To some people the idea of spending multiple nights on a large ship with strangers doesn’t sound like an ideal vacation. The quality of your cruise will largely depend on the location you visit and which cruise line you use. If you have never been on a cruise but you’re interested in booking a trip soon, this post will give you some advice on how you can make your trip better.

Get There Early

Every year people miss their cruise because they didn’t board the boat in time. Don’t be one of these people. If you have to fly to the boarding destination, plan to arrive at least one day ahead of schedule. That way you won’t have to worry about plane delays or traffic.

Avoid The Pool

Some cruise ships can hold over 6,000 people, and the pool is usually the most popular location on the ship. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough deck chairs for everyone. You’ll be able to swim, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hold onto a chair for too long. Instead of the pool you should visit the areas of the ship that are only for adults. These areas are usually less crowded and have more seating. Also, take a look at the ship’s deck plan. Many ships have open seating available that’s less crowded.

Eat When You Want

A lot of cruise lines prefer that their passengers eat at the same time in a group setting. If this doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, then make sure you choose a cruise line that offers other options. For example, when you’re in port eat at a local restaurant. Some ships also have restaurants that are included in your package but are worth visiting.

Don’t Leave The Ship

Sometimes port calls just aren’t worth it—especially if you only get four or six hours to explore the area. Instead, when everyone leaves the ship take advantage of the facilities that are still open. Now’s the time to enjoy the pool!

Plan An Adventure

The location of your cruise will play a large role in how memorable your trip is. If you’re the adventurous type, then you should consider going on a cruise with either Lindblad Expeditions or Un-Cruise Adventures. Lindblad will take you to exotic destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Galapagos. Un-Cruise Adventures encourages its passengers to really take in their surroundings. For example, if you go on an Alaskan trip, you’ll have the opportunity to travel in a skiff and look at icebergs up close.