Australians can’t seem to get enough of cruising the oceans, with almost a million travellers taking a cruise holiday in 2014!
That number might seem staggering but isn’t really surprising, considering that cruises cater to travellers of all ages, budgets and travel styles - not to mention the enormous amount of interests they cover from Broadway musicals to educational seminars to adventure activities like rock climbing and even sky diving!
You’ve probably seen all the advertisements about what you can do and where you can go on a cruise, but here are a few tips that you may not know about that will have you cruising like a pro!
Tips for eating like a king (or queen) on your cruise
- Did you know that you’re not limited to a single serving of an appetizer, entrée or dessert in the main dining room? So order up!
- If you don't fancy the buffet or you're craving a meal with a bit of quiet time, order room service! It's free for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Tipping is recommended for good service, but you don't have to go overboard (pun intended) like in a hotel.
- Some of the specialty restaurants may charge for the dinner menu but are free at lunch time. So make lunch your main meal of the day and take advantage of the fantastic food and fewer people!
- Don’t assume that if some of the cafes or coffee shops charge for the coffee that you’ll have to pay for everything else they offer, check with the staff because the food may still be free.
- Soft serve ice cream machines on either side of the deck may offer different flavours so be sure to check them all out!
The dessert buffet is sweet tooth heaven!
Tips for drinking on your cruise holiday
- You’re not restricted to having your drink at the bar or buffet, you can take it almost anywhere you like!
- It’s cheaper to buy wine by the bottle, and if you can’t finish it the waiters can cork it, mark it with your room number and serve it the next time you’d like a drink.
- Just because the special drink you want is served in a pricey souvenir glass doesn’t mean you have to pay for it. Just ask for the drink to be served in a regular glass and it’ll be cheaper.
- The tap water on board is safe and drinkable so there's no need to purchase bottled water unless you want to.
- Some cruise lines also let you bring a reasonable amount of non-alcoholic drinks on board if you prefer to BYO a few bottles of wine.
Harmony of the Seas has bionic bar tenders that can muddle, mix, shake and pour 1000 drinks per day!
Tips to get the most out of your cruise cabin
- Even within the same category cabins can vary in terms of space, balcony and also noise level so check out the deck plans on the ship and see if you can choose a better cabin for the same price.
- If you have a lot of electronic gadgets there may not be enough power outlets available in the cabins, so bring your own charging station or power board or ask a staff member to borrow one.
- Not many cruise ship bathrooms have windows or ventilation fans, so after some time, your bathroom may not smell as fresh as the sea air outside. Bring some aromatherapy oils or air freshener to sweeten your time inside. Just don’t bring candles or incense unless you want to set off the fire alarms and cause a panic!
- Fun fact: The beds are the only pieces of furniture that are moveable in your room. The rest of the furniture is weighted so that they don’t fall over or move during rough seas.
If you don't mind paying extra you can request a balcony cabin and enjoy the fresh sea air and ocean views in peace!
How to get service discounts on the cruise ship
- Dine in one of the specialty restaurants when you first board the ship or on the first night. They usually offer a discount or a free bottle of wine, and you’ll also avoid the crowds eating in the main dining room or buffet.
- Book a spa or massage on the first day or when the ship is in port. There's usually plenty of available appointments and the services may also be discounted.
- Tip your cabin crew members well on the first few days and you'll be sure to get extra special service for the rest of your holiday!
Book early and enjoy a massage or spa treatment for a relaxing start to your holiday.
Fun fact: there’s a jail on the cruise ship!
- Just like anywhere else in the world, there's a few naughty travellers who don't want to play nice.
- If the crew believes someone is endangering other passengers they have the authority to put that person into the ‘brig’ (aka the Cruise Jail).
- Offenders may be held in the brig for the remainder of the trip, or handed over to the authorities at the next port, so make sure you behave yourself or you might spend the rest of the cruise behind bars rather than sipping cocktails AT the bars.