Preparing For Your First Cruise

Anytime you go on vacation, it's an exciting time. When the vacation is a cruise to an exotic locale, such as the Bahamas, it can be even more exhilarating. If you've never taken a cruise before, however, it's important to know what to expect so you can get the very best out of your holiday. Here's what you need to know to prepare for your trip.

What Clothing Should You Bring?

You will want to consult the cruise line's itinerary to help you determine what to pack. Some of the dining options on a cruise ship will have a dress code, requiring formal attire. Most cruise ships also have special black-tie affairs, where men wear suits or even a tuxedo, and women wear a long evening gown. These gala events give everyone the chance to see and be seen in their very best, so if you don't want to feel out of place, be sure to pack a few fashion-forward items.

In addition to dress clothes, you will want clothing that is suitable for the cruise as well as your final destination. Even if you are traveling to a warm tropical island, such as the Bahamas, the weather can be unpredictable while you're on the water. For example, rather than leaving for the Bahamas from a port in Florida, northerners or those who want a longer cruise usually opt to leave from Baltimore, Maryland, instead. Depending on the time of year you depart, you may need to pack for three seasons to allow for the temperature fluctuations as you head further south. In the Bahamas, January is the coolest month, with temperatures ranging from 60–70 Fahrenheit, and July is the rainiest month.  

Slacks, shorts, polos, dresses, light sweaters, a windbreaker, and a raincoat are all items to consider. Of course, you will need a couple of bathing suits or swim trunks and a cover-up. Don't forget a hat or two, either, to protect you from the sun. Be sure to check with the cruise line for any specific dress codes they may have; many recommend business casual in addition to your dressier clothing. 

Don't Forget Your Important Documents!

It is absolutely imperative you have a valid photo identification card, your passport, and your birth certificate. Be sure to make copies of these documents as well. Be sure to safely secure them; these items will be needed to prove you are who you say you are or in the event of an emergency.

Is Sea Sickness A Concern?

Modern cruise ships aren't usually a problem for most people, but it's wise to bring a non-drowsy formula motion sickness medicine along, especially if you are prone to getting car sick. If you are concerned, book your cabin on one of the higher decks, in the middle of the ship as this will be the most stable.

Once you're all set, plan your cruise, and cruise Freeport, Bahamas, or other fun locations.