Cruising is back, and while there may be a few changes, most things will remain the same. If Princess is your choice, and it’s usually ours, we offer below 25 Princess cruise tips and tricks that can make your sailing even better.
Whether you have already booked or are still thinking about it, these tips for cruising apply to nearly every line, although written specifically for Princess. They will save you time and money, as well as enhance your cruising experience.
We realized that this list of Princess cruise tips and tricks needed to be written when, after two consecutive weeks onboard the Island Princess, we were still discovering new things. With over 160 days at sea to our credit, we didn’t expect it.
From that point, we set out on a mission, asking officers, crew, and other passengers for their best Princess cruise hacks. While many of these cruise ship tips feel like Princess cruise secrets, in fact, all of this information is readily available on board and much of it applies to any cruise line. Plus, we have updated for current world changes.
New safety guidelines
including those from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC offers guidelines regarding vaccination, hygiene, and planning. Princess Cruise Lines has their own health advice and protocols here.
If you are sailing with any other cruise line, check cruise critic for current requirements.
In other safety news, Princess has expanded their hands-free MedallionClass to their entire fleet. Now, rather than a cruise card that is handed to another person for payment, each passenger is issued a medallion that is worn on the wrist or on a lanyard. Therefore, the electronic medallion goes everywhere you do as it’s waterproof as well as resistant to heat, sand, and salt.
Our best Princess cruise tips
Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- New safety guidelines
- Our best Princess cruise tips
Princess cruise tips: things to do before you sail+−
- 1. Fly to your embarkation port at least one day in advance
- 2. Learn something about the cruise ports
- 3. Book some onboard services in advance of embarkation
- 4. Explore independent shore excursions
- 5. Bring an emergency kit
- 6. Verify that your medical insurance covers pandemic, as well as travel outside of your home country
- 7. Pack light with our Princess cruise packing list
- 8. Bring a power strip
- 9. Book your optimal package by understanding the options
- Our recent cruise destinations
Check out these great deals on Princess Cruises at CruiseDirect.com
Princess cruise tips: things to do before you sail
1. Fly to your embarkation port at least one day in advance
If your plane is late, the ship won’t wait for you. It’s not worth the risk. While the cruise lines offer packages that include airfare, we always check Expedia flights for a cheaper flight. We use Booking.com to compare and find the best hotel prices for the night before we embark.
2. Learn something about the cruise ports
Reading up on your destinations not only adds to the excitement but it also helps ensure you won’t miss anything. We carry a guidebook for those times when we don’t have internet access. Our current favourite series is the Rick Steves cruise ports books. Steves spotlights things you can do in a limited time, offers suggestions as to what can be booked ahead, and targets the needs of cruise passengers.
3. Book some onboard services in advance of embarkation
Don’t miss out on the things you really want. Princess allows you to book Spa treatments, shore excursions, and specialty dinner reservations in advance of sailing. Many popular activities “sell-out” prior to embarkation. By booking in advance, you can guarantee your spot.
In most cases, there is no penalty for cancellation within 48 hours of the event. Therefore, you can make necessary changes or adjustments if you change your mind. Read the fine print before finalizing your booking, as this policy could change. Also, note that some pre-boarding options are not available after you board. Look for words like “special” or “pre-boarding only.”
4. Explore independent shore excursions
While many of the excursions offered by the cruise line are great, you can normally save money and tour with a smaller group by booking independently. The ship will discourage you from doing this, as excursions are a big moneymaker for the cruise line.
Often, their primary argument is that the ship will wait for their own tours if they return late, but not for independent ones. As a result, Get Your Guide (one of our favourite tour companies worldwide) and many of the other tour companies now offer easy cancellation policies on most of their shore excursions.
In fact, Get Your Guide offers a huge range of shore excursion options, all with 24-hour penalty-free cancellation. We encourage you to compare their options with those offered by the ship. Finally, read the reviews. And always check the fine print to be sure the cancellation policy hasn’t changed.
