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10 Must-Dos to Own Your Next Cruise Experience

10 Must-Dos to Own Your Next Cruise Experience

  1. Consider the time of year
  2. Pack the right clothing
  3. Plan for fun onboard your ship
  4. Make shore excursions easier
  5. Be prepared for any ailment
  6. Keep electronics functioning properly
  7. Maintain a tidy stateroom
  8. Follow tips for traveling with infants and toddlers
  9. Connect with fellow travelers
  10. Discover more cruising tips and tricks

If you have ever gone on a cruise, you know it’s a vacation that offers a little extra magic. From abundant onboard activities to exciting shore excursions, cruises never offer a dull moment on the high seas. Whether you’re planning your second or your tenth cruise, you can make each experience even better than the last with these 10 hot tips.

family embarking on a carnival cruise ship

  1. Consider the Time of Year

When planning a cruise, always consider when you want to travel. If you’re looking for warm weather, cruise to the Caribbean any time of year. When sailing in Europe, plan your trip far in advance for an itinerary that includes activities like wine tasting and exploring major cities. Meanwhile, a warm clambake on the beach and the stunning views of colorful fall foliage make New England and Canada a perfect destination in autumn.

friends enjoying the ocean view by the railing of a carnival ship

  1. Pack the Right Clothing

Your choice of vacation clothing can make or break your cruise experience. Although you may spend most of your time in swimsuits and shorts, be sure to include fancier clothing for formal dining. Think slacks and collared shirts for men and dresses or skirts for women. Always pair formal outfits with nice footwear, and pack a small bottle of wrinkle-release spray for a crisp, just-pressed look. Even though you might be traveling to a tropical climate, it’s a good idea to include a light jacket or sweatshirt for cooler evening temperatures.

well-dressed couple laughing during dinner onboard a carnival ship

  1. Plan for Fun Onboard Your Ship

It’s easy to get lost on a multi-level cruise ship if you don’t know your way around. Find your stateroom quickly and plot a course to the pool, spa, theater, dining room or Serenity Adults Only Retreat by studying your ship’s layout before you set sail.

For lone cruisers, couples, friends or family, there’s always something fun to do aboard ship. To stay in the loop with ship activities, each stateroom is delivered a copy of Fun Times, a daily publication for Carnival Cruise ships. You can also download the FunHub App, where you will be able to find everything from events and activities to onboard entertainment.

family having fun on the ropes course aboard a carnival ship

  1. Make Shore Excursions Easier

A number of tips and tricks make shore excursions more enjoyable. To stay extra-organized, place envelopes stuffed with excursion details and the cash you need for that day in a small accordion file. Store the file in your stateroom safe, and pull out each envelope as needed.

When heading out for a shore excursion, take daypacks filled with local maps, snacks, refillable water bottles and light rain jackets. Add a few zippered bags to keep electronics dry and to hold wet swimsuits. To go from swimming one minute to shopping the next, pack quick-dry sandals or water shoes.

couple putting on snorkeling gear

  1. Be Prepared for Any Ailment                                                                            

It’s hard to predict what might happen on vacation. Be prepared by turning a basic toiletry bag into a mini medical kit. Fill it with adhesive bandages, pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines and pills, patches or bands for sea sickness. Don’t forget to add necessary prescription medicines and epinephrine auto-injectors for extreme allergies.

  1. Keep Electronics Functioning Properly

People use a lot of electronic gadgets, and travelers are no exception. Throughout your cruise, keep your smartphones, tablets, cameras and electronic gaming devices functioning properly with a small power strip featuring a few extra outlets and USB ports. Don’t forget to pack a portable phone charger in order to preserve picture-perfect moments on shore.

  1. Maintain a Tidy Stateroom

A neat and tidy stateroom takes the stress out of cruise ship travel. Pack a pop-up hamper to store dirty clothes and an over-door pocket organizer to hold toiletries, sunglasses, wallets, smartphones and more. Keep your stateroom free of germs and odors with antiseptic wipes and air deodorizer.

friends talking out on a stateroom balcony

  1. Follow Tips for Traveling with Infants and Toddlers

If you’re taking little ones on your next cruise, take advantage of a few tips and tricks for traveling with infants and toddlers. Start by picking a ship with child-friendly attractions and activities, and don’t forget to pack essentials like baby carriers, diapers, wipes, sippy cups, pacifiers, water wings and beloved stuffed animals or small blankets. For a little adult time, be sure to take advantage of your ship’s complimentary child care programs.

two little girls reading a book together

  1. Connect with Fellow Travelers

If you’re traveling with children old enough to go off on their own, make sure to pack a few walkie-talkies to stay connected on a multi-level ship. Don’t forget to label each device with a name and cell phone number in case of loss. Want a low-tech method to keep track of your travel group? Keep a magnetic dry-erase board in your stateroom for important messages and location updates.

moms talking to each other while their children play

  1. Discover More Cruising Tips and Tricks

If you haven’t already discovered these tips and tricks, use them to enhance your next cruise vacation:

  • Whether you’re setting sail from Seattle, Miami or London, leave a little wiggle room before your trip for exploring your departure port city.
  • Purchase a lanyard to keep track of your cruise card.
  • Download travel apps onto your smartphone or tablet, such as sleep aid apps and currency exchange apps.
  • Pack a nightlight or a small flashlight for late-night trips to the bathroom.
  • Take plenty of dollar bills for tipping.

group of friends enjoying their time at the beach


When it comes to a fun and exciting vacation, cruising is a great place to start. Whether you’re still a novice or a cruise veteran, there’s always something to learn for a more enjoyable experience. Own your next cruise vacation with these handy suggestions.

Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.