Making the Most of Your Cruise

By: Amos Croisiri

Advance Planning Common Sense = Great Cruise!

Cruises are a wonderful respite from the cares of the world. Twenty-four hours a day you are pampered with seemingly endless food, a wide variety of entertainment, opportunities for adventure, and social events galore! In fact, there is so much to choose from that most of us ask ourselves, "How on earth do I plan for this?"

Whatever your reason for cruising, whatever the size of your cruise party, whatever the destination of your cruise, and whatever the duration of your time at sea, how you plan is dictated by what you want to get out of your cruise.

1. Packing: Keep packing as light as possible. Take only what you absolutely need. While most people's image of cruising is everybody decked out in seersucker and linen by day and dressed to the nines at night, the reality is usually quite different for most. Most people will pack a couple of active-wear or beach-wear outfits for daytime wear on ship and on land, a dressy casual outfit or two for most evenings, and informal wear for the couple of "dress-up" nights most ships have.

2. Tipping: The service staff, those who serve you your food and clean up your cabin, relies on tips for most of their wages. Often, the men and women occupying those positions are supporting entire families in Third World countries with those tips. Yes, tipping is optional, but my advice to you is to share a portion of the good fortune that allows you to take this cruise with those who are working actively to meet your every need.

3. Plan your expenses: There are activities for almost every conceivable budget and interest on every cruise. It's unnecessary to exceed your financial limitations during a cruise. If there's something you want to do on this cruise that's out-of-reach financially, start planning for your next cruise when you get home and include that particular item as a central part of that plan!

4. Time, like money, is a finite commodity that must be wisely budgeted, too. Prioritize, then stick to your priorities. By limiting your activity choices during the cruise, you'll be able to invest more of your energy into the things you do choose, feel good about doing so, and end your cruise ready to come back for more as soon as you possibly can!

5. You probably don't associate getting sick with taking a cruise, with the possible exception of seasickness, but it happens more often than most people realize. Much shipboard illness is avoidable simply by practicing the same healthy choices on the ship that you do at home. Yes, you do want to play hard, but not so hard that you endanger your health and well-being.

I'm convinced that there's no better vacation in the world than a great cruise. If you take time beforehand to anticipate those needs you have that ship's personnel aren't likely to be able to meet, I believe you'll likely come away from your cruise experience with the same opinion!

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