Cruising tips & tricks

This was my 10th cruise and I’ve learned a lot over those 10 cruises.  So I thought I’d share some of the tips & tricks I’ve learned.  Some of these things I’ve learned from experience.  Some from fellow travelers, some from reading.

  • Pack all liquids in a zip lock bag.  Get the 1 gallon size.   You never know when something (lotion, body spray, etc. will open and the zip lock bag will keep your clothes from getting ruined.
  • Take a couple extra 2 gallon zip lock bags for wet swimsuits that don’t dry in time to be packed dry.
  • Go to Target and buy a pop up clothes hamper for dirty clothes.  You can find these in the iron/laundry section of the store.  They run about $6-7 and fold up nice and small but are big enough for a week’s worth of dirty clothes.  Very handy.
  • Bring a tiny container of air freshener/room spray.  These cabins are tiny with no fans.  If you are married to a man and you have to share a bathroom with him you’ll understand why you should bring this. Scentsy makes the perfect size.
  • Bring a highlighter.  If you’re traveling with lots of people who like to do different things then bring a few highlighters in different colors.  Every day you will receive a newsletter outlining all the different things there are to do onboard.  It can be frustrating if you can’t remember what time the galley tour is or what show is being featured tonight.  Bring a highlighter and highlight all the activities and events you’re interested in and your day will go so much more smoothly.
  • Pack a small lint roller.
  • Bring Downy Wrinkle Releaser  or an empty spray bottle you can fill with water once you’re on board.  There are laundry rooms on the cruise ships but they get SUPER busy.  You don’t want to wait an hour in line for the iron.  Unpack as soon as possible to let your clothes hang and the wrinkles fall out.  If you do need an iron go asap on the first night if possible.  There most likely won’t be a line.  Wait til the hour before dinner on formal night and you’ll be in for a wait.
  • Check and see if your cruise line lets you bring your own alcohol (if you drink alcohol).  Cocktails onboard can be super expensive.  BYOB and you’ll save a ton of money.  By the way, Disney is BYOB friendly.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle.  You’ll have ice in your room so you can take nice cold water out to the pool or beach.
  • Most cabin/ stateroom doors are metal.  So bring some magnetic clips to hold papers (like the newsletter) on your door so you’ll know right where it is.  Plus, if you want to save the newsletters as souvenirs this will keep them wrinkle free.   If you have any magnetic hooks, bring those too.  You can never have enough hooks to hang wet swimwear.  Also, decorate your door!  Not only does it help your door standout in a loooong line of lookalike doors (to make it easier to find), it’s fun and festive!
  • If you’re traveling to a port you’ve visited before, stay on the ship!  This is a great time to explore the ship and take advantage of the pools/hot tubs without having to deal with crowds.
  • If you can swing it, book a room with a balcony.  It really makes your cabin feel much bigger.
  • Bring a small notebook that can fit in your purse/pocket.  At the end of each day be sure to write down what you did that day.  Include what you ate and take pictures of your meals.  The food is fantastic on cruises and you’ll want to share your dining experiences with family and friends back home.  As much as we try, it’s impossible to take pictures of everything you do so your little notebook will become a great travel journal.
  • Speaking of food…order more than one appetizer!  Or order 2 soups.  Your food is prepaid.  Take advantage of this.  Try things you’ve never tried before, like escargot.  If you don’t like it, get something else.  Normally this is not something you’d do in a restaurant so now’s your chance!
  • In my opinion the sit down restaurants are always better than the buffets so try and eat at the full service restaurants when you can.
  • Adjust your schedule.  We are not morning people.  But we’ve found on cruises all the interesting and fun things to do seem to happen at certain times.  So we wake up early to enjoy breakfast in the full service restaurant.  Then in the couple of hours before dinner and the shows things seem to slow down.  That’s when we nap.  Then we’re ready to stay up late for the late night buffets and shows.  We’re still getting our 8 hours of sleep, just broken up over the day with the nap.
  • Order room service.  Room service is included in your cruise rate on most cruise lines.   Take advantage of this!  Have breakfast in your pajamas one day.  Order a late night snack.  Just be sure to tip the room service waiter.
  • Unplug.  Unless it is absolutely necessary we do not use the internet or our cell phones while at sea, even though service is available.  It is expensive for one, and for another…it can wait!  You spent a lot of money to go on this cruise.  You can be on the internet any time you’d like.  Be present for your vacation.
  • Take pictures of everything!  Your cabin.  Your meals.  Each other.  Everything you can think of.  You never know when you’ll be telling friends and family about your cruise and you wish you had a picture of that thing/meal/etc.
  • Book your next cruise while onboard.  Some cruise lines offer significant discounts if you book your next cruise while on your current cruise.
  • Use a travel agent.  You won’t pay more.  Might pay less.  And you’ll get personalized service.  Your travel agent might have some tricks up her sleeve and know some secrets you don’t know!   If you need a Disney travel agent be sure to get in touch with Lisa Reese.  She’ll take great care of you!

Hope these tips are helpful!   Have a great vacation!