As a Florida resident, I get to enjoy the added bonus of living relatively histiocytoma human close to several different ports, which makes it very easy to take advantage of last-minute deals. I realized it was high time I write a blog histiocytoma human post about this topic, not just to list the benefits of cruising (which are many), but to actually share some of the best-kept cruise secrets we’ve learned along the way. Here are the 25 “insider” secrets to successful cruising that I think everyone should know. Booking & Travel
Choosing the right ship is the most important step in histiocytoma human determining how successful your cruise vacation will be, and believe me, not all ships are created equal! Take the time to research the amenities of the exact histiocytoma human ship you will be cruising on, not just the cruise line. We have cruised on Carnival, Norwegian, Holland-America, Royal Caribbean, and Princess, but our favorite ship so far has been be Carnival histiocytoma human Sunshine. (Hard to beat a 4-slide water park and P.Y.O.B. (pour your own beer) on the Lido Deck!)
To avoid the cost of airfare, look for ports within driving distance, whether it be Florida, New York, New Orleans, California, or Seattle. Cruise Critic has an extensive searchable database of cruises where histiocytoma human you can sort by destination, ports, special interests and more during specific travel dates. Or, if you are looking for a top rated cruise line, Conde Nast Traveler has an annual Gold List with the histiocytoma human best cruise ships based on their readers’ choice ratings. 2. Check for Special Interests
Whether you are interested in a romantic trip for two histiocytoma human or a trip the whole family will love, look into cruises that fulfill your and your guests’ special interests. Many cruise lines offer themed cruises or special events for histiocytoma human singles, families, music lovers, etc. Carnival is now even offering big name concert events on histiocytoma human some of their ships. This concert series, aptly named Carnival Live brings in some of the biggest histiocytoma human names in classic rock and country music to do on-board concerts. For just $15 a ticket you can see big names like Lady histiocytoma human Antebellum, Daughtry, Chicago, Kansas, and many more. (For $100 you can get a VIP ticket that gets you histiocytoma human a front row seat and a chance to meet the histiocytoma human band!) 3. Book at the Last Minute
If you are willing to be flexible with your travel histiocytoma human plans you can get some amazing deals on last minute histiocytoma human cruises! One of the smartest way to book a last minute histiocytoma human cruise is to first find out how close to the histiocytoma human departure date a traveler can cancel their reservation without a histiocytoma human penalty. This time is typically 2-3 months prior to departure, and it is the exact time you will want to histiocytoma human call and check back for better deals. Cruise lines will often try to sell any available space histiocytoma human at this time by reducing fare. If your cruise is already booked, this is also a good time to call to check histiocytoma human for cabin upgrades. On Norwegian we were once able to upgrade our inside histiocytoma human cabin to a full suite (complete with butler service) for just $250 per person by calling a month before the cruise histiocytoma human to check for cancellations. That same suite normally would have cost several thousands of histiocytoma human dollars more had we booked well in advance! 4. Ask for Special Discounts
It doesn’t hurt to ask, and more than likely it will be worth the time histiocytoma human it took to ask the question. Just like hotels, cruise lines have incentives for different travelers… seniors, teachers, military, FL resident, etc. Cruise lines master accommodating all types of passengers and love histiocytoma human to incentivize you to cruise with them over their competitors. 5. Compare Prices
When you are shopping for a cruise, there are numerous sites such as Priceline that you can histiocytoma human use to search for best rates. Find a great deal? Call the cruise line directly to get an even better histiocytoma human deal! Sellers will compete to get your business and can often histiocytoma human discount the price you see online or give other perks histiocytoma human such as on-board credit, free wine at dinner, or priority boarding. And remember, even after you book, keep checking back for additional deals or upgrades! 6. Check in After 2pm
Most cruisers are eager to get on the ship as histiocytoma human early as possible, which means that the cruise terminal can be really busy–and more than a little stressful–during the first few hours of boarding (generally from 11am-2pm). And while you may be able to get on the histiocytoma human ship that early, chances are you won’t be able to get into your cabin until later histiocytoma human in the afternoon, which means your first few hours on board will be histiocytoma human spent hauling your stuff around. Not exactly the most relaxing start to a vacation! Instead, avoid the rush and the crowds by waiting to check histiocytoma human in until after 2pm (assuming your ship sets sail at 4pm or later!) You’ll be able to walk right on without waiting and histiocytoma human then go straight to your cabin. 7. Pick the Right Time to Go
Room options are typically either Inside (no windows), Outside (window/porthole view to the outside), Balcony (a room with a balcony on the outside of the histiocytoma human ship), and Suite (a larger cabin often with separate living and sleeping areas histiocytoma human and more amenities). If you plan on taking advantage of in-room dining, have kids who will be taking naps or typically get histiocytoma human seasick, you will really appreciate the extra space and killer view histiocytoma human you get from a balcony room or suite. 9. Make the most of an interior cabin
If cost is your primary concern, plan on spending most of your awake time enjoying the histiocytoma human ship and excursions, making the time spent in your room mostly for sleeping histiocytoma human and getting ready. To avoid seasickness, keep the TV turned on to the ship camera which histiocytoma human will create the illusion of having a window when you histiocytoma human have an inside room. 10. Don’t Take Too Much Stuff!
