13 Things I wish I knew before going on my first cruise #SeasTheDay

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13 Things I wish I knew before my first cruise

It is no surprise to me that this is the 3rd largest cruise ship in the world. This was my first ever experience on a cruise and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I just showed up and learned it as I went. It was an amazing experience! However, I know I could have had even more fun with just a few tips. I hope these help you when you go on your next cruise.

This post is part of a cruise I took that was sponsored by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. All opinions are my own.

Liberty of the Seas Royal Promanade

1. Tour the ship

After you arrive and find your room, take an hour to just walk around the entire ship. Since the Liberty of the Seas is such a gigantic ship, I feel like failing to do this immediately left me confused and lost most of the time. Cruise ships are exciting places, full of the energy of thousands of happy people! But it is vital for you to understand where things are. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time!

the map

2. Take time to find all maps and arrows

Sadly, sitting here at home, I know there are maps I still can’t read and directions I failed to utilize. It wasn’t until the 2nd day of the cruise that I finally learned how to use their super helpful touch-screen map! So when you first arrive and tour the ship, use the map, learn how to read it, and follow the street signs. They have arrows and directions everywhere.

3. Buy the water package

I should have studied each available drink package before arriving and purchased before. When I arrived, I was so tired from traveling, I didn’t make the best decision. For $45 per day I bought the “Soda Package” – it included a cup I could refill with water or soda anywhere I went. It also included beer and wine (less than $8 per glass). Turns out, the $20 per day package includes bottled water, coffee and more (no alcohol though). If you are planning a cruise on Royal Caribbean, read this page and choose your package wisely. My $45 package did not include coffees either. The $20 a day one is probably the one I will choose next time.


4. Purchase an Excursion

The money I could have saved by purchasing the water package would have paid for an excursion. I ended up going shopping in our port and then relaxing on a very quiet ship. This was perfectly fine with me since I partied a bit too much the night before. However, I after reading about the excursions my friends had, I am feeling slightly jealous. One of them swam with the dolphins, another group of friends explored the caves and forests of Mexico. Another thing I would have loved to do is tour the Mayan ruins!

Fine Dining

5. Enjoy the fine dining

There is a free buffet for all meals in the Windjammer cafe. And while this was very convenient and the dress code didn’t matter, the food there doesn’t even hold a candle to the food in the finer restaurants. Plus, you can’t beat the feeling of being served. Part of the beauty of a cruise is being waited on hand and foot. So experience it and enjoy it.

live shows on royal caribbean

6. Enjoy the live shows

What other time will I be able to see a new live show every single night? Don’t miss a single one! The cast is super talented and the shows are worth every minute.

Morning TV

7. Turn on your TV

This is something I had no clue about until I arrived home and my friends told me! Apparently, the cruise ship broadcasts a morning show every single morning that informs cruisers about all the activities of the day. And there I was, messaging my friends and trying to figure out what to do every day. The TV isn’t like a hotel TV, it has a purpose, turn it on.


8. Read your Compass

Every single night when your bed is maid and room is cleaned, they leave a Cruise Compass. This compass contains a complete schedule of events the next day as well as other very important information including where to eat, hours of different activities and stores and discount codes for the spa – and more.

9. Enjoy the nightlife

Now this, I did plenty. But I do wish I had explored more of a variety of what the ship offered at night. I basically hung out with my friends in the Catacombs night club every night. But I have heard fun things about the different sing-along piano bars, karaoke booths and the casino. The cruise is too short not to at least visit everything once.

10. Use sunscreen

Seriously? Why did I think, even for a second, I wouldn’t burn? Chalk this up to my own stupidity. Even if you want to “tan,” wear the sunscreen.

ocean sunset

11. Buy a balcony room

This was worth it! There is nothing like watching the sun set over the ocean every night! I’m partly an introvert and the bustling, high-energy ship wore me out. It was beyond magical to be able to sit on my balcony and listen to the lapping of the ocean against the boat. There is not a single experience like it.

12. Bring medicine

I don’t get air or car sick, so I didn’t think I’d get sea sick. Bring something anyways! I was so lucky that my friends bought medicine I could borrow. The constant rocking of the boat really does screw with your equilibrium. I started to get headaches and felt queasy around dinner time. Also, bring some kind of pain medicine just in case you experience a headache or – in my case – sunburned feet.

13. Book your room using the same last name as your passport

This is very important. My passport is in my maiden name. I wanted to save money and not renew it before my trip. So I thought I’d just bring my marriage certificate to verify my name change. This entire ordeal held up my check-in process. There were two stops before I could board the ship. The first one the officer asked me if the man behind me was my husband, I had to reply I was traveling alone. Then the 2nd employee did the same thing. Then, they had a difficult time reading my marriage certificate and finding my new name.

Basically, if you book in your maiden name, they see your passport and the name on your reservation match and they push you right on through.

Written by:: Annie

Annie Shultz has written 2054 post in this blog.

She is THE Mama Dweeb 🙂 She created this blog back in 2009 and loves to inspire and connect with others through her writing. She also loves talking, dreaming, 90s pop and country music.


  1. says

    I am so glad I got to meet you in person!! You’re so much fun! I bought the $20 package and I’m so glad I did! I loved waking up and having a non-alcoholic daiquiri EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    Hope I get to see you again soon!!

    • says

      I really wish I had studied the packages and bought that one! I really didn’t need the beer and wine that came with the $45 one.
      I am SO GLAD I met you too! I am looking forward to when we can do it again!

  2. says

    Excellent tips! I’ve only ever been on one cruise, on a much smaller ship, but my husband and I intend to go one one next year for our 10th anniversary. A lot of these tips I had no idea about. I’m pinning so I can refer to this later.

  3. says

    I think the most shocking is the cost of the drinks. WOW. I guess I assumed cruises were like all-inclusive resorts where all that stuff was included. Very good info to know!

    • says

      These are “extra” drinks. Your water and tea is included at meal time. But these drink packages are for things like soda, coffee, alcohol any time day or night. But yes, this cruise is definitely different from an all inclusive resort.

  4. says

    This is a fantastic post, Annie! There are so many things that people don’t think about when going on a cruise. Even with as many cruises as I have done, there are different things on different cruise lines. Like I didn’t know that I could call room service and request a pillow upgrade! LOL!

  5. says

    Great tips for people who have not been on a cruise. The whole passport thing is a good point to make. For me, I had my birth certificate and marriage certificate, but next time I will just opt to buy my passport as it makes things easier.

    Was great to meet you 🙂

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