All Things Travel Podcast

11 Mistakes to Avoid When Cruising

September 28, 2022 Ryan Hedstrom and Shayne Seymour Episode 128
All Things Travel Podcast
11 Mistakes to Avoid When Cruising
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to go on a cruise but afraid you may not enjoy it? We’ll make sure you have a great time cruising by getting you prepared. Today Ryan and I will discuss 10 of the top mistakes to avoid when cruising.
 
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Shayne:

Hello and welcome to All Things Travel. Ready to go on a cruise, but afraid you may not enjoy it. We'll make sure you have a great time cruising by getting you prepared. Today, Ryan and I will discuss 10 of the top mistakes to avoid when cruising. You're listening to All Things Travel, episode 128, original air date, September 28th, 2022.

Ryan:

I so, Shayne, what do you think is the major thing that keeps people away from choosing a cruise as a vacation? I was talking just this weekend. I was talking to friends who are gonna work with me to plan a vacation and they were just kind like, you know what? We just wanna get away. We retired in 2020. And so basically we've been sitting around waiting to travel again. I brought up, Rocky Mountaineer for trains, national parks going go, going to the Caribbean, things like that. And as soon as I mentioned cruising, the guy kinda gave this face like, oh no, I don't wanna do that. Why do you think it is that people are apprehensive, maybe that's the right word to, to book a cruise. If they're.

Shayne:

We could probably do an episode on the top. I don't know however many reasons why people are hesitant to take a cruise. I think the one that makes people who wanna take a cruise, hesitant to take a cruise just so many options. And if you don't get it right, and you get on that ship, you can't just drive back home. You're out there in the ocean. And so they're afraid to make a mistake.

Ryan:

Yeah. And I think you're right with that. And I think there's a lot of, stereotyping when it comes to different types of vacations and cruising certainly has some specific stereotypes. Some are warranted, some are not, but I think part of it has to do with, If you avoid some very common mistakes, when it comes to thinking about your cruise you're gonna have a much better time and you're probably gonna get addicted to cruising, cuz it's a really nice vacation.

Shayne:

unless you just have an aversion to water, there is a ship out there that you would enjoy. There's an itinerary through cruise port that you would enjoy out there. It's just a matter of finding the right one.

Ryan:

So today we're gonna talk about the 10 mistakes to avoid and how to avoid them when it comes to thinking about cruising. But first, Shayne, I wanna know where in the world is All Things Travel.

Shayne:

Zachary, Louisiana.

Ryan:

Zachary, Louisiana. Welcome.

Shayne:

It's a little north of Baton Rouge. And I found a restaurant that I wanna try because I love Cajun food and I cannot find good Cajun food around the Dallas Fort Worth area. And one of the best meals I've ever had was a friend and I on a road trip to Pensacola long time ago. When. GPS systems first came out for cars and it found this Cajun restaurant and we navigated to it, pulled up and looked at it and went, you know what? I don't know if we wanna eat here, but maybe

Ryan:

Which

Shayne:

take a quick

Ryan:

probably means the food is really good,

Shayne:

and oh wow. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. I'm so glad we tried it. So when I saw this little restaurant Cajun Catch here in Zachary Louisiana, I knew that was a place that I wanted to try.

Ryan:

man. I am excited to head down there. Have a shrimp PO boy. With our All Things Travel listener and having a beat of beer and just having a great time.

Shayne:

Well, what do they need to do to make sure that we can do that?

Ryan:

you know what you need to do. Zachary Louisiana, you need to reach out to us. You can do that either on the Facebook group or email us at the emails we'll give at the end of the show, cuz I've got a little thank you gift for being featured.

Shayne:

I wanna make sure that you hear where in the world is All Things Travel next week. Be sure to follow the show so that you never miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, our travel stories.

Ryan:

we're gonna talk about 10 mistakes to avoid when it comes to cruising. And we're starting with a biggie here at number 10.

Shayne:

Not considering the true cost of the cruise.

Ryan:

If you're thinking of the same cruise lines that I am, the ones you see on TV, the ones you see on social media, the ones that pop up on, on your screen, when you're working on the computer, they show some great cruise pricing. And a lot of times that's, true pricing. However, when you start to go back and you think about what type of cruise you really want to have, what type of cabin you really want to have? That's not always the number is.

Shayne:

No. And considering the number of different cruise ports and destinations and itineraries, there's no way that your cruise is going to be that price that they show on that promotion.

