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  • Writer's pictureJessica Heather

22 CRUISE Tips and Tricks Every NEW CRUISER Needs to Know

Cruise ships are amazing. They're huge, they have pools and bars, and you can spend days talking to people from all over the world.

The only problem is that cruising can be expensive if you don't know how to plan.

We've put together this list of tips and tricks for making sure your cruise is as enjoyable as possible:

Do your pre-board ship research.

  • Research the ship you're going on.

  • Research your ports of call.

  • Research excursions, restaurants, and entertainment options.

  • Find out about the dress code and departure time (if applicable).

  • Find out about weather conditions in each port that you'll be visiting.

Don’t go overly budget-conscious on staterooms.

  • Don't go overboard on the stateroom, no pun intended.

  • If you're traveling on a budget, you don't want to spend all your money on one or two things that can get expensive.

  • Check out what amenities are offered in each cabin class and choose accordingly based on your needs and preferences.

  • If you book an interior stateroom, many cruise lines may give you the option to upgrade for free.

Royal Caribbean International offers cruise room upgrades, known as 'Royal Up. This is how it works:

You can browse through the stateroom options, and select the amount you are willing to pay. For example; on our last cruise, we booked an interior stateroom, bidding as little as £10 per passenger per stateroom. We bid for an ocean-view stateroom. Royal Caribbean will notify you if your bid has been accepted, and you will be charged for the upgrade. If not, you will keep your original stateroom and won't be charged.

Try to get a room near the center of the ship.

  • You can avoid walking as much, which is good for your feet /legs and great for passengers with disabilities and accessibility needs.

  • You'll be able to get to things quickly and easily, like dining rooms and pools.

  • The casino is also easier if you're nearby - you don't have to walk all over town looking for it!

If you do happen to choose a balcony room.

  • You can't go wrong, they have more space and privacy than interior rooms, and they're usually cheaper than ocean-view rooms, too.

  • If you're planning on spending your vacation lounging by the pool or at the bar all day long (or both), a balcony may be what you need to ensure that you get some uninterrupted time alone with nothing but your thoughts in mind.

  • If this sounds like something that would work for you, then book an ocean-view room!

Don't leave your passports at home.

  • You can't leave your passport at home.

  • Some people like to take their passports with them when they go on a cruise, but it's important to remember that you can't get on the ship without a valid passport and there are certain rules about how many days you can stay in port before needing to return home. In addition, if something happens and someone needs to pick up an important document from another country, then having a photocopy of your passport handy could help get back into the country again quickly!

Avoid booking flights that fly out on cruise day, if possible.

  • If you're flying out of a different airport, it's important to make sure you have time to get there. You should also book your flight early and try to avoid booking one that leaves too early or too late.

  • If possible, try not to fly on cruise day itself because of the crowds at the airports and other transport hubs such as bus stations and train stations that may be full of people who aren't going on cruises.

Sign up for alerts with your cruise line.

In addition to using a travel agent, there are other ways you can stay up to date with your cruise. If you have a smartphone and an email account, signing up for text alerts is one option.

If not, then consider signing up for emails or even both! You can find out all the details on their website.

Another way to stay informed about what's happening with your trip is by signing up for notifications via phone call or text message (with the right plan).

These are usually free but some may charge a small fee if they're offering something exclusive like special dining reservations or excursions outside of the ship itself during port stops along the itinerary.

Check the apps that are supported.

  • As you prepare to board your cruise, it's important to check that your favorite apps are supported by the ship. Make sure you can use them, connect to the internet, stream videos, and make calls. If there is an issue with one of these features or if you're having trouble connecting in general then don't panic! The crew will be able to assist as soon as they can so simply ask them if they have any advice on what might be happening and how long it may take before everything works again.

  • Make sure that everything works properly before leaving the port as some ports may require additional fees depending on what type of service was used during check-in at the home port (eg: Wi-Fi vs no Wi-Fi).

Choose your dining times carefully.

