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Top 5 Frequently Asked Cruise Questions Answered

You’ve got questions, GoGirlfriend has answers!

If you’ve never cruised before – and you’re considering it for a vacation now – you likely have a lot of questions. Sailing on the open waters on a ship with (potentially) thousands of people has its benefits – and challenges. And almost everything about a cruise is different from an all-inclusive resort vacation, from how it’s priced to meal times and plans to excursions.

Top 5 Cruise FAQ'sBefore we answer your cruising questions, let’s be honest. Cruise vacations are not for everyone. If you like lounging on the beach – to the exclusion of everything else – skip the cruise. If crowds, waiting in line or touring with complete strangers makes you uncomfortable, skip the cruise. But if you like exploring new countries and traveling while you sleep, welcome home.

1. Is cruising for all age groups?

When I was growing up, cruising was the go-to vacation for the newly wed and nearly dead, hence the popularity of The Love Boat and its propensity for cross-generational love affairs. Today, thanks to thousands of cruise lines, you can find a cruise for every generation and every lifestyle. Waterparks, children and teen programs, art, exercise and even career-focused classes, not to mention the discos and clubs and dining options – there’s literally a cruise for everyone. What’s more, you can choose how long you cruise as well, from a short 3-night jaunt to a luxurious 2-week vacation to months around the world.

2. I don’t understand tipping on a cruise – it all seems very complicated!

Is tipping the same as a meal?Tipping on a cruise is no different than tipping at a restaurant – but all cruises are different. Some suggest a daily tipping schedule that’s given at the end of a cruise while others add it automatically into the price. Some separate bar tipping (and add a gratuity with each drink ordered) and others leave up to your discretion.

Before you leave home, read the online information of your chosen cruise line. If their tipping suggestions are not crystal clear, don’t be nervous about asking the concierge when you arrive – it’s an honest question and they’ll appreciate that you want to get this right.

When I cruise, I follow the protocol of the cruise line but I also tip individual servers and housekeepers daily. In most cases, these people are away from their homes and families for months at a time and I appreciate their friendly service and attention during my vacation. A tip is the perfect way for me to show my appreciation.

3. Can cruising be a healthy vacation?

The food, oh the food, on a cruise vacation can be a blessing and a curse. You’ll have your choice of a smorgasbord of tastes any hour, day or night. And if you have dietary restrictions, no problem – vegetarians and meatatarians, vegans and gluten-free, won’t go hungry. The trick is what you choose – a healthy salad to start your meal isn’t going to undo your three dessert choices at the end of it. The choice is up to you.

If willpower’s an issue, try building in exercise to counterbalance all your mealtime sinning. Avoid elevators and only take the stairs – even if your cabin is on the 17th deck and dining on the 5th – it’s amazing how those flights add up over the course of a day. Walking around the deck, exercise classes and active excursions will also help wear off some of those oh-so-delicious-cruise-calories.

4. Can you have a cultural experience on a cruise?

excursions are a great add-onWhen I cruise, I look at the ship I’m on as a floating hotel. Sure, there’s lots to do onboard, from skating rinks to wall climbing to parking yourself on a deck chair overlooking the pool – but ships, like hotels, are designed to appeal to the masses. Translation – not a lot of cultural anything going on. I will agree that some of the fine dining restaurants onboard can be an engaging way to spend an evening, but that depends on the cruise line and the ship in particular. But getting off the ship at each port is where the magic happens. In my humble opinion.

When I cruise, I look for itineraries with daily stops. Whether it’s a 1-week Caribbean cruise or a decadent 2-week Mediterranean cruise, I want to enjoy the places I visit. And while it’s only a 1-day stop, there’s always enough time to get off the ship and explore just enough to whet my appetite for a future visit.

5. Will I get seasick on my cruise?

Getting seasick was my biggest concern before my first cruise and, if I’d listened to all the naysayers out there, I would have gotten a patch from my doctor before I left and been a prisoner to it the entire cruise. And it’s uncomfortable side effects.

will I get seasick?If you’ve never cruised before, a better strategy is to wait and see – with plan B in your back pocket.

  • Get a cabin with a balcony – fresh air and a clear view of the horizon can do wonders.
  • If you find you’re nauseous in closed spaces, take your meals on deck instead of in a stuffy dining room.
  • If your seasickness is uncomfortable enough that it’s interfering with the enjoyment of your cruise, try one of these seasickness remedies – especially the angostura bitters – from CruiseDiva.com.

If you’re new to cruising, it’s normal to have lots of questions and your travel agent can help you with many of them – asking your friends on social media is another great way to get frontline answers. And, for the most part, there are no dumb questions – except for these ones on ShipMateApp.com.

Ready to cruise? Me too! See you on the high seas!

Love to travel as much as we do? We’d love to hear your cruise vacation stories. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let’s talk!

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