Celestyal Cruises at the port

Cruising Aegean: 100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners to Ensure a Smooth Voyage (2024)

Imagine waking up to spectacular sunrises with a scent of the sea in the air. This is what cruising the Aegean feels like. It is a dream with enchanting journey across Greek and Turkish islands. In this post, you will find 100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners to have a smooth cruise experience.

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For complete information, please see our affiliate disclaimer here.

Page Contents

Cruise Resources

Use Celestyal Cruise for booking the cruise.
Use GetYourGuide or Viator to book Shore Excursions or to purchase Skip the Line tickets.
Rental Cars is great for hiring self-driven cars at port cities / towns.
100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners
Idyllic Aegean – Explore Port Cities and Towns:
5+ Reasons to Choose Celestyal Cruises
One Day in Athens
One Day in Thessaloniki
Is Kusadasi worth visiting?
Heraklion Hop On Hop Off Bus
Nea Kameni Boat Tour: Hike on an Active Volcano
Mykonos Solo Travel Guide: Island of Aegean Adventures

About Aegean

Known for its captivating islands, mesmerising landscapes and rich history, Aegean is a sea located between Greece and Turkey. Between the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean is surrounded by the Balkan and Anatolian Peninsulas. It is home to more than 1400 islands.

The Aegean area and the Greek Islands are very popular tourist destinations, especially for cruisers who love to sail and explore the port cities and coastal towns of Aegean.

Celestyal Cruises at the port
Celestyal Cruises

Cruising Aegean: 100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners to Ensure a Smooth Voyage

I am elated to be going on a 7 nights all inclusive cruise named Idyllic Aegean, traveling through Greece and Turkey. Operated by Celestyal Cruises, the Idyllic Aegean is the 7 nights cruise that provides cultural and immersive experiences. Embarking on a cruise as a first timer can be intimidating and exciting at the same time. So, here are the 100+ tips that you need as a first timer.

Click here to check for availability on Celestyal Cruises

Idyllic Aegean
Idyllic Aegean Cruise

Pre-Cruise Planning

Tip 1 – Research your itinerary

When you are traveling, it is always advisable to do a thorough research on the itinerary. Make a list of all the ports of call and the local attractions. You can make the notes by reading through the cruise’s brochures, online resources such as blogs and vlogs, and guidebooks. By doing such research, you will ensure that you are prepared for what to expect and have a better and smoother journey.

I usually prepare a draft one day itinerary along with the things to see and do at a place I am going to. Similarly, for the cruise, I prepared some notes that had points / list of things on what to do and how to travel in the city we were stopping by.

During the Idyllic Aegean cruise, we had stops every day at various Greek Islands like Thessaloniki, Heraklion in Crete, Mykonos, Milos and Santorini. We also stopped at Kusadasi in Turkey for a few hours.

Beach at Kusadasi
Beach at Kusadasi

Tip 2 – Book your cruise well in advance

There are many advantages to booking your cruise well in advance. It helps you to secure the best cabins and deals. Many cruises provide early-bird discounts.

Cruising Aegean: 100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners to Ensure a Smooth Voyage (2024)Cruising Aegean: 100+ Cruise Tips for Beginners to Ensure a Smooth Voyage (2024)

Tip 3 – Consider and buy travel insurance

For a hassle free travel, always purchase a good and comprehensive travel insurance. This is a great way to protect your equipment and also to be prepared for any unforeseen situations during your travel. It provides financial protection and peace of mind while traveling. I never travel overseas without a comprehensive travel insurance.

Click here to check for prices on SafetyWing

Tip 4 – Pack lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes

If you are planning for a summer cruise, ensure to pack lightweight clothing and take comfortable shoes suitable for warm weather. Many cruises plan their itineraries around warm or tropical destinations. Take shorts, swimwear, t-shirts, dresses or something that is comfortable and cool during the heat.

Packing List for Long Overseas Travel

Tip 5 – Carry essentials

Always make sure you have a list of essentials that you must carry on your travels. Be it the identification and documents or cash, credit or debit cards, always have them handy and safe. Also, don’t forget essentials like travel adapters, first aid kit, sunscreen, and prescription medications.

Embarkation Day

Tip 6 – Arrive at the cruise terminal early

To avoid long lines and crowds, it is always advisable to arrive early at the cruise terminal. This helps in reducing the stress and anxiety associated. Also, you can avoid the passengers who rush at the last-minute.

