Cruising for the First Time? These 5 Tips are a Must!

5 Tips for your first cruise:
get ready to sail!

people relaxing on cruise ship deck

The best part about cruising is that you get to relax in style, without having to lift a finger. With all the hard work done for you, it’s easy to find yourself getting into vacation mode before even leaving home. But what if you haven’t sailed before?

Your first cruise should be unforgettable, and we want to help make sure that you love every minute of it. To get ready for your voyage, take a look at these five tips that will help you sail smoothly from start to finish. From saving money to boarding faster, we cover a little bit of everything to help you feel like an old pro when you take your first Port Canaveral cruise!

Setting sail soon? We have a ton of great tips and tricks for making the most out of your vacation, including ship guides and parking secrets. Check out our other blogs for more awesome Port Canaveral cruise articles!

the best things to know for your first cruise

When you’re setting sail for the first time from Port Canaveral (or any other cruise port), it’s good to know a few things before you set out on your adventure. Cruises are tons of fun, but you can have some not-so-fun times if you don’t do a little bit of reading beforehand. The right tip can save you hundreds of dollars or make sure that you have everything you need to keep from getting stranded at port (yes, that’s a real thing). 

Take a look at these five tips we’ve put together from the experts!

Do You Have All Your Boarding Documents?

Make sure you have all your documents together before departing for the cruise terminal. Depending on the cruise line and destination, you’ll need to bring certain documents with you to board. Every cruise, someone won’t be able to board because they didn’t bring a birth certificate, passport, or visa. Make sure that you have every piece of paperwork you need to sail!

Check out the list of travel documents from each of Port Canaveral’s cruise lines:

Make sure you bring your passport and other travel documents!

Take Advantage of the "Bring Your Own Beverage" Policies

While you’ll have access to drink packages, onboard restaurants, and shoreside bars, you can also save during your cruise when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks.

Passengers can bring their own beverages onto their cruise to save money. Different cruise lines have different “Bring Your Own Beverages” policies, but the guidelines are typically the same. Cruisers can bring a pack of sodas, sparkling water, energy drinks, milk, and other non-alcoholic drinks as long as they are in cans or cartons (no glass or plastic bottles!).

Typically, cruise lines require that beverages be included in carry-on luggage, and guests who are of drinking age can bring an unopened bottle of wine onboard. If you want to bring beer or liquor with you, you’re out of luck – those drinks have to be purchased after boarding for most cruises!

Bonus Tip: Watch Out for Prohibited Items –Before you get to the cruise terminal, make sure that nothing illegal is in your luggage. This includes weapons (like knives and firearms), drugs, candles, hot plates, and perishable foods. You can check with your cruise line ahead of time about what exactly they don’t allow onboard their ships so you’re well prepared before getting there!

board later to board faster

If you’re not in a hurry to get onto the ship, we suggest boarding later to avoid the crowds and the big lines. Because most people are rushing to get onto the ship as early as possible, the rush dies down during later boarding times. An afternoon boarding time can actually save you the hassle and stress of a busy embarkation!

cruise ship in port canaveral

Take Advantage of different cruise lengths

Did you know that long and short cruise lengths have distinct atmospheres? Cruise lines offer different styles of on-board activities, but different lengths also bring something new to guests!

If you’re interested in a cruise that has plenty of younger crowds and high-energy moments, then a short cruise is better for you. Why? Less expensive, short cruises attract a rowdier crowd (especially during vacation months). For those looking for a laidback, relaxed experience, you’re looking to spend a week or longer on a NCL or Royal Caribbean ship. 

family on the beach in bahamas
pineapple on the beach wearing sunglasses

SPend Less with Off-site cruise parking

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out when you get to your cruise parking garage: On-site parking is expensive. While parking at the port can be convenient (sometimes), it’s never affordable. At Port Canaveral, parking directly at the cruise ship terminal means paying at least $17 per day.

So, what’s the alternative? Save those extra dollars for souvenirs and park at an off-site cruise parking lot like Port Canaveral Parking. Not only is off-site parking easier (no more port traffic!), it is nearly half the price and offers a more personal experience with friendly staff and easy drop-off. Plus, it’s even more secure! 

Planning a Cruise?

We hope that these five tips will make your first cruise a breeze, with easy sailing and easier savings. From parking to boarding to beverages, we’ve covered a little bit of everything in this blog. Stay tuned for more great tips from Port Canaveral’s cruising experts – or check out our other blogs to read more cruise news and guides right now!

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