The cruise lifestyle is much different than life at home. Cruise ships are literally a floating city and for couples vacationing, it can be easy to lose touch with each other. Although internet access is available, cell service can be limited. Here are some ideas for cruising couples to make your cruise vacation more enjoyable.
1. Unpack together. There are so many shelves, drawers and cubby holes tucked into a ship’s stateroom that you are in danger of never finding some things you need on the voyage until it’s over and it’s time to go home.
Perhaps the most common phrases heard in a cabin begins: “Hey, where’s my …?” If the two of you unpacked at the same time, there’s at least a chance the other party will have an idea where to look for that elusive tie clip or cummerbund.
Another tip: If your empty suitcases get in the way, you can usually hide them out of sight under the bed.
2. On-deck navigation. Learn the layout of the ship soon after unpacking. If a ship tour is offered, take it immediately. If not, ask the reception desk for a deck plan. Take it in hand to find the bars, restaurants, night clubs, shops, swimming pools, theater, card room, library, spa, gym, etc., and the best stairways and elevators to reach them.
Then when somebody wants to meet you at the hot tub, or there’s a comedy show you want to catch in the Starlight Lounge, you’ll know exactly where to go and how long it will take to get there.
3. The importance of routines. Immediately set up some routines in your cabin. Accommodations probably will be smaller than you’re used to in hotels, so you might arrange slightly different times for getting ready for dinner or other activities which might involve stumbling over each other.
Leave notes or, better yet, Post-Its for your cabin companion in a pre-selected place in your quarters. Sometimes we take along a pair of walkie-talkies— very handy when they work correctly, which is not always the case everywhere on a ship.
4. The first nighter. Avoid staying up late the first night out. You may be exhausted from last-minute packing, flying to meet the ship, etc., and you may not even realize it yet. It’s much better to go to bed soon after dinner and then face the first morning at sea fully refreshed.
5. Shore excursions. If you’re going to go on shore excursions during the cruise, make reservations as soon as possible after embarking. Desirable tours can fill up quickly, and later you may be so busy with new friends and on-board activities that you forget to make your land arrangements in time.
6. Dinner for eight? In the dining room, eschew the table for two. On the first day ask the maitre d’ to assign you to a round table for at least six, or perhaps even eight. That way, you’ll get to know some other folks on the cruise right away.
If there are two sittings, choose the second so you can talk late without being hustled off to make room for the next gang.
7. The smoking question. If cigarettes bother you, be sure to tell the head waiter so he can assign you a table with other non-smokers.
If smoking is even allowed indoors, usually cruise ship dining rooms, show rooms, etc., are divided into areas for smokers and non-smokers. However this is less true on some small vessels and others that do not cater as much to today’s health-conscious Americans. (Nowadays, smoking is generally limited to cigarettes except for some ships that provide a specific, supposedly well-ventilated room for pipe and cigar smoking.)
8. Be friendly—and expect others to be, too. Half the fun on a cruise is meeting people. You’ll soon find plenty in common besides the weather. Start by talking about the shows, the ports, the waiters, the stewards, the fitness coach or the captain, and the next thing you know, you’ll be comparing pictures of your family.
9. A bumpy ride? If the weather is rough, or if you think you may be prone to the effects of mal de mer, don’t be ashamed to take a pill: Dramamine, Marezine, Phenergan or whatever. Follow directions on the box or bottle.
10. Attention, everyone. Listen for interesting announcements from the bridge. Often it’s the captain talking about course headings, temperatures, etc., perhaps in an amusing European accent. These are not always broadcast direct to the stateroom unless you tune in to a certain channel on your television.
11. Read the daily bulletin … daily. Large cruise ships today may deliver two regular publications a day to your cabin. One is the ship’s newspaper or an abbreviated newspaper flyer printed from the Internet. The other is the newsletter that gives meal times, show descriptions, the evening dress code, and pertinent information on events and programs you might otherwise miss. (These notices are also usually carried on the shipboard TV.)
12. Don’t overeat. And do exercise as much as possible. This is difficult not to do when there seems to be food around every corner. Most ships have multiple restaurants to choose from so remember to pace yourself. It is easy for your eye to be bigger than your stomach especially if you are not used to 4 and 5 course dinners every night.
The gym area on most ships have group exercise classes as well as the ability to work out on your own. Take advantage of the facilities as often as possible. there is almost always an outdoor promenade deck where a given number of turns around the ship will add up to a mile. Use tricks like this to chart a course on the sea of healthy living.