13 Hottest Cruise Topics in 2013

December 14, 2013
cruise-ship-stories (10:30 p.m. EST) -- New ships and cabin tips were popular issues among our readers and members in 2013. You wanted to know what you didn't know about your cabins, how to stretch your bucks onboard and how river and ocean cruising compare. Cruise Critic took a look at the most-read feature stories, the most-visited forum threads and most-clicked blog posts -- then threw in some of our favorites -- in compiling this list of the hottest cruise topics of 2013.

cruise-ship-stories Feature: 9 Things You Don't Know About Your Cruise Ship Cabin
No question: Cabins are important to our readers, and this gem helped us understand just how important. It was our biggest hit of the year, and we got so much great feedback and so many photos from you showing how you applied our tips to your sailings. Read more.

cruise-line-secrets-food-booze Feature: Secrets the Cruise Lines Don't Tell You
Need a hole punched in your room card so you can slip it on a lanyard? Want to know which line serves up milk and cookies each day on its pool deck? Wondering where you can find an extra outlet? We've got you covered with this piece, which generated nearly 500 comments and even more tips. Read more.

cruise-ship-fees Blog: The Most Hated Cruise Line Added Fees Compared
We feel your pain when it comes to cruise line added fees. This blog hit home with our readers, who expressed outrage over lines upcharging for things like food in the main dining room and even the buffet. Read more.

cruise-ship-save-money Feature: The 10 Hidden Costs of Cruising -- and How to Fight Back
Those extra costs add up: shore excursions, spa services, booze and photos. Your fare probably doesn't cover everything you want to do when you sail, but we put together some tips for saving money and still having a great time. Read more.

carnival-cruise-triumph-fire Boards: Fire on Carnival Triumph. No Engines, Running on Emergency Generators
Our members were talking about the fire onboard Carnival Triumph from the very beginning, and they kept each other up to date on the latest, posting videos and photos as well as links to news stories. The discussion was so good, we pulled it into our coverage. Read more.

free-cheap-booze-cruise Blog: 7 Ways to Get Free Drinks on a Cruise
This one is an oldie, but the advice holds true, making it one of our top-read posts again in 2013. Most cruise fares don't cover the costs of alcohol, but we've unearthed some of the best ways for you to get freebies while onboard. Read more.

cruise-ship-rules Boards: Ultimate Packing List for the Newbies
This thread was started in 2009, but it still sees regular action from our members, who keep adding their own must-pack cruise items. Newbies and veteran cruisers alike will find great ideas for their vacations here. Read more.

ultimate-cruise-packing-list Feature: 11 Ways to Get Booted Off a Ship
As much fun as cruises are, some rules are simply sacrosanct. Break them, and you could find yourself sent packing. We put together a list of some items that have gotten passengers kicked off cruise ships. Read more.

cruise-ship-dining-room Feature: 8 Tips for the Best Main Dining Room Experience
Cruise ship main dining rooms sometimes get a bad rep, but that doesn't mean you can't have a great experience. Get to know your tablemates, eat worry-free (despite diet restrictions), and get exactly what you're looking for. We put together a list of tips so you know how. Read more.

cruise-avoid-bad Boards: Don't Book These Rooms
Nearly seven years and 149 pages since it started, this thread is going strong. Which cabin on Carnival Triumph will have you up all night? Which room on Caribbean Princess will make you wish you had brought earplugs? Check out this thread, and you'll avoid booking a cabin you might regret. Read more.

river-viking-cruise Feature: 11 Things Ocean Cruisers Need to Know Before Their First River Cruise
As the popularity of river cruising continues to rise, ocean loyalists are growing more interested in what they might anticipate onboard. We put together a list that compares the two very different experiences. Curious? Find out what to expect while plying Europe's rivers. Read more.

royal-princess-cruise-ship Boards: Everything Royal Princess: What are You Looking Forward to Most of All?
No doubt about it: Our members are fiercely loyal to their favorite cruise lines. And when their favorite cruise lines announce new ships, it leads to some serious discussion. Fans of Princess filled 296 pages with talk about the ship they were so eagerly anticipating. Color us impressed. Read more.

stay-healthy-cruise 7 Cruise Ship Diet Busters ... and What to Eat Instead
Oh, the temptation that comes with cruising. You can find food anywhere, anytime, and it's not unusual to return home having gained a pound or 10. We identified some of the worst offenders and offered healthier alternatives -- and provided some fun exercise options in case you just can't resist. Read more.

--By Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor