Packing Advice from Professional Cruisers
Packing for a cruise may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a newbie embarking on your first voyage. To help, we’ve compiled a short list of five useful items to toss (neatly) in your cruise trunk. These random household items may sound unconventional, but cruisers who have sailed before you advise packing duct tape, straws, a power strip, shoe organizer, and air freshener. Here’s why:
Duct tape saves the day in many situations, even cruising. Make sure your cruise line is okay with duct tape, though, which may leave an adhesive residue. Check your information or call the cruise line. Here are just a few of its many uses on the ship, according to the experts over at Cruise Critic:
- Repair broken flip flops
- Use in place of expensive towel clips when securing your beach towel on a chair poolside
- Tame a clingy, annoying cabin shower curtain by taping it in place on the wall
Drinking straws offer a simple solution to keeping necklaces tidy and knot-free. Thread your necklaces through and then clasp them. Cut them to size, if needed.
An over-the door hanging shoe organizer is a great way to store toiletries and keep the little stuff you need all in one place. Get a clear one so you can easily see what you’ve got.
An extra power strip is a good idea since cabins are typically light on outlets, especially on older ships. But check with your cruise line. Usually, power-surge protected strips are a no-no, and the allowable strips should only have one or two outlets. Perhaps bring two.
Air freshener could be the best suggestion of all—think of your tiny cabin bathroom without ventilation. It’s a probability, so be prepared with your own freshener to keep your space pleasant.
Need Cruise Transportation?
Start and end your cruise vacation with comfortable, convenient private or shared transportation to/from the piers with Shuttle Express. As Seattle’s local airport and private transportation experts, our professional, friendly team has been at the wheel for nearly 30 years, keeping our guests safe, on time, and stress-free.
We pick you up at your destination, get you to the ship on time, and even handle your luggage. Choose from black car, private or shared van, or coach service. Then sit back and relax, our experienced team will take care of you.
Seattle’s port is a global favorite for Alaska and Pacific Northwest cruises thanks to a spectacular location with easy access to outdoor fun, shopping, and cultural experiences. And, it’s well worth adding a few days before or after your cruise to explore this friendly port and sneak in a little extra fun. Read on for need-to-know info.
With more than a million cruise passengers expected to flow through Seattle’s two piers this year, expect heavy congestion before and after your cruise. Here are tips to help you navigate the crowded waters.
- Getting on your ship: Cruise terminals can be hectic and stressful during the first few hours of boarding, with the busiest time from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It depends when your ship leaves so don’t wait too long, but boarding after the rush may be easiest.
- Getting off your ship: Disembark as early as you can and plan for extra time to get through the check-out process. Make sure you book your airport or hotel transportation ahead of time and pack some patience, since thousands of other cruisers will be headed home, too.
Good to Know
- Pack your first day essentials (medications, swim suit, change of clothes) in your carry on, since you probably won’t get your checked luggage from the cruise line until evening.
- Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Washington State, it’s illegal to take it out of the state or on your cruise ship. Leave it at home.
- Since most of the Seattle cruises stop in Canada, travel with your passport or US passport card; some passengers from outside the US may need a Canadian Visa. Avoid getting denied back on the ship and check with your cruise line for requirements.
Extend Your Stay
Adding a day or three before or after your cruise not only eases the stress of arriving or departing on sailing day (think delayed flights, horrendous traffic, and bad weather), but it also gives you time to explore Seattle.
- Hotels: If booking a hotel in the downtown core is beyond your budget, stay outside the city. Southside hotels are a great option. Two of our favorites, Hilton Garden Inn Renton and Crowne Plaza Sea-Tac, offer convenient packages including Shuttle Express private transportation to/from the piers.
- Attractions: Numerous must-see attractions are found in Seattle such as Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, but if you venture past the city limits, you’ll find dozens more such as the Future of Flight, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and whale watching in the San Juan Islands. Check out Visit Seattle’s site for helpful information.
- Shopping: From bargains to high fashion, the Seattle shopping scene has something for everyone. See TripAdvisor for a terrific overview with plenty of links to explore before you hit the shops.
Start and end your cruise vacation with comfortable, convenient private or shared transportation to/from the piers with Shuttle Express. As Seattle’s local airport and private transportation experts, our professional, friendly team has been at the wheel for nearly 30 years, keeping our guests safe, on time, and stress-free. Choose from black car, private or shared van, or coach service, and our experienced, caring team will make it happen. Book online at shuttleexpress.com or connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booking a cruise for the first time can be a bit daunting with the many details and choices to consider. And finding an affordable option takes some savvy and research, but with these tips you will be on your way to a memorable cruise vacation, and still have some green in your wallet!
1. Book at the Last Minute
If your schedule is flexible, you can score amazing deals on last-minute cruises. Tip: for the cruise you’re interested in, find out how close to the departure date a traveler can cancel their reservation without a penalty, usually two to three months before departure. This the perfect time to call and check for deals, or cabin upgrades if you’ve already booked.
2. Pick the Right Time to Go
Finding a plum deal on a cruise may be easier during certain times of the year. Mid-September offers some of the very best rates since the summer has wound down and the kids are back in school. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is another time to save some money, when most people are preparing for and celebrating the holidays at home.
3. Pay the Extra for a Balcony
When choosing your room, spring for the most your budget can handle. Your options are usually:
- Inside, with no windows
- Outside, with window/porthole view
- Balcony, which is a room with a balcony on the outside of the ship
- Suite, which is a larger cabin often with separate living and sleeping areas
You will appreciate the extra space and awesome view you get from a balcony room or suite, especially if you have kids, want to dine in, or just want to enjoy fresh air and some extra space.
4. Pack Light
Make sure to pack smart—which means light! Ships usually don’t offer much space for extra stuff, so make the most of a few key outfits that do triple duty. All ships offer laundry service, too, so you can launder outfits as needed. Ask about the “formal” evenings and how strict the dress code is so you can plan accordingly. If you prefer not to attend the formal events, you can get room service or Lido dining those evenings and skip packing the tux and gown.
5. Get There the Night Before
Arrive the night before your cruise and enjoy an extra evening on vacation. You’ll skip the stress of trying to get to your port city the day of sailing―we’re talking about delayed flights, unforeseen traffic, and weather delays that have caused many cruisers to miss the boat! So, plan to arrive at your port city early and check out the town, enjoy dinner, sightseeing, and prepare for your cruise without worry.
6. Check in After 2 p.m.
Cruisers are often anxious to get on board as early as possible, which means the cruise terminal can be hectic and stressful during the first few hours of boarding, usually from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. if your ship sets sail at 4 p.m. or later. If you board early, you may not even be allowed into your cabin until later in the afternoon, which means you’ll be waiting around with all your stuff. Instead, avoid the hassle and check in after 2 p.m. You’ll walk on stress-free, and head straight to your cabin.
7. Skip Port Calls?
Port calls sound inviting, exciting, can’t-miss, right? But when you ask those who have done port calls before you, they tell a different tale. Often times, you hardly see or enjoy the place you’re visiting, despite paying a high price for the excursion. Many cruisers suggest staying onboard your ship since most facilities are still open, and you’ll have them to yourself―it’s your ship for the day!
Check out these resources to make your cruise experience stress-free and enjoyable: