Hey Everyone, Welcome to 2024 and Podcast Episode 6.

I thought i’d tell you a bit about my experience cruising on ships and the places we visited.

The Podcast gives you an overview, with my thoughts on each cruise, I’ve also included some additional information along with some pictures below.


Over the last few years, cruising has become extremely popular with all generations, from Disney Cruise Lines with all the fun you would at Disney World to the Queen Mary 2 if you want the most formal experience.

What’s onboard

The best way to describe a cruise ship is like a floating city, they have all the amenities, entertainment and of course the food / drink you could ever want. This includes:-

  • Multiple restaurants (most have a buffet as well)
  • Multiple bars
  • Cafes / coffee (Some cruises have Starbucks or Costa)
  • Pizza places
  • Ice cream parlours
  • Deserts / Cakes / Hot waffles
  • Retail stores (none you’ve ever heard of)
  • Multiple swimming pools / slides / water rides
  • Places to lounge in the sun
  • Leisure activities, basketball, golf, climbing walls
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Night Club
  • Casino
  • Ice Skating Rink
  • Plenty of lounges and seating to relax in

The list goes on, each ship will vary and some have unique experiences, Virgin Voyages has a tattoo parlour onboard.

Your Stateroom

Your Stateroom (not cabin) is essentially just a hotel room that floats. They will vary per cruise line, per ship but here’s an idea of what to expect. There will be a few different types of room available, each room is also graded based on its location on the ship, size of the balcony etc.

Stateroom types:-

  • Inside Stateroom - No Window
  • Inside Stateroom - Limited window into the internal atrium
  • Outside Stateroom - With Window
  • Outside Stateroom - With Balcony
  • Outside Stateroom - Bigger Balcony
  • Mini Suite - Generally these have 2 bedrooms and a living space, usually with a balcony but not always
  • Suite - Multiple bedrooms and living spaces usually with a balcony but not always.

Outside staterooms can have a “restricted view” depending on the deck you choose, generally due to the position of the lifeboats.

Most Staterooms will have the same basic amenities:-

  • Bed (Single or Queenside)
  • TV
  • Bathroom with shower (some larger suites have baths)
  • Toiletries (Soap / Shampoo / Towels / Tissues / Glasses) A quick tip on the towels, if you want a bigger beach style towel, you can borrow them from the pool areas)
  • Coffee and tea making facilities (may need to request via your Stateroom Attendant)
  • Plenty of cupboards and storage
  • Safe
  • A lifejacket (Good for selfies)

Can I drink the water out of the taps?

A good question, the short answer is, ask!

However my personal preference is, it’s fine for washing and brushing your teeth, but I wouldn’t drink it. There’s s few ways to get drinkable water:-

  • Buy bottled or packs of bottled water, this can be expensive
  • Water fountains can generally be found in the buffet area to fill your own bottle
  • Most of the drinks packages include bottled water, each time you goto the bar, ask for a couple of bottles of water as well. This is my preference
  • Another option is to purchase bottled water wherever you stop (May not always be the cheapest option)

Food and Drink

The food and drink available onboard goes on forever and the vast majority is included as part of your fare, though there are often extra charges for alcohol and speciality meals etc. More details on that to come but please check what is and is not included when you book.

The buffet is probably my favourite place to eat as there’s so many options, if you try something you don’t like, give a different dish a try. If you find something you like, have 2! They also offer basic coffee / tea /. All of this is generally included at no extra cost. (The Princess Cruises lemonade is the best by the way)

If you want something a bit more formal, eat at one of the formal restaurants, these consist of a set menu with a few options to choose from, usually a starter, main, desert, cheese, sorbet, coffee / tea. The set food / coffee is generally included as part of your fare.

Most ships will have speciality dining options available, a steakhouse, Italian, sea food for example. These are very similar to the formal restaurants but will have additional surcharge, typically around 30 USD per person. I’ve had some really exceptional food in these restaurants but it’s not something I would do every night, maybe a couple of times per cruise.

Drinks are usually at additional cost, this includes:-

  • Soft drinks (Coke / Pepsi)
  • Mocktails (non alcoholic)
  • Alcoholic drinks (Beer / Cocktails / Wine / Spirits / Whiskey )
  • Non standard Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate. (Mint Hot Chocolate is one of my faves)
  • Bottled water

What to Wear

Most ships will have a casual dress code, with a few formal nights where you can dress up. Some cruise lines are more relaxed about it than others, but generally on a formal night, if you choose not to dress up you wouldn’t goto one of the seated restaurants or some of the lounges.

