Booking a honeymoon cruise is a fun and exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming when planning on top of a wedding. With these 13 tips, however, you can maximize your honeymoon cruise vacation and take advantage of some perks that you might not have otherwise known were offered.
1. Let the cruise line know
The first thing you should do when you book your honeymoon cruise is inform the cruise line (or have your travel agent do so) that it’s your honeymoon. In many cases, cruise lines will offer perks to honeymooners like discounted spa sessions, chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne delivered to your room, a special treat from your waiters at dinner, and more. You certainly don’t want to miss out on these bonuses.
2. Request a private table
On your honeymoon, you want to dine alone for a more intimate, romantic dining experience, not have to force small talk with some strangers you got seated with. However, there are ways around this. You can request a private table in advance before your cruise through your cruise line or travel agent, but if you can’t get one then you can always speak to the maître d’ about your dining arrangements once onboard.
3. Take advantage of specialty dining perks
If your cruise line offers you specialty dining discounts as a honeymooner, be sure to take advantage of them. Otherwise, there are other discounts that are actually available to all cruisers but that honeymooners may overlook. For example, Carnival’s steakhouses offer a free bottle of wine if you book the steakhouse on the first night of the cruise. Try to do your research ahead of time, because every ship and line is different.
4. Use room service
Room service is not to be skipped on your honeymoon. Why fight the lido breakfast buffet crowds when you can sleep in with your new bride or groom and have breakfast delivered to your door? Just be careful with any fees – room service is free on most cruise lines, but there are a few exceptions as well as a few items on some menus that are à la carte.
5. Find the adults-only deck
Almost every ship these days has an adults-only deck. Find this deck, because it will likely be your go-to hangout spot. It beats laying out by the main pool where there are kids running around and making noise. For many honeymooners, there will be plenty of that in the years to come, and for others, that’s waiting for them when they return home!
6. Plan excursions in advance
Don’t get overwhelmed by your options once you’re already on-board. Chances are you’ve done your research on your itinerary anyway, so go ahead and figure out what you want to do in each port as well – including deciding whether you’ll book a tour through the cruise line, through a third party company, or whether you plan to explore on your own.
7. Don’t be afraid of alone time
It can be overwhelming for some couples to suddenly be attached at the hip immediately after saying “I do.” But here’s a secret no one tells you: it’s okay to want some alone time on your honeymoon! The gym and spa offer a perfect place to be “together” yet apart. Maybe he’s working out while you’re getting a facial. Or maybe she’s in the sauna while you’re getting a massage. This is your vacation after all, so make time to relax.
8. Grab a map of the ship
It might seem like a no-brainer, but so many of us are just determined to be perpetually lost because we won’t pick up a ship map. Save yourself some time and trouble and pick up a ship map while you’re onboard so you always know where you are and what else is close to you around the ship.
9. Don’t forget the robes
I have been on several cruises where I’m packing up on the last night before disembarking and I finally see it – the bathrobe that was hanging there all along but was never used. Perhaps I always forget about it because in the closet it is out of sight, out of mind. But honeymooners would do well to remember to take full advantage of the comfort of these luxurious robes while they have the chance.
10. Book a balcony (or better)
I’m always one for saving money, but if this is your honeymoon cruise, I will throw out all arguments for an interior or even ocean view stateroom in favor of a balcony. This is your honeymoon, and you deserve to cruise in luxury. And if you want to spring for a higher-category balcony or even a suite, by all means do so. As a recent honeymooner who sailed in a premium vista balcony on Carnival Freedom, I fully recommend indulging when it comes to your stateroom.
11. Purchase the drink package
If even one of you is somewhat of a drinker, then trust me on this one. The onboard budget soars when every question of “Should I get this?” is followed by “Heck, it’s my honeymoon. Let’s go for it!” And by all means, I support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity spending attitude. It is your honeymoon, after all. But purchasing a drink package is one way you can soften the blow of your final statement, because that way you at least know you won’t pay any more or less than the cost of the package. That being said, the value in these packages is usually well worth it, so I’d suggest getting one anyway.
12. Budget extra for pictures
Speaking of your budget, plan ahead of time to budget extra dough toward pictures. Some cruise lines even offer photo packages, which might be a great bargain as honeymooners to be able to purchase all your favorite memories without losing control of your spending.
13. Don’t sweat the small stuff
And by the way, it’s all small stuff. Don’t let things like long embarkation day lines, lido deck chair hogs, or the clueless guy that cuts you in the buffet line ruin your cruise attitude. You are on your honeymoon! Enjoy it with your new spouse – for better or for worse, as long as you both shall cruise.