17 {MORE} Cruise Ship Hacks

17 {MORE} Cruise Hacks


You may have already read my previous post about  17 Cruise Ship Hacks I Wish I Had Known Before Our First Cruise. 

It has honestly been my most popular post yet! I wanted to share some more cruise ship hacks that have helped us, and I thought you would appreciate.

Here are 17 More Cruise Hacks that I hope you enjoy!



1.Bring a To- Go Coffee Cup

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Coffee cups on cruise ship are small. You’ll get a good eight sips if you don’t spill half of it while taking it downstairs to your room from the buffet. Bring a good to-go cup so you get more coffee that lasts longer.

Coffee in the dining room is always fresher and better tasting than the coffee at the buffet.




2. Earplugs or Noisemaker APP

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If you are a light sleeper or are worried about loud neighbors, you might want to bring some earplugs or a noisemaking APP (These APPs are usually free and make noises like rain or a fan) to drown out outside noises. We have never had an issue with noises on a cruise. Maybe we are really heavy sleepers or have just been really fortunate. If you end up with a cabin located near a nightclub or just end up with loud neighbors, you might want to find a way to stop the noise so you can rest. There are also announcements made throughout the day, and you may want to use some earplugs if you’re planning on taking an afternoon nap.




3. Don’t Pay For Parking

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All cruise ports have on-site parking. It’s very convenient, but that convenience comes at price. Parking can be $20+ per day. That’s $140 for a week long cruise.

Many Hotels offer Free Parking for up to a week (some up to 14 to 30 days!) if you spend the night in their hotel the night (or nights) before (and/or after) your cruise. Some hotels even offer a free shuttle service from the hotel to the cruise port.

Read A List of Cruise Ports Hotels That Offer Free Parking HERE



4. Order an Entire Pizza

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If you had a long day exploring an island (or another shore excursion) and would love nothing more than to eat pizza with your family in your cabin, all you have to do is order an entire pizza. Most cruises have a pizza parlor on board. Usually, you stand in line and take a slice of whatever is available. But, if you order a whole pizza, you can ask for exactly what you want. Also, the pizza places are usually open 24/7.




5. Make Yourself Comfy

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Not 100% happy with your bed? Ask for an egg crate mattress topper. Cruise lines aim to please. You can ask for pillows, bathroom towels, and blankets. Just ask your cabin steward (And it’s always nice to tip!)




6.Get Free and Cheap Drinks

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  • Free Champagne at Art Auctions – Almost all cruise ships have multiple art auctions during the cruise and will offer a free glass of champagne.
  • Free Liquor Tasting at the Liquor Store –  The ships liquor store will sample some of their best liquors (trying to get you to buy some bottles while on board). Maybe you’ll buy some liquor, maybe you won’t. But you will get some free samples.
  • Happy Hour – Some cruise lines (like Royal Caribbean) offer BOGO drinks during select Happy Hours. The events are usually advertised on the ship or noted in the Cruise newsletter.
  • Drinks are Cheaper in Port –Skip the chain restaurant and bars, and find yourself local bar a little further away from the port to find the best deals.
  • Bring Your Own Booze – Most cruise lines allow two bottles of wine per stateroom or per adult. Check your ship’s alcohol policy before your trip. Avoid the corkage fee (usually about $25) by opening the bottle in your room and have a glass. You can then carry the open bottle to dinner and have another glass or two with your meal.
  • Sign up For Cruise Loyalty Programs – On some ships, loyalty members get free drinks. We have received free drinks this way.
  • Attend a Party – Some cruises offer free booze at the Captain’s Party (everyone is invited) and some offer it at the Welcome Party (party only for people who have taken a cruise with the cruise line before). At these parties, all drinks are free so you don’t have to choose the drinks being served by the waitresses. You can order a beer or any other drink you like from the bartender.
  • Save Your Promo Onboard Credit for Booze – If you were offered a deal that included onboard credit, you can use it toward booze to score some free drinky-drinks.
  • Drink Package – Alcohol Drink Packages are usually around $50 and those poolside Pina Colada’s can run about $8-9 dollars. It really depends on how much you plan on drinking to determine if this is a good value.
  • Never Order Wine By The Glass – Wine by the bottle is a lot less expensive than wine by the glass. Your server can recork it for you so that you can enjoy the rest of that bottle on another night (at no additional charge) or he/she can even have the remainder of the wine sent to your cabin.
  • Look for An Inexpensive Shore Excursion That Includes Booze – Ask around  on board and as you leave the ship to explore the port. Weonce found an excursion that included snorkeling and a tequila tasting at a local resort, and it was very inexpensive. It really pays to ask around. Just remember to be safe!

