Insider Secrets: Cruise Liners – Travel Tips from the Experts

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Want to get more bang for your buck on a cruise? Here are our favourite tips for saving money, making the most of hospitality services, and planning where and when to spend your holiday cash on board. We’ve even thrown in some insider insight extras about what it’s really like on a cruise ship!

 

  1. You don’t have to stick to one starter, one main, and one desert in the main dining hall – passengers are free to order whatever dishes they wish from each of the menus, and as much as they want! Nice if you prefer a few starters and a desert over a main meal, or just can’t make your mind up between dishes!

 

  1. Meals in the main dining area are usually planned in advance – ask if you can see the upcoming menu so you know which night you’d rather book a table at one of the other on-board restaurants.

 

  1. Don’t like what’s on the menu? Ask if a different dish is available – ordering off-menu is even possible in the main dining hall.

 

  1. Thrifty travellers will be pleased to know that some cruise liners don’t mind passengers bringing a couple of bottles of wine or champagne on board (although you will have to pay corkage if you plan to have it in an on-board restaurant). There is also a reasonable allowance for non-alcoholic drinks – which can end up saving a few precious pounds.

 

  1. If sea-sickness strikes, room service is usually on hand to help out, no need to try and get to the on-board pharmacy, just give them a call and they’ll come to your room with required remedies. If your cabin is on a higher deck however, you might find you feel less queasy if you head to the middle of a lower deck, where there is less movement.

 

  1. Room service is free on most cruise ships! Bear in mind that this unexpected luxury upgrade may result in a surcharge on food prices at certain times of night, and the person bringing the food will probably be expecting a tip.

 

  1. Talking of tips, the hospitality crew are generally low-paid, and earn their living by delivering a great service rewarded by tips. As such, make sure you pack plenty of “change” suitable for tipping staff.

 

  1. Missed out on free tickets for the big show? Head on down anyway, lots of people who reserve these tickets decide not to go – if there are any seats spare at show time, staff will happily let you in.

 

  1. Pack your own power board – cabins are well known for being sparse when it comes to power outlets, so bring your own power board to make sure you stay charged for the trip.

 

  1. Pick your passes and packages carefully. Whether it is a spa pass, drinks package, or restaurant package – work out what is really included for the price and whether it’s cost effective for what you will actually use. Drinks packages, for example, might mean you have to drink 10 drinks a day, every day of your cruise, even on port days to get value for money.

 

  1. Bear in mind that there are plenty of opportunities on-board for freebies – free pastries with coffee, free soft-serve ice-cream points, complimentary drinks at on-board events, and deals on buying a whole bottle of wine (which will be labelled and saved for you for later). If cheap alcohol is what you are after, get your fill in port before you head back to the ship.

 

  1. Cruise ship insurance is essential – not only will it help you out if you get sick on-board, but should you happen to miss departure (a real risk if you embark on your own port excursions), it could stop your holiday turning into a total disaster! Be warned that buying insurance from the cruise line generally costs more for lower cover – you are better buying from a third-party provider.

 

  1. Somewhere on the ship there is a morgue! Statistics dictate that out of the thousands of passengers who travel on cruise ships 365 days a year, someone will shift their mortal coil during a trip.

 

  1. If you like your privacy… the general rule of thumb is that the lower the deck and the further back on the ship you go, the fewer people will be around.