5. Bring an emergency kit
Our kit includes first aid supplies and over-the-counter medication for headache, sore throat, fever, and diarrhea. While you can get most items at the shop onboard or from the ship’s doctor, they will be overpriced. And if they run out of what you need, it could be days before you get to another port.
If you take prescription medication, carry paper copies of the prescriptions, and bring enough for extra days, should you decide to extend your travels.
We make our own kit, but if you prefer a premade one, this small first aid kit from Amazon.com looks complete for injuries.
6. Verify that your medical insurance covers pandemic, as well as travel outside of your home country
To date, we have been on two cruises where a passenger required medical evacuation. One went by helicopter, the other required the ship to divert its course and make an unscheduled stop, leaving the passenger with a waiting ambulance.
We have also seen the inside of an emergency room in six countries, including, most recently, when I got dengue fever in South America.
Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Note: World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
7. Pack light with our Princess cruise packing list
You won’t regret packing light. It’s so important to us, that we wrote another article just on our best cruise packing hacks. Sign up for our newsletter, and we will send you a FREE copy of our Ultimate Cruise Packing Light Checklist:
Packing cubes are one of the most helpful tools for packing light. If you haven’t tried packing cubes before, the time is now. Despite being sceptical, I gave them a try. Now, I am hooked. Not only do packing cubes keep my belongings organized, but they also compact them, allowing more to fit into a smaller space.
Plus, once onboard or at any land destination, unpacking and keeping organized is easy. Similarly, hanging shoe holders can be hung on the back of the door to give you extra storage compartments if you ignored our suggestion for packing light.
8. Bring a power strip
One common complaint of cruise ship cabins are the limited number of electrical outlets, often only one. Carrying a small power strip, we have resolved that problem for ourselves, and can now charge all our devices or dry my hair whilst hubby uses a different electronic device.
9. Book your optimal package by understanding the options
There are two booking options:
- Princess Saver fare covers the cruise only.
- Princess Plus also includes the premium beverage package and the wifi package in the fare for the first two guests in a stateroom.
Check out these great deals on Princess Cruises at CruiseDirect.com
Tip: note that I found this on the FAQ section regarding Princess Plus: “Do all 4 guests in a stateroom receive the Premier Beverage Package, Wi-Fi? YES, however, when this fare is selected it will automatically be defaulted to the first 2 guests in the stateroom. Should your 3rd and 4th guest want to opt in to receive the Beverage Package and Wi-Fi they will need to contact Princess or their travel agent to have it applied to the booking. For guests under the legal drinking age, the Premier Coffee & Soda Package will be applied before sailing.”
Princess cruise tips and tricks: dining
If you are gluten-free, dairy-free, or have food allergies, we have great news. Princess Cruise Lines take this very seriously. We personally have never had a food allergy problem onboard a Princess ship. However, all cruise lines are not the same.
Check out this article for an epic failure by a competitor: Cruising with Food Allergies.
10. Don’t be afraid to try different eating options
Food is a big part of every cruise. And on Princess Cruises, your base price includes many meal and snack options.
For a big meal, there is the main dining room (dress code of no shorts or tank tops at dinner), a buffet, and specialty restaurants (extra fee). Each of these will feature full meals and scrumptious desserts.
But that’s not all. Branch out, explore the ship and on most ships, you will find a pastry shop, pizza shop, grill near the pool deck featuring burgers, soft-serve ice cream, an international cafe (beverage charges apply, see below), and my personal favourite – the milk and cookies cart.
And if that’s not enough to satisfy, room service is also included in your fare.
11. At mealtime, order everything you want
If you eat in a dining room, note that you can order extra of anything. I actually requested extra vegetables while a tablemate ordered a second lobster tail and one of each dessert. Although, you might want to check out these tips for eating onboard without gaining weight.
12. Dine My Way allows you to make dinner reservations
One advantage of Dine My Way is the flexibility to show up when you want to eat. There are times that are more popular than others, like right after the first show. If you know in advance that this will be your choice, you can make a reservation and effectively cut the queue.
