Our First Cruise – I Wish I’d Known…

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Moored in Alicants

Moored in Alicants

I wish I’d known… What to pack, instead of just taking everything. The ship is kept at a pleasant temperature, so casual daywear of t-shirt with shorts, light trousers or cutoffs, with sandals or flipflops is perfect, with a jacket or fleece to go out on deck is fine at this time of year. Shore excursions need comfortable walking shoes and a light mac in case of showers – or torrential rain in Rome – with shoulders and legs covered to enter churches or museums.
I wish I’d known… How to dress at night. My husband was dreading getting dressed up for dinner, but he ended up enjoying the ritual of evening shower, shave and change between the contrasting lifestyles of day and night, and wearing a suit or a smart jacket even on non formal evenings. In our 13 night cruise, we had four formal nights, four semi-formal nights and five smart casual. Formal means just that – dress up as much as you want to, long and swishy skirts feel wonderful once in a while, and it’s fun to look glamorous. Men wear DJs or dark suits. Semi formal means smart or pretty – dresses, trouser or skirt suits for ladies and suits for men. Smart casual is almost anything that looks good.
I wish I’d known… What we’d be doing all day. We needed swimwear for the pools, the sauna and the hot tubs, with flip flops and cover-ups to get to and from our cabin to change. Your cabin steward will supply big blue towels to use round the pool, so don’t bother to pack your own. I took several sets of gymwear, but only needed one set – there are laundrettes to wash gear.
I wish I’d known… About communications. Mobile phone access is expensive away from land, because of satellite communications. Ship to shore telephone calls can be made from the cabin, £5 for 5 minutes, but it’s probably better to warn friends, family and work that you are incommunicado while at sea. Phone calls made or received while the ship is moored, using local networks, are at normal roaming rates. Internet access is also expensive, so if you want to send emails, write them all offline, and then go online for just long enough to empty your outbox.
I wish I’d known… How much I’d enjoy cruising! I loved the activities, the food, the entertainment and the people. I was expecting the other passengers to be a bit pretentious maybe, or even standoffish, but I found a group of lovely people who just wanted to enjoy the experience. As soon as we got back, we started looking for another cruise, and we’re even considering a 3 month round the world trip.
Verdict – Try it for yourselves. Most importantly, look round for the cruise line – and the ship – that fits your profile, with activities and an itinerary that suits you. For example, because Arcadia is child free, most passengers on our cruise were 45+. Other ships cater for young children, teenagers or singles. If you’re not sure, try a short trip of 4 or 7 days, and go with an open mind.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , ,