Have you gone on a cruise? I need tips and tricks!

posted 2 years ago in Travel
Post # 2
11598 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Bring dramamine — even if you don’t end up needing it, it’s good to have.  They charge a ton for it on the boat, compared to what you can get it for at CVS.  I always opt to take it preemptively before we board the boat, and decide if I need to continue taking it when I get my “sea legs.”  DH takes it non-stop the entire time.

Try to pack outfits that you can mix and match.  Depending on the weather, you may get sweaty and not want to rewear any clothes.  Definitely bring a couple bathing suits, a sweater (it can get chilly at night on the decks), shorts, tees, etc.  You’ll also probably need a dressier-dress if you’re going to the formal night dining.  Most cruises do it at least once during the cruise.

I love cruising.  DH and I go often, so if you have questions, let me know! 🙂 Enjoy!

Post # 3
101 posts
Blushing bee

sorry, i have not 🙁

hope You have a great holiday 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  catherine9.
Post # 4
584 posts
Busy bee

I love cruises! I’ve been on over 6 and would do it again if we had the time/money!

Bring non-drowsy Dramamine, even if you don’t usually get seasick, and especially if your cabin doesn’t have a window. The cruise will have regular Dramamine but then you can’t enjoy your vacation!  Try out the non-drowsy at home first though just to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Bring mostly stretchy pants/shorts/dresses because you will eat like you’ve never eaten before.  I typically gain at least 5lb. (you’ll lose it almost immediately once home because you’re not eating that crazily anymore).

You will also spend most of your time in your bathing suit, so pack all the suits you have and think more in terms of cover-up outfits.  Formal night is fun (but not mandatory), so pack a nice dress and heels too if you want.

Don’t worry about bringing hand sanitizer because you will most likely never walk more than 10 feet between hand sanitizer dispensing stations.  Staff watch everyone to make sure you hand-sanitize before entering any dining room.

Bring your own liquor!  It’s not allowed but we’ve done a variety of techniques to hide it… despite knowing tons of people who just bring suitcases full of beer and never get caught.  Usually we use sterilized body spray bottles, or the Listerine Naturals bottles because then you don’t have to dye the alcohol to match the Listerine.  

Post # 5
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We go on a cruise every year (about to book one for January!) but take lots of medication, anything you may need because it will be super expensive there. Bring at least one formal outfit, an underwater camera if you plan to snorkle or anything, a sweater or jacket, flip flops, nice dinner shoes, and tennis shoes if you do excursions. Don’t pack too much just because the rooms are typically very small. Make sure you check in online a few days before leaving. Print and bring all documents, passports, check in info, driver’s liscense, etc. Get to the port about 30min-1 hour before boarding if you can so it’ll go quickly, it gets busier closer to boarding. If you’re flying arrange transportation to port before you get there, if you driving look into parking places, the port is always the most expensive and you can get shuttles pretty cheap. We always make our dinner reservations and shore excursions at home before leaving, but you don’t have to. It’ll take awhile for your bags to get to your room once you board (they take them there) so bring anything you might need in a carry bag or purse, we always bring a swimsuit to change into and towels. If I think of anything else I’ll add later!

Post # 6
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Pack a swimsuit and cover-up in your carry-on so that you can hit the pool/hottub while you wait for your bags to be delivered to your room. Also pack clothes for your first dinner and essential toiletries in your carry-on, just in case your bag is a bit delayed.

Get one of those over the door shoe holders and use it to hold toiletries and such in the bathroom. Bathroom storage in regular rooms is pretty scarce. You can also pack a shoe organizer to actually organize your shoes, belts, and other smaller items in the closet and keep the floor from getting too chaotic. You can use magnetic hooks on the wall to hang damp bathing suits, clothes you only wore for a little bit and plan to use again later, etc. The room walls are made of metal, so any magnet will work. Bring a highlighter with you to highlight any activities that interest you on the printed daily ship schedule. Oh, and bring cold medicine with you. It’s freaking expensive on the ship ($18 for a small box of dayquil!). 

