Most people love to cruise, but some don’t realize that simple decisions could make or break the trip. Here is my advice on the 10 worst mistakes you can make (and hopefully avoid) on your next cruise.
Many problems could prevent you from arriving at your ship before it sets sail, starting with airport delays, interstate traffic, canceled flights – you name it. Isn’t the price of a hotel room is worth the peace of mind knowing for sure that you will be able to board your ship before the masses.
No one enjoys having an obnoxious drunk invading their space on the pool deck or at their dinner table. Beverage packages offered by the cruise lines make it even more tempting to over-drink. Just because you CAN drink three martinis at lunch doesn’t mean you SHOULD. A word of advice: Pace yourself! You’ll be glad you did!
Cruising without travel insurance is like playing with fire. You may not know that your U.S.-based health insurance is of no use to you outside the United States. Luckily, several options include medical coverage and coverage for travel delays, interruptions, and cancellations.
Your cruise may not technically require a passport (in the example of embarkation/disembarkation ports located in the U.S.). Still, if you have a family emergency, illness, or injury that requires you to fly home from any of your ports-of-call, you could be totally out of luck! A Passport is a small investment to ensure a hassle-free return home.
Before boarding the ship, make sure you turn data roaming off. I’ve heard countless horror stories of travelers returning home to a shocking cell phone bill because they were not aware their phone was eating up data when it is in their pocket. If your cell phone carrier doesn’t have international roaming plans, try putting your phone in airplane mode to avoid racking up unwanted charges.
When a captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, they’re being completely serious. Ships have a strict timetable and aren’t going to wait around for those who lost track of time. If you get left behind in port, YOU are responsible for your transportation to the next port or back home. This can cost several thousand dollars and is even more complicated if you travel without a passport (another reason to add to #4 above). My advice? Plan on arriving back near the ship an hour to an hour and a half before the scheduled departure time. This not only allows time to shop in port, but it also gives you plenty of time if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus breaks down on the way back to the ship.
During these COVID times, cruise ships have largely abandoned the traditional buffet, but some have transitioned to crew-served buffets. While newer ships have sumptuous buffets, the best food on a cruise will always be available in the main dining room or in specialty restaurants. If you only partake in the mass-produced food options, you’ll miss out on the great food and service you can experience in venues that allow you to slow down and enjoy your meal.
While most cruise lines automatically charge a daily gratuity or service surcharge to your stateroom, you have the option to remove the charge by requesting it at guest services. But, just because you are allowed to remove them doesn’t mean that you should. Would you go to a restaurant without tipping? Then you shouldn’t go on a cruise without tipping the staff that works so hard to make your trip so pleasant.
Many cruisers don’t realize that their cabin steward (and pretty much everyone who served them on the ship) work 7 days a week and are away from their families for 6-9 months at a time. If one has a bad day once in a while, it’s easy to understand why once you know the facts. Kind words to the crew will go a long way. Treating them with the same respect you would give to your spouse or partner could make their day (or week)!
Cruise lines recommend booking flights in the afternoon on disembarkation day. Often, the cruise line lists arrival times at around 7:00 a.m., but there is almost no chance of catching an early morning flight. There are times you can walk right through security, and other times it could take over an hour to get through the line. Why end your vacation with a stressful travel day?
Cruising is back! I hope these words of wisdom help you as you contemplate your next cruise! Let us help you make that dream a reality!?
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