Cruise ship vacations are a great way to travel, relax and visit exotic lands. Every cruise I take I learn something new that makes my next trip more enjoyable. Here are 10 secrets that will make all your cruise ship vacations memorable.
1. Most cruise lines offer special discounts for past guests, police officers and firefighters, military personnel (active duty, retired, and sometimes even veterans with as little as 2 years service), senior citizens, airline employees and more. I had already been on several cruises before I found out I was eligible for a military discount. Do not rely on your travel agent to point it out. In fact, it was a fellow passenger who gave me this hot tip. You can find this information on the cruiseline's website, but it might take a little digging. (Hint: start at FAQ or search for 'special cruise pricing.') It's worth the effort – the military discount I received applied to both me and my wife and was very generous.
2. When you're booking your cruise, you may be able to choose where you want your cabin – towards the front of the ship, the rear or the middle; upper decks or lower. Generally, the higher the deck, the more expensive the cabin. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your location:
~ being close to the elevators may be convenient, but it can also be noisy. This is especially true of service elevators.
~ avoid being under the disco or gym because you'll hear people party late into the night or working out early in the morning.
~ the front and rear of the ship can be noisy from anchors and propellers.
3. The elevators get crowded, especially at mealtimes and when getting off the ship in port. I always push both call buttons and get on whiche elevator gets there first. Even if I have to go the opposite direction, I found it's still faster than waiting in the lobby for the right elevator.
4. To save closet space in your cabin, slide your suitcases under the bed after unpacking. You will not need them until it's time to disembark.
5. If you attend any of the shopping and excursion orientations, sit up front. They frequently throw free stuff out into the audience to build excitement.
6. Some cruise ships have a cruise director's TV show to keep guests informed about the ship's activities. Call or write in comments or questions and you'll likely win a bottle of champagne or other gift. Cruise directors love guests who participate.
7. Bring a small flashlight or plug in night light. The cabins get very dark, especially inside cabins.
8. There's always plenty of food on a cruise ship, but try not to overdo it. Set food goals. If you have a large breakfast, have a light lunch. Maybe the next day do the opposite. Try to balance what you eat in terms of carbs, proteins, sweets, etc.
9. Instead of waiting in the buffet line for breakfast and hopping you'll find a table, eat breakfast in the dining room. It's hardly ever crowded and you'll get some great choices for breakfast that you probably will not see on the buffet line.
10. Pack a travelers first aid kit with sun block, aspirin, bandaids, ointment, and be sure to include insect repellent. On a recent cruise we toured a zoo in the jungles of Belize, and the insects were overwhelming! My wife came back covered in bug bites. While cruise ships have a medical doctor on board, there's a charge to see the doc … it can be pretty expensive for treatment of minor mishaps.
These 10 simple tips will make your cruise ship vacations more enjoyable. Each time you cruise and pick up new tips, jot them down so you'll remember them when it's time for your next cruise.