It’s your first cruise and you don’t know what to expect. First of all, expect to have a great time!

I know before our first cruise we had a lot of questions. We had know idea what to expect when getting to the port, getting on board, stopping at the ports, etc.

Most cruise lines, dare I say all, will have a way for you to do much of your paperwork online. Yes, you may have some things to print, but it saves lots of time for you at the port. Fill out those papers online. Your travel advisor will be able to help you if you have any questions.

You may also want to book excursions (either from the cruise line or another vendor). If you want to select specialty dining or drink packages, many times you can do that online. Also, making specialty dining reservations, some entertainment and activity reservations, and spa reservations can also be made before you go. Some of the popular things may not be available after boarding. But if you missed it, don’t worry, there will be plenty to do.

Be sure to get that paperwork printed (sometimes you must even print out your luggage tags) and your passports and any visas needed (or your government id if not using a passport – be sure to know if you need one), travel insurance information, etc. to go with you. Put these necessary items in your one of your carry-on bags. If you are flying, you may want to consider if you want to put the cruise luggage tags on after landing.

Be sure to check on the dress code, too. Some cruise lines have formal or semi-formal nights. While there are other venues you don’t have to follow the formal dress, know ahead of time so you can be prepared.

To be continued…