10 must-have Royal Caribbean tips and tricks for sailing with friends
Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with friends is a great way to travel with your best friends without feeling like you have to be hip-tied all the time. Because there is so much to do on a ship, it allows different personalities to do what they love, while being together.
Taking friends on a cruise comes with its own challenges so you all have a great time on board. The good news with a little planning, you can make sure your friends are enjoying the cruise without any hassle.
Before you book a cruise or step aboard with your matching shirts on, be sure to heed these tips for a good start.
Book with the same travel agency
Whether you have two or ten cabins, book everyone under the same travel agent for simplicity.
Not only could you potentially benefit from Royal Caribbean’s group benefits if you book enough cabins, but being booked with the same travel agent really makes coordinating onboard plans much easier.
Travel agents make it much easier to remind your friends that it’s time to make the final payment or answer any sort of billing questions with the cruise line. You love your friends, but dealing with friends and their financial situation is no fun.
Plus, a travel agent can easily tie everyone’s reservations together to make eating together simple.
If it was necessary to cancel or change departure dates, having the same agent makes the process much easier.
Talk about priorities
Unlike family, sometimes it can be difficult to express what you really want to do with friends because you don’t want to offend anyone or make you feel like you are in need. However, you should have a good idea of what everyone expects from sailing before you book.
There is a fine line between planning ahead and getting heavy with a schedule. Everyone comes up with different ideas about what they want to do together or not.
Before the cruise, discuss what they can’t wait to do, especially together. It’s a good idea to determine if this is a trip where you will all be spending the day or just meet for a drink.
Have a communication plan
On board a cruise ship there is no cell phone service, so you need to have a plan for how everyone will chat.
Group chats in apps like Facebook or WhatsApp are very common, but you will all need an internet plan.
You can use walkie-talkies or rely on voicemail messages in your cabins, but these tend to be bulkier.
The key is to make sure you all agree on something before you get on board so that no one is left in the dark.
One of the best tips for cruise ship friends is to at least have dinner together every night.
Everyone has their own activities to do on board, but it is a good idea to plan to meet for dinner each evening to have a common time to meet.
Whether it’s the main dining room, the Windjammer, or the specialty restaurants, have a plan for everyone to enjoy dinner together each night to reconnect and plan for the next day.
Matching t-shirts are popular
A recent trend among groups is to get matching shirts for everyone in the group.
It not only makes great group photos, but you can easily identify everyone. This is useful with large groups.
There are plenty of places online where you can customize shirts or just pick a design and buy one for everyone.
It can be tempting to try and plan every minute of the cruise, but too many good things apply to a cruise as well.
If you try to plan too much, things can quickly get overwhelming for some friends in your party and create divisions among friends.
Allow time for everyone to do their own work, keeping in mind that you can always do things together on the fly.
Get separate billing
Share a cabin with a friend? Set up different billing methods for each person.
You can assign credit cards to specific people in the room at customer service, making it much easier to settle the bill later.
Also, it’s a good idea to make clear lines as to who takes which tab. Shore excursions, dinners, and drink orders are all common ways to pay for someone else, but make sure before the cruise ends the bills are all right.
If you need to rearrange additional charges, a trip to customer service might fix this. Alternatively, you can just send money electronically to friends after browsing.
Make an appointment on the day of boarding
The larger the group, the more likely it is that everyone will arrive at different times at the cruise terminal on embarkation day, so pick a time to meet.
It’s a good idea to choose a late afternoon time for the meeting. Sailaway is a great time when everyone will be on board and ready to have some fun.
Fun things to pack
Here are some great things to pack for a cruise with friends:
- Door decorations (with magnets, no tape to put it on)
- Drink koozies
- Towel clips
Pre-booking for large groups
The larger your group, the more important it is to pre-book for certain events and offers.
Specialty restaurants, shore excursions, the escape room, and just about anything that has limited capacity is a good idea to pre-book as much as possible.
It is not always possible to pre-book everything, but look for the options in the Cruise Planner.