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7 Things That Will Make Your Cruise Smooth Sailing

Cruising? It’s never too early to start planning your dream cruise.

cruise, cruising, princess cruises, going on a cruise, vacation, midlife, midlife women

We had a wonderful experience cruising to Alaska on Princess Cruises. We made our reservations five months in advance of our departure which was plenty of time to save money, make adjustments, explore excursions, and get excited for our trip.

Once on board, we learned quickly which decisions really paid off in enhancing our cruise experience. Here are our Seven Tips For Making Any Cruise A Fabulous Cruise

1. Bring a power strip. I can’t take full credit for this idea. My husband read about it on line before we left. It sure made our electronic life a lot easier. In the cabins, there are limited outlets and they aren’t in the most convenient locations. Having our own power strip allowed us to manage our various recharging needs for our cell phones, cameras, and lap top computer. Not to mention, being able to use the blow dryer and flat iron when the bathroom was being occupied.

2. Get an internet package. I know, you’re saying you are on vacation and you want to be as far away as possible from your “tapped in” world. But emergencies come up, some responsibilities still need a looky-lu or two, and maybe you just want to share real time on your social media channels all the fun you are having (which is exactly what this blogger did!!). We even ended up enjoying an impromptu Google+ hangout with our kids while we were sailing. Having the freedom to use your technology when and where you want or need to is a great stress reliever and you don’t get caught with unexpected fees.

3. Learn your ship. All cruisers have to attend a mandatory safety talk in their muster station upon sailing. After that, it is a good time to walk the ship and see what is available on board. Acquaint yourself with the different amenities and say “hi” to all the different crew members along the way. Chances are, you will be running in to them again on your voyage.  Our cabin was located mid-ship which ended up being an excellent location. We were close to the stairs, close to the dining rooms and shopping, right at the heart of the ship. Best location ever. It just felt so much more comfortable knowing where everything was on board, right from the start.

4. Eat. Eat. Eat. All I ever heard before our trip was, “Beware of the food.” Not because it wasn’t good but rather the opposite: it was all too good!!!  While you may be tempted to over eat, it is possible to eat — and eat well — without going too crazy. By all means, take advantage of the all the different offerings. Try new foods and dishes. When else will you have the opportunity to explore so many fine cuisines and take advantage of the expertise of world renown chefs in one location? Portions are smaller, no one is making you eat everything on your plate, and there are plenty of healthy choices to balance it all out. Trade off eating at the different food venues: buffet, food stations, and assigned dining room tables. My favorites? The sugar free and not so sugar free desserts, the pizza station, and the soft ice cream station not to mention the delicious night time dining options.

5.Stay fit. There are lots of choices to exercise on board and it will help you with number 4. Bring workout clothes and tennis shoes so you can take advantage of the free gym or classes that are offered for a nominal fee. Walk along the outside decks, especially when you have sea days. On deck seven of our ship, walking 2 and 5/8 laps around the deck equaled one mile. Avoid the elevators and take the stairs whenever possible. We stuck to this rule up until the last day. That alone provided a regular, semi-strenuous workout.

6. Participate in the activities. The cruise director and their staff are professionals in planning and promoting all kinds of activities that enhance your cruise experience. There are lectures on topics associated with your ports of call, Hollywood worthy stage shows, lounges with entertainment, dancing, shopping, and tours on different aspects of the ship. A library features a wide selection of books to borrow in case you forgot something to read or are looking for something new and different. The game room is stocked with all kinds of board games and card games. We did bring our own deck of cards which made it handy to just plop down anywhere for a quick game.

7. Make New Friends. We traveled with some good friends from home but that didn’t mean we had to be exclusive to ourselves. With over 2,000 passengers on our cruise, there were lots of new people to meet and appreciate. One morning, we had a late breakfast. Our friends had already eaten so we were on our own. The two of us sat down at a large table near the window and we were soon asked by an older foursome– the Elders and the Fuersts — if they could join us. In our conversation, we learned that these two couples were from the Chicago area and had met each other at church years ago when they were raising their families.Mr. Fuerst, was a pioneer in developing municipal water parks. He engineered the first zero depth pools–the kind where it is shallow enough to gradually walk in to the pool, like at the beach. These pools replaced the Olympic sized ones of our youth which were great for swimming laps or taking high dives but not so friendly for a family outing. The zero depth pools were the forerunners to city run water slides and water playgrounds that we take our kids and grand kids to today. It was these innovations that Mr. Fuerst and his company developed that put water in motion and made water really fun!!!

I met another interesting couple on one of my journeys up the nine flights of stairs to the food court. They were observing the same “no elevator” rule that I had. Clive and Jill were from New Zealand!!!! Clive owns a construction company, and one of his suppliers paid for 150 of their loyal customers–including Clive and Jill–to come on this cruise. It was their 16th trip abroad sponsored by this company. In case you want to know, it took Clive and Jill fourteen hours on a plane to arrive at our boarding destination, Vancouver, Canada!! They had a trip before the trip!!!  Such a great added benefit to the cruise: getting to meet new people and learn from their personal histories.

I hope you find these tips handy as you plan your future cruise.

Read more from Caryn the Midlife Guru on her blog, The Midlife Guru

Caryn The Midlife Guru

Caryn Payzant is a blogger focusing on making the most of midlife. Instagram: Caryn_MLG

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Kay Lynn

Sunday 19th of January 2014

These are really good tips for new cruisers. I'm a frequent cruiser and still learn. Our last cruise we took an over the door shoe organizer to store toiletries and things in the bathroom since there wasn't much storage space. We also take a digital clock so we can check the time during the night if needed.

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