As a one-time consultant for Carnival Cruise Line and long-time cruiser myself, I’ve picked up a bevy of tips along the way. Whether it’s your first time aboard a big ship or you’ve been on more boats than you can count, here are my best tips for making the most of your time at sea.
Consider Your Itinerary Before You Pack
Remember to carefully review the itinerary that you received from the cruise line. Are there formal nights? Dining dress codes? etc.
Pros know: Most public space on ships, no matter the itinerary, is cooler in terms of temperature, so pack a light jacket or shawl in case you need it.
Don’t Overlook Booking Details
Look ahead and see if a seating option is available for any specific nights that you and your group are interested in. Then determine the time of seating and size of table best suited to your plans.
Pros know: A romantic table for two at 8 pm is vastly different from a family-style banquet service for 12 at 5:30 pm.
Simply because food is available 24-7 at a variety of venues, doesn’t mean you need to overindulge. Remember, you want to actually be able to wear the wardrobe you originally packed!
Pros know: If you enjoy fish, now is the time to order it. It’s high in protein and low in fat. When in Rome!
Seek Out Specialty Areas
Some ships have adults-only areas (well worth the fee), as well as teenage activities and youth counselors for the younger set. Again, something for everyone.
Pros know: Do your research before coming aboard and take note of what you and your party are interested in participating in.
Read More: Three Hidden Costs of Cruising
Your Cabin Choice Can Combat Seasickness
When booking a cabin be aware which locations on the boat are most affected by waves and outside weather.
Pros know: Choose either a river cruise (no waves!) or a center deck outside cabin on the biggest ship available. Even in storms, these megaships just don’t rock n’ roll—except on the dance floor!
Think Twice Before Booking a Budget Fare
Shoulder or off-season bookings offer discount pricing for a reason: weather. You’ll be more prone to storms, rough seas, and less-than-perfect travel conditions.
Pros know: Although perfect weather is never a guarantee, if you’re not a risk-taker, pay the extra money to cruise during a preferred travel season.
Keep Your Key Safe
The cabin key opens the door to your cabin as well as your charge card.
Pros know: Guard it wisely!
As they say in The Lion King, “Hakuna Matata”—no worries. If you’re willing to relinquish the cell phone, your email, texts, and other distractions, or if you really want to “get a taste” of a destination to determine if you wish to return, or if you simply want to unpack once for seven, nine or even 14 days—then seriously consider cruising! Appreciate this time to leave your brain at home. After all, this is the vacation you’ve been planning for all year, enjoy it!
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