These tips from ThatTravelSpark are awesome for first time “Cruisers”:
The 12 cruise ship tips:
- Arrive at your departure port a day early to avoid all sorts of problems! One I’d add that wasn’t mentioned was you getting delayed on your way there and getting left behind.
- Take your drivers license or health card, in addition to your passport so you don’t have to carry the passport around with you when leaving for shore excursions. Great tip!
- Carry watch/smart phone so you can set it to ship time (it’s generally different). Who wouldn’t carry their cellphone anyhow, right?
- Book independent shore excursions. Cheaper, better experience compared to what the cruiseline offers.
- Order room service often. You’re on a cruise for crying out loud, relax in your room while you eat!
- Use WiFi when at port whenever possible. Many do offer free WiFi these days (the video is a few years old). However, as the video mentions, it’s painfully slow!
- Carry cash for tipping, on-shore vendors who don’t take debit/credit card. Definitely carry cash for tipping, but I’d check with the cruise line or your travel agent to see just how off-the-beaten path of civilization you’ll be (ie., how developed the countries/ports you’ll encounter will be on your itinerary.)
- Tendered/non-tendered ports. Tendered just means that the ship won’t “dock” (ie., non-tendered) at the port. With tendered ports, the ship anchors away from the shore and another boat comes and picks you up. It’s really no biggie folks!
- Avoid the “amusement park picture scam” on-board the ship. This is my own spin, but we’ve all dealt with the temptation to buy overpriced pictures of ourselves making funny faces on the “Goliath” or “SkyScreamer” at Six Flags — these photos’ll cost ya!
- Bring a lanyard for your room card. Whatever works for you, but not a bad idea. You’ll quickly notice that wearing your room card around your neck is a set part of the culture on board many cruises. It’s kinda amusing.
- Bring your own snacks, toiletries, etc. Cruise ships aren’t like movie theaters; they have to let you bring them on board, even though they do sell these items at the gift shop for an obvious premium.
- Watch your expenses. Cheap swag and jewelry vendors and helpful “suggestions” from on-board “shopping experts” all have ulterior motives. This should be obvious, but these services wouldn’t exist if folks like you and I didn’t keep feeding our hard-earned dollars into them.
Chad’s special cruise ship tips:
- Try to have a compact tactical life preserver (like this one) on you at ALL times. One word “Titanic!”
- Next, one of these might come in handy if the unfortunate does happen as well. Better to be prepared than sorry.
What can I say, I have a healthy fear of being stranded in the open ocean. Don’t let my pessimism stop you from having a great cruise though!
Main Image: “Cruise Ship” by kansasphoto