I’m fresh off my 4th Disney cruise and my 13th cruise overall. My Cruising Tips and Tricks blog post has gotten quite a few reads so I thought I’d update my tips list with a few more tricks I’ve learned.
– Drive or fly to the port the day before your cruise. You don’t want a wreck or construction on the interstate or delayed flights to make you miss your cruise. This gives you time to decompress and run to the store if you realized you forgot something. Plus, if your port city is interesting you can explore it a little.
-Board the ship as soon as you can. You’ve paid for this cruise, you might as well be on board every minute possible! Use this time to explore the ship before the crowds and activities set in.
– The night before, if you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, consider staying at Disney instead of a port hotel. We stayed at Art of Animation, a Disney value resort, for the same price as a standard hotel in Port Canaveral. Staying on Disney property meant we were able to extend the magic a little bit and also eat dinner at ‘Ohana in Walt Disney World.
– If you’re a soda or alcohol drinker, consider buying a soda or adult beverage package. Some cruise lines charge for soda and they can really add up. And all cruise lines charge for alcohol. There are wine, beer, soda, and cocktail packages available at multiple price points. They can really save you money!
– Try the premium restaurants on your cruise ship at least once. They often have a surcharge, but it’s nice to get away for a fine dining experience. If you can’t get a reservation before your cruise, check as soon as you board as they may have cancellations and can get you in.
-Unpack on day 1. No, it’s no fun but if you unpack now and stow those big, bulky suitcases under your bed your stateroom will feel so much larger. Speaking of making your room feel larger, spend 5 minutes each day and just tidy it up a bit. You’ll be able to find everything more easily in addition to maximizing your space.
-Pack a small container of baby powder. Sprinkle it on your sandy skin and the sand will release like magic!
-If you’re a social person and are on Facebook, join your cruise’s Facebook group. Most sailings have a Facebook group. Just go to the search bar and type in your ship’s name and sail date and your group will come up. These groups are great places to learn insider tips and get to know fellow cruisers. My cruise group for this cruise had a cocktail party meet up, a Mixology class and we organized a Fish Extender exchange. Plus it’s just fun to share in the excitement and anticipation of your upcoming cruise with other people who are literally in the same boat.
-Book your excursions through your cruise ship company. You can trust the companies they work with and most importantly, your ship won’t leave without you. Sure, it may cost a few dollars more, but peace of mind is worth it.
– If you decide to go it on your own for your excursion- do your homework. Research everything you can online, compare prices, and you’ll come out ahead. When we rented an electric car for the day in Key West I had taken a screen shot of the company’s website deal on my phone. They used it as a coupon and gave us our 3rd hour free. The people next in line renting the same car at the same time paid the same price for only 2 hours. And always, always ask for a discount. They may say no, but you may save some money!
-If you don’t mind eating breakfast on the road or in town and not on the ship, then choose Express Walk Off/ Debarkation on the last morning of your cruise. The lines will be MUCH shorter and you’ll be at your car/shuttle/airport much more quickly. You have to carry your own luggage but these days with spinner suitcases that’s a much easier feat.
– Be sure to carry lots of small bills with you on your trip. You’ll need them for many things: tipping room service waitstaff, tipping porters/ luggage handlers, tipping drivers/tour conductors, etc. You might just make someone’s day with a nice tip, and they might just make your cruise even more magical!
Hope you find these tips helpful! Happy cruising!