Avoid Hefty ATM Fees on the Ship – I never bring quite enough cash — mainly because I find it easier to spend and also lose! While there are ATM machines on the ship, they often charge fees ranging from $5 to $7 to withdraw cash! PLUS — some banks or credit cards will charge you a fee of their own for not using one of their machines.
I found a clever way around this on my third cruise or so. Take your seapass card and head to the casino. Sit down at a slot machine and insert your card. Let’s say you want $200 cash. The machine will ask how much you want to “play” with. Enter in the amount you’d like to withdraw then hit “cash out” after it has given you those credits!
Go over to the cashier and collect your funds.
Everything you spend onboard the ship including casino play is charged to the credit or debit card you provided at the pier. Fees avoided 😉
Roll your clothes – Instead of folding, try rolling your clothes up. This not only prevents wrinkles but it also gives you much more space in your suitcase. You aren’t allowed to pack your own iron. Additionally, some ships do not have an area where you can iron your clothing yourself. You may actually have to pay to get them steamed or ironed. I totally stand by clothes-rolling and a good wrinkle release spray!
Surge Protector with USB Outlets – Cabins often have very few outlets so it can be difficult to charge all of your electronics at once. Take your own multi-plug USB outlet so that you can charge your phone, camera, ipad, etc. all at once without have to swap them out periodically.
Ziploc Bags – These little guys are lifesavers! Taking a few empty baggies with you will prove to be so useful. You can use them when going on shore excursions to keep water and sand away from your electronics. I also recommend taking larger grocery bags to store your wet clothes in in case there is not enough time to hang-dry them before your disembarkation.
Portable USB Charger – I tend to use my phone for photos these days as the camera quality is rather great. However, this means that my battery dies at a rapid rate. I don’t leave my cabin without my portable USB charger. I snagged one at Five Below, but you can get them almost anywhere these days. For a measly $5, it can’t hurt to have this as your safety net!
Travel Alarm Clock – Cruise ship cabins do not have alarm clocks. Some of us are okay using our cell phones – but insanely heavy sleepers like myself require a louder standard alarm clock.
In-room Bible – Bibles are typically left in the bedside tables. Passengers have been known to leave leftover drink coupons in these. It can’t hurt to check. For two of my past cruises, I’ve scored a free drink this way!
Plastic Wrap your Toiletries – Though we keep our toiletries in their own bag inside of another bag, they somehow always spill out! Try placing plastic wrap under the caps of your shampoo/conditioner bottles to keep them from leaking out. Works like a charm.
Dryer Sheets in Luggage – We’ve noticed that on rather long flights, our clothes have a certain unwanted smell to them once our luggage arrives to our cabin. We’ve purchased overpriced scent balls to put in our bags before to keep our clothing smelling fresh but we’ve found that tossing in a dryer sheet works even better and it is likely something you already have at home.
Free Wifi in Port – Wifi packages onboard the ship can be a little pricey and maybe you just want to check in on Facebook every now and then. When the ship pulls into port, check for free wifi. After you exit the ship, it is likely that you will see signs indicating “free Wifi” or you will see the masses of people hanging out there in one area. You can also ask the ship’s crew members. They know exactly where the free WiFi is!
Use the Ship’s WiFi while docked – If you did purchase an internet package for your cruise, using it in the port will give you an increased speed compared to when the ship is sailing the open waters where the connection is much slower.
Over-the-door Shoe Organizer – For families traveling together in one stateroom, the bathroom space is never quite adequate. Take an over-the-door shoe organizer to store of all your toiletries, curling irons, etc. so it isn’t cluttering what limited counter space you have.
Drink for FREE – Beverage packages can be super expensive! If you’re one that just wants a drink or two per day at little to no cost, try this out! The daily itineraries always list something along the lines of “Captain’s Toast” where servers run around with trays full of complimentary mixed drinks, wine, or champagne. I’ve experienced this on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Princess recently. This fun little mixer is also a great way to meet other cruisers!
Additionally, for cruisers that have sailed with a particular line before, there is typically a coupon booklet left in your cabin that will have a drink coupon in it. It pays to be loyal!
Lastly, the atrium shops have frequent “liquor tastings” where you can sample the brands they sell in their duty free shops.
You can often get your favorite brand for a better price than you can at home. The only catch here is that they do not give you the goods until the last day of your cruise — but it is typically a great deal!