30 WAYS TO SMOOTHER SAILING
The most useful list of cruise tips you’ll ever read
Hitting the high seas is already the world’s easiest holiday but these tips, some from cruise connoisseurs, will help you breeze through time on-board a ship.
1 Costantin Norwegian Costantin Cruise Line boss Nicole
suggests arriving at the embarkation port the day before the trip starts, especially if you’re flying there. This not only avoids lastminute stress caused by potential delays but helps travellers adjust to the new time zone and allows more time for sightseeing. 2 When embarking, arrive later in the
boarding window to avoid the crowds that rush to be first aboard.
3 When travelling with a companion,
Viking Cruises communications boss Jane Moggridge packs “half-and-half suitcases” so both travellers have a supply of outfits should a case be delayed en route to the ship. Jane carries a sarong in her shore bag to cover up at religious sites, and has a few small dollars in the currency of ports she’s visiting.
4 Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel managing
director Mel Gregor unpacks as soon as she steps into her stateroom. She says first-time cruisers often live out of their luggage while on-board as they don’t know cases can be stashed under the bed.
5 Stop by specialty restaurants on the
first afternoon to make reservations and plan special meals on sea days so there’s no need to rush back from a shore excursion.
6 It often takes a few hours for luggage
to be delivered so pack your bathers, a book, and sunscreen in a carry-on bag, so you can hit the sundeck in the hours between boarding and sail-away. 7 Orbit World Travel’s James King recommends
checking the stateroom television as it’s often interactive. Guests can order room service, check spending, see the schedule and track the ship’s position. He also says it’s fine to decline the ship’s photographers, especially when you’re not planning to buy pictures.
8 Cruise ships regularly invite expert
scientists, authors and photographers on-board and Adventure Canada expedition leader Jason Edmunds recommends travellers connect with these aficionados as they are the “gateway to new experiences”.
9 Passengers planning to read at sea should dash to the library upon arrival to grab good titles before fellow guests hit the shelves.
10 With so many events scheduled, from rope courses to rock climbing and cooking classes to wine tasting, Imagine Cruising boss Elle Hudson takes advantage of free lessons and complimentary activities to try something new while away from home.
11 Tap water on cruise ships is good drink, to but it is heavily
chlorinated so it’s better to grab a big bottle from the bar and leave it on the bedside table. 12
Lanyards are expensive to buy on
board so Expedia’s Lisa Perkovic brings her own to secure her plastic cruise card, which not only serves as on-board identification but unlocks the suite and allows spending. Lisa carries a scarf to mark her table when dining in the buffet. 13 Those who favour the breakfast buffet
should sit in the same section each day as waiters remember preferences and will have that juice, coffee, or jug of soy milk waiting when guests return from food counters. 14
A favourite on-board activity for Cunard
senior manager Katrina McAlpine is trying new wines. But rather than select something herself she consults the sailing sommeliers who not only recommend “the perfect pairing” for a meal but help her discover new vineyards. 15 When eating in the dining room remember
a bottle of wine need not be finished in one sitting. Waiters can store the vino for another night. 16
On the first few nights of a voyage,
P&O president Sture Myrmell recommends eating after the dinner rush has passed as the ship’s restaurants are initially busy at traditional mealtimes before passengers relax into holiday mode. 17 Former Allure of the Seas’ activity manager
Layla Salman packs highlighters to mark the interesting activities on the daily planner and takes a toilet bag that hangs on the bathroom door to make space. 18 When it comes to shore excursions,
Holland America Line sales director Tony Archbold favours the walking tours. Exploring with a trained expert and enjoying lunch in a local restaurant is the best way to get to know a city, he says, and recommends that passengers book outings through the ship as the line’s buying power gets good prices from local operators. 19 When looking to do a half-day excursion in port, book an afternoon departure to avoid the morning rush. 20 McGowan TravelManagers’ Christie
signs up for behindthe-scenes ship tours. Seeing the engine room or laundry provides unique insights into life at sea. She says indulging in a chef ’s table experience is amazing value compared to similar degustation experiences on land and often includes a galley visit. 21 Smartphones take great photos but
Coral Expeditions commercial director Jeff Giles says passengers should pack a camera, with charger and spare memory cards, and talk to the crew about the best time and place on board to shoot a special location. 22
Port days are the best time to take
part in ship activities, says Azamara Club Cruises business development manager Belinda Osmic. This is because with most passengers ashore, the vessel is so much quieter. 23
Aurora Expeditions founder Greg
Mortimer describes windy.com as the most extraordinary weather forecasting site. Travellers anywhere on Earth can check if the day will be warm, wet or wintry. 24 Time visits to the guest laundry for
early in the morning when it’s quiet. Be back before the spin finishes as clothes left uncollected will be piled on the floor by the next person in line. 25
Clever families on big ships pack
lightweight walkie-talkies to stay in contact. 26
When travelling with children, carry
a roll of sports tape to childproof a room by sticking face washers to sharp corners and securing drawers to prevent little fingers jamming. 27 Carnival chief Jennifer Vandekreeke says cruising is the ideal opportunity for tweens to gain some independence. Parents should give kids a little time on their own every day before meeting up at mealtimes to share stories. 28 When celebrating a special occasion at sea, Princess Cruises boss Stuart Allison says passengers can pre-order gifts such as flowers or chocolates rather than lugging a present aboard. 29
When travelling with the family – or hauling a load of devices that need electricity – pack a power board so everyone can plug in at the same time. 30
On the last evening at sea, make
a late visit to reception and grab a copy of the account. It’s easier to deal with payment problems hours before disembarkation rather than during the early-morning scramble to leave the ship.
Make reservations for specialty dining and onboard spa experiences, and a balcony cabin can make your cruise all the more memorable.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE