Enjoy food, enjoy travel and enjoy life. You were listening to travel gluten free by Elikqitie.
Hello, my friends this is Elikqitie from the travel gluten free show. I Apologize, I haven't got an episode out to you guys in quite some time, but I do want to let you know that I have been traveling around a lot and I've been gathering a lot of content on some really great episodes we're going to have upcoming, so that's why I have not been putting out some episodes. So here is episode 39 'Cruise 411, why cruise and getting all the good facts on if you've never cruised before and how you can enjoy cruising even if you're not ‘gluten free'.
This is the 411 on cruising; hello my friends and welcome to the travel gluten free podcast where you can listen in on how to lead a gluten free lifestyle with more fun and ease. This is Elikqitie and I founded Travel Gluten Free for you. I would love to be your resource contributor and support for you on your gluten free journey. My friends, I'm going to be giving a listener shout out to an Instagram follower in our community each episode. If you're a listener who tags travelglutenfree on Instagram, you will be mentioned on the Travel Gluten Free show. I'll give a shout out to a gluten free friend on every episode tag travelglutenfree on Instagram at travelglutenfree.me and I'll give you a shout out at the end of my show.
My friends in this episode it is for anybody who is gluten free or not gluten free. This is a travel episode and we're going to dive into the pros and cons and some of the things you can and cannot do when you are cruising. So, this is the 411 on cruising and cruising hacks you can use when booking shore excursions. So, here's the deal with cruising. We remember preparing for my first cruise and I really didn't know what to expect or, I mean you can read the descriptions, but it doesn't give you a really good idea of what you're going to experience when you go on a cruise. I decided to make the 411 of cruising, so if you are thinking about going on a cruise, these are the things you can expect if you're going on a cruise. Now this is just for anybody.
This is a general travel episode, so I'm going to be coming out on my next episode with 'Gluten Free' cruising. So, this one is just about cruising. If you'd never been on a cruise before and you're wondering what you can expect, we're going to dive into cruise hacks. You can use when booking shore excursions and the pros and cons and basics of cruising. So, let's start there. Let's start with the basics of cruising. So, you leave from a port of call. So, you're going to leave from a port, obviously on the water and there are some popular ones like LAX and Tampa that a lot of cruises will go out. So, just because it's support does not mean the cruise ship will go out of it, some cruise lines use their port over again because they have rights to that port throughout the year.
So check the 'Port of Call' because you will have to travel to that port of call. And if it is far away, like my girlfriend and I took a cruise this past summer and we were about six hours away from Miami and that was our port of call. So, what we did was we drove down the night before and slept over to make sure that we had enough time to get to our port of call. Because if you miss the time to board the ship, it leaves without you and you have to pay to get to the next port. So, you're leaving from a port of call, so you're either driving, if you have to stay overnight because it's more than four hours to the port, definitely do that. I booked airbnbs really inexpensively that way. So you get to the port, you're going to, obviously you need to have your ID with you when you're traveling and depending on if you're traveling internationally or not, what type of ID you're going to need with you and you're going to have a ticket so you have a boarding ticket and your ID.
So, you have to have ID for everyone in your family to make sure you have that ready and then it's kind of like an airline. You walk into of cruise port and you go up to the desk and you show them your ID and your ticket and then they give you your cabin tickets and then you go in. So, you can actually check your luggage at this point they will bring it to your cabin, which is pretty cool. That way you don't have to carry it with you, I mean you can carry it if you want to, but having it checked to your cabin is pretty nice. Sometimes people bring a bag with them on the ship and put a bathing suit and a towel there and then they can go sit at the pool for a few hours or a couple hours while they wait for their bag or go hit a bar or something like that and go to the pool.
So, if you want to do that, that's also an option because you have about three to five hours where you may be on the ship and you may not have your luggage with you that whole time. Just bring a beach bag with you or a big handbag and have things in there, if you want to go swimming, definitely bring a swimsuit or maybe a later outfit because you came from a colder climate like I do. And you want to put some shorts in there so that you aren't super-hot on the ship. Once you get on the ship and everybody kind of gets settled, they do a safety demonstration. There is a special cruise word for it that I cannot think of right now, but basically they have you go to a room and then in that room, like the theater or one of the large restaurants on the ship, they assign you and your family to whatever that area is and everybody does a safety demonstration at the same time in all those different areas.
