Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

I love it when cruisers who watch my videos come up to say hello on board ships. Just like on my recent Norwegian Viva Med cruise where I met so many. So, I decided to ask them what tip, hack or trick had most changed their cruising experiences for the better that I should share in this blog

We agreed on 5 that I do think could change your cruising as much as it did theirs. As you’ll see some, including the last one, may sound rather mundane at first – but can make a massive difference.

The first reminded me of when we went on cruises with my mother and mother-in-law. They would repeatedly get lost and confused about which way to go, especially when leaving their cabin.

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

Pro-Cruise Tricks – How To Not Get Lost

It wasn’t until late in my cruising life that I discovered what savvy experienced cruisers already knew, and that is there are signals cruise lines have put in place to help passengers not get so lost. Signals I still rely on today!

For example, cabin numbers always start at number one at the front of the ship and, as you walk towards the rear of the ship, the numbers go higher. So, I could tell my Mum if the numbers were going up as she walked along the corridor she was heading to the rear of the ship, and if going down then towards the front. It transformed cruising for my Mum.

People I met on Viva pointed out Norwegian makes it even easier with signals in the carpets too. On this ship it was triangles pointing in the direction to head for the front of the ship. On their older ships, it’s the direction the fish are swimming in the carpet design.

I relied on the triangles in the carpet every day on my Viva cruise, to ensure I was heading the right way!

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

More Signals

Other lines also added even more signals. Just like on my Disney Magic cruise. I saw they had metal fish above the door numbers pointing the direction to the rear, and if the map in the carpet was the right-side-up, I knew that was the direction to the front of the ship.

Another signal I used with my mum is that on most, but not all ships, the even numbered cabins are all on the left-hand side (or the port side) as she faced the front of the ship. And odd numbered cabins on the right-hand side (or the starboard side) as she faces the front of the ship. So that’s how she could tell the left and right.

Some lines like Cunard made it even easier for her when we went on with red carpets on the port/ left side and blue on the starboard/ right, making it simple when she came out the lifts to know which side their cabin was on as she just had to remember the carpet colour.

So, one great trick is to use these, and check if your ship has any specific added signals, like those I mentioned we had on Viva, to make finding your way around easier.

But the next one people suggested I include was about saving money, which everyone loves but they felt too many miss out on.

Pro-Cruise Tricks – Getting A Better Deal

And that is booking a future cruise, or buying a future cruise deposit certificate, while on your cruise. If you want to sail the line again in the next few years.

Most of the people I met on Norwegian Viva told me they were doing this, as the line was giving $100 on board credit for every future cruise deposit certificate worth $250 bought. If they bought four certificates it was $500 on board credit not $400. This bonus was only available on the cruise.

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

Booking on board always has discounts or added extra onboard credit we cannot get anywhere else. Plus, any booking can still be linked to our travel agent, and many allow no-penalty changes at least once to bookings made on board.

This is a big plus for cruisers like me from countries like the UK, which do not have refundable deposit booking options. So, a booking I did on my previous cruise to the Viva on Regent Seven Seas, part of the same group, allows me a no penalty change I could not get had I booked back home.

But what if you don’t want to cruise on the same line? Some I met on Norwegian Viva like to jump between lines like me, and we all agreed this next trick was something not known enough.

Pro-Cruise Tricks – Getting Status On New Lines

And this is that some, though not enough cruise lines, will status match when we try a new line.

I have varying degrees of loyalty on different cruise lines, but I’m often trying cruise lines I haven’t been on before or very much.

A few cruises before this Norwegian one, I went on MSC Virtuosa to the Norwegian Fjords and they status match other cruise lines, or even high hotel or airline status.

I gave them proof of my top-tier Diamond status on Cunard, and they matched it, which unlocked perks like free specialty dining, on-board discounts, and priority embarkation and disembarkation.

At time of writing this, Virgin Voyages are also doing the same.

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

Status Within The Group

Some lines share status within the same group. I had no status with Royal Caribbean having only cruised on them once, but I have high Diamond status equivalent on their sister line Celebrity Cruises, and they matched that. Giving me perks like access to the Royal Lounge with snacks, coffees, and happy hour.

So, we all felt cruisers need to know to check whether any new cruise line they’re looking at will status match any loyalty program.

Unfortunately, Norwegian does not status match, but we all felt there were some things we’d seen cruisers miss out on this trip, and other cruise lines, that people should know about.

Pro-Cruise Tricks – Missing Out On Freebies

And there are five we all agreed on.

First by not going to the art auctions, like the packed one on Norwegian Viva, people missed out on the free drinks served there.

Second, by not going to the spa on embarkation day and getting a raffle ticket. The draw took place just after we set sail and as you must be there to win, prizes all went to the relatively few people who remembered to turn up for it.

I didn’t win on this trip but frequently have won free spa treatments this way by making sure I am there  for the draw.

Third, although I didn’t go to the shopping events where they launch supposedly new lines, many did to get the free drinks and enter the raffles.

Fourth, going to the port shopping talks, particularly in Alaska, Caribbean and Mediterranean, as they hand out loads of freebies, from stickers to bracelet charms, which you can then go each day to the desk and collect another one, or get the other free ones by visiting nominated stores like Effy, Diamonds International, Tanzanite International, or Delsol Colour Change.

Fifth, going to cocktail parties you get invited to, like I was on this trip and others, as they have plenty of free drinks and canapes.

But perhaps the most surprising thing we all got excited about and agreed that more people need to know about and factor in, was not something sexy at all, and rather mundane even!

Pro-Cruise Tricks – Taking Less Luggage

We agreed this one is great for cruisers who like to pack light, or just travel with carry-on bags. It is crazy costly getting laundry done and many ships, Norwegian Viva included, do not have guest laundry rooms to do our own.

But we all loved the offer to send a bag full of laundry for a set price that some lines run part way through the cruise. On Norwegian Viva it was just $29 for a big laundry bag, which we could pack full of laundry.

Pro-Cruise Tricks Smart Cruisers Don’t Want You Know About!

The cruise was 10 days, and I could pack light as I knew this offer would pop up part way through the cruise. So, I always ask my cabin steward when the offer will be run and plan for that.

By the way, check your loyalty program status or cabin perks as many of those include free laundry, like on that Royal Caribbean cruise I mentioned earlier I got the status match on

Are there any other things that you think smart cruisers should talk about more and let people know about? Leave those in the comments.




Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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