A Guide to Planning Your First Cruise

Thinking of taking to the sea for your next vacation? Here’s the inside advice every first-timer needs.
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There’s no shortage of incredible places to go when you sail with Royal Caribbean (more than 260, in fact!). From a two-night trip to The Bahamas to an epic tour of Europe, we have a cruise for every type of group. Need some help figuring out where to begin? Take a quick, fun quiz to discover your adventure personality. Whether your ideal vacation involves snorkeling in the Caribbean, exploring the castles of Dubrovnik, Croatia, or chilling out on the pool deck of your ship, here’s how to make the most of that well-deserved time off.


Time it Right

There are so many deals and offers to choose from but when, exactly, should you reserve your cruise? The general rule of thumb is: the further your destination, the further in advance you should book. Although there’s never really a wrong time, we recommend the sweet spot of reserving six to 12 months before the cruise—especially if you’re planning to fly to your departure city.

Another thing to keep in mind is Wave Season. Often referred to as the “Black Friday of the cruise industry,” Wave Season stretches from January to March and features some of Royal Caribbean’s best deals and instant savings. If you and your crew are looking to book the ultimate vacation with perks to boot, Wave Season is an ideal time to do it.

There’s more where that came from. For more planning tips, dive in here.

Plan Ahead

To guarantee you get in on all the action, it pays to plan your itinerary in advance. Our Cruise Planner allows you to make the most of your time on board by letting you reserve shore excursions, tables at our lineup of specialty restaurants, and spa treatments ahead of time. Did we mention you’ll save money when you reserve before boarding, and you can do it all from the comfort of your own couch? Also, when you book your cruise you may receive the promotional bonus of onboard credit: Think of these credits as “cruise cash” that you can apply toward a wide array of purchases when you’re on the ship, including shopping and spa treatments.

Find the Room for You

When it comes to choosing where you sleep—aka a stateroom—you’ll want to start by evaluating what you need. Royal Caribbean has a lot to offer families and groups of all sizes. Traveling in a large group that needs extra space? Looking to plan a romantic getaway for you and your better half? Finding the best fit is easy! Take your pick of rooms with balcony ocean views, family-connected accommodations, unrivaled experiences like the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Family Suite (seen above) and so much more.

For a quick run-through on the different staterooms you can find on board, check out this guide.

Expect the Unexpected

Finally, the most important thing to remember before embarking on your first cruise is to be ready to experience thrills like never before. Our ships offer everything from adrenaline-inducing activities—like the FlowRider surf simulator, zip lining and skydiving at sea (really!)—to exclusive, tax- and duty-free designer goods at the Royal Shops. Kids and teens are covered, too, with our dedicated youth programs. Every traveler, no matter their preference and age, can vacation like they mean it on our ships.

Ready to book your first cruise with Royal Caribbean? Start exploring all your options here.