From planning to packing, and enjoying all that a ship has to offer, Cruise Passengers love to exchange great cruising tips.

We are moving into the second half of the 100 best cruise tips of all time this week. In this third instalment, we have 20 things to know about your cabin and where to find the best fun on board.

Feel free to share your best tips in the comments section and help your fellow cruisers out.

Helen Davison sent us this packing tip: People really don’t notice if you wore a dress before, so there’s no need to take lots of evening wear. I take a simple, wash-n-wear, long black frock that I can wear alone or with different tops for a bit of variety and a formal look.

Thanks Helen!

Keep them coming…

In your cabin

1. Smoking is not allowed in cabins

All cruise lines have banned smoking in cabins and all lines sailing in Australia have also banned smoking on private balconies. Smokers will have to locate the designated smoking area on their ship. It could be an upper deck or specific lounge.

2. The cabin walls are thin

The thin walls of the cabins allow sound to travel quite well. Be mindful of your volume to be polite to your neighbours and perhaps skip the midnight movie played at full volume.

3. You are not encouraged to leave balcony doors open

Having the sounds of the wind and sea stream in as you wind down in your room might be very enticing but most cruise lines don’t encourage guests to do so. This is because the air-conditioning in surrounding rooms may be affected if you leave them open. It may also cause the smoke alarm to be set off although there is no smoke or fire.

4. Hang an over-the-door organiser

This is a popular hack among cruisers to get organised and free up counter space. Put your bits and bobs like your hairbrush, toiletries, chargers so you can see where everything is at a glance and don’t spend any precious holiday time, searching for them in the room!

5. It’s back to basics for toiletries

Most contemporary lines only provide basic shampoo and soap in the bathroom and sometimes even a two in one soap. So remember to pack all the other toiletries you’d miss, like toothpaste, skincare, sunscreen and even hair conditioner if you see yourself spending a lot of time at the beach or in the pool. These things can be pricey on board.

6. Look at the carpets for direction

This can help with getting back to your cabin. It is easy to lose your way in the long hallways and Norwegian ships have designed their carpets to help. The carpet features lots of small fishes which face forward. And if you are walking against the swimming fishes, you’re headed aft.


Activities on board

7. Behind the scenes cruise ship tour

Cruise lines offer exclusive tours to see below deck and backstage to learn how everything comes together to bring you the cruise experience. These spots are very few as there is only one tour per sailing. They also get booked out quickly although they are at a fee. So pre book the experience before your sailing or as soon as you are aboard for a chance to see the galley, engine control room, bridge and even the funnel!

8. Work out if the any of the add-on packages would be a deal

This applies to all sorts of packages, from drinks to dining, spa and even the internet! Cruise lines offer a wide variety of packages so you can maximise your fun. They might be worth it if you see yourself indulging a lot in a certain activity. Most of these packages are often discounted when they are pre-booked rather than purchased on board as well.

9. Meet other people and make friends

Don’t be a stranger! You’ll get many chances to meet new people and make new friends while on a cruise, even if you are travelling in a group. Just say hi!

10. Try one new thing every day

Cruising is a great way to try things you’ve never tried before, from food to entertainment, activities and the thrill rides. They are all within walking distance of each other and you’ll have many other people who’ll be trying it along with you.

11. Don’t miss the sunset

You’d be surprise how easy it is to miss the sunset on board, with all the fun you’re surrounded by. But you get a unique view of the sunset on a cruise and it will be a shame to miss it.

12. Free snacks

Having fun and taking part in so many activities can work up an appetite quickly. You can always find a quick snack like slices of pizza and soft serve ice cream on the pool deck or the buffet when in between mealtimes.

13. Take a break

It is hard to slow down when you are surrounded with so much fun. But don’t forget to give yourself breaks, especially after long shore excursions. Otherwise, you’ll be needing another holiday after the cruise!

14. Pre-book your tickets for the shows

Cruise lines put on some big name shows on ships like ‘Mamma Mia!’ on Royal Caribbean and ‘Rock of Ages’ on Norwegian Cruise Line. The seats of these shows fill out fast so pre-book your tickets before the sailing if you can.

On other lines, you might want to arrive early for the show to snag your seat. Cruisers have reportedly started queuing an hour early before the show!

15. Show up at the sold out show anyway

If you didn’t manage to reserve a ticket to view popular sold out shows, you can still try your luck and get in line on the day as some people with tickets might not show up. The staff will be more than happy to let you in if there are still seats available prior to showtime. However, there’s no guarantees so always have a plan B!

16. Some shows have additional fees

If you were planning to catch dinner theatre shows like Cirque du Soleil on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia Class and Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Cirque Dreams remember budget extra as they have a surcharge.

17. You can learn new casino games for free

Some cruise ship casinos offers daily classes on games. You can join these classes to learn the rules and play practice rounds without placing cash bets. Cruise ship casinos are also great for people new to the game as the limits are low.

18. Don’t let the kids run wild

Take the children to the Kids’ Club on day one so they can make friends that they can have fun with under supervision. This way, you can plan some kid-free time with a peace of mind.

19. Find your own fun

Don’t feel pressured to stick together as a group. You might be in the mood for different things on a given day. Go on and find your fun and arrange to meet up later. Some cruise lines have made keeping in touch with friends and family on board even easier by building an in-app messaging function on their official app.

20. Go for a round of bingo if you’re feeling lucky

You have to pay for the bingo cards but it is a long running cruise tradition and there are a whole range of prizes waiting to be won. They include cash, spa and shore excursion passes to a free cruise. Just set a budget and you’re good to go.

Read other parts here:

Part 1: Before your cruise

Part 2: How to pack and things to do when you first embark