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Galveston Cruise Parking: Stateroom Secrets Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know

Your stateroom is your home away from home during your cruise vacation. It is best to take advantage of every available amenity that your stateroom has to offer. Here are a few secrets that most people do not know about your cruise line stateroom.

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Stateroom Secrets Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know

Metal Inside and Out: Most of your stateroom is made of metal, therefore magnets can be very helpful. Using magnets throughout your stateroom can be an efficient way to keep itineraries, daily newsletters, schedules, and to do lists organized.

Let The “Sunshine” In: Since most staterooms do not have any available natural light, they get very dark when the overhead lights are turned off. Using your television tuned to the cruise ship camera station can act as a great nightlight. It will also be a great weather gauge for the upcoming day’s events.

Where’s The Plug: In today’s connected world, your stateroom has limited outlets. Most cruise ships do not have USB outlets for charging your small electronics, so we suggest you bring a surge protector or two to expand the number of outlets available. (check to make sure that they are allowed on your particular cruise line)

Bedding and Storage: Most of us are very picky about our bedding, sheets, and pillows. If you fall into that category, check with your steward to see what bedding options are available. Non-allergenic pillows, memory foam mattress toppers, and extra blankets can be available upon request. Your stateroom is space efficient to say the least. Cruise ship designers make good use of space and offer as much storage space as possible. Be sure to explore your cabin thoroughly to discover all of those hidden spaces to store you belongings.

Secrets The Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know Series

Food Secrets Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know

cruise parking galveston, galveston cruise parking, cruise terminal parking galveston, galveston cruise terminal parkingYou deserve to get the most out of your cruise vacation experience. Many times the cruise line does not spell out all of the services available. There are certain secrets that are not disclosed that can save you money, provide more options, and allow you to enjoy your cruise vacation even more.

The dining experience on a cruise ship is an amenity that many people do not take full advantage of. Many dining tips are not know until you take several cruises on the same cruise line. But we have put together a series of “Top Secret The Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know” list to keep you in the know!

Food Secrets Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know

Main Dining Offers Unlimited Options: Did you know that you are not limited to one selection from each course of the main dining room menu? You can choose a few appetizers, two main courses, and multiple desserts for your meal. This is a great way to sample foods that you have never tried before, or refuel after a long day of excursion fun.

Room Service for Free or Discounted Rates: Royal Caribbean offer room service for a discounted rate of $7.95 and from a specific menu Carnival offers room service for free. This option is a well kept secret that most cruisers do not know. Relax on your day at sea and enjoy in cabin dining for a relaxing change of pace.

Breakfast Buffet is Not The Only Option: Depending on your cruise line, there may be other options for breakfast than the breakfast buffet. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean restaurant’s offer limited to full breakfast menus. Your cruise newsletter will announce which restaurants are open for breakfast offering you an alternative to the breakfast buffet.

Specialty Restaurants are Not Busy The First Day at Sea: Most people tend to eat in the main dining room or the buffet the first night on the cruise ship making the specialty restaurants relatively empty and easy to book your reservation. Many specialty restaurants offer special deals the first night at sea, so definitely look in to the special offers available.

Free Desserts: Many of the onboard coffee shops offer free pastries, confections of various types, and small desserts. Check with them to see which offer free options. Ice cream is available as well from soft serve machines and some cruise lines offer hard-serve stations at the buffet. Do some research to find the locations and times to soothe your sweet tooth.

Hassle Free Embarkation Day Dining: The chaos on embarkation day ensues as soon as you board the ship. Many people explore the ship, their stateroom, and of course the food options available. Many of your fellow cruisers will hit the buffet while waiting for their cabin to become available, so choose an option that will be less crowded and busy.

Drink Smart: Since there is not a “open container” law on board the cruise ship, you can take your drinks anywhere on board. For you beer drinkers, ordering a bucket of beer can save some money. If you are traveling with friends, this is a great way to share the expense of a refreshing, ice cold beer.

