If you’re not careful, you could easily live your whole life without going anywhere. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Not everyone wants to travel, or has the means to afford a long-haul international trip. You don’t need to accumulate passport stamps to have a fulfilling life, but if it’s something you’ve been dreaming of, we’re here to help make it happen.
Desire to Travel for the First Time
A recent Forbes study surveying US citizens found that 40% of those polled had never left the country, and over half have never owned a passport. This does not, however, signal an apathy toward travel. 76% of respondents expressed a desire to travel more than they do, and nearly 60% said they even had a list of places they’d like to visit. What explains the gap between wanting to travel and actually doing it? According to the survey, it’s mostly a feeling of unpreparedness, and a fear of the unknown.
Planning to Travel for Your First Cruise
Travelers might have trouble understanding why their friends have never been out of the country. Traveling overseas is addicting, but traveling for the first time can be daunting. There are flights to book, hotels to arrange, itineraries to piece together, and financial hurdles to overcome. The sheer mountain of preparation can be enough to make even the most determined would-be travelers throw up their hands, say “maybe next year,” and hit a local amusement park instead. But international travel doesn’t have to be overwhelming for first timers.
We’re not here to convince you why you should plan to travel. There’s a whole motivational poster industry for that, and of course, your friends’ Instagram feeds. You need to decide for yourself that you’re ready to challenge your comfort zone, see new cultures, and meet new people. But once you do, we’re here to help you set sail with your first cruise.
A cruise is the perfect entry-level international trip
Some people love the logistics of travel, then there are those who need help to plan their next cruise. Those who love traveling, get a thrill from browsing hotel options, analyzing train timetables, booking daily excursions, and Google Mapping every alleyway ahead of their trip. For other people, travel logistics provoke an anxiety attack. This is especially true for first timers who have never traveled abroad before, even to go on a Bahamas Cruise from Miami. It’s not that they don’t want to travel, they just don’t want to put in countless hours of work figuring out an itinerary, transportation, and passport requirements. They’d rather push a button and fall through a trapdoor into an all-inclusive experience, without having to lift a finger.
Call us crazy, but we’re the first type of person – the type that loves travel logistics. We’ve done all the work for you. So if you’ve never been out of the country before, don’t worry. We have. Our cruises allow Sailors to live out their international travel fantasies with none of the work and all of the exploration (and minus the trapdoor).
“[It was] the first time I was able to go through the onboard process in less than 10 minutes for any cruise,” said Carol Thompson, a Sailor on Scarlet Lady. “It was fast – they had all the information, your packages were pre-arranged. Once on board, our room was ready; our bags arrived 10 minutes later.”
Indeed, a cruise is basically an all-inclusive resort on the water. Once you step aboard, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is which free restaurant to dine at each night and when to hit the nightclub. With food, nonalcoholic drinks, nightly shows, group workouts, and gratuities included, you can devote more mental energy to the important stuff – like applying enough sunscreen.
And once you do set foot on foreign soil? You still don’t have to lift a finger. Our Shore Things are guided land experiences led by local experts, which allow you to explore another country with peace of mind. Whether it's ATVing through the Mexican jungle or swimming with stingrays in the Bahamas, you’ll be picked up near the dock, brought to your Shore Thing, and conveniently dropped off back at the ship. No trains, taxis, or rental cars necessary.
Be in the 50% of people with a passport
The best part of traveling internationally by sea? Skipping airport passport control. That’s right. No answering a barrage of “why are you in my country?” questions from a surly customs agent. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t need a passport. Whenever you travel to another country – whether by cruise, plane, or hot air balloon – you’ll need a passport. We ask our Sailors to have a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after the voyage. We even recommend this for cruises that don’t leave your home country, just in case of (highly unlikely) emergency evacuation.
The good news? You don’t have to bring it with you when you leave the ship. This isn’t like a self-guided jaunt through Europe, where you’re constantly touching your back pocket to make sure a thief hasn’t lifted your passport. We’ve already navigated the immigration red tape, so you don’t have to. Just leave your passport safely in your cabin, disembark, head to your Shore Thing, and don’t worry about anything except having an absolute blast. We do recommend bringing an ID – a driver’s license or citizenship card – just so you have a form of identification while ashore.
First Time Cruise Questions
Just because cruising is straightforward, it doesn’t mean you won’t have questions – especially if you’re a first timer. As huge fans of asking stupid questions, we assure you that all cruising questions are valid. That’s why we’ve compiled a FAQ list that’s particularly helpful for first time cruisers who want info on everything under the sun – from a rundown of our included amenities to how to book a tattoo appointment.