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What You NEED to Know Before You Cruise

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Over the years there’s been hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and lists written talking about what everyone should know before they cruise. But never before has one so complete and so thorough been presented to the public at no charge to them (well, maybe a few hundred of them have been more complete). In fact, the only charges in relations to the advice I’m going to give here are those that may be laid against me for bad writing

By far the most important single item to know before you cruise is your name. Without knowing your name you can’t even book a cruise. And even if you were somehow able to get onboard a ship, you’d have a lousy time because you could never socialize with anyone if you’re unable to introduce yourself

It’s also helpful, though not as necessary, to know where you’re from. It’s the second most commonly asked question on a ship… next to what’s your name. Knowing your exact address isn’t as crucial, because no one will ask for that information, other than the cruise line; but it can be helpful information if something dastardly happens to you; they will at least know where to send your remains

Another fairly important bit of information is knowing if you have any money to cruise, or at the very least available space within the confines of the limits set by your credit card company. This mostly comes into play when you are booking your cruise as most cruise lines will not sell you a cruise until you pay them either with cash, a check that doesn’t bounce, or a credit card where the transaction is allowed to be completed. Without these available means of payment you can actually book a cruise, but you should do so knowing you’ll never be allowed to go on the cruise. But, admittedly, for some the thrill is being involved in the booking process

You should also know that on 99.99% of cruises some form of clothing is necessary. And it can’t just be available. It must be worn the vast majority of the time. You might think the lone exception to this rule is the occasional nude cruise charter, but even in those cases it is necessary to be dressed at certain times; like flying to the departure city. And formal nights do require more than a bow tie.

Some folks I hear from are concerned carrying a comb or brush will tear a hole in the Walgreen’s bags they are using as luggage. Those people can rest easy as it’s not really required that you comb your hair, so you can leave those personal grooming devices at home.

Though not entirely necessary, it’s very helpful if you know how to use a knife, fork, and spoon, or at the very least- chopsticks. You could get away without understanding the use of a spoon, but you would have to remember to avoid ordering soup. And if you don’t know how to use a spoon, I suspect remembering not to order soup may be a challenge. Then, of course, drinking soup directly from your bowl will likely lead to nasty stains on the few bits of clothing you brought along.

Once onboard if you’ve booked a 7 night cruise, you’ve got the full seven days available to eat, drink, be entertained, and find your cabin. The crew entertain themselves by pointing in the wrong direction, and pretending they don’t speak English when you ask for directions. On some lines a crew member will wait at the gangway and offer to “assist” with your carry-on bag. Don’t be fooled; if you let go of it, you’re not likely to see it again.

Know that during the course of your cruise you’ll have lots of opportunities to take pictures. Not so many, if you don’t have a camera.

I’ve obviously just touched on some of the most crucial things you need to know. Perhaps other readers can extend the list, adding the secret “need to knows” that they’ve gathered in their experiences. If not, you’re stuck with one of the least helpful Blogs I ever wrote.

This Blog has been brought to you by WOOFI (Writers Out Of Fresh Ideas).

– A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Paul Motter
Time January 27, 2010 at 7:54 am

Thanks, I actually found this blog quite helpful, as I do have a couple of issues as you mentioned.

I actually don’t know how the use a fork, having not been trained in what I was told was the “european style” using the left hand and holding the fork basically upside when cutting meat.

I still cut my meat like a neanderthal, grasping he fork in my fist. It used to be fairly common when I was younger (considered the “American style I was told) but somewhere along the line my compatriots shifted sides and went European on me, actually lifting the meat to their mouths with the left hand.

I refuse to move to the left, on principal, and will stick to my All-American way of eating (because otherwise I would starve).

As far as knowing where I am from, I always just answer, “France” since I know the crew is secretely referring to me as a “conehead” behind my back anyway. And I then get several comments on how clever it is that a Frenchman has learned to eat in the American style. It’s a can’t-lose proposition.

Comment from kuki
Time January 27, 2010 at 8:44 am

That’s very interesting, as Kuki Jr also holds his fork in his fist. I didn’t know that was “American style”.
I always suspected Mrs. Kuki had an affair. Now I have proof Kuki Jr is not mine, as I’m Canadian.

Comment from Kathy
Time January 31, 2010 at 2:58 pm

K, I wrote Cruisepaige post today. Can you please g\take my signature off, cannot seem to do it. (under seeking cruise companion). Thanks, I dont think she exists. People keep responding though. Thanks.SoBeGal

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