7 Pieces of Overrated Cruise Advice

By Chris Morse

7 Pieces of Overrated Cruise Advice

It seems everyone who has ever cruised either has a great piece of advice to offer others or has received advice from someone else. Some are true and some are not worth mentioning.  There are several recommendations we hear all the time like:  bring magnets to hang things, pack a highlighter for your daily schedule and don’t leave home without duct tape.  Some great advice.  But some of them do make us scratch our heads. Here are some of the most overrated cruise advice that we have seen at Senior Scene Travel Club.

There are so many more, but we find these to be top on everyone list of questions.  Hope you enjoy!

  1. Don’t book independent shore excursions.

Your ship will not wait for you if you’re late getting back from a shore excursion you’ve booked through a private provider. That risk often scares cruisers into paying inflated prices for cruise line-sponsored tours, about 20% more for their programs. These days, many independent excursion operators provide guarantees that promise to get you to the next port of call to rejoin your ship if, for some reason, your tour returns late.

You should always do your homework by reading the fine print before reserving anything, but we think it’s safer now than it’s ever been to book with a private company. The goal is to find a provider that offers a fun, safe tour for a fair price — even if it’s not through your cruise line.

Ask your Senior Scene Travel Advisor if you should book an independent shore excursion.  They are different on each island. 

  1. Bring an over-the-door organizer.

This is a tried-and-true bit of wisdom that works for many cruisers — particularly those sharing cabins with more than one person  that may not be in the family– because they help you to keep all of your things in one place while taking up relatively little space. But with cruise lines instituting more stringent policies on what passengers are and aren’t allowed to hang on doors, and with newer ships offering more storage space than ever, we question whether it makes sense to pack a bulky organizer when you can simply use the drawers and cupboards already provided.

However, I always bring a slim over the door organizer that will fit on the bathroom door on in the closet.  You will be glad that you did!

  1. Arrive at the terminal later to avoid the embarkation rush.

As a general rule, most cruisers prefer to board their ships as early as possible, which means, if you share that thought with all the other travelers, you’re likely to be met by long lines. For that reason, experienced cruisers advise arriving after the masses. It’s a trade-off, though: If you show up on the later side of embarkation, you’ll probably zoom through without much of a wait, but you also risk missing out on those extra couple of hours onboard when you could have been exploring the ship, taking part in activities or sharing a great lunch.

Cruise line today give you a boarding time that is sent with your documents.  You do not have to adhere to this time frame, but the cruse ships try and make boarding as easy as possible.

  1. Wear a seasick patch.

We’ve met many a patch-adorned cruiser who has no idea whether he or she actually gets seasick. “It’s just a precaution,” they claim. Maybe it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially where your vacation is concerned, but to us, that’s like saying “I’m just going to drink this bottle of Dayquil in case I get the sniffles.” Our advice: Take the patches with you and apply them if you start to feel nauseated.

I prefer the seasick wrist bands.  They work just as well as the patches and do not cause you to get drowsy.  Also, I find that most people think to much about getting seasick and thus plan to get sick.  If you just relax and enjoy the ship, getting sick will not be a reality.  And the big ships of today- you think you are sitting on a 6* hotel in Cancun!

  1. Turn your phone off.

Unless you really don’t know how to switch your phone to airplane mode, there’s no reason to shut off your cell phone on a cruise ship. On top of the built-in cameras — many of which are just as good as most simple point-and-shoot cameras — and clock functionality (alarm, home time), there are any number of apps you can use without needing a single bit of data from white noise generators to numerous games. You can even download TV episodes and movies from Netflix or Hulu to watch onboard without needing internet. Additionally, some cruise lines offer free access to their own websites or other cruise-ship related material, which you can browse directly from your phone without paying an extra penny.

The reason people turn off their phone is that if you get a call or get a text, you will be charged.  And they are right, and the cost is very expensive.  I suggest that you get a phone plan from your cell phone carrier and do not worry about your cell phone while on the cruise.

  1. Book your Cabin on the highest deck.

I have been in the cruise business for the past 30 years.  This is one of the most underrated cruise advices ever.  Cruise lines started this marketing promotion about 10 years ago when balcony cabins where on the highest decks.  Today balcony cabins area from desk 4 to deck 10 etc.  We all know the higher you are on the ship, the more movement you will experience when it gets choppy.  The lower you are, less movement.  Front or back?  The engine noise is in the rear of the ship, the ships movement up and down is in the front of the ship.  The center of the ship of course is a good place to be but it will be more expensive (the cruise lines have been marketing the center of the ship for over 20 years and we all buy into it.  I find that the best ride is over the stabilizers in the front of the ship, about 15 cabins from the front.  In bad weather these stabilizers come out, smooth the ride, and these balcony cabins are about 20% less than your cabins in the center of the ship.

  1. Art Auctions

Another flyer-heavy favorite, art auctions sound like a fun, high-end or even lucrative activity to try on a cruise ship. You could own a real Picasso or Chagall! Better yet, you could buy one cheap and re-sell it, making thousands! Um, no way. Unless you’re well-versed in the intricacies of giclee’s and lithographs, at best you will come away with a nice print for your home; at worst, you will be taken for a ride and pay more than you needed for art you can’t sell and might not even like once you bring it home. By all means, take advantage of the free Champagne — then leave before you accidentally buy something.

Please call your Senior Travel Expert:  Chris Morse at 321-978-5211