This spring break I went on my first cruise to the Bahamas with a group of friends. Worried I would get sea sick, I packed motion sickness medicine and read up on cruises. I read everything from our cruise ship’s website to what to pack to what first time cruiser’s need to know, and here’s the information that I wish I’d known.
Sign up for excursions early.
This seems like a no brainer, but my group waited until the day before we docked in CocoCay to purchase excursion packages and most of them were sold out. As someone who likes to plan ahead, I was really disappointed.
You can sign up for excursions months in advance or wait until you get on the ship. I recommend signing up as soon as you have the money saved for it.
This point is important for life in general. Things don’t always work out. My group settled for snorkeling in CocoCay only to wake up the next day unable to tender to the island due to wave conditions. We spent our beach day stuck at sea.
The art auctions are long.
I went to two art auctions on the trip, partially because I’d never been to one before and partially because they were doing raffles. If you go to an art auction on a cruise, be prepared to sit there for at least two hours. You could always leave early, but some of the best raffles aren’t until the end.
There’s a fair amount of raffles, prizes, and free stuff.
On the cruise my group won a t-shirt, a spa voucher, and a free bottle of champagne. Plus I went to a liquor tasting, received free champagne at the art auction, and received free mimosas.
Alcoholic drinks are expensive, and the drink plans aren’t always worth it.
While drinks at a bar on land can be expensive, drinks on a cruise ship are much more pricey. Budget money for alcohol.
The odds at the casino are decent.
Of course the house always has the upper hand at the casino, but if you play casino games that aren’t the slot machines, you have a decent chance at making money. This could be because the more money you win at the casino, the more money you have to buy drinks at the bar.
Don’t look out the window at the moving ocean.
If you’re worried about getting motion sickness while on the ship, don’t look out the window. I did this at dinner the first night and felt off balance for an hour.
You might be sitting with strangers at dinner.
My group of four was paired up with a couple from New York for dinner. It was a great way to meet new people, but it also made dinner a little awkward.
Bring motion sickness medicine.
You may not think you need it, but you could face some rough seas. Our last night on the ship was very rough. We couldn’t escape or ignore the constant motion and everyone ended up feeling slightly nauseous.
If you’re thinking about going on a cruise, I highly recommend it at least once. It’s a fun experience and there are a ton of different cruise ships that travel to a ton of different places. It’s a great spring break trip that can fit a college student budget.