Newbie cruiser’s 7 pointers for better cruising the 2nd time at sea

I have a kit bag of household travel hacks for conserving cash on trips, getting kids to sleep on an airplane, stretching your miles so you can fly to Europe in lie-flat seats for the exact same out-of-pocket expense as a peppermint mocha and even discovering the finest shave ice on Kauai(Wishing Well near Hanalei Bay).

However last year was the first time I ever stepped foot on a cruise ship.

As a cruise amateur, I understood the boat was going to take us to the Bahamas, that Captain Minnie was onboard which scheduling through a third-party to get an onboard credit was the way to go, but that was about the level of my knowledge. Walking onto our first cruise with few expectations wasn’t a bad thing, however fresh off our recent second cruise– with a third booked and a fourth penciled in– we’ve improved at cruising in a rush.

Here are 7 things we did better on our second cruise than our very first. (Mentioning, here’s the evaluation of our latest cruise on the Disney Marvel)

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Eat at the adults-only restaurant

On our very first cruise, we consumed just in the assigned and consisted of dining establishments. They were plenty excellent which was an affordable choice, but spending an extra $40 per grownup to consume at the adults-only restaurant on the Disney Marvel was worth every cent.

Related: How to choose the right cruise line for you

We tried to get an appointment at the adults-only Palo dining establishment on our first cruise, however it was already reserved due to the fact that newbie cruisers are the last ones to get access to reservations. Even without that special access, we could– and should– have attempted harder for a reservation on our very first cruise once we were on board.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
( Image by Summer Hull/The Points Man)

As good as the included food on your very first cruise might be, make it an indicate buy-up to an even better kid-free dining experience a minimum of once on your cruise. It makes the time slow down, and it will likely turn into one of the memories you keep with you the longest.

Related: How to reserve a cruise utilizing miles and points

Board as soon as possible

We were designated an afternoon boarding time on our very first cruise, and we made our method to the boat in a leisurely style. I discovered some households currently swimming in the pools when we boarded our first cruise in the afternoon of embarkation day and only later did I discover how genius that was since the swimming pools ended up being too crowded to take pleasure in after all the passengers arrived.

Nope, nope, nope. (Photo by Summertime Hull/The Points Person)

On our 2nd cruise, we were the third household to stroll onto the ship (again a perk of our concierge reservation). We postponed consuming lunch for the time being and made a beeline to the swimming pool to become the very first ones to enjoy the slides and pool. It took hours for us to spot anyone else in the pool location, so this trick we gained from our first cruise paid off.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
We went directly to the pool. (Image by Summer Season Hull/The Points Man)

Related: Best credit cards for scheduling a cruise

Got off the ship early

Those early extra hours on board the ship are fantastic on the first day of the cruise; the same is not real on the last day. On our first cruise we thought we were being clever to plan to get off as late as possible to “soak everything in,” however that was a mistake. The team desires you up and out so they can prep for the next visitors. We thought we ‘d have more time that last day than we actually did and ended up tired as we waited in line behind thousands of other individuals in a relatively perpetual line to get off the boat and through custom-mades. It was not the ideal way to end a holiday.

This time, we had our things ready before the announcement that we could disembark the ship at 7: 30 a.m. As a result, we had almost no lines or waits, which was a better method to transition to the real world.

Related: Why 2020 ought to be the year of your very first cruise

Go all-in on themed nights

If your cruise has a themed night, believe huge– especially if you have kids. Leave your shy side ashore and pack an extra side of fun in your cruise luggage.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
( Photo by Summertime Hull/The Points Guy)

Inspect your cruise schedule, but some typical styles are pirate night, 70 s, 80 s, masquerade ball, etc.

Load Dramamine

Possibly the most significant shock on my first cruise was how much I felt the motion of the ocean, even on Disney’s largest ship in pretty calm seas. I didn’t get ill on my very first cruise however understanding just how much I noticed the movement in calm seas opened my eyes. Luckily, we were much better prepared for our second cruise, which was a winter season Marco Bitran in what ended up being rougher seas.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Person)

This time, when I felt the motion as we set sail, we were prepared with medication if it got to be too much– which it very much did by the very first complete sea day.

From the appearances of this photo, I wasn’t the only one. Luckily, we had a strategy if we had difficulty getting our sea legs, and it worked.

Related: Essential things to pack for your cruise

(Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
( Picture by Summer Hull/The Points Man)

Book a longer cruise

Reserving a brief cruise for our very first time at sea made a lots of sense, however I think our very first cruise was really too short. On paper, it was three nights, however in reality that implied no full days at sea to take pleasure in the ship unless we skipped leaving at a port, which we did. The second time, we reserved a four-night cruise with just one port and two complete sea days. Factor in how early we got on the ship for the very first day and we had way more time on the ship than we did the first time.

Related: Review of a 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream

This extra day made whatever feel more unwinded due to the fact that it wasn’t such a rush to “enjoy it all.”

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
( Image by Summer Season Hull/The Points Person)

There’s nothing incorrect with beginning with a three-night cruise, however it is a brief time frame when it’s all brand-new to you. Although four-nights isn’t much longer, the rate of having that extra day felt a lot more relaxing. We have not worked our way up to those seven-night cruises yet, but we do have our eyes on a weeklong Alaska cruise Maybe one day we’ll be saying 4 nights isn’t almost enough time … but truly, it’s a good location to begin.

Plan less

I have actually conserved the finest, or at least the most important idea, for last. Unlike preparing a trip to Disney World when you require to prepare nearly every meal 6 months in advance, the magic of a cruise conceals in having some big chunks of unscheduled downtime.

In truth, simply seeing a first-run movie with the household each day we were at sea was simply– indulgent. No matter how you want to spend your cruising time, leave yourself the flexibility to go where the ocean takes you … which may just be out to your balcony.

Grandma Points relaxing on our balcony (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Grandma Points relaxing on our veranda. (Photo by Summertime Hull/The Points Man)

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