Even someone who hasn’t taken a cruise yet can imagine why it’s such a popular way to travel. It’s easy to picture endless blue seas under wide-open skies, interesting ports of call, delicious food and great onboard entertainment; we could go on.
In addition to all that, those who have been on a few cruises know there are some special features and services onboard that can make the experience even better. Here are a few of these “insider” tips:
Room service on a cruise ship is a bargain. On many ships, room service is free, though some lines charge a small delivery fee or ask you to tip your server. Either way, a breakfast or a late-night snack delivered to your stateroom is a fun and inexpensive luxury on a cruise ship.
The dining room and restaurant menus may list dishes as appetizers, entrees, or desserts, but it’s not as strict as that may imply. Go ahead and ask for a smaller version of an entrée to try as an appetizer; enjoy some appetizers as your main course; and if you can’t decide between two desserts, ask for a small portion of each.
The best time to try a specialty restaurant on your ship may be the very first night of your cruise. Some passengers won’t be aware of these special (and often gourmet) restaurants yet, which can make it easier to get a reservation.
Your ship’s spa may offer special pricing for first-day appointments. As with specialty restaurants, some passengers won’t think about making spa reservations until after they board. If you’re interested in a massage, skin treatments or other pampering, visit the spa desk on the first day. (There may be more availability and special pricing for port-day spa appointments, too.)
If you think your stateroom would be better with the bed on the other side, one less side table or different pillows, ask your room steward for help. Some furniture can be rearranged (at least a bit) or taken away for storage, and different bedding options (such as “egg crate” mattress toppers) may be available.
Finally, if you need time to adjust to the slight motion of the ship, don’t rush to buy a seasickness remedy. Ask your room steward for some green apple slices and bland crackers; lots of crew members recommend this remedy. If you still need medication, it’s often available from the purser’s desk at no charge.
Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for more insider tips as you decide where to take your first, or next, cruise.
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