So, you get your safety demonstration done, they do scan your card to make sure you attend it. So you do have to attend the safety demonstration, it's also basically like a check for them to make sure everybody's on the ship. When you are cruising, they're going to give everybody in your party a 'Cruise Card'. Make sure you always keep that in a safe place because if you lose that, it's not good. Because then you have to go back and get a new one and then they won't let you back on the ship. If you're at a port of call, when you come back, if you don't have your cruise card with you, so always make sure you keep those an extremely safe place. It's a little ID card for your crews and they can scan it to put your drinks on. You scan it to get into your room.
You just basically use it like a scannable ID card your whole entire trip. After you do the safety demonstration, then you're off. You start cruising, you leave the port and your itinerary, depending on which cruise you chose. Will have different ports on your location, the ports in your destination are cities that you visit when you stop at ports. So, for example, when I did a cruise in January to Mexico, my ports were: Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. So, you know ahead of time what days you're going to be stopping at your ports and what days you're going to be at sea. So, you have 'Sea Days' and you have 'Port Days'. Port days are days you're going to get off the ship and go explore the city. Sea days mean you're just cruising at sea all day. You're not stopping at port. So, that's one of the two main differences.
You definitely weren't to realize before you get on a cruise every night to let you know what's going on. The next day you get a ships newsletter and it outlines all the activities that you can do the next day. Plus if you're going to a port of call, basic information about the port of call and also in the newsletter will tell you if there is a time zone change because when you're cruising it's really common for you to change time zones backward and forward depending on which direction you're going in, where you're going to be in the next 24 hours so you're stopping to port. It will give you information about that port, so the newsletter is really great because you and the person you're with can check it out, see what types of activities you want to do. If it is a day at sea, you'll have tons of stuff to choose from.
If it's a day at port, you'll still have quite a few things to choose from, but not as many because they know most people will be leaving the ship. And one other thing too, when you are cruising, there'll be general different announcements over the PA system and occasionally your captain will make announcements about time changes or sometimes information where they're heading. He'll get on and talk about that, you'll also hear several announcements that will also let you know what is going on, on the cruise. So, those are the general basics of cruising. Now we talked about 'Sea Days' and 'Port Days'. So, what do you do when you're at port? So, when you're at port, that means everybody is having to get their ID out and show their cruise ID to get off the ship. So, you then walk off the ship, and there are tons of places where you can book an excursion.
A 'Shore Excursion' means you are at port and you're going to do an activity with, whatever outfitter or companies are at that port. What I would suggest is if you want to experience more local culture when you're at the port, go beyond the touristy part. Because a lot of the, when you just get to port, it's very touristy. They just want to sell you lots of things. So, the further you walk into a town, the less touristy you get and the more you pick up some local culture. So, I would definitely tell you walk pass where all the touristy stuff is. When you get into port you have a limited amount of time. It might be 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM it might be 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, it really varies on the port. So, definitely check your newsletter the night before to see how much time you have at port.
If you want to book a shore excursion, there are different types you can get, many different activities you can get. There are also differences in where you book it. So, if you book your shore excursion with your cruise line that you're cruising with, they guarantee that they are not going to leave without you. So, if the shore excursion you booked through the cruise line is a little late for and it gets in later than you were supposed to be on the ship. Say you're supposed to be on 7:00 and it gets in at 7:15 the cruise line will not leave without you. If you book it through the cruise line. Now the downside is of course it's more expensive. It's kind of like you're paying for a little extra insurance. You can look around on your favorite trip website like Expedia, TripAdvisor, Priceline, all of these places have shore excursions that are going to be usually less expensive than the excursions you're going to book through the cruise line.
However, they don't have any guarantee they're going to get you back to the ship on time. However, I have never had a problem with that. When I book a shore excursion, I always book in about three hours before my trip ends. That way I have plenty of time, even if we're late, getting back from the shore excursion, say we're like half hour, hour late. I still have two more hours to get back to the ship, which is plenty of time. So, make sure you know what time that you're getting there and what time that you are leaving port to that you can plan ahead of time for your shore excursions and book them and make sure that you're booking the shore excursions for the correct day, time and place because you're going to be at different places at different times. So, please double check that before you book and make sure you book at the correct times when you're going to be at port.