13. Speciality restaurants frequently serve lunch at no extra charge
The option to dine at a speciality restaurant comes with a price tag for the added value. However, they frequently offer a special lunch at no additional fee. On the Island Princess, this included Italian Pizza or a British Pub lunch. It will be listed in the daily Princess Patter.
Princess cruise hacks and tips: drinks
14. Get free or cheaper drinks with these cruise ship hacks
Discount beverage packages are available pre-departure and onboard (see tips for cruising #15). However, there are plenty of opportunities for free drinks. Coffee and tea are complimentary with meals and afternoon tea (these do not include fancy espresso drinks).
Most art auctions, some spa tours, welcome events, the captain’s party, and a few special events onboard include a glass of champagne or even a drink. Also, there are often happy hour specials at different bars, wine or whiskey tastings, and other events that offer drink deals.
You can also save money by bringing certain beverages with you at embarkation. Ask your room steward to empty the minibar, and then restock it with your own beverages. We brought a case of water on our last cruise, and friends brought their own soda. Wine has more rules, but in brief, you can bring one bottle. See the detailed rules here.
15. Choose the Princess drink package that is right for you
In general, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, smoothies, mocktails and specialty coffees are not included in your Princess Saver plan. Here are the four package options:
- Plus Beverage package – unlimited wine, beer, spirits, fountain soda, specialty coffees, bottled water, teas, and other individual beverages that are up to $12 USD each.
- Premier Beverage package – includes everything in the Plus Beverage Package plus top shelf premium beverages up to $18 USD each and a larger selection of wines and spirits.
- Coffee and Soda package – unlimited premium and specialty coffees and teas along with fountain sodas, fruit juices, hot chocolate, and “zero-proof” mocktails.
- Classic Soda package – unlimited fountain sodas, fruit juices, mocktails, and smoothies.
- New Grounds Coffee package – a given number of specialty coffees (determined by the cruise length). Couples can purchase one package as it provides a finite number of drinks, although the plan also includes unlimited filter coffee and hot chocolate only for the cardholder.
All that said, our two best tips:
- If you plan to drink wine with dinner, a few alcoholic beverages throughout the day, and enjoy specialty coffee, consider the Princess Plus package as that includes the Plus Beverage Package.
- However, if you are booking under Princess Saver, and you plan to drink only one specialty coffee per day like I do, but you also enjoy fountain sodas, mocktails, and juices, it will probably save you money* to purchase the classic soda package and the coffee card. This will also give you the addition of smoothies over the Premier Coffee and Soda club.
*Prices and terms may have changed since I wrote this.
16. Know when to order a glass of wine, and when to order a bottle instead
If you’re on Princess Saver, never order a glass of wine – order a bottle instead. However, the opposite is more cost-effective for Princess Plus.
If you enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner and you have opted for Princess Saver, you will save money if you order a bottle rather than a glass. But don’t drink it all in one night.
Your waiter will carefully label and store your unfinished bottle at the restaurant under your name. Or, you can bring it back to your cabin for any time drinking. If you ask your cabin steward, he will provide wine glasses and a bucket of ice.
Princess Plus passengers will get a 25% discount on the bottle, or they can order wine by the glass and have it included in their package.
Getting a bottle or a glass of wine instead, depending on your package, is one of the Princess cruise tips and tricks that will save you money.
More Princess cruise tips and tricks
17. Prepare for the sun
The sun may be much stronger than you are used to at home. On sea days, you may find yourself lounging at the pool or doing other outdoor activities. Nothing spoils the fun quite like a sunburn. Therefore, we recommend bringing plenty of sunscreen, a sun hat, and a lightweight cover-up that can serve as sun protection if needed.
What you don’t need to bring is a beach towel, as they are available at the pools and can be taken ashore at ports.
18. The dry sauna and large showers at the spa are available to all passengers
Yes, it’s true. Even if you don’t purchase spa services, you enjoy some of their amenities like the dry sauna and huge showers at no extra charge.
