1. Don’t be afraid to book at the last minute
As with booking air travel, you can get amazing discounts if you’re prepared to take a risk and book your cruise at the last minute. And by last minute, we don’t mean the week before wish to leave.
Around two to three months prior to a ship’s departure date is when the deadline for cancellations without penalty occurs. This is the prime time for you to find a discount on that dream cruise, as cruise lines will be doing all they can to try and fill all available space on the ship.
And if you’ve already booked your cruise prior to reading this and feel you’re missing out on a better deal – don’t fret! Two to three months before leaving port is also the best time to call for cabin upgrades. A premier suite, which could usually set you back thousands, might be had for an extra couple of hundred dollars.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount either, especially if you’re a senior, military veteran, student or teacher. Go on, give it a go – what have you got to lose?
2. Bring a power board on board
Quite often there’s only one double power point in your room, which may sound sufficient for all your charging needs, but reconsider it if you have a phone, camera, shaver, iron, hairdryer – the list of power reliant equipment goes on. A power board will allow you to charge your appliances at the same time as ironing your shirt and drying your hair. Trust us – the power board will be very handy.
3. Arrive at the departure port city one night earlier
It is not as uncommon as one would imagine: just how many people literally miss the boat due to bad weather, traffic jams, car breakdowns and other unforeseen troubles. And sometimes the stress of making your boarding time can cause tensions between travel buddies, which can, in turn, ruin the first night or two (or more) of your cruising adventure. So why not extend your holiday by one night and book a room in the city the night prior to departing port? It sounds simple, but a relaxing stay around the corner from the departure port can really start your trip off on the relaxed, right foot.
4. Book restaurants before you board
Most cruises have a range of dining options available, but, sometimes, the more ‘fancy’ ones can be booked out quite quickly. So it pays to book either prior to boarding, or, if you’re not sure of the restaurants at which you’d like to eat, take a tour of the vessel on your first day and book in then.
5. Pack a ‘carry on’ bag with essentials
Sure, the porters will take all of your baggage straight to your room when you arrive, but the influx of cruisers all boarding at the same time means that sometimes your bags won’t be in your room before you get there. The best way to ensure you have what you need when you cross the threshold of your cabin is to keep it on you. Pack a small carry-on bag with all your essentials, and you can freshen up and sort your self out on arrival to your room, instead of getting frustrated, waiting for you baggage to arrive.
6. Unpack everything
Your room should come with a full wardrobe, so unpack your bags when you arrive and really settle into your suite. The beauty of cruising is that you should only have to unpack once, so get out your gear and set yourself up for the long haul – you may as well get as comfy as you can!
7. Say ‘no’ to a shore excursion or two
Port calls make it seem as if you’re going to see some of the country in which you’re visiting, but the truth is, you’ll often be charged a fortune for an excursion in a crammed bus on which you’ll experience very little other than someone talking straight out of a Lonely Planet guide book.
So, why not stay on board and make the most out of your already-spent money whilst everyone else disembarks? Take full advantage and enjoy all the onboard amenities. Relax by the uncrowded pool, spa or hang out at the deck bar. Most facilities will stay open and you’ll have them to yourself. You can pretend it’s your very own ship for the day.
Do you have any cruise tips for our members? Why not share them with us?