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.
From 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.
If 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.
When it comes to sea days, you either love ’em or hate ’em. What else can you do, apart from throwing your vacation dollars into a slot machine or onto a card table?
It is great news that cruise lines are increasing the number of sea day activities available to guests. Want to start prepping for your sea day fun in advance? Here are our picks for the top 10 things to do on sea days.
1. Hang out by the pools
What’s the quintessential activity onboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean? Sunbathing, of course!
While every major cruise ship has the requisite pool, hot tub and rows of lounge chairs, some take pool time to new heights. Royal Caribbean’s Freedom-, Oasis- and Quantum-class ships sport surf pools, interactive water parks for kids and zero-entry pools for wading. Disney Dream’s pool deck — with special pools for adults and little kids — is circled by a water coaster ride. Carnival and Norwegian compete on the water slide front, while Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships go a more Zen route with beautiful adults-only solariums that offer lap pools and retractable roofs.
2. Work out
When the closest you come to getting exercise during the workweek is speed-walking from your desk to the printer or running for the bus, time to work out in a state-of-the-art gym can be one of the many perks of vacation. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class and Freedom-class ships have huge fitness centers with boxing rings and Pilates reformer machines, while Seabourn’s Odyssey-class ships have Kinesis walls to improve flexibility and muscle tone. While most onboard fitness centers are located top-of-ship with sea views through floor-to-ceiling windows, Carnival takes workouts alfresco in its SportSquare. Beyond the gym, Crystal offers special Walking on Water (WOW) vests and LEKI walking poles for power strolls, Princess features swim-against-the-current pools and Royal Caribbean and Norwegian boast rock climbing walls.
3. Find your bliss
On the other hand, maybe you planned to indulge in a little pampering during your time off. The majority of cruise line spas are operated by Steiner Leisure, so the offerings are the same across the board. But beyond the massages, facials and mani-pedis, passengers can book Botox injections and teeth-whitening treatments, fancy shaves for men, special teen treatments, couple’s mud baths and a variety of gooey wraps that claim to do wonders for your skin, circulation and general well-being. Some of the best spas go beyond the treatment rooms. Many, like the spas on Norwegian and Celebrity ships, have thermal suites with saunas, steam rooms and heated relaxation chairs. Oceania, Carnival, Costa and Cunard offer thalassotherapy pools for therapeutic dips. For the ultimate splurge, book a spa villa on Seabourn’s and Disney’s ships for your own personal spa retreat with ocean views.
4. Eat, drink and be merry
Eating and drinking make up a large fraction of time spent onboard. Perhaps you’re fond of the smorgasbord approach, picking this and that from the Mongolian Wok, Tandoor Indian food, New York-style deli or the pizza, pasta, and burrito bars on Carnival. Or maybe you like a leisurely sea day lunch at upscale Holland America’s Pinnacle Grill or a Champagne brunch at Disney’s adults-only Palo. Those predisposed to a liquid diet can kick back with buckets of beer and fruity cocktails from poolside bars, glasses of wine with lunch or even milkshakes on Oceania and fruit smoothies on Royal Caribbean.
5. Learn something
Toss the trashy novel, and make your brain do a bit of work on your cruise. And we’re not talking about the fierce team trivia competitions for bragging rights to a logo cap or bag. Learn a new language on Crystal or Celebrity, learn to cook in the show kitchens of Holland America and Oceania, make scrapbooks on Celebrity or participate in a Discovery at Sea scavenger hunt on Princess. Several lines offer computer and digital photography classes, so you can come home with the most sophisticated vacation photo presentations ever.
6. Get silly
It’s perfectly acceptable to drop your workweek formality and get a little silly on a cruise. Some might say that you’re missing out on the true cruise experience if you don’t get off your high horse and get into the onboard fun and games. Carnival has perfected the art of pool games with events like the Hairy Chest Competition, Rubber Chicken Olympics and Battle of the Sexes. Royal Caribbean is known for impromptu dance parties on the Royal Promenade, while Disney enlists its famous characters to round everyone up for fun. Join in the life-size renditions of popular board games on Carnival’s Hasbro, The Game Show. It’s OK to show off your rusty dance moves or cheer loudly for your favorite — you will very likely never see any of your shipmates again.
7. Be entertained
Matinee performance, anyone?