19. Some Princess ships offer Movies Under the Stars
A wonderful selection of movies showed nearly every night on a huge 300-square foot screen with a 69,000-watt sound system found poolside. Padding, removable pillows, and blankets convert the lounge chairs into a comfortable nighttime movie-watching option. Princess even provides popcorn.
20. Each ship has at least one deck offering outdoor access to the bow and stern
On the Island Princess, decks 10 and 11 forward are optimal for watching the ship enter the Panama Canal, while deck 8 at the stern was the perfect spot as we left Cabo San Lucas. To access these outdoor decks, we passed through an unlabelled door at the end of the hallway.
Princess cruises wifi hacks
21. Maximize your internet usage
Princess now has what they call MedallionNet, and they consider it to be the best wifi at sea. Best of all, it’s included in the Princess Plus or Premier package. Internet used to be crazy expensive on cruise ships, but even with Princess Saver, you can purchase a package that will give you unlimited internet.
Personally, I would love to log off and enjoy my time at sea. However, that’s neither possible nor desirable for some people, so we offer a few wifi tips for those who purchase a limited amount of wifi onboard:
- The number of users at any given time affects Princess cruises’ wifi speed. Therefore, very early in the morning or very late at night will give the fastest speeds.
- If you purchase a limited amount of wifi on board, put your phone or device in airplane mode when not using it. This will protect you from accidental usage or unexpected (and very expensive) updates.
- Log in, bring in your email, open each webpage you want to read in a separate tab, and log out. Read webpages and reply to emails while offline, and only log back in to send all messages at once. Or, if they are not time-sensitive, leave them in the out basket. They will send the next time you bring in your mail.
- If you can log in and out in less than 30 seconds, it often won’t track as time online; therefore, it is free.
- To save even more, only check email onshore. In much of the world, Mcdonald’s and Starbucks offer free wifi.
22. Texts to other passengers are free using Princess Onboard at Sea
Bring your mobile device, and you can also access daily schedules, your account, and the ship’s itinerary at no charge. You can even send messages to other passengers while onboard the ship.
More Princess cruise hacks
23. The ship bartenders are like hidden concierges
They are an excellent source of additional cruise excursion tips or advice on ports. They learn the best and the worst while talking to passengers every day. Also, many crew members have been to various ports multiple times.
24. Although Princess cruises gratuities are automatically added to your daily invoice, they can be altered
Or, they can be completely removed. Simply ask at the main desk. While more complicated, altering prepaid gratuities is possible.
25. The future cruise deposit is the best deal onboard
There is no risk as Princess will refund unused deposits after two years. Importantly, the deposit must be in the currency of the country of your residence, and you must enrol while onboard.
Check out the great deals on Princess Cruises from CruiseDirect.com
Our recent cruise destinations
- Southeast Asia from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Azamara Quest with ports in Vietnam and Thailand.
- New Year’s Cruise in Rio de Janeiro on the Azamara Pursuit from Buenos Aires, Argentina (return) with ports in Uruguay and Brazil.
- Pacific Crossing on the Golden Princess sailing from Los Angeles, USA to Auckland, New Zealand with ports in Hawaii, French Polynesia, and American Samoa. This is a repositioning cruise.
- Panama Canal Crossing on the Island Princess sailing from Fort Lauderdale, USA to Vancouver, Canada with ports in Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
- Australia over the top from Sydney to Perth on the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas with ports in Australia and Indonesia.
- Alaska’s interior passage on the NCL Sun sailing from Anchorage to Vancouver, Canada.
- The Mediterranean including both the Adriatic and Aegean Seas on the NCL Spirit sailing from Barcelona, Spain to Venice, Italy, with ports in France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
- Norway on the MSC Opera sailing to and from South Hampton, England, with ports in the Netherlands and Norway.
- In the past, we also cruised to the Mexican Riviera and multiple Caribbean cruises; plus, we have been invited guests onboard the HAL Oosterdam and the Celebrity Solstice.
Save for later
If you enjoyed these Princess cruise tricks and tips, please share this article on social media and save them on Pinterest for your next cruise.
