Cruise ship at the docks letting people off.

So what do I know that the cruise lines won’t tell you?  Plenty, as you will see by reading on.  There are a number of things you need to know to properly navigate your way through these mysteries.  So why wait to find out the hard way.  Here are some of the biggest tips to know.


On sailing day, most people dine in the buffet while waiting for their rooms to be ready.  This makes for large crowd and lines.  However, you have other options that may make your first meal less stressful.  Many cruise ships have alternative venues open — the main dining room or a mini-buffet.  Ask a crew member or check your daily newsletter to find an alternative.

When dining in the main dining room, you are not limited to one appetizer, entree or dessert.  You can have two or three if you like.  You can even order appetizer portions of entrees if you like.  What a great ways to experiment with new foods you are not sure if you will like.

Most people will not use the specialty restaurants on the first night of a cruise as they have not looked into them yet.  This would be your best opportunity to check one of these out.  You will generally find it easier to get a reservation and may even get some extras like a discount or a free bottle of wine.

Do you like ice cream (who doesn’t)?  Most cruise ship have name brand ice cream shops like Ben and Jerry’s and will charge you for that name.  However, there are ways you can get your ice cream at no cost at the buffet or at soft serve stands usually found on the Lido deck.  Do your research an ask one of the staff.


Cruise ships do not have an open drink policy.  You can bring drinks from a bar or buffet to your cabin or elsewhere on the ship and no one will bat an eye. (Same goes for food).

It is often cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than separate individual glasses.  They will even put you room# on the left overs for use another night or even a different venue.

Groups of beer drinkers can save by ordering buckets of beer. You get four or five beers in a souvenir bucket at a per-beer cost slightly cheaper than ordering individual bottles.


Cruise ship spas often offer discounts on the first day or port days.  I made use of this and got a big discount on my massage.

If you want to see a show, but it is sold out, do not fret.  Many people book these free shows but, for some reason, do not show.  So get there a little early and get in line.  The staff will let you in if space is available.

So here are some tips that, hopefully, will help you out.  If you have any secrets I have not mentions here, please let us know and I will send you a reward for your efforts.

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