When it comes to holidays, don’t you find that it’s the little secrets and bits of inside knowledge that make for the most exciting experiences? You can read countless guide books and endless travel blogs, but it’s the tips from John next door or Cheryl in the supermarket that make you glad you mentioned you were heading away. We were always taught to share, so here are six things you may not know about cruising; don’t forget to return the favour and share yours too! 

There’s a chocolate buffet!

Chocoholics rejoice because P&O Cruises are about to indulge your sweet tooth with all manner of chocolate treats!

You’re never short of options for both food and drink on board a cruise, but with so much made of the main events, the lesser-known attractions can go unexplored for those who aren’t in the know. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus plenty of snacks in between, all keep us nicely satisfied on a cruise holiday, but every now and then cruise lines offer something really special. P&O Cruises are a perfect example of this, with their incredible ‘chocoholic’s buffet’. You’ll find the event highlighted in your copy of the Horizon daily newspaper but not everybody notices it; miss out at your peril! It’s a popular event so be prepared to wait a little while, however the wall-to-wall chocolate on offer makes it worthwhile! You’ll find everything from cakes and truffles to elaborate sculptures, all carefully created from the good stuff! Chocolate-infused wine is even on offer to wash it all down with, making for a rather indulgent afternoon treat.


You can steer the ship

Did you know that passengers on certain Fred Olsen cruises are given the chance to steer the ship? Okay, not literally speaking, but it is up to the guests on the ‘You Choose Your Cruise’ itinerary to choose the ports of call! This is Fred Olsen’s most unique and exciting itinerary yet, launching to much excitement in 2014 and sailing for the very first time just last month. The rave reviews have us convinced that we’ll be seeing this mysterious itinerary on Fred Olsen’s cruise season programmes for years to come!


You can live like Richard Branson

A cruise to the Caribbean will take you to the ‘usual’ destinations (when usual means sun-soaked, pristine beaches, turquoise water and finger-licking jerk chicken), but aside from the likes of Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Aruba and Grand Cayman, you’ll also receive the star treatment elsewhere. Cruise lines including Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America all boast their own private Caribbean island, so you can make like Richard Branson and casually drop the fact into conversation once you’re home:

“Been away John?”

“Yeah, just a couple of days on a private island in the Caribbean mate”

Cue the envious looks and rumours of a lottery win circulating around the estate!


Parents can pick-up pagers

Do you ever find that whilst you spend your evening worrying about what the kids are doing, they’re too busy having fun in this kid’s clubs to give you a second thought? Today’s cruise ships feature wildly exciting kid’s clubs, fully equipped with countless distractions and staffed by fully-qualified play leaders. In fact they’re so good, Mum and Dad are sometimes as reluctant to leave as the kids.

Despite this, parents know that you can’t turn off those niggling little worries that come with leaving the kids anywhere. Cruise ships are well known for having all angles covered and childcare is no exception; simply ask the kid’s club crew for a pager when you leave the children with them, that way if your little one if unable to settle, asking for you or you just want to check how they’re doing for your own peace of mind, contact is just a message away. Cunard, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean are just three examples of cruise lines who offer pagers upon request.


Expect the unexpected!

We don’t want to ruin the surprise but sometimes everything isn’t all it seems on board these cruise ships. Royal Caribbean are the worst for it…springing surprises on you when you least expect it. We are of course talking about the spontaneous parades and performances that quite literally come out of nowhere, a kind of flash mob in the middle of the ocean if you will! One minute you’re strolling along the Royal Promenade and the next you’re surrounded by singers, dancers, movie characters, acrobats; you name it! Make sure you never miss these impromptu shows by booking a Promenade Stateroom for the very best view of all the action!


You needn’t pay for excursions

Destination is king when it comes to cruising and luxury cruise lines have long since cottoned onto the fact that people want to see more of the world for less of their money. For this reason, many luxury cruise lines including Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises offer amazing onshore excursions free of charge. The excursions are carefully selected and many offer guests a chance to go off the beaten track and see a more authentic side of their destination, away from the well-trodden tourist tracks. There is a common misconception that luxury cruise lines are beyond the reach of many travellers, though this isn’t actually the case when you weigh up the facts. With shore excursions, speciality dining, transfers, all beverages, gratuities and more all included in your luxury cruise fare, it can quickly look like a great value holiday option!


Have you collected any cruising hints and tips on your travels over the years? We would love to know your best ones!