If you’ve never been on a ship before, it may seem like a whole new world of travel. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable.

1. Different cruise lines serve different types of passengers, and have different strengths and weaknesses. Research a line fully before plunking down your money.

2. Be aware that those cool new features you’ve read about — the bumper cars, sky diving simulators and restaurants run by celebrity chefs – are likely only on the newest ships in the fleet, so be sure to check before you book.

related: Five Caribbean cruises off the beaten path

3. The largest ships can have more than 30 cabin categories, so invest some time in determining what you get at the different price points.

4. If your chosen line offers a choice of routes, take the time to research which ports are smaller, get the fewest cruise ships and have the best beaches.

5. Extras like massage appointments, shore excursions and peak-time dinner reservations can get fully booked, so put your name down early.

For more travel advice, go to www.insightguides.com.