Friday, 4 September 2015

Tips for Cruising

When I was telling people that I was off cruising, it was met with a lot of curious questions and interest in why and where we were going. I was lucky enough to be spoiled to the trip by my boyfriend's mum and set sail in mid August for two weeks in the sunshine across Europe. I cruised with Princess Cruises on the Caribbean Princess and we did a 14 day Mediterranean trip.
Often viewed as the holidays for older generations, I felt it necessary to write this post to bust some of the myths about cruising and also give a few tips for anyone looking to dip their toe in somewhere beyond the seas...
Book a room with a view
It makes a huge difference, and is worth the few hundred to secure a bigger room with a balcony or at least a little porthole view. An interior room will likely be noisier (closer to the engines) and will have zero natural light. Whilst you tend to not spend much time in your room during the day, there is nothing quite like waking up an hour before your docking time and standing on your balcony and watching the sights. We also docked in some stunning ports such as Ajaccio in Corsica which was a gorgeous marina and was perfect to be enjoyed from our own balcony.
We also used our balcony for sunbathing when the pools got too crowded on sea days and it was a total suntrap.

Black Tie Indeed!
When my boyfriend questions how smart the outfits I was packing for smart evenings, I was a little wary. Being 25 I was able to get away with shorter items, but, on formal evenings I didn't see anyone wearing anything above the knee and 90% of people were in floorlength formal gowns. I'm usually the girl who overdresses at events, so formal evenings were totally my bag! I donned a beautiful black gown from Little Black Dress, a green lace number from Monsoon and the birthday gift from Felicity, my old trusty blue Ted Baker dress but in a gorgeous cherry blossom design.
Next time I would probably pack another longer dress, because I always look for an excuse to dress up, and how often do you get to appropriately wear ballgowns! It as also nice to see Chris scrubbed up and looking smart!

Out of season
A short but obvious tip, if you don't need to, then avoid booking in summer or other school holidays. We didn't have the choice as there were children in our party, but the pools were pretty crowded and sunbeds and tables were occupied by whole families instead of couples.
I'm not an anti-kid police at all- I'm one of four so Cheaper by the Dozen is my life- but if a relaxing couples break is what you are looking for, then avoid the holiday times. It's also almost twice the price...

Do, do, do 
Make the most of all of the things to do on the boat, a lot of which are free. Everyday we went to the morning and evening trivia quiz- our top score was 16.5 out of 20, although we had a fair amount of bum scores too!
We went to the entertainment show every night at 10.15pm (just how jam packed the schedule was!) and it was West End standard, comedians and singers also graced the stage. There were Movies Under the Stars, movies in the day, Ladies Pamper parties, enrichment classes, bingo and so much more.

I'd say that its important to do at least a couple of things a day, sea days can be a little samey if you don't make the most of the events on board and I had nothing but amazing fun taking part!

We also made the most of excursions, tripping at every stop- more on that in another post! They can be pricey, and many of the stops would have good walk-off opportunities too, so just plan properly.

Don't be ripped off
Following on from my last point, don't feel guilt tripped into buying more...

We indulged in a couple of paid for extras- an excellent wine tasting experience and a couples massage on my birthday. The spa was fairly pricey (supply and demand I guess!), so we promised ourselves one treat on my birthday, but avoided booking anything extra- as much as I wanted a facial and seaweed wrap, and avoided the age old product sell at the end of the treatment.

They will try to sell you more at every occasion, so just be aware of what you are spending as there is no cash on the floor on a cruise, you pay on your cruise card and settle at the end and you don't want any nasty surprises.

Tailored for you
There are a few add ons which you can buy to make your experience easier, from photo packages to exercise classes, there is something for everyone to book.
We prebooked all excursions which saved queuing, hassle and money- all good things by my standards! We also prepaid the gratuities (which are compulsory to pay) which saved money again, we also had a drinks package which we definitely made our money back and saved on too. Cruises can be personalised completely, so its important to think about what you want from your trip.
Needless to say, it was totally up my street, perhaps not as relaxing as I had envisioned, but we packed our schedule with excursions at every stop. I loved the glam evenings, the food is excellent and the service is top class. We are already agreed on booking another cruise, to the Caribbean next time I think, so watch this space!



  1. Oh I love a good cruise! We've only been on semi formal ones though but would love to go on a lovely Caribbean cruise next! Looking forward to you next posts about the places you visited!
    Lucy Loves (

  2. This was really interesting to read. I've never been on a cruise but I'm keen to try one within the next year or so. Thanks for sharing your tips, it sounds like you had a fab time.


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