The WINNERS of our Pic and Tip Contest revealed!

Military Family Tips for Cruising Contest

Sabrina – what a great pic of your dignified and darling kids on the balcony!!

Here’s some of the best tips provided by military families who’ve cruised before and know exactly what to do. Listen up new cruisers, we couldn’t have said it better!


Danielle Niewald

Dannielle N. “A cheap over the door shoe hanger is great for storing toiletries in your state room. It takes up minimal space and prevents items from sliding all over the bathroom during rough seas!”

Cindy P. -“I found out on my first cruise that I could have used a small air freshener for the bathroom, a few extra hangers to hang my clothes, and an extra swim suit. My kids wanted to swim so much my suit never had time to dry. I hate putting on a wet swim suit and could have used an extra one to allow drying time for my other suit. The dryers are few for as many people on the ship. The app that is free to stay connected with others in your party was a great! I always knew where to find my party if I had to separate from them for a moment.”

Eileen M.–  “We collected all our receipts for drinks- turns out with two kids and me not drinking alcoholic drinks we only spent $350 but had paid $595 for the packages. I kinda wish i knew the drink prices when making the decision. Next time I’ll put $300 on the cruise card and just reload as needed (since you don’t get unspent back).”

P.S. The beverage page on our web site agrees with Eileen. We tell you that we don’t recommend drink packages for most folks for just this reason.

Honorable Mentions and a summary of their best tips.

Military Family Tips for Cruising Contest
Chelle D -“Carnival has a wonderful Military Appreciation event every cruise. It’s a great way to connect with other service members & make new friends.”

MJ Johnson -“Royal Caribbean’s harmony of the seas or oasis are the very best cruises to go on… book excursions before cruise and vouchers will be in cabin. This saves your time, pre book shows even tho they are free so you are not on the waiting list to get into them as they do fill up. Watch for daily activities sheet in your room. This tells you everything going on each day! Most of all, have fun and enjoy. If you go on either of the two ships I mentioned, you will not be disappointed. Feel free to PM me for questions as I’ve cruised a lot”

Erica S -“My tip: I prefer paying cash to all my attendees (waiter, cabin boy, assistant water, etc) and they like it better because they can spend it faster!!

Nowadays when you get on the ship, it automatically deducts your tip for all the attendees. All you have to do is go straight to the service desk and request them not to charge your card daily for the tips and let them know you will be paying cash!! Easy peasy!! You will wake in the morning to a itemized bill under your door showing that they have corrected it and you’re good to go!!!”

Erin B– “Travel light.Take lots of pictures. Enjoy everything.”

Jennifer F“Bring extension cords (with surge protectors) if allowed. Sometimes there are only one or two outlets and with everybody needing to charge their phones, etc. just one outlet makes it pretty much impossible. Also, find out what kind of outlets the ships have. Obviously your ones that sail often out of the U.S. ports will have 110, etc. But, for instance, I found out our particular ship we’ll be sailing on soon should have both 110 and 220! I just have to find out how many outlets and where now. The reason it matters is because some people, like my husband, have a CPAP or breathing machine that is medically necessary. We found out one of our cabins on a previous ship didn’t have an outlet near/behind the bed, so we had to bring an extra long extension cord to make sure it works. (We just keep an extra one in our suitcase for all trips now.)”

Bob B -“After packing, take 25% of the clothes out. You will not need it all. Pack a small flashlight. Take a few extra days of Meds along. Go back into your packed suitcase and remove an additional 25% of the clothes. Trust me, you were still overpacked”

Jennifer W -“Go to the dollar store and pick up a few things as a back up medicine cabinet. It’s so much cheaper (some things are $10 on the boat!) and you just never know if you’ll need it. Tums, gas pills, Dramamine (haven’t needed it but jic), Benadryl, mylanta, heartburn medicine, cold medicine pills, Sudafed.  And I like to take extra probiotics and digestive enzymes to help with digestion. Most people don’t eat that much every day and it can be quite uncomfortable. Sunscreen w zinc is a must! I love the sunbum brand. It works really well. You’ll pretty much live in a swimsuit, flip flops and a cover up or T-shirt for guys.  Then just pack for evening attire. What you’ll wear on the boat and off. If you bring 12 packs of soda, bring some tape in case they open it. It can be a pain to carry an open box. Last time they didn’t open but once they did. Keep it simple. I always over pack “

Albert L – “If you are looking to hang out at a beach with chairs and bathrooms. Look for day passes for resorts at the ports. Paying for it on the boat will be extremely expensive. We went on a Mexican Riviera cruse and we spent an average of 35 dollars for adults and 15 per child per day pass. Cruise ship cost was 120 per adult and 60 per child.”

