Top 3 ways to insure a great cruise vacation

These are simple, easy to follow and almost guaranteed to increase the odds that you will have a great cruise experience regardless of the cruise line, itinerary, bumps in the road along the way or many other factors that can swing a vacation up or down the satisfaction scale:

  1. Use a travel agent. Internet-booking fares may seem like the way to go when surfing for prices. They’re not. After the sale that web site is done with you, never to be heard from again. A good personal Travel Agent has your best interests in mind and might have the opportunity to pass along future savings that commonly come along later. On price alone, you can be far better off using a good agent than going it on your own. Oddly, that is where a good agent’s job begins and many more benefits can be realized along the way. Even booking directly with the cruise line you don’t get that. Memorize: The Internet is for looking, Travel Agents are for booking.
  2. Tip your cabin steward up front. $20 should do it. When you first see your cabin steward, the crew member that will be in and out of your cabin throughout every day of your sailing, stop him/her, make eye contact, and shake hands with a folded $20 bill saying the following magic words “Take good care of us and we’ll take good care of you”. It’s easy, it’s simple and will almost guarantee you a better cruise experience, especially compared to Mr. NastyPants next door who demands stuff and treats the crew like dirt. Sure, its a bribe.
  3. Assume the best. As far as the crew is concerned, you are one of the few variables in their on-board lives. The ship, the cabins, the menu, even the ports of call, are basically the same from week to week to them. You are going to stand out one way or another. (see photo) Approaching them with a positive point of view can put you way ahead of the game. Yes, they make good money compared to their family back in LetMeOuttaHere Land but are drawn to guests that are nice people. Remember: They live there, you don’t. They know what’s up around the ship and can offer valuable ultra-insider information just as easily as the standard fare they dish out to everyone.

Flickr photo by divemasterking2000 (who appears to have the correct attitude)