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:

How This Mom Saved Nearly $2,000 Taking Her Family on a Luxury Orlando Resort Vacation

Psst!  Wanna “make” $568.00 per hour by vacationing in Orlando?  It’s easy!  

Orlando Vacation Savings

It’s easy to save big bucks on your airfare, accommodations and dining.  Any mom can do it!  Let me show you how!

But first.  My loyal fans will be asking themselves why I’m sharing Orlando as a destination on this website that celebrates travel off the beaten path.  Given the spectacular appeal of this well-known and loved central Florida destination, is it really worthy of an entry into Totally Teen Travel?

Well of course!

One of the things I always strive for is to find attractions that aren’t outrageously expensive.  Okay, sometimes I do find extravagant activities, like Porsche racing in Atlanta or hot air ballooning in Phoenix.  But I try to balance these kinds of things out with free or very low cost things to do as well.

Free Stuff Orlando
Who doesn’t love it?

In addition to domestic destinations, of course, I share low cost or free ways to travel internationally.  Lately we’ve looked at volunteering on farms and elsewhere.  You can work overseas teaching English.  Devoted monolinguists, on the other hand, can work virtually anywhere on the continent of Australia.

So I think it’s fair to say that yours truly is conscientious of the need to save a buck when traveling.

I’m so excited to share BIG ways to save at the home of the most incredible attractions on earth!  So without further ado, let’s see what we can do to open our pocketbooks in Orlando as little as possible!

Airfare

Round-trip airline tickets have gotten a LOT cheaper over the years when you take inflation into account.  Even so, from pretty much anywhere outside of Orlando, you could easily expect to pay an average of at least $400.00 per person round trip.  That’s $1,600 in airfare for a typical family of four.

First class service Orlando
Of course, we used to get SERVICE when we flew, too. (Flickr photo)

Ouch.

Nowadays as you surely know, deeply discounted airlines compete ardently for your business.  With a little research online and some flexible travel dates, roundtrip airfares from virtually anywhere in the Eastern Time Zone to Orlando can be had for as little as $39.00 per person.

Pro tips: Each airline, discount or otherwise, sends emails with their latest bargain airfares.  Sign up on their websites for these!  Also research other ways to save on airfare, such as earning and using miles, or signing up for an airline credit card.

Look and see what kind of deals you can get on an airfare aggregator such as Kayak or Google.  Take a moment and look at priceline.com as well.  For other deals and to sign up for emails, check these discount airlines’ websites:

Frontier Airlines

Spirit

Allegiant Air

 

Here’s a small sample from Kayak as proof of currently available megacheap flights, no miles or cards necessary:

Sample Airfares Orlando
There are Ubers I can’t take this cheap to cross town!

So, in airfare alone, for a family of four we are looking at the difference between a $400 airfare per person and a $39 airfare per person.  $1600 all told versus $156. Ka-ching!

Do take into account that most discount airlines require additional fees for bags, reserved seats, soft drinks, basic human decency, etc.  But for getting your family from Point A to Orlando and back, can you really beat $156?!  I’ll take water please!

$1600 – $156 = $1,444 saved

Lodging

This is where the fun is!

No, I can’t get you to Disney for a song.  If you have your heart set on visiting the Mouse, please visit Google or Pinterest for recommendations from legions of Disney fans, all of whom are far better versed in Disney Parks savings than I am.

What I can do is suggest you sign up for a luxury stay at Orlando’s Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa -or- Westgate Town Center!  You seriously won’t want to leave.  And you don’t have to!

Each resort offers multiple heated pools, hot tubs, and amazing activities such as boat rentals, water parks, playgrounds and so much more.

Simply click below to select the Orlando resort stay of your dreams!

BookVIP offers your family a 4 day/3 night vacation at either the Westgate Lakes Resort or the Westgate Town Center for only $99.00.  They throw in a $100 dining credit – so that in actuality they pay you to visit the resort!  How cool is that?!

What’s the catch?  You will be invited to attend a short, 1.5 hour presentation designed to encourage you to purchase an annual vacation rental.  You will be very tempted to sign up but it’s not required in any way.

Presentation Orlando
It’s just an hour and a half, but if you follow my advice it pays you $568 per hour!

The rest of your vacation time is yours.

BookVIP values your stay at $407.00 but charges only $99.00.  Taking the $100.00 dining voucher into account, you actually make a GWash!

So in lodging, we’re up a buck!

But we’re still not finished saving money!

You gotta eat, right?

The US Government has set the 2018 per diem dining rate for Orlando at $59.00 per person per day.  This cost covers reasonable dining expenses for an individual traveling on government business.  Emphasis on REASONABLE.

So it’s not outlandish to ballpark $59 x 4 days x 4 people = $944 dining expense for your family of 4.

Well… how can we save money eating on our Orlando trip?  We already have a $100 dining voucher, of course, so that helps.

Eating Orlando
Yum

Well, your accommodations at the Westgate Lakes Resort include a kitchenette!  Why not get a grocery delivery for the cost of a few bucks, and then eat breakfast in your studio?  Pack a lunch for a sunny picnic outdoors, and still enjoy a nice, reasonable meal out for dinner.  You can easily do this for about $400 (and don’t forget your generous dining dollars!).

$944 eating out – $400 mixed dining = $544 saved


So now after just a few hours’ work, we have saved a total of $1,988 on our vacation between airfare, luxury resort lodging and dining!


It’s like making $568 per hour!  With vacation benefits!

You attended a short, 1.5-hour timeshare resort presentation and spent about an hour researching low-cost airfare.  You arranged grocery delivery and made your own breakfast and lunches.  Congratulations!  You saved almost $2,000 for your luxury Orlando resort vacation. It’s as if you earned $568.00 per hour for the time you spent doing your homework.  $568/hour x 3.5 hours = $1,988.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t make that much in a week!

Give yourself and your family a fun-filled trip they’ll rememberSign up today for this amazing opportunity to take your family of four on a dream Orlando vacation for less than what you’d spend on a few dinners out!

Orlando vacation package
Click here now!

You don’t even have to specify the dates for your vacation yet.  On the BookVIP website, click on Book Now and then select the box that says, “No, I don’t have travel dates.”  You only pay $39.00 now for this option, and your discounted lodging rate is locked in for a full 12 months!

BookVIP guarantees their low rates, having satisfied over a million travelers to date.  They boast an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau and are easy to reach in the event of any issues.  Unlike so many other travel providers these days, BookVIP displays their phone number PROMINENTLY at the top of their website!

SAVE EVEN MORE

Get out into the city and save even more money with your GoCity Orlando card! You know where to click:


So what are you waiting for?  Click here and start making affordable travel memories for yourself and your family today!

What do you do to save money in your travels? Let me know in the comments!


 

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