6 Ways to Make Your Cruise Holiday Even Better

by Jeryl Bromley

I absolutely love cruising. Every trip, both on my escorted international trips as well as my own travels, includes at least one cruise. On one of my recent escorted trips, we did 2 cruises – a river cruise on the Nile in Egypt, followed by a cruise with Oceania around the south-eastern area of the Mediterranean.

Cruising is one of the fastest growth areas in travel worldwide, and with so many cruise lines and itineraries to choose from, it is easy to see why. One of the key advantages of cruising is the ability to travel to a number of different places, only unpacking once, so you travel light when going ashore at each port, knowing all your things are safely in your cabin. Just remember, the cruise fare is the same amount, whether you book with your travel agent or directly with the cruise line.

Having cruised on a wide range of ship sizes - ranging from 50 to 4000+ passengers, with over 15 different cruise lines (some more than once) in the past few years, here are a few of my tips to maximise your cruise holiday.

  • Book your cruise as soon as you can

    If a cruise appeals to you, it will probably appeal to lots of other people too.  Occasionally you can get a “last-minute” bargain but more than likely you may also completely miss out on the cruise as it is sold out - especially on cruises departing from Auckland.

  • Book the right cabin
    While an Inside cabin may be appealing from a cost perspective, how seaworthy do you consider yourself? How would you cope with extended periods of time in your cabin (sick or rough weather). For only a small increase in fare, an Outside (porthole) or Balcony cabin may be a more comfortable trip.
  • Fly to your embarkation port the day before your cruise departs

    If your cruise is departing from a different city or country, if there are any delays in your travels you still have time to get to your ship.  Only under exceptional circumstances will a cruise ship wait for delayed passengers in order to adhere to deadlines with very costly penalties if these are missed.

  • Keep key items in a carry-on bag when you embark your cruise

    Your luggage is delivered to your cabin after you embark the ship.  This may take some hours so take your essentials (i.e. swimming togs, change of clothes, book/Kindle, sunblock, hat, chargers, medication, etc) in a carry-on bag.  Your luggage is collected the night before you disembark so you will need this carry-on bag again for your overnight things when you leave the cruise. 

  • Check your Cabin account regularly

    All your purchases on the ship are charged to your cabin account and this is paid at the end of your cruise.  However, don’t wait until the end of the cruise to check your cabin account.  Getting your statement at Reception frequently  during the cruise will avoid any unpleasant surprises when settling your account the night before you disembark.

  • Only pre-book the shore excursions you REALLY want to do

    Where shore excursions are additional to your cruise fare, the overall cost of your trip may increase significantly of you do lots of excursions. Only book the trips you really want to do prior to your cruise, and make a decision for further excursions onboard. There are a number of other options while in port – hop-on/hop-off bus, share a taxi with other passengers you have met, explore the city on your own, and you may even want to stay aboard and enjoy the ship’s facilities without lots of other people. If you decide to do your own thing in port, just remember the ship will only wait for late passengers on a (delayed) excursion organised by the cruiseline, so make sure you are back on board in good time.

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