The most use­ful list of cruise tips you’ll ever read

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM CRUISING - SARAH NI­CHOL­SON

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.




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