While mainstream ships always have some sort of evening performance scheduled, some entertainment-focused lines keep their theaters full on sea day afternoons. Royal Caribbean tops the leaderboard on this one with matinees of its ice skating and Aquatheater shows, as well as midday showings of its Broadway shows, like “Hairspray.” It’s also known for afternoon parades through its ships’ Promenades, complete with Dreamworks characters and colorful costumes. Norwegian Getaway and Escape get loose with “Wine Lovers The Musical,” a daytime wine-tasting comedy show experience.
8. Go to camp
If you’re a kid, that is. Knowing that the under-18 set doesn’t want to play bingo with mom and dad all day, cruise lines have built elaborate kids’ recreation areas that will have adults
wishing they could turn back time and join in the fun. Think mocktail bars for sodas and smoothies, Internet and video game consoles, piles of board games and toys and some hands-on crafts projects — plus shipwide scavenger hunts, pizza parties and karaoke contests. Disney leads the pack with playrooms straight out of its hit movies, like Toy Story and Monsters Inc., and cutting-edge, computer-generated, interactive game floors inspired by brands like Marvel and Star Wars. Royal Caribbean reaches out to the youngest cruisers with a Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, providing age-appropriate activities for interactive play sessions, as well as care for kids as young as six months to three years. Trained counselors wrangle the little tykes and keep an eye on teens, so kids and adults can pursue their favorite activities in harmony.
9. Seek out thrills
Move over, chair hogs. A new breed of cruiser has abandoned poolside vegging for high-octane pursuits onboard. They’re skydiving on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships and ziplining several decks above sea level on its Oasis Class. They’re dangling from great heights on Norwegian Escape’s largest ropes course at sea. And, to cool off after all that exertion, they speed down any number of onboard water slides … again and again and again.
10. Retreat from the world
You’re on vacation, and a little peace and quiet would be nice. Unfortunately, your 3,000-plus shipmates might have other ideas, making a ruckus on the lido deck while poolside movie screens blare rock concerts. You could retreat to your cabin… or seek solace on a serenity
deck. Princess pioneered the concept with its adults-only Sanctuary sun decks, where you can buy a day pass to plush lounge chairs, alfresco massages, Evian misters and even MP3 players loaded with New Age selections. Lines from Holland America and Oceania to Carnival and Norwegian rent out private cabanas, where you can draw the curtains on the world as you savor fruit skewers and chilled towels. If nothing else, look for adults-only sun decks to avoid the little splashers who often take over the main pools.
It’s been said that duct tape fixes everything but a broken heart. So it’s no surprise the multi-purpose adhesive is at the top of many cruisers’ packing lists. Packing duct tape can help you combat wardrobe and luggage malfunctions, and fix minor cabin quirks such as clingy shower curtains or window drapes that won’t stay in place. It can even act as a First Aid remedy.
Packing duct tape might also save you money. Why buy overpriced beach towel clips when you can tape your towel to the deck chair? (Just don’t use it as a chair-hogging mechanism.) And drop that lint roller from your shopping list; duct tape does the job just fine.
Bring an entire roll, or save room in your suitcase by wrapping only the amount you think you’ll need around a sharpie or expired credit card.
Bear in mind: If packing duct tape to use in your cabin, make sure it’s okay with your cruise line. Some ban adhesives on doors and other surfaces, as they tend to leave behind a sticky residue. Cruise lines usually list these guidelines on their websites, but you can always call if you’re unsure.
If you’re a sucker for vacation hacks that help you stay organized, here are nine reasons to pack duct tape on your next cruise.
1. Remove Lint
Want a lint roller that serves more than just one purpose? Duct tape is your answer. With the sticky side up, wrap one round of tape around your hand. Remove hair, lint and other particles from your clothes by gently dabbing your clothing. Remember to take caution with especially delicate clothing materials.
2. Seal Curtains
If you’re easily awoken by light, don’t want to know when the sun rises or happen to be cruising in Alaska or the Baltic when the midnight sun never sets, duct tape can be your best friend. Carefully place a few pieces around the drapes where light might peek through and prepare to sleep in. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock.
3. Fix Broken Luggage
Whether the airline roughed up your suitcase or your bags were lovingly worn to begin with, your baggage is bound to get nicks and holes if you cruise enough times with it. Prevent any belongings from falling out by bandaging the holes up with some duct tape. You can even add some flair by using fun colors and prints. For other bags and backpacks, we recommend taping rips and tears from the inside.
