Top Ten Most Helpful Cruise Tips… for Introverts Only!

A Sea-Worthy Graduation Gift

(Please note: At no time were I or my family provided any compensation for our trip.  We paid full fares.)

Our elder child, Sean, graduated from high school last May, and grandma flew in from 2000 miles away to attend the ceremony.  Her visit to us obviated the need to spend our budgeted summer vacation dollars traveling to her, so it seemed like a great idea to cross off a longstanding item, cruising, from our bucket list.

The Carnival Fantasy in port, Cruise Tips for Introverts
The Carnival Fantasy in port, Costa Maya, Mexico

(Longtime readers will know I covered cruiseship travel for college students, the famous Semester at Sea, in an earlier post!)

As cruise “n00bs,” my family and I had only a minimal idea of what to expect.  Speaking with seafaring friends/bloggers and thoroughly perusing cruise-related Pinterest pins helped assuage our fears tremendously!

At this point I may as well admit I’m a huge introvert.  So, um… hi, my name is Maggie, and I’m an introvert (INTP, to be exact).  Nice to meet you!

Yours truly, with Julius C himself on board the Fantasy
Yours truly, with Julius C himself on board the Fantasy

It should be noted that, at least in my case, introversion does NOT mean that I don’t like spending time with people!  I do, very much!  But this is not how I get my energy; to the contrary, too much socializing, while great fun, is draining for me.  After several hours of it you’ll probably find me curled up in a cozy, quiet corner reading something.

Re-charge me, please

Alone time is how I re-charge my batteries, every bit as necessary for me as an iPhone charger is to read that pure white battery symbol in the upper right corner of your screen.  I’m not alone, at least, in my introversion.  There are 25-40% of us, or more, in the general population!  Are you one, too?

Having brought up my least sociable personality quirk, I think it’s probably obvious that INTROVERSION and FUN SHIPS don’t seem like terms that belong together in the same sentence.  What prompted me to book my family on a FUN SHIP?  What could I possibly have been thinking, given that they probably had a strict YOU. WILL. HAVE. FUN. policy that I would surely rebel against at every heave of the powerful engines?

FUN on board the Fantasy, Cruising Tips for Introverts
No one does not enjoy hanging by the pool.

Cruisin’ Fun for Everyone

Luckily, not long after boarding the crowded, vivacious Fantasy, I developed some great tips for folks like me who just need some reasonable space of their own from time to time.  I think these ideas dovetail quite nicely with ways to overcome any awkwardness at meeting strangers on board.

Now there is no excuse to languish on shore, waving a tearful bon voyage to those outgoing cruise-happy friends of yours.  Join ‘em!  I hope these tips will help you fellow introverts and reluctant wallflowers have a wonderful time on your cruise!

  • Download music and podcasts, and bring, at a minimum, 2 forms of non electronic entertainment (books, puzzles, etc)

You’re not leaving your fully-charged iPhone at home, are you?  Accessing the Internet is sketchy, at best, on board, but you’ll want to stay connected to your electronic minder just the same.  Enjoy the double whammy: Listening to what YOU want to listen to… and not appearing to want to converse with others!


  • Find and watch a YouTube video of a tour of your ship. This will help familiarize yourself with what is where (dining & entertainment options) before you board

 No one likes that awkward feeling when they don’t know where they’re going, even on terra firma.  Acquaint yourself beforehand for an extra boost of confidence on the ship!

On Deck. Cruise Tips for Introverts
One of the many shipboard decks from which to admire the scenery.
  • Find and study a sample cruise ship schedule posted online.

Discuss with friends and family what type of activities appeal most to you, both on board and at port.  Trivia?  Hairy Chest Contest?  Mini Golf?

But be forewarned, available activities and events on your actual sailing may vary from what you find online.  That’s okay; you’ll at least have a springboard for discussion.  Be willing to compromise!


  • Do an activity on board or in port that you wouldn’t do at home.

On all but the most sedate of cruise ships, you should have the opportunity to expand your horizons and do things you can’t do at home.  You’ll get the chance to belt your heart out at the karaoke bar, cartwheel around the sunbaked jogging track, play 3-D games… and so much more.  Psychologists have suggested several reasons why stepping out of your comfort zone improves your quality of life immeasurably.  Your cruise is the perfect chance to stretch your wings and find new enjoyment in life!

Costa Maya Cruise Tips for Introverts
Lovely Costa Maya sunset
  • Think ahead of time about things you can converse about with your fellow passengers

 Ask folks where they’re from, whether they’ve cruised before, favorite area on the ship, what to do at the ports, what the best food has been so far.

Fantasy Atrium Cruise Tips for Introverts
Fantasy Atrium, a site of frequent entertainment and gatherings
  • Ask your room steward for suggestions on where to relax onboard that’s secluded and quiet

 Your room steward is eager to please – you plan to tip him or her well, right? – and is a terrific source of information literally at your fingertips.


  • Traveling with others? Choose “Your Time Dining” and share a table with only them.  Traveling solo?  Sit at the Captain’s table at least once for a terrific opportunity to get to know fellow cruisers.


  • Wear apparel with a motto/special meaning/verbiage to you.

 Outgoing folks will chat you up, using your Psychotic State University t-shirt as an icebreaker to get to know you better.

On board the Fantasy, Cruise Tips for Introverts
Or, brag about how many medals you’ve won playing 1980s Trivia!
  • If you can stand smoke, frequent the smoking areas often.

Usually the same people come thru often, they love kindred spirits, and you can get to know people very easily that way.


  • Splurge on a balcony room!

There is really no substitute for having your own space to relax, sip a cup of coffee and read your favorite book in peace and quiet, with only the sun and sea to keep you company!

Porthole Room on the Fantasy. Cruise Tips for Introverts
No balcony, sadly. But we loved our porthole view!

Fun means different things to different people, after all, so enjoy your mandatory fun however you want!  What tips would you add?  Let me know in the comments, below!


Additional resources:

Teens’ Secrets to Planning the Best Vacation Ever

Struggling with how to please your teenage son or daughter in any endeavor, not just vacation planning?  I know that feeling well!  There’s just something about this time in a youngster’s life between childhood and adulthood that challenges any parent.

This entire website is dedicated to fun teen travel to and within various destinations, of course, but with the help of my teen daughter, Holly, I wanted to provide some all-encompassing tips for your family travel planning — no matter where you go or what you wish to accomplish.

Holly has already been to three countries and most every corner of the U.S.  She’s done mission trips, road trips with just her mom, multigenerational family excursions, a sailing or two, and the usual school outings.  If you’re like me, you want to have every tool in your trip planning arsenaI available to enjoy travel with your teen.  They will be busy with college and work before you know it!

Given the wanderlust she inherited from me, Holly was perfectly suited to compile a wealth of tips for parents to consider when planning and executing a fun family vacation, Totally Teen Travel style!  I hope you and your family can make good use of these tips (and acompanying convenience items)!


Teen clothes shopping

  • I love a brand-new wardrobe before vacation.  It makes me feel fresh and confident.
  • Road trip snacks are everything. Period.
  • The middle seat is always the worst seat on an airplane. Aisle seats are best for easy restroom access and window seats are for the view.
  • Comfy road trips are the best. Always remember blankets, pillows, and especially hoodies.

Products from

  • A cold car is always better than a hot car.
  • Museums are great for teenagers, but think twice before taking a teen to a little kids’ museum or a museum that’s paragraph after paragraph of text.
  • Teens are awkward, insecure, and anxious, so please avoid big crowds.

Crowds Vacation Planning

  • Sometimes the coolest attractions are the most obscure. (Example: Glass blowing is so much fun to watch and way relaxing)
  • There should be at least one day on a vacation where everything is up in the air. Like a no-plans day where you can explore the place and do stuff on the go.

  • Stick to local restaurants with a signature style of food. It’s nice to order something in to a hotel room, but do focus on trying to get the taste of the city.

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  • Just because something is cell phone related doesn’t mean a teen is gonna love it.  Focus on their interests, like hobbies or sports.
  • Anything that a teen’s favorite celebrity, band or athlete is associated with, they’ll love it.
  • Live performances, concerts, plays, and musicals are everything.

  • Sometimes teens just want to run off and explore places.
  • I myself love to spend money on vacation, because I know very soon I’ll have to be really careful with my money paying bills and any school tuition.

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  • Homesickness is always going to occur.  It’s best just to let a teen mope for a hot second.
  • It’s really reassuring to at least know someone before going to a place so they can help with directions, tips, and suggestions.
  • Teens like to overpack because we want to make sure everything will go as planned.

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  • Scenic places are the best to just have a day and relax, like camping in the woods or sunbathing at the beach.
  • The best public pools have water slides and diving boards.

  • Vacationing during school is risky… even if your teen looks relaxed, they’re probably stressing over all the work they’re missing.

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  • It’s always nice to have a way to know the state of the house while on vacation, like a house-sitter or nanny cam, to make sure everything is okay and any pets are well fed.

Teen and Dog Vacation Planning

  • Schedules help a lot.  Teens (including myself) have a hard time remembering everything like times and dates.

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  • Replicas are cool, but the real deal (if available to the public) is always the way to go.
  • When at a hotel, teens enjoy their own bed to stretch out and roll around care-free at night.
  • It’s always fun to do little things on vacation that normally isn’t done at home like get ice cream out, or go to parks or go to bookstores.