You also might want to check out a travel blog on the cities you're visiting. They might be able to tell you some more interesting details about the cities you're visiting at port. So, you're going to Puerto Vallarta. Just look up 'Cultural things to do in Puerto Vallarta', 'Historic things to do in Puerto Vallarta' 'Local things to do in Puerto Vallarta'. You'll probably find a blog with information on it. Make sure, again, when you're booking shore excursions, at port, you check your time at port, see what time you're going to be there and what time you're leaving, what's the ship's itinerary and make sure your excursion falls within the time you're at port. Make sure you give yourself at least an hour to get back to the ship. Now, you don't have to do a shore excursion is so you can just go in and just walk around.
You don't have to do one, obviously that's a lot less expensive and you might find a local tour guide that might give you a less expensive price than you could book online. I would suggest definitely doing a bike tour. We've had so much fun on bike tours lately when we get to new cities because it's faster than walking and it is more fun than just walking around. You get to see more, in the same amount of time. Really great, we love bike tours, so I would definitely suggest if you're going to try one thing and you can bike, try a bike tour. There are walking tours, there's all sorts of times a day. So, make sure you just check and make sure that your excursion falls within the time you're at port and you give yourself an hour to get back to the ship. Alright, so let's talk about what is a 'Day at Sea'.
A day at sea and what do you do at a day at sea? A sea day at sea is when you are not stopping at a port, you are just driving through cruising through the water the whole entire day. So, when it is a day at sea, there're going to be many more activities for you to do because they know you're going to be on the ship all day. They have cool games and Trivia and they have all ages and all types of games and fun things to do when you're on a cruise ship. So, no matter what you like they'll have something for you for sure. A day at sea you can go and do any of the activities, you can see any of the shows, you can go and eat, you can do whatever you want. Hang out at the pool all day if you wanted to.
There's a varied amount of activities you can do and it's really great because it's kind of a chill day a lot of times at days at sea people will go back and take a nap in their cabin for two or three hours because you can, because it's a cruise and it's nice that you don't have to do a lot on a cruise. You could have a spa day the day you're at sea, just check and see what's available. A lot of cruise ships, almost all of them I've been on have had spas on them. So, go have a day at the spa, if you went to spas are a little pricey on cruise ships, but if that's your thing, then definitely check that out. And on your sea day you are also going to have what's called a 'Formal Night'. So, a formal night is when you go out to dinner and it has a dress code, you can't wear jeans and a t-shirt.
You have to be wearing something that's at least casual dressy or up. So, I've seen people wearing just business suits. I've seen people wearing gowns, so it's however you want to dress up, you can dress up a little bit. You can dress up a lot it's just really fun. And then you go eat at the dining room, but you are dressed up formally and the days at sea are usually the nights you have formal nights. So, my last ship I had, I think it was three days at sea and two of them were formal nights and it was really fun. I like it a lot. Alright my friend, we're going to take a short break and when we come back, we're going to talk about activities and dining options at sea and at port.
All right, my friend here we go, jump back into the show. So, 'Dining' is our next topic. Like we said before, days at sea, there are good to be, formal nights. In addition to formal nights, you're going to have more onboard dining options for lunch. So, on a day at sea the restaurants are all open, the regular anytime dining, which is anytime dining means the dining rooms that come with your package and they are open on days of sea they're not open on day of port because most people are not on the ship. If you're in a day of sea you have more dining options for lunch for sure.
Breakfast and dinner pretty much the same, but you definitely have more at lunch. So, when you're dining you, there are different types of dining rooms. So, you have your anytime dining, basically a dining room, which is the one that's included. You have a choice of two or three different dining rooms that are included in your ticket for your cruise line. Now, this food is not normal regular food, it is extremely good, top quality, five stars, like four course meals. You will not be upset or disappointed I'm a total foodie, I love cruise food. It's crazy addicting and it's got lots of butter. And on the next episode I'm going to go into is 'How to Cruise when you're Gluten Free' and we're going to talk about that in the next episode, but this one I'm just going to stick to general food stuff.
