You’ve always dreamt of taking a cruise and now it’s about to become a reality. Like most things in life, it’s good to learn from those who have gone before you. These five tips from veteran “cruisers” will help you get the most out of your dream vacation.

  1. You will not outsmart the cruise line. Most lines prohibit bringing liquor, soda, beer or wine on board. No matter how creatively you try to hide these items someone has already tried it. Your luggage will be scanned and checked when you board. Know the rules and follow them.
     
  1. Don’t rely on your phone. We use our phones for everything. While on your cruise you may find yourself out of range or faced with huge roaming charges. If you want to use your phone for an alarm, make sure it’s in airplane mode. If you are traveling with kids or a group, consider bringing small walkie-talkies as a means of keeping in touch during the cruise.
     
  1. Plan ahead. Ask for menus from specialty restaurants before you travel. You can often get deals by booking dinner in a specialty restaurant on the first night of your cruise. Additionally, you can plan based on what you most want to eat. The same holds true for tours. Find out what’s offered ahead of time and book guided tours/activities before you leave. Don’t forget to check options offered at port rather than through the cruise line. Finally, know when/if there are formal nights or event nights and pack accordingly.
     
  1. Don’t forget about room service! Most cruise lines offer room service at no charge or for a minimal fee. It’s not like room service in a hotel, although you should tip. Take advantage of room service and enjoy a quiet breakfast or dinner in your cabin.
     
  1. Avoid stress. Fly or drive into your port city the day before you are set to depart. Most port cities offer great dining and entertainment. And, should you run into problems (lost luggage), you’ll have a day to sort things out without fear of missing your cruise.

Bon voyage!