Top tips for cruisers
If you were inspired to book a cruise after reading about our Holland America Line Mediterranean trip in our February issue, then you will love these tips from seasoned cruisers…
- Want to relax away from everyone? Head up to the higher decks where there are sunloungers but no other facilities, making it less popular but more tranquil than poolside areas.
- Organised tours are great for getting the most out of new places, and most cruise lines will let you book them before you go via their website or at the excursions desk on the Main Deck.
- If you want to head off independently, haggle at the port or pay a taxi driver for a whirlwind tour (remember to settle a price in advance).
- Timing is everything. Aim to avoid the peak times to disembark and rejoin the ship, as there could be large queues – something to bear in mind if you have a tour coach to catch.
- Always take your passport and your room card with you when you leave the ship to make getting back on board stress free!
- Don’t always opt to only dine with people you know – if you’re offered a seat at a larger table you’ll get to meet new people, and if they’re seasoned cruisers they may well have a wealth of tips to offer you.
- Safety drills typically take place just before the ship sails and are mandatory – and yes, they do check you’re not hiding in your cabin. It may seem like a nuisance, but it helps to remember it may save your life should the worst happen.
- Be wary of the camel rides offered at the port in Tunisia – as one seasoned cruiser said, they charge $1 to get on the camel, but $20 to get off again!
- If you want to buy souvenirs on a tour, buy when you get to your destination – a baseball cap bought in Barcelona will be half the price on the street market than at the port.
- Pack light and don’t use your biggest suitcase! Cabins vary in size but stowing a hard suitcase will be a nightmare. Better pack a soft bag and make sure everything you pack is useful.
- Buy a cheap plastic over-the-door shoe holder to use in the bathroom. It will hold all your toiletries safely and save you tons of space.
- Pack flat shoes, and not just for the tours. The ship itself is so big, you can trek for miles while exploring it – or just trying to find your way back to your cabin!
- Arrive at your embarkation port the night before you’re due to sail and aim to get to the cruise terminal by noon. You should be on board by 1pm and allowed in your rooms usually by 2pm. That way your first day feels like a holiday too.
- Pack your swimsuit and sun cream in your carry-on bag so you can take a dip while your suitcase slowly finds its way to your room as this can often be a few hours later.
If you’ve got more cruise tips to share, please add them below…