5 Tips to Make Your Cruise Smooth Sailing

Written on June 19, 2024

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You’re going on a cruise! No matter the cruise line you’re sailing with, there are some universal tips that will help you make the most of your vacation.  

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#1 – Book and Prepay 

Book your excursions, specialty dining, and shows ahead of time. Some sell out quickly, so this ensures your spot is secured. It’s best to book your excursions directly through the cruise line in the event it runs long or gets canceled. It also helps to plan out your schedule in advance. Do this even for included activities, like shows on board.  

Prepay everything you can before you get onboard. Wi-Fi, beverage packages, and gratuities will be the most expensive onboard. This will help you manage your budget and avoid any surprise expenses.  

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#2 – Research Your Excursions  

Once you have your excursions booked, be sure to research the experience. The cruise line should provide all the details you need to know, like transportation, physical requirements, and what to pack, but read the fine print. You don’t want to assume that food will be provided on an 8-hour excursion, only to find out it was light snacks and you skipped breakfast. This also gives you time to purchase any specialty items, like a dry bag or reef-safe sunscreen.  

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#3 – Get the Lay of the Land Ship  

Depending on the ship size, you could spend the first few days trying to get your bearings. For some travelers, this is all part of the fun, but you don’t want to spend your entire vacation wandering around or worse, getting lost and frustrated. Before departure, look at deck maps and video tours of the ship to get a sense of where things are and areas you don’t want to miss.

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#4 – Plan Your Wardrobe  

Look at the cruise itinerary to see how many formal or theme nights are scheduled. That way, you can plan and make the most of staple items in your suitcase. For theme nights, accessories paired with more versatile items can go a long way and save you space. (Plus, these themed nights are always subject to change from the cruise director, so you don’t want to take up a lot of space packing your go-go boots if you won’t use them!)

You may think all you need is a couple bathing suits and a good cover-up, but once you look at your pre-booked meals and activities, you’ll see some clothing planning is necessary.

Don’t forget appropriate shoes! There is nothing worse than breaking in new shoes days before a trip. Consider meals, exploring, and special activities when planning footwear.

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#5 – Phone Prep 

Your phone will be an invaluable resource, so make sure it is prepped and ready to go. Download any apps you may need, like those for the cruise line and airline. Spend time navigating the apps and creating all your logins so when you’re ready to set sail, you don’t waste time staring at your screen. 

While most new phones are water resistant, you may want to consider getting a waterproof case or something with a strap so you can snap all those social media shots. Speaking of photos, if you aren’t a shutterbug or recently got a new phone, spend time getting familiar with how to take photos and videos. Practice before your cruise so you can share stunning footage with your family and friends when you return.  

Photos and videos take up a lot of space, so make sure you have plenty available on your phone. (You can do a backup on another device before travel.) You can also consider a solution like iCloud, but keep in mind that it is dependent on internet connection.  

For even more cruise tips, plan your vacation with one of our team members!