First time cruising is exciting yet it requires patience and a lot of research to make the most out of your planned cruise. The cruise ship is packed with a lot of goodies from activities for children to the activities that old people want to engage themselves into. It is only right that when going on a cruise for the first time you should be able to make the most out of your money.
First time cruising is tricky. Here are some of the things that you need to prepare for.
Pre-cruise Studies: Always research about the cruise ship and the trip itself. Everything else that you need should have been pre-arranged from the cabins you’ll be sleeping in to the food that you’ll dine.
Don’t double tip: When paying for your trip you have already been charged about 10-15% for every meal that you will be having. It is really not that necessary to give tips.
When it rains pack right: When traveling on a cruise ship, it is always a must to be prepared with clothes and other stuff that you can wear when it rains. You can’t always be so sure that the weather forecast is right. Sometimes there are sudden splashes of rain and you don’t want your travel experience to be ruined just because you were soaked in the rain.
Stay slim amidst the all-you-can-eat buffet: Remember that all of these are paid for. If you wish to stay slim despite the huge amount that you paid for then that’s completely your discretion. In case you really want to enjoy that sumptuous feast, here’s what you can do. Instead of taking the elevator when roaming around the ship, why not try taking the stairs for a change. This is to ensure that you’ll burn those calories just right.
Design a Ship Tour for Embarkation Day: You don’t want to waste your time and energy sitting on a cabin while waiting for your ship to arrive at the pier. You can explore the ship. Take a map of the whole ship. You can use the map provided after you book for that cruise. Look at the main areas that you will be going like your cabin, the dining area, and other parts of the ship where passengers are allowed to explore.
Here is an overview of cruise vacations for first time cruisers.
Many first-timers are confused about what’s included in your cruise price. As a general rule, meals, snacks, onboard activities and entertainment are included in the stateroom prices. Here’s some great news that might surprise you: even room service is included! Beverages such as water, juice, tea and coffee are typically included, as well. Other beverages, such as those from the bar – soda, beer, wine and cocktails – are an additional cost. You’ll also have to pay extra for babysitting, salon and spa services, gambling and purchases from the gift shop. Fortunately, all these expenses are charged to your room, alleviating the worry of carrying cash everywhere onboard.
There are other activities that you’ll have to budget for, namely, shore excursions. There are many options available, from simply shopping forays to extensive guided tours. Most cruise lines have specialists that can help you book your offshore activities. It’s typically wise to utilize this service, as the cruise experts have loads of experience and know which companies are reputable, and which to avoid. Many activities book up quickly, so plan ahead. It’s also a good idea to book spa and salon appointments well in advance.
Many cruise lines factor gratuities into your final bill when the cruise ends. Others leave this amount up to you. If you’re in charge of the tip, follow this rule of thumb: $3 per person, per day for your cabin steward, busboy and cabin steward. All gratuities should be paid in cash when the cruise comes to an end. When it comes to bar beverages, you’ll have to pay at the time of service. Your servers are there for one reason: to serve you and make sure you have the best cruise experience ever. Treat them well.
Nothing says great food like a cruise. Everybody knows that cruises are notorious for exceptionally delicious cuisine and abundant dining options. Buffets, niche restaurants with high-end specialties, elegant dining rooms, cozy room service, on-the-go snack bars – they’re all yours. Try them all! Room service is usually available 24 hours a day while other options have limited hours, some serving late into the night or early in the morning. Main dining hall times frequently begin around 6:30 p.m. and permit seating through 8:30 p.m. Submit your preferred times in advance whenever possible.
Special dietary needs? No problem. Cruise lines employ top chefs who are well-versed in all kinds of dietary specialties. Vegetarian, kosher and low-fat diets being the most common special needs, these dishes are abundantly available. More specialized needs can easily be accommodated, as well. Be sure to consult your vacation cruise specialist in advance and speak to them about your dietary restrictions. That way, you can be sure to secure a perfect culinary experience.
Not sure what to pack? You’re not alone. Most cruises are seaside-casual during the day, and more formal at night. When packing formal attire, men can’t go wrong with a nice, dark suit. Ladies: pack your lovely cocktail dresses. Make sure all your fabrics are appropriate for the climate in which you’re sailing.
Check with your vacation expert to determine the level of formality aboard your ship. Some lines are far more formal than others, and require tuxedos and gowns. Don’t have a tux? Check to see if rentals are available on board. Many offer this amenity. If dressing up isn’t your thing, don’t worry; most every cruise line offers exclusively casual dining options.
If you’re a water person, don’t forget to pack plenty of swimwear. Those who bring only one or two bathing suits will likely have to buy more onboard. The same goes for basic toiletries.
