Cruising creates indelible experiences, and I've discovered a few tips and tricks to make sure I get the most out of each trip on the high seas. Here are some things I've learned.
Carry only carry-ons. Bring color-coordinated outfits to pare down your wardrobe and, as a result, your luggage. While fellow passengers wait for bags to be delivered, you,ve already unpacked and are relaxing by the pool.
Spend wisely. Resist buying extras, such as specialty-restaurant meals; you'll still have a fabulous time. One extra that can be a real value: The ship's family photos are as good or better than what you might get at home-especially on formal nights, when you've dressed up for dinner anyway.
Be selective about shore excursions. You can explore most Caribbean and Alaska port towns on your own, but some high-end-excursions-such as landing on an Alaska glacier-are worth the cost. Ask your travel agent if you can sign up for these before you leave, as popular excursions fill up quickly.
Eat well and stay fit. The food of the crew's nationality is likely to be authentic and tasty. If the chef is Austrian, ask for a Salzburger nockerl souffle for dessert. Keep off extra pounds by using the lavish fitness facilities aboard most modern ships and by using stairs instead of elevators.
Book the right cruise. Whether you want to see wildlife up close or dance all night in a sequined splendor, work with your travel agent to find the cruise that suits your interests and budget.
Try something new. Take a dance class; enter the talent contest. Dare to do something you wouldn't do back home.
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