First time sailors and veterans alike can always glean a few tips on how to make their next ocean voyage the best one yet, because there are at least 10 things everyone must do on a cruise. Knowing what your options are and booking ahead of time can help immensely in terms of dining and entertainment and can save you from last minute scrambles and disappointments. Do your research and get to picking your must-sees and must-dos. Following, you’ll find a handy guide that can help you plan and figure out how to make the most of any ocean voyage, as well as save money in the process.
Do Your Homework
Onshore excursions, spa treatments, onboard activities — look online before you get onboard so you don’t miss out amenities and perks. You’ll be kicking yourself if you learn too late that you missed your chance to ride ATVs through the jungle or pet a stingray.
Budget for Drinks
Some cruise lines include unlimited drinks in their pricing, but others do not. Plan accordingly if you don’t want to pay $12 a shot for cocktails onboard.
Manage Wireless Access
Most cruises will charge you an arm and a leg for onboard WiFi. Even if you do opt to pay for wireless network access, your service could be spotty at best. Instead, use your smartphone for photos only and post when you get to port. Or consider buying a portable WiFi hotspot like the Skyroam – streaming music and videos while sunning yourself at the pools is also one of the best things to do on a cruise if you’re looking to unwind.
Don’t Sweat the Line
If you don’t book tickets to onboard shows ahead of time, don’t worry. You’ll often find standby lines that start before show time. Many people skip the shows that they book reservations earlier which means you still can get a seat.
Consider Specialty Restaurants
The main dining cabin included in your fare may seem paltry compared to high-end restaurants on the ship. But more premium dining options often run $50 a head. Access to the main dining area is already included in your package and the food is often of comparable quality – consider whether it’s worth the added expense to spring for additional food options.
Planning to get to port a day or two before you’re supposed to depart will save you from the stress of screeching up to the loading up as the ship is about to sail.
Breakfast is an even more essential meal on a cruise as it can serve as your wakeup call and your chance to replenish before hitting any given port. Room service will ensure that you’re awake in time to depart and you get enough food to last you until lunch.
Close the Door
If your room has a balcony, shut the door whether you’re inside or out. You don’t want to be caught off guard with bad weather or wind gusts. For your sake, close the door to prevent mishaps and ensure your safety.
Work Out Solo
Take advantage of the fitness center on any ship, but skip the personal trainers and fitness plans. They’re short-lasting and often come priced at a premium. If you want to ramp up your custom exercise plan, do it before or after boarding.
Consider Staying Onboard
When the cruise pulls into port and everyone heads to shore is when you’ll find the most peace and quiet on the ship. If you’re feeling worn out or don’t feel the need to see a particular destination, take a day to chill out and relax while everyone else is on land.
Before you set sail, read up on what else you can do to prepare for your cruise:
Assistant Editor Ciara is a DC native and East Coast roamer with degrees in both English Professional Writing and Drama & Theatre Studies from Elon University. She's written for a variety of publications including Highway 64, Travel Writing at Elon, and Odyssey. More of her work can be found at ciaracorcoran.com.