The South Pacific is the perfect location for an intimate escape, even if you're into adventure sports
While often touted as a relaxing, beach-style vacay, the South Pacific is so diverse that it can be anything you want it to be. Are you into hiking, or swimming with sharks and golden jellyfish? Or maybe you love the idea of jumping off waterfalls, trekking the Kokoda Trail, or seeing the ice fields in New Zealand? Whatever your preferred style of escape, we have something for you.
There are endless possibilities for what you can see and explore! With so many options you're sure to find a trip for you. If you're ready to book a trip be sure to contact us today.
One island that's sure to offer you a tropical escape from the winter blues is Fiji.
The verdant islands of Fiji are famous for their eternal sunshine and their beauty is legendary, with orchids hanging over waterfalls in lush jungle, and palms lining long stretches of beach. Visitors can immerse themselves in offshore activities like swimming with manta rays, snorkelling over coral gardens, scuba diving on the famous Astrolabe Reef, or riding the 'Cloud Breakers', amazing 20ft (6m) waves off Tavarua, an island resort.
Suva is home to more than half of Fiji's population and it is not only the capital of the country, but an important regional centre of the South Pacific. In this city is is possible to eat on a floating fine dining restaurant, drink at vibrant and quirky bars, shop at the bustling municipal market or explore the Fiji Museum, one of the many historical and cultural sites in the city. During the day there is as much to do and see as there is at night down Victoria Parade, where the buzzing nightlife keeps the city alive when the sun dives below the horizon. Suva is also a good launching pad for venturing into the surrounding wild areas.
You might be thinking it's not the right time to book, but we're got the latest deals for you to get sailing to your tropical paradise today!
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If you’re familiar with personality types, you’ve probably already heard of the terms “introvert”, “extrovert”, and possibly “ambivert”. For introverts, their focus is mainly on the internal, while extroverts are more focused on the external. Those that are introverted find themselves stimulated by solitary activities, while extroverts find more gratification through social gatherings. Ambivert is a term used to describe people that have both of these traits with different variations.
Going outside the comfort zone of “home” can be challenging for those more prone to introversion. For example, the writer of this blog post hasn’t left her apartment in seven days and is perfectly happy about it. But, for those of your braver than her, here are some tips to help you get enjoy your next trip while indulging in self-care.
Utilize Your Skills
Do you enjoy photography? Then volunteer as the trip’s photographer! Are you a great cook? Be the designated cook for the trip if you have a kitchen available! This may seem like a strange suggestion, but using your skills to add value to the trip, while giving yourself an activity to do that you enjoy can be beneficial.
Being the trip’s photographer gives you the ability to be a part of the action, while still giving yourself the ability to capture beautiful scenery by yourself. If you decide to be the trip’s cook, you have a designated time where you have an activity to do by yourself, keep your whole crew from being hangry, and are still being a part of everyone’s enjoyment of the trip. It’s also a great way to get everyone to stay at your accommodations rather than go to a restaurant if you need a break from social situations.
Take Time To Explore Nature
Nature is one of the best therapists out there. Taking a hike, even with a group, can help you recollect your thoughts and help you feel more centered. Are you going to an urban environment? Find a park or community garden. Even New York City has Central Park, where you can converse with squirrels or sit by yourself for a while. We also recommend finding Belvedere Castle where you can gaze at the small pond and take in the "whimsical structure".
Try and Create a Morning Ritual
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but this writer highly recommends it. Being around people can be overwhelming, so having a moment in the morning that allows you to ground yourself and set your intention for the day can help prevent exhaustion. Other options are having some tea or coffee by yourself while looking out the window of your hotel, take a walk for 20 minutes alone, or even let yourself lay in bed an extra half hour in the morning to let yourself reflect on your trip. No matter what, taking out a few minutes in the morning can make the rest of your day more enjoyable.
