50 Top Tips From the World's Smartest Cruisers

The art of cruising, like chess and cricket, takes time and expertise to master. That's why we asked some of the most well-traveled, cruise-savvy folks we know—hundreds of readers and a handful of pros—for their best advice.

35. Editors' advice: Score prime reservations Some cruise lines—such as Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean—have started allowing guests to secure table assignments when they book their cabins. In fact, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean even permit you to make the request online, and Carnival lets repeat customers ask for their favorite servers.

36. From the pros: The Doctor "If you feel seasick, try these three tricks: Stay midship and as close to the waterline as possible (that area doesn't rock as much as the front); lie down where you can see the horizon (this places your head in a fixed position); and eat pineapple. Why the last one? It tastes the same going up as it does going down." Eilif Dahl (Norway)

37. Reward good service I bring thank-you cards. If a staff member is particularly helpful, I leave behind a card. Being positive encourages good service in the days to come. Jen Keivel, Beavercreek, Ohio

TECH TIPS

38. Go farther ashore In Ketchikan, Alaska, I grabbed a seat at an Internet café right next to the ship only to find out that another place a few blocks farther away was half the price. Tina Arnoldi, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

39. Outsmart onboard Internet To limit my use of onboard Internet—anywhere from 35¢ to $1 per minute—I type e-mails to friends and family on my laptop in advance. When I'm ready to send them, I log on and simply paste in the completed text. Jon Faulkner, Chula Vista, Calif.

40. Roam on your terms Before boarding, check with your cell provider to learn about the roaming charges you'll be responsible for. Your plan may already include calls and e-mails throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and even farther afield. We were delighted to find that our flat-rate plan worked on several Caribbean islands—for no extra fee. Jana Riess, Winchester, Ky.

41. Access your e-mail at the library During a recent Alaska cruise, we found a city library with free Internet service for up to 30 minutes! Gail G. Jenkins, Kuna, Idaho

4250. 9 Ways to Deck Out Your Cabin

42. Tension rod Staterooms are notoriously short on closet space. A tension rod provides just the trick for hanging extra clothes, and it takes up very little room in your suitcase. Lisa Palumbo, West Orange, N.J.

43. Shoe organizers I hang these on the bathroom door to prevent clutter in a tiny cabin. The compartments are perfect for stashing toiletries, documents, keys, and, of course, shoes. Jane Tague, Westerville, Ohio

44. Portable radio You would be amazed at the stations you can tune in to from your balcony, especially in Caribbean ports. Reggae, salsa, merengue...what comes on is always a surprise, and the news and commercials can be entertaining too. Tom Roche, Tucker, Ga.

45. Fragrance beads A safe alternative to candles or incense, these pack neatly in a sealed container. Once you open the lid, the fragrance wafts through the whole room. Julie Nyhus, Eugene, Ore.

46. Sticky notes I'm probably known as the Post-it lady on most ships. I leave notes on the cabin mirror asking the steward for more ice, tissues, towels—everything. It works! Eleanor L. Benedict, Herndon, Va.

47. Light sticks I used to pack a night-light but couldn't always find a convenient outlet. Now I hook a plastic light stick over the bathroom doorknob, where it provides a gentle glow through the night. Carol Attar, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

48. Gift bags Before my trip, I put together a bag of regional specialties from my hometown. Once I'm aboard, I give the present to our attendant, who is usually delighted and rewards us with great service. Nyal R. Cammack, Las Cruces, N.M.

49. Tabletop mirror If you'd rather sit to apply makeup and style your hair, as I do, you'll find this a good use of suitcase space. Joanie Martin, Fox Island, Wash.

50. Power strip Many cabins have only one outlet, which is hardly enough if you plan to charge your laptop, cell phone, and iPod—and to blow-dry your hair. Jay Van Vechten, Boca Raton, Fla.

* Our "pros" are all staff members of Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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