Cruising really is the best vacation if you just want to do nothing. There’s very little for you to plan, arrange, or take care of because it’s all done for you by the wonderful crew members! Your only job is to get on board and have fun (or nap by the pool all day, whatever you prefer 😉 ). But, there are some common mistakes and oversights to avoid if you want to have the best cruise vacation ever! Today (as I am preparing to embark on my 7th Carnival cruise!), I’m sharing all my tips for how to cruise like a pro:
1.Wear your tightest fitting clothing first.
This first one may be the most important. Seriously! After a few days of all-you-can-eat buffets, four course dinners, and 24-hour access to delicious munchies, you might start to feel the effect on your waistline. But no worries! Just do yourself a favor, and plan ahead by wearing any tight-fitting clothes first. Besides, cruising is the perfect opportunity to whip out looser styles like flow-y dresses and harem pants that have a relaxed, tropical feel to them.
2. Enjoy ALL the food!
I want to clarify that I’m not suggesting you skimp out on the food. It’s vacation, after all! If you can’t indulge on a cruise, then when can you? My favorite spots on any cruise ship are the frozen yogurt machine and the 24-hour pizza counter (Four cheese pizza anyone?)! The spectacular food is one of the best parts of cruising so enjoy it to the fullest. Plus, all the outdoor activities and excursions will probably have you burning more calories than you think.
3. Take Dramamine every day.
Especially for first-timer cruisers, it’s a great idea to just take a preventive Dramamine every morning if you’re afraid of getting seasick. I did this on my first cruise (the only one I’ve ever been on that hit pretty rocky waters), and it saved me from getting sick, unlike half of my group. The five other cruises I’ve been on, I haven’t needed any seasickness medication, but I still pack it in my bag just in case.
4. Always put on sunscreen before you leave your cabin in the morning.
I know, I sound like your mom, but it’s so easy to forget to lather up when you’re racing off to the breakfast buffet or a lounge chair by the pool. You will most likely be getting a lot of sun all day so putting on sunscreen first thing in the morning gets it out of the way (at least, until you need to reapply). Sun poisoning is a real thing too, so don’t let it ruin your vacation.
5. Skim the next day’s itinerary the night before.
Most cruises offer a lot of onboard events and activities, and it can be stressful trying to figure out your day on-the-go. I like to browse the next day’s itinerary the night before to see what I absolutely do not want to miss and plan the rest of my day around that. It also just gives you a little something to look forward to the next day!
6. Have some down time or take a nap.
Like I mentioned above, there is a LOT to do on cruises. Between all the outdoor activities, games, shows, and excursions, it’s easy to spend your entire vacation running around like a chicken without a head. But scheduling relaxation time -whether it’s taking a midday nap in your cabin, sunbathing by the pool (or in the 21 year old and over lounge sections on some cruise ships), or catching a movie- is just as important as having a go at the onboard ropes course. The point is you need to give your mind and body a chance to recharge so you can fully enjoy the all of your onboard adventures!
7. Unplug with no WiFi.
Some people might debate me on this next one, but I think it’s one of the keys to having an amazing, distraction-free cruise vacation. DO NOT purchase WiFi. Whether it’s three days, five days, or eight days, a cruise is the perfect opportunity to unplug, relax, and enjoy a slower pace with your friends and family.
8. Pack deep conditioner/mask.
On a cruise, I never want to miss an opportunity to snorkel or go swimming just because I’m worried about my curls! Deep conditioners and masks are essential for returning moisture to my hair after those long days at the pool or the beach, especially if I’m having to wash my hair several days in a row and regular conditioner just isn’t enough. My go-to deep conditioner right now is L.U.S’s Deep Condition & Repair.
9. Set up a shower/prep time schedule.
This is especially important if multiple people are sharing a cabin. As you may know, cabins are notoriously small, and multiple people trying to get ready at the same time can be a nightmare. To prevent World War 3 erupting in your cabin, you may want to use a staggered schedule, giving everyone enough time to get clean and ready without feeling rushed.
10. Leave time to shop before embarking.
Many people make the mistake of returning to the port too late to browse and shop around. They barely have enough time to run up the dock and board the ship! On the other hand, if you know you’d enjoy shopping at the various boutiques and stalls, try to return to the port a little early so you can do so without worrying you’ll be left behind.
11. At dinner, never eat the same thing twice.
There’s too many delicious dishes to try! It’s a waste to order the same thing every night. Take advantage of the different menus throughout your cruise, and try something new! You’re technically not limited so if you’re stuck between two dishes one night, you could even order both of them. But of course, always leave room for dessert . . . it won’t disappoint!
If you’ve ever been on a cruise, let me know what your favorite cruise vacation tips are in the comments below! And if not, what other questions do you have about cruising?