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5 First Timer Cruise Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make.

Being a first-time cruiser is cruise line lingo for “Sucka!”  Sorry, but, that’s the truth.  It’s easy to make more than these 5 First Timer Cruise Mistakes that cost you 💵.  But, we’ll start with these.  Each cruise line is different and has different policies and pricing models.  But, it is still possible to make one or more of these on every single cruise line–even the ones that are “all inclusive.”  Did I mention airplane mode?

A big first time cruise mistake is buying a drink package…

before assessing your drinking habits.

If you’re only a wine with dinner or maybe you prefer soda and smoothies buying the drinks package is probably not a good deal for you.  Cruise lines will try to sell you a “discounted” drinks package before you arrive.  As soon as you board there will be another “discounted” drinks package–but, buyer beware.  Most cruise lines the drinks packages are per person (not per cabin) and each person in your party will need to drink heavily to make good use of the package.  When calculating how much you have to drink each day to make it worth your while, remember days spent on shore and during excursions don’t count.  Also, before you buy check the package–make sure your beverage of choice is included on your package.  And, check to make sure gratuities are included with your package.  Not all beverage packages are the same–be sure to read the fine print.

If you want to have a bottle of wine for dinner and don’t empty it the first night, it will follow you.  Meaning two people who are moderate drinkers can often get two nights worth of pours from a single bottle.

If you are like me and will miss your daily Starbuck’s while on board, a specialty beverage package to include enhanced coffee, tea, juices, smoothies and sodas might be the best option.

Several cruise lines are making changes to their beverage options included in the fare of the cruise.  Be sure to ask your Memory Maker what’s included in your cruise fare before you invest in a beverage package you might not need.

cruise mistake buying beverage package

First time cruisers usually miss out on taking advantage of BYOBOB (bringing your own beverages on board).

Beverage package or no most cruise lines allow each person to bring on a certain amount of wine or alcohol on board the ship.  Avoid the corkage fee by bringing your own wine opener and request empty glasses to your cabin.  There isn’t a rule against walking around with your adult bevive already in hand.  Many lines allow you to pack them away in your suitcase to bring on with you at boarding.  However, Disney Cruise Line, which doesn’t sell bar packages will allow each person to bring on two bottles of unopened wine or champagne or a 6-pack of beer at boarding and restock with the same at every port.

cruise mistake not bringing alcohol on board with you

Do not make this critical first timer error!

Make a list and check it twice.

I learned this the hard way when I forgot to pack the drops you put in your ears after swimming to alleviate water in your ears.  First, it was impossible to find in the ship  sundry store.  I could have gone to the medical bay for a very hefty fee.  Instead, I found myself wandering around to find a pharmacy in a country where I did not speak the language.  It was not a fun way to spend part of my time in port.  Bring on your travel size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and depending on length of your cruise a full-size sunscreen.  Don’t forget your hairbrush, sun glasses, over the counter medications and even some medications you don’t usually take (like stomach or motion sickness).  Did you forget your toothbrush?  You’ll end up paying a hefty fee for one on board the ship.  What about a camera battery charger?  Every one of these is something I have forgotten to pack and find myself spending more because I’m a captive consumer.  Now I have an extensive list for every trip to share with my VIP Memory Maker clients.

first time cruise mistake not bringing your sundries

Booking your spa treatments in advance…

at full price is a big first time cruiser mistake.

No cruise is complete for me without a visit to the spa.  My first cruise, also my honeymoon, I was so excited about getting to visit the spa and get myself some R & R, I was sure if I didn’t book it as soon as I booked my cruise I would miss out on the rain shower and steam room.  Oops.  Immediately upon boarding there were spa specials galore not to mention the chance to win several spa prizes at the “orientation” on Day #1.  Spa services are priced to be more expensive when the ship is at sea.  If you plan to return to the ship early from a port day–that’s the sweet spot.  Also, booking multiple services at one time offers you a discount.  Daily spa specials offer you a discount.  Not once have I missed out on my desired service, sometimes I just have to be flexible with my time.  But, R & R and pampering is good at anytime, am I right?

virgin voyages scarlett lady well spa

Did you say airplane mode?

Oh, this was an expensive mistake I made.  I wanted to listen to podcasts while at the pool.  Little did I realize when I turned on my phone, while we still in port, that I was paying international rates to download my listens.  Now, I start my vacation the minute I get on board.  My phone goes on airplane mode upon boarding.  That way I can’t possibly be charged for digital at sea (a ridiculous amount of money) or international rates.  You can always sign on to the ship wifi in order to imessage fellow iphone users or to access the shipboard activities.  Certain lines, like Virgin Voyages, offer wifi as part of the cruise fare.  Which means you don’t have to worry about purchasing a wifi package to post those IG worthy photos.

cruise mistake not to use airplane mode


Need more advice before you embark on your first cruise?  Book a consultation with any of the Memory Makers.

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