Are you thinking about cruising? Awesome choice! It’s a fantastic way to travel. But before you hop on board, there are some things you should know. Dive into our top tips for cruising and make your trip the best it can be. Ready? Let’s go!
32 Tips for Cruising
1. Choosing the Right Cruise Line and Ship
Different strokes for different folks! Cruises range from indulgent luxury experiences on liners like Silversea or Seabourn to adrenaline-pumping adventures with lines like Royal Caribbean. Cruise lines like Vikings offer enriching experiences for those preferring culturally immersive journeys. When sifting through tips for cruising, knowing which cruise line caters to your interests is pivotal.
2. Understanding Different Cruise Types
While massive ocean liners boast endless entertainment options, smaller river cruises often provide intimacy and direct access to historic city centers. For a true sense of adventure, expedition cruises lead you to less-traveled regions like Antarctica or the Galapagos Islands.
3. Budgeting: Deciphering Inclusions vs. Extras
Sure, all-inclusive cruises might seem pricier initially, but they could be more cost-effective in the long run. Some lines might charge extra for Wi-Fi, alcoholic drinks, or specialty dining. So when looking for tips for cruising budgets, always scrutinize the inclusions.
4. Selecting the Ideal Cabin Type and Location
Location matters! A cabin near the bow might offer stunning views, but a lower-down mid-ship cabin might be best if you’re prone to Seasickness. Do you need natural light? An interior cabin might not be your best bet. It’s all about aligning your choice with your comfort.
5. Securing Early Bird Discounts and Deals
The early bird doesn’t just get the worm; it gets the best cabins, prime dining times, and excellent package deals. Signing up for newsletters from cruise lines and monitoring deal websites are great tips for cruising on a budget.
6. Planning and Booking Shore Excursions
Exploring a Mayan ruin, wine tasting in Tuscany, or snorkeling in the Caribbean? Some excursions book out fast. If there’s a must-do activity, book it in advance. Also, sometimes local operators offer better prices than those onboard.
7. Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not?
Imagine falling ill on your cruise or having to cancel last minute. Travel insurance isn’t just a tip for cruising; it’s a necessity. Ensure it covers cruise-specific issues, including cabin confinement or missed port calls.
Learn why securing cruise travel insurance is a must-have for a worry-free and protected voyage.
8. Cruise Packing Essentials
Along with clothing suited to your destinations, packing items like power strips (most cabins have limited outlets), a lanyard for your key card, and even magnetic hooks (cabin walls are usually metal) can be game-changers.
Prepare for your voyage with confidence using our comprehensive packing tips and cruise-ready checklist.
9. Dress Codes: From Casual Days to Gala Nights
Gala nights or themed evenings can be a fun way to engage with fellow cruisers. While day attire leans casual, evenings might require cocktail dresses or suits. Checking the cruise line’s dress code policy is one of those tips for cruising that ensures you’re never underdressed.
10. Essential Travel Documents and Pre-boarding Procedures
It’s about more than just the passport; some countries require visas. A top tip for cruising internationally is to check visa requirements for all your stops, even if you’re not planning to disembark.
11. Onboard Etiquette and Social Manners
The onboard community thrives on mutual respect. Waiting your turn for the buffet, not “reserving” sun loungers with towels, and being punctual for group activities make the journey pleasant for everyone.
12. Making the Most of Onboard Amenities
Indoor skydiving, surf simulators, or serene libraries — modern ships are floating cities. Checking the daily itinerary, often left in your cabin the night before, is a prime tip for cruising enthusiasts keen to maximize their onboard experience.
13. Navigating Onboard Dining Options
Specialty restaurants can elevate your dining experience. Whether it’s sushi, steak, or Italian, reserve a table, especially on special nights like anniversaries.
14. Staying Healthy: Spa, Gym, and Wellness Activities
From Zumba classes on deck at sunrise to specialized spa treatments, maintaining your health regime onboard can be fun and refreshing. Walking the ship’s decks is scenic and a great way to get in your steps.
15. Participating in Onboard Classes and Workshops
Ever wanted to learn salsa, make craft cocktails, or understand the nuances of digital photography? Cruises offer a plethora of workshops. A golden tip for cruising enthusiasts is always to explore onboard learning opportunities.
16. Enjoying Nightlife: Shows, Casinos, and Bars
The beauty of cruises? The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Many modern ships feature Broadway-caliber shows that are a must-watch. If gambling’s more your style, the onboard casino awaits. For a more laid-back evening, explore themed bars or lounge areas. An excellent tip for cruising night owls is to check the daily schedule for special events or theme nights.
17. Overcoming and Preventing Seasickness
Being prepared is half the battle. While some seasoned cruisers develop sea legs over time, carrying preventive measures can be a lifesaver if you’re new or prone to motion sickness. Besides selecting a stable cabin location, over-the-counter meds or acupressure wristbands can help. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust activities accordingly.
18. Local Customs and Cultural Etiquette for Port Stops
Every destination has its own set of unspoken rules and traditions. One of the crucial tips for cruising globally is to be informed and respectful. Simple gestures, like greeting locals in their language or understanding appropriate dress codes for religious sites, can make a significant difference in your onshore experience.
19. Shopping Tips: Onboard and Onshore
Who doesn’t love shopping while traveling? There’s something for every shopper, whether it’s exclusive onboard boutiques or vibrant local markets. Knowing which items are genuinely local and which might be tourist traps is essential. Remember, bargaining might be expected in some cultures, but always keep it friendly.