Make a list of clothing you need on the trip. Then cut that in half! While ship cabins do make the most of a small histiocytoma human space, they are still small, especially when you are traveling as a family! No one cares if you wear the same clothes over histiocytoma human again, and all ships offer laundry service if necessary. Find out ahead of time how many “formal” nights the cruise has, if any, and also how strict the dress code is. If you don’t like dressing up, you can always choose room service or Lido dining those histiocytoma human evenings to avoid having to pack a tux or formal histiocytoma human gown. 11. Bring Magnetic Clips
Though you’ll see many destinations while on your cruise, you only have to unpack once! Do unpack. Whether you are on a cruise for 3 days or histiocytoma human 3 weeks, making yourself at home by unpacking will make your trip histiocytoma human (and getting ready for each event) SO much more enjoyable. Room stewards are experts finding out-of-the-way places to stash suitcases, and even the smallest cabins have a surprisingly large number histiocytoma human of drawers and closets. 13. Keep Things Tidy
You are on vacation! Many first time cruisers don’t realize that even in the main dining room, you can order as many entrees, appetizers, or desserts as you please. And if you have special dietary needs, there are always healthier options you can mix in with histiocytoma human the meal of your choice. Ask for a special diet menu that may include lower histiocytoma human sodium and lower fat options. 15. Plan Meals Ahead
Ask to see the main dining room menu for the histiocytoma human week. That way you can plan your meals accordingly and book histiocytoma human specialty restaurants for the evenings that the main dining room histiocytoma human fare doesn’t excite you. On Carnival you can receive a free bottle of wine histiocytoma human for booking a reservation at the steakhouse on the first histiocytoma human day of your cruise. 16. Don’t Miss the Specialty Restaurants
Most cruise lines have now begun offering specialty fare at histiocytoma human a slight up charge (between $5 and $25 per person, depending on the restaurant.) While your first inclination may be to skip the specialty histiocytoma human dining in favor of all the free options, it is worth setting aside a little extra room in histiocytoma human your budget for at least one night of specialty dining. Carnival’s JiJi Asian Bistro ($15 per person) is downright phenomenal, and the steak house on our Norwegian ship was absolutely histiocytoma human amazing. Of course not all specialty dining has an added cost, and even some of the premium restaurants are free at histiocytoma human lunchtime–just check your ship to see what is offered! 17. Take Advantage of Free Room Service
While cruising is mostly all-inclusive, drinks are not generally included! Therefore it is smart to get creative on how you histiocytoma human partake. A tip for wine drinkers? Bring your own wine. You may be charged a cork fee but it will histiocytoma human be significantly cheaper than buying a full bottle on the histiocytoma human ship. For non-alcoholic drinks you can typically purchase a drink card that histiocytoma human will give you access to unlimited soda. 19. Eat Lunch in the Main Dining Room
There are tons of on-board amenities you can take advantage of when you are histiocytoma human out at sea or want to stay on board vs. going on an excursion. In the first couple of days, be sure to walk around and familiarize yourself with the histiocytoma human ship and its offerings. Also – ask others what they are looking forward to on the histiocytoma human ship or have enjoyed doing thus far. 21. Choose Excursions Wisely
Cruise lines offer shore excursions at every port – from bus tours to activities like snorkeling and zip lining. You may also have the option to tour around yourself, but be mindful of time and language barriers. You are best off reviewing excursions in advance of the histiocytoma human cruise and booking them online to avoid any confusion or histiocytoma human overbooking the day-of. This will also give you time to carefully read the histiocytoma human fine print and excursion restrictions. 22. Don’t Miss the Shows
While the shows do vary from ship to ship, they are almost always really good and very entertaining. You may even have the opportunity to see a big histiocytoma human name performer for a concert or comedy show for almost histiocytoma human nothing. Because of the smaller size of a cruise venue vs. an arena, these events are more intimate and enjoyable than typical concerts–there is literally not a bad seat in the house! 23. Take Advantage of the Kids Club!
