I went on a cruise.
Now there’s something I never thought I would say/write.
Whilst I have always loved travelling (if you couldn’t already tell after reading Honestly, Is Travelling In Your 20’s Really Worth It?), I never really gave crusing a second thought. For me a holidays correlated with planes, trains and everything in between, bar boats.
I suprised myself in agreeing to book a quick little getaway with my partner on the Pacific Jewel, and at the other side of the trip, and I readily await my next cruising experience (and when that time comes, I will be sure to return to this post as a refresher).
1.Calculate your expenses using the cost-per-day method
When determining what cruise to book, calculate the cost per-day expenses.
Whilst it may seem daunting to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few days of excitement, when you break down the daily costs and what those funds include, the value of the cruise really speaks for itself.
Sidenote: Seems that the ‘cost-per-wear‘ ideology is trickling into other areas of daily life!
2. Make a standing reservation for dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant
The Waterfront Restaurant was honestly one of the highlights of the cruising experience!
My partner and I determined by the end of the trip that if we were to dine at a restaurant in Sydney for four nights in a row, our bill would amount to more than what our cruise fare was.
The Waterfront Restaurant is a gorgeous dining experience where a large selection of fine-dining meals are available and included in your cruise fare. The Waterfront to me felt like a date night every evening – with the impeccable service, food, decor and attention to detail, it was easy to forget the fact that you are actually on the high seas.
Every day our anticipation grew throughout the day, wondering what we would indulge in that evening. Needless to say my extra 2kg of weight on my frame was well worth the experience of the Waterfront Restraunt. I am happy to run on a treadmill for a few weeks for my few days of unrestricted indulgence.
If you are cruising on the Pacific Jewel, as soon as you get on the cruise liner, head to level 7 and make a standing reservation for each evening at a consistent time… thank me later!
p.s if the images do not look appealing, blame it on the photography – in reality the food was flawless.
3. Bring an empty flask or water bottle
My biggest concern before boarding the boat is quite possibly the most ridiculous concern anyone could ever have – I was concerned with the tea situation. My browsing history was all kinds of odd – I neurotically googled and enquired whether there was tea available onboard, whether I was required to purchase a ‘drinks package’ and whether it was humanly possible to sneak a kettle in my bag without detection.
One of the better decisions I made was taking one of my valentine’s day presents on board with me, that being a T2 tea flask that keeps drinks hot for 6-8 hours on average. I quite literally probably spent more time on level 12 where the tea dispenser was than I did in my room.
If you on the other hand are not a tea fan and you are wondering how you are to have water onboard (because let’s be real, who wants to spend copious amounts of money on water), I recommend brining an empty water bottle and filling it up onboard. Whilst it is asked that you do not directly place your water bottle under the water dispenser, I filled cups of water and poured that water into my bottle to ensure I was hygenic and respectful to other patrons and that I was not going to die of dehydration.
4. Prepay your ‘Cruise Card’
Two words – accountability and security
Call me paranoid, but I prefer to keep my card details to myself, rather than share my financial details with business and corporations. Whilst I acknowledge that there is little chance of banking details falling into the wrong hands – I will take any and every precaution I can take.
Further, why not keep yourself financially accountable and stay on-top of your onboard spending habits?!
I know that this is a tip that the cruise liner would prefer you not take, and might I note that we were not informed that there were pre-paid cruise card options onboard, but be sure to ask about the option when boarding the ship.
5. Schedule your daily activities the night before
Cruises are fantastic not only for their great service and culinary delights, but also for their on-board experiences. With the amount of comedy shows, dance classes, tournaments, trivia games and movies on offer, it can be difficult to schedule in everything that you want to experience within the hours available.
As I was travelling with my partner, we had to compromise with one another and determine what our daily activities would be the night before. P & O Cruises leave the daily schedule for the next day, ‘Good Times‘, allowing you the opportunity to pre-plan your onboard experiences.
We sat with a pen and initialled the activities we wanted to be involved in and debate why we should choose one over the other… (ladies, you know you’re onto a good thing when your partner agrees to take two dance classes at the cost of their table-tennis tournament).
6. Get to know the cruise staff members
Cruise staff work ridiculously hard, they are always so chirpy and helpful and should be recognised for their amazing service and professionalism. Say good morning when you pass them in the hall, take the time to talk to the entertainment staff and find out about their stories – after all, that is the beauty of travel.
7. Forget about the internet (and WIFI for that matter!)
Yes, you will feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway without internet.
Yes, you will survive. No, the ‘free wifi’ will not work, even in public spaces.
8. Pre-purchase your adventure activities prior to the cruise
Moreton Island is a beautiful destination, yet given the stringent time frame allocated for activities on the Island, I am so grateful that we booked our adventures before the cruise commenced. If we were to book on the Island, the time lost in determining what adventures we wanted to take and organising the experience would have eaten away a chunk of the day that would be better spent in the water.
Note that there was no price difference in our experience between repurchased activities and those that could be bought on the day.
9. Pack a capsule wardrobe
A golden rule for any travels is organising a versatile capsule wardrobe.
1. Do not pack anything you don’t absolutely love–you won’t wear it. Like an capsule wardrobe, you wan’t to focus only on what you adore. Instead, you’ll re-wear the things you do love, and will have wasted space for nothing. (If you don’t love something, why do you own it anyway?)
2. Pick a color scheme, and stick to it. Every single item you pack must also match every other item you pack. This results in dozens of outfit combinations and virtually zero effort required to get dressed every day. Sticking to classic basics also ensures you won’t look back at photos and think, “GOD what was I wearing!?” Remember, there is nothing chicer than all-black.
3. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes. There’s a reason most capsule wardrobes limit footwear choices, you really don’t need that many!
10. Take a power-board with you
With two power ports in each room and multiple appliances to charge, packing a powerboard was an ingenious idea!