Ryan:

Right. And so thinking about things like wifi, if you're gonna have wifi and we'll talk about wifi a little bit more in a second depending what kind of dining you wanna have, do you want to have special dining or are you gonna be eating in the main dining restaurant the entire time drinks? Are you gonna buy a drink package? Are you going to pay as you go? And not necessarily just for alcoholic drinks, but even specialty coffees, soda. Things like that. So the price of the cruise can really change from the time you get on the ship to the time you get off the ship. Our agency owner talks about, it's not the price to get on the cruise. It's the price to get off the cruise. Now you can avoid that by taking a lot of things into consideration beforehand. So Shayne, if you'll indulge me, I wanna share an example.

Shayne:

Please do.

Ryan:

I have a cruise coming up with my family right after Christmas this year. And we went through and we actually added some things to our to our cruise planner here. And so this is with a Royal Caribbean cruise. And so Just to give you an idea of how much things can cost. Okay. How much things can cost for the cruise. Now, this is broken up by rooms and my family does have two state rooms. The prices I'm gonna give here. If all four of us are using these, that they're, this price is actually gonna be doubled. But just to give you an example of how much things cost that are beyond the cruise fair. So when we're in Nassau we're actually gonna do an excursion that day, where we take a boat out to a private island. And we go snorkeling and we have time on the beach and they have different water activities for us to do. And we actually have lunch included and for my son and I. That is$201.98. So essentially a hundred dollars a person for that day in Nassau to have that excursion, we've got two dinners that we're adding on beyond the food that's included. We're going to a nice Italian restaurant. Giovanni's and we're also going to Zumi hibachi. And again, Giovanni's you're looking at for that extra day. You're looking at about$43 a person for that meal. You're looking at about$55 a person for a zoomy. When we're at Coco Cay. We're gonna do the thrill water. If you've listened back to the episodes about Royal Caribbean, there's a water park on their private island. That's about a hundred dollars a person to do that. And now the biggie Shayne, the deluxe beverage package with wifi. And I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but gosh, darn. We wanted to have a good time on this cruise. It's our Christmas present. We're gonna have a good time for me. It's about a hundred dollars a day. When it comes to the unlimited drink package and the wifi.

Shayne:

So is the wifi packaged with the drink package or are you getting two different

Ryan:

No I, you can get it together or you can get it separate. It just made sense to get it

Shayne:

Gotcha. Just seemed like an interesting combination

Ryan:

It is. And I, to be honest, I think it's just a way that they wanna bundle it now I'm okay spending that money, cuz I want to have a good time. And I know, I know the way that I drink when I'm on vacation I tend to skew more towards the expensive drinks the specialty cocktails, things like that. I can drink wine and beer everywhere. So when I go on vacation, I want to have a little bit of a different experience. So I know that's gonna add up. We also got the refreshment package for the kids For my son, I'm looking at again, I'm looking at our one reservation, it's$108 for that four night cruise. Those things, you don't have to spend that much money. You don't have to spend any money, but you have to think about what are the things you wanna add to that cruise to make it really special. And I will say we're splurging on this cruise. It's what we want to do is what we want to do. We're really excited about this with Royal C.

Shayne:

And that. True cost of the trip is if you're thinking about going and having fun and letting loose and having a lot of drinks on your trip, you're probably gonna want to invest in the package versus paying individually. And then the next level is that there's gonna be some cruise lines that might look a little more expensive on the outset, but a lot of those things are gonna be part of that price. And at

Ryan:

you know,

Shayne:

of it, It's all over that more expensive cruise line might be cheaper to get off the ship than the price of the other cruise line.

Ryan:

Yeah. So you look at celebrity, which is a partnership with rogue Caribbean, and the prices tend to be higher, but Shayne wifi is included. Tips are included. And drinks are included in that celebrity fair. So you just have, so the one mistake to make is assuming that the price is the price and not really thinking about what it is you're getting and what you're paying for

Shayne:

And there'll be other things, also some souvenirs that you wanna buy on the ship or in the ports. And then a lot of shops on those cruise ships where you're probably gonna see something you'd like to have.

Ryan:

So the next one of our 10 here, number nine, flying or arriving on the day of your cruise and boy folks, you've heard us talk about this. Why in the world would you pay thousands of dollars and then leave it up to chance that you might miss your cruise?

