JANE’S Top Cruise Tips

If you don’t enjoy cleaning your room, making your bed, cooking dinner, or sitting in traffic on your way to work, then cruising might be for you! The hubs and I went on a cruise in 2010 to the eastern Caribbean and it was AWESOME! We enjoyed it so much that we are taking another cruise with friends this September to the Southern Caribbean. It truly was AMAZING so I am very excited to visit the other islands. If you are considering a cruise, here are some tips I’d recommend from my experience.

1. Cruise Critic: Anything and everything you want to know about cruising, from what your boat looks like, how the food tastes, and what excursions to avoid, can be found here. I recommend first-time and regular cruisers check this website because it is a huge help.

2. Identification – passport, driver’s license, and birth certificate: The last thing you want to do is arrive at the loading dock on the day of departure without the right documents. So make sure to have them on you at all times; also, make copies and store them in the safe on board the ship.

3. Save room in your suitcase: Do not over pack your suitcase because you are going to bring trinkets back with you from your travels. So, make sure to leave room or bring an extra suitcase with you.

 4. Tip the crew: A daily gratuity per guest per day is tallied during your cruise. The easiest way to handle this fee is to pay it in advance when you pay for your cruise. It really alleviates the hassle of having to pay it at the end of the trip, on top of all the other money you will spend while on vacation.  That fee, as of July 2013, is $11.50 per guest per day, with the breakdown being: $3.70 per day for stateroom services; $5.80 per day for dining room services; and $2.00 per day for alternative services. This money is distributed to other kitchen and hotel service staff.  Feel free to tip on top of the gratuities; it will get you extra special service.

5. Medication: The first time I cruised, I was a little queasy for the first day or so because the water was so choppy. So, make sure to bring some Dramamine, Pepto, Tylenol, etc. You can never be too sure and I’m glad I had mine!

6. Drinks: On cruises, people can spend $1,000 or more on drinks. I suggest travel flasks. They are the plastic pouches used for boxed wine and can be filled with your liquor of choice and packed in your luggage. Also, most cruises allow passengers to bring one case of water per person and 1 regular bottle of wine. Make sure to also bring a bottle opener because there is typically a $10+ corking fee to open the bottle.

7. Recycle & reuse: Try to bring clothes that you can make multiple outfits out of. Seven days is quite the packing task, but if flight attendants can fit two weeks’ worth of clothes into a carry-on bag then you can get seven days’ worth in a larger one.

8. Toiletries: Make sure you bring your essentials. No one wants to pay $20 for a razor because you forgot to bring one. It’s either bring it or go hairy for a week!

9. Unpack your suitcase: I would recommend hanging up any items you plan on wearing in the closet and putting your stuff in the drawers provided. Side Note-spray the drawers with Lysol first as an added measure of cleanliness; you just don’t know who was in there before you.

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