Arrive at the cruise terminal early

Tip 7 – Have your cruise documents and identification ready

For smooth and hassle-free check-in process, keep your documents like passport, health declaration forms, visas and travel insurance ready. This speeds up the process and helps you, cruise staff, and other passengers.

Download your itinerary and important documents on your mobile or laptop and keep them securely stored digitally.

Tip 8 – Keep important items like passports and medications

Keeping your passport and medications in your carry-on bag helps you in quickly accessing them. When there are security checks or need them for check-in, you can get them without opening your suitcases.

Keep important items like passports

Tip 9 – Explore and familiarise with the ship

To enjoy your cruise holiday, it is very important to explore and familiarise with the ship. Do it while it’s still relatively empty so you can get a glimpse of how the ship is laid out. In case of emergencies, you know where the exit routes and escape points are.

Idyllic Aegean Celestyal Cruises

Tip 10 – Attend the mandatory safety drill

Speaking of emergencies, it is highly important to attend the cruise’s mandatory safety drill. The sole purpose of the safety drill is to ensure all passengers onboard are safe in the event of an emergency. It talks about evacuation, essential safety procedures, assembly points among others. This drill also tells you how to recognise important emergency signals and announcements.

Mandatory Safety Drill
Mandatory Safety Drill

Onboard Enjoyment

Tip 11 – Familiarize yourself with the ship’s layout and amenities

Ships are usually very big and familiarising the ship ensures that you do not get lost and waste time figuring things out. Knowing the layout is also crucial to safety. On the first day, walk around and get to know where what is. You will need information on dining areas, spa, fitness and wellness area, emergency exit routes, entertainment areas, and the decks.

Swimming pool on the upper deck
Swimming pool on the upper deck

Tip 12 – Download the cruise line’s application

All cruises have their own applications that display schedules, reservations, and maps. Downloading these will help you plan ahead and ensure you do not miss out anything that interests you. On the cruise line’s application, you can do many other things like reserve your dining, customise your experience, and know the vital information about the journey.

On Idyllic Aegean cruise, we were provided with the schedule every night that had information about the following day, including the disembarkation and embarkation timings and the events.

Tip 13 – Try the specialty dining options

Many cruises provide specialty dining options for a unique culinary experience. These gourmet cuisine are often prepared by well-known chefs. Providing intimate atmosphere, these dining options provide unique menus with a focus on a theme or culinary experience.

Note that this experience is usually at an additional cost and is not part of the cruise fare.

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake

Tip 14 – Take advantage of onboard entertainment

A great way to enhance your cruise journey and experience is by taking advantage of the planned onboard entertainment. The onboard entertainment usually contain shows and live music by talented artists and performers. Some cruises can have cinemas to watch latest movies, interactive game shows, outdoor cinemas under the stars, themed parties and events, and comedy clubs.

There were plenty of activities on Idyllic Aegean cruise. Be it an entertainment theatre, swimming pools, casino, meetups among others, they kept us included and made us feel at home.

Onboard entertainment - cruise tips for first timers
Onboard entertainment

Tip 15 – Relax

The most predominant thing about cruise journey is that you need to relax. Just sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail from the bar. Or go to the deck to see picturesque coastal views and landscapes.

Sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail
Sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail

Safety and Security Onboard

Tip 16 – Keep copies of important documents and contact information in a secure location

To ensure a stress free vacation onboard, it is good store critical and important documents such as passport, visas, travel insurance, and other identifications, along with the contact information in a secure place.

For contact information, have a list of important contact numbers such as local emergency numbers, your emergency contact, cruise’s customer service number, your home country’s embassy number, and may be one of two family member’s numbers.

Tip 17 – Use the ship’s safe for valuables

All the crucial documents and the contact information must be stored at a secure location which is accessible only to you. When not in use, keep them in cruise’s safe for safeguarding.

Tip 18 – Be cautious when swimming in the open sea

For personal safety, ensure to be cautious and follow lifeguard warnings when swimming in the open sea. The conditions in the open sea can change rapidly anytime. And these are based on many factors like tides, currents and weather. So, always swim at designated areas.

Swim with a buddy if possible and always stay in close range to the shore.

Tip 19 – Stay hydrated

Water is vital for our bodies to function normally. Stay hydrated at all times, especially in the hot Mediterranean climate. Keep a watch on your water intake and consume hydrating fruits and vegetables.