Keep Rocks in Your Pocket
"Rocks" can honestly be anything that reminds you of home or brings you comfort. As an introvert, you may not leave the house very often so going outside might not be your forte. Taking something with you that brings you comfort only has positives. Maybe don't take the four-foot tall teddy bear you have in your room with you everywhere you go, but a trinket or smooth rock that you hold when you feel anxious can provide relief.
Make Time For Yourself When traveling, going with a group can be tons of fun, but if you’re introverted it can also be incredibly draining. This isn’t about canceling your reservation for the wine tour, or that group cooking class. It’s just about making sure you make the time for yourself. After you go on that wine tour, maybe try to make it a “free hour” for everyone. While you’re sitting in your room reading your favorite book, the others can go to the beach. It may feel like you’re missing out on the “fun”, but even when traveling self-care is just as important as it is when you’re at home.
If you’d like to know what personality type you are, try checking out “16 Personalities” to take their free personality test. Let us know what your personality type is and if these tricks work for you! Did we miss something? Then tell us about it! When you start to feel brave, don't forget to contact us to plan your next journey today!
Written By: Jessica Robinn
Journeys Travel Company
It's time to book that trip you've been dreaming about all summer!
It's time to book those last minute vacation ideas during Norwegian Cruise Lines Super Splash Sale! Here are some details to give you some ideas for your next vacation. But be aware that you have to book before August 14th !
Choose between the free unlimited open bar, free shore excursions, free specialty dining, free wifi, and free sailing for your friends and family. The open bar offer promises to save you up to $178 a day covering spirits, cocktails, wine, draft beer, juice and soda! If you are more adventurous, choose the shore excursion offer! With this offer you'll recieve a free $50 Shore Excursion Credit per port, per stateroom. If you're more of a foodie, the specialty dining offer could be more up your alley. You can save up to $168 a day on your cruise depending on whether you qualify for the 3 or 4 meal package. Sometimes you don't want to log off and the free wifi offer would end up being a must for you. This alone will save you $125! Finally, the friends and family sail free offer lets your your friends and family come along with you. This is for select cruises only so be sure to double check that this one fits your needs.
What deal you get depends on what cabin you want. Book a Studio or inside cabin and recieve 1 offer and up to $50 to spend. If you go for an Oceanview, Balcony, or Mini-Suite you get 2 offers and up to $140 to spend. For the best deal, book The Haven and Suites to recieve all 5 offers and up to $500 to spend!
And did you notice that if you book with us you get an exclusive offer for an extra perk?
Now you might be wondering where you even want to go! Lucky for you, Norwegian Cruise Lines offers many locations that you can visit. Here's just a sneak peek into some of the places you could explore as soon as you hit that contact button!
More than twice the size of Texas, Alaska is the largest state in the USA, known as a land of vast natural splendour, abundant wildlife and few people. It offers unique experiences such as walking in unspoilt wilderness, spectacular cruising through the fjords of the Inside Passage, and frontier towns rich in gold rush history. Alaska's sense of undiscovered wilderness and promise of adventure is as prominent now as it was when it attracted thousands of pioneers in search of gold, fur, fishing, logging and oil. Today, this 'Last Frontier' lures travellers in search of unspoilt beauty and close encounters with nature. In fact, Alaska's three largest cities - Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage - are home to fewer than 370,000 people between them.
Choose from over 20 different cruises to visit the beauty of Alaska. Get away anywhere from seven to nineteen days there's sure to be an option that fits your schedule and your budget.
Australia and New Zealand
Australia is politically divided into six states and two territories, each one offering a different experience for the traveller. There is the drama of the remote 'Outback', the colourful spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef and its coral islands, the excitement of the big, efficient cities, the sun and surf at some of the best beaches in the world, and the tropical rainforests of Western Australia. The list is endless in this diverse land of adventure, which boasts about 2,000 national parks and 14 World Heritage-listed areas, along with more than 7,000 beaches.
New Zealand, 'Land of the Long White Cloud', is a small, sparsely populated country consisting of two major islands, North and South Island, and a scattering of smaller ones. Despite its small size it is crammed with magnificent natural beauty and has an incredible amount to offer; the only complaint travellers have is that they haven't allowed enough time in the country. Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the unusual but amiable flightless kiwi bird.