4. Repair Sandals
Okay, so it’s not the most stylish look. But if you’re in port and one of your sandal straps pops off, the last thing you want to do is walk around barefoot. (You can only last so long clenching your toes around the loose strap in hopes the sandal will stay on your foot.) Duct tape can fix broken sandals in a pinch so your feet are safe until you can obtain new shoes.
5. Mend Torn Hems
Torn hems are easier to fix than you might think. If the hem unravels on your jeans or blazer, simply attach a small piece of tape underneath the fold. No one will ever notice. Again, remember to use a soft touch with delicate fabrics.
6. Make Your Luggage Standout
We’ve all been there: waiting for your luggage at the carousel while antsy flyers hover around the conveyor belt like Black Friday shoppers ready to bust through a department store door. To make your bag stand out among the mob scene, use duct tape to mark an “X” or create a tag around the handle. Again, you can get creative by using a variety of colors and prints.
7. Keep Your Shower Curtain at Bay
It’s one of cruising’s more unsettling forces: the relentless, creeping, clinging shower curtain that repeatedly attaches to your legs for a tingly embrace. Instead of making yourself crazy battling an inanimate object, showering with the curtain open or avoiding the bath altogether, use duct tape to keep the curtain at bay.
8. Hold Towels in Place
Beach towel clips are cute and all, but they’re a waste of money if you have duct tape on hand. When you’re heading to the pool deck for some vitamin D, toss some duct tape in your tote bag. Use a couple of small pieces to attach your towel to the deck chair, and you’ll never have to worry about your towel sliding down or falling off again.
9. Heal Blisters
Cruises require a lot of walking. You can easily spend an entire day walking around in port or finding your way around a ship. But all this walking can take a toll on your feet (even more if you wear heels on formal night). If you start to notice blisters and aren’t able to get your hands on antibiotic cream and bandages right away, we have another solution: duct tape. Duct tape works best when applied before blisters form, but if you’re too late, place a small piece of paper or tissue over the wound and then cover with duct tape. This will protect the area until you can get the First Aid products you need from the onboard shop.
Every day, more and more people are discovering the all-inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. Last year alone approximately seven million people enjoyed a cruise vacation. To ensure you have a smooth trip, consider these cruise tips, including what to pack on a cruise, what to bring on a cruise and more. And as always, remember to consult with a travel agent for your next cruise to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Check what sort of identification you need when traveling to your destinations.
Notify the cruise ship of any special dietary restrictions or requests at least 60 days prior to departure.
Leave copies of your passport, airline tickets, travelers cheques and credit cards with a family member or a friend.
Discuss your travel plans with a doctor. Some countries may require certain immunizations. Bring any immunization records with you.
If you tend to get motion sickness, see your doctor prior to departure for recommendations. Dramamine and patches often work to curb seasickness.
It may be easier to email friends and family members back home if you have established a Web-based email account, such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo beforehand.
If you are flying to your departure port, check and confirm your airline reservation 24 hours prior to departure.
If you have an ongoing medical condition, ask your family doctor to write up your brief medical history, which you can take with you and provide in the event of a problem.
Check your cruise ticket and verify its information.
Check your airline ticket and verify its information.
If you book cruise only, you are responsible for getting to the ship from the airport. Some parking facilities offer shuttles.
If you plan to bring a hair dryer or an electric razor, check the cabin voltage. You may need an adapter.
Give relatives and friends the ship’s telephone number, in case of an emergency.
If you booked an air/sea package through a cruise line and you missed the ship because of late/cancelled flight, most cruise lines will get you to the next port.
Arrive at the embarkation area at least two hours prior to sailing.
Complete the immigration/embarkation and the onboard credit card application forms before you register at the check-in desk
Don’t purchase duty-free alcohol to take onboard. It is confiscated until the last day of the cruise.
Purchase some guidebooks so you can read about the ports of call you will be visiting.
If you plan on scuba diving, consider becoming certified before you embark on the cruise. You’ll save time and money.
4 Tips on How To Keep Your Car Cool When Parking for an Extended Time
Summer brings hot, sunny weather, leaving most drivers to deal with hot and uncomfortable cars. Hot cars are dangerous, as many of the car’s parts — such as seat belts or the steering wheel — heat up and may become too hot to touch. Thankfully, there are some proactive steps that can be taken to keep the car cool during the hot summer months.
