Cruising Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Sep 09, 2016 / 0 comments

Cruises are a great deal – you’ve got all your transportation, lodging, meals, and activities rolled into one price. You can travel the world, see new sights every day, and not have to unpack more than once. There are incredible sunrises and sunsets (my favorite part). You can find time for romance or kids clubs, swim, take excursions, learn new things, and eat well. Cruises are wonderful, and a lovely way to travel, explore, and meet new friends. If you think that cruises cost a lot, you may be right, especially if you think of all the possible add-ons. But there are ways to reduce the costs – and these 10 hacks makes perfect sense without a lot of work.

Cruising Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know

Flickr cc: Jeff Weese, adapted by Wandering Educators


If you use Cruise Miles, then you’re probably familiar with the Cruise Miles Rewards Programme. If not, you’re about to be pleasantly surprised. Not only can you save money on your next cruise booking, but you also earn cruise promotions and take advantage of each cruise line’s loyalty benefits. These can include free hotel stays, cabin upgrades, flight upgrades, free parking, and more.

Cruising travel hacks

Cruises Sunset. Wikimedia Commons: Dana Moos

When to go

If it’s not a school holiday, you’ll find better prices. By avoiding times when everyone wants to go, you’ll save money. And, we firmly believe that travel is the best education there is.

Cruising, Istanbul. From Cruising travel hacks

Cruising, Istanbul. Wikimedia Commons: Vikiçizer


Before you step foot on the ship, upgrade your dining plan, if there’s an option to do so. You’ll save more over the long run, and won’t feel like you’re missing any extraordinary meals. Also if there’s a huge crowd in one location, look for a different restaurant – ask the staff for their recommendations, or swim or do other activities during first seating, when there will be less people about.

Eating aboard a cruise ship - tips from Cruising travel hacks

Adagio Main Dining Room of MS Allure of the Seas. Flickr cc: Wilson Hui


Do your research and book your excursions before you go. You’ll get the excursions you want, and not be disappointed when they fill up and you have to choose a different one.

Norwegian Breakaway. Cruising travel hacks

Norwegian Breakaway. Wikimedia Commons: Dickelbers

On-Ship Services

Likewise, book any spa or services time as soon as possible, so that you are sure to have an appointment. It might be online before you go, or right when you board – do your research and make sure you’re covered if you just have to have that massage, manicure, etc.

Cruising travel hacks

Cruise ship. Flickr cc: Kansas Photo


People love to be appreciated. I always bring small bills and tip everyone. Why? A smile and a thank you, with a tip, will go a long way toward making your trip even more special. People love being recognized and thanked for their work, talked to as if they are real people and not looked down upon. Watch – you’ll be getting all kinds of perks, smiles, and goodwill. That’s the real joy of appreciation – it goes both ways.

These smiles? A good reason to tip! Cruising travel hacks

Indrajat and Okky, excellent housekeeping staff on the ms Volendam. Their 'goodmorings' and smiles were very refreshing. Fun to be around. Flickr cc: Bruce Tuten

Upgrade your membership status

If you have a membership status on a particular cruise line, upgrade before your trip. You’ll get all kinds of goodies, including special happy hours, gift baskets, room upgrades, and more.

Cruise ships at night. Cruising travel hacks

Cruise ships at night. Flickr cc: Vincent Lock


Needless to say, pack lightly. Layer. Wear multipurpose clothing items. And bring plenty of ziplock and grocery store bags. Pack your items in ziplocks, so that you don’t have any spillage. Bring an over the door organizer for inside the bathroom, to expand your small counter space. Use pill organizers or extra contact cases for jewelry. Bring an extension cord! Lastly, bring a lanyard or wrist strap to carry your room key in.

Allure of the Seas stateroom. Cruising travel hacks

Balcony Stateroom aboard Allure of the Seas. Flickr cc: Wilson Hui


Store shoes and other large items in your suitcases, which you’ve placed under the bed. If you can take a soft-sided suitcase or duffel bag, even better – that will really fold down flat. Keep your cords all in one roll, and tuck them into a drawer. Keep your charger plugged into the outlet, and you won’t constantly be looking for it. Utilize drawers as much as possible.

Travelpro expandable suitcase. Cruising travel hacks

Travelpro expandable suitcase. Flickr cc: tracey r

Need we say it?

Bring Dramamine (and the non-drowsy Dramamine). Bring ginger chews. Bring anti-nausea pressure point wrist bands. Whatever works for you, be sure you have it – just in case. If all else fails, hop in the pool. You’ll feel better immediately.

Pool, Carnival Miracle. Cruising travel hacks

La piscine du carnival Miracle. Wikimedia Commons: djonemore


Do you have any travel hacks to add? How do you save money on cruises?


Read more: 

12 Tips to Optimize your Cruise Experience

Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

Ten Drawbacks to Cruising