that time of year)



Part Three: Cruise Line Style Options


Below are just some of the styles of cruises available:

-Singles (Best: Carnival, Norwegian, Crystal)

-Couples (Best: Princess, Windstar, Royal Caribbean)

-Seniors (Best: Holland America, Cunard)

-Fitness (Best: Royal Caribbean, Norwegian)

-Family (Best: Disney)

-Luxury (Best: Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas)


Decide which category you fit into best and what you desire out of your cruise. This will help you choose a cruise line. For us, we prefer a romantic/couples cruise. You will never find us on a family cruise like Disney because we’d go absolutely crazy! So we lean toward Royal Caribbean for those reasons (we love Royal Caribbean!). Ultimately, you can’t go wrong. Every cruise is going to be amazing. The list above simply narrows things down better for you.

how to cruise



PS- keep an eye out for a brand new cruise line in 2019: the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection


Part Four: How to Book a Cruise


When it comes to booking vacations, Steph typically does that all on her own. No travel agent, no packages, just booking each thing separately. However, with a cruise you should know this: use an agent. If you book straight from a cruise line’s website you are getting the standard price. However cruise agents can truly get you a better deal, especially if you book far in advance and/or have a large group. Accept the help because they will honestly save you money. Keep in mind, most cruise lines have what’s called “wave season” from January through March where they offer the best deals- so search during that season. Sometimes agents can even get you extra perks like a bottle of champagne or onboard credit!


When deciding on which cabin to book, keep a few things in mind. Do you want to be close or far away from public areas? Do you want to be on lower decks or upper decks? Do you want to be forward, mid-ship or in the back/aft? If you are prone to motion sickness choose lower deck and mid-ship. Do you want to be in an inner cabin or outer that has a balcony/patio and more sunlight? In general, the lower cabins without patios are the most affordable. Suites are also available if you want more space. Tell your cruise agent what you want and they can find the best option for you.

how to cruise

Before you go, remember to book a few other things. You may want to get travel insurance in case of emergencies (see part five below). You will want to contact your bank to make them aware of your upcoming travels so your card doesn’t get declined. However, most people opt to use their cruise card as their form of payment onboard. Then you just get a bill at the end of the cruise. Lastly, if you need a flight to get to and from the cruise port, book your flight, rental car, and/or Uber transportation. (See Related: 13 Easy Steps to Planning a Trip)


Part Five: Travel Insurance

You should definitely consider getting travel insurance for cruises!! With things like hotel bookings you can often get "free cancellation" deals and with flights you can change them for a small fee. But with bigger trips like cruises, travel insurance is a must in case anything unforeseeable happens.

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

7 things you should know about travel insurance from WorldNomads.com

  1. Trusted reliable underwriters
    WorldNomads.com is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
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    WorldNomads.com provides cover for what's important for travellers from 140 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don't, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
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    Had a change of plans? You can buy more cover or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you're already travelling.
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    From skiing & snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, WorldNomads.com covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
  5. World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
    All WorldNomads.com members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
  6. More than just great value travel insurance
    All WorldNomads.com members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.
  7. Commitment to exceptional customer service
    We want to make sure you get the most from WorldNomads.com. You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.


Part Six: Things to Know Before You Leave for your Cruise


So you’ve booked a cruise, now what?


First off, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s a quick list:


#1 Read the emails the cruise sends you regarding what documentation you need to board (ie passport, license, credit card, etc) and fill out the pre-boarding paperwork they request.


#2 Some cruises also ask you to print out luggage tags ahead of time.


#3 Get your passport renewed- if necessary.


#4 Take a look at their alcohol rules. Some cruises allow you to bring 2 bottles of wine per cabin on.


#5 Look at the dress code rules for the dining rooms. Then pack according to the activities you plan on partaking in. You’ve gotta read our packing list. Subscribe to our website now to receive our printable packing list so you can be 100% prepared. (See Related: The Greatest Packing List of All Time)


#6 Research possible shore excursions. These are tours you can book for each port that are optional and an extra cost. We recommend you sign up for 1-2 excursions per week. This will allow you 1-2 ports of beach relaxation time and 1-2 ports with activities. There’s activities like bobsledding, swimming with stingrays, sailing on a catamaran, and more!