Read next: 7 Hidden Benefits of Cruising that Might Surprise You
Do you have any Princess cruise tips and tricks to add to our list?
Disclaimer: In addition to VIP treatment onboard the Island Princess, the ship provided us with many complimentary extras. The opinions and observations expressed here are strictly my own. The tips and benefits listed above are all subject to change. Be sure to read the current rules before you sail.
Awesome tips you got here, I never knew that there is so many tips that you need to know when going for a cruise. But it is awesome that you are sharing these
These are great tips, but I especially love tips #5-8 and 15. You never know if the local cuisine will irritate your stomach or not (happened on 2 occasions for me), I don’t remember my old insurance name but I agree about making sure you are insured when overseas in case of an emergency, jeans are heavy, so don’t pack many of them, also carry a power strip in case you need to plug in anything extra and/or to share your power with others in need when outlets are limited. Last, for goodness sakes, buy the bottle! lol Even if you don’t think you’ll drink a whole bottle, buy the bottle; you’ll end up paying more glass by glass. Take the bottle to the room if you aren’t able to down it at the table.
Thanks for the fantastic tips! We’ve never been on a cruise so going to save this post for the future. It will come in handy if we do book one!
Those tips and tricks are super helpful! I’ve never been on a cruise but if I go I’ll definitely use them! 🙂
This is all so interesting, I honestly had NO IDEA. I did a cruise years ago, when I was a kid. It was the Disney Cruise and I went to the Bahamas with my mother and father. I will never forget this experience. Great post, very detailed!
Omg thank you so much for this amazing tips, I wish I could do next year a cruise trip with my little daughter 😍
Excellent tips, Rhonda. Never thought of booking services in advance, I think that’s a good idea. We don’t go on cruises very often, but I enjoy going when I have a chance. I prefer the traditional dining onboard because I believe you get much better food then in the “anytime” dining rooms.
The menu is the same in traditional dining and anytime dining. Comes from same kitchen.
Loving all of these tips on cruising! I did a couple of them myself when I was younger and love being on the ocean!
SO many great tips- especially about ordering a bottle of wine & they’ll put it aside for you, thats incredible!
These are such great tips. We always book our excursions independently. We have found that it is usually a much better experience.
Wow, this looks like a super classy cruise. I’ve only ever been on one but not with Princess. I have a friend who works for them and I hear all kinds of cool things. I might need to go sometime soon. Love your wifi tip especially!
Great article & tips … I’m going on the majestic princess next year & would like to explore ‘the drinks situation’ in a bit more detail please.
When you say “On our last cruise, we purchased a case of water before embarking, saving us tons of money. We simply added one of the luggage tags to it and it appeared in our room later. We know others who have done the same with soda. You can ask your room steward to empty the minibar, and then restock it with your own beverages.”
Was the case of water purchased through princess or you bought it onboard yourself meaning you purchased it outside of princess? (like at a local supermarket) … And when you say case, is that like 12 x 500ml bottles? Same Q with the soda …
I’m after some clarity as I’ve read elsewhere you can’t take water/liquids onboard or they’re confiscated …
Much appreciated 🙂
We stopped a grocery store on our way to the ship and picked up a case (25 bottles at 500ml – our last cruise was 21 days, and the water was on sale at that quantity). We don’t drink sodas, so we didn’t bring any. We were given luggage tags with our tickets that direct our belongings to our stateroom. We simply attached one to the case of water and had no problems. I cannot comment on others saying there’s was confiscated. We only needed bottled water on shore, as we are happy to drink the ship’s water.
OK Great ~ Thanks Rhonda 🙂
You’re really gearing me up to book a cruise next year!
Someone recently recommended a Princess cruise to us for our trip to Alaska! Thanks for these awesome tips. I will be referencing this again.
Smart, insider tips for cruising. I like that you made sure to include tips about reservations, which sometimes seems overwhelming for cruisers. Great post!
Great tips! I have cruised a TON on Princess and didn’t know about #12! We do the Specialty restaurants for dinner but had NO idea about lunch! We always get coffee cards and save with that and even if we aren’t sure when our next cruise is we always purchase the future cruise credit!
