I've been on a three cruises and I'd like to share a few tips that might make your cruise experience a little better.
Take the stairs
The elevators are very busy, especially at certain times so we always took the stairs. Plus you can work off all that food that you are going to be eating. There is beautiful artwork on the walls to view as you walk up and you get to your level before you know it.
Book excursions and packages prior to leaving
One less thing to worry about because the lines at the excursion desk are really long. They will have all your excursion tickets in your room ready to go. Drink packages are usually cheaper before you go too.
Pack multiple outfit options per day
You will have a casual outfit around the ship, excursion outfit, by the pool and going to dinner outfits. I brought a lot of outfits that you could dress up or dress down. This doesn’t mean bring your whole closet, just plan for outfits that are flexible with similar color schemes. I would bring a top that I could pair with a skirt or shorts. Bring sandals that you could wear around the ship with shorts or that could be paired with a dress. My favorite dress pictured on the left is from Amazon. It is super flattering and comfortable. You can find the link here. This link will direct you to purchase from Amazon as I am an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Explore the whole ship
You could take all week exploring everything the cruise ship has to offer. We went around and checked out the whole ship on the first day and looked at what spots we liked that we would hang out at. We found a quiet cozy spot at a bar area that wasn't very crowded during the day.
You will walk a lot around the ship
I'm glad I brought tennis shoes because my feet were so tired and sore by the end of the day. You don't realize just how much walking you do to get everywhere. The bigger the ship, the more walking you will do. When you get off the ship, some of the docks are really long too.
Pack your own shampoo and conditioner
I am not picky about what shampoo I use so I figured I would just use what was provided. I was wrong! At least on the cruise I just went on they had a shampoo, conditioner, body wash all in one type of soap. It was terrible and my hair was not good. Leave it to my husband to bring his own so I used some of his.
Pack everything you need
If you have to buy something on the ship it will be double the cost! It’s best to pack everything you need with you. Unless you don’t care about spending the extra money but it killed me to pay $22 for sunscreen because we only took carry-ons and figured we would buy it there. Still cheaper than paying for luggage but so unnecessary. Now you don't have to go overboard with packing. Pack everything you need and nothing you don't need.
Pack a power adapter
Some cruises only have 2 outlets in the whole room. We have to charge my phone, my husbands phone, and various camera batteries. Remember not to bring a surge protector as those are not allowed. I have a plug-in that has multiple USB ports and an outlet. I love how it's green because I can easily see it and you can find it here. This link will direct you to purchase from Amazon as I am an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Don't book the airport transfer to the cruise
It was so expensive to book the airport transfer from the airport to the cruise and the cruise to the airport. When we arrived, we had to wait a fair amount of time for the shuttle and then they dropped off people at a different ship first so it took way longer than necessary. I would recommend Uber or Lyft.
It never hurts to ask
The worst that can happen is they say no but at least you tried. If you need something or want a different pillow or anything really just ask someone. Everyone is so accommodating on cruises and they want you to be happy. If it can happen they will get it for you.
Every experience is different
Things change all the time. Prices change and ways of doing things change. When you read tips, treat them more like a starting off point or something to consider. Everyone’s experience will be different because every cruise ship and itinerary is different. Do your research on what you would like to have on your ship as well as ports.
Bring drink packets
If you plan to just have the drinks that are included, know that they aren’t always the strongest in flavor. Depending on the time of day and the place you get it from of course. The first time I had the lemonade it tasted like water with a splash of lemonade. It was never really consistent. I wish I had brought a little packet of lemonade or a MiO to add to the drink. This also goes with the cream for coffee. I wish I brought some flavored creamer to go with my coffee.
The first day is the most crowded
When you arrive on the ship it will be extremely crowded, especially at the buffet. This is because the rooms aren't ready yet and everyone is hungry. If you can wait to eat at the buffet until after the rooms are ready I would wait and just explore the ship.
Set your phone manually to the ship time
There was one day I truly had no idea what time it was. We went through multiple time zone changes throughout the week and my phone wouldn’t update on the ship but then I’d get to the port and it would automatically update. It was so hard to know what the time was. It was definitely an experience to not have access to the internet or to call home.
Take photos of everything
If your memory is like mine then taking photos of everything will help you remember your trip. You can share these photos with friends and family when you return. You can read my family vacation photo tips here.