Contributor Level: Cruise Director

5 things I learned on my cruise

1. I over packed.

I pride myself on packing light, but on my cruise I wound up not wearing about 1/3 of what I packed. During the day, shorts, tshirt and flip flops was more than enough. I packed more jeans and slacks than I needed to. I could have done just fine with one pair of jeans and one pair of slacks because my cruise was pretty casual, and during warm weather.


2. Water is EXPENSIVE!

Once onboard, if you like bottled water, expect a charge of $2.50 to $4 for ONE bottle of water. You can purchase a case of water before you board and check it in with your luggage.


3. Limited outlets

Your stateroom will likely only have two plugs, If you have an iPad, cell phone, and other gadgets to charge, bring a strip so you can charge more than two gadgets.


4. Be flexible

If you like to eat when everybody else does, expect bigger crowds. Plan your meals a little earlier or later, and you'll get more attention from the wait staff, and less chance that any special orders get messed up. We ate dinner around 6:30 pm in a dining room that was almost empty. By 7:30 when we were leaving, it was packed! A smile goes a long way. The wait staff is busy, and they serve hundreds, if not a thousand people every day. So cut them a little slack, and roll with the minor stuff. My wife is allergic to soy, so it took a little longer for them to make her something special one night...they comped us a free adult beverage and a dessert without us needing to ask....just because we were nice about the whole thing.


5. Extra charges

If you decide to play bingo, it will cost an extra $49. Beer tasting? $15. A banana split at the 24 hour snack bar? $6 A bucket of 6 beers while relaxing at the pool? $30 Internet? $100 for an hour.  Extra fees shouldn't be a secret, and I'm surprised at the folks who complain about them because cruise lines have been doing this for at least two decades if not longer. When you book your cruise, you should budget for "extras", especially adult beverages.

Tags: cruise tips

33 Answers

Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Great tips @Surferlou! You may want to try your hand at writing cruise articles Big Smile

Contributor Level: Cruise Director

#4: Never forget there is always room service if you lose track of time!!

Contributor Level: Third Mate

Great post especially the "i'm surprised at folks who complain" about the extra charges.  As I said on another post, some people just NEED to complain about something.  I feel sorry for 'em.  Hey, btw, Carnival took my power strip last time I cruised (last year)...were you on a Carnival ship?  This is the first time they ever confiscated it.

Contributor Level: Captain

Nice post Lou!  (By the way, we’ve used a power strip on 8 cruise lines without issue – great tip!)

Contributor Level: Admiral

I myself always over pack.  You never know.  I am getting better at it though.  As for water, we always bring water bottles with us - ones with wide necks or screw off tops.  I pack two - a small size and a larger one.  We do try to eat a bit early to avoid long buffet lines or even lines in the MDR for flex dining. We do watch all the extra charges and check our statements regularly while on board. 

Contributor Level: Captain

Always plan for extra charges. Pictures that you really want..... special sales in the lobby...souvenirs on board..... and then the big surprise......Buckets of beer on the sail away, along with the drink of the day.

I've never been stung, but a wise travel agent once told me...Plan the budget.

Contributor Level: Captain

Good job Lou. Nice post for newbie cruisers. Happy

Contributor Level: Captain

I always try and under pack,  if I need anything I buy it along the way,   This has gotten me a great collection of Polo shirts from all of the ports I hit.  (got tired after to many base ball caps)  Under packing is a great excuse to buy new clothes,  especial when in Europe.  It is easier to pack now that jeans can go into the dining room for dinner.


Carnival has never taken my power strip away,  but I pack and extension cord,  it takes up less room in the bag (can roll it up in a packed shoe).  We did have a Steamer held back by Carnival in Long Beach but it was a travel Iron-steamer combo.   I have taken Kettle style steamers on most cruises.


I also always pack a bottle of wine and a cork screw,  If you bring the bottle to the MDR they want a corkage fee.   If you open it in your cabin and walk around with a glass of wine no problem,  or just kill it off on your balcony.


Always be nice to the crew,  they work their tails off to give us a great vacation.  I have also found it helpful to pre-tip the cabin steward if you need certain things a certain way.

Contributor Level: Captain

Love this post!

If I had one thing to add, it would be to keep in mind that I am not the only person on the boat. There are thousands of other cruisers with vastly differing ideas of what a good time means. My having a good time should not ruin someone else trying to do the same.

A tip for the power strip, pack it in your non-carryon baggage and place it so it is placed right up against the side of the luggage.  I do not believe that a power strip is strictly forbidden but if there is a risk for random confiscation, this is one way to lessen the likelihood of it being identified.  We have not had a problem as of yet.





Contributor Level: Deck Hand

To save big on water purchases, I discovered Brita now makes a water bottle with a built in filter that can be replaced as needed. The filters are inexpensive and seem to last very well. You can find them at Walmart, Target and similar stores next to the household water filter items. I use one all the time to save money and they eliminate the use of plastic bottles if your interested in doing your part to live green;)


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