Thinking of embarking on your very first cruise?

5 Top Tips before you hoist your sail out of old Blighty.

With holiday season upon us I just couldn’t resist another travel focussed article. A lot of our customers seem to love a good cruise so I decided to ask around and do a bit of googling for a few top tips for any newbie cruisers.

1. Float away for a mini-break

If you’re a virgin cruiser and you’ve not yet tested out your sea legs it might be a good idea to opt for a short break of between 2-4 nights. Chances are you’ll love it (providing you’ve picked the right cruise – more on that later) but if not it’s only a few nights before you’re back on dry land.

Check out the taster cruises offered from the UK by Royal Caribbean, Cunard, P&O, Celebrity Cruises, Fred Olsen and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

2. Know what you want from your cruise

It’s all about different floats for different folks, so it’s a good idea to start with thinking about the type of cruise that’s right for you. Some people prefer to use cruising as a way to explore many places without having to unpack time and time again. For these people, rather than spending time on the boat, they want to be off exploring their latest destination. If this sounds like you then a cruise that sails at night and leaves you the day for dry land adventure is what you’ll be looking for.

Maybe you love the idea of all the on-board entertainment and the thought of relaxing on the ship in the lap of luxury, in which case you’ll want plenty of sailing days and you might want to check out the entertainment packages too.

Do you want to meet like-minded travellers? If so you’ll want to suss out the age group and demographics of your fellow cruisers. You don’t want to end up joining the latest clubbing cruise (or maybe you do!) when you were expecting a nice quiet tour of the Norwegian Fjords.

Another consideration is how well you think you will fair in terms of sea sickness. Not quite sure you’re a true salty sea dog? Then you might want to opt for a Med cruise and shorten your sailing time by hopping on a flight to meet your cruise in Barcelona or you could check out a cruise of Croatia, where you’ll be dropping in at ports and hopping off the ship far more frequently. Take the time to define your cruising needs for the ultimate in holiday happiness.

3. Take advantage of specialist advice

As hinted above, every cruise is different and you want to make sure that you pick the right cruise for you, which is why it’s a really good idea to get expert cruise advice rather than simply plumping for that bargain cruise you saw advertised online. For the very best chance of a happy cruising match get advice from a cruise specialist and make sure you share with them the kind of holidays you like, where you’ve been before, your taste, what you are looking for in a cruise and, importantly, what you are not! It’s worth being aware that big agents may well have commission affiliations with certain cruise lines, another reason to talk to a specialist who will provide you with a wide range of options. We’ve all heard those holiday horror stories and you really don’t want to be sharing yours when you’re next in the pub.

4. Get cash savvy

Once onboard you’re talking cashless purchases (unless you’re all inclusive of course) for drinks, treatments, trips, those tempting menu surcharges and anything you treat yourself to from the ship’s shop. Whilst there’s no problem with this, in fact not having your shorts weighed down with cash makes life nice and easy, (especially when you want to check out the water slide!) but it’s worth being aware of the ship’s currency and the potential spending impact of exchange rates.

In terms of currency used, certain cruise lines such as P&O, Saga and Fred. Olsen, stick to Pounds Sterling, whilst Cunard, Royal Caribbean and others favour the U.S. Dollar and certain lines such as Costa and Celestyal Cruises are all about the Euro. The latter in particular typically sees us Brits losing out, so it’s something to be aware of when budgeting your spend.

5. Say cheers to the right drinks package

With a strict no own drinks on board rule for most cruise lines, unless you opt for all inclusive you’ll be entering into the mystifying world of cruise ship drinks packages; think hot drinks packages, soft drinks packages, kids’ drink packages and the all singing all dancing Ultimate drinks packages. Some are so pricey you’ll be drinking until dawn just to get your return on investment and others limit you to a price point or particular range of drinks. If you’re travelling with an American line you can often add 15% service charge to your package before you’ve even started sipping. We’re not sharing this to put you off just to point out that if you’ve booked a cruise that means you’ll be spending most of the day off ship and the drinks package on offer is somewhat eye watering you might be better off paying as you go. If on the other hand you’re likely to spend some serious time enjoying all the ship has to offer then you’re more likely to cash in on your spend. It’s all about balancing out how you will use your time on-board and what you are likely to be drinking.

When customers tell us that they want to use the equity released from their home to fund a special holiday a cruise is very often high up on the list. Cruising customers also tell us how crucial it is to do your homework and be selective about your cruise. What’s right for your neighbour won’t necessarily be right for you!

“ We used our equity release to go on a wonderful luxury cruise and loved every minute. It’s something we had always wanted to do but didn’t have the spare money for. When we realised how much equity we were sitting on and received the impartial advice of The Right Equity Release we knew that this would be the first thing we would do with our money”

Maybe you fancy a port hopping Croatian cruise or is the Caribbean calling? Whatever floats your boat (sorry, couldn’t resist) equity release could provide you with the funds to sail away in style.

If you have any questions about equity release, please get in touch with us on 0800 612 6755.

Thanks for reading, we look forward to hearing from you.

To find out more please click here to speak with one of our experts
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Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash