Family travel

5 cruising mistakes first timers make

avoid these cruising mistakes

It’s easy to make common blunders when it is your first time cruising. Here are some ways to avoid cruising mistakes.

Cruising is my favorite type of generational family vacation. There is something for everyone to do from the youngest child to the oldest grandparent. I have cruised 18 times, so I consider myself an experienced cruiser. Each cruise I meet a number of first time cruisers. There are a handful of mistakes that most first time cruisers make. You can easily avoid these common mistake and vacation like an experienced cruise even on your first sailing.

Make your first cruise more enjoyable by avoiding these five mistakes commonly made by first time cruisers.

Assuming all rooms are the same

avoid these cruise mistakes
Yes it is true that most of the rooms on the ship look the same. But not all rooms are created equal. There are benefits to paying a little extra attention to the location of your room based on your interests. Don’t let the cruise line assign your room, carefully select it yourself. We prefer to be near the gym and kids club so that we can quickly go to and from these two spots. Though the square footage is the same in many rooms, they are configured differently with different bed and sofa options. If you have room to splurge a little in your budget for a balcony, you will not be disappointed. Having a front seat to your own private view of the ocean is a nice touch to a busy day or a great place to enjoy a quiet sunrise with coffee. If you have kids then a balcony provides a nice space to wait while your child naps or give them extra room to play. And then there are the suites…some are amazing!

Not planning your shore excursion ahead of time
You can book activities for your ports once onboard but you will save money and make the most of your shore visit if you plan ahead. There are so many resources to help you discover the best activity for your family. Often you can save money by using an outside tour company to do the same activity as you would do if booked onboard. I recommend joining a group forum like Cruise Critic to gain insights on destinations and ships.

Ordering only one item in the dining room

first time cruising mistakes

All you can eat doesn’t just apply to the buffet on a cruise!

The dining room not only provides a nice dining experience it lends the opportunity to try new foods. One thing many new cruisers do not know is that you can order more than one item. If three appetizers sound good, order all three! Order the chicken you know you will love but also order the lamb to test your taste buds. I found out I love caviar and mussels on a cruise many years ago. Both are things I would never risk ordering at a restaurant at home. Or if you are like me and just want to eat lobster, shrimp and pasta then go for it!

Skipping formal night
Just about all cruises will have at least one formal night. This does not mean you have to put on a tuxedo and sequin dress. But it does give you an excuse to get dolled up for an evening and feel special. You do not have to spend a lot of money- borrow from a friend or shop at thrift store. Don’t let the formal night scare you away – enjoy it! You will be happy to have the photos to look back on of your entire family dressed up together.

Need to know how to pack when cruising with kids, click here.

Being afraid to take part in the activities
The ship is full of entertainment, games, contests and classes. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself; go to that dance class, try your hand at towel folding or enter the belly flop contest. You will never see your fellow cruisers again so don’t miss the chance to learn something new for free because you are embarrassed.

Contributor Bio: Mandy Carter is a marketer, travel writer and speaker. She’s been on 18 cruises! She wants to inspire parents to explore with their kids! She blogs about her family travels at A Cupful of Carters. Connect with: Facebook Twitter Instagram. All images in this article are copyright, Mandy Carter.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!