We often ask our Facebook followers what cruising tips they have. We know that it can be overwhelming even if you have cruised before so we like to compile lists of tips for cruisers who are a little nervous about cruising. If you have any tips, please feel free to share and we will continue to grow our list.
- Know what your cellphone plan includes. If you anticipate having to call home when in port, call your wireless carrier and see what international packages they offer if you are traveling to another country. Some offer packages that have minimal cost and will give you the peace of mind that everything back home is okay.
- Mix and match your clothes. Many of us have a tendency to over pack when we are traveling. While the cruise lines may not have a luggage limit, airlines do, and you don’t want to get the airport to incur a hefty luggage fee. Plan on wearing different tops with the same set of bottoms. If you are worried about laundry, you can send it out while sailing or you can also buy small packages of laundry detergent to wash clothes in the sink and shower to hang dry in your cabin. Some cabins even have a laundry line in the bathroom so you can hang your clothes to dry.
- Don’t “overdo” the ports that you are visiting. Your first instinct when you are planning to visit a port can be to do everything and see everything. If you do that, you will exhaust yourself and not have time to really enjoy the beauty of where you are visiting. Take the time to enjoy the beauty and culture of every port.
- Check your credit/debit cards for currency conversion fees and let your bank know your itinerary. Many travelers don’t think to tell their banks when they are traveling, however as a security measure, many banks will put a hold on your account if they see international charges. A quick visit or phone call to your bank to notify them that you will be traveling overseas could save you time, money, and a hassle when in port. Additionally, if you are traveling outside of the US or US territories, be sure to find out if your bank has any currency conversion fees. While they are typically minimal, it is good to know ahead of time so that you can plan your funds accurately.
- Bring magnets for the walls and doors. There are many benefits to doing this. First, you can use the magnets to hang things such as hats, wet swimsuits, towels, jewelry, or your keycard(s). Additionally, you can use the magnets on the outside of the doors to leave notes for others in your party. If you are traveling with other guests and do not plan to spend the entire trip together, it can be helpful to have a way to leave each other notes. Another popular way of doing this is magnetic white boards to hang on the outside of a room, or the inside if you often separate from your cabin mate.
- Bring battery-operated candles for nightlights, especially if you are in an inside cabin. There are few lights within the room, typically only two or three switches in the entire cabin. If you are cruising with another passenger, you don’t want to light up the whole room when you wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. Having battery-operated candles in the cabin allows you to make your way to the bathroom without waking others in the cabin.
- Pack the items that you will want when you first board the ship in a carry on, including any medication you may need. The porters will take your luggage when you arrive at the pier and it will be delivered to your room but you won’t have immediate access to it.
- Complete your online check in prior to boarding. You can find this on the cruise line’s websites and it will ask for your passport information as well as other information. Completing this online prior to your departure date will help expedite the process at the pier for you. This is typically available online a few weeks prior to sailing and must be completed at least 3 days prior. After that time, you would have to complete the check in at the pier.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to check your shipboard expense account and settle any disputes. The line is always very long the last night of sailing and the following morning. To speed up the process, monitor your account throughout the sailing to make sure that everything looks as expected. You can check your account at any time by using the TV that is in your stateroom.
- Look into your cruise line’s policy on gratuities. If you are not receiving the gratuities as an amenity from your travel agent or the cruise line, know what charges to expect so you’re not surprised at the end. Most of the mass market cruise lines will automatically charge a predetermined amount to your shipboard expense account each day.
- If you don’t want to carry your loose keycard around the ship, you can visit the guest services desk and they will punch a hole in your card for you allowing you to use a lanyard to keep it around your neck.
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