Afraid you might fall prey to the dreaded motion sickness? If you’ve suffered from motion sickness before, there’s a strong chance it could happen again. Some people don’t realize they’re prone to motion sickness until the ship departs. By that time, there’s no turning back, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Though all modern ships have top-notch stabilizers to reduce excess movement, it’s a great idea to bring along medication or other remedies if you’re concerned you might get seasick. Also, stick to the lower decks, as you’re more likely to feel motion at higher levels.
Today, cruises have Wi-Fi so Internet connection wouldn’t really be that much of a problem. Instead of wallowing yourself in your social media accounts, you can go around and look for other activities that are going on at the various stations inside the ship. It will let you see how beautiful the ship is. You will also get to experience a lot of amazing activities happening while in the cruise.
Don’t forget to enjoy and try to document every piece of that memory for keepsakes. It is always good to have something that you could look back into for years. Those memories of your first time in a cruise will be rooted in your heart and mind always.
Survival China Travel Tips and Tricks
These China Travel Tips, Survival Techniques, will help you get around and make your trip to China easier, so you will be able to experience the real China with a little less stress.
China is an odd beast that needs to be respected; the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, all have their own personalities.
Some complex situations that you think would be an organizational disaster turn out to be great and you wonder afterward what all the fuss and worry was about. Then the simplest of tasks can turn out to be a major calamity.
This is when you have what we call here a “China day”.
These days come and go and are part of the experience of everyday travel in China. One needs to have an open mind when travelling China. It is a place with thousands of years of history and culture that is trying overnight to adapt to Western ways of living.
You need to have a very open mind when you Travel in China.
I have listed below a few China Travel Tips that will make life that wee bit more bearable on your Travel China experience.
China Travel Tips – Be Toilet Wise
o Never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time.
o Be prepared; Carry some tissue.
o You may have to use a squat toilet, again if you know this before hand it is not a shock. If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, try the following experiment at home.
While holding onto something for support with both hands, lower your body down into a low squat position, so that the cheeks of your bottom is almost touching your heels or the back of your calf. Now, let go with your hands. See if you stay in this position for at least 1 minute. If you fall backwards or you cannot get up, then a squat toilet could be a problem for you! Practice, you will be happy you did.
o If you see a clean toilet, Go… it may not come again for a while.
o There are many public toilets around the cities, usually the ones you pay for are OK, (RMB .5), the others best to stay away from if you can. You will soon notice them as you walk around the cities.
o Be warned that public areas like bus and train stations are usually what I class as “tough toilets”, however if gotta go you gotta go.
o Outside of the major cities, the toilet systems are old or have very narrow plumbing /pipes and get blocked easily. In these cases a small basket is usually beside the toilet, this is for your used toilet paper.
One of the best China Travel toilet Tips I can give you, is use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are always clean. Still they may not always have toilet paper. It depends on the class of hotel that you are using.
I do not wish to scare you. However, of all the China Travel Tips in all the other web sites I have read, this is a topic not often mentioned, but it is very important to us all.
So outside of the major cities conditions can be tough. But most of the time everything will be fine, especially if you book a tour; everything will have been checked out before hand. However even the best laid plans can go wrong, so be prepared, the toilets in the smaller cities, towns and villages can be scary.
China Travel Tips – The Food
o The food is great and the variety is overwhelming. Most of the time you get to choose what you eat, or you can recognize what you’re eating, however sometimes you do not get a choice. Carry a chocolate bar or something; this will keep you going until some food that you can recognize turns up. Drink bottled or boiled water, as the tap water is NOT safe to drink, this is for the whole of China. Even boiled water, while sterilised can contain a lot of minerals and iron deposits that you probably do not want in your system. The safest bet is to drink bottle water. Tap water in most big cities is OK for brushing teeth.
o Eating habits – Most Chinese people have a great habit of being very noisy when they eat and lunch and dinner times can be a wonderfully noisy celebration, food tends to go in all directions, its just part of being in China.
o People also smoke at the table while everyone is eating, so some restaurants get very loud and smoky.
o If you get stuck what to order as most of the menu’s are in Chinese just look at the table next to you and point to the dish you fancy and ask how much it is, this system works really well and know seems to mind.
o I have a basic menu that will help you order safe food, (no Cats or Dog) this will enable you to visit a larger selection of restaurants, not just the tourist ones with high prices. You can carry it with you and use it in the local restaurants where most will be able to serve what is on it. This way you will know what you are eating.
These local places are very cheap and the food it great. Contact me if you would like me to send it to you.
