If you’re seeking a journey of discovery, setting sail on the divine blue seas or fascinating iceberg filled waters on a luxurious home at sea, our cruise sales specialist, Denise, is ready to tell you about all things cruising.

Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a long-time lover of the unique holiday experience, Denise has 20 years of cruise experience to help you learn more, offering tips and tricks to prepare you for your next remarkable cruise.

Are all cruises all-inclusive?

Most luxury cruises are all-inclusive. Generally, all cruises do include full-board meals. Be reassured that as a rule, you’ll have breakfast, lunch and dinner included in your cruise package. Plus, as a bare minimum on a cruise, you can expect some tea, coffee, and juices throughout the day.

The higher level the cruise ship, the more inclusive it becomes. Considering this, the extra’s on a higher-level cruise could be a premium drinks package, gratuities, excursions and even speciality dining. There are many inclusions that you can get with an ultra-luxury cruise.

What should I pack for my cruise?

What you need to take with you varies from what parts of the world you’re travelling to. Of course, climates will be different everywhere you go, but there are four must-bring items that you should pack in your suitcase for every cruise:

A rain mac and an umbrella. You never know what the weather is going to do wherever you’re going. Even if you travel to the Caribbean in March, you may still be caught in a tropical rainfall!

Binoculars. This is a must! They’re great for carrying with you to look out over the breathtaking sea other ships. Perhaps you might want them to spot the animals such as sea birds and marine life including the whales breaching the surface.

A small fleece cardigan. Even in the glorious Caribbean, the nights can get quite chilly at sea. Take this layer of warmth to wrap around yourself when you’re on the deck of an evening, watching a movie or sipping on your favourite drink watching the reflection of the moon bounce on the waves.

Are there any dress codes for the evening?

This is one of the most asked questions about cruises, and it’s a question that Denise loves to answer because it is simple: it’s all about you!

Clients tend to ask ‘what will the dress code be?’ and ‘what should I wear for dinner in the evening?’. Well, the answer to that is, on an ultra-luxury cruise, you wear what you feel the most comfortable in.

If you want to wear a sequin dress to dinner at night, absolutely! If you want to wear a nice evening casual dress, that’s perfect, too! The idea is what you feel comfortable wearing.

Think about what you would wear if you were going out for dinner at home, perhaps to a nice fancy restaurant. It’s no different on a cruise, so just think about the same dress code.

For the gentlemen, if you’re concerned about dress code, our advice would be to wear a pair of chinos, perhaps a short sleeve shirt with a smart linen jacket. An easy enough outfit and you can dress smart or casual, however you feel the most comfortable.

Where do I park if I’m sailing from the UK?

If you’re driving to the port terminal to board your cruise that is leaving from the UK, you can park your car directly in the official terminal parking. For your cruise, you’ll be advised to park here, as it is the safest place to leave your car. Official port authorities will be running and managing the car park right the way through your cruise journey.

Official terminal car parks that you can park in are:

• Southampton

• Liverpool

• Newcastle

• Leith

What safety measures are there?

Ships are built to such a high safety standard that it’s now one of the safest ways to travel. Of course, like on any cruise ship, you’ll have an onboard muster drill, which is an important and mandatory drill that takes place before the cruise can even set sail. The cruise will not be allowed to set sail until everyone on the ship, whether that’s 300 or 3000 people, has been checked off the list for signing the drill. Muster drills can be mundane but very important that you attend.

Muster drills can vary from ship to ship. For example, quite amazingly on expedition cruises, they will offer equipment and information for surviving on the ice if anything happens to the ship. If the unthinkable was to happen, you’ll be sent to shore with your personal floatation suit and a personal survival kit that will keep you alive for 24 hours. Included in the kit are food packs, water, and a tent that you can put up on the ice.

There are some ships that allow the muster drill to be taken online, or you can watch it on TV in your suite. Others, you’ll have to attend where the lifeboat is and stand with your life jacket on the deck as the drill is taking place.

The captain will also give announcement as to all of the strict requirements onboard such as no smoking as well as any other safety requirements you’ll need to know.

What should I do if I get seasick on a cruise?