Stay hydrated - Water bottle

On Idyllic Aegean cruise, I was provided with Premium drink package that allowed me to buy water bottles from the bar and restaurant. You can either purchase the drinks package or purchase water when you get ashore.

Tip 20 – Follow the cruise line’s safety guidelines and procedures

Passengers safety is the number one priority for the cruise lines. Whatever guidelines or procedures they instruct, they are always in your benefit. So, listen and follow the safety guidelines and procedures at all times. Attend the mandatory drills and briefings. And familiarise with the safety procedures such as location and usage of life jackets, emergency exit routes, and assembly points.

Health and Wellness

Tip 21 – Use hand sanitizer stations

A simple and yet very effective way to keep yourself away from the spread of germs is by using the hand sanitizers available. The cruises have hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship that you can use frequently to stay healthy.

Tip 22 – Stay active

Ensure to keep moving and staying active on the cruise. You can do some exercises by using the ship’s fitness center or participating in onboard sports.

At Idyllic Aegean cruise, we had yoga every morning and there was a fitness centre with a personalised trainer. Since I was exploring the port cities and towns by walk usually, I would walk at least 10,000 steps a day and I did not need the fitness or onboard sports.

Tip 23 – Take motion sickness medication

Note: Before taking the seasickness medication, consult your doctor on the medication advise.

If you’re prone to seasickness, then take a motion sickness medication to avoid falling sick. The medication can help you in avoiding the symptoms of seasickness, travel discomfort, and anxiety.

Tip 24 – Prioritize getting enough sleep

Good amount of sleep is key to stay energized for daily activities onboard. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I struggled with sleep during my cruise as this was my first time on the cruise and I felt a bit of swaying during the night.

Tip 25 – Enjoy spa treatments and relaxation services

For ultimate rejuvenation and delightful experience, take advantage of the spa treatments and relaxation services on the cruise. The holiday on the cruise is the perfect time to indulge in some self-pampering sessions.

When onboard, check for the spa menu and make reservations in advance as they do tend to get booked out pretty quickly. Check with them for discounts as well. Usually, they have discounts, especially on the first day. I took a lot of massage treatments and a facial which was very relaxing.

Spa treatments and relaxation services
Spa treatments and relaxation services

Sea Sickness Precautions

Tip 26 – Consult a medical professional

Before your cruise, consult your medical professional who can assess your health. This is especially important if you have seasickness and the medical professional can suggest you with the motion sickness remedies.

Also, ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date and that the vaccination requirements are met for the country you are visiting.

Tip 27 – Choose a cabin in the ship’s center

Cabin’s centre is less impacted by pitching and rolling movements. If you have seasickness then definitely select a cabin in the cruise’s centre as it tends to experience less movement. This can make your cruise vacation more comfortable.

At Idyllic Aegean, I was given a Junior suite that had a sofa, study table and a cute balcony where I spent most of my time at.

Cabin
My Cabin on Idyllic Aegean – 9086

Tip 28 – Stay on the ship’s top decks

One of the best ways to manage seasickness is by staying on the top deck. This is where you’ll feel less motion and it provides access to fresh sea breeze.

Tip 29 – Focus on the horizon

An effective way that helps to alleviate the feelings of nausea is by focussing on the horizon. This maintains your sense of balance and looking at a stable and faraway point can have a soothing and calming effect.

Tip 30 – Stay hydrated and avoid heavy or greasy foods

Drink sufficient amount of water and fluids to maintain your body’s electrolytes. And eat a balanced diet without any heavy or greasy food that are easily digestible.

Communication Onboard if you have travel buddy / buddies

Tip 31 – Communicate with your travel companions

This is when you are traveling with a group and other buddies on the cruise. Set the expectations with each other and discuss your budget, itinerary, planning and other details.

Ensure to discuss with your travel companions previous night about daily plans and meeting points. And share your contact information with each other.

Tip 32 – Use cruise equipment for communication

Use the intercoms available at your cabins for communication if you’re traveling with a group.

Tip 33 – Know your cabin number and deck location

Make a note of each other’s cabin numbers, in case you get separated. And also always remember the deck location where you wish to regroup.

Tip 34 – Keep the ship’s contact information on hand

It is important to keep the ship’s contact information at all times. Save the numbers on your phone and also write them down on a piece of paper so you can keep it in your purse or wallet.

Tip 35 – Establish a meeting point in case of emergency or if you get separated

Discuss before hand (may be on your first day) where you wish to meet as a group if there is any emergency onboard or if you get separated as a group.

