Cruises are one of the most popular vacations for a reason: all you need to do is get yourself to the ship and then everything else is provided for you. Food, entertainment, and exciting excursions await and make cruises the perfect getaway for families, couples, or friends.
But since quarters can be tight, here are some smart tips and hacks you gotta know before setting sail.
18 Cruise Tips and Hacks
1. Bring magnetic hooks.
Magnetic hooks are lifesavers to hang things like swimsuits and towels in those tiny cruise cabins.
2. Bring a tumbler to refill at drink stations.
Most cruise ships provide you with a tiny cup for drinks. Bring your own tumblers so that you can refill and chill by the pool without having to get up a hundred times. Not to mention the convenience of a lid and a straw.
3. Bring a beach towel.
Again, cruise-issued towels are small and not meant for the beach. Bring your own beach towel and we suggest these sand-free, quick dry towels. You can take them on your excursions and they won’t bring back sand or stay damp in your cabin!
4. Buy lanyards ahead of time.
You’ll need to keep your cruise ship card handy at all times, and the best way is a cruise lanyard. Buy yours ahead of time to save money and if you are cruising with kids, this is especially a must. At the end of the day, you can hang all your lanyards on your magnetic hooks (each person gets a hook for lanyard, towel, and swimsuit).
5. You need a backpack for excursions.
I can’t rave enough about a travel backpack. You’ll need one for excursions and here are the 16 best backpacks to travel with.
6. Bring a pack of water.
The first cruise I went on, I was incredulous at the number of people who were carrying huge packs of bottled water aboard the ship. Then I realized how smart they were. Let’s just say water on the cruise ship isn’t the best. It is so nice to have your own. Bring a pack or two with you when you cruise.
7. Try collapsable, reusable water bottles.
For going out on excursions, a lot of people in our Facebook Travel group recommended collapsable water bottles to take along. They save space, are great for hot days, and can be used again and again.
8. Get the photo package.
It may be worth it to get that photo package offered by the cruise ship. They’ll give you great quality photos for a lifetime of memories, plus there are so many fun photo ops during the cruise that you may not take otherwise.
9. Bring a deck of cards to play by the pool.
For all those lazy afternoons by the pool, bring a deck of cards to play solitaire, spoons, scum, or a friendly poker game.
10. Make show reservations and get there early.
If your cruise line allows for reservations for shows and entertainment, do it, especially if you have kids. But make sure to arrive early or they will give your seat away.
11. Carry-on a beach bag or backpack with swimwear to wear while you wait for your luggage.
When you board the ship, you won’t have immediate access to your luggage, so make sure to carry-on a backpack or beach bag with swimwear so that you can go lounge by the pool or let the kids swim while you wait for your luggage to get to your room.
12. When cruising with kids, request kids dinner time.
Most cruise ships will offer expedited dinner times for kids. They will feed the kids first and then take them to the kids center while you stay and have a longer, more relaxing dining experience. Anyone who’s ever eaten out with kids will know this is a life-saver.
13. Prepare for no wi-fi unless you buy it.
Don’t count on having access to the internet unless you buy it. Same goes for cell phone coverage. Take care of important matters before you board the ship as wi-fi can be pretty expensive.
14. Try a green apple for sea sickness.
For sea sickness, request a green apple from the service staff. This is a tried and true remedy for ocean sickness that requires zero medication. You can also buy sea bands that target pressure points on your wrist that are supposed to ease sea sickness.
Personally, I have pretty severe motion sickness, but being on a cruise ship has never bothered me. I bought the sea bands before hand and wore them for one day and then realized I didn’t need them.
15. Wet/dry bags to separate clothes.
Keep your wet towels and swimsuits separate from dry clothes with these handy wet/dry bags.
16. Bring storage hangers to maximize limited space.
Space in your cruise cabin will be super limited so bring along a storage hanger (the plastic kind you put shoes in) to store items and make the best use of a small room.
17. Pack a room freshener.
Speaking of small rooms, after a few days those tiny cabins won’t smell too fresh. One genius tip is to bring along your own room spray or freshener.
18. Bring walkie-talkies.
When traveling in larger groups or with your kids, you’ll want to have walkie talkies as a means of communicating since cell phones won’t work on a cruise ship. Some smartphones and watches even have a walkie-talkie mode or app that may work too.
*Bonus Hack: Save Money on Your Cruise with Wholesale Travel
Cruises are a blast and are one of the easiest, most relaxing vacations you’ll ever take. And when you use a few of these smart tips, they’re even better. Happy Travels!