10 Tips for a Stress Free Cruise

Sep 11, 2023

10 Tips for a Stress Free Cruise


Welcome back! Byte Size Cruises here. Thanks for joining us! We are a small travel agency outside of Philadelphia, PA, specializing in all things cruising! Imagine, you’re getting ready for your next cruise vacation; you’re SO excited! But then, you left some things to the last minute… You forgot to bring a few things and don’t know where to find them… You didn’t double check your flight time… and before you know it, your cruise has become a stressful event where all you can think about is the next thing you missed. We have all been there on a trip of some kind and that is no way to vacation. Here are our top 10 tips to avoid stress and set yourself up for an amazing cruise.


1: Download the app.

Before you arrive at your departure port, be sure to download the cruising app and get all checked in. This way when you are getting onto the ship you aren’t scrambling looking for paperwork or getting things settled. The app is going to give you the ability to preplan some of your excursions, make some dinner reservations, etc. These are things you want to do as soon as possible. If technology isn’t your forte, make sure to explore the app ahead of time to get comfortable with it and how it works. Even though you’ll need to wait until close to departure time to check in and make any reservations, you can still become familiar with the app months in advance. (Photo 1)


2: Have all of your paperwork and documents ready to go!

This one may seem obvious but it is worth saying again. Make sure you have all the proper identification needed to go on your vacation! This is a good reason to connect with a travel agent to make sure you have everything you need. Remember, if you show up to the departure port without proper documents you will not be able to board the ship and they will turn you away. Also keep in mind that different types of passengers require different types of paperwork. If you are bringing minors with you, they will require specific documentation especially if both of the parents are not present. So, double check and make sure you have all of the paperwork that you need. (Photo 2)


3: Arrive a day early.

This is another one that may seem common sense but we hear horror stories all the time. Arrive at port for your departure one day early!  This is especially important if you are flying to your departure location. When cruising, more time is better than less when it comes to juggling traffic, flight delays, missed connections, etc. and the last thing you want is to miss your departure because your plane landed late. Weather, cancellations, technical issues, it ALL happens and there isn’t any getting around it aside from planning to arrive at your departure port early. 

HOWEVER… that being said; do not arrive at your ship early. If your check-in time is at 11:30 AM, arrive on time. Most cruise lines will not allow you to check-in early and if you arrive way ahead of time you’ll be forced to wait in your car or in the terminal. This is all about having fun and relieving stress so don’t do this! Arrive at the port a day early and come to check in on time. 

One last tip to keep in mind with check in; the later you check in, the fewer lines you will encounter. We know it is exciting and you’re wanting to get on the ship and start vacation, but if you’re willing to wait until the afternoon rather than first thing in the morning you’ll have a shorter line and less stress overall. 


4: NO elevators on day one!

Here’s the deal; everyone on day one is rushing around, trying to get to their cabins, find lunch, explore the ship, etc. etc. This always results in long lines at the elevators. The solution to this is simple: if at all possible, don’t use the elevators on day one! If you’re carrying tons of luggage yourself and you must use the elevators to get to your cabin, we recommend going to either ends of the ship and away from the boarding area where the lines and crowds will be fewer. (Photo 3)


5: Bring a small first aid and medication bag.

Grab a small toiletries bag and pack some basic first aid and any medications and keep it with you at all times. In the bag be sure to pack things like ibuprofen, tylenol, sea bands (if you get seasick) , any personal prescriptions, etc. Side note: if you know you get seasick and you’re worried about it, visit your doctor ahead of time and get a prescription. Remember, just because you have it with you doesn’t mean you have to use it and this is all about avoiding stress. You’ll also want to bring things like bandaids, antibiotic ointment, etc. These are all things that you may not need, but it will 100% make your life less stressful should you need them while on your cruise. (Photo 4)



To the best of your ability, you want to pre-book as much as possible before departing on your cruise. This includes dinner reservations, upgrades, entertainment, etc. Once you get on the ship you want to be ON vacation and enjoy yourself! Don’t wait until the last minute to make decisions like whether or not you want the drink package. Another thing to keep in mind is that things will cost more once you get on the ship. Very quickly, excursions and adventures will sell out. Choose ahead of time and be all set to relax and start your vacation on day one. Again, this is all about relieving stress. Reserve ahead of time and chill knowing you are set to go. 


7: Plan a day off.

Pick a day - any day - and don’t book anything! We see this happen a lot of times on the bigger ships, where there is so much to do and see that passengers don’t take time to rest and relax. Remember, you’re on vacation! There’s no need to rush from thing to thing or book every minute of your trip. Don’t try to do everything. Pick the things that are the most important or interesting to you and make them the priority, then build in some chill time. The last thing you want is to wear yourself out and need a vacation from your vacation by the time you get back home. (Photo 5)


8: Get the muster drill done!

If this is your first cruise, it’s good to know that all passengers will be required to do a muster drill. This is a safety drill to acquaint you with procedure should an emergency occur. It’s often the last thing you want to do first on a cruise, but we recommend doing the muster drill ASAP upon boarding the cruise. Even better, if you can do an e-muster drill. Do it early and get it done so you don’t have to worry about it the rest of your cruise. 


9: Find good sailaway spots.

Remember, most likely you’ll be sailing away from a few ports and you’ll want to take in the view each time. This can easily become a little ritual where you take a moment to breathe, wind down, and simply enjoy your time rather than rushing to the next activity. (Photo 6)


The final and most important tip for a stress free cruise…

10: Choose to STOP stressing.

There will be moments on your cruise when things go wrong or there’s a hiccup in your plans. Maybe there’s bad weather and your itinerary is changed, maybe there’s a noisy group of kids screaming at breakfast. A million and one things CAN happen; in the end the best choice you can make is to not stress about things you cannot control. Remember, you are on vacation! Set yourself up for success ahead of time and then choose to relax and enjoy every step of the way.


That’s our list of 10 tips for a stress free cruise! Would you add any to our list? We would love to hear from you! Comment below.


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