Smooth Sailing: A Mature Guide to Memorable Cruise Adventures

50 Plus Hub Research Team

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Cruising offers an easy way to have fabulous adventures on the high seas after 50. With meals, entertainment, and transportation all included, you can relax and enjoy spectacular destinations. Follow this mature guide to choose the right cruise and make the most of your voyage.

Choosing the Best Cruise for You

Consider these key factors when selecting a cruise:

Destination

Pick destinations that match your interests like culture, beaches, history or wildlife. Popular regions include:

  • Caribbean – Relax on white sand beaches and explore colonial towns. Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean offer diverse ports.
  • Mediterranean – Discover the history, cuisine and charm of Europe and North Africa. Iconic stops include Rome, Athens, Barcelona.
  • Northern Europe – Immerse yourself in Scandinavian culture and majestic fjords. Visit cities like London, Paris, Copenhagen.
  • Australia & New Zealand – Cruise between the gorgeous coastline and islands ‘Down Under’.
  • Southeast Asia & India – Absorb the wonders of locations like Bangkok, Bali, and Mumbai.

Cruise Length

Choose 5-7 nights for your first cruise. Longer cruises of 10-14 nights offer more destinations and days at sea to enjoy the amenities.

Ship Size

Mega ships carry 3000+ passengers while midsize ships carry 1000-2000. Small ships under 1000 offer a boutique experience. Pick based on your preference for crowds.

Price

Inside cabins are the most budget friendly. Balconies cost more but add beautiful ocean views. All-inclusive luxury lines are the priciest.

Cruise Line

Each line has its own vibe in terms of demographics, service, and amenities. Ask friends for recommendations. Read reviews.

Booking Tips & Tricks

Use these strategies to get the best cruise deal:

  • Book early for best selection and lowest rates.
  • Off-peak seasons like Fall and Winter have lower fares.
  • Last minute deals can provide huge savings if you’re flexible.
  • Stop by cruise desks inside airports for amazing flight + cruise packages.
  • Work with a travel agent to find discounts and get the best room location.
  • Buy travel insurance – it’s worth it in case of cancellations or medical issues.

Packing Tips

Pack light by following these tips:

  • Break in new shoes before your trip to avoid blisters
  • Pack multi-use, wrinkle-free clothes in layers
  • Bring a sweater or jacket for air-conditioned rooms
  • Dress is casual – swimsuits, shorts, t-shirts, sandals
  • One nice outfit for formal nights
  • Shore excursions may require sturdy shoes

Many cruise lines offer laundry service onboard. Or pack soap and wash clothes in your sink.

Must-Have Items

Don’t forget these essential items:

  • Chargers, power bank, worldwide adapter
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication
  • Sun protection – hat, glasses, lotion
  • Small backpack for port days
  • Foldable bag for souvenirs
  • Daily medications, prescription copies
  • Extra eyeglasses/contacts

The ship’s medical clinic charges fees – stock up on your needs before boarding.

Activities Onboard

Cruises offer amazing amenities to enjoy while sailing:

  • Relaxing poolside and hot tubs
  • Fitness classes and gym access
  • Broadway-style shows and comedy clubs
  • educational lectures and classes
  • Spa treatments like massages, facials
  • Fine dining, casual eateries, and 24-hour room service
  • Nightlife like karaoke, dancing, live music, casinos
  • Swimming, mini-golf, sports courts, walking track

Never a dull moment with activities for all interests!

Shore Excursions

Enhance port visits with exciting shore tours:

  • Cultural/Historic Tours – See iconic sites with knowledgeable local guides.
  • Outdoor Adventures – Hiking, snorkeling, zip-lining and more.
  • Food and Drink Tours – Indulge in tastings of local cuisine and beverages.
  • City Tours – Get oriented in a new place with hop-on, hop-off buses.
  • Active Excursions – Try paddleboarding, biking, surfing, and kayaking.

Book directly through the cruise line for reliability. Independent tours can be arranged as well.

Cruising With a Purpose

Choose a cruise theme that inspires you:

  • Voluntourism – Cruises that include volunteering abroad like building schools.
  • Wellness Cruises – Focus on healthy eating, fitness classes, relaxation.
  • Enrichment Cruises – gain new skills through lectures and hands-on classes while sailing.
  • Themed Cruises – like music, pop culture, STEM or culinary cruises.
  • Religious Cruises – Enjoy speakers, performers, and groups who share your faith.
  • River Cruises – Journey to destinations inaccessible to big ships.

Packing Checklist

Use this checklist so you don’t forget must-haves:

  • Passport, travel documents, insurance info
  • Credit cards, debit cards, emergency cash
  • Chargers, power bank, plug adapters
  • Prescription medications, basic toiletries
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Pain relievers, antacids, anti-diarrhea
  • Sun protection – sunglasses, hat, sunscreen
  • Sweater, jacket for air-conditioned rooms
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Nice dinner outfit for formal nights
  • Swimsuits, cover-up, sandals
  • Foldable backpack or bag for port days
  • Books, cards, travel journal
  • Extra eyeglasses/contacts

Pack light in a carry-on and backpack!

