This past May marked the first vacation I’ve taken on my own dime. Having been on cruises before, I had an idea of what to expect, but never before had to sort through all of the billing, paperwork and adult-like things that come along with planning them. Fortunately, Norwegian made it easy as pie and I didn’t have to turn on my Type-A personality (too much) to have a good time. And so after what I can only describe as the most relaxing vacation of my life, I’ve a few tips to share for first-timers.
Pack a few sealable sandwich bags: You’re bound to take multiple photos while lounging on the beach, whether to save for yourself for later, or to rub in the faces of your cubicle mates back at work. And in order to do that, you’ll need a phone that isn’t waterlogged or full of sand. So for those moments (hopefully there are many of them) that you aren’t taking instagram-worthy photos and only need your phone to tell the time, sealing your cell in a sandwich bag is a great way to keep it safe.
Don’t forget a travel steamer: I haven’t been on one cruise ship that provides an iron or steams for free, so on this last trip, I brought my own portable mini-steamer, and it was a lifesaver! Despite rolling my dresses and linen rompers, they always ended up wrinkly after getting past airport security. So aside from sunscreen and bug spray, this was one item I was beyond happy to have with me.
Ask the locals where to eat: The best places to eat and drink typically aren’t the most advertised. That’s why asking the locals on excursions is a great way not only to truly meet different people, but to get the inside scoop as to what the island has to offer. Of course with this tip comes a disclaimer, and I’ll put it in my dad’s words: “Your dad isn’t Liam Neeson. Don’t be an idiot while traveling.” In other words, make sure that if you’re taking the locals’ advice, you’re doing so in groups.
Book excursions through the ship: While I’m usually the girl to advise against paying top-dollar, booking an excursion through anything other than the ship is extremely risky. Unforeseen circumstances like an overcrowded port or bad weather could deter the ship from sailing to the island you have plans on. And while you might think that the world is fair, your cruiseliner likely thinks otherwise and will feel no remorse over your nonrefundable cash.
Set multiple alarms: No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you did, the cruise will leave without your bronzed behind if you aren’t back in time before departure. And so assuming that you want to assume the carefree lifestyle while exploring different locations, setting your alarm (a few times) is a safe way to ensure you’re back before departure.