Ready to sail the high seas? Not so fast! Before you take your first trek on a cruise ship, there are a few travel hacks you need to know about. These hacks will save you time, money and even embarrassment in some cases. There is a solution for everything from finding the best desserts to keeping yourself from getting seasick, so be sure to try out these five expert-level travel hacks for your first cruise.
1. Feeling Seasick? Head for the Pool
Many people avoid booking cruises because they suffer from seasickness. This is actually a very common condition, and luckily it is one that doesn't have to stop you from having the adventure of your dreams. There are many ways to deal with motion sickness while aboard a ship, and these can range from taking medication or wearing special bracelets to eating ginger to settle your stomach. Another good tip is to book a lower stateroom in the middle of the ship, because the lower and central parts of the ship don't tend to rock as much on the waves.
If you want a quirkier hack, head to the pool when you start to feel queasy. This should not be done if you are truly about to lose your lunch (you don't want to puke in the pool, I'm sure), but if you are just starting to feel unbalanced and off-color, the pool could help to stabilize you. Motion sickness is caused by the vision in front of you not matching up with the motion you feel in your inner ear. The pool water moves with the water outside of the ship, not with the ship itself, so your vision and inner ear can get on the same page. The coolness of the water can also make you feel more comfortable and refreshed.
2. Save Money By Booking Your Own Excursions
One of the biggest draws of taking a trip on a cruise ship is the great excursions offered by the cruise company. When you make port in a gorgeous new country, you can get off and explore it via a guided tour. What you might not realize, though, is that you don't have to book these guided tours through the cruise-ship company. Sometimes getting off the ship and making tour arrangements on your own can lead to saving a lot of money. You can even get to know some of your shipmates and book a tour together, which can lead to even more savings.
In some cases, you can explore on your own (if you know you won't get lost). You can even get off at one stop and meet up with the ship at the next one, after exploring a few cities that aren't on the ship's itinerary. You have to be careful with this, though, as you don't want to lose your way in a strange place. If that happens, saving money won't seem so great anymore!
3. Charge Your Electronics More Efficiently
While most cruise-ship companies are adding more electrical outlets all the time, many of them still only have one or two unused outlets per cabin. This can lead to a problem if you need to charge more than one of your devices at a time, but fortunately there are two hacks that could help. The first is to unplug the television and use that outlet to charge a second device. Most people don't think of this, because, well, TV.
The second option is to invest in a small, travel power strip. This one on Amazon allows you to plug in three cords at a time, as well as two USB cords. Just make sure you have the correct adapter — some European cruise ships have one American outlet and one European outlet per cabin, so you may need to invest in a European power adapter if you want to charge a lot of things at once.
4. Save Money on Wifi
Wifi is an essential, and cruise ship companies know this. That is why they have wifi packages available for purchase to keep you connected throughout your whole trip. However, experts recommend purchasing the wifi package before you embark on your journey. If you buy before the ship leaves, you can get a 10 to 15 percent discount on average. If you wait until the ship is setting sail, you will have to pay a premium.
If you don't want to pay for wifi at all, you can always wait until you dock and find the closest internet cafe, or use your roaming data if you have it. Or you can invest in a mobile hotspot, which can provide you with internet access anywhere, anytime. If you travel a lot, the latter could be a good investment, as it will mean never having to buy an international phone plan!
5. Find The Best Place to Eat (and The Best Time to Eat There)
Cruise ships usually have several specialty restaurants with amazing dinner options. If you want to try out one of these, you should do it on the first night of the cruise. On the first night, most passengers head to the main dining room for dinner, leading to a bunch of empty seats in the restaurants. These restaurants also often have special deals on the first night, like a free bottle of wine or 50 percent off the meal price. During the rest of the cruise, the specialty restaurants will be more crowded, so it is best to go on the first night to avoid missing out.
And for dessert, head to the ship's coffee shop. Most coffee shops on the cruise have some pretty decadent desserts like pies, cheesecakes and cookies.