Fun fact: The largest ships in the world are the MS Allure, Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, and Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas. They lodge around 5,500-5,000 guests and have around 25 dining restaurant options!

how to cruise


Part Seven: What to Expect on the Cruise


Let’s walk through what day one will be like. When you arrive to the port, you will check-in and go through security. You will leave your bags with staff because they are delivered to your cabin later in the day. Then you board the ship and enjoy the Bon Voyage as you take off into the deep blue sea. Shortly after, you’ll go through a safety briefing. After that, it’s time to relax! Enjoy everything the cruise offers. Unplug, put your phone away, and simply relax. Besides being told what times you must get off and on the ship at ports, the rest of your schedule is wide open. Have fun! Let us know what you thought of your cruise if you go on one!


Our cruise dining room tip: Order 2 appetizers and 2 desserts in the dining room… YOLO!



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destination Dorworth
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About the Author

Hello, we are Zach (@zachdorworth) and Steph (@stephdorworth). We are Mr & Mrs traveling the world one romantic city at a time while perfecting obsessively organized travel.

  • Christine says:

    This is so awesome and detailed! I really enjoyed reading it and I’m saving for later to help plan my next cruise! I live in Miami and want to take a cruise to the Caribbean soon!

  • Victoria says:

    This is such a freaking complete post! You cover everything! I have only sailed with Carival but I would LOVE to give RC a try! What amazing tips!

  • Julien says:

    I am more of the backpacker type but I admit that a cruise looks like a really nice experience to share with your loved one, and I love the fact that you can visit several destinations in one trip. Thanks for this useful guide!

  • Pedro says:

    That’s very informative, indeed. Although I’m a real independent traveller, I must confess I enjoy cruising, for the fact you can just relax and be pampered. My last one was with Crystal around the Baltic Sea. Looking forward to my next one.

  • Kathi says:

    I’m really intrigued by the idea of taking a proper cruise – I’ve done smaller cruises in Norway and the Galapagos before, but not a real, multiple city cruise. The only thing that I don’t like is the fact that you don’t do any local spendings at your destination – or hardly any, because you already paid for your meal/drinks packages on board… When I travel, I try to spend as much of my money locally, to create a more sustainable tourism environment, but I just don’t see how that would be possible, without paying double…

  • Vanda says:

    Great detailed article! We went on a Mediterranean cruise last year with MSC Cruises and really liked the experience. As you say, it’s a great, stress-free and cheap way to visit several destinations on one trip. I wouldn’t travel like this all the time, but definitely recommend trying it at least once!

  • carrie says:

    Interesting post to see what could be appealing about cruises. I’m totally not a cruise person, but I can see how things like having dining options at your fingertips and taking some of the decision-making out of the picture could be nice.

  • Nicola says:

    That’s a great guide for cruise newcomers. Thanks for sharing. I worked on a cruise ship many years ago and the ship had a capacity of 500 pax – nothing compared to today’s ships 😉

  • Eryn says:

    Great post! I’ve never actually been on a cruise but I will definitely look into doing one now!! Sounds like a lot of fun 🙂

  • What a thorough and complete cruise guide! I typically only do gay cruises and that’s easy enough to deal with but I’m definitely saving this guide for reference.

  • Susan says:

    Wow! What a comprehensive and helpful guide to plan a cruise vacation! One of the things I look for is flexibility on meal time. The first cruise I experienced required you to eat at a certain time with the same people. This was really constraining for me and we didn’t love the people we were sat with 🙂 But the second time we got to eat at whatever seating we chose each day which was much better for my style!

  • Tom says:

    Going on a cruise must be quite the luxurious experience. I like that all is in one place, like a small city 🙂 For me it would probably still be quite stressful as you can never decide to just stay a bit longer in one place. I think I’d still love to try a cruise once, as you can see so many different things. Good tip about the dressing code 😀

    • admin says:

      Tom, it is! It’s good for places like small beach towns that don’t have a whole lot to do there except lay on the beach. But for a bigger city, we agree, you’d probably want to spend more time there. Try it!

  • carla says:

    Wow! Information overload. Thanks for sharing this! Joining a cruise is still a dream for me, really wish to join one soon in Antartica.

  • Jenna says:

    We still haven’t been on a cruise, but I think we need to give it a try sometime! My husband gets seasick so we would probably have to go on a larger boat, and it would be nice if it was one of the larger ships you mentioned above! Glad to hear you’ve had some great cruising adventures–it certainly sounds like a wonderful way to explore multiple destinations in one trip!

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