I have been thinking a lot about my favorite cruise tips and tricks. This list isn’t a complete list but the top ten that I thought of when I went to write this post! I will most likely make this a series as there are tons and tons of tips for cruising and some pertain to each cruise line that I have been on.
1. Food. Eat breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. We have found this is a way to really keep the weight gain controlled a bit. Obviously portions are more controlled in the dining room vs. buffets. Now that I have told you that portions are controlled in the dining room, there is no shame in ordering more. We cruised once on Princess with some friends Jake and Kelli and we had a table assignment with an older woman and her friend. She has cruised so many times with Princess and lives near a port, they just call her and say – hey we have open rooms want to come? (DREAM BIG PEOPLE THIS SOUNDS AMAZING TO ME!) Anyway – she taught us, that she orders one of everything for the table, so that everyone gets to try everything. Cruises are a good time to try something you have never had before like escargot, duck, sweetbreads, or other uncommon things that you may not be willing to order when you are paying for food separately. Most food is included on the ships. You will know when something isn’t included. Some ships have specialty restaurants which you have to pay a fee to go to. For example: Johnny Rockets on RCCL – when we cruised there was a $6.95 cover charge that covered all you could eat except the milkshakes were an additional charge. Princess cruises has the Crown Grill and we find it is always worth the splurge.
2. You will get an incredible amount of papers delivered to your room, whether it be the daily paper which has all of the activities or the tickets to your excursions or all of the papers to sell you on other excursions. I have started bringing magnets, since ships are metal – the walls are metallic! We also bring a highlighter to help keep track of activities we want to participate in.
3. Location, Location, Location. Crystal and I spend days/weeks studying ship deck plans, once we have picked which cruise we will be taking. We like to book rooms together, we also like to be away from anything noisy. For example, don’t book a room above or below a lounge, theater or even a restaurant. We like to book rooms that have rooms above and below our room…so the noise will just be people in their rooms. If you don’t like walking, pick mid ship. The ships may not look big but they are. Russell and I have booked balcony, interior, and oceanview rooms. We like them all really. We often want to save money and not book balcony rooms. We really don’t spend that much time in the rooms. We did splurge for an aft viewing balcony on Celebrity Solstice. We loved sitting out there and watching the wake of the ship. Now also make sure you understand the nautical terms. Pretend you are inside the ship, facing the front of the ship. Destinations at the front of the ship are called “fore” or “forward” and at the back of the ship are called “aft.” Things in the middle are midship. As you face forward, the left side is “port,” with the right side being “starboard”. One other pertinent tip is we always avoid mid ship elevators/stairs. They are always crowded. We like to walk either forward or aft depending on where we are going and use those stairs or elevators.
4. When you first board the ship tour as much as possible. Some ships I have gotten a tour of the spa, and learned about treatments that I wouldn’t have known about had I not participated in the tour. They will also offer your specials for port days in the spa – so keep an eye out for those.
5. Bring over the counter medicines with you. You can purchase a lot of these things on the ship or off, but they prices are higher than at home. I typically pack: Bonine, Alleve, Benadryl, Immodium or Pepto Bismal, Dayquil and NyQuil. My mother in law always bring antibiotics. Bonine is our preferred sea sickness medicine – though we have only used it on two trips. We still always bring it. I have read that green apples and saltines will also help if you are feeling squeamish.
Stay tuned for more tips and tricks. If you would like to read about some of our cruises click here!