Cruises aim to delight their passengers every minute of the day with fabulous food, live entertainment and fun in the sun. It’s easy to lose yourself in the whirl of activity, but even on a cruise ship, some rules still apply. Whether you’re enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures, an impromptu dinner at the captain’s table or a lengthy walk through exotic ports of call, you’ll want your cruise experience to be a memorable one.
Don’t Rush Yourself on the First Day
It’s tempting to sample a little bit of everything on your first day out of port. Every restaurant, activity and show seems like a must-try, but overdoing it on your first day can leave you too worn out to enjoy the rest of the trip at a leisurely pace. Cruise ships are huge, says Shayne Rodriguez Thompson at Cruise Critic, and it’s all too easy to tire yourself by exploring them completely.
Your travel clothing might include comfortable hiking gear, but you shouldn’t need it just to find the breakfast buffet. Instead, set aside some time to relax and enjoy the cruise at your own pace.
Don’t Sample Every Dish
Speaking of overdoing it, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to indulge in some of the outstanding food available on your trip. That’s great; this isn’t the time to deny dessert or skimp on the side dishes. However, trying to get a taste of everything your cruise has to offer is a good way to burn through your travel budget.
If you do find yourself in front of a delicious buffet the size of Jamaica, it is never a bad thing to pack some flexible travel clothes that double as comfortable, yet stylish. Cruise ships make a tidy profit on the specialty restaurants they feature. If you’ve been waiting for your chance to sample a famous chef’s menu, by all means, indulge in a delicious lunch or dinner. Don’t be swayed, though, by every restaurant on the ship.
Don’t Dress Too Casual
All cruise lines have dress codes for special events. These galas give you a chance to wear something gorgeous and mingle with the other equally stylish passengers, so look at dressy events as a bonus instead of a chore. Cruises are one of the few trips you can take in which an evening gown is considered essential travel clothing, so pack accordingly.
Your cruise line will give you the suggested dress code well in advance of your trip to give you time to build your vacation wardrobe and pack outfits that can take you from a casual day of lounging on deck to a formal dinner in the main dining room.
Frequent cruisers handle dress codes with ease by picking a few simple vacation dresses that can work for day or evening by switching accessories. Compnaies like Fresh Produce Clothing are great for women because they provide a variety of clothing that is easy to travel in, lay around all day on the beach, and still look formal at dinner.
For most on-board events, simple, stylish dresses and slacks are fine, but pack at least one full-on evening ensemble. That means dinner jackets for men and gowns for women. Look at it as a chance to indulge your love of sequins and satin.
Don’t Spend the Cruise in Your Cabin
Cruise ship cabins have come a long way from the cramped compartments of a couple of decades ago, but that doesn’t mean you should live there for the duration of your cruise. It’s wonderful to relax in your cabin, and you should revel in the luxury of free time. Too much free time in your room could cut into other activities, though.
You want your cruise to be memorable for more than just a view from your porthole, so make it a point to see and be seen for at least a few hours a day on your cruise. No matter what you enjoy, you’ll find something of interest on the ship.
Don’t Knock It
To get the most fun from your cruise, be willing to try new experiences even if they don’t seem like your cup of tea. You may never play shuffleboard or do line dancing again, but their uniqueness only makes these activities more special when you reflect on the great time you had on your cruise.
Some events may feel a little corny, but you’re around thousands of other people who are just as new to the fun as you are. Don’t discount activities for being kitschy; try them and discover something wonderfully new to you even if it seems old-fashioned.
Don’t Make Rookie Packing Mistakes with Travel Clothes
Even on a tropical cruise, the weather on your vacation can be surprisingly variable. Travel clothes such as wraps and sweaters chase evening chills and let you assemble a more versatile vacation wardrobe. You don’t want to be the only one in jeans when everyone else is in sophisticated dresses or suits, so don’t under pack. You might find your larger suitcase heavy to move, but you’ll be glad to have some vacation clothes for every occasion on your cruise.
While under-packing is no fun, over-packing can be a problem too. Get more use from everything you pack by thinking in terms of separates and layers. To add more variety to your vacation clothing without bringing too much bulk, invest in accessories that change up the look of your outfits. Scarves fold neatly into a corner of your suitcase but have the power to transform anything.
Don’t Forget Your Manners
The crew on your cruise ship can be your best friends. Be courteous to them, and you’ll get the best service these hard-working professionals can deliver. A smile and a word of thanks will go a long way toward making your trip wonderful for you and everyone lucky enough to be around you.
What tips do you getting the most of a cruise? Post them here.
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons image source
Alison Johnston is a Denver based writer trying to find her voice in the business world. She is a published poet in several different literary collections and recently she enjoys writing about women’s fashion and seasonal trends. When she isn’t writing you will find her venturing throughout the neighboring mountains or snuggling up to a good poem.