Staying Connected

Tip 36 – Purchase an internet package

Every cruise has internet packages onboard. This is required if staying connected is essential. Usually, the first one hour is free and then you can select the package based on the number of hours you need.

In case you buy the internet package, remember to pause it every time you stop using it so the hours is not clocked when you are away or not using the internet.

As a digital nomad, it is important for me to have internet connection at all times and hence, buying a package makes sense to me.

Tip 37 – Use offline and navigation apps

Download the offline maps so you can be connected or follow navigations to explore ports. Offline maps are available on Google or Maps.me which are some of the important travel apps that you need.

Tip 38 – Share your experiences on social media

Every once in a while, share your experiences on social media to keep friends and family updated. If you are a solo traveler, then this is very useful in case of any emergency so to track where you were at the last point.

Tip 39 – Consider a portable power bank

I cannot tell you how useful this tip is. When you are visiting exotic locations, you tend to take so many pictures and videos. And this drains out the phone’s battery very quickly and to keep your devices charged, it is crucial to have a portable power bank.

Do not forget to charge your portable power bank every night in your cabin so it is ready for the next day! And with the power bank, make sure to carry your phone chord.

Tip 40 – Disable unnecessary app notifications

It is advisable to disable any notifications that you do not need, especially work related, during your vacation. It is one to save battery life and two to avoid any distractions.

Sustainable Travel

Tip 41 – Do not litter

Respect the natural environment, especially the ocean, and do not litter. There are dedicated dustbins everywhere onboard and ashore, use them instead of throwing garbage on streets or ocean.

Tip 42 – Participate in onboard recycling programs

Some cruises are eco-friendly and try to have onboard recycling programs. If your cruise has one, then participate in those programs.

Tip 43 – Conserve water and energy

Ensure to conserve water and energy in your cabin. Turn off the water tap, switch off the lights when not in use, and do not throw your towels for wash everyday, try to re-use as much as you can.

Tip 44 – Choose eco-friendly shore excursions

When available, choose eco-friendly shore excursions or use eco-friendly ways to explore the port cities and towns. I walked everywhere as much as I could, except in Heraklion where I took the Hop On Hop Off bus.

Tip 45 – Support local sustainable businesses and artisans

This is an excellent way to give back to the community. Buy local products from small businesses and artisans. Try to spend the money at these port cities and towns to boost their economy.

Cabin Comfort

Tip 46 – Unpack and organise your belongings

As soon as you arrive in your cabin, unpack your suitcase and organise your belongings in the cupboards provided. The cabin space is smaller than rooms at luxury hotels. And so if you do not organise the clothes and other things, it is a hassle to get them out every day.

Tip 47 – Utilise storage space efficiently

Your cabin stewards clean the cabin twice a day unless you do not want them to. But try to keep your cabin tidy. There are dustbins available to throw garbage. And as it is a limited space, the cabin is welcoming when you keep it clean and use the space given efficiently.

Tip 48 – Request additional amenities

Sometimes you are entitled for additional amenities. Try to ask and get them from your cabin steward if needed.

Tip 49 – Choose a cabin with a balcony

If you can afford, then always choose a cabin with a balcony for stunning sea views. You will love those sunrises and sunsets that you can see from your bed.

Cabin with balcony
Cabin with balcony

Tip 50 – Enjoy room service

Yes, room service is available on a cruise. For a relaxing breakfast or a romantic dinner, order your food that gets delivered to your cabin. And now that balcony with the never-ending views of the ocean is perfect for a beautiful dinner.

Dining and Food

Tip 51 – Try local Greek dishes

Definitely try that delicious and amazing Greek cuisines. Both on and off the ship, try to have food at the local restaurants.

Food Onboard
Food Onboard

Tip 52 – Visit the ship’s main dining room

Cruise ships have dining rooms for a taste of fine dining. Experience this while enjoying the best of cuisine and food with luxury.

Tip 53 – Make reservations at specialty restaurants

The specialty restaurants on the cruise are quite popular and are usually very busy. You cannot consider a walk-in as they are booked ahead of time. So instead of missing out of this experience, ensure to make prior reservations.

Tip 54 – Consider a beverage package

If you want to enjoy the delicious cocktails onboard, then for for a beverage package for unlimited drinks. This is cheaper than purchasing the drinks one by one.

