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10 Reasons to Take a Honeymoon Cruise



It seems more and more newlyweds are choosing a honeymoon cruise these days. Whether it’s the affordability or the romance of the sea that convinces you, here are 10 reasons to book a cruise for your honeymoon.

Why Take a Honeymoon Cruise?

honeymoon cruise

1. Budget-friendly

For many newlyweds just coming off the expense of a wedding and looking to start building a life together, a top concern for the honeymoon is the cost. It can be hard to budget for land-based vacations when you can’t predict how much you’ll spend on food or going out for fun. And while you can pay for your transportation and hotel ahead of time, they have to be paid up front. With cruises, food and entertainment are included, and if you book far enough in advance you can make incremental payments on your fare rather than fronting all the money at once. This way, you can spend less time focusing on costs and more time focusing on each other.

READ MORE: 13 Tips for Honeymoon Cruisers

2. Multiple destinations

Perhaps you’d like to relax on the beach in Grand Cayman but your new spouse would like to climb Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. A Caribbean cruise is the perfect solution. Since most cruises stop in multiple ports, they offer a unique opportunity for travelers to visit multiple destinations, countries, and cultures all in the span of just a few days. You also get to do this while only unpacking once, meaning less hassle. And if there’s one thing anyone who’s recently planned a wedding wants to avoid, it’s hassle!

3. Luxurious accommodations

You don’t have to book a suite to cruise in luxury on a honeymoon cruise. A stateroom is what you make it, and even interior staterooms can oftentimes seem luxurious to many of us. Whether you sail with a balcony room or not, you won’t have to worry about booking a room in a bad part of town because there’s no bad part of a cruise ship!

4. Specialty dining

In case the free food in the buffets, main dining room, and other venues isn’t enough, cruise ships also offer specialty dining restaurants. Although these places come with a surcharge, they also come with unique menus, elevated flavors, exceptional service, and a unique ambiance. For the honeymooners, it’s great idea to try the ship’s steakhouse, which is usually one of the best values on any cruise line (Norwegian Cruise Line’s steakhouse costs just $30 per person; Carnival’s is $35). The steakhouses offer a multi-course meal centered around prime cut steaks. Compare those prices to what you’d spend on land, and they can’t be beat. Also, be sure to mention that you’re celebrating your honeymoon so you can get a special treat like an extra dessert, a bottle of champagne, or a discount on a bottle of wine.

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READ MORE: 4 Reasons a Cruise Makes a Great Honeymoon

5. Onboard perks

Just like the free dessert perk mentioned above, honeymooners enjoy a lot of perks on a cruise. Discounts at the spa, discounts on specialty dining, and special deliveries of items like a bottle of champagne or a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries to the stateroom are all gifts that honeymooners may receive on their romantic getaway.

6. Variety of entertainment

Cruise ships are just as alive at night as they are during the day. As soon as you wake up, you’ll find things like trivia competitions, bingo, onboard shopping, art shows, and pool-side entertainment on the lido deck, among the rest of the ship’s offerings. And don’t think things will die down after dark – on a cruise ship the party is in full swing, featuring theater production shows, deck parties, lively bars, a busy casino, live music, comedy shows, and more – plenty to please the newlyweds 24/7!

7. Spa treatments

What’s more romantic than a couple’s massage? Or surprising your new bride with a relaxing mani/pedi? Almost every ship at sea has its own version of a spa, and what better way to spoil yourselves as newlyweds than to enjoy the jets of a thalassotherapy pool while enjoying the ocean view?

8. Pictures

One thing you’re sure to not get on a land-based vacation is the professional portraits and photos that cruises offer. The crew set up photo backgrounds around the ship and take posed, elegant photos in addition to snapping your smile randomly throughout the cruise. Purchasing these photos is the perfect way to remember your honeymoon and to cherish your memories in your new home together.

9. The service

Don’t forget about the personalized service you’ll get on a honeymoon cruise. Your room stewards will make your room up twice a day, your dining room waiters make sure you eat like royalty, and your bartenders will know you by name and remember your favorite drinks. Nothing says “marital bliss” like neither of you having to cook or clean.