We are going on a cruise for 🎁 and only booked a few weeks in advance , not only did we get a balcony for a great price , we also got a free premium drinks package , booking late is recommended , going Friday 20th Dec ,
It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a cruise. I’d have enjoyed having this info first!
Brooke of Passport Couture
What a fantastic, comprehensive guide to cruises! You’ve done a great job of showing how to get the most of your experience. I would love to watch a movie on a cruise under the stars. It sounds like a romantic way to end the night!
Hi, can you please explain what is a “picture” charge.
Thankyou for the great article, We have just booked our first cruise.
The cruise line employs photographers. They will capture all significant events, like embarkation, parties, formal night etc. They also will have time set for taking photos with various backgrounds. There is an option to purchase any or all of the photos.
The way you write it really makes me want to take a cruise, rest, enjoy and eat all day.
I know a lot of people are in love with packing cubes but you still look like an unmade bed (or at least a “folded” bed!! We travel with a spray bottle of Downey Wrinkle Release. You simply put your clothes on hangers the night before you wear them, spray them and the next morning they look like they have been ironed!!
Here are a few additions that I have learned about over the years.
1. If you have an inside cabin, turn your tv to the bridge camera. As the sky lightens on the camera, your room will lighten as well.
2. Power strips or extension cords are needed since there is usually only one outlet. Check the cruise ship rules as they change from time to time. (There may be an additional outlet behind the tv)
3. Many companies allow you to bring a bottle of wine per person onboard. Check the rules, as again this changes.
4. If you order a food item you have been brave enough to try but find you don’t like it, just order something else. This is a great time to experiment with food. You may love escargot or Creme Brûlée.
5. You can cruise without spending extra money, but if you do, keep track of your purchases on your tv screen. Drinks and pictures add up fast.
6. Most ships charge for cell phone service at unbelievable rates. To avoid nasty surprises on your bill, put your phones and tablets in airplane mode.
7. Many people wear their sign and sail card on a lanyard.
8. I like to take battery votive candles for night lights.
9. Make sure your watches are set to SHIP time. People have missed the ship from having the wrong time.
10. Watch for lower prices for your particular cruise. There are several apps to help. You can sometimes re-book and save money.
Fly With Shaunak
Great tips Rhonda. The only thing stopping me from attempting to be on board is may be my mindset that I’ll feel extremely uncomfortable in the seas. The movement of the waves causing the cruise-liner to go up and down may make me feel like passing-out. I know that’s just a mindset but yeah, someday I will change it… The pictures here too lovely, especially the first one.
Cruise ships today are so big that unless there are huge seas, you rarely feel the movement onboard. There are short 3 day cruises. You could try one of those.
It looks like it was an amazing experience! This cruiseline seems very family friendly. I would love to try a cruise one day!
We have been on 5 different lines, and Princess is my favourite.
Lucky you Rhonda!
have you ever been to Alaska ?
Yes, we cruised Alaska a few years ago. It is so beautiful. We blogged about every port, just put “Alaska” is the blogs search box – or click here: https://www.albomadventures.com/?s=alaska
I love to cruise!
We recently cruised Princess for the third time and were allowed one bottle of wine per passenger to bring onboard! You can consume it in your stateroom to avoid corkage. Room service will open it for you and bring wine glasses. We tip them for that.
As for the lounge chairs, if all are “reserved” with a towel, I simply move them and sit. Haven’t had a problem, as the people are usually not even at the pool.
Regarding the drink cards, it should be noted that they are per person and not to be shared. Sure, you can try to scam the system and maybe succeed, but it’s important to know that you may have a problem if caught. We found that the card was to our advantage, as we enjoyed daily specialty coffees, bottled waters and cocktails. You also get a discount on wine with the card.