Australia and New Zealand are places that seem to be on everyone's bucket list. They have everything! Beautiful landscapes, cities with great nightlife, unique animals and plants, and amazing cultures! Choose from 10 to 19 days on the Norwegian Jewel during a time when visiting these amazing places won't break your bank account.
Bahamas & Florida
Graced with extensive beaches bleached white by the year-round sun and surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters filled with varied and colourful sea life, the islands of the Bahamas are a major destination for divers, sailors and sun-worshippers. Although often thought to be part of the Caribbean, the Bahamas is actually an archipelago of 700 islands with thousands of small 'cays' strung out in the ocean, starting 55 miles (89km) from Miami in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Sunshine State of Florida is a vacationer's paradise 365 days a year. Its climate, pristine beaches, and theme parks are all geared towards the leisure and pleasure of the millions of vacationers who flock in from around the world. Consisting of a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of the United States, Florida's uneven coastline is indented with estuaries, bays, inlets, lagoons and rivers, creating ideal enclaves for holiday resorts. Right in the south the peninsula ends in an arc of islands resting on coral reefs, known as the Florida Keys. These islands, which together make up the southernmost part of the United States, are perfect for all water based activities, like snorkeling, kayaking, and dolphin watching.
Can you believe that there are over 40 cruises available through this sale that can take you to these gorgeous beaches? We can't either. Take a quick 3-Day vacation or make it a 9 day excursion. Either way you'll be sure to have enough time to soak up the sun and revitalize yourself.
Britain's oldest colony, Bermuda, is a land of pink, sandy beaches, clear, turquoise seas and picturesque, old colonial towns. It is hard now to imagine that sailors once knew it as Devil's Island, but the combination of shallow waters and coral reefs caused many shipwrecks in the past, which contibuted to the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, which stretches between Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico. Today, however, the reefs provide a wonderful playground for swimming, snorkelling, and diving.
For those of you needing to get away from it all, Bermuda is a great option. In the Atlantic Ocean away from it all, it's a great place to disconnect and recenter yourself. Take 4 days off work for that well deserved long weekend or take 10 days to become a whole new you.
Canada & New England
The vast nation of Canada, second largest country in the world, offers a range of experiences for visitors that are as wide as the land itself. From its large, cosmopolitan cities to its frozen northern tundra; its snowy mountain peaks to its rugged coastlines; and its rich farmlands to its pioneering outposts, Canada offers something to suit the taste of every traveller. Canada is bound to the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by the polar ice cap, and to the south by the United States of America.
The Eastern Shore occupies more than half of the Delmarva Peninsula shared between Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, protecting the towns along Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Although linked to the mainland by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, life is much slower and sleepier on this side of the bay. Miles of country lanes and Chesapeake waterways await, while old wooden farmhouses and wheat fields, waterfront towns and fishing craft, lonely wind-rusted marshes and the sound of birds give the peninsula its charming character.
If beaches aren't really your scene, then why not try seeing Canada and New England? Both offer gorgeous landscapes and quaint destinations. Spend up to 12 days seeing charming towns, learning the history of the area, and exploring gorgeous forests. And don't forget that fall is coming! New England in the fall is famous for being one of the most beautiful ways to welcome the season.
First discovered by Columbus in 1493, the islands were known to the local Caribs as Karukera: 'the islands of beautiful waters'. French settlers arrived in the 17th century bringing with them disease - which wiped out the indigenous Caribs - and slaves to work the sugar plantations that were to be source of the islands' wealth for the next 200 years. In the 20th century Guadeloupe become an overseas department of France, enjoying French protection and economic support. The beaches are quite magnificent and remain the main draw card for the steady stream of tourists, the majority of whom are French.
With 98 cruises qualifying for this sale, you'll definitely find one that will fit your needs. With so many islands to explore you'll never have a dull moment but still have ample time to relax. Spend up to 16 days away in paradise.
