What to Know Before You Cruise

27 February 2016

I have been on about 4 cruises now I believe, and I still really wasn't prepared for the one I just went on. Most likely because I was young on all the other voyages, so I really didn't need to pay attention to anything except having fun. 

I had to do a bit of research before I cruised, but still hadn't found out everything that I could have. So here you have it, your go to guide for before you cruise. This one will be a tad more relevant towards cruises by Royal Caribbean, but I'm sure a lot of things are universal. 

Research Your Port's Weather and Pack for it

Before I left for my Pacific Islands cruise I wrote up a blog post with a lot of good suggestions on things to wear. Which is very relevant if you are going somewhere tropical and humid. Which it indeed was where I went. Oh so very hot. But I've also cruised to New Zealand, where for some reason we were completely ignorant on the forecasted weather. Ending up having to purchases jackets once we arrived. Mistakes were made. Google your locations. 

You Might Get Sick

I'm not talking the dreaded gastro, which is a slight possibility. More likely you're going to get seasick, or you going to get the common cold or flu. You're trapped on a boat with upwards of 2,000 guests and almost as many crew. In your own little floating city. Even if you sanitise your hands at every single station on the boat. Trust me there are plenty. (washy washy) You still probably won't be protected. 

I brought Glen 20, the sanitising spray on board and sprayed out our room when we first boarded. In order to try and get any remaining germs from previous passengers.  We both managed to survive for the entire time, until I started to get the flu on the last day. Make sure you bring travel sickness tablets on board as well, especially if you are prone to motion sickness. There is an onboard doctor you can utilise if need be. 

Wifi Sucks as Does International Roaming Fees

There's wifi on the ship. But for incredibly high fees. For one person to use the (very slow) wifi on one device, it's $26 (AUD) a day. For 2 people with one device each it's about $36. With a ten day cruise you're looking at $360 for the entire time. It's up to you whether or not you will need internet the entire time or not. For us we decided that was an expense that was just not necessary. 

I did however buy a 3 day international travel pass through Telstra. $45 for 225mb and unlimited talk and text for those 3 days. In Zone 3. Unfortunately what I didn't realise is that while Vanuatu is in Zone 3, New Caledonia is in no zones. So I got charged a bit over $100 on top of the original fee. Due to not realising that on the map when they're both blue and both next to each other, that one isn't included. Lesson learned.

Everything is American, and all in US Dollars

Hello Royal Caribbean, an American ship with American ways. If you hadn't realised the current value of the Australian dollar to the US Dollar is complete shit at the moment. Which means however much you think you're about to pay for that cocktail, well just about double it. You might think you're about to get a good deal on something, because literally every price for everything that you will come up against will be in US dollars. So if you don't keep this in mind you'll get a nasty shock at the end of your trip. And because everything this is American that means... 

Gratuities! Gratuities for Everyone!

I haven't travelled that many places, but so far the only place that I've been that expects tips all the time and for everything is in the USA. I get it, in the US a lot of people who are expected to be tipped get paid a very low amount. That's all well and good for when you're travelling in the US. It's a tad different to just immediately adopt American customs as soon as you step off Circular Quay in Sydney and onto a US cruise liner. 

There's an 18% gratuity added to everything you buy onboard the ship. Which is fine I guess. But there's also $18 AUD per person per day added to your final bill as an overall gratuity for your service and wait staff. That's an extra $360 worth of cost thrown at you there, a whole thanks for staying, pay up now please. 

We actually attempted to pay up front a few days before boarding to get it out of the way. But it wasn't working on the website. We then found out on the second day from two girls at our dining table that you can go to the cruise reception and just kindly ask them to remove the gratuities. Yep that's it. Even though we kind of felt like dicks, that feeling wore off knowing we didn't have to fork over an extra $400 at the end of our vacation. 

The Cruise is Whatever You Make it

If you want it to be a non stop party, go out every night and sleep all day, okay do it. If you want to go to every activity that is put on from dusk til dawn, learn every dance from every class they have available. Sure thing. Especially if you want to just sit by the pool every damn day, go for it. Do whatever the hell you want. That's probably the best part of cruises. It's kind of a do whatever you wanna do kinda holiday. 

So some days Josh and I roamed around attending all the trivia we could find, and then sometimes we just sat in our room and played Pokemon on Nintendo 3DS. Worth it. 

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  1. I've never been on a cruise in my life, but it sounds like such fun. I can't believe that internet costs so much, though, but I think if I were ever to go on a cruise, it would be a getaway from real life, so the internet won't be necessary.


  2. It sounds really fun, but also very costly! As much as I love the internet, I'd just sacrifice it, especially if it costs THAT much!

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  3. Oh boy! These things I didn't think about super glad I can pick some tips from the pros ��

  4. Love this! I've been on three myself too. I'd also add in, you're on a boat and not everyone cares about your appearance 24/7 hahaha. I packed so much makeup on all of my cruises and barely wore it because I couldn't be bothered! I guess night time is different, everyone wants to be a bit prettier for dinner, but during the day, slob life really haha! Especially during a few days at sea x

    Katina | www.katinalindaa.com


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