Cruises are a vacation option like any other. However, for many people a trip by sea is synonymous with luxury. The myth of a cruise ship as a synonym for splendor dates back to the first years of existence of this sector. The "Princess Victoria", the world's first cruise liner, was built in 1900 and set the tone for a model that would last for about a century.
However, in recent times the model has changed remarkably. With a wide range of leisure activities and the possibility of visiting several destinations at the same time on a ship packed with amenities, more and more travelers stop seeing cruises as something too luxurious out of their reach.
If you have decided to live the experience of going on a cruise, Here are some tips to get the most out of it the first time in one.
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It is important to have all the documentation provided by the shipping company completed: reservation and payment vouchers, passenger cards, cabin number, boarding tickets, cards to identify luggage ... It will also be necessary to check the documentation to board weeks before the departure date, such as valid passports, permits for travel of minors, visas or international driving licenses.
Even if you are navigating a route within the European Union, the boats are subject to the regulations of the country in which they are registered. With which it is advisable to carry a medical insurance with the maximum coverage. Medical assistance within a cruise ship is almost never included and its health services are expensive. An analysis can cost 1.000 euros and a simple consultation about 100, so it is essential to take out personal health insurance to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Boarding the cruise
Upon arrival at the boarding station, all luggage must be delivered with the tags attached, except for hand luggage. Then at the reception desk, boarding tickets, documents and credit card for extras will be presented. It should be noted that there are no cash payments on board. Registering the credit card allows you to directly charge the expenses on board the cruise. At reception, each passenger is given a magnetic card that serves as a key and a credit card to pay on board.
It is not mandatory but registering the card is the fastest way to get expenses to the account, without having to queue boring to pay on the last day of the cruise. It is important to keep all the receipts that are given when buying something because the last night a statement of expenses is delivered that will have to be checked if they are correct.
Aboard the cruise
Luggage is delivered to the stateroom shortly after boarding, usually between the mandatory emergency drill and the time of the ship's departure. When you arrive at the cabin, you can unpack your suitcase to prevent your clothes from wrinkling and then study the services that the cruise offers as well as carefully read the information that each day will be put in the "logbook" inside the room. There will be the agenda of services, schedules, activities, shows and news. The logbook will help us plan the day.
Each shipping company has an "official language" which can be Spanish, Italian or English. The menus and on-board journals will be written in that language, although the option of English is always given. In any case, people from all over the world travel and work on cruises, so we will always find someone who speaks our language.
As for the mobile phone, to use it you will have to wait until you are near the coast or in the port since there is no coverage at sea during the days of navigation. For this you must have roaming activated and be careful with the rates of maritime operators. We must not forget that it is cheaper to send text messages abroad than to make a call.
Excursions during a cruise
When it comes to excursions on the different scales of the cruise there are two options. The first is to prepare them on our own and the second is to take the excursions organized by the ship. In the latter case, you have to reserve them either online or upon arrival at the ship. Registration forms are available at the tour desk next to reception.
It is not advisable to make a reservation at the last minute as places can run out quickly. In fact, there is a time limit of about 48 hours before each stopover.
The meals on the cruises are abundant, varied and tasty. They are usually presented in the form of a buffet and when faced with the temptation to eat everything in one day, it is preferable to take it easy to avoid embarrassment.
On cruises, two times to eat are usually offered in order to better organize passengers. In this way, some companies ask each traveler to choose the time at which they want to access the dining rooms throughout the trip.
The dishes served during cruises are usually international. Nevertheless, shipping companies offer typical dishes of the places visited, in order for passengers to feel that they have fully lived the experience of knowing certain destinations.