Post # 7
376 posts
Helper bee

I definitely second the idea of packing any change of clothing you might want the first day. You leave your suitcases at checkin and the ship porters bring them to your room. This can sometimes take a few hours. So pack a swimsuit and flip-flops, shorts and t-shirt in your carry on.

There are laundry facilities on board or you can hand wash in the sink in your room. Bring some cold-water Tide. Also a few clothespins. These are handy for hanging wet bathing suits to dry (there’s usually a small retractable clothesline the shower).

If you like non-alcoholic drinks (pop/juice/virgin cocktails) be aware that these are not free outside the buffet hall (not even pop). They’ll charge for these in the restaurants too. So the “kids drink package” is a good value and includes pop, juice, virgin cocktails, and usually milkshakes and ice cream.

Buckets of beer are cheaper than buying individual bottles and you can keep leftovers in the fridge in your room. Similarly, a bottle of wine is cheaper than by the glass. You can buy a bottle at a restaurant, have a glass or two, and they’ll keep the rest for you for the next time you want a glass.

Check in to shore excursions before you leave. It’s often cheaper to book an independent tour than via the boat. Tour companies will pick you up at the pier. Check out CruiseCritic dot com. You can search for your cruise and connect with other cruisers who might be organizing independent tours at group rates.

Post # 8
5767 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Read the rules about what you can bring on board. Most cruise lines put limits on all beverages, not just alcohol. Bring in the maximum of anything you particularly like, such as soda, juice or bottled water, because those things cost a fortune on the ship. Make sure you understand what your purchased package covers and how onboard credit is handled; most cruise ships don’t take cash or credit card, and you pay for everything with a cruise line card you pre-load before you depart, but on many cruise lines, you have to have a certain amount remaining to get an automatic refund. if you’re below that amount, you have to file for a refund which is kind of a hassle.

Be very careful trying to smuggle in booze. If you’re over the limit (which I think is just one bottle of wine per person on a lot of cruise lines) some cruise lines will allow the booze in but charge you a bottle fee which is pretty hefty.

Post # 9
8 posts
  • Wedding: August 2014

I third the idea of bringing anything you want immediately in your backpack/tote bag. It can take forever to get your suitcase brought to your room. 

There is no need to pack light since you won’t be toting your bag around. Bring lots of casual clothes that are easy to put on and off for day time and bring more underwear than you think you need. You can go through multiple pairs per day if you have a water activity in the afternoon.

Lastgirlstanding mentioned the drink package and I agree with that 100%. Also, I’m not sure if cruiselines have caught on or not but the best way to sneak alcohol on board is in a mouthwash container. Bottle of vodka and 2 drops of blue or green food coloring into the plastic bottle and you have mixed drinks the whole time without paying the cruise cocktail price.

On days when the ship is docked at port, they often run specials on spa treatments. In terms of excursions, book them sooner rather than later. The price won’t go down and sometimes they do sell out.

I brought ginger pills vs dramamine which worked for me in terms of sea sickness.

Have a great time!



Post # 10
2114 posts
Buzzing bee

joleegirl:  Try to hit the shows on board! The dancers and singers are AMAZING! There is usually also a comedian – i enjoyed all the entertainment.

Get involved! We loved trying new things on board like a 70s dance class LOL. There is also a quick bingo game every night, it is really fun and you get to meet so many nice people.

I reccommend getting the drink package – it is just soda, no alcohol. But it really pays off it if you are going to get a couple, but if you just want to drink alcohol all day then skip it lol. OR if you dont mind walking you can head up to the Lido deck where the buffet is and grab a free soda or juice.

Packing – I always overpack. Look in to the weather and be prepared for any scenario, but i usually bring all my summer outfits with a few sweaters or jackets. Dont forget a nice dress for formal night!

Cruise takes really great pictures, bring a long a little extra cash to purchase a few. 


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