  • There shouldn’t be any regulations to how much food can be eaten or how much sleep can be slept.  Vacations are a break away from daily life.
  • Quarter machines are much more fun than they may seem.  The satisfaction of getting a random object is really cool.
  • Vending machines are always great, but the only problem is there are too many options…

vending machine vacation planning

  • Summer equals no dress codes.  Go crop tops, spaghetti straps and sleeveless shirts!

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  • If at all possible, don’t take me any place with an overabundance of little children.
  • Gum.

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Do you or your teens agree with this list?  What would you add to it?  Let me know in the comments!

Wings Up! The Young Eagles Experience for Future Pilots

Young Eagles Flight for 8-17 year olds

Nothing will ever equal that moment of exhilaration which filled my whole being when I felt myself flying away from the earth. It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss…”  — Prof. Jacques Alexandre Cesare Charles

Fly along with me; I can’t quite make it alone.  I try to make this life my own.” – Foo Fighters

Soaring with the Young Eagles

Like many children (and professors and rock stars), my 14-year-old daughter, Holland, dreams of becoming a pilot.

This morning, for the very first time and with the grown ups’ permission, she took over the controls and flew a plane.

A real one.

In the sky.

…and landed safely, thank goodness!


Soaring with the Young Eagles
The Runway Beckons!

And now she is more hooked than ever before on her aviation career prospects.

Continue reading “Wings Up! The Young Eagles Experience for Future Pilots”

Seven Top-Rated Road Trip Activities for Teens

Boring road trip coming up?  Not if I have anything to say about it!  (And I do!  Read on!)

Airline seatback entertainment
Fun aircraft seatback entertainment

Flying from Dallas to Atlanta?  Sailing from Memphis to Cincinnati?  Summer vacations are all about the road trip.  Even flying to a fun destination necessitates getting from point A to point B via car, train, donkey, or rowboat!

Enduring the time spent to get to your ultimate vacation spot can cause much joy or much frustration for you, but especially for your teens.  The electronic babysitters game gadgets you’ve relied upon for years may let you and your family down if they run out of juice in the middle of a lengthy voyage.

board game road trip

Under the circumstances, you’ll want to be sure to bring something analog to keep your youngster entertained.  But we’re talking about teens, here.  They’ve been enjoying their highly interactive digital treats for years!  How in the world will anything non-electronic do?

Continue reading “Seven Top-Rated Road Trip Activities for Teens”

Six Times You Need Audiobooks While Traveling

Why do I love Audiobooks, especially for travelers?


Cheap airlines are springing up every day.  Remember how flyers would bemoan the sad food, lack of seat pitch, and fellow travelers reclining into their face?  Their plaintive cries sullied the joys of flying, even as far back as when virtually the only airlines in the American skies were the so-called legacy carriers (United, Delta, American).

Well nowadays, discount, bare bones US carriers such as Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier are growing by leaps and bounds.  Their growth, however, has not exactly been predicated on five-star, top drawer service.  If you don’t like “sad food,” well guess what?  You’ll get none, anyway.  Seat pitch?  Hope your kneecaps bend backwards.  Reclining seats?  What, you want the flight attendants to tuck you in, too?!

Airline passengers
No seatback entertainment for YOU!

Continue reading “Six Times You Need Audiobooks While Traveling”

What Goes Up…! (The Journey Itself Video Series, part 2)

Have I got a treat for all my aviation enthusiast friends!  I hope you enjoyed Awesome Aircraft, part 1 of this 2 part series on The Journey Itself.  Let’s kick it up a notch today and watch specially-selected videos of airplanes behaving badly.

Perhaps it’s a nasty crosswind, perhaps it’s a too short-of-an-approach runway… but what goes up must come down, and in these cases, it’s pretty spectacular!

None of the embedded videos feature any actual airplane crashes, although there are some in the final “Ten Most Extreme Airports” video.  Accordingly, anyone with a fear of flying may want to seek entertainment elsewhere.

Continue reading “What Goes Up…! (The Journey Itself Video Series, part 2)”

Awesome Aircraft! (The Journey Itself Video Series, part I)

Awesome Aircraft!

Curious about the history of flight?

How do airliners stay up in the air, anyway?

Will we enjoy supersonic passenger air travel ever again?

If you are like my daughter and me, you absolutely love flying and everything having to do with it.  Getting up well before dawn to make it to your 4am check-in time.  Finding just the right time to board the aircraft (pretty much last – we never use the overhead bins).  Thrilling to the speed of take off.  Marveling, each and every flight, at how such a heavy piece of machinery stays airborne.

Continue reading “Awesome Aircraft! (The Journey Itself Video Series, part I)”

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