A ship typically has well-organized camps and activities for children, organized by age, typically 3+. (For younger children there are sometimes classes or special babysitting histiocytoma human times offered.) These interactive classes and activities will keep the kids entertained histiocytoma human while giving parents some free time as well. We have personally been most impressed with the quality of histiocytoma human kids club facilities and variety of activities on the Carnival histiocytoma human ships we have been on, but all the cruise lines have been very good. The best part is that aside from late night babysitting, it is completely free! 24. Research Ports Ahead of Time
Take the time to find out a little about the histiocytoma human ports you will be visiting to find out what you histiocytoma human might like to do or see while you are there. You may also find some highly rated excursions at a histiocytoma human better price than you would find if you purchased on histiocytoma human the ship. Our all-time favorite excursion in Alaska was this Sea Plane excursion histiocytoma human to Taku Lodge, which is significantly cheaper when not booked through the ship, and our favorite excursion EVER in was Dolphin Discovery, which we booked online before our cruise. We went to the one in Cozumel, but they have locations all over Mexico and the Caribbean. 25. Find a Favorite Hangout
Every ship is different but all are purposely designed to histiocytoma human offer comfortable spaces for a variety of tastes. Often your favorite memories from a cruise will come from histiocytoma human having found your “special” place somewhere on the ship, whether it be a particular bar or restaurant, deck chair, or cozy corner in the atrium. The staff assigned to that particular spot on the ship histiocytoma human will generally stay the same through the duration of your histiocytoma human cruise, which can come in handy, and it is also a good idea to have a histiocytoma human designated meeting spot in case you get separated on board, since cell phones don’t usually work at sea!
Let’s see one of the most important person on the histiocytoma human cruise ship is your cabin stewards. Besides the fact that all of them work 10+ hours a day and have to clean many rooms several histiocytoma human times a day I value them the most. When I board the ship I test my steward by histiocytoma human simply asking him for one extra hanger or an extra histiocytoma human towel. If he gets it to me in a reasonable amount histiocytoma human of time usually about 30-45 minutes. I will give him $$ a very generous tip. After which if I happen to need something he will histiocytoma human be very eager to help me out. Now granted this does not mean that one should take histiocytoma human advantage of their stewards. But there are times I may need something and it histiocytoma human helps to have some extra help. Remember the staff works long and hard hours and get histiocytoma human paid so much less than what we would ever work histiocytoma human for. I always keep my room very clean which makes their histiocytoma human job so much easier. Your primary waiter is another one you want to keep histiocytoma human close to you. Oh and your cabana waiter. I’ve had waiters up on the deck that once they histiocytoma human see me my drink arrives shortly after and I never histiocytoma human have to worry about my towel being removed from my histiocytoma human chair. Cruising is fun and can be very relaxing if you histiocytoma human know where to go and where to hide on a histiocytoma human ship. Ask me anything and I’ll try to answer if I have the answer. I know Carnival is coming out with a new ship histiocytoma human in 2018 and I’m planning on being on it. I’ll be cruising with a lot of crew friends who histiocytoma human will be opening the ship. Can’t wait. Hope this helps a little. Reply
We have been Crusing for over 29 years. It’s such a Wonderful time to spend Together. As of now we have taken 17 and for Our histiocytoma human 30 TH Anniversaryis We our planning a Trip to Italy histiocytoma human and we are so very excited to go. We have been all over the Eastern and Western Islands. We Started with Carnival and Now we have been With histiocytoma human Princess for the past few years. There are so many Memories and Pictures of all the histiocytoma human places we have been to. We Love the Sea Days the most. We have Had all types of Cabins. We even did a Back to Back for 14 days histiocytoma human and Having A Balcony was Awesome for That Time. The Food is So Good and We Love Going to histiocytoma human The Special Restaurant’s for a Romantic Dinner. The Shows have been Great also. Got to see a lot of Wonderful People. And let me say getting a Sandwich and Chips in histiocytoma human your Cabin late at night is the Best. The Desserts are out of this World. We have been Taken Care of So Very good. The Spa is Awesome as well. Getting Pampered is like Nothing Else. We are going to do a Couples Spa. It’s a Surprise for My Husband. So go make Your Plan’s and Make Memories of your own. ✈️☀️⚓️♦️♣️♥️♠️⚓️ Reply
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