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Tips and tricks for your cruise holiday

As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know and keeping your name in the good books with the right people is key. The ship’s Captain, the Cruise Director and the Hotel Manager are all good people to be friendly with.  However, you need to remember that they are extremely busy and dedicated to keeping everything running smoothly.  With so much on their plates, don’t be offended if they don’t remember you or follow up to ensure that you receive your perks.

You should also remember that everyone on board is bound to be competing for their attention in the hopes that they will receive a cabin upgrade, a better dining arrangement or complimentary bottle of wine.  That being said, meeting the Captain will generally prove to be little more than a photo opportunity. 

Crew members on your Cruise

In terms of getting more value out of your trip, it is better for you to get to know the crew members you see on a regular basis.  Build healthy relationships with cabin stewards, bar tenders, waiters, shop staff, spa therapists and so on.  They might not be part of upper management or hold particularly influential positions but this does not mean that they have nothing to offer.  In many cases, these are the people who can make things happen.

These crew members usually have more time to offer you the kind of valuable advice that can make all the difference.  They will be familiar with the life on the ship and on shore at various ports along the way.  Their main motivation is, ultimately, tips and rewarding their favourite passengers so they will be that much more inclined to offer you the best kind of advice and information. 

Note that on board casinos and shops are not open during port days since it is prohibited by law.  These staff members usually spend these days on shore and they will be familiar with many of the best attractions, sights and places to shop.

Crew members may also be able and willing to lend you their crew phone or internet cards.  Their cards hold a fair discount.  They can even give you souvenir ship merchandise that only they have access to.  In the very least, they will give you the very best service so, no matter what, you have everything to gain.

Crew members are also like family to one another when on board.  So, passengers should remember  that crew members often discuss the day’s happenings with each other.  If, as a passenger, you make your mark in a good or bad way, you should be prepared for word to spread.  Even if you only spend one night in the bar or visit the shop just once or twice, other members of the ship’s staff could hear all about you.  Also, remember that bad news tends to spread faster than good news.  Rude or problematic guests are usually discussed the most as crew members share “horror” stories.  It’s almost as though they are competing to find out which one had the worst possible experience. 

Remaining calm and pleasant is, therefore, in your very best interests.  Also, if you have any serious problems, there is no point in taking it out on your waiter or steward when you should communicate with somebody in a more senior position.

Remember that cruise ship staff see hundreds or even thousands of guests pass them by on a regular basis.  Being polite is a good way of making the right impression but it probably won’t get you any extra special treatment but it’s a good way of keeping yourself off the “problem guest” list.

How to make yourself stand out to the crew:

  • Learn as many crew member names as you can and remember them.  Calling them by name will definitely help get you in their good books.
  • Shake their hand while introducing yourself.  It gives the impression of equality rather than you trying to act superior.
  • Get to know the crew on a certain level.  Ask about their families, where they are from and what their plans involve.  Show a genuine interest in them if you want them to reciprocate.
  • Bring along some phone cards on board.  Give these to crew members as gifts from time to time.  Many of the crew members are from all over the world and phoning home can cut a chunk out of their wages.
  • Take some chocolate bars along with you as well.  Secure your tips to the chocolate with a rubber band and enjoy their delight as they receive that little something extra.
  • Many cruise ships add a standard charge for gratuities to your bill.  This means less actual motivation for staff to go the extra mile.  Tip the cabin steward between $20 and $40 at the beginning of the cruise and you can expect a real difference in how you are treated.  You will be far more likely to receive extra benefits and attention.
  • Tell the cruise line if you are celebrating any particular occasion like a birthday, anniversary, business achievement, graduation etc.  The Executive Housekeeper on each ship receives a list at the beginning of every cruise.  This list details which passengers are celebrating and they are inclined to make certain special arrangements just for you.

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