Three years ago, I was a fledgling artist and performer fresh out of music school and a part of a band looking for a way to make a living by performing full-time. The discovery of careers aboard a cruise ship was just the opportunity we were looking for, and seemed to be the perfect opportunity to both travel abroad and do what we love.
Cruising expanded our horizons with visits along the coasts of North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America, and many other exhilarating places. It was a truly rewarding experience and months living at sea have given us loads of insight to cruising. We would like to share our findings and have pinpointed exactly what can make your next (or first) cruise a truly great one.
1: Expect the Unexpected
Weather is truly unpredictable, and my bandmates and I have lived through some of the worst weather I’ve ever encountered in my life. The crew members try to avoid these kinds of situations at all costs to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for you. This may include taking detours to alternative ports or an additional day at sea. Other times, storms and uneasy seas may be unavoidable and the ship must sail through torrential weather until it subsides. Be sure to pack appropriate gear should the forecast change while at sea.
2: Stay Positive!
Though unpredictable weather and other circumstances can conflict with expectations of your “perfect trip,” don’t be discouraged. Everything has a bright side and these situations make a great story to tell in the future!
3: Cruise During the Off-Peak Season
July through December are key months for securing less expensive cruises in places like the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Northwest. Cruising during the off-peak season also means fewer people on shore excursions, shorter wait times when getting on and off the ship at ports, more food at the buffet, etc., etc…you get my point. Fewer people means more space for you to do your thing!
4: Cabin Upgrades are 100% Worth It
Paying a little more for a cabin upgrade with a porthole or balcony is like snagging yourself an exit row seat on an airplane—it’s amazing! I spent seven months in a completely dark 6×10 room and I would’ve been elated to have a cabin with natural light!
5: Be Sure to Get a Room Tailored to Your Needs
If you have a tendency to get seasick, search for rooms that are on lower decks and are near the center or the back of the ship. These are the areas of the ship where you will feel the least amount of sway or the pounding of waves, and will alleviate your nausea.
6: Thoroughly Research Your Ports of Call
…and create an itinerary to get the most out of your vacation. Oftentimes a ship will dock at a place that can be far away from a popular city or anything with many visitor attractions. If you choose to get off the ship and explore on your own, you are usually limited to six hours to have your independent time until you are called aboard to leave for the next destination. Planning ahead allows you to maximize your experience within these constraints so that you are not left behind.
7: Treat Every Crew Member with the Utmost Respect
Remember, this cruise ship is where they work and live for months on end. They are in their work environment 24/7 and therefore on the clock 24/7 as well. This requirement can be very taxing, and your courtesy when interacting with them is always appreciated. A happy crew lends to the energy of the ship and, in turn, will contribute to your wonderful trip.
Each of us reflects fondly of our “life at sea” and this experience is one we wouldn’t trade for the world. We believe cruising is a great way to explore many different areas at once and are these sure tips will guarantee an enjoyable trip for you. Enjoy your cruise and ‘Escape the Pavement’!
What’s your best cruise story? Share your experience with the Frayed Passport community!
About the Author
Escaping Pavement is a Detroit, Michigan-based quartet that, after 10 years of development and exploration, has recorded their first album. They masterfully blend and blur the lines of Country, Folk, Americana, and Rock genres and garner favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as The Black Crowes, Chris Robinson, Dawes, and Emmylou Harris. They’ve spent a year traveling at sea and performing throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They are passionate about traveling and sharing their artistry with the world.