5 Tips For Your Cruise That No One Tells You

“We dream in colors borrowed from the sea.”  -Unknown

Congratulations!  You planned a cruise, you’ve started to pack a bag, and you’re about to get the heck out of Dodge!  I know you’re excited and ready for a long-deserved vacation.  Let me wish you, BON VOYAGE!

Visiting a rainy Labadee

Now what?

The simplest advice I can give: Enjoy it!  You’ve paid for your cruise now it’s your responsibility to have a good time. 

As cruising veterans, it sometimes feels like our fellow cruisers pack a swimsuit and jump on a plane without giving thought to the details of their cruise vacation that they should consider.  So, let’s talk about some things to think about as you get ready to go! 

Sunrise in New York Harbor

Cruise time

When we get on a ship, we shift into what we call, “Cruise Mode.” It’s time to relax, kick back, and have a restful time in beautiful places.  However, even when you’re in vacation mode, and regardless of how much you plan, sometimes things happen that can’t be prepared for.  Things like bad weather can be an unpredictable feature of your vacation. It might spoil your planned beach day but try to think of it as a day to get some reading done.  Remember!  You’re on vacation.  Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate but you can still have a good time regardless.  It’s important to stay positive, be flexible, and go with the flow.  A day on a cruise ship is always better than a day at work!

 Cruising is more popular than ever

Since cruising is so popular and can sometimes be an affordable vacation, you need to know that on most major cruise ships, you will be vacationing with between 2,000 to 5,000 of your closest new friends.  As a result, you will want to be sure to pack your patience.  No matter the size of your ship, you want to be ready to stand in a line from time to time, know that children could be running unsupervised around the ship, and experience nearby neighbors taking a little too loudly during the evening’s show in the theatre or safety presentation. You could also share our experience with loud, rowdy fellow cruisers who’ve had a bit too much to drink, or depending on the location of your room, a loud nightclub above you that boom-booms into the wee hours. (Yes, we’ve experienced all of these.) 

It’s great that your shipmates are obviously enjoying the version of their vacation that they enjoy, and yes, they might disrupting yours.  Just remember that you aren’t cruising alone and you should not be surprised if you encounter any bad-mannered behavior.  I hope that none of that happens to you but being mindful that you’re sharing a vacation with a large group of people in close proximity with copious amounts of free-flowing alcohol could make for some interesting stories to bring home.  Just be sure you’re having fun too! 

Follow directions

Simple advice: be sure to listen carefully, understand, and follow directions about some of the most important pieces of your cruise.  Understanding all instructions or announcements given regarding embarkation,  debarkation, and the ship’s safety drill can ensure your safety and make for a smoother overall cruising experience.

The safety drill on every ship might seem compulsory, and it is.  But, no matter if this is your first cruise or you are a cruising veteran, the safety drill only takes a few minutes.  Checking in, watching the safety video, and listening to related announcements are important. The safety presentation could save your life.    

Your personal safety

Being on a cruise can lull you into feeling safe.  However, when you get to a port and venture into an unfamiliar location or a foreign country, you should remember to be mindful of your safety.  As a veteran cruiser, there are some ports that we opt to stay on the ship. Just remember, you might be on vacation but others see you as an opportunity and a target. Keep your children close, secure your valuables, and stay with your group.  It is also wise to move on if you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t feel comfortable. This is wise advice I would give to any cruiser regardless of the destination. Being mindful of your safety could certainly ensure a pleasant vacation.

Cruise Hair! Not caring in Puerto Rico!

Your ship’s crew

Some of the best cruises we have taken have been because of the wonderful crew members we have encountered.  Some of the nicest people we have met on a cruise have welcomed us, pampered us, given us recommendations of things to do on shore, or just been delightful people to be around.  Get to know the crew that serves you.  Some of them are just wonderful people who love what they do.  Be aware that they work very long, hard hours for not a lot of money.  On most cruises, you can pay tips before you even get on the ship so you don’t have to worry about it.  Just know that you can and should leave a tip for that special crew member who went above and beyond for you.  Consider leaving a thank you note, a kudos for your favorite staff member for work well done, or leave a token for them as you disembark.

I hope these are some helpful tips that will help you to set your expectations a bit as you get ready to go! 

Enjoy yourself.  Get some vitamin D!  Have a drink for me!  I hope to see you on our favorite ships soon!

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