Travel tips

You can debark when you want

Shhh… don’t tell anyone, but you can actually debark the cruise ship when you want when your trip ends. The cruise lines will call passengers deck by deck, but the process can take hours. If you already have all your bags and want to leave, you can just head down whenever you like. The staff doesn’t check what deck your cabin is on, and they simply want passengers off the ship so that they can get ready for the next group. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that lines can be extremely long right at the beginning of debarkation. Sometimes it’s worth it just to relax for an hour and let the rush die down.

Interested in the spa? Take a free tour

The spa is a major point of emphasis on a cruise ship. You’ll see promotions and ads for services throughout your trip. If you’re interested in spending some time there but aren’t sure if you want to spend the money, then take a tour. Spas on the ship will be happy to show you around and let you get an idea of what you can expect should you decide to visit for a service.

Hooking up with the crew is off limits

When it comes to having a fling on the ship, your eyes might be tempted by the crew. They’re generally young, fit, international, and seem to be having a lot of fun. But if you want a hook-up, then keep looking elsewhere. Getting it on between passengers and crew is expressly prohibited. It can reportedly cost the crew member their job, no questions asked.

Look for a cabin on the upper decks of the ship

If you can, look for a cabin that sits on the upper decks of the ship. No, it’s not because higher decks offer great views (although that’s a great perk!). Instead, it has to do with getting around the ship. Cruise ships are usually laid out with a center promenade area that includes things like the casino, a center bar, restaurants, and shopping. On many ships this will be around decks 6-8. Then there is the pool deck area that’s located at the top of the ship. These two areas are where passengers spend the most time outside the cabin. Having a cabin between the two spots means you are within just a few decks of either. That makes it much easier to get to where you want to go as opposed to waiting on an elevator because you are on a low deck.

Cameras are watching you constantly

We’ve gotten used to seeing security cameras everywhere in life, but ships take it to another level. There are security cameras watching every public area of the major cruise ships. Don’t think you’ll be able to sneak off and do something you shouldn’t be doing. Here’s what Royal Caribbean says about their cameras: “Royal Caribbean International has closed-circuit television cameras located in hundreds of strategic, public locations throughout the ship but not in private staterooms, public restrooms or private spa areas. These systems are upgraded as new and beneficial technologies are developed. Recordings from these cameras are routinely utilized by our security teams and made available to investigative authorities as requested.”

It is possible your ship could pick up refugees

If you are sailing from ports on the East Coast to the Western Caribbean, there’s a possibility you could find yourself in the middle of a refugee crisis. The waters between Florida and Cuba are where Cubans trying to make their way to America will set sail, hoping to reach the mainland. It’s not unheard of for cruise ships to run across these people, sailing in makeshift rafts. Rules of the sea call for the cruise ships to render aid, meaning they will stop and help, even if in the middle of a cruise.

Cabins at the ends of the ship should have less noise

Cruise cabins are fairly soundproof (though not perfect), but if there is noise in the hallway, it can come in through the door. Case in point is if it’s in the early morning hours and a group of people are coming back from the bar on the ship. (We’ve personally had it happen!) To find a quieter cabin spot, look toward the ends of the ship. Rooms at the ends of halls will have less foot traffic, meaning less noise from passersby.

Sound can travel between the cabins when you make whoopie

No, the walls of your cabin aren’t paper thin, but sounds can travel between room. Keep this in mind if you decide to engage in “activities” in your cabin. You have to remember that you are in a small, confined space with lots of people around. Not everyone wants to hear what you do in the privacy of your cabin (especially if it happens late at night). Keeping things a little quiet can make sure that your fun doesn’t mess with anyone else’s vacation.

A Post-It Note (or other decoration) helps in finding your room

If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship before, then you know that the cabin hallways can seem almost like an optical illusion. They can stretch forever in a repeating pattern of cabins, walls, and identical doors. While doors are numbered, it’s easy to pass by your room as everything blends together. Many people go to the effort of decorating their doors to not only be festive, but also stand out and be easier to find. If you don’t want to go to that much effort, just bring a few Post-It Notes (they are great for leaving messages in the cabin anyway). Stick one brightly colored note on your door and you have an instant way to identify your cabin.

Creepy? Larger ships will have a morgue

It’s macabre, but if you’re on a larger ship, then it likely has a morgue on board. It’s actually a good idea if you think about it. Cruise ships are carrying thousands of people 365 days a year. It’s a law of averages that someone will eventually pass away while on the ship. With a morgue on board they can keep the body in good condition until reaching a port.