Top 10 Tips from Cruise Experts: Part 1


Officers in charge of hotel operations on cruise ships have seen it all: The first-time cruisers who come onboard big-eyed as they take in their impressive floating surroundings. Repeat cruisers arriving with plans to see and do everything. The overall joyful buzz as everyone begins a cruise vacation of a lifetime.

Whether you’re a newbie or a frequent guest on the high seas, here are 10 tips from the pros on how to be a better cruiser.



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Experience a sunrise and sunset. Getting up at dawn in a destination such as Alaska is not only impressively peaceful but brings your best opportunity to spot whales and other wildlife, says Adam Gorst, Princess Cruises hotel general manager on Emerald Princess.

Grab your binoculars and position yourself on your balcony or on an open deck and enjoy your first cup of coffee – with views. Later, do drinks while watching the sun setting over the sea.

In between, you may want to take a power nap so you’ll be prepared for the ship’s full roster of late-night happenings.

Ask lots of questions. The crew has your best interests at heart and no question is too big or too small, says Jasper Wolthuis, hotel general manager on Coral Princess.

“Passengers shouldn’t be shy about asking any crew member if they have a question. We can help maximize your time onboard,” Wolthuis says.

“If you really want to get the best experience possible, ask every single question that comes to your mind,” adds Don Habits, hotel director on Holland America Line’s newest ship, ms Koningsdam. “We are here to ensure that our guests have a wonderful time, and we encourage our guests to ask questions as we are happy to help.”



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Read the daily newsletter. The newsletter delivered to your cabin each evening has a full listing of activities and entertainment happenings for the next day. You’ll find information on festivities, contests, lectures, dress codes, dining times, sales at the shipboard shops and more.

Unfortunately, not everyone reads the information and it’s not uncommon for people to hear about a shipboard activity after the fact, say the experts. Don’t let this be you.

“Use the newsletter like you would a TV guide – circle or highlight everything you want to do so you don’t miss out on anything,” advises Alyn Baker, hotel general manager on P&O Cruises’ Azura.

Advise the ship on special needs. It’s always advisable to alert the cruise line well in advance of your sailing. This applies to any mobility restrictions, health issues, allergies and dietary needs and requests.

All of these can be best accommodated with advanced planning, the onboard experts say. The crew onboard ships does their best to take care of all needs, but if possible it is always best to avoid a last-minute scramble.