I have created a short list of my cruise tips for new cruisers, and some great websites that could be very beneficial to your vacation. Cruising can greatly benefit from research, and I have tried my best in putting together great information in a cruise tips format so it easier to read.
Cruise tip # 1. Shop for the best price. I have no preference on which site to use when booking a cruise. To me it simply comes down to getting the most for my money, and I will shop around with several companies to get the best price possible. Although at the same time make sure the agent is a trusted and reputable one. Some of my preferred companies are cruise.com, cruconcruises.com, expedia.com.
Cruise tip # 2. Keep an eye for price drops! It is in your best interest to keep an eye on the price of your cruise. If a price drop was to happen you have to call your agent and ask him if you’re able to take advantage of that drop. For price tracking the best website available is cruisefish.net
Cruise tip # 3. Travel Insurance. This is a personal subject, some people will never travel without it, and some will never buy one. It all comes down to accepting the risks that comes with traveling without it. A medical evacuation could cost you hundredth of thousands of dollars. I have traveled both with it and without it in the past. I also recommend shopping around, and not buying it with the cruise line as they tend to be more expensive. My preferred website for travel insurance is insuremytrip.com. Make sure you read the fine print, and reviews of each company before committing.
Cruise tip # 4. Consider additional Costs. When cruising some people just tend to look at the cost of stateroom and never consider all the additional costs that come with a cruise. A cruise can more than double in price when factoring other costs like transportation to the port, liquor, additional fee restaurants, Spa, shore excursions, gratuities and souvenirs. If you leave near the port you could certainly do a cruise with just the cost of the room, but in most cases that is not applicable. It is always a great idea to create a fix budget and try to stick to it.
Cruise tip # 5. Enroll on Loyalty programs. Most mainstream cruise lines offer some king of loyalty program, and they start right after your first cruise. They are completely free to enroll, and some offer some amazing benefits.
Cruise tip # 6. Room selection, is crucial for most people and being informed of your room pros and cons is a very wise and beneficial of the cruise.
- Try to stay mid-ship if you suffer from sea sickness, as well as on the lower floor if possible.
- In my personal experience cabin forward tend to more windy than the ones towards the aft of the ship.
- Aft cabins facing the wake of the ship have almost zero wind, although they can suffer from vibrations and noise.
- Avoid rooms below the lido deck and the buffet area (high traffic areas), they usually are affected by noise.
- Most class of ships are different, just try to use your common sense to figure out the cabin that will fit your families need best.
Cruise tip # 7. Shore excursions: You will be surprised at how much cheaper it is to book the excursions on your own. I would think that on average they make 10-30% markup from what the tour operator would normally charge you. Doing your research ahead of time really does pay off. Most of the times it will be the same tour as the ship, so you will have the security that if something happens the ship wont leave port without you.
Cruise tip # 8. Wine in Carryon. Cruise lines differ, but most of them allow you to bring two bottles of wine with you at no cost. Carnival, RCCL, Celebrity allow it at no cost as long as the consumption is in the stateroom. NCL allows you to bring as many bottles as you want, but they will charge you $15 per bottle upon boarding. Disney is the exception, they allow you to bring as much liquor as you want to bring with you at no cost.
Cruise tip # 9. Free Drinks. Most cruise lines offer a few free drinks raging from Ice Tea, Lemonade, milk, coffee, orange juice (breakfast) and hot tea. Disney is the exception, and they offer coke products along with their other products. Just ask your server about it, and you will be able a few bucks.
Cruise tip # 10. Ship Day. Consider staying aboard the ship while the ship is on port to pretty much have the ship for yourself and a few others. On sea days the pools aboard the ship can be incredibly packed, but on port days it is the complete opposite. Also,some cruise lines offer some kind of discounts for their spa on Shore days, it is always a good idea to ask them about it.
Cruise tip # 11. Internet. With the high cost internet at sea you have to be really careful with how you use the internet. Using applications like “Sparrow” allow you to pre-type the email and only connect for a few second to send the email. If you’re planning on sending pictures, consider using Lightroom to compress the pictures with minimal quality loss. For those of you really considering on cutting cost at the max, talk to the crew and ask them where in port is the cheapest or even free internet.
Cruise tip # 12. Roaming. Be sure to know the exact terms of your cell company roaming charges. My boyfriend failed to read the exact terms, and he saw himself on a very annoying situation post Allure cruise. His case was specifically tied to the data plan.
Cruise tip # 13. Reward the Staff. The standard gratuity is usually added at the end of your cruise on board account. However, most of the staff usually works extremely hard to make your vacations unforgettable. If you feel that someone in particular has taken great care of you in your cruise, please feel to give them additional compensation. It is very common for me to spend an additional $100 on a 7 day voyage in additional tips.
Cruise TipsFor First-Timers, First Cruise Tips, Cruise/Travel Tips, Carnival cruise tips.