Cruising has a loyal fan base, and that’s simply because people love the carefree, yet entertaining lifestyle that a cruise ship can provide.

If you are cruising for the first time, or the 100th time, you’ll want to do some introspection to determine what type of experience you are looking for.

Every cruise line provides something unique and different, it all comes back to the lifestyle, budget and itinerary that you are looking for. Luxury, leisure, adventure, solo, couples and family are just a few of the options.

No matter what type of experience you choose, our TierOne Travel cruise specialists want to ensure that you make the most of your time onboard, creating life lasting memories.

Below we have compiled our top 20 secrets for any type of cruiser

  1. Always consider purchasing a future cruise while onboard – often extra perks will be given, including reduced deposits, and onboard credits– and the booking gets sent back to the original booking agency, so you will always be dealing locally, with the agent you are familiar with.
  1. When possible, consider prepaying your gratuities – a great benefit to pay in advance in Canadian funds, so that you don’t have to worry about it while on your cruise. River cruise companies generally allow for this, and as well some ocean cruise lines as well.
  1. Long before brochures are printed cruise lines will publish their itineraries online. You can even book cruises in 2020 with some cruise companies now! Sometimes certain itineraries sell out well in advance, so talk to your TierOne agent about what is available well in advance.
  1. When ships move from one itinerary to another, most often referred to as a repositioning cruise, you will be able to get some fantastic pricing on unique itineraries. Consider planning your vacation around these seasonal changes…..ie Spring and Fall
  1. Consider a multi-generational cruise vacation. Most cruise ships have something to offer everyone – from Kid’s and Teen’s clubs to culinary interests, wine tasting, movies under the stars, casinos and lessons in bridge. It is not unusual for family members to go their own way during the day, only to reconvene at dinner for shared stories and laughter about the day’s events. What wonderful memories to be shared between grandparents, children and grandchildren.
  1. Inside cabins have no natural light. As long as it is not a “smart TV”, turn your TV to the bridge cam station, turn off the sound and you’ve got an instant nightlight and a way to see if the sun is up.
  1. St Petersburg Russia is a very popular port on most Baltic cruises. For most cruiselines, check if you can forego getting a costly and time-consuming Russian visa by booking shore excursions with the cruiseline. This will save money that you can spend on your excursions.
  1. If you can’t afford a balcony cabin, some cruise ships will have ocean view cabins on the promenade deck. You will be able to easily access the large promenade deck and it will feel like a BIG balcony.
  1. If the port talk is at the same time as your massage or other ship activity, don’t worry. These presentations are often re-broadcast on the ship’s channel on your in-room TV. You can still catch the recording if you miss the live show.
  1. If you book shore excursions with the cruise line and the tour is delayed getting back to the ship, the ship waits for the tour passengers and delays the sailing time. If you are on a private shore excursion not booked with the cruise line, you will miss the ship if the tour is delayed past the sailing time.
  1. When booking a cruise, I like to book clients in cabins located on decks where the deck above and below are decks with cabins. This minimizes noise and prevents you being over the disco/piano bar/show lounge. I also like to check the direction the cruise is travelling and what side of the ship is facing the ports of call. Port side doesn’t always ring true to it’s calling.
  1. I always fly clients in at least one day early to prevent missing the cruise departure. Even on a non-stop 3hr Los Angeles flight when leaving from Long Beach/San Pedro pier I have clients go early.
  1. Most cabins are made of metal so bring magnets and you can hang up your daily newsletter and cocktail party invites on your cabin wall to keep things organized.
  1. You are not limited to one of each appetizer / main course / dessert. If there is something you want to try you can order 2-3 of each.
  1. Spa cabins located on some ships are often not much more in price than cabins in similar category and give access to the spas thalassotherapy pool, steam room and sauna. These can run $35USD per day on some ships and are included in the spa category so it’s often a better value to pay a little more for the cruise if you are an avid spa person.
  1. Casino frequenters can go the casino and have a hole punched in their room card and a free lanyard from casino staff for easy plan and to prevent leaving your room card in the casino machines where you collect points.
  1. A lot of the ocean cruise lines have a program for ‘future cruise deposits’ program and I tell everyone the following “If you are enjoying your cruise and feel you may like to take another trip in the next 2 years, then the future cruise deposit program is wonderful for you as it ‘satisfies’ the future deposit needed when you pick your next destination AND as an added bonus you get a great on board ship credit for your cabin (depending on the cabin category) so this is ‘free’ money for you and a win, win. Don’t be afraid to book as they will ask you if you have a travel consultant and at that time you may tell them my name “
  1. If you are unsure of what dining time you’d like, choose early dining as it books up first and then gets waitlists. You can always change it to later or anytime dining, but to switch the other way back to early not so easy.
  1. I like to say cruising is like a floating hotel where you get the comforts of far off places, waking up each morning in a new place, and the comfort of home with foods, air conditioning and comfortable beds with a bonus of entertainment nightly.
  1. Cruising is fabulous to see many destinations on an itinerary but unlike tours on coaches you only need to unpack once.

Great secrets from Laurie Costello, Susan Marriott, Warren Robinson and Angela Brinkworth in our cruise specialist department. Have some cruising questions?