Quick Tips for First-Time Cruisers

If going on a cruise is something you’ve wanted to do for weeks, months, or even years, but you don’t know where to start, don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered! Here are quick tips to help you navigate your first cruise adventure.

1. Find a cruise that excites you.
Whether it’s Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean or another destination calling your name, we have plenty of destinations to choose from. Consider when and where you want your voyage to begin, and then explore itineraries from there.

2. Make the most of cruise deals and special offers.
From free balcony upgrades to Onboard Credit, there may be something to help you make a great vacation even greater. Whether you’re planning ahead or looking for last-minute cruise deals, we look forward to welcoming you aboard.

3. Book shore excursions early.
From fishing and wildlife encounters in Alaska to hot springs in Iceland and horseback riding in Half Moon Cay, you’re sure to find the perfect excursion as you explore destinations and ports of call. Capacity is limited for many activities, so book early.

4. Ensure you have necessary travel documents (e.g., passports).
All guests must have required identification to board and disembark throughout the voyage. If you arrive without it, you may not board the ship and you won’t be entitled to a refund. For smooth sailing, make sure you review and comply with all identification requirements.

5. Pack for your voyage.
From passports and medications to your favorite flip-flops, packing your essentials is an important part of cruise preparation. Remember your checked baggage won’t be available at all times, so keep essentials in a carry-on bag. That includes medications and identification documents.

Also, check out the weather forecast for your trip to ensure you bring attire that will help you stay cool or warm, based on your destination. Though casual attire is appropriate during the day, evening attire for the dining room (or table service restaurants) may include dresses and slacks (not shorts and jeans). Learn more

6. Download the Navigator app.
Watch these how-to videos for information about Holland America Line’s Navigator app, your essential cruise companion. Using this free mobile-friendly tool, you can personalize your cruise experience once you’re on the ship by planning your daily activities, browsing and purchasing available shore excursions, viewing restaurant menus, making dining reservations, checking your account balance and more.

7. Consider arriving a day early.
Whether you live near the departure port or require air travel to get there, arriving the day before embarkation may put your mind at ease knowing you’re just a few miles and hours away from having the time of your life.

8. Explore the ship.
Revel in spacious staterooms, breathe in expansive views and relax in easy elegance. Though you can learn more about your ship before you cruise, there’s nothing like exploring it in person. After you complete the required short safety drill on your first day, take a self-guided tour of the ship. This will help you become familiar with your home away from home for the duration of your trip.

9. Kick back and relax.
Grab a good book. Find a tasty drink or treat. Book a massage at our Greenhouse Spa & Salon.® Whatever helps you get into vacation mode, once you’re settled onboard, you can take a deep breath and begin making unforgettable memories.

10. Enjoy future cruise benefits as a member of our Mariner Society®
They say all good things must come to an end, but who said you can’t do it again? When you cruise with Holland America Line, you’re automatically enrolled in our Mariner Society®. As a member, you earn Cruise Day credits for every day you cruise and for each purchase you make onboard. All Mariners receive benefits starting with their second cruise.

Travel is our tradition, and now it can be yours, too.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions or contact a Personal Cruise Consultant.


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