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5 Cruise Habits You Should Break

Disney Wonder

Whether you’re planning your first cruise vacation or you’re a seasoned cruiser, there are five cruise habits you should break.

Don’t Overpack

If you have never taken a cruise before, the task of knowing what to pack can be daunting. Taking more luggage than you need creates a challenge of where to store everything. Cabins are small with little storage, and most rooms can’t store more than a couple of suitcases. It’s best to travel with a 3-piece luggage set that can fit inside each other. This way, they take little space when they are emptied.

In most cases, cruisers sail in warm climates like the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, or the Mediterranean. Knowing that the best items to pack are shorts, t-shirts or tank tops, light summer dresses, and swimwear. Most cruise ships have laundry rooms; either self-serve or a paid-for service. If your boat has self-serve laundry rooms, pack some Tide pods and a bag of quarters so you can do your laundry halfway through your cruise. This way, you only need half as many clothes. Try to coordinate your outfits so that you can wear them in multiple ways. Also, wrinkle release spray cut down on ironing and laundry.

Cruise habit you should break: don't overpack
Don’t overpack

If there is no laundry room, consider packing Tide sink packets for your underwear and fast-drying clothes. A clothesline is available in the shower stall, in the bathroom.

Don’t Book Your Port Excursions Onboard

I have taken a dozen or so cruises to know excursions offered onboard are extremely expensive. Almost all the excursions available on the ship are also available on land. Small companies are hungry for business, and the same tours are available for half the price or less. The prices are negotiable, so do bargain with the salesperson. Wanting a better price than what they are asking? Consider going as a group. There is bargaining power in numbers because tour operators can only run a tour with a minimum number of people.

For instance, on an Alaska cruise, my dining companions (table of 8) decided to do excursions in port as a group. Instead of paying the USD 209.95 plus tax they wanted onboard for both whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier, I was able to negotiate a price of USD 80 per person. In Mexico, I paid USD 40 for parasailing as opposed to the USD 119.95 required onboard.

Now, there are some exceptions to the rule. Some excursions can only be purchased onboard like the “behind the fun” on Carnival Cruises or kitchen tours on most ships. Also, if your itinerary includes Tracy Arm, Alaska, the side excursion to Tracy Arm from your cruise ship must be purchased through your cruise line. Other excursions have limited spaces.

Those must be booked through your cruise line or online, long before your departure. One example is dog sledding in Alaska. If your cruise ship docks in a remote port outside of a major town, you might also want to pre-arrange a tour. Otherwise, I “wing it” in every port and I’ve never had a negative experience yet.

Don’t Eat All Your Meals In The Buffet

It is surprising how many people consume all of their meals at the buffet. Now I know the reasoning for this is, most people don’t want to abide by the dress code for dinner. However, most cruise lines now have a more relaxed dress code in the dining room. Eating all your meals at the buffet is a cruise habit everyone should break if you want the best food. Why not try the restaurant instead?

Eat in a restaurant

If you love lobster, then you must eat in the dining room. While some of the food is the same in both the buffet and dining room, restaurants will have other options. If you suffer from any food allergy, I recommend avoiding the buffet at all times. Cross-contamination is likely to happen at the buffet whereas the food in the restaurant is cooked separately for you. Having your food prepared separately helps you to stay healthy your entire vacation.

In my opinion, the ambiance of restaurant dining is relaxing and healthier for you. Each dish is served slowly, so you dine at a slower pace, allowing you to savor every dish.

Don’t Eat And Drink Irresponsibly

Just because your cruise includes unlimited food, doesn’t mean you need to eat everything you see. Rarely does anyone board a cruise ship and disembark without gaining a few pounds. While the selection of food is enticing, learn to practice moderation.

Don’t drink too much

The same goes for alcohol. I meet so many passengers who purchase the drink package knowing they need to consume at least 5 to 6 drinks a day to make it worthwhile. They then drink to justify the cost of buying such a package. Being drunk your entire cruise may bring you short-term happiness. But doesn’t make for good memories when you can’t recall any of your vacation years later.

Those that don’t buy a package sometimes drink irresponsibly and almost have a coronary when the final bill arrives on the last cruise night. Don’t be one of them!

Stop Wasting Money On Casino Games

Give the casino a pass

Have you ever walked through a casino and noticed a crowd of people hovering around a claw machine (that picks up cash) or the key master machine? That’s the machine where you need to line up a key to fit in the lock. The prize is generally an iPad or USD 500. I watched passengers put a massive amount of money into these machines because they are “close” to getting the key every time.

Thinking that you can spend a few more dollars (more like USD 20+) will not win you the game. This game, like a slot machine, must make money. Think about it; if every person played enough and could line the key up, the game could be giving out 20 iPads a day right? Wrong! 

There is a setting in the machine that prevents the key from lining up until it has gathered enough cash from cruisers. On a 7-day cruise, the game gives out an iPad on day 5 or 6. In seven days ONLY one person wins the prize.

The claw machine is very much the same. There is a setting inside to control the claw grip strength. The claw strength is weak so matter how many times you get the claw in the right place, it will not pick up the object.

So now you know to pack lightly, stay sober, and which cruise habits to break. Just remember to savor the moments on your next cruise vacation. You might also like How to score the best cruise deals.

Happy travels ~ Karen