10. The sea

Last but not least – the one thing you cannot get from any other type of vacation is the sea. With unparalleled access to the rolling blue waves and salty spray, cruise ships connect you to the fresh sea air in a way no other vacation can. Plus, cruises are the best for snapping those romantic sunset pics.

Have you – or would you – consider booking a honeymoon cruise?


Travel Tips

5 Cruise Disembarkation Tips




cruise disembarkation tips The very last morning of your cruise is typically the dreaded one – it’s back to reality. While I don’t have any tips for extending your vacation (unless you are doing a back-to-back cruise), I can tell you how to get off the ship a little bit faster.

If you haven’t been on a cruise before, when it comes to disembarkation the cruise line will give you a luggage tag with a color or zone number on it, this tells you when you can get off the cruise ship and when your bags will be ready to pick up pier-side. 

Here are 5 cruise disembarkation tips:

1. Self-Assist

If you’re wanting to get off the ship early, do self-assist, this allows you to do walk off the ship with your own luggage. It usually starts around 7 am and 20-30 minutes later you’re on the pier. Keep in mind that you are responsible for all your belongings and the cruise line will not assist you.

2. Early Flights

If you have an early flight out, just register when the paperwork comes to your room and you’ll be allowed to get off the ship earlier. Once on a cruise that ended in Venice they were starting airport transfers at 4 am.

3. Talk to guest relations.

If you don’t have a flight and don’t want to do self-assist and lug your bags around, contact guest relations (usually in person) and tell them that you’d love to disembark the ship a little earlier. Guest relations will usually give you the luggage tag you need to get off the cruise ship earlier.

4. Luggage Valet Program

A couple days before you disembark you’ll have the option to do luggage valet from the cruise ship to the airport, where for a nominal fee (plus checked baggage cost) you’ll be able to forward the bags to the airport and check them to your destination. This generally works in US ports of call and Vancouver, Canada. The cost of this varies per cruise line but I’ve seen it for around $20 per person.

5. Have customs documentation.

You know when you’re in the airport and waiting for someone to get their stuff together to go through security? Well, it’s the same thing when you’re approaching the customs line. Have your documentation in hand and ready to go. It will make the line go a lot quicker for you and everyone behind you.

With these tips you should be able to slide off the ship a little bit earlier the next time you take a cruise vacation. Keep in mind that the early bird gets the worm, so as much as it may stink, plan your disembarkation before you get to the pier.

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7 Quiet Places on a Cruise Ship



Cruises are full of fun and adventure, including epic excursions like ziplining through a Jamaican jungle or parasailing over the open ocean. But sometimes vacation calls for some simple rest and relaxation, too. There are plenty of places on a ship to find peace and quiet.

1. Spa

On any ship, the spa is the pinnacle of calm and quiet. While almost every ship comes equipped with a sauna and steam room free of charge, you can also unwind even further by booking a spa appointment like a massage, acupuncture session, or facial.

norwegian escape spa cruise

Norwegian Escape spa

2. Library

Often overlooked, the ship’s library is a great room for escaping the hustle and bustle. Full of books and board games, it’s the perfect place for a quiet retreat. And if you’re lucky enough that your ship’s library has windows, you can enjoy the ocean views during your downtime.

Photo credit: Carnival

3. Inside on a port day

If you’ve ever stayed on the ship on a port day, you know that it can look like a ghost town. With everyone off and exploring the port of call, there’s no better time to take advantage of a quiet and nearly empty ship. Plus, you’ll get incredibly fast service at the bar!

4. Your room

While many say to get out and enjoy the ship, that argument could depend on what type of room you’ve booked. Balcony rooms, especially unique ones like aft balconies or cove balconies, offer the perfect excuse to stay in, bask in the sun on your own private piece of deck, and enjoy the serenity.

5. Adults-only deck

Carefree and quiet, the adults-only deck on a ship usually comes with extra comfy lounge chairs, a private bar, and a hot tub or two. If you’re looking to skip the sounds of the live steel drum band or the crowds from the hairy chest contest, this is easily one of the best places to enjoy the sun on the ship.

