Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cruising Tips!

In honor of my growing excitement for my wedding, let's talk cruising again. :)

Since many of my guests are first-time cruisers, my fiance and I (with the help of compiled a list of our top 20 Cruising Tips!

Without further ado, here they are! :)

1) Carry post-it notes so you can write down special requests for your room steward or communicate with other members of your cabin as to where you may be.

2) If you’re too full after dinner to eat dessert, ask for it to be fixed to go. We have also discovered that the dessert that is served in the dining room is usually available at the buffet, so head there for a late-night re-treat!

3) Take a change of clothes and a swimsuit in your carry-on bag so that you will not have to wait for your luggage to arrive.

4) Lanyards work wonders for Sail & Sign cards. Have someone punch a hole in the card so they can be worn. The casino always has a hole punch.

5) Check your Sail & Sign account periodically during the cruise, and especially the last night before going to bed. If there are any problems or errors, it is much easier to get them fixed at that time, rather than the morning of debarkation. Once you leave the ship, fixing an error is nearly impossible. Stuff your various receipts in a drawer and then check them against the listing on the TV.

6) Realize that most of the time the muster drill is right before you sail away. When you're done with the muster, get back to your cabin, ditch your life jacket and get back up on deck as soon as possible or you're very likely to miss that spectacular moment when the ship first leaves the dock.

7) Watch the time and go get your life vests about 10-15 minutes beforehand and carry it around. When the drill starts they turn off the elevators. Depending on what floor your cabin is on you could have a lot of stairs to climb.

8) Pack a powerstrip to take with you, as there are only a few outlets in the cabin. If you take your laptop, digital camera, battery charger, and other items that need to be plugged in, this may come in handy.

9) Order sandwiches, cookies, etc. from room service the night before a port day. Then put them in the Ziploc bags and put them in a little portable cooler for the beach. Make sure the food you want to carry on shore is going to be available when you want to order it!

10) Have business cards printed with your home address, phone, e-mail and have them ready to pass out to those people you wish to stay in contact with. If you like, print your pictures on them so that people can put a name to a face.

11) Ask your servers, room attendants, etc. about their family. They are always quick to tell you if they are married, have kids---and sometimes they whip out the photos. Their stories so interesting; where they are from, how long it has been since they have been home, etc. It is nice because makes them seem like you respect them as a person, not just someone who is there to make you happy.

12) Use address labels for the tags you put on your suitcases for disembarkation. Also write the phone # on them at home. Then just peel them off and put them on the luggage tags. This saves SO much time on the last day of the cruise when you have to pack and there are a thousand other things you would rather be doing!

13) Make 2-copies of your passport (front page only), leave one with a relative or friend carry the other with you but not in the same place as the original passport. If passport is lost or stolen, take a copy to the embassy for quick easy replacement.

14) If you have an inside cabin you have no sense of time of day as it is dark anytime the lights are off; however, the TV has a "bow camera" station that shows pictures of the outside world. Turn it on at night (it’s black at night) and in the morning you get a little light and a window to the outside world.

15) Call your credit card companies in advance to let them know you are cruising and to prevent fraud alerts.

16) You are allowed up to 1,500.00 dollars cash each day off your sea pass in the casino. Simply present your Seapass at the cashier’s window in the casino and get your free cash advance. At the end of the cruise any money tallied to your Seapass is charged as an onboard purchase at your normal credit card rate rather than the likely 21 percent cash advance most credit cards incur. Cash is King when shopping in ports. You can get any change you want at the purser's desk, which is open 24 hours a day. They're used to it and very nice about it. *This does not apply to Carnival where you use Sail & Sign even when gambling. :)

17) You should definitely bring an alarm clock since the rooms do not have a clock other than on your phone, and lets be honest, you don't want to turn on a light in the middle of the night to see what time it is.

18) Rather than take early seating with kids, take the late seating. Take the kids for a leisurely meal in the Windjammer or pizza or whatever, at their usual dinnertime, and then let them enjoy Adventure Ocean when it opens at 7. That will give you enough time to get ready for your late grown-up dinner. The kids love it, because they don't have to sit through a long dinner, and you will love it because you will not have to be in a bathroom with a child when your entrée comes.

19) You can order anything on the dining room menus thru room service. Just remember to tip $2-2.50)

20) When ordering the "drink of the day", you can order the higher levels of alcohol without a charge (i.e Absolut instead of Smirnoff). This only works on the drink of the day, and has been verified by others that have done this.


Courtney said...

Wow, those are some seriously great tips! Thanks!

Carmen said...

LOVE the tips! There are a couple I'm always reminding our friends but I think you have nailed them all!