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28 first time cruise tips that really work (2024)

One of the major appeals of cruising is that there's something for everyone, from mouthwatering cuisine that will satisfy the foodies to ultimate thrills that will keep the adrenaline of the most adventurous rushing.

Whether you're a seasoned cruiser or looking forward to your first sailing, there are cruise tips and hacks to make sure you're getting the most out of your vacation. 

When is the best time to book a cruise?

The best time to book a cruise is once you have decided the perfect cruise line, ship, and itinerary. You should never book anything until you have done all of the necessary research. 

Just because, for instance, you found a great deal on a Carnival cruise does not mean that it is the right fit for you. Maybe it is on an older ship with fewer amenities, or perhaps it visits ports of call that do not interest you. 

A cruise hack turns any cabin into a private area, which is perfect for light sleepers

If you’ve cruised before, you know staterooms on a cruise ship can be notoriously small, with most staterooms onboard measuring less than 200 square feet in size. 

Unless you decide to splurge on a larger stateroom, such as a suite, your cabin might feel smaller than you expect. Some standard cabins can accommodate up to four adults, making these small cabins feel cramped.

Cruise ship cabin stewards: who are they and what do they do?

If you are new to cruising, you might be wondering how housekeeping works. Onboard cruise ships, housekeepers are referred to as cabin stewards, and your assigned steward will maintain your "home away from home" throughout the duration of your sailing. 

Like other crew members, they work to make sure that you have a memorable trip! They'll go above and beyond to make sure that all of your requests and concerns regarding your stateroom are promptly addressed. 

Here is everything you need to know about cruise ship cabin stewards. 

Are guaranteed staterooms worth the risk? Here's everything you need to know about being assigned a random room on a cruise ship

There is no greater feeling than getting a good deal on a cruise. Every dollar counts, right? Sometimes, though, the cost savings are not worth it, especially if you are picky about where you want your stateroom to be located. 

Most cruise lines-- such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and MSC -- offer guarantee staterooms that are cheaper than standard fares that allow you to select your cabin at the time of booking. Choosing a guarantee rate means that you won't be assigned your specific cabin until closer to your sail date. 

I never beat jet-lag on my Mediterranean cruise because of this mistake

While Caribbean sailings are relaxing, nothing can beat the culture and history that accompany a European cruise. Every year, you can probably find me taking a cruise somewhere in Europe, as it is my favorite cruising destination in the world. 

This spring, I traveled to Europe for a repositioning cruise from Málaga, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. This cheap cruise was onboard Norwegian Sun, which is one of the oldest ships in the cruise line’s fleet.

Top 25 cruise cabin hacks to improve your stateroom's functionality

Prior to booking a cruise, it is important that you know that cruise ship cabins are smaller than traditional hotel rooms. While they pack a lot of essentials into a small space, they may fall short of meeting your needs. 

Even if you only have two people staying in your stateroom, keeping it organized can be a challenge. To make the most of the space, you will have to be creative and use some smart cruise cabin hacks to help improve your cabin's functionality. 

15 Things You Should Never Do in Your Cruise Ship Cabin

Cruises are a time to kick back, relax, and not think about day-to-day responsibilities. Even so, there are some rules -- both explicit and implied -- that you should follow while onboard.

You should not, for instance, smoke in areas that are not designated for smoking or engage in any unruly or disruptive behavior. 

When it comes to your stateroom, while it is your "home away from home" for the duration of the cruise, there are some things that you should refrain from doing in your cabin. 

6 tips to help keep a cruise line from losing your luggage

Losing luggage while traveling is a common concern, particularly for those traveling on airplanes. There is nothing more disappointing than getting to your final destination just to find out your bags got lost in transit.   

When going on a cruise, this is another important reason to arrive the day before your ship is scheduled to depart. What happens if you book a same-day flight, just to find out that your bags did not make the same flight? That is a whole other painful issue!

Cruise packing list: Essentials to bring on a cruise

Once you have booked the perfect cruise and the countdown has officially begun, you're going to need a cruise essentials packing list.

Packing for a cruise varies on the duration and destination, among other things. What you will want to bring on a Caribbean cruise, for instance, will differ from an Alaskan cruise

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