13 Must-Know Cruise Hacks for Smooth Sailing

Whether you’re cruising for the first time or are relatively new to it, you’re probably searching for the best money-saving travel hacks. It’s crucial to ensure you get the best package deal when booking your cruise and revealing some insider secrets from frequent cruisers. To better prepare you, we’ve curated a list of 13 travel hacks to ensure you’re ready to set sail on your perfect cruise!

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Book Your Cruise in Advance

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The number one hack that almost every frequent cruiser will use is to book your cruise earlier rather than later. In fact, saving money on your cruise starts before you even get on the ship; it happens right when you finalize your booking.

If you choose to cruise during holidays or the summer, expect these prices to be even higher than those in the off-season. It should also be known that the more popular cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian come with a heftier price tag, but always be on the lookout for some steals. If you book early enough, you could get an incredible deal.

Book Excursions in Advance

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So not only is it essential to book the physical cruise in advance, but it’s also crucial to book any excursions during the booking process. Since you’ll know the exact ports you’ll be stopping at, it’ll be easy to plan ahead of time. Also, planning excursions along with your cruise can open up a boatload of discounts for multiple activities.

Utilize Travel Deals

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Many people don’t realize their credit cards or even memberships like Costco have outstanding travel deals. Costco Travel provides members with a wide selection of cruises at a discounted price, so those top-of-the-line cruises might actually be in your price range after all. Not only is the base price of the cruise discounted but there are also several deals you’ll receive when booking through Costco Travel, such as shipboard credits and exclusive dining options.

Before booking your cruise directly through the ship’s website, shop around to find the best deals; they might even be included with your memberships!

Arrive a Day Early

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Do you want to know the easiest way to ruin the start of your vacation? Missing your cruise departure. It’s crucial to arrive a day earlier than when your cruise departs for any travel slowdowns that could occur. Between bad weather, accidents, flight delays, and more, you’ll want to arrive a day earlier to avoid the stress and provide yourself with some leeway.

Don’t be Shy with Food

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Cruise has every food choice you could think of; there’s no doubt you’ll be in foodie heaven. With that being said, don’t be shy about your food. There are usually countless buffets, cafes, specialty restaurants, and much more offered to cruisers. Most restaurants are included in the cruise fare, with some specialty ones at an extra cost. But if you book through Costco Travel, those specialty dining options could arrive at no cost!

Buy Magnetic Hooks

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Cruise cabins are often tiny and cozy, limiting storage space. It should also be known that the cabin walls are magnetic, which means magnetic hooks are perfect for extra storage! You can hang your wet bathing suits, clothes, hats, and much more, leaving ample space within the room. These hooks are a must for avid cruisers!

Select Middle Deck Staterooms

a person sitting in a chair on the deck of a cruise ship

Consider the middle deck if you’re unsure where to stay on a cruise. These cabins offer a sweet spot in the ship’s center with minimal rocking (perfect for those who get seasick) and easy access to all onboard activities. You’ll avoid the noise of the engines at the back and the potential for obstructed views at the front. Plus, middle staterooms are often priced competitively, offering great value for your money.

Pack a Separate Carry On

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When arriving at the cruise port, you’ll be prompted to drop your luggage off at the ship, but your suitcases won’t be delivered to your room for some time. This is why you should pack a separate carry-on with all the essentials you need when you board the ship. Pools and bars will be ready, so ensure a bathing suit, sunscreen, sunglasses, and all the other essentials are packed!

Utilize Your Cruise Lines App

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Being on a cruise has a heavy schedule to keep track of, including sailing times, onboard entertainment, and more. Most cruise lines have an app with all the times and dates you would otherwise have to memorize. Be sure to download the app beforehand to prepare!

Consider Buying the Drink Package

Two people holding drinks on the deck of a cruise ship
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It’s good advice to purchase the beverage package from avid cruisers, especially if you drink a good amount of alcohol or soft drinks. The prices on cruise ships for beverages are higher than the street prices of items, and the cost tends to add up. Some cruise lines have the drink package included in the base price, so it saves you the hassle of choosing it or not, but make sure to read which drinks are included and which aren’t.

Buy the Cruise Ship Internet Package

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A cruise Wi-Fi package keeps you connected, letting you share vacation memories, message loved ones back home and browse the web freely. The Wi-Fi package is worth it for those who choose to stay on top of news and social media. Also, if you couldn’t plan shore excursions and onboard activities beforehand, you’ll want to get the internet package.

Bring a Reusable Waterbottle

a person pouring water into a stainless steel water bottle
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Although tap water is accessible, consider bringing a reusable water bottle aboard. Not only will you stay hydrated with easy refills at water stations, but you’ll also save money and reduce plastic waste on board. It’s a win-win for all!

Parents: Utilize the Kids Club

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Parents, are you planning to bring the little ones on the ship? Remember to utilize the kids club aboard; this will be a perfect opportunity for them to make friends and have activities to do. And we can;t forget that Mom and Dad can have some relaxing alone time too.

Bottom Line

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So whether you’re a first-time cruiser looking for all the travel hacks you can get or a seasoned cruiser looking for more hacks to enjoy your cruise, you’re practically ready; all you need to do now is board the ship. 🙂 By following these tips, we can ensure you’ll be prepared for a smooth sail, making your vacation even more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to take advantage of different travel deals and reward programs when booking your next cruise!

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