One teen shares his best strategy for preparing for your cruise
So your family has finally booked a cruise and you've started the countdown. What should you do, and what should you ask yourself, to prepare for your trip?
Once you reach 30 days before departure, you might feel as if time has come to a complete stop! With all the excitement and even stress that builds up in you while the time before your cruise dwindles down, some basic advice might help you become more relaxed and ready to enjoy your trip. In this article, I will give you some tips to make the final countdown faster, and the answers to some common pre-cruise questions faced by many teens.
- Study your future surroundings in advance. Scour the Internet and check out the Cruisemates.com "Photo Galleries" for a sneak peek of your ship. Some websites will even let you take a 360-degree virtual tour of the ship you are sailing on. This can help you find your way around the ship more easily during the first few days of the cruise, and gives you a chance to explore some public areas -- or you could be like me, and let it all be a surprise once you board.
- Make countdowns! If you know how many days are left until your cruise, it can help you get pumped up about the whole experience. Get yourself excited over the little things, like when you receive pre-departure information from the cruise line; or even better, your cruise tickets. Many teens use the weeks before departure to go shopping for new clothes so they can look their best on formal nights and at the ship's clubs and discos.
- How much money should I bring? This is something that you'll have to answer for yourself, based on your personal budget. I usually bring around $25-$50 per day for the cruise, but then again, I'm not the biggest shopper. I usually spend my money on excursions, maybe a hat and drinks. However, if you are someone who tends to spend a lot, bring along some extra cash. Don't try to restrict yourself too much; remember, you're on vacation -- live a little!
- I leave in 30 days and I haven't met anyone from my cruise online yet! Don't worry; hundreds of other teens who will be sailing on your cruise are probably worrying about the same thing. Keep in mind that not everyone posts on Cruisemates.com's "Meet Me on Board" area, where people with upcoming cruises can look for others who will be on the same ship and same sailing date. I always worry in advance about meeting people, but it always works out once you're on board the ship. Go to the teen club the first night; it doesn't mean you're obligated to do everything via the club, but it provides a good place for you to meet people.
- But I'm shy! It's OK if you are shy -- just don't be stubborn. Some people who are shy don't even bother trying to meet people. So don't just sit in your cabin -- get out and walk around the ship! I have met other teens in any number of random places, from cabin hallways to elevators. Chances are if you see a pack of teens, someone will approach you and ask you where you are from and stuff like that -- so don't hide!
- What else should I bring? I always bring a digital camera to take pictures, and my MP3 player. I live in Florida, so we usually drive to all our ports; I load some songs onto my iPod and chill for the ride there. Don't bring things that you know you won't use -- like a video camera, a laptop computer or your homework. Chances are it will just sit in your room. Since space is limited, while you are packing, ask yourself if you see yourself using it at all this week.