Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to Get the Most Out of Your Cruise

I'm writing this as a first time cruiser and definitely NOT an expert, but here are some things I've learned to avoid and to definitely do while cruising. Of course this will be different for everyone. Hopefully it can help you.  First, I am not your typical cruise passenger. I don't like to drink much, I'm not a gambler, and I don't care for spa treatments that cost more than triple what it costs on land. That being said, I LOVED cruising!  It was fun, we got to see a lot, and the food was included in the price of the tickets so you get transport, lodging and meals for the price of your ticket!  Win win!  However, there are some things I highly recommend avoiding, some things you should definitely take advantage of, and some things to definitely remember. 
  1. Don't get suckered into buying a coupon book! They tell you that you will get a bunch of free gifts with it, and it will definitely come in handy. Not true. The free gifts are really low quality, the coupon book is for every port that cruise line stops in with very few coupons for the places you are going and once you walk in to get your free gift, you get to listen to another sales pitch. Seriously, skip the coupon books. 
  2. If you go to one of the shows and it starts off feeling like a sales pitch, get out. If you aren't wanting to sit through a sales pitch, just leave. We went for a morning wake up show that turned into a really long sales pitch. Not worth the time we lost. 
  3. It is super easy to get on and off the cruise ship. You have free food on the ship. Unless you REALLY want something specific from where you are going, just get back on the boat. 
  4. Do your research on the places you are going. Some places the ship docks and there is literally nothing going on where the ship docks aside from a bunch of places to shop. I highly recommend booking excursions at those locations. 
  5. Do not be late to get back on the ship. The ship will leave you!  Seriously. It really will. Don't be that person. 
  6. Some cruise lines allow you to bring on soda. If you are a soda drinker, take advantage of it. I know carnival does (at least they do as of this article being written). We got the bottomless bubbles and it was not what we expected. You have to go to the bars to get the soda or you can get it at meal times in the dining rooms. It really wasn't worth it to us. 
  7. Bring your own mug!  I thought this was such a silly suggestion until I got on the ship and all of the cups are 8 ounce cups and you will literally be so thirsty that you will keep getting up constantly to refill your drink. I recommend a large insulated mug. Seriously, just trust me. 
  8. Pick a few of your favorite, most comfortable outfits. I literally wore this one dress several times because it was so comfortable. I packed way too much. 
  9. Definitely don't skip bringing toiletries and any meds you may possibly need. Women, bring monestat if you are prone to yeast infections. I know this is so not something you want to think about, but I had to get monestat on the ship and it cost $40! Definitely bring headache meds, first aid kit, Dramamine (or get the patch for sea sickness) and anything else you might possibly need. I don't get sea sick, but on really rough sea days, I was so glad I had Dramamine. I would have rather had a more complete med kit and skipped all the extra clothes. People say stuff on the islands is cheap so don't worry about bringing it. Not true unless you get away from the port. They know tourists are shopping there and they price accordingly. 
  10. At meal times, they will literally bring you as many of something as you want. You aren't limited to 1 entree, 1 appetizer and 1 dessert. You can get 6 desserts if that's how you party!
Bonus tip. Get away from the ports!  They are really overpriced. They are targeting tourists. Don't let them!  

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