Shayne:

It doesn't make for a nice relaxing first day when you're worried about missing the boat, because you're trying to travel into the port city on the day that your ship leaves.

Ryan:

Yeah, absolutely. And, most ships you're boarding by midday. Now they, that they may leave later afternoon or E even into the evening. But if you have a delay, even with the first flight of the day, you could have some real trouble. And so we always recommend get there the day before it's worth the hotel night, it's worth the, it's worth time to know that you're there and you're ready for your crew.

Shayne:

So number eight, not planning shore. Or extras beforehand.

Ryan:

So, Yeah, so I shared those extras and we took some time to pre-book our excursion in Nassau. We took some time to, to add that water park feature for the private island day. And. Because we know that those will sell out, especially for the private island and the water park. There's a limited capacity there. And so there's a chance, especially at a cruise right after Christmas, that's gonna be rather busy that, that ex that opportunity may not be there.

Shayne:

Yeah. So if there's something that you really have your heart set on doing for this trip, go ahead and book that as soon as you wanna do it.

Ryan:

I do wanna add a yeah, but to, to this one if you'll let me Shayne,

Shayne:

Of course.

Ryan:

I had an example I was working with a family this summer that sailed on celebrity and they did an Alaskan cruise and. They had purchased a train ride excursion, and they were really excited about it, really excited about it and got an email that that the excursion was overbooked and they were being dropped. I'm not exactly sure what was gonna happen. I didn't see that communication. That seemed a little weird to me. I think it had something to do at that time with Alaska and Canada, but anyway, I called celebrity. No, there's no availability. There's nothing. So I booked them something that was similar. But I said, Hey, once you get on the ship, make sure and go and talk to them and see if you can add this one back on. You can cancel the one that I booked for you. You can rebook. And I talked to him after the cruise and he said, absolutely not a problem. They got on. And I, I don't know if there was a space issue. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but. They taking the time to ask, even if you miss, even if you miss the deadline is still worth it with this, but no ahead of time that and partly too, you've prepaid for it. So that's nice too. Like my stuff with Royal Caribbean, we've already paid for the extras. Now I can cancel that. I mean, that's, I'm not locked in with those things, but I've already paid for it. I'm not gonna have to get that bill at the end of the cruise. So number seven, then picking the wrong ship or cruise line for you or your family. I think this is a big one, especially for people who have not cruised before. And so they're just looking for price or they're just start, there are certainly cruise lines that cater to older adults. There are certainly cruise lines that cater to a party crowd and not taking the time to understand that could really impact your experience, especially if you choose unwise.

Shayne:

Yeah, I think I've mentioned before my good friend who's really artsy outdoorsy lives in a small town. And you tell me about how he hated this cruise. So I asked him which cruise line did you go on? And he told me, and I'm, well, why did you go on that cruise? Why did your travel agent book you on that cruise? And of course, the answer was, I just booked that I didn't go through a travel agent, but like I said, at the beginning of the. unless you have an aversion to water, there's probably a cruise line out there that you will enjoy, but if you pick the wrong one, you're not gonna enjoy that.

Ryan:

Yeah. So number six, Shayne is picking the wrong cabin. What are some things we should think about when it comes to what cabin we want to choose?

Shayne:

Well, I know that I'm a little claustrophobic, so I'm gonna want a veranda or a balcony that I can walk out on and get some fresh air. I have some friends that. They wanna make sure that they sleep well. So they want an interior cabin where there's no windows and they can have a completely dark room.

Ryan:

Yep.

Shayne:

Also, if you're susceptible to motion sickness, you could be strategic about picking a location on the ship that would help you out with not getting seasick or being less seasick.

Ryan:

Right. Absolutely. And I'll throw another one here. If you're a family with kids and you maybe have older kids, teenagers or the like, assuming that you have to book. A cabin for everybody. So what do I mean by that? So let's say Shayne, that you have a family of five, and so it's two parents and three teenagers. Well, one of and assuming that's the best deal. So then you go through and you look at the cabins and you're like, oh man, we have to get like one of the biggest cabins to fit everybody in it. This is really expensive. And we know we want a veranda. But what if we do this? What if we book instead of booking a large veranda room, we we book an ocean view room with an inside cabin right across the hall. And we book an adult and some children in one, and we book an adult and some children in the other. And what if the parents happen to stay in the ocean view room and the kids, if you trust them, if you're comfortable with it, stay in the inside room.

