6 Must-Know Tips for Taking Your First Cruise - Family Traveller (USA)

Never been on a cruise before? Don't be intimidated! Cruising is a great way for the whole family to have a fun and relaxing vacation, while exploring new destinations and getting all the bells and whistles cruise ships have to offer. And with these first-timer cruise tips from Annita Thomas, cruising expert and on-air host of the radio show Travel Bags with Annita, you'll be a pro in no time.

1. Don't make assumptions

If you are traveling with a baby or toddler, be sure to check with your cruise line and request a crib when you’re making your reservation. Don't just assume they'll have one on board.

2. Enlist the help of an agent

Turn to a professional whose job it is to stay up to date with all the new ships and offerings. Travel agent commissions are paid for by cruise brands, so that concierge service you get from an agent comes at no extra cost to you.

3. Pack a day bag

Once you've checked in and boarded the ship you won’t see your luggage for hours. Pack everything you need for the day in a backpack so you can hang poolside while waiting for your luggage to be delivered.

4. Book activities early

Many travelers don't realize how fast the popular activities and excursions sell out. Go ahead and book as soon as possible prior to departure.

5. Study up on the ship

Study the deck layout before your trip, especially if you're traveling with teens who will want to go off on their own. Large ships can be confusing, and it’s helpful for kids to know where their cabin is and to be familiar with emergency routes before they even board the ship.

6. Bring what you need

You’ll want to pack plenty of diapers, baby food, wipes, and formula. You don’t want to waste your time looking for these items at your destination.

Find cruise reviews and travel tips in Family Cruise Vacations.