6. Secret decks

Believe it or not, you can always find a “secret” deck on any cruise ship. These are decks that are tucked away or rather difficult to get to, meaning almost no one uses them. For example, on many of Carnival’s ships, cruisers rarely take advantage of the solitude and open air on deck 3, which is directly under the lifeboats. Though you may not get the sun, you can enjoy plenty of peace and quiet – accompanied of course by the calming sounds of the ocean passing beneath. Many ships also have “secret” decks toward the front of the ship which many people don’t think you can access, so study your deck plans before you go to find out how to get to these.

7. Private lounges

Some ships have private lounges for certain stateroom categories, such as the Havana Lounge on Carnival Vista or The Haven on some Norwegian ships, to elevate your private, customized cruise experience. Also, some cruise lines reserve private lounges and even private restaurants on their ships for their most loyal cruisers, but you’ll have to have rewards with them already to get those benefits.

Where is your quiet place on a cruise ship?

quiet places cruise ship travel


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Travel Tips

My Cruise is Paid Off – Now What?



Congrats, you’ve completed the most difficult (and least fun) part of a cruise: paying for it. But, there’s still time until your sail date. Here’s what you should be doing in the meantime.

1. Print Out Cruise Documents

Cruise Terminal 1 Embarkation Area – photo: Port Canaveral

As soon as your payment has been made in full, you can go online and print out your boarding passes and luggage tags. It’s never a bad idea to print extra copies, either. (Somehow there’s always an extra bag at the last minute that needs a tag too.) Keep these documents in a folder for safekeeping until departure day.

2. Find Your Sailing Online


Online cruise groups are really popular, with several different sites hosting platforms for specific sailings. The site Cruise Critic has had forums called “roll calls” for years where people can search by their cruise line to find their specific ship and sail date. The same concept has transferred over to the ShipMate app as well as to Facebook. In these forums or online groups, members can chat about their upcoming cruise and plan a group meetup, which often happens at a popular bar on the ship right after the muster drill. On some Carnival sailings, John Heald, brand ambassador and senior cruise director, has even been known to send small gifts and prizes to the groups.

3. Start Your Packing List

photo credit: flickr/Nicole Hanusek

From swimsuits and sun hats to slacks and button-downs, packing for a cruise can get overwhelming. Making a list will make it a lot simpler. It will also ensure you don’t forget miscellaneous items like a reusable water bottle for those hot days on the lido deck.

4. Set A Cruise Price Drop


Setting a cruise price drop means that if the price of your cruise decreases from what you originally paid, you can get the difference back – usually in onboard credit. One of the best alerts is through the app ShipMate or, which will send you an alert when the price of your cruise, set to your specific stateroom category, increases or decreases. However, there are several other price drop alerts besides ShipMate, and you can always check yourself or have your travel agent do so.

5. Book Your Excursions 


If you haven’t looked at excursions yet, now is the time to do so. It’s better to book them before you board the ship because often the best and most popular excursions will sell out beforehand. If you’re booking an excursion through a third-party company, booking ahead of time is typically a must.

Browse 1,000’s of shore excursions here.

6. Explore Dining

Manhattan Dining Room aboard Breakaway.

As part of your pre-cruise planning, research all the dining venues on your ship. Make a list of the ones you want to go to and whether or not they have a surcharge. If they do, plan that into your onboard budget for guilt-free grubbing once onboard.

7. Prepay Everything You Can

These days, you can prepay almost everything for your cruise: gratuities, excursions, drink packages, specialty dining packages, and even wifi packages. The more you prepay, the lower your bill will be at the end of the cruise. Plus, by prepaying you can pay in installments rather than paying in one large lump sum at the end of your cruise.

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Make Reservations

With ships carrying more and more people now, making advanced reservations is becoming more popular. That includes reservations for spa treatments, theater shows, dining venues, and more. If there’s something you have your heart set on, make a reservation. There’s no harm in canceling it once you’re onboard if you change your mind. (The Chef’s Table is an exception to this and usually comes with a fee if you don’t cancel within a certain time frame.)

8. Double Check Travel Insurance

Carnival Horizon

Seriously, don’t leave home without travel insurance. There are countless horror stories from cruisers of innocent accidents or a simple illness that resulted in bills worth thousands of dollars from the ship’s medical center. You never know what may happen. That small price for insurance could save you tens of thousands down the line.

Read More: Why You Should Book Travel Insurance

How do you prepare for your vacation?


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