Consider a beverage package

At Idyllic Aegean, they had premium drinks package that allowed me to purchase cocktails, water bottles and other drinks onboard.

Tip 55 – Participate in themed dining nights and buffets

There are some of the special nights that are themed for variety. To have some fun on the cruise, participate in these themed dining nights. They are awesome and something to cherish and remember.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Tip 56 – Check the daily cruise newsletter

For a schedule of activities and events, ensure to check the daily cruise newsletters. These are usually delivered to your cabins by the stewards.

At Idyllic Aegean, my stewards would give me the daily cruise newsletter the previous night so I can plan my following day.

Tip 57 – Attend themed parties, costume nights, and dance evenings

Every night on the cruise is a party and has shows to entertain the guests. I highly recommend attending these themed parties, and dance evenings.

Latino and South American Dance Evening
Latino and South American Dance Evening

Tip 58 – Enjoy a nightcap at the ship’s bars and lounges

Cruise ships usually offer a variety of bars and lounges, each with its own unique ambiance and drink selections. They have extensive drink menus. You can expect a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including mocktails, cocktails, wine, beer, and specialty drinks. It is a good idea to explore your cruise ship’s options and check the daily schedule for information about themed nights, happy hours, and special events in the bars and lounges.

Tip 59 – Try your luck at the onboard casino

Cruise ships have a section for casino. They are similar to the normal casinos except that they are small. And offer a variety of games, including slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, among others. It is fun to try out your luck and see if you win anything.

It is important to gamble responsibly and set a budget for your casino activities. Only gamble what you can afford to lose, and be mindful of your limits.

Onboard casino

Tip 60 – Relax under the stars

This is one of the best things to do on a cruise. Some cruise lines arrange for a movie on the outdoor deck during the night. Ensure to enjoy this outdoor movie under the stars. You will love it!

Budgeting and Money-Saving Tips

Tip 61 – Set a daily spending limit

On a cruise holiday, you can spend a lot of money without even realising it. When you land at a port city, you wish to purchase that souvenir or when you are on the cruise, you run out of internet. In such scenarios, you do not think much and try to spend money. Set a daily budget and stick to it to avoid overspending.

Tip 62 – Use the ship’s Wi-Fi packages wisely

Cruises offer various internet packages to stay connected. These are at discounted rates and are great if you use internet limitedly.

I bought a local Greece SIM card when I landed in Athens. This can help you save lots of money. Most times, the network is available. The only time, I did not get the mobile network was at Kusadasi in Turkey as the Greece SIM card did not work.

Tip 63 – Opt for all-inclusive drink and dining packages

The best way to enjoy a cruise without worrying about the cost of individual meals or drinks is by taking the all-inclusive cruise. Purchasing these packages upfront can save you money compared to paying for meals and drinks separately.

Idyllic Aegean is an all-inclusive cruise that ensures that all your meals are included in the package. For drinks, you will need to purchase the premium drinks package.

Tip 64 – Look for onboard promotions and discounts

One of the ways to maximise your cruise experience while saving money is by looking for any promotions or discounts on your cruise vacation. Speak to the staff and ask for onboard promotions, such as happy hours, spa discounts, specialty dining deals, and more. If you are traveling with a group, inquire about group discounts that may be available for dining or shore excursions.

At Idyllic Aegean, we had discount and promotions for taking multiple treatments together at a spa. I took a lot of these as it was easier to get two treatments at the same time for lesser price.

Tip 65 – Pay for shore excursions in the local currency

It is always advisable to pay in the local currency for better exchange rates. Not just on the cruise, this is a tip to be used at all times when you travel to a new country. Get your money exchanged to the local currency and then pay in that local currency for everything unless you are required to pay in USD or foreign money by law (in case of Egypt).

Cultural Sensitivity

Tip 66 – Learn about Greek customs and etiquette

It is essential to be respectful and understanding the customs and etiquette when visiting Greece or interacting with Greeks to show respect to locals.

“Opa” is a word you will often hear in Greece, and it is used in various contexts. It can express joy, surprise, or excitement.

Tip 67 – Dress modestly

Dress modestly especially when visiting religious sites or conservative areas. Both men and women should cover their shoulders, and women should wear skirts or dresses that extend below the knee.

Tip 68 – Ask permission before taking photos

Street photography can be a wonderful way to capture the essence of a place and its people. But it is courteous to ask permission when you are taking pictures of people or their properties. When taking photos of individuals, especially strangers, always ask for their consent.

