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I freely admit that I always hated school. I was that kid who was always daydreaming in class and doodling in his math book instead of figuring out the solution. But life lessons? I’m all about those. And since I became addicted to cruising a few years ago, I’ve picked up a few valuable nuggets of information that I thought others might find useful!
1. Resistance Is Futile
Apparently, those pesky Borg from Star Trek knew a thing or two about the allure of Bingo. When I started cruising, I vowed that I would not waste money on so silly a game. Then, I wound up booking a package that included three free games of Bingo. The next thing you know, I was clutching a dabber in one hand, a good-luck troll in the other and perched on perpetually muttering, “I only need one more number!”
2. Wherever You Go, There You Are
One thing I quickly discovered about cruising was that no matter how big the ship, it was pretty easy to find a quiet nook to escape from everyone else. Whether it’s a balcony or a tucked-away lounger far from the main pool deck, there’s always a place to sit, stare at the sea and contemplate life. Or your navel.
3. Don’t Be Jealous Of What Others Have
The awesome thing about cabin crawls — during which cruisers visit one another’s staterooms — is that you can see how the other half lives.Thanks to this type of tour, I’ve been able to visit some of the sweetest suites you can imagine. The not-so-awesome thing about cabin crawls? You can see how the other half lives… and it can be pretty hard to go back to your inside cabin after having hung out in a deluxe owner’s suite. The cure for suite envy? Look out at the ocean, which is an equal-opportunity soother.
4. No One Is In Charge Of Your Happiness But You
You know the easiest way to have an awful vacation with your friends or loved ones? Try to spend every moment with said friends or loved ones. We’ve all seen — and occasionally been — those folks who, by day four, are driving one another crazy. The best thing you can possibly do under those circumstances? Carve out a little time to do something for yourself. Hit the spa. Hit the casino. Hit a bar. Because if you don’t, you’ll wind up hitting your head against a wall in frustration.
5. You’ll Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar
There is every possibility that at some point during your cruise, something will go wrong. A waiter will screw up your order. A charge will mistakenly show up on your account. When that happens, you can either march down to guest services and put the person behind the counter on blast, or you can approach them with a smile and a friendly attitude. The latter won’t necessarily mean the problem is resolved to your satisfaction, but the former certainly won’t have anyone bending over backwards to help you.
6. Strangers Are Just Folks You Haven’t Met Yet
Or, in my case, folks you haven’t yet bought a drink for. Over the past few years, I’ve met people from around the world simply by striking up conversations in a bar or while waiting for a show to start or while tendering to an island. Some became dear friends I have treasured ever since, others were people I knew I’d never see again once we docked, and a few were folks I worked hard to avoid the rest of the week!
7. Real Men Do Cry
Most of the time, feelings are like treasure chests… they should be buried deep beneath the surface so no one discovers them. But when it comes to disembarkation day, you’ll see more sad faces than can be found in a room full of people who just got called for jury duty. It’s okay. Let it out. Then head home and start planning your next voyage.