If you have never gone on a trip on a cruise line, there are a lot of things you should know to prepare yourself for this kind of a trip. You will need to understand that cruise lines have their own requirements and that you will need to know what they are. You want to be able to enjoy your trip and be able to come home with wonderful stories and memories to share with others.
First thing you want to do is to make sure that you find the right cruise deal that suits you. You want to make sure that if it's your very first time that you make it a shorter cruise than if you were someone with experience. You should probably keep it to a maximum of five days. This still gives you plenty of time to get the real taste of being on a cruise and it will also save you a lot of money on your first trip. If you happen to live on the West Coast, a really good one is a cruise on the Mexican Riviera, which is beautiful and quite affordable.
Once you have found what cruise you would like to join you should book it as soon as possible. Consider booking what is called a “Guaranteed Cabin”. This is a cabin the cruise line picks for you and it's usually cheaper this way. It may not be one of the more luxurious cabins, but you won't be spending much time in it anyway so it shouldn't matter.
You need to arrive at the ship at least 2 or 3 hours before departure and make sure that you read all of the requirements for the kinds of documents that they expect you to have upon boarding. Make sure you have all of your identification, passports and anything else they may have listed you bring with you. If there is even one item missing, they simply will not let you get on board.
Generally a ship allows boarding to begin around 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and you can expect to leave your port at around 5:00 pm or shortly after. You will need to check in with all of your documents and then give your luggage to the porter and you will be allowed to board the ship. You should look for your cabin before you do anything else. Don't worry about your luggage, a porter will deliver it to your cabin later.
After you have found your cabin, unpacked your belongings, you should get out of the cabin and begin exploring the ship. Find out where everything is, find out where and when the meals are. Most ships offer a variety of places to eat such as buffets, formal dinning and of course individual specialty restaurants. The choice is up to you how and where you want to dine during your cruise. Make sure to take plenty of time your first day on board to get to know the ship.
Make sure to wear clothes that is going to be appropriate for the different ports of call that you will be stopping at. Also make sure you look into a variety of different tours that are offered at the port of call and not through the ship. Their prices will be far more expensive than the ones you can find at the port of call.
Make sure to take advantage of all the free entertainment that is on the ship. You paid for it with the price of your fare so don't let it go by without you checking it out and enjoying every bit of it. You'll be given a booklet that will give you a list of all the events and entertainment that will be going on so make sure to look it over and pick out what you want to do and do it.
Note: Don't be surprised when you jump into the pool. Many cruise lines fill their pools with clean sea water and not regular water. The Jacuzzi's however, usually will be supplied with fresh water. Another thing, even if you don't think you will get sea sick it is always a good idea to bring along some sea sick pills.