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Out There: My First Time Cruising

first time cruising

We know because we’ve been: “Out There” is a series of inspiring travel spotlights from AAA Travel advisors and employees.

Have you thought about going on a cruise but don’t know what to expect or how to prepare? I’m here for you. I’m Tabitha, an associate marketing specialist at AAA Northeast, and I recently set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas from New Jersey to the Bahamas. My first time cruising, I was a bit nervous to venture out on the high seas, but later found it to be one of the most incredible, awe-inspiring ways to see the world.

To help others new to cruising, I’ve outlined my initial reactions and first-time cruise tips.

To learn more about cruising and start planning your next trip, reach out to a AAA travel advisor.

Easy and stress-free check-in.

Unlike checking in for a flight, I found the cruising check-in process to be simple and straightforward. There’s no need to set a 24-hour alarm on your phone the day before or stress about getting to the terminal four hours early.

In the weeks prior to embarking, I filled out all the necessary information on the Royal Caribbean website (passport #, health questions, check-in time, etc.), and when I arrived at the terminal all I had to do was show my boarding pass and walk on the ship.

Pack a sweater. Or two.

No matter your destination or the time of year, be sure to pack something warm to wear while exploring the ship decks. The wind can get powerful on certain parts of the ship, especially the upper decks, so always keep something cozy on hand.

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No, that’s not a skyscraper in the distance. It’s your ship!

I’ll never forget my first encounter with the Oasis of the Seas. When I arrived at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, the sheer size of one of the largest ships in the world took me by surprise. The skyscraper I thought I was looking at was actually my home for the next seven days! You’ve got to see it to believe it.

Worried about seasickness? Don’t be.

Since this was my first time cruising, I wasn’t sure if I’d get seasick. However, my worries were quickly dispelled when I climbed aboard and realized how massive the ship is. When you’re sailing on such a large vessel you can feel it move but it’s not like a scene in a pirate movie. The best way I can describe the motion is like sitting on a train moving on railway tracks – soft and subtle, but not stationary.

first time cruising

Cruises = fun for the whole family.

My most prominent first impression of cruising is that it’s a great trip for families. One of the hassles of traveling with family or in a larger group is the issue of deciding where to go, what to eat and how to get there. A cruise takes all the hassle out of those decisions! With the Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean center for kids and multiple dining and entertainment options, everyone in the family can do what they want, when they want.

The views are out of this world.

On my first night at sea, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the most amazing sunsets of my life. A sunset at sea is unlike anything I’d experienced on land, since there were no obstructions. It was just the sea and the sun. I stood at the stern of the ship and oohed and aahed at the breathtaking sight ahead of me. One of the best first-time cruise tips I can give is to go to the outer decks for jaw-dropping views. Just be sure to remember your sweater!

The Oasis of the Seas was the perfect ship for my first cruise. It introduced me to the world of cruising and gave me unforgettable travel memories. My first cruise won’t be my last!

Learn how you can save on a seven-night cruise with Royal Caribbean.

Have any other questions or looking for more first-time cruise tips? Ask us in the comments below.


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