Cuba could portray itself as the archetypal Caribbean island paradise, with its sandy, palm-fringed shores washed by crystal-clear waters and cooled by breezes carrying the scent of frangipani, mango and guava, but Cuba has so much more to offer than generic Caribbean bliss. Those who venture away from the beaches and resorts will find charmingly dilapidated colonial architecture and grand plazas, streets filled with classic vintage automobiles, and the hip-swaying sounds of salsa music filling the night air. Cuba is about cigar smoke and rum cocktails, baseball, and everywhere visual references to the 1959 revolution which still dominates Cuban identity. The largest island in the Caribbean has a dramatic history and a very distinct culture; it is the perfect destination for those in search of something a little different on their beach holiday.
Cuba is one of the Caribbean Islands, but it's worth mentioning on its own. One of our own travel agents recently visited and couldn't stop saying how special it truly was to experience. If you've been thinking about seeing this beautiful island, now is the time to see it.
There are so many things to say about Europe. With so many destinations that have inspired the world for years, it's hard to pick one place to visit. So why not go on a cruise to get a taste of as many as possible? Whether you want to visit the Mediterranean, Italy, Scandinavia, France, or the Iberian Peninsula there's a cruise that will fit you. There are 70 options available so one of them is sure to suit you.
Any 'Best Of' travel guide inevitably includes the Hawaiian Islands as the best place for sun, sand and natural attractions - the place to head for an idyllic beach holiday.Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the United States, each unique in its dimensions, shapes and hues. These sandy stretches are fronted by crystal waters teeming with tropical fish darting through forests of coral. Some of the world's best surfing and watersport opportunities are offered here and for those intent on premium sightseeing it is hard to beat the thrill of watching lava flow from the world's longest erupting volcano.
The cruises available all require you to book a full week of travel, but let's be honest is that so horrible? Not at all. Time to say "Aloha" to Hawaii.
Fiji is the perfect location for a family holiday.
It’s a short flight from Australia and New Zealand, and many of the resorts do an incredible job catering to families. Family-friendly resorts must strike a balance by creating an environment where families can enjoy a range of activities together, as well as giving the parents a little bit of time away from the kids.
There's plenty of things to do that appeal to any traveler. You can enjoy snorkeling, nature treks, boating, guided tours, and so much more.
We know how important comfort and convenience are to the travelling family. There are a number of Fijian resorts across the country that are an absolute must for any family looking for the perfect getaway. Here are five of our favourites:
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa
Located on Fiji’s Coral Coast, the Shangri-La combines natural beauty with a range of fun activities for the entire family. For the adults, there’s a nine-hole golf course, gym and day spa. The lagoon is the perfect spot for some watersports, and the resort features a dedicated children’s pool. The Little Chief’s Club will keep the kids entertained, and the Children’s Meal Plan makes the stay more affordable for families.
Radisson Blu Resort
The Denarau integrated resort area is perfect for families who want a stress-free Fijian holiday. For anyone travelling with children, minimising time in transit is pretty important, and with Denarau just 20 minutes’ drive from Nadi International Airport, you will be sitting by the pool in no time. Port Denarau is nearby, offering access to many of the outer islands and cruises. The Blu Banana Kids Club offers activities for kids from 1 to 12 years old. For the parents, Denarau Golf & Racquet club has a championship 18-hole golf course and a number of tennis courts, and the Radisson Blu offers a number of spa treatments at the Harmony Retreat Day Spa.
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
Located on stunning Natadola Bay, the Intercontinental provides a blend of luxury and family-friendly activities. Large rooms ensure the whole family can stay in comfort, and the resort caters to kids extremely well, with dining options for children, separate pools for children and adults, a full-service kids club and a number of cultural activities such as dance lessons, cooking classes and local craft classes. For the adults, there’s a PGA recognised championship golf course and in-house spa.
Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa
The Sofitel knows how to cater to families. Family rooms are built with a child-friendly design in mind, include PlayStations and are located near the children’s pool. There are a number of playgrounds for kids, and a Children’s Club for those aged 3 to 6 years and 6 to 12 years old. Enjoy access to everything on offer in Denarau, including the Port Denarau Marina facility, and Big Bula Water Park.
Sheraton Denarau Villas
Sheraton Villas will ensure there’s space for the entire family, especially larger families or groups. The resort features 82 luxury two and three bedroom villas, with access to everything Denarau Island has to offer. The Sheraton allows guests access to the golf course, as well as the Westin Spa. With all the resorts on Denarau easily accessed along the waterfront, kids will have the opportunity to check out the various pools accessible at the Sheraton and Westin. Kids also get complimentary access to the LaiLai Kids Club with a number of daily activities.
Discover Why People Keep Returning to Fiji
Fiji is an excellent destination for families, combining convenient travel times from Australia and New Zealand with a number of resorts that are designed to cater to both adults and children. With many of the resorts on islands like Denarau operating as integrated complexes, there are plenty of things to do to ensure the kids are always entertained. Combine all of this with a warm and friendly local people, and you can understand why families are always returning to this island paradise.
Special thank you to Excite Holidays for this blog post!
I like a pretty movie. Sometimes I can get past a silly plot or bad acting as long as the scenery is good. If the plot, acting, and scenery are good I am in heaven. Here are some movies that transport me when I can't jump on a plane and go.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - I didn't really want to watch this movie. I had nothing else to watch and I do love Kristen Wiig, so I figured I would give it a go. I am so happy I did. It was totally charming and the scenery is to die for. I also enjoy hearing Scandinavian languages so there was that. I also like accordian music. That has nothing to do with this movie but I thought you should know so you can decide whether I am qualified to recommend movies.
Amelie - This is my favorite movie of all time. I want to be her. I want to live in Paris, skip stones on the canal, dig my hands into bags of grain, do good deeds...if you haven't seen it you don't know what I am talking about and you really need to get on that. It definitely makes me long for a France trip.
Under the Tuscan Sun - Okay, okay. I admit this one is a guilty pleasure, but it makes me happy. It's light and fun and oh so pretty. How I ache for Italy when I watch it.
Top of the Lake - This one is actually a mini-series but I couldn't leave it out. Not only is it a top notch mystery, but the New Zealand landscape is AMAZING. If you haven't seen this one I recommend you put on your comfy pants, get your snack situation in order, and prepare to hunker down for a few hours. After that you can call me so we can plan your trip to NZ.
Into the Wild - This movie will make you want to scrap it all and hit the road. He does what a tiny part of all of us wants to do and the movie is visually stunning. In theory, I would love to do a mega-tour of Alaska and the Yukon, but I don't think I have what it takes. Do you?
Known as the world's biggest cruise ship, The Harmony of the Seas has a lot to offer for cruisers of all ages. There are 3 water slides (The Perfect Storm), an ice skating rink, 2 rock walls, two flow riders, a 10 story dry slide (The Abyss!), 3 pools, a splash area for the little ones, a sports court, the adults-only Solarium, a zipline, broadway quality shows, live music everywhere, a HUGE spa and state-of-the-art fitness center, great shopping, fantastic specialty dining options, and...I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
The ship includes seven neighborhoods: peaceful outdoor space Central Park; bustling amusement park style Boardwalk; the Royal Promenade for shopping, dining, drinking and dancing; Entertainment Place, for comedy, jazz and production shows; Youth Place, for the kids; Vitality Sea Spa and Fitness Center, for working out and getting pampered; and Pool and Sports Zone, for playing, swimming and being active. Sometimes you forget you're even on a ship, which can be a good or bad thing depending on one's preferences. The neighborhood plan is designed to improve flow and reduce traffic, and it does for the most part. With almost 6,000 othee cruises on the ship you are bound to run into a crowd here and there.