  • When you're on a cruise ship, the dining times are important. Dinner is typically the most popular meal of the day, so it can be hard to get reservations at an earlier time (and if you do get one, then your table will likely be in an area with other people who can't hear each other).

  • Breakfast is usually a buffet; lunch is usually a sandwich bar or soup bar, and dinner is usually served at one of two restaurants. If you plan on eating early or late at night during peak periods (such as when it's raining), then make sure that there's enough seating space available for everyone else who wants their meals earlier than usual too!

Limit your alcohol purchases onboard.

  • To ensure that you don't get too drunk on your cruise, it's important to limit how much alcohol you purchase while onboard. Alcohol is often not included in the cost of your cruise and must be purchased at an additional cost (typically £20 - £40 per day).

  • May cruise lines offer drinks packages that offer a wide variety from tea and coffee beverage packages to non-alcoholic drinks packages including beverages like soda, juice, tea, and coffee. The most popular are the drinks packages that are all-inclusive, that include tea, coffee, juice, soda, and alcohol, whereas many offer premium all-inclusive drinks packages with premium alcohol included.

  • Many cruise lines may allow passengers to bring alcohol onboard, but there tends to be a limit on how much. For example, P&O Cruises allow one liter of wine, Champagne, beer, spirit, or liqueur per person per stateroom. Royal Caribbean International allows passengers to bring two 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom. Alcohol over the limit will be stored and returned to the guest before the end of the cruise.

Do book excursions early.

Booking early is one of the best ways to make sure you get the most out of your cruise. The earlier you book, the cheaper it will be and there's a good chance that your chosen excursions have already sold out or are about to sell out. If this happens, don't worry, you can still choose whatever excursion suits your fancy!

If you're looking for something specific (like an adventure tour), then booking early means that someone has already secured those spots for themselves and is willing to let them go at a discounted rate. You'll also notice that some companies offer special deals if they know people are planning on going on certain trips together to beat waiting times at port stops or other stops along the way where they might otherwise not have been able to fit everyone in their group together at once due having sold out all available spots earlier than expected when first announcing their plans online ahead of time (which sometimes happens).

Be aware of time zones when you're planning your excursions.

  • Planning a cruise is a lot of work, but it's worth it. However, if you don't plan and know the time zones in which you'll be traveling, then there's a good chance that your vacation could go south before it even begins. Time zones can be confusing for first-time cruisers who aren't used to them yet.

Bring stuff to do between ports of call.

The last thing you will be is bored when you're on your cruise ship! but, you may want to bring items that might help pass the time ahead until your next port of call arrives:

  • Bring a book.

  • Bring a deck of cards.

  • Bring a travel journal and pen (or pencil).

  • You can also bring small games like chess or checkers if you're into that sort of thing; it's better than nothing!

  • A small game like Scrabble or Monopoly could keep everyone entertained while they wait for their next excursion ashore.

Get an international data plan.

If you're planning a cruise, it's important to get an international data plan. The best way to do this is by asking your phone carrier if they have one available. If they don't, we recommend purchasing one once you arrive at your destination.

You may ask, how much data do I need?

The amount of data needed depends on what type of phone and plan you have. For example, if all that matters is checking email or making calls over Wi-Fi (which can be done even if there isn't any phone reception), then most people would be fine with just buying 10GB per month from either phone provider, but some may find themselves using more than that during their trip as well!

Bring a water bottle and fill it up on the ship.

  • You can get free refills at water fountains in the cabin, but it’s a good idea to bring along a small bottle of purified or filtered water just in case you need more than what they provide on board.

  • If you have children who will be drinking juice, milk, or other beverages throughout their trip, make sure to pack plenty of extra bottles in your suitcase so that they never run out of something important like juice before getting off at the port.

Use magnetic hooks to hang things on your wall.

You can use magnetic hooks to hang your things on the wall of your stateroom because if you didn't know the walls of a cruise ship are magnetic. They're a great option for cruise passengers who are short on space and need a quick way to store their clothes, towels, and toiletries. While they're not as strong as regular hooks, they're better than nothing!

