FIRST CRUISE? Here is some help.

There is no need to be apprehensive about your first cruise. Ofter over half those on a ship are new to cruising.

If you have not yet booked, there are two things to choose, the SHIP and the DESTINATION. Destination i9s easy – where do you want to go? The ship is a little harder – what do you want to do? Dress up, not dress up. Smoke, avoid smoke?


You are entering into a contract with a club, a hotel, and the rules at sea apply. Not rules you might think apply back home. Ships are safe, they have a zero tolerance policy. have less than a third of the crime found on the mainland, they have security and prison cells and they use them. You contract to have insurance, contract to abide by the dress code, conduct etc….

Some people have cruised many many times, all on the same ship and all in the same place, and that maybe you. That is what you call lucky, getting it right the first time. We have heard horror stories of how

  • “the ship seemed like a smoke-filled casino” …
  • “wrong ship for you”  we reply.
  • “But I was using my free travel miles” …..
  • Those people were travelling on NCL and although – it was wrong for them, many people love those ships. NCL are a great cruise company with many fans, it was just not for this couple.

So how do you choose a ship? If smoking is important some ships allow smoking in the casino, some have cigar rooms, some allow it on certain decks. If that is important, then some research in those areas is key. You cannot smoke in your cabin, it is likely your next cabin will report you, but on some ships your cabin steward can be sacked for not reporting you if you do smoke in the cabin. The answer is chat with others, chat and watch the films of the ships. We have a ships playlist of filmed ship tours.


This why we have many chat sites. Join and ask others. Then share your pictures and experiences. If by chance you have an experience you wish had been more appropriate, then these chat groups, videos, and people’s advice will help answer the questions you have. These sites are listed on the home page, and on the ships page in the black boxes after the fleet.


Apart from the fact that the law will change as you enter a different country. If someone is arrested on ship they are handed to the police at the next port.

For the rest, they will want to see what is there. Research your destination and routes by looking at the local tours offered.

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Yes, it is possible to do a Caribbean cruise without flying.

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If you like entertainment, then the variation is huge. We have heard people boast of great entertainment which was not for us, and that can work in so many ways. Some ships have West End shows, some opera singers, some classical hours. Some ships have a choice of three acts every night….

Food can be about volume, it can be about style. The large classic dining halls of uniformed waiters serving with silver utensils is the movie image that rings true on many ships. Yes, most people do dress for dinner. So, enters a new variable dress. Black tie has on many ships now allowed a dark jacket shirt and tie and the ladies always look good. On some ships, after 6 pm at night jeans are not allowed anywhere, not even in the buffet and gentlemen must wear a jacket. If the dress is a concern then again do some research.

The answers fall in so many ways. The large ships like the Britannia and larger, have vast areas so some areas like the pub deck can be informal, smart jeans and a shirt at night. Here is an area of great fun, from quizzes to Karaoke. The casino is normally on this deck and also accessible in informal wear.

Ships make a great deal of money selling clothes to those who thought they would never need smart or formal wear. We will give you one of a million examples of how it can go wrong … you are having a great time on the beach or deck and it ends with that passing comment

“shall we meet tonight, in the lounge?”

And you either suggest the pub, refuse, or buy some clothes. You will make life long friends cruising. Read your itinerary, there may be a masked ball night (same dress, wear a mask), there may be a black and white night, an Abba night, a Hawaiian night. People will dress, in vast numbers.

In short, the large ships offer more options, especially to multiple generations travelling together. Small ships can be more formal and dressy but have less options on entertainment.



A short seven day cruise, out and back, can be a good first cruise. However, don’t expect the best beaches or the hottest sun.

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Both of the above examples are of a no-fly family ship, which for the longer USA and Caribbean cruises becomes an adult ship. The very same class of ship, an almost mirror image, is the Azura, which you fly to, and start from a foreign ‘home-port’. Spot the difference between the two ships. This is a family ship.

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As you can see we love both these ships and the routes. We have filmed them all.

The Baltic cruise is a different historical city each day with so much to do you will want to go again and again, but you will walk your fit bit off the scale. The Fjords is majestic and peaceful with water like glass, but if you have been skiing regularly you might wonder what a lot of the fuss is about. However, ships going between contains is quite something. That Canary island is a good first cruise, normally from Southampton to Southampton, you will get to stop at Cadiz or Lisbon, may take in Casablanca in West Africa, get to see the beautiful Madeira and three of four of the Canary Islands. The Mediterranean is a great cruise, history and beaches, and the Greek Islands are fantastic. Then the World cruise is where you seriously unpack, the room is your home, and that cruise is nothing, absolutely nothing like a Caribbean cruise.