Lost Luggage? Cozy Staterooms?

I’ve asked some wonderful friends and guests of ours, Lee Whitman and Michael Daschuk, to share their tips for first time cruisers. ThisLeeMike3 is part 3 of our 4-part series.  In Part 1, they shared everything that happens from arriving in port until you preparing to board the ship, and Part 2 was things you may want to do first when you board the ship.  If you have any questions about your first cruise or comments you’d like to add, please leave your comments below.  We’d love to hear from you! 

Woes and Challenges

Let’s first deal with an unpleasant possibility, since it’s better to be prepared.  If your luggage is lost while you are flying to the cruise and does not arrive before you are scheduled to board, make sure to file a claim with the airline at the airport. If you purchased airfare or transfers through the cruise line, make sure to let the cruise line agent meeting you at the airport know about your lost luggage, they might be able to help get your bag to the ship in time or at least track it and have it shipped to the next port of call. The cruise line agent should be able to coordinate with the airline to make sure your bag gets to you.

In the event that your bag does not get to you in time for boarding, let the Guest Services staff know when you board. When one of our bags was lost, they were able to provide some basic toiletries to tide me over and even went as far as to offer a complimentary tuxedo rental for formal night. Luckily, the bag showed up before this was needed but their gentle kindness went a long way toward calming me down!

Your stateroom is your private home away from home on the cruise ship.  Your stateroom attendant will do everything within their control to ensure you have a nice time.   Whether you need extra hangers, towels, extra ice or whatever, the room attendants will do their best to keep you happy.  

Laundry prices on cruise ships have surprised us, particularly on Royal Caribbean where they seem cheaper than a dry cleaner in our hometown.  Additionally, you can get anything that’s already clean ironed at half the regular laundry price.  Holland America had a flat-rate unlimited laundry option that we wished that others would offer.  You may not bring an iron onboard as they may constitute a fire hazard.  Fire is the biggest hazard on a cruise ship, not sinking.  Enough said.  Some lines offer a laundry room and some don’t.  Judy should be able to let you know which approach your line has.

LeeStateroomStorage in your cabin will at first seem to be at a premium; keep looking around. We are constantly finding storage in slots around the room, for example, drawers under the foot of the bed (on HAL), over the sofa, inside the vanity chair, or on the sides of or behind the vanity mirror.  You can store your luggage under the bed.  If one of your bags are especially large, you may want to store it open.

Some people use their luggage as a place to store their dirty clothes, but you may want to reconsider this as it may leave your suitcase smelling musty. This smell may transfer to your clean clothes next time you use your luggage.  A good idea to keep your bags smelling fresh is to bring a sheet of fabric softener and throw it in the bags while they’re being stored.  Many department stores sell pop-up hampers. They fold down to a size you can fit in your luggage, and they are a good place to keep dirty clothes.  Bring along a couple of fabric softener sheets to throw in the hamper to keep everything smelling fresh.

Some folks find that cruise cabins don’t offer enough electrical outlets. I suspect this is to control consumption, since ships generate all of their own electricity. If you’re bringing a lot of electrical devices, you might want to bring along a power strip.

Most cruise ship cabins do not have alarm clocks, which has always struck me as odd. That said, many of them offer wake-up calls or have programmable phones with alarm.  You might also want to bring a travel clock if you always want to know what time it is.

Cruise ship cabins are DARK at night, and it seems like all of the furniture bunches up to block your path to the washroom. You might like to bring a penlight, nightlight or something similar so you can get to the bathroom without waking up your cabin mate or stubbing your toe.  If you are sensitive to light when trying to sleep, bring a clothespin from home to hold the curtains tightly closed. If you forget, use one of the hangers from your closet that is intended for hanging pants.

Storage will be most challenging in the bathroom. The vanity is tiny and there will likely be only one storage shelf, sometimes behind the angled portion of the mirror (as on RCL). We find that a clear plastic shoe rack slung over the door helps enormously. You not only see everything you might need, you can be super-organized, too.

Your bathroom usually includes a retractable clothesline in the shower. It will be short but good for hanging your bathing suit.  Don’t hang your bathing suit on your balcony furniture unless you’re out there. It is a fire hazard as someone could throw a cigarette butt from a nearby balcony, which could spark a fire. (Of course, you should never throw cigarette butts off you balcony but we’re planning for the real world here.)

 Come back tomorrow as we discuss everything you need to know about dining on the ship!  And, if you’d like to ask a question or add your comments, please do so below!  Any further suggestions you’d like to add? 

Part 1:  Boarding Your First Cruise?

Part 2: What a Beautiful Ship –  First Things First

Part 3: Lost Luggage? Cozy Staterooms?

Part 4: All About Cruise Dining!

Stay tuned on Thursday for part 3 of this 4 part series for first-time cruisers written by Lee and Mike, and if you’d like to read some reviews of their past cruises or listen to their podcasts, check out their website, www.cruisenotebook.com.  And, if you need help booking your cruise or resort vacation, please visit my website, Best Cruise Planners.

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