12 Hottest Cruise Topics in 2012

December 25, 2012

12 Most Popular Cruise Ships of 2012

Hottest Cruise News Stories in 2012

Main Page: 2012, the Year in Cruising

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(11:30 p.m. EST) – While scanning the sea full of hot topics from 2012, one subject regularly churns up the greatest interest: Our readers want to know the latest tips and policies when it comes to cruising. They're also interested in getting the most bang for their cruise buck -- and who can blame them, what with new fees popping up for those little extras like late-night room service and dining room corkage.

We know you, our readers, are a savvy bunch, so it's no surprise that in 2012, you wanted to learn how to stretch that dollar, how to pack for your cruise and how to score a free drink.

Of course, safety issues were brought to light after the January 13, 2012, Costa Concordia tragedy, and feature stories and blog posts on the topic became some of our most-read items of the year.

Sure, we have our favorite topics, but we were surprised to find out how closely they aligned with yours. Read on to see which subjects had our readers clicking and buzzing.

Compare: 10 Most Popular Cruise Ships

When we put together a chart comparing the most popular ships, our readers responded -- and debated. Oh, did they debate. While everyone agreed cruising is a wonderful way to travel, comments got heated and covered everything from which cruise lines are the best to the merits of mega-ships. Read more.

9 More Ways to Get Free Drinks at Sea

In November 2011, we ran a post on 7 Ways to Get Free Drinks at Sea. It was so wildly popular and generated so many reader tips, we just had to come back with another story. The result: Nine more tips that we hope helped everyone get at least one beverage gratis. Read more.

Nickel and Dimed? 22 Cruise Ship 'Added Fees' Compared

Each day, we seemed to learn more about new charges coming from various cruise lines in an effort to provide passengers with a la cart options. Up-charged features run the gamut from "V.I.P" treatment to Internet service. We asked, and you voted on the most egregious fees. Read more.

After Concordia, is Cruising Safe?

Certainly, the question was on everyone's lips after Costa Concordia capsized in January. Is cruising safe? Our editor in chief, a veteran of more than 200 cruises, penned a frank piece about whether cruising is safe and how such a tragedy affects everyone -- herself included. Read more.

5 Ways to Get a Cruise Ship Cabin Upgrade

Who doesn't want a visit from the "upgrade fairy"? Well, it's not always exactly the deal you wish for. Still, you asked, and we dug deep to find out what you can do to help yourself get that bump up in class you've been dreaming about. Turns out, luck as well as some skillful planning play into it. Read more.

5 Cruise Lines That Let You BYOB

Sneaking booze onto a ship is one of the most hotly debated items on our message boards. Still, some cruise lines let you bring beer and even hard liquor onboard without penalty. We put together a list that will save you a trip to the legendary naughty room. Read more.

What Not to Pack: 5 Things You Want to Take on a Cruise -- But Shouldn't

Our message boards are filled with great lists of items you should take along on any cruise. But the cruise lines have a number or restrictions on items that seem innocuous enough but are banned for safety reasons. Skip these items, and consider bringing along our alternative suggestions. Read more.

14 Unusual Cruise Ship Balcony Cabins

Most cruisers will tell you there's no such thing as a bad balcony, which might be true. Still, ship designs have sure created some strange -- and often coveted --balcony options. Our list got readers debating the merits of the "hump" over "the tunnel" or "exposed" vs. "the corner aft." Read more.

640 Cruises and Counting: Tips from Royal Caribbean's Most Loyal Passenger

Cruiser Mario Salcedo inspired a little awe and envy among our readers when he spoke to Cruise Critic about his retirement at sea. He also gave readers considering life at sea some valuable tips about booking, saving money and discovering their cruising styles. Read more.

8 Reasons to Pack Duct Tape for Your Next Cruise

Duct tape has a way of sneaking onto nearly every cruise packing list, so we decided to ask why. Sure, it's tape, but we discovered it could be used for all sorts of surprising purposes when traveling. Our readers, of course, had their own suggestions, which ranged from practical to hilarious. Read more.

The Ultimate Guide to Packing for a Cruise

Cruise Critic created a special packing section on our site so our readers wouldn't have to go searching for their favorite tips and tricks. Then, our readers went and added their own packing tips. Together, we put together everything you'd need to know about packing for a cruise. Read more.

20 Best Free Things to do on a Cruise

You can spend a small fortune with all the add-ons available on cruise ships, but that doesn't mean you have to do it. In reality, you can have fun onboard without spending a penny. We found 20 exciting options that won't cost you a thing; then our readers came up with more on their own. Read more.

--By Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor