7-Day Cruise Tips, Things & Thoughts
What an amazing blessing it was to spend time with my family and be surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the Eastern Caribbeans! Last week, my family and I boarded our Carnival 7-day cruise that took us to
Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
St. Thomas, Usvi
San Juan, Puerto Rico
& Grand Turk
Within the 7 days, we surprised our eyes with the beautiful views of crystal blue waters and vibrant colored homes. We laid out on beach chairs and got both sun-kissed and sunburned. We feasted our eyes on the feasts itself that were placed in front of us - almost 24hrs! I'm talking about that well-known buffet cruises are known for to make us adopt that "See Food Diet." With all these experiences and more, within these 7 days, I've learned a great deal about the Cruise Life. And aside from the beautiful views that have stuck in my mind, here are also a few pointers that I felt are good to keep note of for myself when I explore my next cruise, and for those going to board their first cruise.
7 tips, things & thoughts from this 7-day cruise.
1. Bring a Water Bottle.
One huge mistake I made was not packing a water bottle with me. Hydration is so important, and even more so when you're out in a warm environment most of the day. The cruise's buffet area does provide water and small cups for drinking. But that is the only area on the boat to freely get water to drink. Sure, I did walk back and forth and fill a cup of water here and there when I did feel really thirsty, but I would have been extra hydrated had I brought a water bottle and filled it to have it always handy at my side when I needed it. Especially during those times when I was laying out tanning. I so needed it then! And with a insulated water bottle, you could have cool water with you at all times. Winning!
2. Keep Cool with Yogurt
I learned this awesome beauty tip from my soon-to-be sister-in-law. After being out in the sun so much, my skin felt so dehydrated and heated. Yogurt is awesome for cooling, hydrating, and clearing skin of bacteria built up. The zinc and lactic acid in yogurt helps cool the harsh bite of a sunburn, and helps smooth and exfoliate the skin. The breakfast buffets will often have plain yogurt available. So grab one and keep one in your cabin fridge handy. I used it almost every night, and always felt my skin cooled off, and more hydrated and clear post day.
3. Take the Stairs
Walking up and down the stairs is a wise option. Why? Because the elevators always took centuries to arrive at my floor for pick-up, and walking the stairs were always faster to get to the floor I needed to go. PLUS, walking the stairs was a great way to sneak some activity in. Like sure, I went to the gym occasionally in the mornings, but for the rest of the day I was either eating, laying out tanning, or dipping in the pool or ocean when we ported. Not much physical activity happening. So walking a couple of stairs won't hurt ya, and will get you to where you want to go faster.
4. Browse the Buffet First
Laying out tanning can sure make you thirsty and hungry ;)
On the ship they will have a buffet available everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (along with their fancy dining hall). Everyday there is something new; a different cuisine to try. Now before you get too excited and grab everything, just take 2 minutes to walk around the buffet and browse to see what is being offered. Do this to help yourself not over plate and over stuff yourself, AND to not risk being that lame person that wastes food because you couldn't finish your food since you over plated. It was so upsetting to see the amount of food being left on the tables and the staff members having to throw out what could have basically fed two families! So, moral is:
don't be that lame person.
5. Cut that "See Food Diet"
Now about buffets... It can be so easy to overeat. Definitely happened to me - I can't lie. But one thing I knew for sure was that I fell into the trap of it when food was constantly in my view. So a a couple of times I tried sitting with my back facing the buffet. When you see food often times we get over tempted and give in to feeding our hungry eyes when our bellies aren't even hungry. It can create false appetite queues. So just don't even put it at view, and give yourself a chance to actually stop and have time to think about your first plate you just finished, and see if you are actually still hungry for more.
6. Look Out for Last Day Sales
What you do want to keep a look out for instead are the sales that happen sporadically at the clothes/jewelry/souvenir shops on the ship. If you see something you like on the first few days, I suggest you wait a bit on jumping to the purchase. Throughout the cruise days, a bunch of discounts and sales would be announced, but even more, bigger, discounts happened on the last few days of the cruise. Like BOGOs and such. I got a couple of cosmetic goods at a very good price. And on top of that, everything is duty/tax-free, so that's also an awesome plus in savings!
7. Ask & Appreciate
Ask about the crew/wait staff that help you everyday to make your trip experience an awesome one. They have amazing and admirable back stories of how they came to the ship life and their reasons for working. Some of the staff I spoke to shared that they work 6 months from cruise ship to cruise ship, and get 2 months off for vacation to see their families. One of our awesome waiters at the fancy dining hall shared that he could not watch his own daughter grow up because he is away so often. When he did return home, she wouldn't recognize him. He tried to jokingly say that she would kick him out of the house. He says it in a light manner, but you can see it is anything but a light matter to him. He said most of the crew members have not attended college and have come here to work so they can ensure a better life for their children.
So what you can do to help is show appreciation with tips. Completely up to you to determine the amount you will give. The cruise booking process does "account" for tips with it being about $10-$15 a day. But the split of this tip among the 500+ wait staff is unknown. So after you've experience the FULL experience, REALLY look at what you were provided. REALLY reevaluate the service provided and SEE how hard the wait staff has worked. Any amount goes a long way. Seriously.
When you get on the cruise, take note that there doesn’t seem to be any Americans on the wait staff? That’s because cruise ships aren’t subject to U.S. employment laws - meaning they pay their staff low wages, which are then supplemented by tips from cruise passengers. So most of the workers are from other countries where a little for us, can go a long way for them. Check this out:
1 US Dollar = 49.77 Philippine Peso
1 US Dollar = 13343.00 Indonesian Rupiah
1 US Dollar = 2847.25 Colombian Peso
What a difference right? What a difference the tip probably made to our waiter and his family.
Make your cruise an enjoyable one and an enjoyable one for others too!
Well, I hope you loved these amazing photos of the views like I did witnessing them. And I hope you found these 7 tips, things & thoughts impactful and worth remembering as I did.
Until next time.