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 Things to do before, during and after your cruise

Tom and Mary Milano
We suggest you have a brochure and a magnifying glass in hand when your choosing a cabin. Check if your stateroom has a symbol. If so, check the symbol legend and see what it represents.

If you have an emergency and can't travel, or if you change your mind, you can cancel your cruise with most lines by notifying them in writing, 60 days before your sailing date.

Caribbean Cruises: Book your cabin on the Port side of the ship. This usually gives you a scenic view of the Islands.

Bring a night light. It's better than leaving the bathroom door ajar,

**Be sure to take your camera and extra film. Film is expensive aboard a ship.

Remember to take your medications & vitamins.

Be sure to bring a can of air freshener for the John. Bathrooms are not vented aboard a ship.

When packing, cover suits & dress's in cellophane wraps, the kind you get from the dry cleaners. They will keep your clothes from wrinkling.

Tie a colorful bow on the handles of your luggage. It will make it easier to spot them among the mass of luggage on disembarkation day.

Take your cruise line brochure with you. Often the deck plan in the brochure is better than what you get on board,

We suggest you get $2 dollar bills from your bank. Great for tipping servers. Especially on HAL, which doesn't include gratuities with bar charges. $2 bills make a great impression on the crew. They won't forget you.

The average weight gain on a seven-day cruise is five lbs. Some weeks preceding your cruise, it would be a good idea to make it your goal to lose five lbs. In this way you can eat till your hearts content, without feeling guilty.

Men: To play safe in case you over indulge, we suggest you take a pair of pants from the fat side of your wardrobe to wear the last days of your cruise.

Read as many reviews as you can to familiarize yourself with the ship. Study the deck plans and the locations of public areas. For reviews, Bookmark this site:

If you have specific concerns, post your questions on one of the cruise message boards.
They have a number of seasoned cruisers as members who will answer your questions.
Bookmark these sites:
Cruise Critics Message Board: Message Board:

On the same message boards you can post the name of the ship you will be sailing on and the date. Other cruisers who see your post and are sailing on the same ship will e-mail you.


Check your table assignment as soon as possible. Don't wait till dinner to see the Maitre'di. The sooner you see him the better chance he will be able to accommodate you. 
**Be sure to make your alternative restaurant reservations immediately after you've checked your table assignment. Reservations for the alternative restaurant are usually filled by late afternoon on the first day.

After looking at you cabin, determine the elevator shaft that is most convenient. Then when returning to your cabin from whatever deck you're on, head toward those elevators. You'll eliminate having long walks along narrow hallways.

**Some ships designate the port and starboard sides by a different colored symbol in the carpet. Check your ship's bulletin.

We suggest that on the first night, you give the waiter & asst. waiter the tip you would normally give them for the cruise. Tell them, "I want you to have this for starters, there is more to come." It will ensure you the best service they're capable of. Then on the final night give the waiter $10 and the asst. $5. It's a small price to pay, for the extra service you will receive.

You will know by the second day if the cabin attendant is efficient. If so, give him his full weeks tip and tell him you would appreciate if on disembarkation you could stay in your cabin till your color is called. Your cabin can be the last cabin he cleans. We suggest you tip him another $10 when you leave. It's worth it to be able to stay in your cabin and relax while watching the news on CNN,.

A fun thing you can do with the servers in the lounges you will be visiting on a regular basis. Take a $2 bill and fold it into a small square with the two showing. After you get your drink and you have exchanged pleasantries, hand the folded bill to him/her and tell them, "We want you to have this, it will bring you good luck." It's amazing how a little $2 dollar bill can bring such a smile to their faces and the attention it will get you for the entire cruise.

For the men: How to earn extra credits with your loved one. 
I know after reading my suggestions, men are going to think me a wimp for doing the things I do, but so be it, I'm going to tell them anyway. These are the things I suggest you do.

Buy a single long stemmed rose and have the cabin steward put it on her pillow along with the chocolates.
Write a little love note to your loved one and hand it to her at dinner.
Butter a roll for her.
Pour the cream and put the sugar in her coffee and stir it for her.
Save a little of your dessert for her, even if it kills you, and do any other little thing that you think she would like. 

I speak from experience. I have been macho man most of my life. It hasn't been till my later years that I realized that being a little wimpy on occasion, pays huge dividends. What better occasion is there to be a little wimpy then on a "Honeymoon" cruise with your loved one. Macho man....has bitten the dust....hello Wimpy.

On the last night it's a good idea to pack before going to dinner. You can enjoy the full 
evening without worrying about having to pack and have your luggage in the hallway by 12:00. Pick out something to wear to dinner that you can wear home. Warning! If you pack late, remember to leave out clothes to wear home or you'll wind up walking down the gangway with a sheet wrapped around you. Don't laugh, it's happened.


******Our number one and only suggestion is that you WRITE A REVIEW******

Writing a review is a wonderful way to relive your cruise, and at the same time, help fellow cruisers by sharing your experience with them. On your next cruise, take a note pad and take notes. After you adjust to being back home and you slowly recover from after cruise depression, sit down and write about all the wonderful things you experienced. You should also write about the things that weren't so wonderful so your fellow cruisers can be forewarned. 

You don't have to be a proficient writer to write a review. All you have to do is write as if you were having a conversation with your best friend. The important thing is to be honest and forthright. And remember, don't be afraid of writing too much. Longer is better than shorter. People are reading your review to determine if the ship your writing about is the one they should book. Tell them all the things you would like to know if you were deciding. Include your spouse and ask her/him for suggestions what you should include. But whatever you do, the most important thing is to enjoy it doing it, and have fun. When your review is finished, I know Tom Ogg would be happy to post your review on his web site, If you need any help, Mary and I would be glad to assist you.

**One Final thought:
We know there are many who are reading this article who have ideas we haven't thought of that would be very beneficial to our fellow cruisers. We would like to hear from you. Tell us the things you do, before, during, and after your cruise and we will add them to our list.

We hope we have helped someone,
May your next cruise be your best,
Warm regards,
Tom &Mary Milano


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