I learned a few of these the hard way!
1. Don’t leave your data plan on
I’m on Vodafone’s Red Plan which is great when I travel as I can pay $5 a day for pretty much all I can eat data. Until I’m out at sea. Suddenly I was racking up data by the minute thanks to updating apps in the background. I only did it twice. An unnecessary $150 on my bill hurt a bit.
2. Don’t take an organised excursion every day
In some cases this is a good idea as you can get to skip the lines in places like the Vatican Musuems by going on an organised tour. You’ll also have all your transport taken care of, which is handy if you’re docked an hour’s drive away from Rome or Florence. But there are days when just wandering around, going off-piste, having a beer in the sun at a seaside a bar in Cannes or wandering through a flea market in Ephesus is just brilliant.
3. Don’t eat all day 🙂
Believe me, you will be tempted to! Swing by the sno-freeze ice cream machine on your way to the pool. Nip up to see what’s on the buffet and grab a little plate for a nibble. Eat all three (or more!) courses at the formal dining room… on it goes. But here’s the antidote below.
4. Don’t use the lift!
See point 3. Don’t be a fatty boomba and take the lift! Make it your resolution to take the stairs to make up for all that eating – or give yourself permission to eat more!
5. Don’t forget your travel insurance!
I got a terrible respiratory illness. Maybe even flu, although I’m always reluctant to be so dramatic. It was not influenza, but it did require me making two trips to the basement to visit the doctor and spend an hour each time sucking air through a nebulizer and leaving with a bottle of cough mixture and some other remedies. Total cost US$300. I have insurance and will put in a claim, phew! (You can get a free quote from 1Cover Travel Insurance through my affiliate account here if you like >>)
6. Don’t lose your ID card
I came back onboard and put my handbag through the scanner, but as I was holding my ship’s ID card for them to manually scan when I stepped off the gang plank, I put it in my hat and shoved them through the x-ray machine while I walked past. It flipped over in the machine and my card fell out. Only I didn’t know that until later. Without your ID card you cannot get on or off the ship nor buy a drink. Good Lord! It was found and I scampered down to retrieve it.
7. Don’t wait too long to book extras
If you do plan on some shore excursions, spa treatments or anything else that you need to pay extra for, do that licketty split. As soon as you get onboard ideally lest you miss out. The line for these was long so I opted to swing by the booking desk after dinner and nab a few things. Even then I was on a wait-list for my Rome excursion.
8. Don’t miss the boat!
Unless you have an insurer who will understand that you got held up in the cute shop in Santorini and pay for a private jet to take you to the next port, whatever you do, don’t miss the boat. They’re punctual and they leave within a few minutes of when they say they will. The only exception is if your ship’s organised excursion is running late. Then they will wait for you. And that is a good reason to book an excursion (contradicting point 2 🙂
9. Don’t forget to check in on online
It saves a whole of time when you’re lined up with thousands of your fellow travellers in the arrivals hall. Print out your ID cards, barcoded tickets and baggage tags and you’ll skip through like a gazelle.
10. Don’t overpack
This is a general rule I try and apply every time I travel. There’s nothing that frustrates me more when I’m trying to squeeze my new purchases into my luggage and I have clothes in there I didn’t wear. Also your storage space may be limited, so leave your tuxedo at home and rent one onboard for formal night if you really want to be suave. (Read my post on 6 tips for packing light here >>)
11. Don’t pack everything into one bag
Your bags may not arrive for a couple of hours (or more) after you board, so remember to keep out your essentials, but also maybe a book, your hat and sunglasses, swimsuit if you fancy getting your kit off and lying poolside until the captain parps the horn three times and you’re backing out.
You might also like my post on 10 things to know BEFORE you cruise filled with tips on how to choose the right ship for you and some handy money-saving tips >>