20. Staying Connected: Wi-Fi Packages and Mobile Tips
Though many cruises offer Wi-Fi packages, they can be pricey. A lesser-known tip for cruising is that many ports might have free Wi-Fi zones or local cafes where you can connect. If you’re not on a digital detox, consider buying a package or finding connectivity onshore.
21. Tipping and Gratuity Guidelines
Tipping can be a somewhat complex issue, given the international nature of cruises. While many lines now include gratuities in their fare, offering a little extra for standout service is always a gracious gesture. It’s one of those tips for cruising that ensures positive vibes.
22. Taking Advantage of Loyalty Programs and Repeat Cruiser Benefits
Loyalty has its perks! If you’ve found a cruise line you adore, enrolling in their loyalty program can open up a world of benefits: priority boarding, exclusive events, special discounts, and more. For those passionate about cruising, these programs can significantly enhance the experience.
23. Eco-Friendly Cruising: Sustainable Travel Tips
With the travel industry increasingly focusing on sustainability, many cruise lines are following suit. Choosing a company that invests in eco-friendly technologies or supports local communities during port stops is a step toward responsible travel. A more immediate tip for cruising sustainably? Reduce your onboard waste by minimizing single-use plastics.
Discover the most eco-friendly cruise lines. Explore a greener way to cruise, where environmental responsibility meets exceptional travel experiences.
24. Handling Onboard Emergencies
Though rare, emergencies can occur. Being familiar with the ship’s safety protocols, attending mandatory drills, and knowing where life vests and emergency exits are located are essential tips for cruising with peace of mind.
Whether it’s the allure of the vast ocean or the excitement of exploring multiple destinations in one trip, cruising is an exceptional way to travel. These detailed tips for cruising have been crafted to make your journey as memorable as the destinations themselves. Happy cruising, and may the oceanic adventures awaiting you be as vast and beautiful as the seas themselves.
25. Celebrating Special Occasions Onboard
There’s something magical about marking a milestone amidst the vast expanse of the sea. If you’re on board during a significant occasion, most cruise lines are happy to help you celebrate. These little touches can make your day, be it a cake at dinner, a unique room decoration, or even a surprise orchestrated for a loved one. An essential tip for cruising celebrators is communicating your special day in advance to ensure flawless arrangements.
26. Making the Most of Days at Sea: Relaxation vs. Activities
Those endless horizons on sea days can be a delight. Whether you want to dive into a novel by the pool, attend a wine-tasting workshop, or relax in the spa, the choice is yours. An insightful tip for cruising enthusiasts: explore the daily planner left in your cabin. It’s packed with activities, ensuring every sea day feels as exciting as a port day.
27. Preparing for Disembarkation and Post-cruise Travel
As the journey draws to a close, it’s important to have a seamless transition back to land. One overlooked tip for cruising is to familiarize oneself with the disembarkation process. Know the timeline, ensure your onboard account is settled, and if you’ve availed of luggage assistance, make sure your bags are packed and out by the stipulated time.
28. Creating and Preserving Cruise Memories
Memories are the best souvenirs. In today’s digital age, viewing your cruise through a camera lens is tempting. While capturing moments is essential, immersing oneself in the present is equally crucial. Maintain a cruise journal, sketch, or take a moment each day to breathe in the ocean air. The tips for cruising memories often emphasize a blend of digital and analog preservation.
29. Addressing Dietary Needs and Restrictions Onboard
The culinary scene on cruises can be a delight, even for those with specific dietary needs. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or any other dietary restriction is typically well catered to. The golden tip for cruising food enthusiasts with dietary restrictions: have a word with the maître d’ on your first day. This proactive approach ensures your culinary journey is as smooth as the waters you’re sailing on.
30. Importance of Staying Hydrated and Sun Safe Onboard
Amidst the tantalizing cocktails and ocean breeze, it’s easy to forget essential self-care. The reflection of the sun on the water amplifies its intensity. Thus, reapplying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and consuming enough water are top health tips for cruising.
31. Local Currency and Payment Methods for Port Stops
Exploring local markets or savoring street-side delicacies is part of the shore excursion charm. While credit cards are widely accepted, carrying local currency can be advantageous. This not only aids in smooth transactions but also in immersing oneself in the local experience.
32. Sampling Local Cuisine During Port Visits
Each port is a culinary doorway. From the tapas of Spain to the sushi of Japan, tasting local dishes is like a mini-voyage. An enthusiastic tip for cruising gourmets: don’t shy away from street food; it often contains local flavors. Just ensure you’re choosing popular, clean stalls.
33. Safety Precautions: Onboard and During Excursions
Awareness is your best companion. While cruises and port cities are generally safe, being alert and safeguarding valuables is necessary. Whether you’re dancing the night away onboard or exploring a bustling market onshore, always have a sense of your surroundings. Key tips for cruising safely include avoiding poorly-lit areas at night and keeping a copy of emergency numbers.
Setting sail on a cruise is like opening a book filled with endless adventures and memories waiting to be made. With these tips for cruising, you’re all set to make the most of every wave and every sunset. Remember, it’s not just about the destinations you’ll explore but the journey you’ll experience. So grab your shades, kick back, and prepare for smooth cruising. Bon voyage!
Christian Petzold is a successful touristic entrepreneur, experiential traveller and round-the-world backpacker. He holds an academic degree in tourism management.
His touristic expertise has been covered in radio, newspaper and television.