Tip 69 – Be mindful of noise levels

Do not make loud noise in public areas, especially at night. Be aware of the volume of your electronic devices, including smartphones and laptops. When visiting cultural or religious sites, maintain a hushed and respectful tone. Being mindful of noise levels is a simple but considerate way to show respect for those around you.

Tip 70 – Dispose of trash responsibly

For maintaining clean and healthy environments, always use designated trash bins and recycling containers for disposal. Different regions and countries may have specific waste disposal regulations. Familiarise yourself with local rules and guidelines to ensure compliance. Carry your trash with you until you find an appropriate bin for disposal.

Excursions at Islands

Tip 71 – Research and book shore excursions

Shore excursions are organised activities and tours that allow cruise passengers to explore and enjoy the destinations they visit during port stops. Most cruise lines offer a variety of tours and activities at each port of call. You can find this information on the cruise line’s website, through their cruise planner or at their shore excursion desk on the cruise.

Apart from what the cruise offers, research independent tour operators and local guides at each port of call. You can find unique and cost-effective excursions this way. You can also use Viator or GetYourGuide to make decisions.

After deciding, ensure to book the shore excursions you wish to do well in advance to secure your spots.

Tip 72 – Explore some ports independently

For a more personal experience, exploring ports independently allows you to set your own pace and tailor your experience to your interests. Some of the ways you can plan your day are:

  • Research each port of call – Learn about the local attractions, cultural sites, dining options, and any activities or landmarks you would like to visit.
  • Plan your day – Create an itinerary that outlines the places you want to visit, along with their opening hours and locations. Map each of these places on Google maps and download that map on your phone.
  • Have local currency – Ensure you have some local currency on hand for small expenses, such as snacks, transportation, and souvenirs.
  • Research on best transport mode – Most times walking is the best way to explore a place. But if the city is big, then it is best to know the various types of transportation. Public transportation can be a cost-effective and efficient way to get around.
  • Know the timings – Pay attention to your embarkation time. Return to your ship well in advance so you do not miss the ship.

I explored all the port cities and towns on Idyllic Aegean on my own. And it was amazing as I had to do the research, find my ways and see things the way I wanted to.

Heraklion Safe for Solo Female Travelers

Tip 73 – Respect local customs and dress codes

Have consideration for the local culture. Research on the norms, customs and dress codes of the destination. In many countries, modest dress code is preferred, particularly when visiting religious sites or conservative areas.

Tip 74 – Learn a few basic phrases in Greek

For polite interactions, it is good to learn a few basic Greek words and phrases. Greeks often appreciate it when travelers make an effort to speak their language, even if it’s just a few words or phrases.

  • Hello – Yia sas
  • Good Morning – Kalimera
  • Yes – Ne
  • No – Ochi
  • Thank you – Efcharisto
  • Please – Parakalo
  • Good bye – Adio

Tip 75 – Allow extra time for returning to the ship

When exploring independently, you are responsible for your timely return. Allow extra time for returning to the ship so you are not late. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour before the ship’s departure to allow for any last-minute issues or delays. As you explore the port, stay relatively close to the ship as the departure time approaches.

Idyllic Aegean Experiences

Tip 76 – Prioritise visiting iconic sites

Prioritising the visits to iconic sites can enhance your travel experience and ensure you don’t miss out on the most famous and culturally significant landmarks. Especially if you are in Greece, you do not want to miss the historical monuments such as the Acropolis in Athens and Santorini’s Oia village.

When you are in Greece, try to visit the offbeat Peloponnese region, especially Trikala Korinthias.

Tip 77 – Take a boat tour

To explore hidden coves and beaches, it is best to take the boat tours at the port cities. For example, I took the Nea Kameni Boat tour in Santorini, which was surely my highlight as I hiked an active volcano.

Nea Kameni Boat Tour - Hike on an Active Volcano

Tip 78 – Visit local markets

One of the wonderful ways to immerse yourself in the local culture and daily life of a destination is by visiting the local markets. For unique souvenirs and gifts, consider purchasing from local artisans and craftspeople. This supports the local economy and ensures that you’re getting unique items.

Ensure to carry local currency as the local markets may accept only cash.

Tip 79 – Sample local wines and cheeses

If you are in Greece, you should definitely try their wines, cheese and olive oil. They are delicious and part of their traditions and culture. Sampling local wines and cheeses is not only a culinary exploration but also a way to connect with the culture and traditions of a region.

