17 little travel hacks to make your cruise easier

Make the most of your next cruise vacation with these cheap and easy tips.

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Cruise travel hacks

Cruise tip: Bring duct tape (it helps with everything!)

Duct tape can have a variety of helpful uses once you’re onboard. Use it to fix your broken suitcase, take lint off of a formal dress, or keep drawers from rolling open when the ship hits rough waters. Here are some more things you should always pack so that you're ready for anything.

Cruise tip: Book a lower deck room to avoid nausea

Prevent seasickness by booking an inside room on the lower deck, preferably in the ship’s center (this is where it is most balanced). If you already feel nausea coming on, order a green apple and crackers from room service, as the fruit is said to be an extraordinary cure for seasickness. Other remedies for nausea include adding a bit of ginger to your meal or sitting on the deck and fixing your gaze on a point of the horizon. Here are some other techniques to keep yourself from getting sick on a cruise.

Cruise tip: Shop around for travel insurance

Travel insurance is important, as it will provide coverage in the wake of unexpected inconveniences such as travel delays or lost luggage. However, the cruise line may offer coverage at a steeper rate then necessary. Get quotes from third-party companies like RoamRight and Global Alert to help save money.

Cruise tip: Get the ship's app

Many cruise lines offer free apps that will help you make the most of your vacation with information about dining options, onboard account balances, port schedules, and a ship map. The apps will also have a messaging function, which will allow you to call and text others on the ship for a small fee. Here are some more tips for booking a cruise, straight from experts.

Cruise tip: Use Scotchgard on your luggage

Invest in a can of Scotchgard before your trip and use the stain and water repellent on your suitcase before packing. This will keep both your suitcase and the belongings inside protected should inclement weather occur while luggage is being loaded or unloaded from the ship. Before you embark, make sure you know these travel secrets for a stress-free trip.

Cruise tip: Bring stick-on labels to send postcards

When taking a cruise, you will likely be visiting many different places and may want to send postcards or small mementos to friends and family back home. Instead of dragging your bulky address book around with you for the duration of your trip, pre-address a few stick-on labels with your friends’ addresses to streamline the process and save space.

Cruise tip: Pack magnets for a more organized room

Ship cabins can be small and clutter easily, and often don’t offer a lot of hanging options for towels and jackets. However, most cabin walls are metal, which means they’re also magnetic. Before you embark, head to your local hardware store and invest in a few magnet clips and hooks. This will allow you to hang extra wet bathing suits, and help you stay organized as you clip daily itineraries and other important documents to the wall. Remember, these are things you're better off not packing on your vacation.

Cruise tip: Watch the bridge cam to prevent claustrophobia

If you’ve opted for an inside cabin without any windows, you may sometimes feel claustrophobic due to the lack of natural light. Should this occur, tune your cabin’s TV to the ship’s bridge cam, which will provide some nice natural light and serve as a low-maintenance nightlight when the sun goes down. Here are some more surprising amenities you never knew cruise ships had.

Cruise tip: Pack a power strip 

Most cabins are lacking in electronic outlets, which can be frustrating to the modern traveler needing to charge a whole slew of devices. To avoid this predicament, tuck a power strip in your suitcase to accommodate your various chargers.

Cruise tip: Pack an extension cord

Additionally, outlets are often inconveniently located, which makes a small extension cord useful if you want to lounge in bed with your laptop.

Cruise tip: Bring your own first-aid kit 

A lot of staple items that come in a standard first-aid kit will be much more expensive in a sundries shops onboard. Avoid the added expense by tossing a small first-aid kit in your suitcase when packing. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy on your cruise voyage.

Cruise tip: An over-the-door shoe rack can save your sanity 

This handy organizer will help keep your items orderly in a cramped ship cabin. Tuck your shoes, toiletries, and other belongings in the pockets to keep your cabin tidy over the course of your cruise.

Cruise tip: Bring wrinkle-release spray

Unlike hotels, cruise ships will not provide irons in cabins because of the fire hazard they pose. Instead, place clothes on hangers and cover them with plastic dry cleaner bags before packing to prevent wrinkles from forming. For a more low-maintenance solution, bring along a wrinkle-releasing spray and gently spritz garments before wearing. These are the best cruises for every type of traveler.

Cruise tip: Do laundry in your room with these surprising items

On most ships, fees for laundry services and self-service washing are exorbitant. Save money by bringing along travel-sized detergents and a few deflated balloons. Wash clothing with detergent in the sink of your cabin’s bathroom, wring out, and then drape each article over a blown-up balloon to give it its own little drying rack. Another way to be resourceful with dirty clothes is to try and find a laundromat when the ship ports, though language barriers and foreign currency may make this a challenge.

Cruise tip: Get a full tour of your cabin 

Though your cabin may be a bit on the small side, ship designers are often extremely inventive when it comes to creating space and storage throughout the space. When you first arrive at your cabin, explore thoroughly so that you uncover any discreet or surprising storage spaces that will make space management simpler. Or just ask your cabin steward to show you around the room. Going on a Disney cruise? Check out our guide for what to do...and what to skip.

Cruise tip: For maximum R&R, get room service 

On most cruise lines, room service is free or comes with a very low service charges. Make the most of your vacation by treating yourself to a peaceful night in with room service, away from the frenzy of large dining rooms and restaurants.

Cruise tip: Take advantage of spa freebies

Many ships will not require you to buy a spa pass to gain access to facilities like the steam room or spa showers, which will probably be roomier than the one in your cramped cabin bathroom. Another smart spa shortcut is to investigate spa service rates on port days, when they are often offered at a discounted price. Next, check out the secrets cruise lines won't tell you.

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