Top 10 Cruise Tips

1. Traveling with a large family or a group of friends? Bring along walkie talkies to keep everyone connected without cell phone roaming charges.

2. You’re almost always charged extra for soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails at meals. But if you stick to juice, you can drink for free (on most ships).

3. On every cruise we’ve taken, my wife tapes a balloon to our cabin door. That way, our stateroom stands out in the long hallway.

4. Many major cruise lines provide free passage to guests qualified to lecture on board. Call the line’s entertainment office to see if you have the necessary skills.

5. Nearly every cruise line will toss in one free cabin if you travel in a group of 15 or more.

6. If you book while you’re aboard, some lines offer a discount of $175 and up on the deposit for future trips. More good news: You can usually get a refund on your deposit if you decide to cancel later.

7. Before booking, check deck plans online to confirm your cabin isn’t beneath a well-traveled area. Many ships have a lido deck buffet, where diners eat poolside. When they drag around chairs, it can make quite the ruckus in rooms right below.

8. When cruising with our two toddlers, we book a single cabin with twin beds. Pushing them together allows us to sleep sideways, with one parent at the bottom as a guardrail. This only works if you aren’t tall!

9. To avoid the check-out bottleneck, ask for a printout of your bill the day before disembarking. If there are any discrepancies, you can resolve them early and totally relax on your last day at sea.

10. If you feel seasick, try these three tricks: Stay mid-ship and as close to the waterline as possible (that area doesn’t rock as much as the front); lie down where you can see the horizon (this places your head in a fixed position); and eat pineapple. Why the last one? It tastes the same going up as it does going down.

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