If you’ve never taken a cruise before you are in for the time of your life. From the moment you get onboard until you leave, you will feel like you are in a dream. It is important, however, to know what to expect in order to make the most of each moment.
When you get on board, you should immediately get a program. This will have a list of all the activities such as games, contests, lessons, classes and special evening events. You will find almost everything available from cooking demonstrations and wine tasting to ballroom dancing. Some cruise lines have special guests offering pottery classes and lectures. The variety of things to do is almost endless.
Games and contests may include costume contests, belly flop contests, pool races and more. Be prepared to just have fun. Cruises often have zany game shows such as the Newlywed Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and more.
Ships also have casinos. Casinos open when they are in international waters. Slot machines, roulette, poker and craps are usually available. Children under 21 years old are not allowed.
Some cruise lines also have art auctions. These are fun but usually the work is not of high quality so be careful when bidding.
You will not miss a work-out on a cruise if you choose to. Most have fitness centers filled with stationary bikes, step machines, free weights and other various machines. Aerobics and other classes are usually also offered.
If you choose to exercise in other ways, you may be able to play volleyball, basketball, paddle tennis, rock climb and even play mini-golf. Shuffle board is no longer the main sport on cruises. There may also be golf simulators and pros on board can offer tips.
You will not miss your favorite team play as most cruise lines have sports bars with large screen television. Some cabins TVs even carry ESPN.
A trip to the spa can offer a lot but make reservations early as times go quickly. Costs can also be expensive. You can probably do anything from full body massages, to manicures and esoteric treatments.
The kids will not be bored. There are usually playrooms, camp type events, computers, video arcades, pools and other events always available.
Sometimes there is even a teen room with dancing and a non-alcoholic bar.
When it comes to eating you will have a variety of options. Some includes 1st, 2nd or 3rd seatings. You will usually sit with a pre-chosen group each night. These meals are included in the cruise price. Often buffets open throughout the day are also included, but if you choose specialty restaurants, those meals will cost you extra.
Other onboard entertainment varies but expect live bands, musical revues, magic shows, a headliner, comedians, aerialists, karaoke, movie theaters, clowns and strolling performers.
If shopping is your thing to do, you can shop on the cruise liner or on shore. Some cruises have more than a gift shop. Many have big name outlets. Costs are usually pretty high. The cruise staff usually knows the best shopping place off-shore so do not be afraid to ask questions.
When you land at a port, you may choose to explore on your own. This can be a great adventure. Another option is to sign-up for a tour. The ship will have plenty of pamphlets giving you options on what to do. Some events are often done by ship personnel. Depending on where you go, the events can be either exciting like bungee jumping or typical such as a bus tour. Check everything out before making your decision.
So you can see the limitless activities available on a cruise. Be sure you choose carefully and book early so you can get everything you desire in. Time will fly by so enjoy.
Source: Frommer’s Cruises & Ports of Call, personal experience