China Travel Tips – Taxis
o China Travel Tips- Taxis – Taxis are an experience that can have you griping the seat and gasping for breath; however you soon get used to it, after the first few rides, you’re an old hand.
o The taxis in Shanghai are, overall, quite good. Try to get the Blue, Blue’ish Turquoise, Gold and White taxis, these are the best… these are the four major taxi companies and are generally recognised by their single colour paintwork. The others are OK, just older and a rougher ride (the others also may have faulty metres). No drivers will speak English.
o Carry your hotel or accommodation business card with you, written in Chinese, this helps if you get lost walking around town.
o In all the taxis around the country you will see the drivers name and taxi registration number in plain sight. If you have any problem, or if you think you have been over charged etc, just take this number down, make a big fuss about it, and the driver then should wake up and fix whatever problem you have. Even better is to take the receipt. This has all the trip details on it and you can ring the taxi company if you want to take things further or if you’ve left something in the taxi.
o The government takes rip-off drivers in all cities, Beijing and Xian especially, very seriously and if you complain they will lose their license. This is their livelihood. So far I have had not one driver in 3 years that has not backed down and we have then agreed a price for the trip or solved our problem.
o In Shanghai, it is common practice for taxi fare increases after 11pm. However, one can usually bargain for a 20% discount, which will get the fare back to the pre-11pm rate.
Be strong with the taxi drivers, never-the-less, keep your cool, smile and negotiate.
China Travel Tips – Shopping
o China Travel Tips – Shopping – China is a shopper’s paradise, Markets, Bargains; Top labels… anything and everything if you have the time. With clothes, the larger (Western) sizes can be quite hard to find, however in the major cities where you get a lot of tourist traffic, you can find them.
o Electrical gear, DVD’s, Cameras, stuff like this is not worth buying in China, Hong Kong is still the best place for this.
o Store hours in the major cities are from 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
o Visa card is still the best card to carry, with ATM’s in good supply all with PLUS access etc.
There is usually a surcharge for use of VISA, MasterCard or other forms of credit card.
o Wait on purchasing if you can, look around to get a feel for the prices. The Chinese are VERY experienced at selling and know that we halve the opening price when bargaining.
In the markets go for 25% of what they first ask; go so low that they let you walk away. This will give you an idea of the bottom price. The resulting end-price will probably be around 40% to 50% of where they started.
Whatever the market people say, they are used to pushing and haggling for best prices. Do not worry about being too hard, they are used to it and will not sell you an item unless they make a profit. Don’t be concerned with the apparently hurt body language when you go low – it is all part of the game. As soon as they have wrapped up your first purchase, they will try to sell you something more. Remember to keep smiling and having fun while bargaining.
China Travel Tips – Medical Treatment and Records
o Most hotels will have a doctor that you can see. In the major hotels English will be spoken.
o Always take a small first aid kit, cold remedy, headache tablets at the very least. WATSONS is a very large chain chemist. Most of the remedies, tablets etc, that you may require should be in these shops. These shops are all over China.
o There is a great network of pharmacy type shops; these are indicated by a Green Cross. There will always be a 24 hr Green Cross pharmacy in the city you are in. It is handy to carry a Phase book, as no one will speak English, however you will end up with something that will help.
o INPORTANT POINT – for most of the mass produced packet type medicines, the packaging will be written in Chinese on one side, English on the other. However in the shops you only see the Chinese side. Have a good look, turn the packs over, it gives you a lot more confidence knowing you can read the package.
o If you have a specific medical issue, take records, most of the Doctors will have OK written / reading English, even though their oral English will be poor.
China Travel Tips – Telephone
o Using the phone is as easy as at home. However the person picking it up will not speak English or have very broken English… the Major 4- or 5-Star Hotels will all be OK.
o What is worth doing is buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card, they are about RMB100 and with this you get RMB50 in calls, the other 50 is for the price of the SIM card; this SIM card will go into all major brand phones and work OK.
By doing this, people can reach you within and out of China if there is an emergency. If you have a couple of phones, you can short (txt) message each other (SMS). Also you are able to call your tourist guide, hotel etc if you have any major problems. It is a cheap way to keep in touch.
NB.Before you buy a Chinese SIM card, check that it will work in your Cell / Mobile phone. There are plenty of China Telecom shops that can help.
China Travel Tips on when NOT to move around China.
o Spring Festival, this would be the Chinese New Year time, around the end of January / Early February
o Early May; Labour day Holidays
o Early October; National Day Holidays
Of all the China Travel Tips National Day is the biggest one. Millions of Chinese travel at these holiday times of the year. Most are travelling back to home towns or visiting family. Hotels, trains, planes, cars, buses, and roads are all crowded to the maximum. Major congestion, everywhere.
Also travel fares are at their full price. No discounts are offered!
Stay in one place and enjoy where you are. It’s best and causes fewer hassles.
China Travel Tips – TV
o If you want to watch TV, most of the major hotels will have cable and if you are in the smaller places, the national channel, CCTV9 is in English. Over the last couple of years it has got a lot better, with some great China Travel Tips programs, news and views on people and places around China.
China Travel Tips – Airport Tax
o There is a “construction fee” at almost all airports.
Domestic flights RMB 50
International flights RMB 90 – which is to be paid in local currency.
Just recently, tickets are being tissued with the Construction Tax included; however make sure you have the Tax money with you just to make sure.
I hope some of these China Travel Tips will come in handy and will make your trip to China that little bit easier.