I’m beginning a new blog tradition called Travel Tips Thursday. Yep, you guessed it, I am selecting Thursdays as a day to share my favorite travel tips. I hope that you will share some of your favorite tips as well.
As a first time cruiser it’s hard to know what to expect on your cruise. Sure you can research and do your best to prepare for your upcoming adventure; however, the best advice comes from those who have been in your shoes before. Today I am sharing a list of tips that I received before we set sail, and also some helpful tidbits that I wish I would have known before our vacation.
- Pack layers. While your destinations may be warm and tropical, the nights on the ship can get cold. I compare my experience to my time spent in the Las Vegas casinos. Sure, outside it’s a sweltering 115 degrees, however, when you are gambling in the casinos it can get a little chilly. When the ship is sailing at night it can be cold in the breeze and the A/C is always on within the ship. Bring your “destination” clothing, as well as warmer clothes for your nights on the ship.
- Book your excursions through the cruise line. If there is an excursion you are dying to go on and it’s not through the ship, make sure you have enough time before the activity to get off the ship. If you dock at 8:00am, there is a likely possibility you may not be off the ship until 8:15 or later (and that’s if you are one of the first ones off the ship). Give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship after your activity as well. The ship won’t wait for you if you’re late and you will have unfortunate (and extremely costly) experience of finding your own way to meet up with the ship at the next port.
- Tips are an unavoidable cost on your cruise. With the service you receive it’s a bargain, but make sure to factor in this expense to the overall cost of your cruise. You can pay the tips when you book your cruise to avoid the cost on your stateroom bill at the end of your trip.
- If you are a drinker, buy the drink coupons! The Carnival coupons were worth $5.75 each and most drinks were around $6.00-$7.50 per drink (the difference is charged to your stateroom). While the cost is the same whether you buy the coupons or not, you can avoid the sticker shock on your stateroom itemized bill by incurring $2.00 charges per drink instead of $7.50 for each drink.
- Each guest is allowed 12 unopened cans of soda and a 750mL bottle of wine. You can buy an unlimited soda card for each person in your party for $6.50/day, however, this adds up. Save yourself a little bit of money and buy a twelve pack for each person in your party before you board.
- Check to see if there is a blow dryer in your stateroom. Some ships do not have blow dryers and this could be a huge inconvenience to some travelers.
- Bring a small extension cord like this one from IKEA. Most staterooms only have one or two outlets in the room so a small extension cord helped us charge our electronics while also using the blow dryer that I had to bring. ;-) (It is also very useful when waiting for your flight at the airport. Our layovers always fly by because we end up watching our favorite sitcoms to help pass the time.)
So, my fellow cruisers, what have I missed? What are some of your favorite cruising tips?