When it comes to cruising's dos and don'ts, our Cruise Critic members are quick with great advice. Our well-traveled readers will help any first-time cruiser avoid making those big-time mistakes that could ruin a cruise. From which cabins not to book to which spa treatments to avoid, we've culled through your tips and picked out a baker's dozen items first-time cruisers should avoid. Then again, anyone heading onto the high seas -- whether veteran or newbie -- would be wise to get clued in on these cruising bugaboos.
• Still want more? Check out 5 more mistakes to avoid on your first cruise.
Don't pick the wrong cruise -- or cabin. "For first-time cruisers, it is important that you match your personal preferences to a cruise line that best fits your personality or that best fits what you are looking for this specific vacation,” comments Steven P. That being said, be wary of creating too high a precedent. "Don't book a suite as your first cruise cabin. You will be forever spoiled and NOT ever want to book anything else!" Ali said.
• Pick the cabin that best suits you. We tell you how.
Don't pick the wrong person to travel with. Said Holly K: "Don't take the wrong person along. An anti-social misfit alcoholic is not going to be a fun cruise companion." She's not alone with this thought. "Unfortunately my first pleasure cruise was with a stick-in-the-mud ex-girlfriend (we were dating at the time) who had been on several cruises previously," Bob Rauchfleisch said, noting that all she wanted to do was lounge in the cabin.
Don't underestimate the power of the buffet. "Don't forget to save your looser-fitting clothes to wear at the end of the cruise … you will gain weight as the week goes on," Gail Guilliams said.Don't take packing lightly. "One of my tips is, don't pack your passport in your luggage or you will not be let onboard until they find your luggage among thousands of luggage," Janet Ortega said. In a similar vein, Sue suggests, "I have found that always having a backpack to go on excursions with is the best thing … Everything, including a light rain coat, is always at hand."
• Check out our top 10 cruise packing tips.
Don't forget to say "I've had enough." "Keep a glow on, but whenever you feel a bit too tipsy, have soda water for a while and eat something … then you can start again!" Robb suggests.
Don't neglect the staff. "We have taken many cruises over the years, and we always bring candy with us to give to the staff. It is amazing this little act of kindness brings a smile to their faces," Woodenduck said.
Don't spend your money on things you don't need. "Do limit your purchases of Caribbean-style clothing. It is easy to get caught up in the ambience, but I promise that once you get back home you won't wear it like you thought you would. Ask me how I know …" Sandy B. commented
Don't forget to save room for souvenirs. Splurging is one thing, but you'll most certainly want to bring home a few mementos, so make sure you have room in your luggage. "Pack a collapsible extra bag for all the stuff you will bring home even though you swore you weren't getting anything!" Eilean suggests.
Don't use the elevators if you can avoid them. Waiting for the elevator could easily take you five minutes each way. "You waste a lot of time waiting, and there are many who really need to use it," Jan Brandvold warns. Plus, taking the stairs could help you keep off the extra pounds Gail Guilliams mentioned in her tip.
• For more ways to stay healthy at sea, check out Cruise Critic's 10 tips.
Don't forget to slather it on. Sunscreen, that is. "Sunburn isn't fun at home, why would you want it on vacation?" Elisabeth posted.
Don't get your teeth whitened. "Do not go for the teeth whitening, no matter how cheap it is. We made the mistake of doing it on our first day and our gums were so sore for a couple days, we couldn't enjoy the food," Tonya said.
Don't forget to pack your chill pills. "Don't complain! You are on an incredible ship, eating incredible food, having your bed made several times a day and people from around the world are AWAY from their FAMILIES to serve us, the cruise passenger guests," Scott Lara insists. Remember that even when things go wrong, you can still have fun if you take it all in stride.
Don't forget the obvious. This one's a no-brainer. "Join the Roll Call for your cruise! You will get to make friends with fellow passengers in advance. You get to meet these friends at a 'Meet and Mingle' event on the first sea day," B'moreCruiser suggests.
• Find out about Cruise Critic's famous Roll Calls.
--By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Cruise Critic Contributor