10 Travel Hacks Only Cruise Pros Know - Cruise with Leo

10 Travel Hacks Only Cruise Pros Know

Photo of author


cruise pro hacks

We have all been beginners on a cruise! I still remember my first cruise, many years ago, when I knew absolutely nothing about this world.

With time, and with experience, we learn things that help us enjoy cruises with greater peace of mind and greater comfort.

But what are the things that more experienced cruise passengers do that would be useful to know?

We are going to look at 10 of them that will make your vacation smoother, more enjoyable, and often more affordable.

1. Book your next cruise onboard

View from a cruise ship
View from a cruise ship

Experienced cruisers surely have noticed it: on many ships, there is a designated area where you can book your next cruises.

But what are the advantages? Why should you book a cruise while you are still on board?

Well, to encourage this practice, cruise lines usually offer very good incentives. So it could be a good thing to do If you are already sure you want to travel on a cruise again.

These perks can be special discounts, onboard credits, reduced deposits, excursions and drinks included.

2. Use repositioning cruises for great deals

msc armonia ship
A repositioning cruise

A while ago I realized that many people do not know what repositioning cruises are.

They basically happen when ships move from one region to another between seasons, and they have a different itinerary than the ordinary one.

Consequently, these cruises tend to be longer and can feature more sea days, but they also stop at unique and less-visited ports.

Due to their “one-way nature“, repositioning cruises are frequently cheaper than regular ones.

3. Take advantage of port day deals

Relaxation area at the spa
Relaxation area at the spa

Another pro tip is to take advantage of onboard deals and less crowded amenities during port days.

When the ship docks in a port, most passengers get off to visit the city.

If you have already been there or don’t particularly like the place, you can take the opportunity to enjoy the ship.

Cruise lines often offer discounts on spa treatments, specialty lunches, and other onboard activities during these times.

For example, the spa may offer reduced treatment rates since fewer people are likely to book, and specialty restaurants may have more availability and offer deals to encourage guests to have lunch onboard.

4. Order multiple dishes

New york steak on MSC
New york steak on MSC

Not everyone knows this, but one of the great perks of cruising is that you can order as many dishes as you like in the main dining room.

This means you can try different appetizers, main courses, and desserts in one meal. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, and be sure to order only the things you can eat so as not to waste food.

In recent years, since some people were over-ordering, some cruise lines started to charge extra for additional dishes.

However, the price is usually affordable and much lower than a regular restaurant. For example, the surcharge per dish on MSC is only $5.

5. Request a price adjustment

Another very pro tip is to monitor the price after booking and check for price drops.

Cruise prices can fluctuate, and if you notice a price drop before your final payment, you can usually request a price adjustment.

I have to be honest, from my experience it is difficult for the price to go down as the departure date approaches. It usually tends to go up.

However, I also know that there are some cases where it has happened.

6. Bring magnetic hooks

magnetic hooks on a cruise
Magnetic hooks on a cruise

I think I’ve already mentioned this in the article about the things people always forget to pack for a cruise, but if you want to be a cruise pro don’t forget to bring magnetic hooks.

All the cabin walls on cruise ships are made of metal, and you can attach magnetic hooks almost anywhere.

Then you can use them to hang and keep all your things tidy.
I always carry several of them to hang my lanyard with the cruise card, my hats, and even some light jackets.

7. Fill water bottles

refillable thermal bottle
Refillable thermal bottle

Bringing a refillable water bottle on a cruise is a very good thing. It’s both a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.

Cruise lines allow passengers to bring empty refillable bottles, and you can fill them at the various water stations on the ship.

This helps you stay hydrated throughout your trip (which is essential during summer) but also reduces the need for single-use plastic bottles, aligning with many cruise lines’ sustainability efforts.

Additionally, you can fill the bottle with any of the 10 free drinks you can find on every cruise ship.

8. Pack a portable fan

Fan attached to the cabin ceiling with magnetic hooks
Fan attached to the cabin ceiling with magnetic hooks

For some people, a portable fan can be a game-changer.

I usually don’t bring it because I don’t feel like I need it, but I know some fellow passengers who always bring one.

On some ships, cabins can sometimes become stuffy, and a small, portable fan helps circulate air and keep you cool.

I’ve also put it on the list of things to bring on a cruise to sleep like a baby since some people say the cabin can be quite warm at night.

9. Avoid the buffet on embarkation day

Long line at the buffet
Long line at the buffet

Embarkation day is somewhat unpredictable. You are usually given a range in which you will board the ship, but you are never 100% sure.

Sometimes there can be delays and sometimes you might get on earlier. For this reason, almost all boarding passengers prefer to eat at the buffet.

Since it’s a popular spot on embarkation day, there can be long lines and very crowded spaces.

My advice is to prefer other venues but, if that’s the only option available, just move to the very end of the buffet. Never stop near the entrance, and also check all the other things you must never do at the buffet on a cruise.

10. Download the cruise line’s app

Most cruise lines have a dedicated app, and it’s important to download it on your phone.

These apps provide a wealth of information, including daily schedules, dining options, menus, ship maps, and sometimes even chat features to stay in touch with fellow passengers.


Towel clips deck chairs
Towel clips deck chairs

I’m updating this article while I am on a cruise, I just thought of another essential tip I want to share with you.

I’m currently on the pool deck, and it is always very windy when the ship is sailing.

Luckily, I remembered to pack a pair of towel clips; they saved my life since I don’t have to constantly adjust my towel.

I’ve also included them in the list of my cruise essentials; you should definitely take a look at them!


Leave a Comment