Setting sail on an ocean cruise is a dream vacation for many people. These floating cities are one of the most popular ways to see the world. You’ll enjoy several different cities along the way, and you don’t have to worry about driving or lodging. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the cruising experience, take a deep look at the basic cruise tips that will enhance any vacation.
- Choose the Right Time to Cruise
Although you might focus on the best times to book a cruise, the real concern should be the timing of the vacation itself. Summertime and holiday periods tend to be the busiest on an cruise line. The ship will be full, and the prices will be more expensive.
Ideally, pick an unpopular time for your cruise vacation. September, January and March tend to be slow in the cruise industry. You’ll be able to book a perfect cabin without paying a premium price.
- Educate Yourself About the Cabin
As you look online for that perfect cabin, there are a few insider tips that you should keep in mind. Selecting a forward or aft cabin might save you money, but you’ll feel the ship’s movements in these locations. If you’re prone to seasickness, pick a cabin that’s near the ship’s center point. The ship won’t move as much when you sleep at midship. Be careful about choosing a cabin with a limited or obstructed view. Lifeboats, poles and other structural components might block most or all of your ocean view. Try to research the room, and find a picture in order to verify the extent of the obstruction.
- Consider Group Discounts
There are many types of cruise vacations, including family-based or couples-only excursions. Regardless of the cruise theme, try to bring a group of people on the vacation. You can fill the stateroom to its maximum occupancy and reserve the adjacent cabin at a discount. In fact, third and fourth occupants inside a cabin tend to cost just a fraction of the price paid by the first and second occupants. A group of four is ample enough to enjoy some discounts as you price your dream cruise.
- Don’t Limit Yourself at Dinner
Most cruise-line dinners consist of an appetizer, entree and dessert. Don’t hesitate to order more than one of each, or you might only want an entree and dessert. Your wait staff will get to know you throughout the cruise. Tell them your desires and dislikes so that they can be ready with a favorite drink, bread or sauce at each meal. By the end of the cruise, they’ll be able to serve you with barely any instructions on your part.
- Treat Your Cabin Host With Friendly Ease
Your stateroom host will clean, launder and vacuum the cabin each day. Greet them in the hallway and introduce yourself. These staff members often have many helpful tips for their guests if you get to know them. They can tell you where the best location on the ship is for an outdoor movie, or when to arrive at a show for the premium seats. Be aware that you don’t have to tip them on a daily basis. You will, however, be expected to tip them and the wait staff as part of your final cruise bill.
- Set Up a Credit Card Online
Avoid dealing with cash, and set up a credit card for all of your cruise charges. Alcohol, gaming and other diversions are usually charged to your room. The credit card catches all of these charges so that you don’t have to take out a large amount of cash at the ATM.
- Ask for Account Updates Throughout the Cruise
You might have four people charging their fun onto one credit card. It’s easy to forget how much is being spent. Make it a goal to visit the concierge once or twice during your cruise, especially on a five- or seven-day turnaround. Ask the concierge for a printout of your room’s charges. They’re happy to oblige, and you’ll have an updated view of your bill so far. You can also correct items at this point if they aren’t correct. You don’t want to stand in long lines on debarkation day in order to fix these issues.
- Verify the Inclusive Items
Preferably, spend some time before the cruise to research the included items. Some cruise lines include soda with your room while other companies charge by the cup. Plan your vacation based on the inclusive items. You’ll have a better value for your vacation as a result.
- Request Help for Seasickness
If you notice some seasickness within yourself, don’t hesitate to ask for medications. Most cruise lines offer medication as a complimentary part of cruising. The concierge or on-board medical staff should have these items. It may take a day or two in order for you to gain your sea legs.
- Opt for the On-Board Credit
As you book your cruise, be aware of any perks that include an on-board credit. Monetary values between $50 and $200 are common as credits to your cabin. Although you may not believe that this money will be spent, most staterooms have bills much higher than the credit. Consider the credit to be a gift to your party so that a guest can enjoy the spa or indulge in some gaming. It’s important to note that the credit cannot be cashed out at any time. If you don’t use the credit, it’s simply forfeited. Charge a drink to your room, or reserve a special night at the high-end restaurant. The credit gives you a chance to try things you wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Selecting the best places to cruise is largely subjective. You might want an adventure with the glaciers in Alaska or a tropical retreat in the Bahamas. Think about your vacation goals, and research your coveted geographical locations. With a little planning, you’ll be able to discover a new world while enjoying all of the features offered by the cruise line.