In addition, many times buying the entire bottle of wine is less expensive than buying a few glasses. If you don’t finish it, not to worry, your server can save your bottle to enjoy your next evening. Most cruise lines will allow you to bring a bottle of wine or champagne per adult. (most charge a cork fee) **Do some research before you bring your own wine. Many times the cork fee plus the purchase of the bottle of wine can be more expensive than buying the bottle of wine on board. Watch your cruise newsletter to find the drink of the day or special drink offers.

Secrets The Cruise Lines Don’t Want You To Know Series

 

Hurricane Season & How it Affects Your Cruise Vacation: Things You Must Know

Hurricane season starts June 1st and runs through November 30th. Although hurricanes are not likely to interrupt your cruise vacation plans, it is best to know what to do if tropical weather threatens your much needed vacation.

Here are frequently asked questions about cruise vacationing and being hurricane prepared.

Is there a way to avoid hurricanes when cruising in the Caribbean?

Sailing outside of hurricane season will greatly reduce the chance of your cruise vacation being effected by a tropical storm. If you are cruising within the six month Hurricane Season, here are a few rules of thumb:

  • Mid-August to Mid-September are prime time for tropical activity in the Easter U.S. Coast and Easter Caribbean
  • Mid-August to Early November storms are more likely in the Western Caribbean

What if a storm develops while at sea? Will our ship sail into a storm?

Compared to islands and coastal areas, a cruise ship is mobile. If you find yourself on board ship as a storm develops, rest assured that the cruise line is using the sophisticated weather technology on board to steer you around the storm and out of harms way. This may mean missing a port of call or changing the destination of ports of call.

In addition to being able to steer, your cruise ship is pretty fast. Most modern cruise sips can hit speeds of 20+ knots. Most storms move between 5 to 10 knots. That does not mean that there may be rough seas if you are caught running from a hurricane while at sea. This is why seasickness/motion sickness medication are a vital part of any cruise vacation prep list.

The cruise line may also cut your vacation short or extend your cruise depending on the position and severity of an approaching hurricane. Most cruise lines will provide compensation for shortened cruises and will provide meals at no additional charge if your cruise extended. Please note that all circumstances are different and cruise lines operated independently due to each situation.

During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the storm shut the port of Galveston down and cruise ships were unable to return to port. The typical one week cruise was extended to just under two weeks when the port reopened. Passengers were given the choice to disembark in New Orleans and find ground transportation on their own.

Are seas higher during hurricane season, even if there is not a storm in sight?

Typically seas are affected by wind or storm elements. The later in the summer the more calm the water is generally how the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico behaves. When a storm, any storm not just hurricanes move over water, the sea can be rough. The closer you are to the center of the storm activity, the more rough the seas will be.

Do cruise lines have to issue refunds when my cruise is affected by a hurricane or bad weather?

The general answer is no. Some travel company’s or cruise lines offer vacation insurance and only apply if purchased for an additional charge. However, many cruise lines will offer some kind of compensation when inclement weather affects a cruise vacation itinerary. This may be a variety of different methods: discounts on future sailings, onboard credit for current or future cruises, refunds, or special offers. Again, this is always determined on a case by case basis by the cruise line.

If there is a hurricane, can I cancel my cruise?

Cancelling is generally not an option without a penalty. The option to reschedule is often an option. Most cruise lines will do whatever possible to still accommodate the sailing date of the cruise.

On a recent 5 day cruise out of Galveston, fog delayed the cruise line from reentering the port of Galveston. The delay was 36 hours. Cruisers were given the option to still go on the cruise with a shortened length and receive an onboard credit or reschedule.

Does travel insurance cover hurricanes for cruise vacations?

