Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a cruise ship veteran, below are some valuable tips to help you make the most of your cruise vacation.
Don’t overpack. Cruise cabins don’t have much storage space, so stick to packing the essentials and don’t go overboard (pun intended) when you pack your clothing – a few swimsuits and outfits for evening dinners and excursions should be plenty.
Pack everything you’ll need for your first day in your carry on – change of clothes, swimsuit, prescriptions and any other essentials, as you will likely not receive your checked luggage until late in the evening on the first day.
Pack the following items:
A lanyard: Whether you have one from a tradeshow giveaway or you purchase one on Amazon (or even on the ship), a lanyard will be extremely useful to carry your Sail & Sign card. You can also keep your license in it to use when you’re IDed getting on and off the ship at ports.
A travel bottle/mug: Onboard, you’ll likely find filtered water, coffee, tea and hot chocolate available 24 hours. Bring your own bottle/mug to take full advantage of unlimited refills.
Zip-lock bags: To help keep your items organized and dry when you’re at the pool or beach.
A couple of sweatshirts/sweaters: It may get chilly at night – you’ll be thankful!
Power strip/charging station: Cruise ships have limited outlets (with the amount of electronics we all pack) and only the newest have USB ports. Pack a power strip or charging station, if it’s legal on your cruise line. Alternatively, you can ask your cabin steward about extra outlets that may be hidden behind the TV or under the bed.
Your own medications (and sunscreen): Motion sickness medication, allergy medication, pain relievers, etc. all will cost you 10 times as much on the ship.
Water shoes: These will help you avoid cutting your feet on coral or jagged rocks. You’ll be able to purchase them on the ship, but for a premium, so it’s a good idea to buy them ahead of time for a bargain.
Magnets: The cabins are made of metal and there are magnetic – bring magnets so you can keep all of your cocktail party invites, dining reservations and daily planners organized and hung up on walls and doors.
Pack for your excursions: For most of the adventure excursions, you’ll need a backpack. Also, pack an old pair of sneakers that you ever plan on wearing again as they will very likely get extremely dirty. Pack your sunscreen and water before an excursion as the onboard shops aren’t open while in port. Check out any beach towels the night before as lines will be long as everyone exits simultaneously.
Arrive the night before departure: Every year, hundreds of passengers literally miss the boat (more pun intended) due to flight delays, traffic, bad weather or other unforeseen issues. Arrive the night before to have a stress-free boarding experience and add another day to your vacation in the process.
Check your cell phone coverage: Check with your cell phone provider to find out what the coverage is in the location(s) you will be visiting. If you decide to use your phone on land/islands, be sure to turn it off or put it into airplane mode in order to avoid costly international charges while at sea.
Temper your wi-fi expectations: Though onboard wi-fi is advertised, do not expect the same speed and reliability at home or in the office.
Budget for special dining experiences: While all food is included – buffets, pizza, ice cream, etc., for a little bit extra (compared to what you’d pay at a restaurant on shore), you can upgrade your dining experience and enjoy a sushi dinner, eat at a steakhouse or even a wine pairing. Treat yourself to at least a couple nights avoiding the buffet!
Prevent Seasickness: If you get seasick easily, book a room toward the center of the ship with a porthole or balcony. You’ll still feel the motion of the seas, but your symptoms should be less severe if you can see the horizon. You can also visit your doctor prior to your trip to obtain a prescription for a medication such as Promethazine or Transderm Scop, a medicated adhesive patch you apply behind your ears or purchase over-the-counter medications such as Dramamine, Meclizine, or Sea-Bands which go around your wrists.
Plan for Emergencies: Don’t leave without enrolling in a travel emergency plan. Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere, but are especially stressful when they occur while you are far away from home. For instance, evacuations and repatriation can quickly rise well above $30,000. Companies such as Global Travel Plus offer assistance packages which include services such as medical evacuations, repatriations, foreign hospital admission assistance, lost luggage assistance and more. Enroll prior your departure to ensure you don’t come back from vacation with hefty medical transportation bills!
Decorate your door: With long corridors of doors that all look the same, it can be difficult to find your cabin. Bring a few paper decorations to make your door stand out and help you easily find your cabin!
Makeshift nightlight: Interior cabins have no natural light at all. At night, turn your TV to the bridge cam station, turn off the sound and you can use it as a nightlight! You’ll also have a way to see when the sun comes up.
Hidden storage: Do a little exploring and even ask your cabin steward for a tour – you may be surprised to find extra storage under the bed or couch or hidden inside an ottoman or behind a mirror.
Seasickness Assistance: Should all of your other remedies fail and you are still suffering from seasickness, call room service – they can bring you green apples and bland crackers (crew members swear by the green apple remedy) or even bring you seasickness medication from the purser’s desk free of charge.
About Global Travel Plus
When you’re experiencing any kind of emergency while traveling 100 miles away from home or in another country, Global Travel Plus assists you with relieving the additional stress experienced. Services include medical consultations, referrals and monitoring, emergency evacuation and repatriation, medical and non-medical escort, assistance with foreign hospital admission and prescriptions. With Global Travel Plus on your side, you’ll enjoy real worry-free travel everywhere in the world in any situation. For more information, visit www.globaltravelplus.com.
Disclosure: Unless otherwise stated reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.