Wait…aren’t cruises already amazing? It depends on your point of view. Some people swear by cruise vacations as the only way to see the world: you get the comfort, service and amenities of an all-inclusive, floating luxury hotel and the benefits of docking every couple of days at a new, exotic locale with plenty of shore time for shopping and tourist-ing. Others point to the tiny rooms, potential seasickness and boredom of being stuck out on the open water for days at a time.
One thing is for certain – well, two things: You’ll never know if you love cruising or not until you take your first cruise…and there is always something you can do to make your cruise vacation better! In this case, 10 things. Read our tips and enjoy your first – or next – cruise even more than you thought possible.
- Get insurance. While you may have had luck skating by without insurance on previous trips, know that medical expenses can be enormous on cruise ships, and can ruin your peace of mind. A comprehensive policy will also cover your expenses for cancelled cruises, flight delays that cause you to miss the boat so to speak, and port excursions you’ve selected that are bypassed because of weather conditions.
- Splurge for the balcony room. It costs more, but it will allow you to actually spend some time in your stateroom without getting that claustrophobic feeling people complain about.
- Sign up for all the cruise lines’ mailing lists. It may seem annoying to get all that vacation spam, but if you’re planning a cruise, you’ll probably delight in comparing and studying the details…and you’ll also be privy to special offers and last-minute deals, which can make a huge difference when traveling on a budget or on a whim.
- Travel in a large group. Since the major ships all hold thousands of passengers anyway, making privacy difficult, a cruise is the trip to join large groups of friends, family members or coworkers. You might even get a free room for organizing such a trip, and you’ll certainly make memories for a lifetime.
- Look at the newsletter and daily announcements on board. You might be so overwhelmed if it’s your first cruise or jaded if you have cruised before, that you ignore the ship’s daily sheet, but don’t – it’s a wealth of information about free daily activities, special events, shop discounts, daily movies, raffles, etc. and can make all the difference to your enjoyment of sea days.
- Pre-book your tables online. There’s no use signing up for meals and drinks packages only to discover your favourite restaurants are booked up every night; make reservations before you even board the ship to avoid disappointment.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and top it up at the bars. If you haven’t bought a drinks package and/or the environmentalist in you is horrified at the approximately 40,000 plastic bottles being consumed all around you (that is certainly what it feels like!) bring a metal bottle and fill it with filtered water onboard.
- Pack a power bar. Especially if there are more than 2 of you, do you really want to be fighting over the one or two power outlets to charge phones, tablets, cameras and personal appliances?
- Bring lightweight soft sided luggage. Space is at a premium on cruise ships so you’ll want a tough but stylish expandable luggage set you can truly live out of.
- Relax. The ship has plenty of quiet places (libraries, observation lounges, spa facilities, private cabanas for hire at some adults-only pools) but it’s easy to forget that due to the hustle and bustle onboard. Relax, and watch the sun rise and set over the water. It’s your chance fully experience nature’s calming beauty from a very unique vantage point.
Are you a cruise lover? Leave a comment to let us know YOUR favourite tip for getting the most from your cruise vacation!