An item on the Cruise Critic message boards caught my eye recently, in which member ActiveTraveler, aka Andrea, bravely posted a list of cruising mistakes, hoping that flagging them up would help others in their planning. She doesn’t actually confess to having made all these mistakes, mind you!
Here are a few that I like from her list:
*Pack too much, pack too little, or pack the wrong things for your cruise?
*Select the wrong cabin, do the wrong activities, or order the wrong food?
*Take pictures of the wrong things and forget to take pictures you wanted?
*Get too much or not enough cash or exchange currency the wrong way?
*Miss the beginning of a tour you had reserved in advance for any reason?
Yes, guilty as charged for several of those, especially the packing, the almost missing a tour (open the ticket envelopes and double check your bookings the minute you arrive in your cabin) and the currency – a large wodge of useless Turkish lire is still sitting in my safe, waiting to be aired again.
Member GreatDaneMom adds a few more to the list of mistakes:
*Booking an anniversary cruise the last week of May out of Port Canaveral and NOT realizing the kids in Florida are out of school for the summer
*Booking a cabin across from a passenger laundry room
*Linking my dining reservation to a group of cruisers I met on a cruise board who turned out to be awful people and we were stuck eating with them
None of these is actually going to wreck a cruise, although we’ve probably all learned not to repeat them. But member tea4ular tells a sad story of putting down a deposit for a family group on a cruise, getting very excited and only researching travel to join the ship when it was too late: “The cost of airfare, hotel for a night in each direction, and then transportation from airport to hotel/port, added a cost equal to the cruise fare. BAH! Had to call friends and family, and we all cancelled.”
And then there’s the debate about planning. Do you over-plan and end up over-scheduled and exhausted? Under-plan and miss places you might have enjoyed?
I suppose the best advice I could offer regarding the destinations is simply to be informed. Read the Cruise Critic boards and port reviews, learn a bit of local history from a good guidebook and establish the difference between tours that work best with a guide (Pompeii, Jerusalem, most places in Egypt) and places you can explore easily and cheaply on your own (St Martin, Juneau, Barcelona).
And finally, a note on clothing. Wear your skinny clothes early on in the cruise and save the expanding ones for when the situation gets critical near the end. On a recent Princess Cruise, after a week of enjoying the food, my friend and I poured ourselves into our only remaining posh frocks, sat at dinner, unable to move, seams bursting, gave up, tottered back to our cabin and ordered room service in our tracky bots.
What’s your worst cruising mistake? Weigh in and add to the list!