Whether it’s your 1st time sailing or you’re a veteran of the seas, cruises may be a bit difficult to figure out. The top ships are like floating towns, filled with eateries, pubs, live performances, health clubs, and other perks to enjoy on your journey. That being said, it’s easy to get sucked into the endless range of options, meaning you can waste time and money on some costly gimmicks if you don’t know better. Follow this particular advice on what not to do, and your next cruise vacation will be a truly relaxing journey.
1. Don’t Overindulge on the Specialty Restaurants
Recently, more and more celebrity gourmet chefs have entered the gangway, arranging sea-based branches of their land-based empires, and the final results are decidedly mixed. The fanfare and price (averaging about $30–$40 each for a three-course meal) of many of these entrees do not always equal the value provided. Why spend up to $40 when the menus at the included dining rooms are just as competitive? The major dining room is included in the basic fare and offers a revolving menu, often with big-ticket choices, for instance, lobster night and filet mignon. Astonishingly, you’ll find the quality on par with the specialty eating places and a standard of service met ship-wide. While a night or two in a specialty restaurant provides a nice change of surroundings, don’t overspend eating at all of them.
2. Don’t Schedule Spa Treatments on the Ship
The very first day on any cruise is always the craziest for the spa, as dozens of men and women attempt to schedule massages, facial treatments, and other specialized treatments. Research the spa’s services and make your reservation beforehand, prior to boarding, to ensure placement and avoid the long queue that forms at the reception area. If you’re shopping for some extended relaxation for the duration of your voyage, go with a spa pass, but because quantities are limited, make the reservation before boarding.
3. If a Concert is Sold Out, Don’t Worry
You can only plan so much on a trip before it starts to feel hectic. With mainstage comedy shows, concerts, and Broadway-style performances onboard, most cruise lines push you to reserve your spot beforehand, usually requiring guests to stand in long queues to book. Take comfort in knowing that for all of these must-see events, spontaneity is encouraged with a standby line that forms about thirty minutes prior to curtain. These temporary lines are practically a guarantee into the night’s entertainment, as a large portion of those who have reserved their spot are absences. Don’t fret because you didn’t book beforehand; grab a cocktail and relax in the queue.
4. Don’t Be Fooled By the Fancy Health Club
The fitness facilities on cruise lines often feature state-of-the-art exercise equipment and panoramic views of the sea. Yet it’s good to remember that the trainers at your side are there to sell the cruise’s health products. Stay skeptical of the health regimes and any sort of trick to a much healthier being. The major goal is get you to invest in expensive health programs that often tout extreme weight-loss and wellness through natural herbal dietary supplements. Invest your hard earned money on a fitness class instead and save your skepticism for a local trainer or nutritionist.
5. Don’t Skip Breakfast in the Morning
Throughout your cruise, the best way to arrange for a wake-up call is to order room service the night prior– easiest on a printed menu to specify specialty requests. Your custom omelet and fresh baked sweets start the day off right as you’re awoken by a knock on your cabin door. Note that room service is cut off the morning of arrival at your final port. When you arrive at your final destination, take note of the breakfast choices and seize the opportunity for one final meal. You can’t take any food off the ship, per customs regulations, so be sure to gobble up enough onboard.
6. Don’t Limit Yourself to Shore Excursions
Colorful leaflets and brochures fill each ship with eye-catching excursions that promise adventure, exploration, and discovery within the span of several hours. Often costly and underwhelming, it’s usually the beach tours that vary widest in value. While all ports are unique, many in the Caribbean dock a few miles from the more preferred beaches. Look for the sand on your own accord with the help of a locally governed taxi cab, lined up at the port for a fraction of the cost of a guided tour (and be sure to make plans with your driver for a return trip after your fun ends). It is crucial to note that when you buy into the official cruise excursions, the cruise doesn’t depart until you’re on board– not the same policy when you venture off on your own. Just be sure to keep an eye on the clock and anticipate rush hour traffic.
7. Don’t Shop in Port Shops
Brought to life upon the ship’s arrival, port cities thrive on the 1000s of tourists that leap off the ship needing fine jewelry, souvenirs, and a taste of local bargaining. Well-tread salespeople know the score and have a predisposition for fabricating truths to make the sale. For the best bargains on souvenirs and local goods, avoid the inner-port stores, as their premium rent costs are passed on to the potential customer. Look up stalls and shops in the town hall for a wider variety of genuine goods at reduced prices.
8. Don’t Leave Your Balcony Door Open
It’s nice to have a balcony in your cabin– you can absorb the sunrise and sunset, enjoy room service waterside, and get the best views of the day’s port in privacy. But when you’re not in the cabin or when you’re going to bed for the night, ensure you close your balcony door. Though the lull of the waves might be hard to withstand, there is a real hazard in leaving the doors open as insects, bad weather, and wind tunnels can possibly be dangerous. It’s an industry specification that balcony doors remain shut for those reasons, aside from preventing wasted energy.
9. Don’t Play Bingo
Age-old cruise endeavors such as shuffleboard, table tennis, and hot tubs remain steadfast musts on every cruise. A word to the pennywise: Many ships’ bingo operations have lost their attraction. Introducing a new era of highly advanced gaming, many cruise ships have installed electronic bingo game cards that operate automatically. With the machine taking control of your board, the players listlessly sit there, expecting their machine to alert them of a winning card. Effortless, and remarkably expensive per game, you’re better taking the cash you’d spend on bingo and playing it in the casino, where there’s the high-tech slot and a lively atmosphere machines grow more interactive by the year.
10. Don’t Get Your Teeth Whitened
Among the various enticing spa treatments that are standard on every cruise ship, be leery of the teeth-whitening packages that assure to brighten your smile. There’s conjecture over their effectiveness, but more importantly, the bleach used can affect your gums’ sensitivity for a couple days after the treatment. With compromised gums, cruise enjoyment plummets as the endless food options become painful to eat. If you’re looking for a quick cosmetic fix at the spa, opt for one of the eyebrow specialists to transform your face, or a spray tan that will offer a healthy-looking base for your skin.