Tip 80 – Embrace the laid-back island vibe and slow-paced lifestyle

As you arrive on the island, mentally let go of your fast-paced, busy routine. Embrace the idea of slowing down and enjoying each moment. Explore the island by taking leisurely walks along the beach, through quaint villages, or on scenic trails.

Exploring Islands on Your Own

Tip 81 – Use public transportation or taxis

Use local taxis and public transportation to explore ports independently. If the city or town has a Hop On and Hop Off bus, then take that as it is faster and easier to see the sightseeing places. For taxis, use licenced and official taxi providers like Uber.

Heraklion Hop On Hop Off Bus
Heraklion Hop On Hop Off Bus

Tip 82 – Learn a few basic phrases

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can greatly enhance your travel experience and help you connect with the local people. It also goes a long way in fostering positive interactions and showing respect for the local culture when traveling.

Tip 83 – Carry a physical map or use offline digital maps

Obtain physical maps or download offline maps before your holiday begins. For offline maps, you can use Google Maps or Maps.me, which are some of the key travel apps to have.

Prior to your journey, mark key locations on the map, such as your accommodations, major attractions, restaurants, and transportation hubs.

You can get physical maps at news agencies or information centres.

Socialising and Meeting Fellow Cruisers

Tip 84 – Attend onboard activities and events

To make the most of your cruise vacation and create memorable experiences and to meet other travelers, attend the onboard activities and events. Cruise ships typically provide a daily newsletter or mobile app that outlines the day’s activities and events. Make note of these events and attend them.

One of the events that was organised in Idyllic Aegean was the fruit carving. It was very interesting and amazing to see the two chefs carve out different faces and animals from fruits.

Fruit art on the cruise
Fruit art on the cruise

Tip 85 – Use social media or the ship’s app to connect

A great way to enhance your cruise experience is by staying connected with fellow passengers. Use social media or ship’s app to connect with others.

Tip 86 – Join group excursions

To bond with like-minded travelers or to explore the destinations with the guidance of experienced tour guides, it is worth joining group excursions on a cruise.

Tip 87 – Attend meet-and-greet sessions

There are many meet-and-greet sessions organised by the cruise line. It is a fantastic way to engage with others onboard, network, and build connections.

At Idyllic Aegean, there was one night where we had a meet-and-greet session for single travelers.

Tip 88 – Respect the privacy and boundaries

It is essential to ensure a positive and enjoyable cruise experience for everyone. So respect the personal space of fellow cruisers and do not intrude into anyone’s privacy. Do not enter other passengers’ cabins without their explicit invitation.

Souvenirs and Memories

Tip 89 – Collect postcards or small items

Purchase postcards from each place you visit. These can be found in local shops, souvenir stores, or tourist attractions. Label and date your postcards to keep track of when and where you acquired them.

Having traveled to 48 countries over the years, I have come to realise that accumulating unnecessary possessions isn’t essential for creating meaningful mementos. Instead, my practice is to collect postcards from every port or city I visit, and I also maintain a journal where I record my experiences and activities during my time in each location.

Postcards from Idyllic Aegean
Postcards from Idyllic Aegean

Tip 90 – Keep a travel journal

Choose a journal that suits your preferences, whether it’s a physical notebook, a digital document, or a dedicated travel journal to record your daily experiences. At the beginning of each entry, note the date, location, and any essential details, like the weather or the people you are traveling with. If you are artistically inclined or enjoy photography, consider incorporating sketches or photos into your journal to visually represent your experiences.

Tip 91 – Take plenty of photos

Photographs are amazing way to capture memories and document your travels. It is a personal expression of your experiences, so have fun, experiment, and make your travel photos a reflection of your unique perspective.

Tip 92 – Consider purchasing a professional photo package

Cruise lines offer professional photo packages. It can be a convenient way to capture memories during the cruise. If you are celebrating a special occasion during the cruise, such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or milestone birthday, investing in a professional photo package can help commemorate the event.

Tip 93 – Create a scrapbook or digital album

A wonderful way to preserve and showcase your travel memories after the cruise to relive your adventure is to create a scrapbook or a digital album. It is a creative and fulfilling way to relive your travel experiences and share them with others.

Shopping

Tip 94 – Bargain respectfully

It is an essential skill to bargain when shopping at local markets. But it is also important to be polite and be respectful while bargaining and negotiating.

