You know the sort of relationship you have with a distant relative where you communicate with each other via the occasional Facebook poke (does anyone still do that?) or random emoji? Well, that’s how we felt about cruise travel.

However, this indifferent view changed when we recently had an opportunity to enjoy a seven-night cruise of the Mediterranean. Our cruise itinerary saw us visit six different port cities (Zadar, Villefranche, Ajaccio, Civitavecchia and Genoa) and attend our first ever Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

P&O Cruises | Oceana | 10 tips for first time travel

Embarkation point -> Venice, Italy! We had no idea what to expect as we travelled on the vaporetto (water-bus) from the beautiful Liassidi Palace Hotel at Santa Zaccaria to board the mid-sized P&O Cruises ship, Oceana. As we approached Plaza de Roma we sighted her, resplendent with her white hulk and blue cap gleaming in the late afternoon sunshine.

Following seamless check-in and security formalities, we were welcomed aboard by a member of the ship’s crew dressed in an all-white officer’s ensemble. The ship’s horn announced our introduction to cruise travel as we sailed away during an alluring Venetian sunset.

P&O Cruises | Venice | 10 tips for first time travel

Below, we challenge our preconceptions and summarise ten things we learned about cruise travel. We hope you find this useful. We would love to hear from you if you do.

#1: It is all about perspective
#2: Isn’t cruise travel for old people?
#3: What about solo-travellers?
#4: Manage your expectations of time ashore
#5: Embrace time at sea
#6: Forget the internet and digitally detox!
#7: Food and dining aboard
#8: Stay sanitized for sanity
#9: Sun bed roulette
#10: How much does a typical cruise cost?

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