Published on April 3, 2017 by Lola Augustine Brown

There are many ways you can make each cruise you take better than the last, and save yourself a little money here and there too. Here are 10 more hacks, tips, and tricks to help you become a cruise pro (be sure to check out part one for more tips).

  1. Bring a sweater. Yes, you may be cruising the Caribbean, but when you’re in the theaters or dining rooms onboard the air conditioning can make things a little chilly, so you’ll appreciate having something warmer to wear.
  2. Hit the hot tub on rainy days. Although some cruises offer dedicated child-free pools and hot tubs, if you’re on a cruise that doesn’t it can be hard to get much peace when you’re soaking. Unless it is raining, when hardly anyone will be using the pools or hot tubs and you get to bliss out without interruptions.
  3. Pack a lightweight power strip. Staterooms often only have one or two outlets, which doesn’t suit most people’s tech requirements these days.
  4. Order snacks for free at the paid coffee bars. Although you’ll be charged for a latte or fancy coffee on many cruises when you go to the stand-alone coffee shops, the snacks served (whether it is a pastry or panini) are often free, so be sure to take advantage.
  5. Check out breakfast at the more upscale dining rooms. Many new cruisers don’t realize that although there are additional fees when you’re eating dinner at the fancier onboard dining rooms, breakfast at these places is often included. This is a great way to sample something completely different for your first meal of the day.
  6. Keep essentials with you when you board. It can take a few hours for porters to get everyone’s luggage to their staterooms, so pop your swimsuit or whatever else you think you’ll need just after boarding in your purse or backpack.
  7. Ditch a shore excursion or two. You don’t have to leave the ship when it’s in port if you don’t want to, and if you stay back you’ll get to have most of the facilities to yourself.
  8. Take a nightlight. The lighting in some staterooms (and especially in the bathrooms) can be really harsh. If you want softer lighting – or just don’t want to wake anyone up with bright lights when you go to the bathroom at 3:00 a.m. – take battery powered lamps or tealights with you.
  9. Plan your dining. When there are so many dining options, working out what you want to eat and where can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss out on special meal options. Menus are set in advance though, and you can check them out at the ship’s front desk to help you plan for your vacation.
  10. Get the best theater seats in the house. There are usually four doors to the ship’s theater. Wait at the ones furthest from the main entrance and you’ll be let in at the front of house, giving you access to the best seats while the rest of the guests file in from the back.