Please note that each policy is different, and it is best to read the fine print. But any travel insurance plan that is worth anything will cover trip delays, cancellation or interruption due to hurricane and stormy weather. Look at the details of your insurance plan to see how airfare is covered. If traveling to Galveston via plane, you will want to make sure that you are covered if your plane is delayed and you miss disembarkation of your cruise.

Cruise travel insurance must be purchased in advance in most cases. If the storm develops and you are 2 days away from your sailing date, chances are you cannot purchase travel insurance.

If I booked an excursion privately and the cruise is affected by a storm, can I get a refund?

Again, this will depend. Each vendor will have different cancellation policies due to weather. It is best to read up on their policy prior to booking to see what would happen due to weather delays. Larger tour providers will most likely refund your excursion, but it is always best to confirm their policy before booking.

What if there is a delay in leaving our port due to a hurricane?

The port that you are leaving from can close due to weather conditions. Most likely there is a cruise ship of passengers waiting to disembark on that cruise ship. So tensions on both side of the situation can be elevated. If the port is closed, it is by good reason. The port will be reopened when it is deemed safe for travel. A closure of this type can create havoc. It is best to communicate with the cruise line for information and not rely on other passengers or port officials.

If my return from my cruise, how can I make travel arrangements/change flights/extend car rentals?

Be sure to have all travel companies involved toll free number with you during your cruise vacation. In the event of a delay getting back to your disembarkation point of origin, most cruise lines will make internet and phone services open or at a reduce rate in order for you to make travel arrangements.

If my car is damaged by a hurricane in port, who is responsible?

If you car has storm damage while you are at sea, it is not up to the cruise line or parking facility to make repairs. Most parking lots policies are provided at the time of reservation or when you check-in.

Are there special discounts for hurricane season?

The summer is a high demand time for cruise vacationers. Most cruise lines do not offer specific discounts for cruising during hurricane season. Later in the year there seems to be a drop in price but that reflects the drop in demand as school begins.

What is the best way to communicate with your Lighthouse Parking regarding news about weather, weather delays, and the conditions of Galveston?

Information regarding weather conditions are posted to the Lighthouse Parking Facebook Page. During Hurricane Harvey, Ike, and other tropical storms, we did our best to post as much information as possible as quickly as possible about weather conditions in Galveston. We posted pictures and videos of the parking lot to show the conditions of vehicles. This is your best communication method about cruise ship delays.

6 Signs You Just Returned From Taking A Cruise

People are either cruisers or they are not. Some people love the relaxing, carefree atmosphere of a cruise while others are terrified of being “locked up” on a boat with strangers for a week. For us, we love cruise vacations and making memories with family and friends. If you have just returned from a dreamy cruise vacation, here are six signs that you just got back!

1. You make Donald Trump Look Like He Needs a Tan

Food is not the only thing that is served in high quantity on a cruise ship. Mother Nature provide and endless amount of sun that you can enjoy and get your tan on. This is especially noticeable if you cruise during the winter or if you are from an area up North that does not see many sun bathing opportunities.

2. You Frequent the International Food Aisle At Your Grocery Store

Cruise vacations allow you to sample many different types of food in a very short time. Recreating that delicious meal when you return home is the goal of even the novice of chefs. You will find yourself shopping for tropical spices and seasonings upon your return.

3. You Become The Best Salesman For The Cruise Industry

You just had the time of your life on your cruise vacation and you want to share your experience with everyone you meet. To you, there is no better way to spend your vacation and you have already began to plan your next adventure. You eat, sleep, walk and talk the cruise life when you return and want everyone to enjoy cruising.

4. Your “little” House Doesn’t Seem So Little Anymore

A cruise ship is like a floating city; large massive and elaborate “boat.” Until you arrive in your stateroom and you realize that the closets in your house back on shore are not so little anymore. You begin to appreciate the size of your home and your ability to stretch out without touching a wall.

5. You Begin to Evaluate Your Ability or Inability To Cook

After feasting on multi-course gourmet meals for the last week, you have now realized that you are not as good of a cook as you once thought. You might even find yourself enrolling in cooking classes in an effort to recreate that unforgettable meal from your cruise vacation.

