8 Little-Known Cruise Hacks to Make Your Next Vacation Even Better

It can take a while to learn all the ins and outs of cruising. Cruise ships can come with historied traditions, “hidden” incentives for passengers, and some challenges that can take lots of time at sea to figure out and take advantage of. And if it’s your first time on a cruise, you’ll want to take advantage of secret perks and cruise freebies on your first time at sea!

From free room service and skipping the line at buffets to unique community meetups on board, we’ll help you find the best ways to enjoy your vacation, without all the guesswork.

Luckily, you don’t need years at sea to unlock your next best vacation experience. Read on for some of the best cruise hacks to make your next vacation one for the books!

1. Snag Spa Discounts on Port Days

Port days are popular for hopping off the ship and booking exciting shore excursions, but did you know that staying behind on board can get you access to discounted spa days?

Spas tend to be quieter these days with many ship spas offering discounts for massages and other wellness programs.

You can ask the spa on board if they offer these discounts, and plan ahead for a relaxing and rejuvenating spa day.

2. Enjoy Kid’s Camp Programs

Even if you’re booking a family-friendly cruise, it doesn’t hurt to give your kids more options for daytime activities. On-shore camps and kid’s programs for your kids to enjoy during excursion days can be high-priced if they’re available at all.

The best option for your family is to check out exclusive kid’s programs on cruise ships. These are often included in the fare, saving you money and time in doing all the research.

Here your kids can enjoy fun for hours during the day with counselors and new friends!

3. Book Your Next Cruise on Board

You’re probably not thinking about your next cruise while you’re on a cruise, but you should be — especially if you want to save yourself a few bucks!

Stop by the future cruise desk on board where you can get discounted rates on your next cruise that you won’t find once you get home. You can sometimes apply a credit to your next booking or put down a deposit on a future trip to get some savings.

Don’t worry, you can choose your specific itinerary and sailing dates later. You can also get your CloudBlue travel agent to take it from there.


If you like to imbibe while on vacation, you’re in for some good news: you may assume bringing alcohol on board is off-limits, but it’s quite the opposite!

Most cruise lines allow passengers to bring their own alcohol on board, with some limitations. Disney Cruise Lines allow adults to bring 2 bottles of wine or 6 cans of unopened beer cans aboard packed in a carry-on. For Regent Seven Seas, adults are allowed to bring on alcohol without restrictions or “corkage” fees if the bottle is already opened.

Check what your ship’s rules are and you might just save some money by making your own (and less expensive) cocktails.

If you’re looking for a more savory experience, a wine cruise might be even better.

Taste the finer things in life on a wine cruise >

5. Get into Shows without a Reservation

On most cruise ships, entertainment is included and you don’t need a reservation to get in. On others, popular shows might require reserving a paid ticket.

To get the most out of your cruise nightlife, try this cruising hack: Arrive a few minutes before showtime. Plenty of people miss curtain calls, leaving open seats at the last minute!

6. Maximize Cabin Space with Hidden Storage

If you’re cruising for the first time, you might bring along a lot of personal items that you need to stow away.

Do a quick check of your cabin before you unpack. You’ll be surprised to find at least a few hidden nooks and crannies where you can keep your belongings. That also might include hidden power outlets and charging stations.

You can read a description of your room on the cruise website to get a full breakdown of what’s included (and hidden) around your cabin.

7. Free Room Service

During a typical hotel stay, ordering room service can feel like a luxury. But on cruise ships, it’s typically very inexpensive or completely free of charge.

Any cruise lines that do charge for room service tend to only charge a service fee of $5-10 per order, usually only for late-night hours. That means you can go ahead and enjoy food brought right to your door!

8. Enjoy Meetups and Special Events

You might be on a cruise for a while, which might mean missing out on your regular meetups or social events. Luckily, they’re still available on board!

Many cruise lines offer regular LGBTQ+ meetups. You might see these advertised as “Friends of Dorothy” meetings in the ship program. You’ll usually find them held in private areas of the lounge.

And that’s not all cruise lines have to offer to passengers these days. You can find mental health gatherings and even Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on board as well. These are listed in ship schedules as “Friends of Bill W” meetings and tend to take place in a private meeting room.

Take Your Vacation to the Next Level

We know planning a vacation can be exhausting. You want the best cruise experiences, prices, and land excursions — without getting lost in all the details.

But with a little research and some expert tips from CloudBlue, you can get the most out of your cruising adventure and access all the best features of your cruise and vacation!

We’re talking extraordinary sightseeing, unmissable tours, and worldwide local adventures you’ll treasure for years to come.

Add a shore excursion to your cruise for extra fun >

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