The variety on this ship is astounding. There are all kinds of activities going on all day, and tons of different food & drink options are available. You can grab a hot dog and a beer on the boardwalk, hit the buffet in Windjammer, or sit down to a nice meal in the main dining room(s) or at a high end specialty restaurant. Oh, and STARBUCKS! Everything I ate on board was very good, and I am not usually a big fan of the food on Royal Caribbean.
I feel I need to point out the negatives, so I'm going to get picky here. I love that there are 2 closet spaces (one on each side of the bed) but the hangers in them tend to rock back and forth and make noise. Since they're right next to the bed, that can be annoying. Speaking of the bed, holy moly was mine hard as a rock. I like a firm bed but this was extreme. I also would like to see a better beer selection on board, and if you are going to call Sabor a tequila bar, there should be a variety of tequila. And in the sports bar, On Air, it seems like the 14 television screens should be showing a variety of games. I'm not a sports fan, but my travel companions were very dismayed by this.
Having mentioned those few things, I would absolutely sail on this ship again, and with excitement. This ship is perfect for families, and especially a family reunion. There is something for everyone. As a couple with no children, I would likely book while school is in session and hang out in the Solarium and Central Park a lot.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
Have you ever had a hankerin' to swing over a steep slope that's 2600 meters above sea level with no safety measures whatsoever? Well I have got the trip for you. First, we'll need to get you to Ecuador. Since you're here for thrills, we may as well get you over to the Galapagos Islands while we're at it.
What we are looking at here is in Baños, Ecuador at a seismic monitoring station called La Casa Del Árbol (The Treehouse). As the name suggests it’s a small house built in a tree, at the edge of a canyon. The view from up here alone is worth the trip, but for thrill seekers, La Casa del Árbol offers a swing hanging over the precipice with a beautiful and terrifying view of the Tungurahua Volcano. Any takers?
Today I had my first cup of coffee (yep) because where better than Vienna? We stopped in a shop with handmade ceramics and I asked the shopkeeper where the best cup of coffee was. She sent us to the Kleinen Cafe which was very charming. The first sip didn't go down too well but a little sugar made everything better. I went back to the ceramic store and bought a cup so that when I make coffee at home I will always remember this day in Vienna.
You are about to be addicted to cruises. Cruising is such a great value and so darn easy. You get a lot for your money and you can be as lazy or as active as you like. There is something for everyone. I've put together a few items to get you acquainted with how cruising works, but if you think of any questions please let me know.
Here's what's included:
Here's whats not:
Required documents: Please visit travel.state.gov to see what you need to bring.
Flight times: If you are flying to the port I always recommend flying in the night before. I can help you with booking a hotel for the night if you wish. When booking your return flight I recommend a flight no earlier than 5 hours from the time the ship arrives - more if possible. Sometimes there are delays during debarkation and there is nothing worse than ending a lovely vacation in a panic.
Getting to the port: The cruise lines offer airport transfers that I can set up for you, or we can look at outside companies and/or private transportation.
Insurance: Always recommended. Emergencies happen, and the cruise lines do not make exceptions when you are inside of the cancellation penalty period. In addition to trip cancellation and interruption, the more comprehensive travel insurance plans available today may also cover emergency medical expenses; emergency medical transportation, when ordered by a doctor, to the nearest adequate medical facility; reimbursement for accommodations; and expenses. There are many scenarios you may never have thought of (medical emergencies in port, stolen items, etc). Click here for more information and please let me know if you would like a quote.
Money: On cruise ships they use a cashless system. All purchases are made with your cabin key, which is tied to your on board account. You can set this up when you do your online check-in with a credit card, or you can set it up with cash once you board (not recommended because of long lines). If you want to be able to use your credit card in port, please call them before-hand so they don't assume someone has stolen your card and freeze the account. Most ships have an ATM but the fees are high. You should bring some cash with you, but most places take credit cards. I do not recommend using your debit card since those have less protection than credit cards. In the wee hours of the last morning, an itemized bill will be slipped under your door. When you wake up, take a look at it right away to make sure everything looks good. If you need to dispute any charges you'll want to contact the purser right away. You can also check your statement along the way. Some ships will display it on your TV, some have kiosks, or you can go to the purser's desk.
