We enjoy cruising. When you think about it really what’s not to like? Comfortable although small accommodations, great people, 24 hour food, alcohol, maid service, entertainment, gambling and laundry if you play your cards right. And you get to visit beautiful places with only unpacking once.
We recently cruised with a friend that is Zenith level on Celebrity. This is the top of the top, the highest level of cruising. Basically, a Zenith passenger has free laundry, free drinks, a host of other freebies, a free 7 day cruise and the admiration of everybody on board the ship. To the average layman that means she has completed over 1500 cruise nights on an inside cabin or less nights on a higher category cabin. For most people this level is unattainable. But there are other levels you can attain on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Azamara (all owned by Royal Caribbean) which offer really nice benefits. My suggestion is to find a cruise line that you enjoy, check out their loyalty programs and stick with it. Initially, we cruised six different cruise lines. That was not helpful when trying to attain a status level with benefits. Once we determined the cruse line that we liked the best, we began focusing our cruises on that particular cruise line. Initially, I just wanted free laundry. But now I’m happy to have free drinks, discounted Wifi, and other perks that come with status.
STATUS IS SHARED AMONG THESE CRUISE LINES
If you cruise Celebrity or Azamara your points earned are shared between these two cruise lines. If you cruise on Royal Caribbean status you may have already earned is shared but you do not accumulate additional points. For example, for the ELITESTATUS on Celebrity (300 POINTS) you receive three free drinks for two hours each evening, one free bag of laundry each week (per person), invitations to special events like wine tastings and tea, discounts on Wifi, match play in the casino among other perks. An ELITE STATUS on Celebrity earns you DIAMOND STATUS on Royal Caribbean with similar perks. I know this can get a little confusing but if you like any of these cruise lines and enjoy their itineraries, it pays to be loyal!
HACKS FROM A ZENITH CRUISER
If you live near a cruise port take advantage of last-minute offers cruise lines have.
Check websites frequently for deals
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR CRUISE
Packing Cubes (remove them from suitcase and place in drawers, this keeps you organized and makes unpacking a breeze
Pop up pill boxes to organize and store your jewelry
A variety of Band-Aids all sizes and shapes
Ziplock bags for your wet suit, shoes or a snack from the cafe
Blister Block for those new shoes
Nail polish packets and mini polish and nail file/clipper
(a pedicure onboard is very costly)
Pens and Post it notes to leave messages for your cabin attendant
Magnetic Dry Erase board for your cabin door write messages to friends etc.
Sample packets of your favorite shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer
Universal Travel adapter for charging your USB and AC power in foreign countries.
Extra large towel clips to save your lounge chair by the pool and keep the towel from shifting. On large cruise ships in warm climate you need to get up early to “save your spot “ in the sun.
Portable phone charger (comes in handy on longer excursions)
Hats and sunglasses
Small foldable bag comes in handy when shopping or at the beach
Business cards, I purchased travel business cards with my contact information on them and a picture of us. This is just a great way to keep in touch with new friends.
Sunscreen in ziplock bags, you don’t want that stuff to leak, It’s very expensive in many port cities.
Return address label to use on luggage tags and filling out forms
Ear buds and downloaded books and podcasts
Tums, aspirin and cold medicine etc. Place them all in an old Altoids tin
GET A FITBIT
When you’re on vacation having a Fitbit makes staying fit EASIER. It helps you monitor your activity and sends you reminders when you are inactive for a period of time. I have one and so does my husband. We become competitive with each other and try to top the number of steps each of us have. Because you may overeat on vacation this is one way to counteract the damage you may do to yourself in the dining room. The Fitbit tells you the time, the number of steps you have, the mileage you logged and the calories you have burned. For me, it’s a motivator.
Cruising is lots of fun but with these hacks it can be even better.