Being a coach, I speak on cruises. I took my first cruise about 4 years ago. I asked a friend who’d cruised a lot what I needed to know and she said, “Nothing. Just have fun.” I disagree. Having cruised many times since then, I’d like to pass on some tips I wish someone had told me, to help you enjoy your cruise more.


Did you know that Medicare doesn’t cover expenses incurred outside the US? Many insurance plans provide little or no coverage for international or out-of-network travel medical expenses. Find out about yours before you go. Then fill in the gaps with travel insurance.

Also investigate:

1. Insurance to cover cancellations and interruptions, and cost of delayed or lost baggage
2. Financial Default Coverage for financial failure of airline, cruise line or tour operator
3. Terrorism Coverage for reimbursement if you cancel trip due to terrorist incident in departure city or itinerary city
4. Medical Evacuation Coverage, Medical Reunion and Return of Mortal Remains, all of which can be very costly.


Pack the “little” things because they get “big” on a trip. Bandages or Neosporin will cost you 5 times as much and also waste hours of pleasure time while you search for them at an onshore pharmacy, and you'd be surprised what the ship's store doesn't carry.

Take along a small basic first-aid kit and comfort kit. Yes, the ship has an infirmary, but it’s a long trip down there, and an expensive one.

Think of things you use over a week’s time – antihistimine, eyedrops, lotion, aloe Vera, tooth whitener, hair dryer. Add some "trip specials" like anti-diarrhea medication, needle and thread, and blister bandages.

If it’s important to you, bring it. The last cruise I was on supplied numerous toiletries, but no hair dryer.


Formal night! It’s the reason some cruise. It’s the reason some won’t.

Let me set your mind at ease. If you don’t want to go to formal night, you can avoid it. Most cruises have a casual buffet option with delicious food where you can eat three meals a day and not go into the formal dining room, 24 hour hot dogs and pizza, and 24 hour room service.

If you want to participate in formal night, tux rental is available - . Most ships keep some inventory onboard, but it’s best to order early. There are usually tailors on board.

What will others be wearing? The last cruise I went on, I saw very few tuxes. What do you see? Everything. Western formal, including the cowboy hat and boots, dark suits, nice slacks and coats. Cocktail dresses for women, pantsuits, prom dresses.

The Captain’s Cocktail Party or Reception is another chance to dress, mix and mingle if you like. It is also completely optional. Dress is generally dark suits for men, and cocktail dresses for ladies.

It’s slippery on deck, so bring some good gripping shoes. Don’t try and break in a new pair of shoes on your vacation. Some excursions require a lot of walking, and so does getting around on the ship.

Day wear is resort casual. No need to spend a fortune on clothes unless you want to. Some cruise lines provide bathrobes, or bring your own for poolside and dining in buffet.

If you get a sunburn, or if you want protection, bring along a lightweight shirt with long sleeves.

Hot tubs often contain enough bromide to bleach out your bathing suit and also relax the elastic. Bring an old suit, or an inexpensive one if you plan to sit in the hot tub a lot. You won't want to bother taking them home.


Between airline, dock and ship, it’s unrealistic to assume nothing will happen to your luggage. Common sense would dictate buying the most sturdy and least expensive baggage you can find, i.e., don’t give a crystal goblet to a toddler and then be “surprised” it gets broken.


They want to sell photos! Photographers are operating nightly, with various backgrounds (including traditional), black and white as well as color. They are pleased to photograph you as many times, in as many ways, as you like. If you’re in need of a new professional head shot, bring along your suit.


You don’t have to gain 20 lbs. unless you want to. Cruises offer tracks, workout rooms, exercise programs, dancing, lite menus, low-calorie menu options, low-fat desserts, salad bars, fresh fruit, and plenty of active excursions ashore, including just plain vigorous walking.

Use the same methods you use at home to increase your activity level effortlessly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get up and get your own drink instead of being waited on. Volunteer to get seconds for others at the buffet, and go back to the room for the things that others forget.


I also recommend a waist pack with pockets for water bottles. Put a water bottle on one side, and things you need on the other, like sun glasses, reading glasses, "fun" card and such.

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, Coaching, distance learning courses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. for free ezine. Susan is the author of “How to Get to Present on a Cruise,” Become a certified EQ coach. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement. Email for information.