CruiseMates Cruise Secrets!

A guide to the basics of cruising with something for everyone to learn.

Welcome! You have just found our guide to "cruise secrets." In the first 10 articles below we give every trick we have ever learned about how to save money and get the most out of your cruise - in the booking process, and onboard.

We teach you how to recognize and time your cruise purchase for the cheapest prices, how to save on transfers to the ship, tours, tips, travel agents and bar tabs. You will also learn how to pick the best stateroom for yourself and for the money.

This guide is for everyone, from first-time cruisers to the most experienced who think they already know it all. It starts with our cruising glossary below, just in case we hit a term you do not recognize. But do not feel like you have to know everything nautical before you book a cruise, that just isn't true. But what is true is that you will know a lot more by the end of your first cruise than you did on the first day.

Start reading now - there is plenty to know, and not much time required to absorb it...

Cruising Glossary - Looking for the definition of a common cruise term? See our cruising dictionary.

1. Selecting a Cruise Port This first article helps you select the best port of departure for your needs. You can sail from Galveston, Texas, and visit the same ports as many Miami cruises! For West Coasters, this means faster and cheaper air - so no need for a pre-cruise hotel stay.
2. Related "Getting There" Costs Sometimes getting to the ship is the biggest challenge - especially if you have kids. It may be more convenient to drive than you think and we help you figure that out. Other ways to save as well.
3. Picking Your First Cruise Ship A guide to help first-time cruisers differentiate and select their first cruise line and ship. More experienced cruisers already know the various ship styles - but there are even some tips here for experienced cruisers.
4. Timing Your Cruise Purchase to Save Money How to save money on your cruises by timing your cruise purchase. This article shows the methods cruise lines use to set their prices; simple supply and demand. Now you can save significant amounts of money by choosing the cruises they need to sell - not the ones in short supply.
5. Discounts and Other Credits Tips for getting onboard credit and other perks on your cruise. How to maximize your cruise dollars, manage your cruise booking and protect your investment.
6. Cruise Ship Stateroom Selection How to get the best deals and the smoothest ride - location, size, amenities and number of beds. There is more to stateroom selection than whether it is inside, outside or a balcony.
7. Saving Money During the Cruise The experienced cruisers at CruiseMates to tell us the many ways they have to save money onboard the ship. Is the spa worthwhile? What about the cost of drinks? Are you required to pay gratuities?
8. Shore Excursions and Tours How to save time and money on shore tours in port during your cruise. Ship tours may not be the best value, but they offer the highest level of security that you won't miss the ship. How important is that?
9. Seasickness and Health at Sea How to avoid seasickness and the fabled "cruise ship virus" aboard cruise ships. How bad are cruise ships, really, when it comes to the potential for picking up a virus, and how can you avoid it if you end up on a "sick ship?"
10. Why Use a Cruise Travel Agent Why a travel agent can be your best, cost-free asset in booking a cruise. Yet, the reasons why some people choose to manage their own bookings and how they do it.

How to Smuggle Booze onto a Cruise Ship
How to sneak liquor onto a cruise ship - the full story from an authoritative source.  
Ten Tips for Better Cruises
An invaluable list of suggestions on how to make your cruise the best it can possibly be.
The Cheapest Cruises
The cheapest cruises come on brand-name cruise lines - not small lines you've never heard about. Don't get ripped off
First-time Cruise Advice
Cruising has changed! Updated advice for the modern world of cruises for today's first-time cruiser.
Free Cruise Scams Return
Slick language and flashy images attempt to lure postcard recipients with false promises.
Common Cruise Ship Courtesy
Cruise ships are some of the best and last representative bastions of the finest in human courtesy and culture. Our readers give us their list of common courtesy suggestions for guests on cruise ships.   Go>
16 Unexpectedly Essential Cruise Items
Our own experienced CruiseMates devise a list of essential items to bring on every cruise   Go>
Overcoming the Motion of the Ocean
Should you avoid cruise travel due to fear of seasickness? How can those prone to the symptoms curb the effects?
Tipping Guidelines for Cruisers
While some cruise lines are all-inclusive, most others expect passengers to reward gratuities according to proper cruise etiquette.
A Cruise for Everyone
No matter your background nor your interests, there is surely a cruise vacation that will suit you.
Think You Know Cruising?
Cruise travel may be the most generally misunderstood vacation experience – especially by those who have never taken a cruise.
Cruiser's Culinary Cheat Sheet
by Janice Wald Henderson Have you ever been stumped by a word on a cruise ship menu? Here is your cruiser's culinary cheat sheet.
Comparing Luxury to Mainstream Cruise Costs
You can actually choose either cruising experience for the exact same price.
Modern Cruise Misconceptions
It's inaccurate fear mongering that misinforms opinions about the cruise industry.
The Best Cruise Ship for Your Demographic
While passé cruise stereotypes no longer apply, choosing the appropriate line and ship for you is still paramount.
The Top Cruise Misconception
This one bit of knowledge can help you find the best cruise bargain and save money every time. And it's the most misunderstood aspect of cruise pricing   Go>
Cruise Trips: Adventure over Relaxation
Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.  
How to Organize A Group Cruise
Putting together a group cruise may be easier than you think -- with a little bit of organizational skill and lots of help from the right people   Go>
Cruise Entertainment Hits New Heights
Entertainment is in the spotlight of cruising these days as the major cruise lines compete for headlines.
Cell Phone Tricks for Cruise Lines
Watch out for this unexpected data charge by cell-phone providers even if you have data-roaming turned off.
Calculating Passenger Space Ratio
Exactly how useful is this industry standard? In some cases not useful at all.
How Not to Solve Cruise Problems
Understanding the hierarchy of cruise ship staff and crewmembers helps you solve cruise problems.   Go>
Why do Cruise Ships Have Butlers?
What is the role of a cruise ship butler, and do we really need one? We ask Leslie Philpott, purveyor of butler services to Azamara Cruises.   Go>
The Most Common Cruise Mistakes - Part 1
There are two reasons why cruisers make mistakes that ruin their vacations: The questions we never think to ask; and the things we neglect due to over-confidence.  
Cruise Buying Misconceptions
Most disquieting, 56% of people responded that they believe they can get a better price on a cruise if they book it on their own - without the help of a travel agent.   Go>
Avoiding Norovirus on Cruise Ships
The good news; symptoms only last up to 48 hours. The bad news; it takes only a very small amount of the virus to spread the disease.  
Becoming a Travel Agent
Think it's a cakewalk to get started in this career? Think again ...  
Planning A Cruise
By making the right decisions ahead of time you can free up a lot of spare time to help you get more out of your cruise.   Go>

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