By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: This summer will be my first time to take a cruise. I'll be travelling alone. Any suggestions on what to expect?

A: Expect to have lots of fun for starters. Cruising can be one of the most enjoyable travel experiences for a myriad of reasons. Because of the many ports you visit, every day is different. The schedule of activities that cruise liners offer is so extensive that you may just find Grandma Moses doing back flips off the diving board.

If you're on the shy side, challenge yourself to try your hand at the stage. Cruises always encourage passengers to strut their stuff in the evening's extravaganza. Last time I was on a cruise, it turned out one of the passengers performed such a harmonica medley, it brought the whole house down.

Of course, if you're not shy, these venues are perfect for you. Since cruises are filled with entertainment and everyone is on vacation, chances are excellent that those you do meet will be in fine spirits.

I was amazed on the number of pleasantries exchanged with passengers when I boarded a Caribbean cruise. Want to meet new people? Pack a small note pad and take down addresses or exchange cards.

Other things to expect on a cruise range from disco dancing to casinos to midnight buffets. And then there's the tummy. Sensitive stomachs may be prone to a case of seasickness. Even captains are known to get them. Simply arm yourself with gravol or any other stomach remedy. Besides, there is a doctor on board. So don't fret. Curious about what clothes to pack? Cruise liners love theme events.

There may be the sock hop or good old country and western. Expect two formal evenings. Usually one evening is known as the "Captain's Welcome," and another as "the Captain's Farewell." Contact your travel agent for a sneak preview of the itinerary. Often itineraries are posted on web sites of cruise liners.


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