You have your anytime dining rooms, which are the ones included in your price and then they have paid for dining, which is a little more upscale and the only thing that's different as far as upscale is not the food, but it's just the atmosphere. It has a little bit of a nicer restaurant atmosphere. There's not as many people in the room, so that's kind of what you're paying for because you can get really great food at any of the dining rooms there. Then they also have a buffet at the top level, and you can go up to the buffet, it's open almost all day long with very few exceptions. I think it's not opening between like two and four in the afternoon but they open it for breakfast, then they change over to lunch and then they have a couple of hours where they stop and then they change over to dinner.
Anytime of the day you can go up to Horizons and eat. You don't have to wait for a regular dining room and it's faster because it's a buffet and you have a little bit more choices, but it's still really good food and the buffets are a very high quality food as it's not like a cheap buffet, not good quality food, really good quality food at the buffet as well. In the next episode I'm also going to tell you how to, if you have a food allergy such as gluten, how to know which foods are safe for you to eat at the buffet. Alright, so we talked about the inclusive dining rooms, which are the anytime dining and we talked about the paid for dining and then you have the buffet at the top level. So one of the cool things about having the buffet at the top level is if you have kids like teenagers, like my girlfriend and I, she brought her daughter, she was a teenager and, she would just run around and do the teenager room things during night and then during the day her and her friends would run around the ship and they could always just eat at the buffet.
That was really nice and convenient because we didn't have to worry about her eating or her showing up on time. She just went to the buffet and ate whenever she wanted to, pretty much. So, those buffets are really great for kids that are running around on the ship or if you just want to get a quick snack or a meal in and you don't want to wait for regular dining. The next topic we're going to talk about for our cruise show are the types of activities you can do when you were at days at sea and days at port. So, remember days at sea you have the more dining options and more scheduled activities. All Day and all night, they know you're going to be going around the ship and doing stuff. So, some of the activities you can do, which are really common in a lot of the cruise ships I've been on are Dance lessons, Trivia Games, Lounge Music, Karaoke, Pool Games, Swimming Pool Entertainment.
Like they usually have live bands out of pools, Art Auctions or galleries, which is really fun. Wine and mixed drink flights, Bingo, Arts and Crafts and more things as well. I mean this is a very small list, I know they've had like Poker, which I don't play, but they have poker and all sorts of different cards, games like Bridge and things going on it's really fun. So, they have all different types of activities for any interests, remember the day at sea also has your formal night and then your days at port when you disembark at the port, you can stay on the ship if you like and just relax. Or do you ship activities or a combination of both or if you want to do less activities on the ship, you can go to port and do any of the activities at that town.
Just remember the ship will leave without you, so make sure you are back on time and make sure you always keep your ID very safe and make sure you're responsible for keeping that, because you have to have that, to get back on the ship. Alright, so here are some little tips that you may not know if you have not been on our cruise before. So, remember earlier I was talking about that big bag you want to bring like the beach bag or the big tote bag or handbag. Make sure you bring a small bottle of spray hand sanitizer; I like the spray because it smells really good and it's mostly organic. I like the spray hand sanitizer as well because you can also double it as an air freshener. I use it to spray surfaces before I eat because I'm Celiac and I'd just like to wipe them down.
I'll spray it and wipe it with a Napkin so that helps clean the surface. Spray, hand sanitizer has so many different uses other than just hand sanitizer. So, definitely brings spray, not the gel. You're going to have your bag with you, you want one of those small towels to dry off such as one of those camping towels that are fold-able and they're really easy to dry. So, just bring something like that or if you want to bring a small regular towel, that's fine as well, but those camping towels are lighter. And definitely bring your sun hat because you're going to be out in the sun for a while and sunscreen. So, those are the basics you want to pack if you're going to somewhere sunny, obviously if you're not going to somewhere sunny, you won't need the sunscreen or the sun hat probably. But if you are going somewhere chilly, make sure you bring an extra sweater with you, maybe pack it and your bag because on deck it gets very windy and chilly and it makes it feel much colder than it actually is.
You definitely want to bring a sweater to have at night, even if you're going to a warm place because it's windy on deck so it can get pretty chilly. Also, it's a good idea to have an empty water bottle just to fill up your water bottle and bring that around with you on the first day because everybody's really busy and you may not be able to get a maitre'd from the swimming pool area to give you water. Really great, cruises are really fun. If you're going to do one cruise in your entire life, definitely do Alaska because Alaska is such a great area to cruise because half of the places you're going to go to Alaska, are only available by ship airplane or helicopter. So, cruises are a great way to see Alaska port.
