Cruising can be both a fun and overwhelming experience. While you've probably done extensive research on what cruise you want to take and where you want to visit - I wanted to share some helpful tips that will make your overall experience less cloudy and help you cruise like an 'Old Pro'.
1) Research Ports in Advance.
Read, read and read some more! People who research what to do in port prior to arrival are less overwhelmed. Even when you book an excursion, you could end up having a few free hours at the end to independently explore. This is where planning ahead will work in your favor.
2) Don’t Tip Double on Alcohol!
Major ship lines (think Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) automatically add a 15% service charge to bar bills. So be careful! If you had exceptional service, feel free to tip more… but be warned, extra tipping is not a requirement and can quickly add up!
3) Be a Smart Packer.
The Caribbean climate can often be unpredictable. And only in the most severe situations, shore excursions will continue rain or shine. It is good practice to pack for your destination and not your current location. Items such as a lightweight jacket or a poncho can also go a long way!
4) Work Off the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.
Cruises are known to keep passengers well fed. So to help you control the excessive weight gain prior try this. You can always hit the gym while on-board – but when you cannot; Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator and whenever you can, take a scenic route to your next event instead of the quickest or most direct one. When ordering meals, don’t get an appetizer, salad, and dessert with EVERY meal. Change it up daily so you don’t over eat. And if you do find yourself indulging during the day try and find a balance by substituting a meal with a lighter, healthier alternative.
5) Avoid the Buffet on Embarkation Day.
Imagine if you will, you and a few thousand of your closest friends patiently funneling through the check in process as you make your way to board the ship. You’ve already had a long day so once on board you are ready to have a bite to eat. But wait! You quickly realize everyone had the SAME EXACT IDEA! Here’s a tip – avoid the buffet and the poolside grill. Instead, see if you can have a less crowded meal in the dining room. Please note - not every cruise line opens the dining room on embarkation day.
6) Tour Your Ship Prior To Embarkation Day.
While each ship has similar features they will also house many differences. A tip that will save you time and energy is to explore the ship before you even board! Not only does each cruise line offer a full floor plan of their ships, you can often find images and even videos to help you see your way around. So while most individuals will look dazed and confused on embarkation day you can sit back and easily give out directions!