Here are some important cruise vacation tips you might not find on any other list. Cruise lines won’t tell you these. A good travel agent might but it would not be negligent of them to keep these tips to themselves. Only the most trusted of friends will let you in on these tips, if they know about them.
- Be careful flossing– or just skip it unless you’re on a really long cruise. Either that or bring along an emergency dental care kit if you have anything other than original teeth in your head. Crowns, bridgework, fillings, all love to jump out of your mouth at sea. Yes, the ship’s medical center can help but do see #3 below for more information.
- It is going to cost more than you thought- this is nothing to be scared of but to say a cruise is “all-inclusive” is stretching it a bit. While we have done cruises and not spent any money onboard (one cruise and it was tough) We have also spent more on ‘extras’ than the cruise fare. Passing up onboard spending can mean losing out on some rich experiences through shore excursions, spa treatments and other optional elements.
- Travel Insurance Reimburses You– nobody mentions this and while it is in the written details of your policy a trip to the medical center is going to cost you up front, then reimbursed later. Be sure to get receipts, the names of those providing assistance and keep a journal of your experience. Travel insurance is almost always secondary coverage. That’s also good to know if considering the travel protection provided by your credit card, when it is used to buy travel; also secondary coverage.
- Some Extras Are Hard To Avoid– The big one is”gratuities” which are conveniently charged to passenger onboard accounts every day, for their convenience. This can be a good thing if that’s what you want to have happen. In fact, on many lines you can pre-pay this amount before boarding. If you think that a gratuity is a show of appreciation for a job well done, think again. These things go on your bill automatically which kind of spoils the fun of it all.
- Behave, You Can Get Kicked Off The Ship– Cruise lines, more specifically, the Captain (aka “master of the vessel”) have the right to put you off the ship at the next port without a refund or way back home if you misbehave. That could mean something as innocent as an argument with a fellow gambler in the casino. Fact check: ‘walking the plank’ never was an option on a cruise vacation.
- Kids Can buy Booze- If they try hard enough, your teenage children can find a way to get it on the ship. One popular method is paying double price for a bucket of beer, in cash, to an adult looking for slot-machine money. Another is buying it ashore in Mexico where the legal drinking age is “whoever has money” then sneak it back on the ship, also easy to do. My simple rule when we had teens “Don’t do anything that would require me to talk to security or identify your body” That aside, a cruise truly does have something for everyone; even angst-filled teens.
- The Critical First Night Kids Meeting– This is critical, especially with those teens. The first night decides the social order and defines who hangs out with who in supplement to any informal hookups they may have made up to that point. Missing this important social opportunity dooms your kids to being outsiders and robs them of the chance to be cool; akin to losing a limb for adults.
- Actually, Any Cruise Can Be A Booze Cruise- While we’re on the subject, short cruise sailings have a bad rap for being the binge-drinkers itinerary of choice. I’ve seen those same sloppy drunks on just about every ship I have ever sailed on. One cruise line is not necessarily better than another in this area.
- Tell The Captain “Thank You”- You will hear him referred to as “the Master of the vessel” and that is exactly what he is; the top dog. If you see him walking about the ship, make eye contact and if the opportunity presents itself, shake his hand and thank him for the marvelous ship you are sailing on.
- It’s Tempting But Don’t Bring Your Own Toilet Paper- Using vacuum systems to dispose of human waste is a bit tricky. Think of going to the drive-in bank teller and the vacuum tubes used to collect and give money. It’s basically the same system on a cruise ship and only toilet paper made especially for use with the system will do. Unfortunately, this toilet paper is not part of the Charmin Ultra Soft Boutique Collection. Bringing your own might seem like a good idea until you get the bill for repairing the toilet system you broke.
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