Find a shady parking spot in the shadow of a building or under a tree. This is often easier said than done, since most people looking for a parking spot are looking to keep their car cool as well. If all the shady parking spots have been taken, look for the next best thing: a parking spot with partial sun or a spot that will receive shade as the sun moves. If a garage is available, park there.
Vent the windows. Leaving the windows open a half-inch will allow cooler air to flow through the car as it is parked. Side vent shades for the backseat side windows also help keep the seat and car cool.
Shield the windows. Cars parked in a parking lot for long periods of time under direct sun can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit inside. Most car companies sell customized car window shields, but they may also be purchased at car auto supply stores or from online retailers. Window shields lower the interior temperature of the car and help to protect the interior’s fabrics and the car’s dashboard from heat and color fading.
Use the air-conditioning. Once you enter a warm car, lower the window a few inches, then let the engine warm up before turning the air-conditioner on. Once the air-conditioner is emitting cool air, close the windows.
Traveling preparation stress and worry while away from your home can often times take away the pleasure and relaxation desired during your vacation. At Lighthouse, we want to make sure that we can make your travel experience is memorable and enjoyable. Here are helpful cruise travel tips for an anxiety and stress-free cruise travel experience.
Overflowing mail is like putting a neon sign in your front yard telling crooks that you are not at home. Requesting your mail to be held at your local post office is a great way to alert wrong doers that your home has been left unattended. You can also make this alert at www.usps.com for easy mail holding services.
Packing beach towels can take up a lot of space in your luggage, and they most likely will not be completely dry by the time you disembark. Don’t worry, your cruise provider has plenty of towels on board, so don’t worry about packing them.
If you are prone to motion sickness, consult with your physician prior to traveling for the best course of treatment. Over the counter motion sickness tablets are available, in addition you might choose an inside cabin mid ship to reduce the affects of the ships movements.
Make a point to get a supply of $1 bills to use for tipping parking attendants, luggage porters, and service attendants.
A collapsible clothes hamper that folds flat in your luggage will help keep your cabin tidy while on board.
Placing timers throughout your home set to different settings allow your home to looked lived in while you are away. Remember to set a radio or television on a timer as well to create the effect of someone home can deter possible intruders.
If you have any dietary restrictions it is best to notify your cruise line ahead of time to allow them to prepare for any special supplies. Nothing can ruin a travel getaway like an upset stomach.
Personal 2-way radios are a great way to stay in touch while on board the ship and enjoying excursions. They are especially handy if traveling with children.
Check with your homeowners insurance to see if they cover jewelry theft while traveling. While on board it is best to keep any important documents, jewelry or personal items in the room safe. Leaving unnecessary expensive jewelry at home might be a great way to put your mind at ease while traveling.
Traveling abroad can bring some important security issues. Men, keep your wallet in your front pocket which is a more difficult spot to be pick pocketed. Place a rubber band around your wallet as to keep it compact and all contents secured if dropped. Ladies, while visiting destinations, leave jewelry on board and travel with a compact handbag in order to keep it close and less of a target for a bad guy.
Make cards with your name, address, phone number, & email address to share with new friends that you meet on your cruise. Stiff, business card-style paper can be purchased at nearly any office supply store & having your cards handy sure beats hunting for pens & scribbling on scraps of paper to swap addresses.
If traveling to a location where intense sunlight is anticipated, packing sunscreen is a MUST. As you draw closer to the equator, the suns UV rays are more intense making it easier to burn. Prevent sleepless nights with sun burnt skin by packing plenty of high SPF sunscreen.
Sunglasses can be a lifesaver while relaxing on deck by the pool or while enjoying destination ports. Lighthouse suggests packing a few pair in case one pair is damaged or misplaced.
Germicidal hand cleaner is a must have for adventure excursions where water might be at a premium or unavailable.
If you pick an outside cabin, check to make sure your view of the sea isn’t obstructed by a lifeboat.
Spa, massage, and salon’s on board are a great treat and special time of relaxation. Be sure to make your appointments ahead of time (if possible), or as soon as you board. Times will book up quickly, so to get the time you desire, book early!
Pack anything that can leak in zipper top plastic storage bags.
Best Cruise Travel Tips from Lighthouse Parking
We hope that we have helped you prepare for your upcoming cruise. Remove the stress and anxiety of cruise travel by properly preparing for cruise travel.