These are the cruise ship tips and guidelines that we swear by, put them to good use.
Cruises are not for the faint of heart.. you’ve been warned.
Cruise Lines: Choose your cruise rate, choose your fate.
First you have to ask yourself what kind of cruise you want to take. If you’re looking for your relaxing days by the pool, cool excursions, family oriented cruises, Royal Caribbean is your cruise line. If you’re looking for the drinking, out of control, party extravaganza you remember from your college years, Carnival is where it’s at. Of the cruises I’ve been on, Carnival has had the most 20 something people than any other cruise line. And whatever happens on the funships, stays on the funships.
Family Oriented Cruise
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Out of control raw partying
Ports: Make or break
Next you have to ask where you want to leave from. Depending on your length of vacation, leaving from a great port can add several days of awesomeness. Miami or Orlando are popular, New Orleans can be legendary. Or if you want to save the some cash, Baltimore sails ships for less money, but more days. They often include more days at sea, which if you’ve ever been on a cruise before are just legendary.
Cruise Destinations: Local culture and flavor
Make sure you do your due diligence when booking your cruise ticket; the destinations ports can completely change the feel and atmosphere of the cruise itself. Here is a basic overview of some popular cruise ship regions:
Do’s and Don’ts
Once you decide all of this then you can move on to the next stages of planning the cruise itself. So here are some do’s and don’ts when you’re planning your cruise.
- You’ll want to sneak on some liquor for sure. Drink prices are not as cheap as you would think. Some cruises are starting to offer all-inclusive but those are few and far between and still very expensive. A few times my crew got cocky and just brought the liquor still in bottles, which worked a few times but most recently security finally got wise to us. Here are some sure fire ways to get your booze on board with you.Empty out (and rinse out) a big Listerine bottle, and refill with your favorite clear liquor and green food dye. Security will think you are just very hygienic.
- Ways to bring on more Alcohol
- Cut off the side of a 24 pack of water bottles so you can get the bottles out without tampering with the plastic overtop. Fill with another clear liquid and stack them back in, taping or gluing the cardboard side back on.
- A bottle of champagne or wine is allowed to be one, but if you’re looking to get more f*ucked up, carefully take off the foil, uncork and refill with your favorite liquor, doesn’t have to be clear since the bottles are usually dark colored. These you’ll have to carry on, if it’s in your checked luggage you run the risk of it getting taken away as well.
- Getting a little more risky, a camel back can be filled with clear liquor and carried on. If you really want to go professional, check out http://www.rumrunnerflasks.com. You can find a full array of fool proof ways to get your booze on. Whatever you pack in these doesn’t look like anything suspicious to the scanners and passes without detection.
- When you board the boat you only go through a metal detector, and never get frisked, so bringing mini-bottles on your person is usually a safe bet. Just don’t try to bring 50 so you clink your way through and get caught.
- Depending on the size of your party, consider theme nights. Every cruise we’ve had 10-15 members, and dressing up every night for dinner and the partying after is a GREAT way to meet girls. Believe me, they’ll remember you. 70’s, 80;s hair bands, Golf, Formal, and my favorite: toga. By the end of the cruise we had girls dressing up with us. And there is nothing better than girls in togas. Period.
- Do stick with beer. If you didn’t bring anything with you, or you ran out…don’t get caught up with the drink “specials” for a 9 dollar pina coloda Stay simple, a bucket of beer is your best money saver. And it’s always hilarious to dump the bucket of ice on your friends.
- Do find the captains hour. It’s a little bit like finding the needle in the haystack, but finding the free drinks during captain’s hour is well well worth it. Not only do you get to talk to the guy in charge of your funship, but you get free drinks for an hour, usually more. Great way to jump start your night.
- Do bring at least one nice suit. There will be one night where everyone wants’ to dress up, don’t be the douchebag at the dinner table in your button down.
- Do have a good amount of cash on hand. Even though most cruise lines give you a pre-loaded card to use onboard, you’re not going to be able to use that at the destination ports (unless port is owned by cruise Ex: Labadee, Haiti).
- Do go to all the cruise provided meet and greets. Whether you’re traveling alone, or in groups. The cruise ship will host meet and greets for single sailors and other groups. There is nothing better than partying the rest of the cruise with people you just met. Everyone on these cruises has the same goal: To have fun, remember that.
- Do spend the extra cash and book a private balcony room. It only adds up to another 100 dollars or so, and it is well worth the money. An interior cabin room has no draw to it. But if you’re trying to pick up girls, there doesn’t have to be said anything more than “hey let’s check out the balcony in my room”.
- Book the Early Dinner. Cruises split up their times into early and late dinners. Originally we were angry 1 person in our party booked late and we were stuck with the early dinner. But honestly it worked out for the best. The late dinner usually meant we were already too drunk to get to it, and that part was wasted. You do not want to miss these dinners. Lobster, Prime Rib, Shrimp, Filet Mignon., the best food on the ship are during that hour. Plus that’s the time you get to show off your theme for the night. The extra 2 hours really jump starts the night and gets you ready for the following debauchery.
- Do prepare for any trip back to the boat. Several cruises we’ve had to take a taxi at your ports to get to anything good, whether it be a great but touristy themed “senior frogs” or any shady strip club dive. In the past we’ve paid cab drivers extra to come and get us from the club to make sure we had proper transport back to the clubs. Taxi’s get pretty scarce around “last call” when it’s time to get back to the boat. This maneuver paid off and we have never missed a boat or left a man behind.
- Don’t gamble if you’ve been drinking all day. That should go without saying, but its different on the cruises since usually the entail all day drinkathons, back to back to back to back… and, not to mention, it’s the easiest way to put yourself on suicide watch. So you’re probably just throwing your money away unless you can control yourself pool side for an afternoon.
- Don’t drink so much you pass out on deck…no one will wake you up
- Don’t forget Dramamine or motion sickness bands. Just in case you are unlucky enough to get seasick, don’t forget these items! Being seasick is a world of suck, and you have nowhere to go until the ship docks. This can ruin your trip.
- Don’t piss off your room cleaner/attendant. Trust me; if you spend all night hurling chunks over your balcony, it’s going to piss them off. If you’re lucky you’ll get a kick ass room attendant, they’ll hook you up all cruise-long with certain items. Tipping applies.
- Don’t get married in the sky chapel. It’s not a good idea.
- Don’t leave your important belongings (passport, etc.) unsecured. Most cruise workers are foreign and who knows what shady stuff they are connected with.
- Don’t get left behind. I know it’s tough, and sometimes you lose track of time, but getting left behind will cost you an arm and a leg to get home or catch up with the ship at the next port.
- Don’t plan for excursions. They sound awesome, but atv’ing through caves with a parasail is a dangerous, dangerous thing in the condition people usually are in. Waking up early is never easy, let alone when you watch the sun rise every morning. It just won’t happen and if it does, you feel like death.
- Don’t plan your flight too early the morning after. Typically ships arrive back at port between 6 and 7 am…and you will not be able to function well. Any attempt to fly back to the airport will be delayed by your inability to think, or by a pesky shuttle waiting for one last passenger. Either way, you’re better off slowly meandering your way to the airport.
These are just a few suggestions to optimize your vacation. The best bet is to let the booze be your guide. The crew puts up with drunken idiots all the time, and they generally don’t care. It seems like we’ve broken every rule on the boat without getting more than a “stern” warning. Only 1 time has anyone gotten thrown in the brig and that was for passing out in the hallway and refusing to get back to his room. We’ve done everything from going down the slides 8 at a time to doing pull ups over the railing to streaking through the gallery without any repercussions. As our motto goes “it is what you make it”.