For first-time cruisers enjoying the excitement of traveling on the high seas with all-inclusive meals and entertainment, it may seem like there’s no way cruising could get any better. However, avid cruisers have a variety of tips and tricks that can make your cruise experience even better.
Experienced cruisers have a wealth of knowledge about the cruise industry, memorable locations, and the best excursions. Additionally, avid cruisers are often more than willing to share their best tips and hacks to make cruising enjoyable. Whether you have been on numerous cruises or are attempting to go on a cruise for the very first time, these tips will help you get the most out of your cruise experience:
1. Connect with Cruise Lines
One of the easiest hacks that experienced cruisers give to newbies is to connect with major cruise lines. By signing up for a cruise line’s email list, you will be privy to special deals and exclusive rates that may not be publicized to non-subscribers.
These exclusive emails will often contain information about sales, new offerings on the ships, and exciting land excursions. When you sign up for a cruise line’s emails and see something interesting, do not be afraid to discuss it with your travel agent or cruise planner. They likely can offer you something comparable or even better, as well as help you decipher any associated fine print.
2. Connect with Experienced Cruisers Online
Another way to get the inside scoop from cruise aficionados is to connect with them directly online via special interest internet forums. Joining Facebook or Reddit groups is an easy way to participate in discussions and learn experienced travelers’ best tips for making the most of your cruise.
Online forums provide you with access to candid reviews of popular cruises and advice on what to avoid. Experienced cruisers often visit the forums to tell other cruisers about special deals that offer the best value for money. Forums also provide inexperienced cruisers with the opportunity to ask questions of people who are experienced with vacationing aboard large ships.
3. Arrive at Your Departure Port Early
One of the best tips given by experienced cruisers is to arrive early at your departure port. This helps ensure you do not miss your ship’s departure even if you encounter delays.
There are also often special perks for those who arrive early. Many avid cruisers have relayed that if you arrive at the cruise port at least an hour before boarding begins, cruise lines often offer free lunches and entertainment while travelers wait to board.
Experienced cruisers realize that the unexpected is to be expected. Arriving prior to your scheduled departure day will take the stress out of going on a cruise. Arriving early can save you a lot of frustration and ensure that you are relaxed before and during boarding as well as for the remainder of your trip.
4. Pack Smart
Another helpful tip from experienced cruisers is to make sure you are packing strategically. Cruise cabins are notoriously cramped, so bringing large suitcases or multiple bags can be problematic. Rather than take up most of your room space with luggage, pack lighter instead.
Additionally, experienced cruisers understand the logistics of the boarding process. The fact of the matter is, most luggage will not be delivered to your cabin until several hours after you board. For this reason, it is advisable to bring a small carry-on bag for any essentials that you will need immediately. For example, bringing a swimsuit and cover-up in your carry-on means you can wait for your belongings to arrive at your room while you are poolside enjoying a tropical drink.
Also, avoid packing multiple pairs of shoes, as they take up a lot of space. Instead, plan your outfits accordingly and get creative with wearing pieces that are easy to coordinate throughout your trip. Some other tips include bringing liquid wrinkle releaser so you can effectively smooth out clothes that have been tightly packed.
5. Book with A Cruise Planner
Regardless of how experienced the cruiser is, many advise the use of an experienced cruise planer or travel agent. While it is perfectly acceptable to DIY your cruise, enlisting the help of a professional will give you greater access to personal deals, particularly exclusive deals offered only though professional cruise networks.
A cruise planner will work with you to understand exactly what you need, what your budget is, and what activities you would enjoy most. By enlisting the help of a pro and adhering to tips from frequent cruisers, you can rest assured you will have the best cruise experience possible.