Saving Money Onboard

Use these essential cruise tips to stretch your vacation budget:

  • Eat breakfast in the buffet and lunch at ports to save on meals
  • Stick to non-alcoholic drink packages
  • Skip pricey wifi – disconnect and enjoy the voyage
  • Research affordable shore tours in advance
  • Buy souvenirs at ports for better prices
  • Do free activities like lectures, classes, nightly shows
  • Avoid booking last minute through the cruise line

Look for affordable cruise lines or reduced rates on port-intensive itineraries.

Cruise Packing Hacks

More ways to lighten your luggage:

  • Pack layers that mix and match
  • Roll clothes tightly – use packing cubes
  • Wear bulkiest items onboard the ship
  • Use laundry service for a fee; wash smalls in sink
  • Multi-use shoes like sneakers or sandals
  • Leave nice jewelry at home – take just basics
  • Use a lanyard to keep keycards handy
  • Pack medications and toiletries in carry-on

Travel light to avoid checked bag fees and make unpacking easier!

Making Friends on Cruises

The social environment on ships makes it easy to make new friends:

  • Chat with seatmates at meals
  • Join group activities and classes
  • Talk to regulars at the pool, gym, or bars
  • Get to know the crew like your servers
  • Visit the social director to join excursions with others
  • Attend meetups and happy hours
  • Try a shared table in the dining room

Having buddies enhances the fun on cruises!

Cruising Solo

Traveling alone doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely:

  • Request a table for solos in the dining room
  • Join group shore excursions and activities
  • Sit at the bar to meet fellow travelers
  • Treat yourself to solo services like massages
  • Read, journal, or take yourself on dates ashore
  • Talk to guest services about meeting other solos

Solo cruising offers you flexibility and time for self-care.

Overcoming Cruise Fears

These tips will help ease common cruise worries:

Seasickness – Bring medicine, choose a lower/midship cabin, look at the horizon, stay on deck, eat ginger.

Rough Seas – Modern stabilizer systems make rocking minimal in most conditions.

Getting Lost – Use the interactive onboard screens for directions.

Crowds – Escape to adults-only areas. Rise early/stay up late.

Boredom – Cruise itineraries pack each day full of activities!

Let the staff know your concerns – they can monitor weather and provide assistance.

Insider Tips From Pros

Follow these cruise tips from the experts:

  • Arrive at least the day before – fly in the morning to avoid delays
  • Don’t overpack – laundry is available
  • Avoid the buffet on embarkation day – long lines!
  • Pack motion sickness, pain, nausea medicine
  • Bring highlighters to mark daily activities
  • Carry a steamer bag for bringing formal wear
  • Hang a bag on your door to get room towels replaced
  • Bring post-it notes to leave reminders for your steward
  • Purchase an internet package – wifi is expensive pay-as-you-go

Relax and let the cruise staff handle all the details for you!

Making Special Occasions Memorable

Let the cruise line know about any special celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries or retirements. They’ll likely surprise you with:

  • Balloons, banners, and decorations in your cabin
  • A special dessert or meal nod to the occasion
  • A printed card signed by the staff
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries or champagne delivery
  • A serenade by the dining room staff
  • Priority seating at shows and activities

No extra effort needed – just inform guest services to make your day extra special.

Cruising for Adults Only

For those seeking a child-free voyage, look for:

  • Specific adults-only cruise lines like Virgin Voyages
  • Adults-only ships within mainstream lines
  • Itineraries with longer days at sea
  • Small luxury or river cruise ships
  • Cruises to destinations like Alaska, that appeal more to adults

Adults-only cruising provides access to more adult-oriented amenities and entertainment.

Health & Safety at Sea

Cruise lines make health and safety a top priority:

  • Medical centers onboard are staffed by doctors and nurses
  • Quarantine rooms are available to isolate sick passengers
  • Crew are trained in disease prevention and sanitization procedures
  • Extra hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting is provided
  • Passengers are screened prior to boarding
  • Guest capacity and high-touch surfaces are carefully managed

While not 100% risk-free, responsible cruising is possible with proper precautions.

Final Cruise Tips

Keep these last cruise tips in mind for smooth sailing:

  • Pack medications, essentials in carry-on in case of lost luggage
  • Bring highlighters and post-it notes to stay organized
  • Set a daily budget and stick to it
  • Carry a water bottle – hydrate!
  • Take precautions to avoid illness – wash hands frequently!
  • Slow down and savor moments – cruises fly by!
  • Be open to new adventures and meeting new people

Bon voyage! Wishing you an absolutely incredible cruise adventure!

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