Tip 95 – Be cautious of counterfeit goods

It is good to protect yourself from substandard products and stick to reputable shops. Shop from well-established and reputable retailers.

Tip 96 – Compare prices at different stores

Before making a purchase, compare the prices at different stores to help you save money and to make more informed decisions.

Tip 97 – Ask for recommendations

Asking for recommendations from ship staff or locals for authentic souvenirs. It is a valuable way to gather information, make informed decisions, and discover new experiences.

Tip 98 – Check customs regulations

For bringing souvenirs and gifts back to your home country, it is a crucial step to check for customs regulations. Different countries have specific rules and restrictions. Check on the country’s website to find the rules and detailed information.

Safety for Solo Female Cruisers

I have been solo traveling for many years now and I have loved it. But solo cruising can be unsettling and intimidating. What in case I feel lonely? What in case people judge me? There are many questions that arise when you solo cruise.

But remember that solo cruising as a female can be incredibly rewarding and empowering as well. You break the barriers and you enjoy your own company at all times. During this solo cruising, it’s essential to prioritise safety as well.

Tip 99 – Trust Your Instincts

If you feel unsafe in any situation or with any individual, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. This is not just while solo cruising, it applies everywhere and every time. If you feel uncomfortable, then just move away. You do not need excuses or any explanations.

Tip 100 – Meet in Public Areas

When meeting new people on the cruise, it’s safer to meet in public areas like decks or lounges. Do not consider going to someone’s cabin or another private location if you are meeting them for the first time.

Tip 101 – Share Plans

Inform someone in your family or friends circle about your plans, such as meeting new acquaintances or participating in onboard events. This is especially important so at least one or two people you trust know what you are doing.

Tip 102 – Plan Your Excursions

Research and book shore excursions through the cruise line or reputable tour operators such as Viator or GetYourGuide in advance to ensure safety during your explorations. They ensure your safety at all times.

Tip 103 – Dress Appropriately

Respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when visiting conservative areas or religious sites. Blend in with the local culture as much as possible. This was fine in Idyllic Aegean as I was traveling to Greece and Turkey. But it becomes important when you are going to countries like Egypt or Middle Eastern countries.

At the Peak of Nea Kameni
At the Peak of Nea Kameni

Tip 104 – Stay in Groups

When exploring ports on your own, be cautious and know your surroundings at all times. If it is a remote area, it’s safer to travel with a group of fellow passengers or join organised group tours with Viator or GetYourGuide.

Tip 105 – Be Cautious with Alcohol

Do not take drinks from strangers as it can be spiked. Drink responsibly and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can impair your judgment and make you vulnerable.

Sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail
Sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail

Tip 106 – Use Trusted Transportation

Stick to reputable taxi services or use transportation recommended by the cruise line or tour operators. Before getting into any taxis, ensure that you are okay with that person. If he makes you doubt or if you have a bit of suspicion, do not get inside. Just go for another taxi.

Tip 107 – Avoid Sharing Too Much Information

Be cautious about sharing personal information with fellow passengers or strangers you have just met. You can be friendly and polite without revealing too much of information.

Tip 108 – Use a Lanyard or Pouch

Carry your cruise key card and identification in a waist pouch that hangs around your neck or attaches to your belt. This way, you won’t have to dig through your bags or pockets frequently.

Drone Regulations for Greece and Turkey

If you wish to fly a drone in Greece, you need to register your drone even if it is less than 250 grams. Drone flying in Turkey is legal and you need to register if it is more than 500 grams.

There are specific rules about the metres and the distance you can fly in each of these countries. Ensure to check on the respective websites to familiarise yourself with the rules and restrictions.

Do not fly your drones at no-fly zones, such as airports, military facilities, government buildings, and strategic locations

Closing Notes

I trust that these over 100 cruise tips for beginners have provided you with a wealth of knowledge to get ready for your upcoming cruise adventure. As I wrote and conducted research, I gained valuable insights, which I put into practice during my 7-night Idyllic Aegean cruise to ensure a seamless and delightful journey.

Do you have any other tips you would like to share? Let me know by writing on Solopassport@gmail.com.

Note: The 7-night Idyllic Aegean cruise travel was courtesy Celestyal Cruises.
Thanks to Celestyal Cruises for providing me with this opportunity to work and collaborate with them. And special thanks to Irene from Celestyal Cruises for arranging and coordinating everything on behalf of the cruise company.
Note: Each of the cities and towns were explored by me and they were not a collaboration with anyone.

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