One of the greatest things I’ve experienced over the past four years of Cruise Radio’s existence is being able to help people with their cruise vacation – not because I’m benefiting from it – because I love to cruise.
A friend is sailing for the first time and asked me if I had any tips for him. Instead of telling him to bring his appetite and seasickness medication, I jotted down some good starting points for his seven-night Caribbean sailing.
Here are some of the cruise tricks I learned over the years:
1. Highlighter. Read your daily schedule, daily. There is a lot of information packed in those couple pages and you’ll want to highlight the not-to-miss events.
2. Pop-up hamper. I came across one of these in Target a couple cruises ago and swear by it. Instead of mixing up what is clean and what is dirty, invest in a pop-up hamper. The hampers are the size of a frisbee and will keep your clothes in order.
3. Gallon Ziplocs. The big baggies are wonderful for storing your suntan lotions, aloe, shampoo, shaving cream and anything else you may bring. Also, pack an extra Ziploc to double as an ice bag. Your steward is more than happy to fill it for you and can serve as a makeshift cooler.
4. Nightlight. Most cruise ship cabins are in the 185 sq. ft. range – not very big. A lot of things can go bump in the night with such limited space – like your chin and toes. Put a nightlight in your cabin to avoid those late night collisions.
5. Power strip. I’m sure the cruise line would advise you not to take a power strip on board, but it is 2013, and people do travel with a lot of electronics. Personally, I like to have a outlets for my camera, laptop and Kindle.
6. Bring a travel mug. Sharing coffee mugs with 1,000’s of other people isn’t my idea of fun. Call me crazy but I have my mug that I drink out of every day and take it with me when I travel. My personal mug also holds more coffee!
7. Avoid ATM surcharges. This can be tricky because if you abuse it you’ll be flagged by the cruise line, but instead of using the ATM onboard the ship and paying a $6 service charge, use your shipboard card that is linked to your debit card inside the casino.
How does this work? You can get an advance or put money on your shipboard card in the casino and cash out. I’ve had both scenarios work for me when using a debit card.
8. Use your camera. Remember to use your own camera for those special moments. You can take a photo at the end of the gangway yourself – and your doing it for less than $19.95 a photo. Scout out the perfect photo location, the staircase in the ship’s atrium make for perfect photos.
9. Bring soft drinks. The soft drink package on cruise ships can get pricey, on average around $6.75 per day. If you crave a couple of sodas per day, consider just taking said-soda on board during embarkation. You can buy 36 Coke’s for less than $10 at your local grocery store.
10. Bring the bubbly. Have your own sail away party with your own bottle of champagne. You’re allowed to do it. Cruise lines allow up to two bottles of wine/champagne per cabin. Or, go through the security line separate and bring four bottles to your cabin. These rules vary per cruise line so check to make sure you don’t get your bubbles confiscated. If you want to try to bring the hard stuff on, then you may want to invest a Rum Runner flask. They seem to get great reviews.
These cruise tricks are just a few from the dozens out there. If you have a tip or trick please feel free to leave it in the comment below. Bon voyage!
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