Shayne:

Sounds like a great

Ryan:

And the reason I say that is sometimes that's cheaper than one of the larger room that, that fits everybody.

Shayne:

And the kids can step at night, watching movies, playing games or whatever, and the parents can get the sleep they

Ryan:

Yeah. And now I understand not everybody's comfortable with that, but that is very much a booking hack when it comes to finding the space for everybody or, even having, you're really trying to find both space and budget book two inside state rooms. Everybody has space, you can spread everybody out. And instead of buying one of the, one of the bigger rooms, you can now actually have two smaller rooms that actually cost. All right. Number five,

Shayne:

not being aware of the cruise lines or the destinations COVID requirements.

Ryan:

So as much as things are changing and moving, we still have COVID requirements to keep in mind. Don't wait.

Shayne:

Yeah, there's still some vaccine requirements. There are some testing requirements. There are still a lot of requirement varieties out there for each type of travel.

Ryan:

So really the bottom line is knowing what requirements you're gonna have depending on the cruise line, depending on the destinations. And then you'll be good to go because if you pick the wrong one Shayne, you may be losing money. You may be adding a lot of frustration or you may not be able to go on the cruise. So understanding that upfront really can avoid a major mistake.

Shayne:

And number four, not having a plan of how you're gonna use technology, aboard the ship.

Ryan:

with this, you're talking about like wifi and phones.

Shayne:

maybe a data plan or international plan.

Ryan:

First of all, understanding the ship is gonna offer some sort of wifi plan. Sometimes it's included, sometimes it's not, sometimes it's included and then you can get an upgraded one and really thinking about what makes the most sense for you. Are you gonna be using that wifi or since you're used to it on land, you just assume you have to have. If you don't need it, if you don't need it for work, if you don't need it for keeping in touch with people, don't spend the money to be quite honest with you, you can get wifi when you're at the ports. And then also a data plan. For instance, when I was in Greece on a cruise. I had the international plan for Greece and that was through at and T. So it was$10 a day. I could basically use my phone exactly like I could in the us. However, this was one thing to keep in mind. We're talking specifically about cruising. It did not cover me when I was on the cruise ship. So as soon as the cruise left the port, my international. Started adding up roaming fees because I then needed to be on a cruising plan, which I wasn't. And that came back to bite me a little bit in the overall cost because I wasn't as careful as I should have, but, especially if you wanna work, if you want to make calls with people, look into those international plans, but also keep in mind when you can use them. And when you can't Shayne, what do you need to make sure about your phone?

Shayne:

Make sure that you put it in airplane mode so that you're not connecting to a roaming network and making calls or downloading

Ryan:

absolutely. You need to be in an airplane mode. other than having your phone completely. that's the number one way to make sure that you're not racking up data that, that you didn't mean to, but you know, really think about how much are you gonna use it? Do you have to have it? Do you want it versus need it? And you may be able to save some money here.

Shayne:

Yeah, that was one of the, or you never know when you're heading out into the ocean where that antenna is or where that cell tower signal is gonna end, where you're not gonna be in on the international planet anymore. You're gonna be out on international waters and you'll be roaming. Yeah.

Ryan:

No, that happened to me. When I got on the ship I decided that I didn't like the wifi setup. It wasn't gonna work for me both professionally and personally for the time that I was gonna be cruising. And so I went ahead and I got the international plan at, and teammates. It very easy. You just click on a link, you click on a link and a message and voila, you have it, but we left the dock that evening. And all of a sudden, I got another text message that said, Hey, if you want to continue to be able to use your data and calls, you need to switch to a cruise plan. And I'm glad that they did that because then I was able to shut my phone off on and put it on airplane mode and not have to worry about it.

Shayne:

Number three, trying to book at the last minute to get a better deal.

Ryan:

That's not gonna happen, Shayne that in, in cruising. There's not a better deal near the end, every once in a while, there's gonna be better deals. But most of the time with cruises, the best deal is when those cruises first come out.

Shayne:

And if a ship does have some cabins available, that they're gonna try to fill up with some last minute deals. They're probably gonna offer those low prices to travel advisors so that the travel advisors can get on the ship and be able to promote and book for that cruise line afterwards, there's just not gonna be a lot of those last minute deals for cruise ships.

Ryan:

Yep. Yep. A absolutely. Now that doesn't mean. I mean, there may be cruise lines that will have overall promos that get you a better deal. But if you're looking for a specifically, I want to get a better deal on this cruise. It's probably not gonna happen.