If you buy some nice tequila in Mexico while on a shore excursion, don’t think you’ll be enjoying it later that night in your cabin. You’ll have to turn it in before you board the ship and you get it back on the last morning of the cruise before you disembark.





7. The Showers and the Sauna at the Spa Are Usually FREE

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On most cruise lines, it is free to use steam rooms, saunas, and showers in the spa. We honestly can’t afford to splurge on expensive spa treatments (or I’d rather spend money on those cheesy Captain’s Night photos). But, it’s nice to get away while the kiddos are playing at the cruise’s Kid Camp. I can get some quiet time at the sauna or steam room.

If the bathroom in the cabin is crazy crowded (like right before dinner on Captain’s Night), you can take a shower at the spa!





8. The Gym is Free

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Most cruise lines let passengers use their equipment and machines in their gym/fitness center (as well as the jogging track) for free. Some even offer free classes. Some cruise lines charge a small fee for certain fitness classes and up to $100 for  personal training sessions.

Don’t forget to pack your gym clothes and shoes!



9.Have Health Information

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It is unlikely that you will have a medical emergency while on vacation, but it always a good idea to be prepared just in case. Remember to bring your insurance card, any medications and any other necessary documentation you’d need in an emergency.  Carry copies of your medical information, passport, and all other documents with you at all times just in case.




10. Bring a Towel Clip

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Cruise decks are very, very windy. It’s wonderful and super relaxing, but your towel might get blown away, and you might lose your saved deck chair. There are special clips just for deck chairs that are a great help (usually found online).

Deck chairs are in high demand, so it’s important to be courteous, and not leave a towel on a chair that you never plan to use (or just take off without removing your towel or personal items). Some cruise lines have employees place time stamped stickers on saved deck chairs. After 30-40 minutes, if you haven’t used the chair, it is freed up for someone else to use. Some cruisers take it upon themselves to free up the chair themselves (if the chair isn’t used for at least 30 minutes) and take all of your personal items to lost and found.  




11. Join Cruise Past Passenger Programs

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Join the complementary past passenger program that is offered by most cruise lines. We have received free drinks, free onboard spending, and even a free cruise after joining the VIFP Program with Carnival.



12. Free Unlimited Soft Serve Ice Cream

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If you’re craving some sweet, soft-served ice cream, just head over to the buffet area of the cruise ship. Most cruise lines offer free/included soft serve ice cream 24/7!  You might want to pack some stretchy pants.




13. BYOS – Bring Your Own Sodas

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If the cruise line doesn’t serve your favorite Peach Fresca’s and you can’t live without them, just bring them with you. Cruise lines usually allow each person to bring a certain amount of sodas onboard. Just check your cruise line’s policies.

You can pack a small suitcase with sodas. At the end of the week, after you drank all the sodas, you will have an empty suitcase for all of your souvenirs. This also applies to bottled water.

You can purchase a soda and juice package on most cruises (if the cruise line does serve your favorite soda and you feel that you’ll drink enough to make the soda package worth it). Soda is free/included on Disney Cruises. If you have a kiddo that really likes juice, it is free/included at breakfast, but costs extra (or you will need a soda package to get juice any other time of day.




14. Get Free Espresso and/or Cappuccino

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While in the dining room, you can ask for espresso after lunch and dinner. It isn’t always listed on the menu, but espresso or cappuccino is available at no extra charge.




15. Childcare is FREE

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Above photo via (Camp Carnival)

Most cruise lines offer a kid’s club with group activities for kiddos ages 3 to 17 year olds during the day. Teenagers can usually check themselves in and out of the teen club. Younger kids must be checked in and out by a parent (or other authorized person). The kids will get their own itinerary/schedule full of fun activities that the kids can participate in. This service is usually offered until about 9 p.m. (with the option for late night sitting for a fee). Sometimes the Kid’s Clubs are closed at certain times during the day like some meal times and for cleaning. Childcare for young ones three years old and younger is available, but comes with a fee.




16.Bring Free Food from the Buffet to Snack On While in Port

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If you feel like you or the kiddos will need a little snack while out at port, you can grab a box of cereal or fruit or make a sandwich or two from the breakfast buffet to snack on later.

Be sure to pack Ziploc type bags. They always come in handy and can be used to take snacks with you from the ship to the port.



17. Avoid Long Lines for Attractions

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The waterslides, rock climbing walls, surfing simulators are all very crowded on Sea Days. But, if you can plan to visit these attractions on embarkation day or on port days, you will avoid the long lines and feel like you have the attractions all to yourself.



Have you been on a cruise lately? Do you have any cruise ship hacks we should know about?






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