Take Your Time
While it may be tempting to overindulge in food and booze while on a cruise, both can be detrimental to your health and enjoyment. (Remember, you’re no longer 21!)
Balance your meals with energizing walks or enroll in one of the many workout classes available. Combine unique delights like steak and large desserts with healthier meal options (often denoted with a special symbol).
Know your drinking limitations, and follow a boozy night with a more sedate day. It’s also tempting to overdo it with too many activities, especially when long days of touring are followed by late nights of entertainment on the ship.
Spend a few minutes perusing the ship’s daily newsletter, which is usually available each night, to decide which of the following day’s activities sounds the most intriguing. If you stayed up late dancing on the terrace, sleep in and request room service.
Tired from a long day of touring? When the ship is in port, stay onboard and unwind at the spa or poolside away from the crowds.
If You Have Special Needs, Plan Ahead of Time
For passengers with special needs, cruise ships offer a variety of help, services, and accommodations, but options vary from one cruise line to the next and even from ship to ship within the same fleet. MSC, for example, provides a diabetes-friendly menu, while Celebrity Cruises has pool lifts (a chair that transports a person into the water) on all of its ships.
Before planning a vacation, passengers with disabilities should check with the cruise operator to determine what alternatives and rules apply to their condition. Cruise ships, like hotels, have a limited number of accessible staterooms, so book early if you require one.
Some cruise lines require disabled people to travel with a partner. To minimize disappointment, prospective single travelers should contact the cruise line’s special needs department before booking.
If you have difficulty walking long distances but do not usually use a wheelchair, you may want to try hiring a chair or scooter. The cruise ship has a limited number of wheelchairs available for customers experiencing a medical emergency.
Mobility assistance and oxygen and breathing aids can be rented from a company like Special Needs at Sea. Another big worry, particularly for passengers with mobility issues, is port access.
Many destinations need the use of a tender, which is a small boat that carries people from the cruise ship to the dock area; getting in and out of a tender requires some agility, and the boats are not usually wheelchair accessible.
When booking, search for ports that do not require tendering and become acquainted with your cruise line’s accessible tendering policy. You don’t want to be stranded aboard the ship when you intend to explore ashore.
Make New Pals
One of the many benefits of cruising is the numerous opportunities to meet new people, whether you’re going alone or with others. Strangers you meet at breakfast may become lifelong friends and travel companions.
Start a conversation over cocktails while playing a trivia game, or invite a nice pair to dinner. Visit the Roll Call forums on Cruise Critic’s discussion boards to get to know your fellow passengers before you leave.
A themed cruise or one with a particular event is another method to meet like-minded people. Consider a hobby, celebrity, or activity you adore, and there is almost certainly a cruise that caters to that specific passion.
Foodies, for example, might enjoy a cruise with a guest chef, cooking demos, and excursions to local restaurants. You can find yourself swapping e-mail addresses and planning to meet again on your next vacation while trading recipes with a new acquaintance.