10. Surfs Up: Royal Caribbean is known for innovative ship design and this includes lots of exciting things to do while onboard. Have you ever tried surfing – on a flow rider? All Freedom and Oasis class ships have them available for a wet and wild time. You can boogie board and learn surfing basics from live instructors. Make sure to bring a friend who can capture the moment on camera and if you have kids, plan to spend a lot of time hanging out in the “splash zone” while they perfect their hang ten.

9. Best View In The House: A sail away cocktail from port is an ages old sea tradition. While there are many places to imbibe on a Royal Caribbean ship, the best sail away drinks are to be found in the Viking Crown lounge. Perched up high with 180+ degree views, you can admire the scenery and watch the sunset while you share stories of your day’s adventures.

8. Eat on Your Terms: Royal Caribbean ships all feature both traditional dining and specialty restaurants. If you enjoy group dining and making small talk with strangers (and new friends!) then eating in the traditional main dining room is a cruise staple you will enjoy. But if you prefer to have a more flexible schedule and want to try different cuisines then include specialty dining in your planning. Unlike the general dining room which is included in your cruise, there is usually a flat entrance fee to the specialty restaurants and some of them even offer a la carte dining. Planning to visit Park150 or the Chef’s Table for a multi course dinner and wine pairing? These exclusive venues require a jacket for men so pack accordingly.

7. Bring Your Sneakers: Did you know that every Royal Caribbean ship has a rock climbing wall feature on the top deck? With easy instruction and all safety equipment provided, it’s a fun challenge to incorporate into your cruise vacation. You don’t have to be in marathon shape to enjoy one of the best views on the high seas from atop the wall – and trust us, you will have truly earned your dinner when you ring the bell at the top to signify your success.

Couple Beach

6. Outsmart Onboard Internet: Bringing your laptop with you so you can stay in touch? Internet access onboard can be pricey – anywhere from $0.55 per minute and up – so type your emails out in advance. Then when you are ready to send them, long on and paste in the completed text so you can send all your emails in just a few minutes.

5. Keep the Power On: Many staterooms have only one outlet, which isn’t typically enough if you want to be able to charge your laptop, cell phone, iPad – and blow-dry your hair – all at the same time. Bring a small power strip with you and tuck it under your desk out of the way so that you can keep all your devices fully charged and not have your camera battery run out at a critical moment.

4. Stay Connected: Traveling with a group on one of the larger ships? Consider bringing along walkie-talkies to keep everyone connected onboard the ship without cell phone roaming charges.

3. Save on Bathroom Space: Most stateroom bathrooms are quite small with limited storage space. Pack smart and bring a toiletry bag with a hook. These devices are wonderful with separate compartments to hold all your toiletry needs and keep liquids safe from the rest of your clothes. Besides saving space in your luggage, they can help you “unpack” in a flash. Just hang the bag on the hook on the back of your door and you are done – saving the limited counter space for the few items you need to keep by the sink.

2. Tip Smartly: Many crew positions onboard depend on your gratuities to supplement their income. Royal Caribbean now includes those gratuities (covering your stateroom attendant, your waiter etc.) in your cruise fare. But what about the bartenders and bar servers? For every drink you order a 15% gratuity will be automatically added to the bill. Had outstanding service and want to add on more? Go right ahead. Just know what you are signing for.

1. Book Your Shore Excursions in Advance: Popular shore excursions usually sell out if you wait to book them while onboard and they can be very expensive. Besides who wants to spend their time ashore with a herd of people? Book in advance with professional tour operators through ShoreFox – you will save up to 40% from cruise prices, get better service away from the crowds and have an amazing time.

Looking for more in depth information on the ports of call you are going to visit? Check out our complementary Port Reviews available for each port of call – and packed with everything you need to know to make the most of your time ashore.

Happy Children Snorkeling