Going on a cruise for the first time?
The very first time going on a cruise is a totally new concept-world-experience. I think experienced cruisers agree with us. Our first cruise was in 2004 and it was because of a special occasion; our Honeymoon. For us as Europeans, cruising was not so common in those days. And what was a better romantic continuing story of your marriage than going on a cruise!
When you book your cruise it is a different price concept than booking your flight & hotel holiday (all-inclusive concept). Or like us dutchies; we like camping! Rent a mobilhome or tent in Europe and drive to it by car, or even have your own mobilhome behind your car. Just pay for your campsite and that's it!
Booking a cruise means you not only paying for your room but also gratuities and portdues. Additonal costs are drinking packages and shore excursions, etc...
IIt's up to you if you want to book it in advance or later on the ship, but if you book in advance it saves you money and time onboard. And time is precious!!
12,5 years later it was time to celebrate again and we booked a cruise again. This time it was with our kids 7 and 11 years old. We booked directly at MSC Netherlands
Why MSC Cruises? They have several options for embarkations ports, child friendly and cost friendly. You only pay portdues for the children. And MSC Cruises speaks several languages such as English, Italian, Spanish and German.
This is always (not just on your first cruise, believe me 😁) a special moment. Whom of your family will spot the cruiseship first and is it as huge as in your expectations?
Yes it is!!!!!
It depends a little at wich departure port you are but most of the time, the check-in goes smoothly. You get your board pass, they take a picture of you and they register it with your board pass. You need this all the time when you go on and off board. When you travel with kids the boarding passes have extra restrictions. In our case we noticed that when they left the cruiseship before us, security signals went on.
What also is totally different on cruiseships comparing to other holidays: your luggage. When you arrive close to your ship, the first thing you have to do is bring your luggage to special pick up areas. It is always marked, you can't miss it. You leave it there and you have to labeltag all your luggage beforehand. You will see your luggage again in the gangway next to your cabindoor. (Or if you booked more luxurious, you will find it in your cabin 😉)
Let the cruise begin
When you are all settled, just enjoy your cruise. Don't miss your first sailing away. Go outside and watch how the ship set sail. Every cruiseline makes a special moment of it. Music, lights, Ship horn...... (I remember watching the "love boat" on television, it is a bit like that moment, but trendy not old-fashioned 😁)
And when your at sea, just go with the flow! Make sure you explore the whole ship (Click here to see more pictures taken by us of the MSC Fantasia). MSC cruises leaves a journal in your cabin where you can see what you can do on the ship and also what time you will arrive and depart from the next destination.
The next morning when you wake up, you are in a complete new country/city! Sometimes the Cruiseship goes for anchor. You go with tenderboats ashore. If you have booked your excursion with MSC self than everything is arranged. They tell you exactly what to do and where to go to at what time. If you make your own plans, you need a ticket for your tenderboat. It's free but this is how they manage to get all the passengers smooth ashore. Off course there exceptions if you are a Yachtclub guest, Gold or Black member (loyalty program of MSC). You have better times, no waiting lines, etc.... But hey you are on a holiday no stress! See our exploring gallery for more photo impressions.
In the journal you can also read what dresscode it is at that evening/night. It depends on the length of your cruise but at a 7 day cruise you have two elegant, two informal, two theme and one casual evening. The themes could be a white party, 70's party etc..
Most of the people follow the dress code, so be prepared. And it is fun because what is also a particular cruise holiday thing is posing for professional Cruise Photographers. Especially the sparkling Swarovski stairs in the atrium of the ship is your special photo moment! You definitely want pictures taken here!
Unfortunately the day comes you have to leave the ship. The night before you leave the ship, you put your luggage again in the gangway. When you disembark at the time wich correspont with the color of your new luggage tag you will find your luggage organised by color back ashore. That's why you need to be precise at those timetables.
You immediately want to book a next cruise! That is what happenend to us. After the first cruise with the kids with the MSC Fantasia in 2017, we went on the MSC Fantasia again in 2018. Last year we were on the MSC Meraviglia and also on the MSC Grandiosa. And this year is already booked: MSC Divina & MSC Splendida.
In our next blogs I will tell you more about these specific Cruiseships. Please if you like this blog than give it a like and if you want to stay updated, follow us here and on Instagram. Thank you!
Greetings from us, Cruisingisexploring