It’s important to be prepared for your cruise ship, so be sure to pack some sea sickness tablets in your case. You can usually judge by the size of the ship and where you’ll be cruising to as to whether or not you’ll suffer with a bout of sickness. If the water is rough where you’ll be sailing, then there is a higher chance of sea sickness. However, if you take your tablets, it hopefully shouldn’t have any impact on your voyage at all.

All cruise ships have stabilisers which is a feature that also helps with sea sickness. You can also opt for your suite or cabin to be in a better location on the ship to eradicate the most movement – midship is best!

Can I cruise in a responsible way?

Every form of travel has some kind of impact on the environment, but it’s important that we all continue to travel. Exploring the world enriches our lives, and it’s a way for us to make memories with our families and friends. Plus, we can be further educated on other cultures, which is a crucial part of our lives. The essential part of responsible travel that we play is to reduce our carbon footprint whilst we’re travelling.

Cruise lines are already taking big steps to become a responsible way of travel. For example, by 2050, all European ports are to offer ship-to-shore power, with all new cruise ships having this technology built into them.

All ships are now cutting down on single use plastics on board and modern ships come with their own water producing facility. Explora journeys have incorporated their own personal touch to help support sustainability. In their suites, they place a hand-sewn pillow that reads ‘no need to change my bedding’ for cruisers to help and play their part in reducing the carbon footprint.

Can I use my mobile phone while at sea?

You do have to be very careful if you’re using your mobile phone, especially when you’re at sea and you’re disconnected from 4G or 5G. If you find your mobile phone pops up with ‘cellular at sea’ or ‘maritime at sea’, these can be very expensive charges, so we recommend that you purchase the Wi-Fi packages on board and switch off your data.

All cruise ships have Wi-Fi that you can access. However, the newer the ship is, the better the Wi-Fi connection will be. If you’re sailing with on an older ship, it could possibly drop out or not work in certain areas. Starlink Wi-Fi is now being rolled out on a lot of modern ships now, and it’s so good that it can sometimes be better than Wi-Fi at home.

What can I do aboard the ship?

There is so much you can do to fill your days during your cruise. You can do as much or as little as you like! As an example, you might find that on a typical sea day, you’ll wake at around 6am, just in time for the sunrise. This is the perfect time to enjoy some refreshing morning yoga on the top deck with sensational views of the sun peaking over the horizon.

Find some new recipes and kitchen skills by attending a culinary school on board. Enjoy a fascinating cookery lesson and then meet the head chef of the cruise who will teach you how to cook on board.

Perhaps you’re seeking peace and tranquillity during your cruise, so be sure to indulge in a soothing treatment from the Thalasso spa or take a dip in the tempting therapy pools. When you’re not taking advantage of the salt rooms and relaxing treatments, be sure to take a dance lesson to learn anything from line dancing to salsa.

Also, enrichment programmes will be on board to teach you about the destinations you’re visiting. You can even join lectures on board that will explain to you all about the ancient Greek ruins you might be about to visit the next day!

Of an evening, there is a whole other host of activities to enjoy. You can watch theatrical performances in theatre, dance and listen to live music or even take part in quizzes on board. When the stars are lighting up the deck, be sure to take out your blanket and watch a movie with your loved ones.

Will my cruise ship have a gym?

Cruise ships have some of the best gyms, especially the more modern ships. Gyms are becoming bigger on cruise ships because it’s what all of us want now! To help promote a healthier lifestyle, the gyms are equipped with all equipment you could want from rowing machines to treadmills, plus you can join the classes that run from morning to night by training professionals.

Cruises also have outdoor gyms for you to soak in the views of sweeping ocean during your work out. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze whilst exercising on the cycle machines on the deck.

What is a cruise and stay holiday?

A cruise and stay holiday is as it says on the tin. You have the option to combine the cruise, as it sounds, with a stay on land. Opt for a stay before or after your cruise, where your options to explore are endless. Perhaps enjoy a visit to Iguazu Falls in South America, hop on the Bullet Train in Japan or taken a wildlife tour in Australia.

How do I choose a cruise line that’s right for me?

Choosing which cruise line to cruise with can come down to a number of different factors, depending on where you want to cruise and what kind of cruise you want. You might be seeking big all singing and dancing ship with full west end shows happening in the evening.

