A cruise ship is one of the best vacations around. You get on board and leave your worries behind. Everything is taken care of and you don’t have to think, plan, or work. But there are some things you can do to make the trip a little better. Learn some tips from a seasoned cruiser on how to make the most of your cruise vacation. This article will help you get a good cabin and enjoy the time you spend there. You don’t board a cruise ship to stay in the cabin, but you will spend a fair amount of time there, so make it as comfortable as possible.
First, do some homework and book the best cabin you can before you leave home. Whether you book online or through a travel agency, you can get a map of the ship and study the layout of the ship and the rooms themselves. Your main choices are inside cabins, outside cabins, balconies and suites. Let’s dispose of the first and last right away. Unless your budget is extremely tight, or you have money to burn, bypass those two choices. An inside cabin is too claustrophobic and you can never tell what part of the day it is without a clock. And a suite frankly isn’t worth the money for the amount of time you will spend there.
So the main choice is between outside cabins and a balcony. The choice is getting easier as a lot of new ships are offering fewer outside cabins without balconies. If you haven’t cruised before and the difference isn’t huge, consider a balcony. Time spent relaxing on the balcony will add to the cruise experience. On the other hand, the view is just as good from a normal outside cabin, and if you are truly not going to spend time on it, the balcony can be a waste of money. If the weather is cold, and the view is limited, a balcony won’t get used much.
The final part of choosing the room is location on the ship relative to everything else. Worried about motion or sea sickness? Get something in the middle of the ship as low as possible. Otherwise, the rooms up high are more desirable and tend to be closer to everything. Avoid the very front and back of the ship. There will be more motion there, and both can be noisy – the front from crashing waves, and the back from engine noise and vibration. The other things you want to think about are the same as in a hotel. Stay away from elevators and stair wells. Also, look at the ships map. You can usually identify service hallways and elevators. Avoid those as well – ships operate twenty-four seven. Also avoid connecting rooms, unless you are traveling with someone else.
Okay, you are on the ship and ready to head to the cabin. Don’t waste time going to the customer service desk and asking about an upgrade unless you are willing to shell out rack rates for it. The days of free upgrades are all but gone, and most ships are leaving virtually full, even if they have to cut the rate to the bone before disembarking. So head on up to the room and get started.
We won’t be dealing with packing, unpacking, and what to take. Think of it as a hotel, and pack accordingly. Even with the small cabin space, storage is usually well thought and there will be room for everything you need. Just make yourself comfortable and meet your room steward. This person is one of the first people you will meet on the ship and one of the most important. The steward will usually knock and introduce them self soon after you arrive. It’s almost magic how they can tell when you come and go. You will be tipping the steward at the end of the trip, but this person is very important, so consider slipping them a few bucks up front so they know you will take care of them. They can be your best friend on the trip and your go-to guy.
Take a quick look around the room and make sure you know how to operate everything and you have everything you need. Extra towels, shower caps, more blankets or pillows? The steward will bring anything you need with their power, and you will never have to ask twice. Lay on the bed. Just like luxury hotel rooms, cruise ship beds are getting better all the time, but test it out. Is it too soft or firm? Let the steward know. They can do wonders and will make every effort to accommodate your requests.
Put a little thought into your cabin before you leave, and make friends with the cabin steward and you will truly enjoy the time you spend in the cabin on your next cruise.