Travel-Plans Oct 07, 2023

Cruise tips to make your very first cruise truly unforgettable

Adults at the table

Get ready to embark on your first cruise by reviewing our important cruise tips that will make your first voyage fun, enjoyable, and memorable, even if you've never cruised before. We’ll be able to get you on your way, from figuring out what to pack in your luggage for your first cruise, to where you want to cruise to, where to book your cabin, and activities to do onboard and shore excursions on your first cruise to make a memorable vacation!

 1. Gather Your Travel Documents

Before you figure out where you want to go on your first cruise, it’s important to make sure that you have the travel documents necessary for your cruise. You can upload your passport to the Virgin Voyages mobile app when checking in after you've booked your cruise.

Depending on where you'd like to travel to on your first cruise, you’ll want to find out the necessary travel documents you’ll need to board the cruise ship on embarkation day, and possibly if you need any documentation to get back onto the ship if and when you go on a shore excursion while at a port of call.

2. Research Vacation Spots, and how many days you want to cruise

For planning your first cruise, do you want relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both? If you want a beach vacation, find destinations that will cater to your needs, such as our private Bimini Beach on a cruise to the Bahamas. With over 100 destinations you’re sure to find one that fits your budget and vacation vibes.

3. Finding Cruise Deals

For your first cruise, you’ll want to search for “deals for first cruise” to find the best time for booking your cruise. Don’t spend too much time shopping around, because cruise deals tend to come and go very quickly, so lock in your discounted rate as soon as you can. If you miss a cruise deal on our website, don’t worry, sign up for our cruise deal email alerts to catch the next promotion.

4. Find your Perfect Cabin Room, and Book Your Cruise

Once you know where you ‘d like to take your first cruise vacation, it’s time to choose the right cabin. If you’re cruising solo, you may want to go with a single person cabin. Regardless there are plenty of cabins to choose from, consider your preference when deciding on cabin type: do you want an inside cabin, one with oceanview, do you want a balcony, do you want upgraded VIP services that come with booking a suite?

Virgin Voyages cruise ship cabins are exclusive super-yacht inspired designed to optimize space and views. With our new cruise ships, your cabin will be decked out with gorgeously-designed furnishings and lighting to match your mood!

5. Embrace the delicious uncertainty of the unknown.

Whatever your cruise itinerary, you’re going to sea on the best cruises for adults. Beyond borders and away from your every day, a voyage on our lady ships is a journey as much into yourself as it is to breathtaking destinations around the world. Think about it—you’ve literally and figuratively left it all behind.

Fresh air and fresh opportunities await. So, be open to discovering a new favorite dish, like Pink Agave’s “Hoja Santa” with quesillo de oaxaca, root beer leaf, salsa macha, and pineapple, or The Wake’s salt-crusted dorade fish, expertly finished table-side with caper lemon butter sauce. On your first cruise, be the one who starts a champagne toast around the bonfire at The Beach Club at Bimini. Bounce super high in bungee fitness class even though you’ve never tried it before. Share secrets with seven incredible new friends you met in a vineyard just that day, as the coast of Sardinia slips into the horizon. 

The ocean humbles and inspires, relaxes and invigorates. You may encounter a new you out there. Be open to it.

6. Consider Travel Insurance

Speaking of the unkown, since this will be your first cruise, anything can happen, so it may be best to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy, you never know how it will come in handy.

7. Pack what makes you feel extraordinary — the best version of you, for your first cruise.

So your dream getaway is booked and now it’s time to consider what things to pack for your cruise. Pack essential items, like medications and travel documents, in your carry-on bag to have immediate access. Aside from the usual, tried-and-true essentials (sandals, SPF, sunglasses, etc) — our most important cruise tip is to dress in outfits that make you feel, well, you.

You should be comfortable; there’s no such thing as a dress code on board our cruise ships, we just ask that you wear outfits that make you feel amazing, even at our PJ Party, and for Scarlet Night! That being said, vacation is an opportunity to take risks, so if you feel like digging deep into your closet for those looks that might normally be a little ‘extra’ for your daily life, go for it, because “normal” isn’t a thing beyond the dock, especially on adults only cruise ships.

Think looks that sparkle under the stars, keep you cool in dazzling sunshine, and cause double-takes as you sip a double espresso. Need more inspiration? We’re talking flowing fabrics that billow in the breeze when you’re touring the castillos of San Juan. Satin and silk PJ sets to slip into for champagne toasts during a sunset sail away from Costa Maya. That linen guayabera shirt you impulsively bought on Calle Ocho in Miami? 100 percent necessary. And the swimsuit you wouldn’t dare wear back at home? It’s time. 

But the one cruise outfit idea you absolutely cannot forget: something scarlet, for our inimitable Scarlet Night party that happens throughout the ship one evening on every voyage. To see what we mean, you’ll have to experience it yourself, but trust that there’s never been a more perfect opportunity to show off your authentic style.

8. Download the Virgin Voyages Mobile App

Once you’ve booked your first cruise, download the Virgin Voyages mobile application. Our mobile application is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. Once downloaded, access the itinerary for your first cruise, check in, and manage your cruise all from the palm of your hand. You’ll also be able to check in ahead of time, reserve dinner at various restaurants, connect with other sailors, sign up for activities and shows and a whole lot more!

Do cruise ships have WiFi? Well, our lady ships certainly do have (free!) WiFi, but they also have an incredible and intuitive app that’s your key to crafting your perfect vacation before you even come aboard. 

Once you’re sailing, the app shifts into serving as something like your personal assistant at sea. Indispensable and always available, it’s the digital destination for every day’s activities…and a shortcut to getting Champagne delivered. Just shake your phone to reveal a (sparkly) secret. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

9. Board on Time - Arrive a day or two ahead of your departure day

One of the most important tips for a first time cruise outside of gathering your travel documents is to ensure that you board the cruise ship on time to start your vacation. In order to kick start things, plan to be in the port city you’ll be sailing out of at least one day ahead of embarkation. Whether you’re driving to the port, taking a train, or flying in make sure to plan to be there one day before. On the day of boarding, ensure to show up at the cruise terminal 2-3 hours before boarding time.

Also, research any additional pre-boarding requirements to ensure you board the cruise ship for your first cruise on time.

10. Head to the Terminal, Board the Ship, and Enjoy Your Journey

Although you may not have expectations, we’ve gone out of our way to provide onboard entertainment, activities, and services tailor made to make your first cruise one you’ll never forget. So have fun, don’t forget to take pictures and post to Facebook, and/or Instagram, take advantage of our free WiFi service, and savior the moments while you enjoy your first cruise!

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