Going on a cruise is a wonderful escape in itself, but what if you want to make the whole trip even more special?
There are many occasions when people want to make their cruise memorable, such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation or any other life event. For these kind of celebrations, I will see questions about ways to improve the experience.
Consider these tips the proverbial “icing on the cake” of a traditional cruise.
To be fair, these tips all deal with spending extra money on your cruise. You certainly don’t need to spend the money to have a memorable vacation, but spending the money can definitely make a cruise stand out considering the extras it offers.
Hopefully these tips can help you turn any cruise you’ve booked into an even more special occasion and something you’ll remember fondly.
Upgrade your cabin
A simple way to surprise someone would be to treat them to a more lavish cruise ship cabin.
Whether you upgrade from an inside stateroom to a balcony or from a balcony to a suite, getting a larger stateroom is a noticeable difference.
There are two ways to upgrade your cabin.
The first is to contact your travel agent and simply pay more to upgrade. This is the easiest way, even if you are subject to the tariffs in force for this cabin. The extra amount will vary greatly, but you’ll likely get a better price for an upgrade if you upgrade several months before your cruise.
The alternative is to roll the dice with a RoyalUp upgrade, which is a way to bid for a cabin upgrade.
Once you arrive at the final payment date, you can let Royal Caribbean know how much you would be willing to pay should an upgrade situation arise.
There’s no guarantee that because you see a RoyalUp upgrade opportunity there’s a cabin available, but there’s no harm in trying either. Just keep in mind that your offers are binding should they be accepted.
Travel first class to your cruise
One of my favorite ways to travel and get excited before I even board my ship is to travel first class.
First class airfare isn’t cheap, but if you book it early there can sometimes be a bargain. Plus, it’s a great way to use up the credit card points you’ve accumulated.
You can also take a limo to the airport or stay in a suite at your hotel before the cruise to complete the Hollywood treatment.
Book a cabin
Does your cruise visit any of Royal Caribbean’s private islands?
At Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, you will find cabanas that you can rent for the day.
When you rent a cabana, you not only get a dedicated place to enjoy shade, bottled water, and floating mats, but you’ll have a cabana attendant who can bring you drinks (and food). at Perfect Day at CocoCay).
Staying in a cabin gives you
- Full Day Private Ocean View Cabin Rental
- Furnished with 2 luxurious resort style lounge chairs and a sofa
- Four bottles of water (in a cooler)
- Floating beach mats and snorkeling gear.
- Towels for your use during the day
If you really want to think big, try one of Coco Beach Club’s cabanas. Although expensive, these are Royal Caribbean’s most lavish cabanas and the lunch you get is second to none.
Read more: Guide to a perfect day at CocoCay Cabanas
The level of service with a cabana, along with the lavish accommodations, make this a must visit almost every time I visit either destination.
Perhaps no other is more synonymous with indulging yourself (or someone else) than the Vitality Spa.
Spa treatments are all about being pampered, so it only makes sense to book a spa appointment.
You can book spa treatments and salon appointments online through the Royal Caribbean cruise planner before your cruise. There is a wide selection of choices to consider.
Read more: When Should You Buy Royal Caribbean Add-ons
Royal Caribbean makes it easy to decorate your cabin for a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon with decoration kits.
You will find these elements on the site of the cruise planner.
Bedroom decorations include door decor, mirrors, picture frames and more.
Book a private shore excursion
There’s nothing quite like exploring a port of call without having to wait for someone else.
A private shore excursion can not only be liberating in that you can do what you want, when you want, but it’s also a great way to feel special since the whole tour is about your group.
There are several ways to book a private tour, depending on the port you are visiting.
Royal Caribbean offers its own private shore excursion option through Private Journeys. Be sure to contact them at least a month or two before your cruise, as it takes them some time to find options together.
In most ports you can also arrange a private tour yourself. It’s important to research reliable options, but there are usually a few carriers that can do this.
Some great ideas for a private tour would be a sightseeing tour, a catamaran ride, or an ATV excursion. But your imagination is usually the limit.
Dress for pictures
With all this splurge, you’re going to want to capture the memories with a great photo.
Each night of the cruise there will be photographers around the ship to take your picture. There is no cost to take the photos, and later you can stop by the photo gallery to see how the prints came out.
Whether it’s a formal night out or not, get everyone together and dress to perfection, put on some matching pajamas, or find this eclectic outfit at Target for some tongue-in-cheek photos.
You can also arrange a private photo shoot. Most ships have the sit-down option, where you can drop into a studio and do a photo shoot. There is an obligation to pay for time and photos, but this is where you might get some really great photos.
Only eat in specialty restaurants
While I really enjoy the main dining room, there’s nothing like specialty dining to take advantage of additional cuisines and cooking styles.
Royal Caribbean offers an Unlimited Dining Plan, where you can eat at a specialty restaurant every night on the cruise for dinner and lunch on sea days (and embarkation day).
Depending on the vessel you are sailing on, there are several choices to consider. On a 7-night cruise, you’ll have the chance to repeat some (or all) of the restaurants so you can try one of everything.
Read more: How to know if you should buy a Royal Caribbean dining plan
Form a group
This trick requires more coordination, but if you’re going to be cruising with a few other families and friends, you can really splurge in style.
If you can book at least 8 cabins with one travel agent, you can create a group with Royal Caribbean.
When you have a group, you can work with Royal Caribbean Groups to arrange special onboard events, such as certain room rentals. Imagine having the waterslides or the bumper for your group for an hour. Or rent a room to organize a private party? Your imagination (and your budget) are the limit.
Before anyone books a cruise, talk to a travel agent about arranging this so you can get the important group logistics in place first.
Read more: The Best Things You Didn’t Know Travel Agents Can Do For Your Cruise Vacation
Just as a photo can remind you of a wonderful vacation, fine jewelry can also remind you of it every day.
There are jewelry stores on Royal Caribbean ships, with some ships even having branded jewelry, such as a Tiffany store at sea.
You can also shop in the port, as almost every port I’ve been to has plenty of jewelry stores.
Whether you’re looking for a new ring, a new earring or a new necklace, picking up some new jewelry can be a wonderful way to cap off the cruise.