Been There, Done That — Cruising Tips From Seasoned Travelers
If you are cruising for the first time — congratulations! You are in for a unique, worthwhile experience. As a newbie, though, you probably have questions about some of the do’s and don’ts of traveling aboard a cruise ship. Luckily, there are many die-hard cruisers who are happy to share some tips to make your first time more rewarding.
Before You Leave Home:
Have a friend or neighbour take in your mail daily. Accumulating mail is a big sign to thieves and other troublemakers that no one is home. You could also have your mail held at the post office until you return.
Set your lights on timers so that it appears someone is home to deter troublemakers. Tell your neighborhood community patrol to make a few extra passes by your home while you are away.
Preprint labels and stamps if you plan to mail postcards out while you are on your cruise. This saves some time and you won’t have to lug around an awkward address book.
Stock up on traveler’s checks since they are replaceable if lost or stolen. To expedite the replacements should your traveler’s checks be lost or stolen, write down the serial numbers and put them in a safe and separate place. That way, it makes the bank’s job a little easier and speed up the process for your replacements.
Keep a handy supply of small denominational bills, usually one’s and five’s. Tipping is appreciated for porters and stewards at both the airport and docking pier of the ship. This is especially important in foreign countries. Horror stories abound about stolen or “lost” bags that never make it to the ship. Sometimes, you have got to grease their palms with cash. It’s a small price to pay for having your clothing and toiletries aboard for your cruise.
To avoid long lines at the end of your cruise, check out your ending invoice on your account. Check for any errors and resolve them as soon as possible. There is no sense adding the stress of standing in line to pay your final tab after you just had a relaxing vacation.
Take a few rubber bands with you to wrap around your wallet. The rubber will “grab” onto your clothing. This makes it very difficult for a pickpocket to part with your wallet without you feeling it.
If you are traveling with babies or toddlers, paper throwaway bibs are perfect for protecting your child from stains and messes at meal times, thus prolonging the wear of their clothing.
Bring a collapsible stroller for your young child. The cruise ship is a happening place and before long you will hear the strains of “I’m tired! Carry me!” This is exhausting to parents. With a stroller, you can just pop your kid inside and roll on.
Pack a few portable, self contained snacks for your child like peanut butter or cheese crackers. These will come in handy and are much cheaper than buying some once you are cruising or at port.
Odds and Ends:
Throw inside your suitcase a few of those annoying plastic shopping bags that you usually get from the grocery store. These are handy for storing dirty clothing.
If you have an inside cabin, take a nightlight with you. Darkness is not fun when you are in a strange room. No sense running into walls or stubbing your toe if you can avoid it. Little maglight keychain flash lights are handy too.
Bring a little first aid kits for those minor emergencies. Wet wipes are handy too for those instance were a sink isn’t handy.
There are literally hundreds of cruise tips that can save the sanity of newbie travelers. Think of those little shortcuts or ideas that you use at home. Decide if they are adaptable to the cruise ship. The less you have to worry about, the more relaxed you will be after your cruise.