Tips and Thoughts on Preparing for a Cruise Vacation

Last week, I went on a very first cruise vacation to West Caribbean on the Oasis of the Sea by Royal Caribbean. Coming back, I figure it’s a good time to share some packing tips and on board advice with folks who’re considering a cruise.

  1. A walkie-talkie. This may sound a little absurd but hear me out. Unless you purchase a wifi package on the cruise, chances are you are completely unplugged – no internet, no phone calls, no text message or social media. This enables you to completely relax instead of checking your work emails while hanging out at the pool. However, if you’re traveling with a group, it’s difficult to make arrangements because you have no way to contact others once heading to different activities. For example, if I wanted to head to the gym while others would like to enjoy a show at the same time, we had to agree to meet at a certain place after we’re done. Otherwise, we might not be able to find each other. That’s why I think having a walkie-talkie could be nice. They sell them on the ship for $60 but you can get it cheaper from amazon or Target. I would assume it’s especially convenient for parents with kids.
  2. Entertainment. Before I go, I was worried that I’ll be bored – 7 days without wifi or internet on a ship?! What am I going to do?! But rest assured – the cruise provides ample entertainment including shows, karaoke, live music, bingo, movies, art auctions, casinos, gym, pool activities, singles mingles, board games, rock climbing, etc. Every night, the stateroom attendant will leave the guests the activity schedules for the next day. Simply from the couple things I listed here, I think you get a sense that people of all ages and hobbies can find something they’d like to do. My favorites are hanging out by the pool, hitting the gym, utilizing the jogging track, and playing bingos. But I also make sure I brought my own entertainment set: Books (Paperback or Kindle). I brought my kindles and bought a couple books before the trip. Here, I’d like to recommend a great app called “Overdrive”. Through this app, you can borrow ebook and audiobooks from your local library, for FREE! I love it! With Overdrive, I borrowed 3 books on the kindle and downloaded 2 audio books on my iPhone. They turned out to be great pool buddies with me!
  3. Beverage Package. Once you get on board, you’ll see staff selling beverage Package. They charge a flat fee daily for unlimited drinks. Options range from all Coca Cola fountain drinks; All premium tea, coffee, & non alcohol drinks, all the way to all drinks including alcoholic drinks. I thought if you don’t have a package, you have to buy beverage at every meal. It turned out I was mistaken: the cruise ship still provides free coffee, tea, all kinds of juice and water at every meal. The beverage package opens access to bottled water, sodas and all types of alcoholic drinks. So be sure to purchase on your own needs.
  4. Just make it your own vacation! The most important is: make it your very own vacation! This is my favorite part about it: with all kinds of activities to choose from, you can customize it all you want. For me, it’s an adventure enjoying fine dining, exploring exotic islands, adventures, enjoy the sunshine and breath taking Caribbean scenery with a good book. Feel free to make it what you like: maybe sun tanning, an artwork discovery journey, shore adventure, or a family friendly activities. The options are wide open!
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