Shayne:

and you're certainly not gonna get a great choice of what cabin or cabin location you're gonna

Ryan:

Exactly. Yep. E exactly. So number two, we are broken records with these last two here, man, but they are really important. Number two, not getting travel protection.

Shayne:

There are just so many reasons to get travel protection that have nothing to do with your plane leaving or arriving or getting canceled. There's so many health issues, accident issues that travel protection will cover. It's just insane to not have it for a vacation.

Ryan:

A absolutely. If you think about a cruise, most likely you're dealing with a flight you're dealing with maybe a rental car, maybe a hotel room the night before you're dealing with a cruise that is, a substantial amount of money for your vacation. You're dealing with different ports, most likely inter. You have so many variables that are going on this trip that you wanna make sure that you're protecting your investment and you're protecting yourself and your family. And that's what travel protection does. And I get it. You've never needed it before. So you don't think you need it. Well, let me tell you the first time you use it, you're gonna be pretty darn glad that you.

Shayne:

And the number one mistake to avoid when booking your cruise is Ryan.

Ryan:

Not using a travel advisor.

Shayne:

by making sure that you use the travel advisor, you can automatically make sure that they help you avoid all 10 of those other mistakes. 10, nine, all nine of those mistakes counting

Ryan:

it really is. Yeah it really is the right way to go. You've got somebody who's there to lead you through, especially if you're unsure, especially if you have not booked a cruise before, or you haven't booked with this specific cruise line before using a travel advisor. Become somebody who can really lead you through some of those decisions. When do I have to make these reservations? When do I have to pay this money? What's the best port to sail out of. What's the best ship in this line. Now I would say as a, I keep throwing all these what ifs or extras in this shame though, I would be leery of a travel advisor who, if you talk to them about a crew who says I can book all types of cruise. I would guess most travel advisors. I know I am. I have much more training in specific cruise lines and types of cruises than I do in others. And so not only finding a travel advisor, but somebody who books, the type of cruise that you want to go on. If you want, if you and your spouse or you and your partner wanna go to on a river cruise to Europe, make sure you work with somebody who's done that. Rather than somebody that just says, yeah, I can book any type of cruise or I fo my focus is on Caribbean cruises. I think this is a nice list that we've put together here, but I think there's a bonus one.

Shayne:

so that puts us at an nice even number 11

Ryan:

Nice even 11. And for those who have not figured out with listening, loves lists that are odd numbered lists are his favorites. So we actually originally had this list at 11. We narrowed it down to 10 and he felt so uneasy about it. That as we talked, I came up with a bonus one for number 11, but I think it's pretty good. Yeah. That you're welcome,

Shayne:

appreciate that, Ryan.

Ryan:

So when you go to book your cruise, there's going to be an option. Do you want to book a refundable rate or a non-refundable rate? And which one do you think the cruise line is going to promote as the better.

Shayne:

the non-refundable rate.

Ryan:

Exactly. it's worth it for you to pay a little extra, to get the refundable rate. Okay, that allows you, not only to get the money back that you spent, but some cruise lines, even if you cancel your cruise will not allow you to get that deposit back. Now, again, if you're gonna get travel protection and you are maybe you're gonna get that covered, but it's a watch smoother on the back end To get that refundable deposit, that refundable rate, because it's a lot easier with the cruise line. If you purchase that to get your money back very quickly.

Shayne:

Even with flying, I will pay to get a rate that I can change or a refundable rate. It's just, I just want that freedom. I don't wanna feel like I'm. Tied down or obligated to something that I later decide. Isn't exactly what I want, and then realizing that I'm not tied to that. I'm not obligated to that. It just it's more relaxing. It's more freeing. And I just enjoy it more.

Ryan:

Well said, we would love to help you avoid these mistakes. And so go ahead and not make the first mistake by reaching out to either Shayne or I and using a travel advisor to book your next cruise, whether it's for your family, whether it's a couple's cruise, whether it's a river cruise or Caribbean cruise, we really have a vast experience and work with really good partners when it comes to cruising. So[ reach out to us. We would love to help you with that next cruise adventure that you're planning. Reach out to me, Ryan that's R Y A N@creatingmagicvacations.com

Shayne:

most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation, we work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money and stress

(Cont.) 11 Mistakes to Avoid When Cruising