Monday, August 26, 2013

Have a Better Cruise Experience

Going on a cruise is one of my favorite vacation experiences and apparently this is also true for many other Americans, especially retirees.  I love being able to visit multiple locations without having to arrange for transportation from city to city.  I also enjoy the freedom from constantly packing my luggage and moving to a new hotel every few days.

While I already consider cruising one of the easiest forms of travel, I also have a few tips that may make it an even more practical travel choice.  While you may not want to try all these things, pick out a few and see if they make your next cruise even more pleasurable:

Tips for a Better Cruise

Limit your luggage.  I usually take far too much clothing on my cruises.  Depending on whether you are going to a tropical location or cruising near Alaska or North Europe, you should be able to get by with just a few color-coordinated outfits that work well if you mix and match them.  Throw in one dressy outfit.  A knit "little black dress" is practical and it won't wrinkle easily.   You can change the look with a dressy jacket, jewelry or scarves. Your room will be more comfortable if you don't overpack and you  may not have to wait to have your luggage delivered to your room if you are able to just carry your bag on board by yourself.

Don't overspend on cruise extras.  For example, your regular dinner table will serve fabulous meals every evening.  Do you really want to spend extra money to go to a specialty restaurant on the ship?  You may also want to steer clear of the gift shops.  Often they carry the same lines of high priced souvenirs that are for sale in upscale hotel gift shops everywhere.  Unless you forgot to pack a swimsuit or you really want a sweatshirt with the name of your cruise line printed on it, you can probably skip most of the items in the gift shops.

Don't spend all your days in port taking excursions. Instead, spend some time exploring the ports on your own, especially if you can rent a car or take a cab and get away from the tourist sites that are clustered near the port. One of the delights of traveling to new locations is getting to experience new adventures.  If you are cruising in Hawaii, for example, you may want to visit the erupting volcano on the Big Island and tour the Pearl Harbor Memorial on Oahu, and it may be easiest to see these attractions if you sign up for a tour.  However, you do not want to spend all your time and money on excursions.  You can happily wander around many of the port towns on your own.  When we have traveled in Hawaii, the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe, whether we were on a cruise or not, my family and I enjoyed getting away from the tourist attractions and exploring the towns on our own.  We signed up for a few excursions and tours, but we always left ourselves plenty of free time, too.

Eat right and get exercise.  While you are on your cruise, it is easy to eat all day long.  Food is available almost everywhere!  However, if you sit around on deck chairs, eating and drinking all day, you will start to feel sluggish after a few days.  Take advantage of the fitness facilities.  I enjoyed taking a yoga class and my husband competed in a golf tournament on one of our cruises.  Rather than going to the breakfast buffet, where we knew we would be tempted to overeat, we asked to have a bowl of fruit, tea, coffee and oatmeal delivered to our cabin each morning.  We also tried to eat a reasonable lunch.  After being good during the day, the generous five course dinners we enjoyed each evening were a luxury that we could consume with less guilt.

Don't forget to enjoy all the on-board opportunities to do something new.  The cruise social director has usually planned lots of fun activities for your enjoyment.  Take a dance class, enter a talent competition, learn a few new casino games, and watch the world-class entertainers.  There are always exciting activities going on aboard a ship.  Have fun and participate.  You might not have the chance to see or do some of these things again.

For more helpful tips, you may also want to read my recent blog post:   Is It Safe to Cruise on Your Next Vacation?

If you are retired are approaching retirement, you may also want to check out the index articles below.  Each one contains links to a number of articles on that topic:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:  http://baby-boomer-retirement.blogspot.com

Photo of cruise ship courtesy of morguefile.com

2 comments:

  1. Great suggestions Deb! What I found works for me on cruises is allowing myself to eat anything I want, but only a few bites. It's very satisfying, actually. I love trying new foods but don't do a lot of it if I'm at a restaurant where I have to pay for it and waste money if I don't like it. On cruises I can try everything, I just don't eat it all.

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  2. My Mom wants to go on a cruise now that she's retired and has some time, so thanks for this resource!
    -Kurt.
    Seniorly.com

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