7 issues I want extra cruisers knew about happening a cruise
Cruisers come in all kinds of ways, from first-time visitors to once a year cruisers to top of the line “once a month is not enough” cruisers. There is nothing wrong with not being able to see your port from starboard or remembering the name of every single Royal Caribbean ship that has ever existed.
Regardless of your experience, a cruise should be a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable vacation that delivers that “wow” that Royal Caribbean is so fond of marketing.
Here are 7 suggestions I have for anyone who is cruising and wants to enjoy their cruise to the fullest.
New doesn’t always mean better
The latest Royal Caribbean cruise lines offer amazing technical and fun performances. New ships grab our attention with all of the “can’t believe they put it on a cruise ship” features and beautiful designs.
New ships may look great, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of a good cruise ship, and don’t force yourself to just book new ships.
Existing ships have a ton of great things on board (after all, they were the new ship, too). More importantly, they offer a great cruise at a much lower cost than a brand new ship.
Even a ship that is a few years old is likely to cost less than the newest ship.
Plus, the existing Freedom, Voyager or Radiance class ships offer a different cruise experience than the newest ships on the block. Cruising is more than just the number of exciting attractions you can combine in one sail. Royal Caribbean has always done a good job mixing innovation with classics and you won’t get bored on older ships.
The key is figuring out what to look for in a cruise, what features to have on board, and then choosing the right ship for your vacation. If you are just looking for the newest ship, this is just a higher price.
Continue reading: Why you shouldn’t avoid older and smaller cruise lines
How much time can a good travel agent save?
Outside of cruises, the role of travel agents has diminished, but they are still so useful when you are booking a cruise.
First and foremost, not all travel agents are created equal and there is a clear distinction between a travel agent and a good travel agent. Rely on others for referrals, but applaud the good agents for all the time and money they can save you.
After someone realizes that there are still travel agents around, the next thing they probably want to know is why they can’t just book a cruise directly with the cruise line.
Using a good travel agent is more than just putting your credit card on a booking. It’s about being your lawyer all the way, from figuring out the best sailing and cabin option, to finding the lowest price, to availability if changes or issues arise.
Anyone new to the cruise will find travel agents very helpful in answering questions and making the best decisions. Established cruisers save so much time with a travel agent that they can help with problems.
The end result is finding and using a good travel agent that will free you up for other things and not cost you anything.
Continue reading: Top Things You Didn’t Know Travel Agents Can Do For Your Cruise Vacation
You should get a passport
Americans can cruise from the United States on a passport-free cruise, but be sure to get one.
Yes, a passport will cost you money and will take some time to fill out the application, get a photo, and process it. However, this makes cruising easier and more reliable.
A passport makes getting on and off the cruise much easier and speeds both up.
If you’ve ever been stuck out of the country, getting home with a passport is as easy as buying a plane ticket. Getting stranded outside the country without a passport is a grueling process at best.
Do yourself a favor and get yourself a passport before your cruise to keep things going as smoothly as possible.
Continue reading: Do you need a passport for a cruise?
Say something if there is a problem
A really common mistake I see is someone encountering a problem on a cruise that affects the enjoyment of the cruise and does not tell a crew member about it.
Whether it is a malfunction in the cabin, an accident on board, a disagreement with a crew member, or something else that is holding you up, issues should be resolved on board, not after the cruise.
I know the feeling of not wanting to be bothered, but Royal Caribbean wants you to have a great experience and issues should be identified so that they can be fixed.
A classic example is slow service in a dining room, where a waiter may be handling too many tables or a kitchen delay may slow everything down. Asking to speak to the head waiter to alert him to a problem is a helpful way to resolve the situation faster.
If there is a billing discrepancy on your bill, contact Guest Relations on the ship. If something is not working properly in your cabin, notify your cabin attendant.
Continue reading: The best crew members to find out if you have a problem on board your cruise
Be as flexible as possible during a cruise
Sometimes things don’t go that way, and bad luck can even be experienced on a cruise ship.
Getting frustrated or even breaking down in front of family and strangers happens to the best of us. We are all human and we all have our turning point. So occasionally something happens that triggers someone and leads to a few minutes that we later regret.
One of the best pieces of advice about cruising is to be as flexible as possible. You cannot control everything that happens and sometimes you are just unlucky.
The key is that this incident doesn’t ruin the rest of your day or your cruise. We’re all frustrated, but try to remember the classic mantra: don’t worry, be happy.
Continue reading: How to plan a cruise vacation with maximum flexibility
Always book a refundable cruise fare
Whichever cruise you book, choose a refundable deposit instead of a non-refundable deposit.
While you can save some cash with a non-refundable deposit, the inflexibility and modification fees associated with these tariffs make it undesirable.
If your easiest to cancel and get your money back (not just a future cruise credit), a refundable cruise deposit is the way to go. While some room categories don’t offer refundable deposits (e.g., suites), the vast majority of rooms that can be booked can choose between refundable or non-refundable cruise fares.
I always thought that refundable cruise fares were the right choice in the past, but with so much uncertainty, refundable cruise fares are now a must.
Continue reading: Five Lessons I Learned From All Of These Canceled Cruises
Change is not a bad thing
In general, people don’t love change because it disrupts what we are used to. However, changes in the cruise industry are inevitable and we should embrace them.
Royal Caribbean Cruises have evolved since the company started operations more than 50 years ago. Whether it was introducing the first mega-ship, adding a rock wall to a cruise ship, building the largest ships in the world, or changing the size of the ship’s name on the side of a ship, changes always annoy some at the beginning, but we get used to them.
As cruise fans, we started cruising because that’s what cruising was like and the changes that have occurred since then are attempts to build on and improve the experience. A person’s “wow” is “why did they change it?”
Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, spoke earlier this year about how change always happens, and it was a fond reminder that nothing stays the same on cruises: “The only constant is change. We don’t know how the future will unfold. “
“When we design our ships, we are talking about a design formula from a third tradition, a third evolution, and a third revolution. That formula worked pretty well for us … It doesn’t hold us in the past, but it isn’t . ” t a new normal. “
While there are occasional changes that result in a bug, most of the time Royal Caribbean gets it right, and adopting the change makes for a smoother and more enjoyable trip.
Continue reading: The Top Changes You Should Know About Royal Caribbean’s New Health Protocols