Cruising 101

It's the flight attendant cruising season! That means that cruise deals are plenty and it may be that time for you to try it out! We just embarked on our annual anniversary cruise, where we hopped over to several Caribbean islands! We're actually not even allowed to tell you what we paid! I can tell you that it was worth it if only for the sunsets and not having to decide what to make for dinner for a week! Cruises can be as relaxing or event-filled as you like, given the variety of what's available on the ship. If you're new to cruising, I hope that the following suggestions and information will help prepare you for the vacation of a lifetime! 

Fellow flight crew: If you're not familiar with Dargal, you're missing out! Airline flight crew can book last minute (as well as not so last minute) cruises and all-inclusive resorts here. You'll get an idea of just how hot the deals are when you see their front page. 

Me with our Royal Caribbean Ship (Jewel of The Seas) in St. George, Grenada.

1. Bring A Lanyard

All of the experienced cruisers have lanyards because they understand the importance of a key card onboard! When you're cruising, the most important thing you should have on you at all times is your key card. Your key card is all you need, so it's really nice to leave everything in the stateroom and just go. Your card also serves as payment onboard- for cocktails and to check out towels at the pool. Lastly, you can actually use your key card as identification at ports that you visit and will be required before you board again. The best way to keep your card handy without the risk of losing it is to buy a lanyard before you ship out! This little thing will be very useful!

2. Pack this Foldable Flask

Never worry about where to store your wine or liquor when you have this flask! Note that some cruise lines are stricter than others, and may confiscate your adult beverages since alcohol must be purchased onboard. Note that some cruisers simply attach these to their person, disguised under their clothes and encounter no issues. 

3. Don't Forget a Water Bottle!

Don't forget to bring a water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated no matter where you are! The water on cruise ships is in great supply, but it's a trek to the buffet dining room where the water machines are. The maid removes cups every morning, so otherwise, it will be difficult to get your own stateroom reserve. Furthermore, for a professional traveler, this really is a common sense item if you're fed up with paying for a necessity you could have just prepared for. So go ahead, put this in your basket. My strong recommendation is the Nalgene water bottle, as my experience with my pink bottle has served me from the jungles of Africa during my time in the Peace Corps, to hiking in Costa Rica to island hopping in the Caribbean. And the purpose doesn't necessarily have to always be for water, either. Most cruise ships serve lemonade, which also can be stored in your bottle. Refer back to #2 for more ideas. Angel likes to hook a carabiner to the bottle and attach it to our daypack. I was told once that Nalgene bottles can be driven over without changing shape; I don't know if that's true or not, but after throwing mine around for so many years I can say honestly that I haven't noticed much change!

4. Pack a Daypack

We used our daypack at every Caribbean port we visited! Our little red bag has been so handy in our travels since we bought it last year! The bag folds up into your rollerboard luggage, but when you get to your destination, just pull it out, unroll and fill it with everything you need for an adventure! I use the small pocket as a mini first aid kit- it stays stocked with chapstick, band-aids, Advil, and antacids. My sunglasses easily slide into the front pocket, and our Kindle readers and electronics in the big pocket. 

Emerald Beach, St. Thomas US VI (red daypack featured)

5. Take this portable speaker with you

We take this little speaker everywhere, including our cruises! We use it for pre-partying in the room, shower parties and to chill out with some soothing jams at night. It goes with us to the cruise ship gym during our daily yoga practice, projecting Adriene, "FIND WHAT FEELS GOOD!" Since this speaker has the added benefit of being waterproof, we throw it in our daypack and it comes along to the beach too! We should really just give it a name. The volume is sufficient for busting a move wherever you may need to!

6. Back Up Your Battery

Having a backup portable battery handy will keep you charged up, no matter where you are. This is a no-go item for every cruiser! You can’t stop to plug in when you’re out adventuring through Barbados, but you can be prepared anytime! We keep one in the daypack and use it when my phone or other electronics need more power, be it in the skies, at sea or on the ground. Never worry about having enough juice again! With 10k mAh you can charge your iPhone several times over, and the tiny size makes it perfect for tossing into the daypack. 

7. Pack Your Bathing Suit in Your Carry On

I'm going to share this little bit of advice because we keep forgetting to follow it ourselves! Here's what happens: We get to the port on time and check in, where they take our luggage off our hands and magically transport it all to our stateroom a few hours later. It feels great to lighten the load, but then we start wandering around the ship, and after exploring the food options (C'mon, priorities!) we see the pools and hot tubs, realizing at that moment how badly we want to jump in. These would have also been prime opportunities to swim without hardly anyone else in the pools since most everyone else was checking in or meandering around the ship. So take advantage of that extra pool time! 

8. Don't Forget Your Downloads

Namaste on the ship! Jewel of The Seas, at sea! (our speaker is featured here)

One of the best parts about cruising is disconnecting! It's great to get away, but don't forget your downloads so that you're equipped with some of the comforts of home! We download documentaries, books, our favorite shows (we're currently watching Jane The Virgin and loving it!), as well as Yoga with Adriene videos for our daily yoga practice! 

We always download the GoogleMaps.Me map for the ports we'll be visiting ahead of time. It's easy, offline and free- what's not to love?! Conveniently for you, Angel wrote a blog all about it! 

Life is Short! Let's Cruise!

This concludes our guide to cruising! You should now have a better understanding of what it means to cruise, and how to cruise most effectively! Life is short! Let's Go! Please leave a comment if you liked this post, and let us know if we missed anything! Happy cruising! 

Check out our 12 Amazon Holiday Gifts for Flight Attendants here!

About Author

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Tara Menendez
Tara has always had a passion for discovering new cultures, from convincing her mother to host a French exchange student in High School, to studying abroad twice, coordinating exchange programs at her university Study Abroad Center, to spending a month backpacking through Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in Communications. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lived in Cameroon, West Africa for two years, she looks forward to guiding you on some exciting adventures that will make the world a bit brighter! She’s also a travel writer/blogger at Eat.Love.Volunteer, business owner, property manager, wifey, dog mom, and humanitarian. Tara lives in Dallas Texas, where she’s happily married to the tech genius who built and maintains this beautiful website!

Comments

Gregg
December 20, 2017
Great advice! I will definitely get some of these for my next cruise!

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