• I have never sailed on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.

  • Before going on a cruise, there are some things you should know.

  • I learned a lot from how to pick a cabin to where to eat dinner.

The Wonder of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world. I wish I'd known a few things that I think any first-time cruiser should know.

The author takes a selfie in front of the world's largest cruise ship
The author in front of the Wonder of the Seas cruise ship.Joey Hadden/Insider

I went on my first Caribbean cruise in April for a reporting trip. I had never been to a cruise ship before.

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is the largest cruise ship of its kind. We sailed to Roatn, Honduras, Costa Maya, Mexico, and the private island in the Bahamas.

I decided that the cruising lifestyle was not for me. I wish I'd known some things that would have made my trip more comfortable. Before setting sail, all first-timers should know what to look for.

I wish I'd done a few things differently on my first cruise.

The front of the ship's cabins can be rockier than the rest.

Arrows point to two different views of the front of a cruise ship: outside (L) and inside of the stateroom (R)
The author's room was at the front of the ship.Joey Hadden/Insider

I wish I had done some research about how the location of a cruise ship cabin affects the amount of motion you can feel while the ship is moving.

I didn't expect my cabin to move as much as it did, because my room was at the front of the ship. The front and back move more than the middle because ships rock from side to side.

The front of the ship was said to be one of the worst places to feel motion by many of the seasoned cruisers I talked to. The higher decks in the middle of the ship feel more stable.

Pick a room in the middle of the ship if you're prone to motion sickness. I would have liked to know this before.

I spent 7 nights in a room on the largest cruise ship. You can take a look at my cabin.

Specialty restaurants weren't needed because the restaurants included in the cruise rate were all good.

The author's dinner in the main dining room.Joey Hadden/Insider

Most meals, snacks, and drinks are included in the cruise rate.

More than a dozen restaurants with specialty offerings, like sushi, are not included and incur additional charges on large ships. For each meal, I paid between 40 and 60 dollars.

Before my trip, I reserved all of the specialty restaurants, but I wish I hadn't booked so many since they offer a wide range of delicious types of food to eat.

The main dining room had a variety of buffets and a three-course meal every night.

All of my cravings were satisfied by these options. The dining room was one of the best places to eat.

I didn't have time to eat in the main dining room more than once since I booked so many specialty restaurants. I would have saved money and eaten more of the meals that came with them if I had known they would be so satisfying.

I ate on the world's largest cruise ship. The dishes that I had are listed.

If you don't want to take part in formal nights, don't waste luggage space on nice outfits.

The author on the first formal night.Joey Hadden/Insider

After the first formal night of the cruise, I realized that the dress code wasn't strictly enforced, even though I brought a nice dress with me. People wore a variety of outfits.

I relaxed my look on the other two nights, but I felt like I wasted a lot of space with the dress. I would have left it at home if I knew it wasn't needed.

I learned a lot on my first cruise, from how to meet people to having a single supplement.

Bring a bar of laundry detergent to save money.

Inside the author's closet in her cabin.Joey Hadden/Insider

Since I only brought a carry-on suitcase, I was hoping to get some laundry done on the plane.

I have never had in-unit laundry in New York City, so I have to pay for it. Royal Caribbean charges for each article of clothing differently than I do at my laundromat. The cost of a shirt is $4, a dress is $9, and a pair of underwear is $2.

I did not get any laundry done on my trip because of this. I would have brought a bar of laundry soap if I'd known the pricing.

I packed just a carry-on and a backpack for my cruise. I brought 10 items and 7 items that I wish I had with me.

I brought warm clothing because it was cold on the cruise.

The author on the windy top deck just after sunrise.Joey Hadden/Insider

Early in the morning and late in the night were my favorite times to be on the top deck. I wish I had brought more than one sweater and pair of pants during those times.

I would bring a few more pairs of pants and a sweater to keep me warm. I wore the same pants and sweater for almost the entire day.

The world's largest cruise ship is lit up at night with bright lights.

If I knew I could bring my own case of water, I would have.

A case of water bottles in the author's room.Joey Hadden/Insider

I chose the water bottle package because I wanted to make sure I stayed hydrated during my trip. I received a case of water bottles for $16 from Royal Caribbean. I thought a pack of water bottles was just part of the cost of cruising.

People on the ship carried their own cases of water. Guests at Royal Caribbean can bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.

I would have brought my own water and some snacks.

Here are 15 things that surprised me the most when I traveled on a cruise ship.

I would have been prepared to have a better time if I'd known these details. They should help other first-timers.

The author at a port in front of the world's largest cruise ship.Joey Hadden/Insider

Some of the key knowledge could have made my trip a lot more comfortable. I will remember cabin locations, formal nights, and cool mornings sailing on the Caribbean Sea if I ever go back on a cruise.

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