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7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your First Cruise Vacation

As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.

Booking your first cruise can be massively exciting, especially if you have been waiting to go on one for a long time. There are many choices of where to go and what time to travel.

There is so much information out there around this that it can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. I will not add to that, however, I will add my insights through this little cheat sheet of things to do when you get on the ship

1. Chill by the Pools

Pretty much a given, I know, but when you're on a cruise, it is a must do. Whether you're working on your tan or you're just chilling on a lounge, make sure you do it at least once.

Tip: Take advantage of the 18+ sections if you want time away from the kids.

Tip: The old hats on board the cruise ship will try to get in early to score the best spots on board, so be prepared to stake out your favourite spot.

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2. Work Off All the Bacon and Treats

When you are standing in front of a server who is happy to send all the bacon your way, it is pretty much impossible to say no. It would be rude not to take advantage of all the yummy treats on offer. But, that means it's even more important to burn off all those extra calories. If hitting the gym isn't your style, it can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

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3. Nom, Nom, Nom, Nom

Time for a second breakfast and maybe a third lunch. One thing cruise ships have plenty of is food.

Plenty of choices are also available depending on which cruise line you go with. You may find yourself just going to the buffets, but you really must try the specialty restaurants as you can be treated to some amazing foods and experiences within them. I would also suggest going to the main dining room as you will find the service there impeccable and most of them will give you that 'I'm dining on a cruise ship' eureka moment.

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4. Drinks All 'Round

When you go on a cruise, you must have a drink with an umbrella! It doesn't matter if you are not a drinker (try those mocktails), the drinks are one of the nicest parts of being looked after on a cruise.

Keep an eye out for drinks packages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well, as they are a great way of keeping control of your costs.

P.S. Just because you have a drinks package doesn't mean you have to drink your weight in alcohol every day. Try to build in some booze-free days, and don't forget that everyone else is there trying to enjoy themselves, so try not to ruin their trip by being an idiot.

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5. Rest and Revitalise

Do we not all deserve a little pampering my good people? Yes, we do! Make sure you book in for a massage or some kind of treatment. Even the boys are catered for with a good massage to work out those knots from your shoulders to being able to have a good close shave ready for formal night.

The ladies might also want to take up the opportunity to get a facial or pedicure as well, why not? you deserve it, girls! Check out if your ship has a sauna too. The perfect way to detox after a few too many Piña-Coladas.

Tip: Watch out for port day offers as you can save a pretty penny if you get in quick when the rest of the folks off the ship at ports.

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6. Let Us Entertain You

As the curtains rise, the anticipation builds. It is time for you to be entertained.

This is probably my favourite part of cruises; you come back onto the ship after a long day at port and get to take in one of the shows. Every one I have been to has been amazing to watch, and some of these performers are truly talented. Shows vary from the Broadway-type stuff to the more illusions and even a bit of hypnotism. So pick your poison—you are guaranteed to be entertained.

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7. Get Jiggy With It

Dance like nobody is watching! If you don't get a little crazy whilst on your cruise, then you are missing out. At least once, you need to take part in one of the competitions, challenges or trivia events that cruise ships put on for ya'll.

Battle of the sexes is a fun one, or the belly flop competitions are pretty fun, if not a little mentally scarring or just let your hair down at one of the many dance parties that are on offer.

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© 2018 Paddy Michelson