For many people, summertime equals vacation time. But if you have not planned a vacation yet, because you do not have enough money, you are not alone. A 2019 survey found that 60 percent of Americans who are skipping a vacation this year said they simply cannot afford it.
But do not resign yourself to a staycation just yet. A cruise can be a great way to relax and see the world without breaking the bank. If you have never been on a cruise, this summer is as good a time as any to start. Here are three tips for going on your first cruise:
Know what you are paying for
When you think of a cruise, you might think of an all-inclusive trip where you never have to whip out your credit or debit card. But that is not accurate. In most cases, the price you pay will grant you access to the big stuff, like your room and on-board entertainment. You probably will not have to shell out extra to see an Elvis impersonator or a stand-up comic, but you likely will have to pay extra for things like alcoholic drinks and off-shore excursions.
You should pay close attention to the terms of the cruise package you are paying for. You do not want to get on board and be surprised by anything. Read through everything carefully before you hand over your credit card information and commit to taking that cruise. Some vacation surprises are nice, but finding out that you did not budget enough money for daily odds and ends is not one of them.
Finally, do not forget to tip. At the very least, you should be tipping the people who clean your room and serve your food. If you are going to drink alcohol while on board, make sure to tip the bartender as well.
Test your water readiness
If you are nervous about being seasick, that is understandable. While it is not super common, it can still happen. It may help to book a cruise on the biggest ship you can find, as those ships tend to be more stable. But if that does not seem like enough, you have options besides simply boarding the cruise ship and crossing your fingers.
Go out on a boat for a couple of hours and see how you do. If you do not get seasick on a smaller boat, then you should be fine on a cruise ship. Just about any type of boating activity will work for a test run, from riding a ferry to taking a dinner cruise in West Palm Beach. Pay attention to what your body is telling you when you are on board.
You may feel a bit queasy without retching over the side of the boat. If you do feel a little off, look into taking medications like Dramamine with you on the ship. Some travelers also swear by wristbands that are designed to reduce motion sickness.
Get sun protection
Your cruise ship cabin should be comfortable enough for sleeping and a bit of relaxation, but you do not want to spend the whole cruise in your room. You need to get out there on deck and get some sunshine, and that means you also need to bring as much sun protection as possible.
Sunscreen is a must, especially if you are going to do things like go swimming on the cruise ship deck. But it is not the only thing you need to stay safe. The sun can also hurt your eyes, so you will want to look into getting a reliable pair of designer prescription sunglasses. There is no need to spend your entire cruise squinting every time you go outside. Slipping on a good pair of shades is a much better option that will allow you to both look and feel your best.