It seems everyone who has ever cruised either has a staple piece of advice to offer others or has received said advice from someone else. There are several recommendations we hear on repeat -- bring magnets to hang things, pack a highlighter for your daily schedule and don't leave home without duct tape -- but some of them do make us scratch our heads. Read on for our list of some of the most overrated cruise advice.
1. Don't book independent shore excursions.
It's true that your ship isn't likely to wait for you if you're late getting back from a shore excursion you've booked through a private provider. That risk often scares cruisers into paying inflated prices for cruise line-sponsored tours. These days, many independent excursion operators provide guarantees that promise to get you to the next port of call to rejoin your ship if, for some reason, your tour returns late.
You should always do your homework by reading the fine print before reserving anything, but we think it's safer now than it's ever been to book with a private company. The goal is to find a provider that offers a fun, safe tour for a fair price -- even if it's not through your cruise line.
2. Bring an over-the-door organizer.
This is a tried-and-true bit of wisdom that works for many cruisers -- particularly those sharing cabins with more than one person -- because they help you to keep all of your things in one place while taking up relatively little space. But with cruise lines instituting more stringent policies on what passengers are and aren't allowed to hang on doors, and with newer ships offering more storage space than ever, we question whether it makes sense to pack a bulky organizer when you can simply use the drawers and cupboards already provided.
3. Arrive at the terminal later to avoid the embarkation rush.
As a general rule, most cruisers prefer to board their ships as early as possible, which means, if you share that mentality, you're likely to be met by long lines. For that reason, experienced cruisers advise arriving after the masses. It's a trade-off, though: If you show up on the later side of embarkation, you'll probably zoom through without much of a wait, but you also risk missing out on those extra couple of hours onboard when you could have been exploring the ship, taking part in activities or grabbing a bite to eat.
4. Wear a seasick patch.
We've met many a patch-adorned cruiser who has no idea whether he or she actually gets seasick. "It's just a precaution," they claim. Maybe it's better to be safe than sorry, especially where your vacation is concerned, but to us, that's like saying "I'm just going to drink this bottle of Dayquil in case I get the sniffles." Our advice: Take the patches with you, and apply them if you start to feel nauseated.
5. Turn your phone off.
Unless you really don't know how to switch your phone to airplane mode, there's no reason to shut off your cell phone on a cruise ship. On top of the built-in cameras -- many of which are just as good as most simple point-and-shoot cameras -- and clock functionality (alarm, home time), there are any number of apps you can use without needing a single bit of data from white noise generators to numerous games. You can even download TV episodes and movies from Netflix or Hulu to watch onboard without needing internet. Additionally, some cruise lines offer free access to their own websites or other cruise-ship related material, which you can browse directly from your phone without paying an extra penny.