On the other hand, you might want a smaller yacht-type ship where you can sit in the tranquillity of the deck of the evening and just relax, listening to the soothing sounds of the water.

When searching for the right cruise for you, you’ll need to take into account what you want aboard the ship and what style of cruise you want as well as the part of the world you want to travel to.

Cruise line best for couples?

There is a wealth of ultra luxury cruise lines that are excellent for your couple’s cruise. You tend to find that there are less children for couple’s cruises, perfect for relaxing in communal areas. Regent Seven Seas, Seabourne and Silversea are amongst those that are perfect for your cruise.

What is the best cruise for honeymoon?

Seabourn cruise line is fantastic for honeymooners! You can enjoy unique experiences that are just unforgettable, including a barbecue party, a unique moment for honeymooners to add a little bit of icing on the cake.

Best for families?

Explora Journeys, a brand-new cruise line in 2023, are welcoming families in the luxury market. The ship has a hang out zone on board, featuring a pool table, foosball, PlayStation and plenty of pools to accommodate children and adults only for soothing moments. Plus, children can enjoy their favourite meals from the full children’s menu.

Cruise lines like regent seven seas have youth mariner programmes, science programmes, and educational lectures throughout the parts of the world such as Alaska.

Best food experience?

Oceania Cruises is renowned for having the finest cuisine at sea. Denise, our cruise specialist can attest to it after travelling with a lot of others. You can eat at one of the renowned restaurants on board one night and say it’s your favourite, then another restaurant the next night and think that one is your favourite.

Will a cruise cater to my dietary requirements?

The best cruise lines for healthy living and alternate diets can be Explora Journeys and Windstar, who have a whole vegan menu.

Where should I start for my first cruise?

Best cruise line for first timers is Explora journeys. They have truly come into the modern age of cruising and it has been said for years that the age of cruisers is coming down and cruising is becoming more modern. However, with Explora Journeys, you realise how true this is. They have such a new and modern outlook on everything not just the cruise itself, and they are trying to steer away from the stigma of the main dining room for dinner by incorporating all-speciality dining restaurants.

They are also keeping numbers to a minimum on shore excursions so that you’re not being hauled around on an excursion but also the programmes on board for people who practice healthy living and don’t drink alcohol. Instead of bars, they have a soda club on board. They have many different features that have bought them into the modern age of cruising and a first time cruiser would be blown away by Explorer Journeys.

Would you recommend a cruise for a solo traveller?

Luxury cruise ships have singles specials throughout the year. On certain voyages it could be that there are zero single supplements, and they are the ones to look out for.

Reduce supplements could be as low as 25% or 50%, so make sure you have to watch out for the single offers whilst on board. Many cruise ships have single programmes where the solo travellers can meet in the evening and mingle or have dinner together – there are plenty of activities and social aspects for solo travellers to partake in.

How do cruise ships cater to guests with limited mobility?

Cruises are well equipped to deal with passengers with mobility issues and have accessible suites with adapted bathrooms and much more. Some ships also have seats for the swimming pool to allow those with mobility issues to be lifted in and out of the pool.

However, you might need to be aware that there are some vessels, perhaps the smaller sailing vessels, that are not as equipped. Because they are smaller, they don’t have lifts available on board. If you’re a person with mobility issues, this might be something to keep in mind when looking for your cruise holiday.

Which cruise lines has the most unique experiences?

Cruise lines have some amazing experiences, whether you’re on the ship or ashore. At sea, you can enjoy a magical experience sitting out on deck under the stars and watching a movie on the big screen, elevated with popcorn, hot chocolate and a blanket to curb the breeze.

SeaDream Yacht Club also have a very unique experience where you can sleep on a cabana daybed to camp out under the stars overnight. The bed is made up of quilts and an abundance of pillows, and adding an extra level to the comfort is the attentive staff, waiting in the morning with coffee and breakfast. You can enjoy a lazy morning in the bed with unpolluted views of the sunrise.

Aboard Seabourne, you have access to an evening at Ephesus. Closed to the rest of the public, you can enjoy an exclusive classical concert and champagne reception - a very unique experience!

A final example is AmaWaterways invitation to a palace. Enjoy a hosted champagne reception and concert for an amazingly unique experience that you can do on cruises that you can’t on any other type of holiday.

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