6. Your Social Media Becomes An Ad For Cruise Vacationing

Every time we have returned from a cruise vacation, we spend days sorting through the endless number of photos taken while on board. What better way to share your experience that social media. Your social media feed begins to look like an advertisement for your favorite cruise line.

 

 

7 Bathroom Hacks to Make Your Cruise Ship Cabin More Livable

Cruise ship bathrooms, for the most part, are quite tiny — but they are generally small, lacking in storage space and aren’t the best at circulating odorous air. We’ve learned a few tricks that can improve your in-cabin experience.

Here are seven cruise ship cabin bathroom hacks you must know before your next sailing.

1. Bring a shoe organizer for extra storage.

In many on board bathrooms, there’s just not enough space for all your toiletries, cosmetics, jewelry and other personal items you like to keep by the sink and shower. An old favorite trick of many cruisers is to hang up an over-the-door shoe organizer and fill the pockets not with footwear but with hairbrushes, detangling spray and other beauty needs. The cloth organizers are easily foldable to fit in your luggage.

2. Bring magnetic or suction hooks to hang on doors and walls.

cruise packing and planning, cruise travel tips, cruise vacationing, cruise vacation packingFrom what we’ve seen of cruise ship showers, cabin designers must think all we use to wash is one bar of soap because the teeny soap dishes can’t accommodate multiple bottles of shampoo and conditioner, razors or poufs. If you’re fed up, pick up some suction hooks or small shower baskets to affix to the walls for extra toiletry storage. (Some people hook elastic hair ties through the suction hooks and slide toiletry bottles through the bands.) Or, for more (or better) hooks for towels and accessories in the bathroom, bring magnetic hooks to use on the door and walls.

3. Banish bad smells with air freshener.

Let’s be honest, your daily ablutions don’t always leave your bathroom smelling like roses, which can make life difficult for your cabin mates. Older ships can often have interesting ensuite smells, as well. An air freshener can work wonders here. Bring a lightly scented room spray or aromatherapy oils, or hang car air fresheners from the shower. Buy the right kind and your bathroom really will smell like roses.

4. Bathe little cruisers in an inflatable tub.

cruise packing and planning, cruise travel tips, cruise vacationing, cruise vacation packingIf you’re saving money on your family cruise, you’ll likely be in a cabin with no tub, just a shower. Many kids don’t like the force of a shower nozzle, especially when used to baths, but after days on the beach or playing in sea air, you’ll need to hose them down. We recommend bringing an inflatable baby tub or small kiddie pool that will fit in your shower or in the open space in your bathroom. You can fill it up from the shower, but you’ll want to empty it out with a cup or pail. (We can tell you from experience if you pick the tub up, it will fold and water will go everywhere!)

5. Have a hand wash party with balloons.

Most cruise ship showers include a handy retractable clothes line for drying swimsuits or your hand-washed unmentionables. If you expect to max it out and need more drying space, make sure you pack some balloons. Blow them up, drape your undies over them and — voila — individual drying stations.

6. Solve shaving woes with a suction-cup footrest.

This one’s for the ladies. Most bare-bones cruise ship showers don’t have a place to prop your leg up for shaving purposes. Some Cruise Critic readers stick their legs out of the shower and prop them on the toilet, but this trick only works if your bathroom is arranged with the toilet close to the shower. If you’re concerned about looking your best for a beachy sailing, purchase a suction-cup footrest to affix to your shower.

7. Avoid shower cling with binder clips or clothes pins.

We’ve never experienced the infamous clingy shower, but plenty of people have. If you’re concerned, pack a few of those giant binder clips or clothes pins and attach them to the bottom of the shower curtain. The extra weight will keep the curtain from billowing about and attaching to your legs or backside.

Source: CruiseCritic.com