The only downside of using magnetic hooks is that you have to take them off the wall when you're done with them - they won't stay attached forever unless they're secure against your wall (which is unlikely). However, this isn't too much of an issue because these items are easy enough to remove once you've finished using them: just pull up on each end until its head comes off!

Bring some non-toxic wipes to clean surfaces.

  • Bring some non-toxic wipes to clean surfaces.

  • Bring wipes to clean up spills, which are inevitable on a cruise ship. You'll want to wipe down tables and chairs before eating, as well as any surfaces you encounter that may be dusty or dirty with food crumbs or fingerprints! You can also use these wipes on the bathroom floor once they've been wiped down with soap and water.

  • If you're sharing a room with someone else, make sure they're aware of how easily their belongings get dirty by leaving them out where others could accidentally step on them (or worse yet - drop something heavy!). It's better than having someone accidentally walk into something that could hurt themselves! Plus, there's nothing worse than coming home from vacation only realizing your suitcase had been left outside while waiting for its final destination at baggage claim; especially when it was raining outside all day long.

Do bring motion sickness medication.

Motion sickness tablets are a must-have if you're prone to nausea or vomiting on long-haul cruises. They can help keep your stomach settled during times of extreme motion, especially when combined with other tips like eating small meals at regular intervals or taking breaks every 30 minutes. If you're sensitive to medication but still want some relief, some patches release medicine into your bloodstream when they're applied; these tend to work better than pills because they don't require swallowing anything first (plus they're discrete).

Do bring a power bank.

Bringing a power bank is a must. This will allow you to charge multiple devices at once and make sure they're all fully charged before you leave the ship.

You can use the power bank to charge your phone, camera batteries, and laptop if it's USB-powered. If it's not USB-powered, then some adapters allow you to plug other devices into outlets on the wall at night while they're charging during the day or overnight so that they're ready when you wake up in port (or wherever else).

Dressing up for formal nights.

It is up to you if you dress up for formal nights. The cruise line's dress code is usually formal, but if it's not, you can still wear a shirt and trousers or cocktail attire.

You'll want to look your best for dinner and show nights, port days, and the captain’s welcome/farewell dinner (halfway through the cruise), plus any other time when people may expect you to meet them at an event where they need to impress each other - like cocktail parties or formal dinners.

The most important thing is to be prepared.

The most important thing to remember when planning your cruise is that it’s a vacation, not a race. You want to be able to enjoy yourself and relax, so don't feel like you have to do everything at once. If there's something on the agenda that doesn't interest you, skip it for now; later in the trip (or even during) will be time enough for whatever doesn't get done now.

Book Early: Do this because if something comes up (like an emergency), booking early means more flexibility with scheduling - especially if there are multiple stops along the way! Plus it's always good for business since people tend not to go anywhere without booking first anyway, but don't just do this because someone else tells you to. Make sure that person knows what they're talking about before following their advice blindly!

Get excited to book your next cruise!

If you’re ready to book your next cruise, then get excited! The process of planning your trip is the best part. You can do a lot of research online and over the phone or by using a travel agent.

Here are some tips for booking your next cruise:

  • Booking online with a travel agent or through an agency will cost more than booking directly from one of these websites, but they have more options available to you in terms of pricing and timeframes.

  • Cruise lines often offer discounts when booking early, so if there's something specific that interests you, adding another week could make a huge difference in terms of price point per person on board (and sometimes even free onboard credits)

If you follow these tips, you'll be able to have a great time on board. You don't need to break the bank or pack too much! Just make sure you pack light clothes and wear comfortable shoes with good traction so that everyone can enjoy their vacation as well. Also, remember that there are many things in life other than cruises, so don't forget about those when planning your trip.

What do you think? Do you think any of these cruise tips and tricks will help you get prepared for your next cruise? Let us know your thoughts!

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