Travel Tips Thursday-Cruising 101

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.

Cruising 101

  • 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?

10 comments

  1. lifeinspicyland | 26th Jan 12

    We went to Half Moon Cay three years ago on a Carnival cruise….it was beautiful, and YES. The water is THAT blue!

    • Krystle Callaway | 26th Jan 12

      Lifeinspicyland, I still cannot believe how beautiful that beach was. I want to go back! What is your favorite port that you have traveled to?

      • lifeinspicyland | 27th Jan 12

        I think my favorite cruise port so far was St. Thomas (last year). The island, the beach, the water….all were absolutely stunning!

      • lifeinspicyland | 27th Jan 12

        Oops, I just realized I somehow commented on your Half Moon Cay Post in Cruising 101…..sorry about that!

  2. SKEdazzles ~ A Lifestyle/Photo/Travel Blog | 26th Jan 12

    Great idea – thanks for sharing.

  3. lifeinspicyland | 27th Jan 12

    It’s funny you mention layers for the ship. I was just telling my husband after we returned from last week’s cruise that next year I’m going to forgo packing the cute, summery tops for evenings on the ship and pack more long sleeves.

    You’re right – the ship has the a/c cranked and is breezy out on deck while at sea. After a day in the sun (i.e. sunburn), I’m already chilly. I think I wore my fleece every night on the trip (and covered up those cute shirts!).

    Great post and great tips!

    • Krystle Callaway | 27th Jan 12

      Thank you for reading my post, lifeinspicyland. Next time I’m definitely packing more layers! 🙂 We might be going to St. John this summer and if we do I will have to get some travel tips from you for our days spent on St. Thomas.

  4. Clare | 28th Jan 12

    Agreed about layers!! I wish that I had brought a cardigan with me. I had a hooded sweatshirt but I would’ve liked something that was appropriate for the dining room. Half Moon Cay looks gorgeous!

  5. labyrinth001 | 3rd Feb 12

    Ah, a seasoned cruise traveler…thanks for “liking” my blog post! And thanks for the tips in this post, although I didn’t see anything about bringing sea monster repellent. That’s an important one that you missed.

    Cheers!

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