Naomi – “Our first cruise! I cannot wait to go again!!!! Tip is to bring a refillable water bottle. Can refill on ship and carry with on excursions. Just don’t leave it in the Cayman Islands like me lol”

Ashley S– “Always buy the insurance!!! Missed my last cruise due to plane issues but because of insurance cruise line was able to put us up in hotel, catch us up at next port and I filled a claim and got a good chunk of money back. Well worth it.”

Josh Brister
Josh B- “That one was in Montenegro about two weeks ago. It was Fantastic!!! we had four stops in Greece and this was our final stop after Greece”
Katlyn Hamilton
Katlyn H – “Pay for any excursions/meal plans/drink or WiFi packages before you go on your cruise. So much cheaper. Always call your cruise line if you haven’t made your final payment to see if maybe it’s cheaper than when you booked they’ll adjust the price for you ! Bring a fan or ask your housekeeper as soon as you see them it helps so much with noise and air circulation. Avoid getting an inside room if you can afford it as we always woke up too late each morning because we had no source of light. Over the door organizer helped us so much and kept our room clean and clutter free. Always pack some form of motion sickness medicine. It’s always better to have it and not need it ! Most of all have fun and relax !”


Sarah Benjamin
Sarah B “Take a portable phone charger with you at the ports, especially if you use your phone as a camera & gps! The battery will run down quickly & that charger is a life saver! Pic is from the Acropolis in Athens on a beautiful day!”
Daisy Biggs
Daisy B, “Bring an over the door shoe holder and place it on your bathroom door. You can put all your toiletries, sunscreen, lanyards, etc in it and it saves a ton of room! I will never cruise without one!”
Melissa Walters
Melissa W – “I recommend getting a cabin with a window in it. We upgraded last minute to a cabin with a window and didn’t regret it one bit. The water is pretty close so that gave us the opportunity to see a few fish and a whale pod. Also if there are large swells the window allows you to look out, which gave me a better piece of mind.”



Crystal Humble
Crystal H- “See that look on my face?! LOL!!! Always make sure to have your excursions pre-booked with either the cruise line, or do your research and have them booked on your own. Wifi is limited, and being prepared makes for a less stressful shore break! We booked several excursions through the ship (which we don’t normally do) but i can tell you with a large group it was VERY helpful!!! But we did learn that we could have done things differently at several stops had we put a little more time into the cruise BEFORE hand…however we still weren’t disappointed”
Meghann Donovan
Meghann D – “Bring walkie talkies!”
Danielle Orach
Danielle O- “My favorite picture. Evening on the lido deck of the Carnival Imagination.”
Crystie Blue
Crystie B – “The beauty of being able to see the sunset in another country while sitting on my balcony makes one realize its beauty. Taken on Carnival Magic 21 – 28 April 2018.”

















Keri Mullins
Keri M -“Coco Cay, Bahamas first thing in the morning. Dream vacation!!! Such a gift from my daughter who graduated from college last May 💕”
Denielle Jasicki Price
Denielle – “My sweet girls first cruise! We went to Cozumel for spring break! They are now hooked on cruising!!!”


Christi Erford
Christi E-“Cove balconies are the BEST! On carnival have lunch at the pasta place. Get to shows early. Do your time dining!”
Aubrey Sartorello
Aubrey S- ”From our trip this January to Cozumel”
Lo Badger
Lo Badger’s “Double rainbow in front of the Na Pali Coast on Kauai, HI”



Arlene Sepulveda
Arlene S – “I have soooo many tips, but here are a few. Take advantage of the opportunity to eat at the restaurant on board. The quality of the food was great! (At least on my ship) And take 1st seating. It will give you more time to explore the ship afterward. Don’t get fooled by the excursion deals on board. When you get off the ship there are various companies offering the same tour or similar at half price! We used both services and we enjoyed more the tours we bought outside the ship than the ones from the ship. We are a family of 5 with 3 teenagers so looking for a way to save money is our thing 😉. Lastly, you might get upset at the “European customer service”
Leslie Delaney
Leslie D -”Read ALL the emails – They contain great offers on WiFi and excursions!” “My kids having a great time in Spain on our Mediterranean cruise over spring break.” “Looks like Palma de Mallorca to me. One of my favorites”