Top 5 Cruise Tips

Top Cruise Destinations
1. Know the cruise policy

Knowing the cruise ship policy regarding smoking, alcohol consumption and tipping is one of the top 5 cruise tips. If you're a first timer, or even a seasoned cruiser you'll want to be familiar with the cruise line policies regarding smoking, alcohol consumption and tipping.

Smoking & Alcohol

Most cruise lines such as Carnival, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises ban smoking in dining and public areas, though allow smoking in designated areas such as cigar bars and entertainment areas. Saying this, if you’re a non-smoker looking for a smoking-free cruise vacation you’ll be glad to know that there are non-smoking cruise lines such as American Cruise Lines which ban smoking throughout their ships.

As far as alcohol policies are concerned, cruise lines such as Carnival Cruises and Celebrity Cruises don’t allow you to bring on board your own alcoholic beverages. You also have to be at least 21 years of age to consume alcohol on-board in most cruises, though some cruises (Mediterranean cruises) have a minimum drinking age of 18. Therefore always double-check with the cruise line in question to avoid disappointments.


Tipping in restaurants and hotels has always been a controversial issue, and tipping in a cruise is no different. The good news is that cruise lines nowadays offer somewhat clear guide lines on tipping practices (i.e. how much you should tip and who you should tip), although many other cruise lines will charge you a flat tipping fee per day so, be sure to inquiry the cruise line’s tipping guidelines to avoid unwelcome surprises!

2. Know when to cruise

Another of the top 5 cruise tips to include in this list is choosing the right time for a cruise. the best time to go on a cruise depends to a larger extent on the type of cruise vacation you want (tropical, Antarctica, etc) and activities you want to do (sunbathing, diving, kayaking, etc), as well as the weather. The last thing you want to find out after you book your cruise is that you'll be cruising during hurricane season!

Three of the top cruise destinations in the world include Antarctica, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea. All Antarctica cruises run between November and March, and you can expect cold weather and adventurous shore expeditions to view penguins, polar bear, and other Antarctica wildlife.
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On Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, you can expect gorgeous weather, stunning ports of call, plenty of water activities on offers, as well as fun excursions and interesting side trips to places like Venice (in the case of a Mediterranean cruise).

3. Choose the perfect cruise ship

Picking or choosing the right cruise line is certainly another of the top 5 cruise tips to add to the list. The famous saying “all things to all people” truly applies to cruise lines, which offer nowadays all things to all passengers. Saying this, cruise lines offer specific cruise ships for couples, for weddings, for families, for young adults, for solo travelers, and even cruises for gay men and gay families. Cruise lines are divided roughly into three categories: luxury, romantic and entertainment.
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Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are the leaders of the pack when it comes to a fun cruise vacation. Carnival Destiny (Carnival), and Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) offer everything from cocktail bars, dance clubs, casinos, and Broadway-like shows.
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If you’re looking for a romantic vacation, or to get married the best cruise ships for couples, honeymooners and for weddings are Crown Princess (Princess Cruises), Norwegian Gem (Norwegian Cruise Line), Carnival Pride (Carnival Cruise Lines), and Crystal Serenity (Crystal Cruises).

For a luxurious cruise vacation enjoying gourmet cuisine and spa treatments, Celebrity cruise ships such as Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Equinox are the perfect choice for an unforgettable luxury vacation.

4. Get a travel insurance

Getting travel insurance for your cruise vacation is definitely one of the top 5 cruise tips on the list, and one of the first things you want to do before you go on a cruise.

Don't tempt lady luck! You’ll be surprised to know how many things can go wrong on a cruise vacation even before you step on board! Lost or misplaced luggage during a cruise transfer, last minute cancellations, and flight delays are some of the common things that can happen during your vacation, and without proper travel insurance you won’t get the right compensation. A couple of travel insurers worth checking out when considering cruise insurance include Travel Insured and Travel Guard.

5. Book shore excursions with the cruise line

Booking shore excursions with the cruise line is undoubtedly, another of the top 5 cruise tips on the list. Shore excursions are without question the biggest draw for embarking on a cruise in the first place as they offer the chance of being able to get a taste of different locales.
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When booking shore excursions, you can either book them through the cruise line or organize them independently (much cheaper), though as most seasoned cruisers will tell you (especially to first time cruisers) is that it’s best to book shore excursions through the cruise line. Not only because it saves you a lot of time, but also because they’re generally safer.

Also, when you book shore excursions with the cruise ship you are booking with confidence, which means in the event of anything going wrong with the cruise ship tour (i.e. tour returning late to the ship), the ship can not leave you stranded.

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