We love cruising too. Thanks for the additional tips. As for the drink cards, they each have different rules. The coffee card can be shared as it is for a specific number of coffees. In fact, we always ordered both my specialty drink and hubby’s free filter coffee at the same time. It was the bar tender who suggested we share. We didn’t have an alcohol card, but we certainly saw many couples ordering one alcoholic and one alcoholic drink at the same time.
We have never been on a cruise. We did however get invited to the culinary immersion experience on board that Golden Princess, which gave us a glimpse of life on board. Great tips that we may use one day.
We had a culinary experience on a Holland America ship and got a tour of it as well. Yes, it gives an idea, but life onboard is actually much more fun than it just appears on a tour.
Marcelle Simone Heller
You sound like a real cruise expert! Great tips. The part of the on board internet charged on a per-minute basis doesn’t sound very attractive. Also that the speed is effected by number of users. I wonder if they couldn’t offer internet for free as a incentive for their guests like even buses in the US do. #wkendtravelinspiration
I sound like an expert because I asked the experts onboard and took notes. As for internet, they do use it as an incentive for frequent travelers. The more you cruise with the same line, the more bonuses they give you. It’s a great way for a good company to build loyalty.
Watch the sales as this is sometimes offered as is the drink package. The all inclusive picture package is not offered and if prepurchased it is usually a $50savings. Our cruise was discounted almost $600 before we had to pay in full. Our wonderful TA got it fir us, We had prepaid our gratitudes, the Princess offered free prepaid gratitudes, right after we paid in full. She called them and they refunded it in the form of OBC. Sadly, our cruise has gone down some more but the refunds were not given because we had already paid in full. We were offed a suite but is was on the same side as our balcony and it was going to cost us $1000. More so we said unless it was at the bow or the aft we were. It interested. This is a Panama Chanel cruise so those we our preference.
These are wonderful cruise tips. I only cruised once–on the Queen Mary 2 in her inaugural year, 12 years ago. I am way overdo! Hopefully we can plan one soon. I’d like to cruise to Alaska. I linked up tonight. Hope to join in more frequently!
Oooh, that would be an exciting cruise on Queen Mary 2. We loved our Alaska cruise. We spent a week first and cruised from Anchorage to Vancouver, Canada.
How did you decide how much to pack? We lead with 5 days on land then 7 days cruise I,m very nervous about this???
I pack very little and I dress in layers. One trick is to pick a colour theme, so everything matches. For me, it is usually black, white, and one other colour. My shoes are always athletic/walking shoes, sandals, and black flats. Don’t worry. You can pick up whatever you need on the ship, or in port.
I’m not a cruiser so I was interested to read your whole post. There is so much more to it than what I would have thought. An excellent resource for anyone thinking of taking a cruise.
Thanks Jan. Actually there is plenty to do onboard a cruise ship. Boredom is never the issue. For me the major downside is the limited amount of time off the ship. It’s a trade off.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
You are very correct Rhonda. We have learned a great deal after cruising 10 times, 11 times January 28th 2017 on the Carnival Vista. One thing that I really learned form my first cruise was to watch what you eat. I gained 10 lbs on my first cruise and my slacks wouldn’t fit when I got home so I learned from that. You just have to watch and you can still enjoy the cruise. I stayed away from the all desserts. It was hard but it helped and I still enjoyed the many foods. Great ideas Rhonda.
LOL – it sure is easy to gain weight on a cruise ship. The food is fantastic, and so plentiful.
Great advice, Rhonda. Many these tips are kind of common to all cruise lines from all I’ve noticed. Once you’ve done a cruise you learn the ins and outs of cruising and next time around you know what to do. I am not a great fan of cruises however. I profoundly dislike the idea of going where other people want to take me and follow their rules. I like to make my own itinerary, which obviously is not possible on a cruise.
I debated whether to call it tips for cruising or for Princess. For us we learned new things each time, and even after 8 cruises I was still surprised by a few of these that I learned from talking to officiers.
Hi Anda, sure you can make your own itineraries on a cruise. After 12 cruises, all you need to do is research your port and find what interests you. You can walk or use taxis to get you to your desired destination. Give cruising another try, it’s my most favorite venue for a vacation and Princess Cruises is my cruise line of choice.
