Cruises are a really simple way to go on vacation. They require almost no thought to plan and book – it’s awesome.
Here are 10 things you should know about cruises that will help you pack well and save money. Who doesn’t love that?
- Leave Your Towel at Home
- There will be beach towels in your stateroom (make sure you bring them back, you’ll be charged otherwise) and additional towels on the pool deck. Leave the bulk at home! Check out my packing list for women & men to keep your luggage light.
- You Don’t Need a Passport
- If you’re a US citizen & don’t have a passport for some reason (why don’t you have one?! Go apply today!), you can bring other documentation to board the ship.
- The easiest is a birth certificate + photo ID, but learn more here.
- You Have to “Check” Your Luggage
- Your suitcase will be scanned through and delivered to your room by the cruise staff. This can take hours, leaving you without your bags until after dinner.
- Pack a small “personal item” (a beach tote for me, a backpack for Matt) to get you through the day.
- Bathing suit, sunscreen, sunglasses, make up, any medications, and a change of clothes for dinner – just incase your bag is the last one to be delivered or ends up in the wrong room.
Food & Beverage
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- There Are Some Free Drinks
- While cruise lines make most of their money off drink sales, there are definitely ways to get around it. All cruise lines offer free water, coffee & juices throughout the day for you to sip on.
- All cruise ships allow you to bring 1 bottle of wine or champagne per passenger (up to 2 per stateroom) to drink at your own leisure – for free. Sorry for the beer & liquid lovers, but YAY for the winos! Lucky for me, Matt doesn’t drink wine so it looks like I’ll have 2 bottles all to myself 🙂
- If you bring your bottle to dinner, there will likely be a corking fee. Check with your cruise line to be sure, but it will end up being more affordable regardless.
- Some cruise lines (like Carnival) allow you to bring a certain amount of non-alcoholic drinks. Check with your cruise line before bringing a 12 pack of Sprite.
- Duty Free Liquor
- Yay! Tax free booze! Sounds like a great idea for the rest of your cruise. However, you’ll be forced to hand it over to the cruise staff until you’re back on US soil.
- 90% of the Food is Free
- The buffet, formal breakfast/lunch/dinner, room service and all snacks (pizza, ice cream, burgers) are free.
- There are some options you can pay for, such as specialty coffee or an exclusive restaurant.
- Consider the Late Dinner Option
- Most cruise lines have an early & late dinner (6 or 8pm)
- Our upcoming cruise has 2 ports, they go until 5pm & 7pm.
- Rushing back to get ready for a formal dinner is no fun. We’ll have a snack if necessary & take our time in the Bahamas!
- They WILL Leave You Behind
- Just like an airplane, you need to be on time. If the ship leaves at 5pm, be there by 4.30 just in case.
- Also, even if you’re traveling to a different time zone, your trip will always operate on “ship time” (the time zone you departed from).
- Tip At The End of Your Trip
- Your lovely wait staff & housekeeping staff will be some of the kindest & hardest working people you’ll ever meet. Make sure you take care of them at the end! You can add this to your “tab” or leave cash.
Hope these tips were helpful. I know I wish I would have known about these before my first cruise! Do you have any others that I missed?
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