Our list of 10 things seasoned cruisers do for better cruise vacations
In this week’s podcast we talk about 10 things seasoned cruisers do. This is the third in a three episode series, so go back and listen to the last two episodes to learn about mistakes new cruisers make.
Let’s start with a big one. WE COVERED THIS LAST WEEK, BUT IT BEARS REPEATING… Seasoned cruisers almost always travel with a passport. Sure, you can manage a closed loop cruise with a birth certificate and photo ID, but it’s much easier, and less risky to invest in a passport. Trust us on this one.
Veteran seafarers also typically Pack less stuff. That doesn’t mean they go without shampoo for a week and wear the same shoes every day, but they’ve got a firm grasp on what they need and what they don’t for a cruise, and over time, they’ve learned that trimming the stuff means trimming the stress. They don’t necessarily pack like minimalists at all, they have simply learned WHAT TO LEAVE HOME.
Using a travel agent may seem like it wouldn’t make sense for experienced cruisers, but it does, and here’s why. Experienced travelers take the time to build a relationship with a travel agent who can save them time and money. Travel agents are the ones who pick up the phone if something goes wrong before the cruise, if a price needs to be adjusted, or if you want to make changes to your booking. How would you rather spend your time? ON the phone with the cruise line, or working on your tan? Nuff said.
But I want to take this a step further. Seasoned travelers know that it’s okay to move on if you’re TA isn’t right for you, or to use multiple agents
People who have been cruising for a while also tend to take control of when they show up to port on embarkation day. They either show up early or late to avoid the mid day crowds. THINGS HAVE changed with covid, you’ll have an assigned boarding time for a little while, but you may still get to PICK that time.
We’re early people, but we know lots of seasoned cruisers who push the all aboard time to the later hours, for one reason or another. It’s up to you, but avoiding mid day check in crowds is a nice way to start your vacay in a more mellow mood.
Cruisers who have been around the block also re-price their cruises now and then. They rely on their travel agents to watch the prices, but they also use websites like cruiseline.com to set a price alert to make sure they get an email when the price of their cruise goes down. To do this….choose a cruise, toggle to set a price alert & enter your email.
Saving money on a cruise is usually a big priority for experienced cruisers. The more you save, the more you cruise, so they leverage date flexibility when booking a cruise as a way to save money. They will look at the same cruise on several different dates to see which one offers more value and sometimes even hunt for ultra low cruise prices at random dates to find those rare, super deals. Deals are out there folks. But, it helps to be flexible about when you’ll cruise if you want to employ this ninja strategy.
We’ve also found that the more someone cruises, the more they weigh their options before booking shore excursions directly with the cruise line. Comparing prices with outside vendors can save loads of dough, and most carry the same “return to ship” guarantees the ship does. Give it a try on your next cruise, and see if the smaller crowds and lower prices are worth it.
Cruise loyalists also know they can consider the option to book airfare through the cruise line. It’s not always the best option, nor the cheapest, but if your cruise line offers it, it’s worth checking into. We’ve had excellent luck with Princess and Royal Caribbean’s air programs, and in both cases, we saved money on the tickets and our flights were fully guaranteed in the event of a delay or change. Not too shabby.
Lastly, experienced cruisers know to expect itinerary changes and read their passenger contract, particularly when cruising during storm or shoulder seasons. Weather happens. You’re on a floating vessel. The cruise line doesn’t WANT to change your itinerary unless they have to go around a storm or some other weather event, but they’re going to keep you safe… and itinerary changes are par for the course when you’re traveling by sea.
Take the cruise you can afford
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