If you're going to do one, do Alaska, cruises are really great because they basically do everything for you, so you don't have to think about it. You can reserve your time at your dining room. There's lots of different options to eat. There are all different types of food they have really great quality food. All the food is included in your cruise price. So, you pay one price and you get all the food that's included. So, one of the jokes on cruises that like people try to make their money back by eating their way through the buffet. Another great thing when you're dining on a cruise too is that you can order more than one. So, if you really like that lobster dinner or if you really liked vegetarian souffle, you just got, you can order another one of the same things and it’s no extra costs.
There's very few things that costs extra. Like alcohol, you can buy drink packages if you want to buy soda, things like that. Those costs extra but everything else is included in the price, which is really nice when you cruise, and you get to see quite a few places. So those are all the benefits of cruising. Now the downside of cruising is you are limited in the port on the time you're there. You can't explore more than the time the ship is there. So, your things to do are limited because they're limited by the port, you're at and your activities are limited because you can only pick shore excursions apply to that area. So, those are some of the downsides. You also are not really limited because there's lots of activities to do at days at sea, but you can only be on the cruise ship on your day at sea.
Those are some of the limitations of a cruise, also the other one, the other downside of a cruise is you can get seasickness. If you do, there are some remedies you can use, that I've used in the past again, I'm not a doctor or a medical professional. Please seek advice from your medical professional and not me cause I'm not a medical professional. However, if you'd like to try using some of the same things, I've used on a cruise that I find super helpful are peppermint tea, not peppermints cause they're just flavored. Unless you have an Altoid, but peppermint tea, you can also put motion sickness, essential oils behind your ears. I've tried magnetic wristbands before, and I thought they helped me. I don't know if they actually work, but they have a little pressure points on them so, you can try that.
Peppermint, ginger, the best way I found to carry ginger is to take ginger tablets with you, not the capsules but the tablets, you can just pop them in your mouth and just let them dissolve. And those are really great, if your stomach doesn't feel great from motion sickness or if it just doesn't feel great at all, this really helps. And the one definitely thing you want to bring with you because if you're not sure if you're seasick but bring it with you just in case. Go to your doctor and get a prescription for the Scopolamine patch. So, it's this little tiny patch. It looks like a little tan band-aid and you stick it behind your right ear. And it releases doses of anti-nausea medicines, Scopolamine through your skin into your bloodstream.
And it helps so much if you get seasick because I got seasick before and then the next cruise, I did these and so much better. So, I get seasick pretty easily, and I did a combination of Scopolamine and ginger on my last cruise and I felt fantastic when you get-- and it was the definitely the roughest seas I've experienced, and I still felt really good. When you get seasick it affects your sleeping it affects how you feel during the day, you just feel nauseous all the time. It sucks, so definitely bring at least ginger, and maybe peppermint tea with you and ginger tablets and then you can always go to your doctor and just tell him you're going on a cruise. You'd like a prescription for Scopolamine, it has very low side effects and I see a lot people on cruises with them. So it's a pretty common medicine they give people for our seasickness.
That would be my recommendation, you can also try Dramamine I had to take like a quarter of a Dramamine because I got so sleepy from it. So that's the downside is that the Scopolamine you don't get drowsy, but you do get the nausea relief but with Dramamine. You get the nausea relief, but you get really tired when you take it and then you're tired and it's hard to do things. So, that's kind of my 411 on cruising my friend. Let's jump in at the end here and do some wrap up questions that I ask my guests. So, my first wrap up question is "What are my future plans?", I have a book plan for you guys, I am in the process of writing a book. That's all I'm going to tell you; you'll have to just listen to the end of the other episodes to find out some more. "What is my ask of the audience?"- Please interact with me on Facebook or Instagram, I would love to hear from you, see what you're doing and what gluten free stuff that you're up to. "Where can people find me?"- If you look for my new website, travelglutenfreepodcast.com you can find me there. Definitely check out the travel deals page and you can also find me at hashtag travelgfme.
That wraps up another tasty episode of the Travel Gluten Free podcast. Thank you my gluten free friends who are listening. I appreciate your patronage of the travel gluten free show and remember
You can enjoy food, enjoy travel and enjoy life. This is Elikqitie signing off for this show and I'll see you at the next one.
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