Check out our ever-growing list of Ship Tips - cruising tips for getting the most out of your dental continuing education vacation!
Bring a power adapter for more outlets in your cabin!*
Cruise cabins have a limited number of outlets. Whether from having several people sharing the same cabin or suite, or just having a lot of your own electronics you need to use or charge, it can be helpful to bring an adapter or two.
*Just remember to get an adapter that doesn't have a surge protector, because they aren't allowed on board!
Bring a mobile charger for your phone or tablet!
You probably won't spend a lot of time in your cabin, and you'll rarely find an outlet you can use around the ship. Bringing a mobile charging device for your phone or tablet can be a major convenience!
There's An App For That!
Before setting sail on any cruise, be sure to download the cruise line's app to your mobile device. This will allow you to have ready access to a detailed map of the whole ship, as well as the ship's schedule -- so not only will you know what time the dance club opens, but you'll know how to get there!
On most cruise line apps you can even book excursions -- so you don't have to wait in the guest services line.
Bonus: Smiles at Sea now has an app for each event!
Go Ahead -- Wine About It!
Am I allowed to bring alcohol onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?
Per Royal Caribbean's onboard alcohol guest policy, "Guests are not allowed to bring beer or hard liquor onboard for consumption or any other use." BUT… "On boarding day, guests may bring onboard two (2) 750 ml bottles of personal wine or champagne per stateroom in their carry-on luggage." Read the full policy here
Eat All The Things! Nom Nom Nom
Don't you hate when you're looking at the menu and you just can't decide which between the tempting options? Well, I've got a delightful tip for you...
On cruise ships, you can order as much as you want in the main dining room and other restaurants. Feel free to order a 2nd (or 3rd... heck, even 4th) appetizer, entree, or dessert!
Let loose and enjoy yourself! It's not just a conference, it's a vacation!
Fine Dining Isn't Just For Dinner
Everyone enjoys the fine dining in the main dining room for dinner, but most people end up hitting the buffet for breakfast and lunch. If you want to be treated to some higher quality food and enjoy the experience of being served comfortably at a formal dining table, you can often head to the dining room.
Breakfast is served in the main dining room most days, and lunch is usually served on sea days (when the ship isn't in port). Breakfast and lunch in the main dining room is first-come-first-served, so wait in line to be seated instead of heading to your usual dinner table.
When you get on board, check your ship app or the bulletin they leave in your room each day to confirm the main dining room hours for your trip.
Don't Waste Time in Line - Relax a While Longer
Cruise ships usually offer passengers that want to carry all their bags with them early debarkation. This might sound like a great idea because you want to get off the ship first and hurry to back home.
Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea, meaning lines for early debarkation get really long and may take an hour (or more!) to get through.
So unless you have an early flight to catch, avoid the massive traffic jams and enjoy some extra time relaxing on board. Have some food at the buffet or hang out in a cafe, soaking in the vacation some more while the lines clear.
Stay On Board & Enjoy The Ship
Psst… I got a secret… you don’t actually HAVE to get off the ship at every port. For real. Think about it -- the ship itself is a fabulous vacation spot full of tropical amenities. Gloriously, most people will disembark while in port, which means those comfy cabanas you’ve been eyeing by the pool that are always full will probably be vacant and eagerly awaiting you. So stay on board, soak in the views from the top deck, take pictures without crowds in the background, and get some more mileage out of your drink package.
Skip the Guest Services Line
Guest Services is usually located in the middle of the ship, and if you’ve ever had to go fix something on your account then you know how long and slow that line can be most of the time... but you just have to wait in it, right?
Guest Services is open 24 hours, and members of your Smiles at Sea crew have learned that the best times to go are late at night or early in the morning. During those times you’re likely to get help faster. If you don’t see a rep at the desk just ring the bell (that’s always satisfying).
The Early Bird Gets a Longer Vacation!
You can extend the fun -- and make sure you don’t literally miss the boat -- by arriving at your port of embarkation the day before you actually set sail.
You’d be surprised how many would-be cruise-goers don’t make it onboard (or barely make it in the nick of time and full of stress) due to traffic, flight delays, weather, or what have you.
Save yourself the trouble -- and get a longer vacation -- by getting into town a day early. Many cruises offer excursions at the embarkation port that you can buy online while planning your trip. You can also check local tourism sights for must-do activities or sit pool or oceanside enjoying your extra me-time!
Stave Off Seasickness
Most cruisers don’t experience seasickness regularly on cruises, but if you’re worried about it or know you have a tendency to, there are lots of varieties of treatments on the market: pills, patches, magnetic bands, oils, et cetera. Be sure to pack plenty of your favorite remedy, and a backup kind just in case.
What if you forget or run out on the ship? Great news! Guest Services will typically have seasickness pills to give to passengers -- for free. You can also usually buy some remedies at the shops on board.
Another great tip if the motion of the ocean has you feeling queasy is to hang out in the middle of the ship on the lower decks. The cruise ship is kind of like a teeter-totter -- the ends rise and fall with the waves and the middle moves the least. If you have a history of getting seasick, request your travel agent book you a cabin in this area.
Dana Myers is a dental hygienist who serves on the Smiles At Sea crew as Exhibitor Concierge, Ship’s Log contributor, and purple-haired fun-enhancer. Don’t miss our upcoming events! Check out our Cruise Specials!