Whether you're a first time cruiser or have cruised before, chances are there are things about cruising you probably don't know. This is one of the reasons why a cruise should ALWAYS be booked by an experienced travel agent. There are so many intricate details involved with booking a cruise that smaller, yet important, details often get missed.
I've put together this list of 12 things you should know before your next cruise. Number 10 just might surprise you!
1. Lose Weight Pre-Cruise - The average person gains about 5-10 pounds while on a 7-day cruise. Just imagine an endless supply of food and drinks (especially if you purchase the alcoholic beverages package). Make it a personal goal to lose 5-10 pounds before going on your next cruise. Then when you return home, you'll be right where you started.
2. Upgrade - Unless money is really tight, splurge a little and go for the bigger room. Or at the very least, get a room with a window. Your future self will thank you!
3. Get Seconds - When it comes to dining at the resturants, you can get seconds on anything. If you want more salmon, salad, or dessert, just ask. They'll give it to you.
4. Don't Buy Water - Bottled water on the ship costs about $4.00. Next time bring your own water bottle and fill it up at the water stations. This could possibly save over $70 for a family of 4 on a 7-day cruise. Tip: Bring along powdered drink mixes to add to your water if you prefer a little flavor!
5. No Kids Zone - If you're one that doesn't like a lot of kids on a cruise, book longer cruises. Parents are willing to take their kids out of school for 5-7 days, but not much longer than that.
Tip: If there are too many kids playing in the pools or the hot tubs, wait until the ship docks and then hang back when everyone else goes onshore. You'll practically have the place to yourself. You can also plan to return to the ship early to have some time away from the crowds.
6. Pre-Pay Gratuity - Prepaying your tip just feels better. Why worry about having enough cash left at the end of your cruise. Prepaid gratuities makes your time at sea totally relaxed with no additional obligation.
7. Put Your Phone On Airplane Mode - Unless you want your cell phone bill to be GINORMOUS, put your phone in airplane mode during your cruise. You'll avoid incurring fees when your internet connection finally works and sends through many text messages all at once.
Tip: For communication on the ship, use walkie talkies.
8. Buy the Picture Package - Do not buy cruise pictures one by one. This is the absolute worse thing to do! Each picture costs between $10-$25, and the picture package costs $99. So if you end up purchasing 5 or 6 pics, then you'll be wasting your money. Better to go ahead and get the package deal, which also gives you the pictures on USB as well.
9. Plan Your Own Excursions - You don't have to go for the excursions through the cruise line. They are far more expensive. Look into booking your own excursions with private companies. Just do your research first and make sure the company you go with has been vetted by the Ministry of Tourism.
Also make sure they get you back to the ship well before the ship takes off. If you are late getting back, the ship WILL leave you behind. No exceptions. As a rule of thumb, plan to return to your ship at least 90 minutes before the ship is set to take off. And be sure to set your time to "ship time," so that your time will be the same as the ship's time and there is no confusion.
10. Bring Your Own Booze - Many ships allow you to bring up to two 750 ml bottles of wine per person on board. (Be sure to double check this with your cruise line before boarding). Or purchase a bottle of rum before the cruise and have it delivered to you on day one. Then bring a 12-pack of coke on board with you and have rum and coke all cruise long.
11. Drink Package - Most people don't know that if they share a room with someone who purchases a drink package, most cruise lines requires all adults in that cabin to purchase a drink package as well. It's kind of a bummer, but it's a way for them to make sure no one cheats the system and shares their drinks with their cabin mate(s). The only other option is purchase drinks ala cart, or purchase a bon voyage bottle of alcohol that is delivered to your cabin the day you board the ship.
Tip: If you're going to purchase the alcohol package or soda package, do it before the cruise. It will cost you more later if you purchase it during the cruise.
12. Slow It Down - Don't be in such a hurry to get to your port of call. Remember the ship is a destination in itself. There's so much fun stuff to do. Take the time to explore the ship and live it up, whether it's movie night or karaoke night, comedy night or massage time, take time to enjoy the view.
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Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!