Never been on a ship before? Here's what teens need to know and can expect.
So you've just heard the news: You're going on a cruise!! You've never been on one before, so your initial reaction is excitement and joy. But you soon realize you know nothing about cruises -- like what goes on and how to prepare. So here's the Official Guide for the First-Time Teen Cruiser, where you'll find everything you need to know.
What Do I Bring? It is a few days before your cruise, and you're sitting in your room staring at an open suitcase. What should you put in it?
If you're going somewhere warm, bring a week's worth (not every ship has a Laundromat) of shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, and flip-flops/sandals. Don't forget a bathing suit or two for pool and beach days. Just in case your ship's interior spaces are really cold from air-conditioning, bring a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt.
For port calls, make sure you dress appropriately for what you'll be doing. If you're just hitting the beach, a bathing suit, cover-up, and sandals is all you need. But if you're doing any sort of walking tour, wear sneakers or other sturdier footwear (if not, you'll learn the hard and blister-filled way).
Shorts and tees are fine for daytime, but in the evening hours, most lines require you to get a little more dressed up. Depending on which cruise line you're traveling on, the dinner-time dress code varies.
On normal, casual dinner nights, cruisers are expected to look decent and presentable. Shorts and flip-flops are usually not allowed in the formal dining rooms. For girls, skirts, dress pants, and sundresses are perfectly acceptable. Bring enough tops for every night, but fewer bottoms (to save room in your suitcase) that you can switch up with different tops. Guys seem to have it easier, since they tend to wear the traditional khaki or nicer pants and either a button-up or polo shirt.
Most lines have one or two formal nights, when everybody can become as glamorous as they want! For many girls, formal nights can be compared to homecoming dances and proms. Some not only bring their fancy prom dresses, but also get their hair and nails done at the ship's spa. Guys, once again, don't seem to have as many options in what they wear on formal nights. The traditional formal wear for guys is dress pants and a sports coat. The really brave ones will wear tuxes, but that's not for everybody.
Once you've packed your clothes, which usually take up most of your suitcase, start thinking of the (small!) things you can't live without. Make sure to bring essential electronics such as iPods, cameras, video cameras, and cell phones (and don't forget accessories like chargers and memory cards). Toiletries and other personal care products are usually provided on board, but usually people want to use their own. If you forget your toothbrush, don't freak out. There is usually a gift shop onboard where you can find these things. But if it's something specific and expensive, like a hair straightener, chances are you won't find it in the gift shop.
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