The Biggest Mistakes Everyone Makes On Cruise Ships

The Biggest Mistakes Everyone Makes on Cruise Ships

Spending several days on a boat, partying, drinking, eating massive amounts of food (but not necessarily gaining weight), and sunbathing is not guaranteed to be without faults. Things can go wrong; and some bad scenarios are more common than others. Don't take the risk of ruining what can be an unforgettable cruise.

Neglecting the staff

Be nice to the people who are taking care of you. They may spill industry secrets, share if something interesting is happening so you don't miss anything, may be even give you a drink or two for free. You don't have to buy them gifts or shower them with sweets, but being polite and not undertipping can go a long way.

Not paying cash

Cruises are all-inclusive and this is a huge part of their appeal. But often specific drinks and brands are often not included in the package deals. You never have to carry cash (except for tips), but you end up charging everything to your room, resulting in spending a lot more than you intended to. Remember that what you pay for, especially the booze, is highly overpriced.

Overspending on shirts

A lot of people see Caribbean-style shirts or those with palm trees on them a buy them. But if you ask them why, you won't get a clear answer. Are you really going to wear them when you get off the ship? Besides, do you want to wear the same clothes everyone else onboard is? The answer to both is most likely "no."

Booking at the wrong time

Book your cruise as soon as possible. Some of the most desired specialty itineraries like Europe and Alaska require you to book in advance to avoid paying higher air and cruise fares. Early booking means larger discounts and better cabins available. The difference can easily be thousands of dollars. The best time to book is generally on Tuesday night or Wednesday early morning.

Booking early flights

You have no control over the schedule and delays, and anything can happen. The last thing you want is missing your flight home. A whole other nightmare can unfold as you try to rebook, cancel, get on the next flight, get a normal seat, etc. If you're booking a flight to get to the port, keep in mind that free airfares usually mean the cruise is overcharging you for food, drinks, and services on the ship.

Not turning off the data roaming

You are on a ship in a different country, not at home. There will be additional charges if you want to use your phone, and it'll be expensive. You may end up paying several dollars per minute. Texting will cost you, too. Forget about uploading photos on social media; you'll have a sobering moment once you get your phone bill later. Check your carrier's prices and switch to "airplane mode."

Forgetting sunscreen

This is a common mistake on land as well. Use this rule: Slip on a shirt, Slop on at least 30+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade, Slide on some sunnies. Over-the-counter (OTC) creams and lotions are not regulated the same way as those for which you need prescription. They are generally safe but companies can mix the ingredients any way they like. Buy from a reputable company.

Not having a loose-fitting clothes

You may be saying now that you won't "eat all you can" from the buffet, but it'll be very hard to resist. Besides, why do you have to constrain yourself on holiday? Eat all you want but make sure you have the proper clothes to wear afterwards and especially at the end of the cruise. Make no mistake; the chances are that you will have gained weight.

You wait to sign up for excursions

Don't risk it. Book that excursion you like so much before it's "sold out." Register before you disembark. Also, booking an on-land excursion through the cruise line is risky. They are often overcrowded and almost always overpriced.

Thinking your itinerary is set in stone

You are at sea; the weather is unpredictable. Most of the time everything goes according to plan and tourists do get to visit all ports and go on all excursions on their itinerary. However, weather conditions or other circumstances may interfere and the ship may have to miss a port. Going on a cruise during hurricane season is very cheap but you may have to skip a stop or two.

Not planning extra expenses

Planning is key to saving money while on vacation. Decide what your budget is and don't forget that there will be unexpected expenses. Don't expect that you won't have to pay for anything if you are on an "all-inclusive" ship. These deals cover just cabin, food, room service and certain services. Spa, classes, certain alcohol, WiFi even – all of these can cost you hundreds of dollars.

Counting on WiFi on the ship

The Internet is via satellite and is not as reliable as the connection you have at home. You are at sea after all. The pathway between the satellite and the antenna is often blocked. Don't expect to be doing more complicated transactions such as downloading anything or uploading photos. On top of that, internet access is expensive. Buy megabytes via a package to save some money.

Picking the wrong cruise

Know what you like and do some research to find it. Do you want to sit by a pool and relax, go on adventures or party all day and night? Talk to a travel agent if you're not sure so he or she can match your expectations. A true cruise specialist will be able to match you with the best deal, also possibly reducing your costs. Agents are often aware of even better deals on similar ships and sailing dates.

Overlooking to make reservations

If you want to have lunch or dinner at a specialty restaurant, especially a steakhouse, onboard, you should call as soon as you get in your cabin and make a reservation. Spots fill up quickly, particularly for dinner on the last couple of days of the cruise trip.

Going during peak season

Take advantage of wave season. If you can go on a cruise between January and March, do so. This is when you're going to see a lot of discounts if you look for them in advance. Cruise lines also often offer free perks if you book a trip during the wave season.