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Cruise Tips: Keys to Smooth Sailing

Posted By Samantha Brown On July 22, 2014 @ 9:43 pm In Travel Experience | No Comments

I have 10 cruises [1] under my belt – enough so that I’ve developed a protocol that helps me start enjoying myself as soon as I’m on board. Here’s what I do.

Cruise carry-on luggage [2]I always bring a carry-on [3]. That huge bag I packed might not be delivered to my room for hours (and I know it’ll have to be ready to go again the night before the cruise ends). In a carry-on, I’ll have the things I want to use immediately: swimsuit, sunblock and something colorful to wear that says “I’m on vacation!”

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I do some legwork upfront to find a special spot for peace and quiet. It’s actually pretty easy, no matter how big the ship is and how many thousands of fellow travelers I’m with. On a Royal Caribbean cruise, I found a small Mediterranean buffet set up on one of the back decks during cocktail hour: beautiful vegetables, breads and cheeses – and practically no people. We spent every night enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine.

I check in with the kitchen staff. There’s a good chance many are from India or Bangladesh – so if there’s a curry on the menu, go for it. Better yet, ask if there’s a place on the ship where the staff prepares favorite foods every day. Once on a Carnival cruise [5], I found a small side buffet on the pool deck where the staff served up homemade naan, cumin-spiced vegetables and a variety of curries, as well as a refreshing mango lassi. I was in heaven.

I go to the main dining room for breakfast. A buffet for breakfast and lunch on a five-day cruise is too much buffet. I enjoy being served a nice breakfast without the sound of a hundred food trays slamming down all around me.

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I opt to stay on board in at least one port - generally at a tender port, where you have to board a smaller craft to get to the dock. The most miserable I have ever felt on a cruise was when I had to wait on the ship in a long line to get on a little, rocking boat to go ashore – and then having to repeat the process at the end of a long, hot day. Never again.

I take the stairs. Unless you have a physical challenge it makes life easier. The elevators take forever and stop at every floor. Besides, after all that eating, it’s good to get some exercise!

Illustration: HelenaRakhuba/iStock [7]

 

Also of Interest

 

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[1] cruises: http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/cruises/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[2] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/iStock_000016464760Medium.jpg

[3] carry-on: http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-11-2013/carry-on-essentials.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[4] >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=28336&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-LISR

[5] cruise: http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-10-2013/cruise-ships-food-excursions.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[6] >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TRV-DISC

[7] HelenaRakhuba/iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/summer-travel-suitcase-16464760

[8] Travel Tips for a Romantic Cruise: http://video.aarp.org/video/Leisure-Getaways-Tips-For-A-Rom?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[9] Want to Drop Pounds Fast? Try These Tactics: http://www.aarp.org/food/healthy-eating/info-11-2012/lose-weight-quickly-photos.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[10] Fight Fraud and ID Theft With the AARP Fraud Watch Network: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN

[11] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[12] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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