view off a cruise ship
A cruise can be a very exciting way to see the world while relaxing on board a “floating city” that has plenty of entertainment including dining, shows, arcades, cinemas, swimming pools and much more.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / cassinga

Cruise Tips and Secrets to Make Your Next Vacation Amazing

Make the Most of Your Cruise

A cruise can be a very exciting way to see the world while relaxing on board a “floating city” that has plenty of entertainment including dining, shows, arcades, cinemas, swimming pools and much more. If you find a cruise that’s right for you it can be the trip of a lifetime — and by following these cruise tips you can make your trip even more fun.

Choosing the Right Cabin

Your enjoyment of the overall cruise starts with the cabin you select. You’ll want to ask yourself how much time you plan on spending in your room and how much money you are willing to invest into your vacation.

The inside cabins, windowless rooms in the middle of the ship, are the cheap option . If you plan on being outside of your cabin most of the time and you are looking to save money, they are the best bet for you.

If you are only in your cabin for sleeping, then natural light and views will not be that important and you can save your money to spend onshore.

If you would rather be able to relax in your cabin, admire the view, order room service and read a book while listening to the waves, you might find that an outside cabin is worth the extra price.

You might be able to get a deal by opting for a cabin that has a view obstructed by a lifeboat or some machinery. The view might not be great, but you will still get fresh air and natural light, so this can be a great bargain.

Here’s a tip for staying in a windowless cabin: turn your TV to the station that shows the live camera feed from the bridge of the ship and turn off the sound. You’ll then have a nightlight and a way of knowing when the sun has come up.

Saving Money on Drinks

The expensive drinks on a cruise ship can really add up, so how do you sip for less? First of all, look out for Happy Hours at the cruise ship bars where drinks will be served at reduced prices.

Also, if you like wine you will save a lot of money by ordering it by the bottle rather than by the glass. If you can’t drink a full bottle that evening, your server will re-cork it for you so that you can drink the rest on another night.

You might even be able to send the rest of the bottle to your room to enjoy later.

When you are in port take the opportunity to find a bar away from all the tourists where the drink prices will be cheaper — this also gives you a chance to mingle with the locals. Another tip is to order the drink of the day, as many cruise lines will feature a different type of drink each day at a discounted price.

If you really think you will drink quite a bit on your cruise, consider an all-you-can-drink package. It might seem expensive, but it can actually be better value.

Often the packages will pay for themselves, even if you are only having a couple of cocktails by the pool and then a few glasses of wine with dinner.

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Cruise Packing Tips

When it comes to packing for a cruise, most people’s focus is on bigger items that go in their checked luggage. However, when it comes to cruises, what goes in your carry-on is almost more important!

Pack a small carry-on bag that contains your travel documents, a change of clothes, a bathing suit and any medications that you might need. That means that as soon as you get on board you can head to the pool or the bar and not have to wait for your checked bags to arrive at your stateroom.

The pools and hot tubs are usually empty on the first day because many people haven’t followed this advice and packed their swimsuit in their carry-on.

Do some research beforehand to find out exactly how formal the cruise will be and how you should dress for the meals. For example, some cruises will require you to wear suits and ties, tuxedos and evening gowns, while others will simply require smart, casual clothing such as dresses and pantsuits for women, and jackets and ties for men.

You might want to bring along your own power strip, as many cruise ship cabins will only have one or two outlets. This will allow you to plug in all your electronics at once.

If you tend to get seasick, don’t forget to bring along the medicine that works for you. However, if you forget, you can ask for seasickness medication from the purser’s desk and they will usually give it to you for free.

Keep these tips in mind and your next cruise will be smooth sailing!

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