Daily newsletter: Every night you will be given a newsletter to let you know what's happening and when the next day. Don't want to miss the hairy chest contest at the pool? Movie under the stars? Bingo? This newsletter will be your best friend. Please take it with you when you go into port. It has contact information on it in case you get into a situation on land.
Gratuities: The crew works very hard to make sure your vacation is magical. Some of it you can see, and some happens behind the scenes. Your cabin steward will attend to your cabin twice a day, keeping everything clean and providing turn down service. Your wait staff will make a point to get to know you and your preferences. It takes a village... For your convenience, the cruise line will automatically add the gratuities to your on board account. If you would prefer to pay them ahead of time, you may do so by contacting me. They are typically around $12 per person, per day (varies by cruise line and accommodation type), and they cover your cabin steward, wait staff, and other behind the scenes crew. If you purchase beverages from the bar or go to the spa, those are done separately and on the spot.
E-documents: Most cruise lines have switched to e-documents over the last several years. You will receive quite a bit of documentation, but you really only need to print your boarding pass(es) and luggage tags. Although you don't need to waste paper and ink, please read EVERYTHING very carefully.
Muster Drill: On every cruise, every passenger must participate in the muster drill. This is a safety drill so you'll know what to do in the unlikely event there is an emergency situation during your cruise. This is mandatory, so expect to spend about an hour on the first afternoon (sometimes less if everyone shows up on time).
Dining: Dining has become quite a bit more flexible over the past few years. Traditionally (and still available on many lines), you would choose either early or late seating (roughly 6 or 8pm) and you eat at the same table with the same people and the same wait staff each evening. This is particularly nice if you have allergies or preferences, since you only need to let your wait staff know the first night and they will take care of it from there. It's also great for groups because you have an assigned meeting place each night where you come back together, and you don't have to wait for a large table to become available. Sometimes you can request a table size (table for 2, etc.), but those are always on request only, and never guaranteed.
These days most lines offer flexible dining, where you can either just show up when you like, or in some cases you can make reservations for each evening based on your schedule that day. This is much like restaurant seating. If you show up during peak times, there may be a wait (especially if there is a large group). The upside is the flexibility and ability to choose whether you would like to share a table with other cruise guests or keep it private.
Outside of the main dining room, there are plenty of options for dining. In most cases you have access to food 24 hours a day. If you have allergies or need a special diet please let me know so I can note the booking, and you will also need to communicate with the crew throughout the cruise.
Cell phones and internet service: Please contact your cell phone provider for details and prices if you plan to use your cell phone while on your cruise. Internet on ships has come a long way, but is still not lightning fast and can be spotty. Each cruise line handles prices for internet service differently, but you can typically pay by the minute or purchase packages that are a better value.
What to wear: You'll want to double check based on the cruise line, but for the most part it's pretty casual. They prefer that you don't come into the dining areas in your swim suit, and some dining rooms don't allow shorts for dinner. Formal night is the exception. On this night they ask you to get dressed up and there is often lobster and/or prime rib on the menu. Some cruises have more than one formal night so be sure to check.
Shore excursions: If you book your excursion through the cruise line and the excursion runs late, the ship will wait for you. If you book with an outside company this is not the case. The other advantage is that if you have to miss a port for some reason you will be refunded, which is not always the case with outside vendors.
What to book ahead of time: Some cruise lines now require you to book your nightly shows in advance (or risk missing out). I also recommend booking any shore excursions you have your heart set on in advance. You can even book spa treatments ahead of time.
This should get you started, but don't hesitate to ask if you need clarification or if I've missed something. Click here to read another blogger's first cruise experience. She conquered her fears and was happy for it. Bon voyage!
Welome and thank you for visiting! I am a travel agent with a passion for good food, design, general craftiness...and of course TRAVEL. I treat everything in life as an adventure. Sometimes the journey is short and sweet and sometimes it's long and messy, but if we try to stay in the moment we can make most things enjoyable.