It’s that time of year again….Spring Break! March Break! Easter Break! and if you are going on a cruise, LUCKY YOU!!!
In my opinion, cruising is the best way to have a totally relaxing vacation. You arrive, unpack, head to the bar for a welcome aboard drink and the rest of the week is planned for you! You get to eat amazing food (that is prepared by someone else!), discover new ports, explore new adventures, and so much more. You can do as much or as little as you like…we are more of the later with less is more 🙂
You might ask why I think I’m such an “expert” (tongue in cheek) on cruises. My partner and I lived in Florida for 9 years, where we partook in many a cruise….cheap last minute prices plus you can hop in your car and drive to the cruise port in no time. We have cruised with most of the cruise lines, all multiple times and these are some of my favorite cruise tips.
These are just my opinions so don’t shoot the messenger! 🙂
1.Booking your Room! The most important part to having a relaxing vacation is having a great night’s sleep. When you book your room, go online and view the ship deck map and look at the floor above and below the room you are interested in. Make sure that you are not above / below the disco, if you like to go to bed early. Make sure that you are not above / below the main cafeteria if you like to sleep in. You will hear noise and will be calling to complain. Also make sure that you are not near the elevators as they cause quite a bit of noise in the early mornings and late at night.
2.Pack once, unpack once! If you are planning on extending your trip for a week or two before or after your cruise, pack all of your cruise clothes, and the families, in one suitcase. This would be your fancy evening clothes, shoes, and anything that is just for the cruise. This saves a lot of time as you only have to unpack one suitcase instead of having to root through everyone’s suitcase to find your daily clothes and the cruise suitcase stays in the closet!
3.Pack a Power Bar! There are usually only a couple of usable plugs in the staterooms and with so many electronic devices, everyone can charge and go all at once.
4.Download the cruise app for the cruise line you are sailing with before you leave home. This way, you can use your phone, using the ship’s wifi, to send text messages and keep in touch with other people on the same cruise ship. You can also use it to book dining reservations, excusions and you can read the daily activity guide and highlight your favorites so you don’t miss a single activity! Once you are on the cruise, log onto the app and sign into their wifi to start.
5.Check in online and book your excursions as soon as possible. If you have your heart set on a particular excursion, book early to avoid disappointment.
6.Specialty Restaurants! If you can afford it, book a reservation with a couple of the specialty restaurants, especially the steak, French and / or Teppanyaki style restaurants. If you are celebrating a special occasion, there is no better way to celebrate than at the Specialty Restaurants. The service is second to none, the presentation, the ambiance, the food, the wine…it is just amazing and will be a memory you will have forever! The small dining fee is worth every penny!
7.Buy the Beverage Package! All cruises offer different packages with different perks. The best one we have seen is on the Princess Cruise Lines…their beverage package includes all their specialty coffees, hot and cold, specialty shakes, the ice cream bar, all your waters, colas, energy drinks and all your alcohol. A great deal if you like your coffees and alcoholic beverages during the day and /or in the evenings….at the pool, with supper, at the theatre, the casino, relaxing in the lounge for a nightcap. Just perfect!
8.Bring your own bottled water or bring a reusable water bottle! We drink a lot of water on the cruise…hot days by the pool, rehydrating after overindulding the night before, at the beach, gym, etc. Bottled water on the cruise is SUPER EXPENSIVE! We bring a couple of cases for a few dollars and save a ton of money. Just pack it in a duffle bag and they will deliver it to your room.
9.Always pack an extra bag! We have a black duffle bag that easily fits in our suitcase. We use it to bring our bottled water onboard and then when empty, we store our dirty clothes in it and then throw all our sneakers and shoes in that bag and fill our suitcases with the great deals we got at the outlets, on the islands, and all our cruise mementos.
10.Check for Cabin Sales!!! As you get closer to your cruise date, the cruise line will put the rooms that haven’t sold on sale. If you want to upgrade to a better room category, call who you booked with, either your travel agent or the cruise line direct and ask them the price on an upgrade. You can go from a port stateroom to a balcony for a couple hundred dollars to a mini suite for a bit more money. Check on Mondays / Tuesdays for price reductions, especially the week before the cruise.
Finally……RELAX! Enjoy your time with family and friends! It will go by so fast and then it’s back to the rat race we call life!
Enjoy your spring vacation and create lasting memories!
What are your favorite cruise tips?