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Your new nautical suitcases are packed. You’ve handpicked a wardrobe themed around every possible scenario, including The Jaunty Deckside Stroll, The Intimate Dinner and Impossibly Glamorous Lounging By the Poolside. You’ve made a packing list, read around your destination ports and triple-checked your cabin’s location. But for even the most enthusiastic traveler who has seen a number of places by boat on a cruise, here are ten things to expect that you may not be expecting…


Ten Unexpected Things You’ll Experience On a Cruise


You’ll gain weight

Cruise ship dining is, for the most part, one big revolving waltz around the buffet table, and all the attendant temptations it holds. Make peace with this early on, and do some extra pre-trip cardio, if you must, or avail yourself of the many calorie-blasting activities on board!


You’ll turn down drinks

When you first step on board the liner, many cruise lines will offer you a drink. If this is served in a souvenir glass, there will be an additional charge. Politely decline; there will be plenty of chances to indulge in your favorite tipple in the ship’s bar.


There will be a drill

Nobody likes safety drills, but they’re perhaps the most important activity you can undertake on your trip. Grin and bear your practice evacuation, and you’ll soon be back in your cabin reading your paperback.


You will need small change

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your cabin with a baggage handler to realize you haven’t a dime to demonstrate your gratitude. Before boarding, change some notes up, and keep them safe for your last night, when you’ll probably want to tip your cabin steward and waiter, too.


You will make lifelong friends

It’s perfectly acceptable to keep yourself to yourself on a cruise, but often, cruise ships kindle the most surprising and enduring friendships among co-passengers. Who knows, you might meet your new BFF in the casino, or find a pen pal at dinner.


You’ll hardly spend any time in your cabin

For 24 hours of every day on board, a cruise ship is abuzz with activity. From morning gym visits to late night DJs, there’s always something going on to tempt you out of your cabin!


Excursions will be fleeting

There’s only so much that can be seen of a city like Rome or Istanbul in eight hours, so plan your excursion about what you want to see, don’t feel pressured to participate in planned tours.


You’ll need to escape the crowds

The pool, deck and buffet can swiftly become swamped by like-minded passengers. Seek out the quiet spaces; invest in a spa pass, locate the library or retreat to your cabin every so often.


Staying in touch will be pricey

With costly cell phone roaming, and by-the-moment internet charges, be prepared to disconnect for a while. When you do need to update your loved ones on your trip, opt for email; it’s rapid, concise, and can be composed in your own time so you don’t forget a single detail.


You’ll have an incredible experience

So many first time cruisers are swept of their feet by the convenience, service and adventure inherent in the culture of taking off on a voyage on a cruise ship. You may be approaching your first cruise with trepidation, but it’s a safe bet if you are you can only expect to be pleasantly surprised.


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