I’m a bit surprised they charge extra for beverages and that because people can pre-book things, others may not be able to partake while on board. i worked for years in the resort community. Their on site stores overcharge by a lot but there are always places you can go off the grounds to buy things. Not so on boats, I guess. You’re pretty much stuck and have to pay the going rate.
I should clarify, if you don’t pre-order you don’t get the special deal. Anyone can get bottled water onboard the ship (we drink and filled our bottles with the tap water). And while things are more expensive onboard, the ships do stop in ports, so you can get most things off the ship if you want.
Lady kendal jaggar
I brought the drinks package ans I also paid for wine at the table for fine wines .. I can say that princess was best for this aa I often travel with cunard and just 6 bottles of my fave pouilly fume was 350 dollars plus tax where as princess 788 dollars allowed me 14days hassel free unlimited ans my poulliy fume was only 24.14 dollar on board . Per bottle no hassle perfect cruising no stress .chef table was beautiful and wine tasting perfect trips out and the spa was great I used the wonderful deposit system to book asia on new majestic next year . Love cruising
I love cruising also, and agree that Princess seems to do it well. Glad you had a good experience too.
Princess majestic Asia looking forward to reviewing this ship June 18 21 nights hope its going to live up to expectations
We had 19 nights on the Island Princess and it lived up to expectations.
These are some great tips! We were supposed to go on a cruise this October, but we’ve had to cancel it as we got engaged and I wanted our wedding in the fall. However, my mom still really wants to do a cruise soon so this will come in helpful!
Why not go on a honeymoon cruise?
Mary(The World Is A Book)
These are all great and practical tips. We’ve sailed Princess several times and love them. You’ve covered so many.
I have only been on one cruise- that was a Holland America cruise going from Santiago Chile to Rio de Janeiro Brazil. 16 great days and what a feast every night!
Plus great entertainment!
NO rules whatsoever at that time- 2008- we were even allowed to bring wine on board for taking to the dining room if we wished and the corkage fee was only $10.
The only thing I would do differently would be having a room with a view. Interior rooms were a bit claustrophobic!
Amazing that there were no rules in 2008 but pretty cool.
Good things to know if cruise ships are your thing.
Have a fabulous day. ☺
I know you had a bad experience, but maybe one day you will try again.
Good tips Rhonda for someone like me who has never cruised I wouldn’t have a clue, although I did go on a 2 day one to Denmark and back heheh!
Have a cruisetastic day 🙂
Even people who cruise often may not know all of the little on-board secrets.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Sounds like you could spend your whole day eating.
You can. I think that is why so many people gain so much weight when they cruise.
Trekking with Becky
What a great post! I’ve always wanted to take a cruise, but I had no idea about these things! My great-aunt is a huge Princess Cruise fan, and I wonder if she knows all these things.
Great work! 😀
If you send it to her, I would love to know what she has to say. 🙂
Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
Sometimes things you didn’t even think of seem obvious in hindsight and you just wish someone would have mentioned them.
That’s exactly why I wrote this 🙂
Lydia C. Lee
I’d go bananas if people were hogging lounges – I can’t stand that. If you aren’t sitting on it, what do you need it for??? So selfish.
Good tips on the discount cards – I had no idea.
There are so many rude people out there. It does surprise me that Princess doesn’t enforce their own rules, but it is quite common. We found the same issue on NCL and MSC in the past.
I can see how people who have never cruised are not aware of certain important details. One time on a cruise, we were assigned to seat with two other couples during dinner. They didn’t now they were able to order more than one of everything. They got the hint when they saw my husband and I doing it.
This was my ninth cruise and I learned many of these things for the first time. There are so many little tricks and things that make it just a bit more fun.
A lightstick on the step-up to the bathroom helps to avoid stubbing your toe in the middle of the night. Battery operated votive lights are a nice touch in the bathroom too. Magnets stick to most wall surfaces (except in the bathroom). They also stick to your stateroom door. Have fun!