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Whether you’re taking your first-ever cruise, or it will be your 150th, there are a few things I have observed that guests do wrong time and time again. Here’s a list of things you may want to be aware of, or that you’ll want to change, in order to make your cruise experience as wonderful as it can be.
- Not being aware of noise. Different people have different tolerance to noise. While some guests are not bothered at all, others can’t sleep a wink if there’s the slightest noise around. The reality of the matter is that the cruise is a floating hotel, as in FLOATING! Constantly moving, which can create all kinds of noise. In addition, being made of metal, noise is carried a lot easier than through a brick wall. I have seen guests suffer every day of their cruise because of this. If you’re particular about the level of noise around you, there are some things to keep in mind. There are a few things you can pay attention to in order to prevent it, like researching online the location of your cabin, staying away from public areas (below pool decks or above or below the theater, nightclubs or restaurants), bringing along earplugs, or even requesting a portable fan, which will act as a white noise machine (in my experience, VERY effective). In more severe cases, cruising may simply not be for you.
- Flying in or out without enough time. We often encounter guests who join their cruise on the second port of the voyage, as they missed the ship on embarkation day. Others might miss their flight back home, however we, on board, don’t get to find out about these. We just know it happens. Of course, either way, it creates a whole lot of hassle, as well as a great deal of expenses which could have been prevented. If flying in the day before the cruise is not viable, it will always be better to arrive in the embarkation city too early, and depart later in the evening, than having to put up with the consequences of delays in flights and transportation from and to the airport.
- Not being diligent with bookings and reservations. For some guests, meal times and particular restaurants are quite flexible, especially if they’re not celebrating a special event. For them, having dinner at 6:00pm or at 7:30pm will not make a difference. Others may not be as happy to move around their meal times, or might not be willing to go to the French restaurant on Thursday instead of Tuesday. If where, and especially WHEN, you’ll be eating is of the utmost importance, you might want to take care of making dinner (or show, if applicable) reservations well ahead of time. This is particularly important if you’ll have more than 4 people in your party. Don’t rely on any “priority” that might be advertised when it comes to the availability of tables, as this is just an illusion. No restaurant will keep a table open for ANYONE, just in case they show up, this is especially true for paid restaurants. They will assign the tables as per the reservation system, and whatever is left, IF ANY, will be given out to walk-ins, but there’s never a way to guarantee a table will be available, unless you make a reservation.
- Similarly, leaving Shore Excursion reservations for last. If there is a particular place you’d like to visit during the cruise, it will always be better to book those tickets as far ahead of time as possible, than waiting until you’re on board. I have seen so many guests have to settle for alternatives they were not happy with, just because they waited too long. Keep in mind all tours have a limited amount of participants, and, if the place you want to visit is a main highlight of the cruise (say, Pisa, or the Acropolis), a large amount of guests will want to take part. Simply book the excursions online or over the phone as soon as they become available, and ask what the cancellation policy is, in case you decide to change your plans.
- Traveling without insurance. Regardless of your age, physical state, or cruising experience, things may always happen that would result is a huge medical bill. Anyone who’s ever visited the Medical Center on board will tell you that the prices for anything, as in ANYTHING, are simply out of this world, and they won’t even take your temperature without a consultation fee. Some cruise lines offer their own insurance, or you could get it from home, but it will always be better to have insurance, than to face the consequences of saving yourself a few bucks.
- And, by far, the most important one, NOT BEING NICE! Ok, it may not sound right, but the reality is that all those people at your service on board are just that, PEOPLE. Meaning, the way you approach them will have a great deal of influence in the outcome of your interaction. Just like anywhere else, crew members have a certain amount of power, depending on their rank, to go the extra mile. And, believe me, whatever extra they may have under their sleeve will be irrelevant if your demeanor is less than desirable. To give you an example, if I greet a guest who’s approaching me, and they don’t greet back, and bitterly ask me where the Internet Café is, I might just point in its direction and let them run along. Whereas, if a guest greets back, cutely acknowledges that they’re not at the right desk, but would appreciate the information I can give them, I will not only point, I might walk them there, and even check the opening times. In the first case, I wouldn’t even bother to check, as I would want them away from me as soon as possible. This is just a tiny example. Crew members love to go above and beyond, and the truth is that most cruise lines give crew members a whole bunch of tools to make guests’ experience on board extra memorable… As long as those guests show a deserving behavior. So, just like you would with a flight attendant, or the nurse who’s about to draw your blood, wear your biggest smile, be ready to be adorable, and enjoy the perks. – ThatGuy
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Good common sense tips..