Most of our team has been on cruises within the last year. Knowing tips that can make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable is an important part of our job as your travel professionals. Today we have rounded up our top 10 tips so you can travel like a pro! Hopefully, you will learn something you didn’t know before!

10. Keep your phone on Airplane mode. Cellular connection on a cruise ship can be expensive! Utilize the ship’s WiFi service for staying connected to people on land without having to return home to a whooping cell phone bill. Apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger can be great ways to communicate with people back home.

9. Use an analog watch or turn off the automatic time zone on your phone. Your cruise will often cross over different time zones. Make sure to have a timepiece that stays on the ship’s time. An analog watch or an auto-adjust-disabled electronic piece will come in handy when figuring out your all-aboard times at ports, as well as scheduled onboard entertainment and activities. Remember: the ship cannot wait, and it will be up to you to catch up at the next port.

8. Buy some small magnetic hooks. Most stateroom walls are metal. Using small magnetic hooks can help keep clutter to a minimum. We use them for hats, lanyards, drying our swimsuits, and keeping the daily schedule easily at hand.

7.  Pack a small “Go bag”  Have a small bag that includes some first aid essentials including band-aids, over-the-counter medicines, seasickness pills, sunscreen, and bug spray for your excursions. Most people have no trouble with seasickness on the cruise ship itself, however some smaller vessels that you may do an excursion on may be another story.  It’s smart to keep the name of the ship with you too in your go-bag.

6. Bring a piece of stretchy clothesline and a sample-sized pack of dry laundry detergent, for a quick wardrobe refresher “on the budget”. The line in the stateroom’s shower will not hold more than a couple of bathing suits, and the drying time is long, especially in humid climates. (Bonus if you have the magnetic hooks! You can attach the clothesline to those as well)

5. Bring an outlet extender with USB ports. It seems as if everyone has a device that needs to be charged these days. Cruiselines are getting better at adding more power outlets and USB ports, but it still seems like it is never enough! Extension cords will often be confiscated as a fire hazard, but I have found this one below helpful. Always double-check with your specific cruise line to make sure they are acceptable.

4. Take a later flight.  You will often return to your port early in the morning. Sometimes while you are sleeping. While you might be tempted to get an early flight home, we recommend against it. Sometimes there might be delays in the ship returning to port, inclement weather, medical emergencies, or other issues. The stress of having to reschedule your return flight after a great trip is one that is easy to avoid. Choose a return flight after 12 o’clock if possible.

3. Always look through the daily ship activity schedule. While you are on your cruise there will be many things to do. You will find a list left for you every evening by your thoughtful stateroom attendant or on your ship-specific App. Many activities are routinely updated, dress codes or ship’s promenade sales are announced – you don’t want to miss some of the exciting onboard opportunities. Planning your day is not difficult, but will help you maximize what you get from your fare.

2. Purchase Travel Protection!  No one wants to think that accidents will happen or you might get sick while on vacation. (or a loved one at home!) Sadly, life continues to happen even while you are on vacation. Most health insurance plans will not cover you outside of the country. It is not unheard of to be charged $30,000 to be medevaced back to the US if trouble arises! The security of having your trip covered in case of an incident is well worth the price of travel protection. We always recommend your clients get travel protection from an outside vendor like our preferred company Travel Guard.

1. Use a Travel Professional Our unanimous #1 tip is to use a Travel Professional. There are many choices between cruise lines, ships, and destinations. One cruise line might be perfect for families with little ones while another is better for a multi-generational getaway. We study all our preferred cruise lines and do our best to personally experience them so you have confidence in our recommendations. Let an experienced travel professional help you get the most from your travel time and budget by letting their experience work for you!