P&O were the only cruise line that I saw actively enforce this, you would be asked to leave certain areas on formal nights if you were not dressed appropriately. Princess and Royal Caribbean are much more relaxed about it.

Whilst I did take part in formal nights on a couple of cruises, most of the time it felt like a lot of extra effort, especially when you’ve been visiting the place your docked at all day. It also takes up extra room in your luggage (although there is normally no limit on the amount of luggage you can take)


I don’t think anyone can confidently say they can live without their phone or the internet these days. Luckily connectivity on cruise ships is pretty decent.

Most ships will have WiFi that you can connect to at additional cost, originally you could purchase minutes, when you run out, you purchase more. But these minutes run out really quickly and can get expensive. It’s now more common to pay a one time fee for the whole voyage, either for one or multiple devices.

Ships will also have a cellular network the same as we do on land. But it will be classed as roaming, very expensive roaming, I would strongly suggest you use airplane mode with WiFi switched on, as connecting to cellular will cost you a fortune. I learnt this the hard way on my first cruise and ended up with a £150+ phone bill.


As you’ve read so far, not everything on a cruise is included as part of your base fare, drinks are extra, WiFi is extra, certain dining options are also extra.

This is wear packages come into play, you can pay a one off extra fee per voyage that will bundle the chargeable items into one and then you don’t pay again.

This will vary per cruise line. But here’s an idea of what packages can include.

  • Soft Drinks Package - All soft drinks are included (Coke / Pepsi / Bottled water)
  • Alcohol Package - Generally alcoholic drinks up to a certain value are included. Soft drinks and water are included along with speciality coffees / hot chocolate. (Some drinks may incur an additional fee)
  • WiFi Package
  • Multiple packages - This is where Drinks, Food, WiFi etc are all included per person, per voyage in one extra fee.
  • Onboard gratuities (tips) may also be included as park of a package

Are packages worth it?

Each cruise line does packages in their own style and cost. You will need to see what each package includes and work out what you might spend individually on drinks and WiFi etc to see if a package is the cheaper option. If you only have 3 drinks a day and don’t want the WiFi, its probably not value for money, but if you want 10 drinks a day, plus WiFi, its likely to be value for money.

Tipping / Gratuities

Should you tip?

The choice is yours, on my first cruise I decided to tip individuals that made my cruise even better.

These days you can pay a fixed amount up front, or its also included as part of some packages. I now choose one of these options as you don’t have to think about it. The service you receive will be amazing, they all deserve a tip

Packing List

I’m rubbish at packing and I always leave it until the last minute. Here’s a few must have items you should take with you.

  • At least 1 travel adaptor
  • Extension lead - Power sockets are generally limited in your Stateroom, pack an extension lead. Please note some cruise lines do not allow the use of extension leads, check before you travel
  • Long charging cables, the power sockets are always miles away from where you need them
  • Power bank - Extra power on your travels either on or off the ship


As I mentioned in the Podcast, cruises are a very accessible ways to go on holiday. The vast majority of the ships are great to get around and there’s plenty of people around to assist if required. The accessible staterooms are spacious and pretty well equipped.

What is not so good accessibility wise?

Based on my own experiences:-

  • Approximately 1% of staterooms on cruise ships are accessible, which means finding availability is a challenge
  • Most of the bars are not wheelchair height, not massively practical, but drinks will always be brought to you
  • Access to the outer decks can be tricky, most outer doors are not automatic and heavy to open. Royal Caribbean have the most automatic doors in my experience
  • Not every deck has lift access. Some of the very top “sun decks” are stairs only
  • Tender usage. Some destinations require a tender to shore. Whilst they make every effort to make these accessible not all of them are, due to steps etc. It varies per destination

Even with those in mind, it’s not reduced any enjoyment of the cruises I’ve been on.

I think that covers most subjects.

Below are some pictures from my cruises so far.


First Cruise - Mediterranean 2010 - Princess Cruises Grand Princess - 2,600 Pax 1,150 Crew - Inside Cabin

Grand Princess Cruise Ship Grand Princess Cruise Ship

Inside Bar with cocktail Inside Bar with cocktail

Monte Carlo hint of Formula 1 track Monte Carlo Hint of Formula 1 track

Second Cruise - Norway 2013 - Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas - 3,807 Pax 1,185 Crew - Inside Cabin with window (biggest room)

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Ship Adventure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Inside the Ship, Shops, Seats etc Inside the Ship, Shops, Seats etc

Norway scenery with waterfall Norway scenery with waterfall

Norway scenery with cruise ship in the distance Norway scenery with cruise ship in the distance

Norway scenery with Cruise Ship Norway scenery with Cruise Ship

Third Cruise - Canary Islands 2014 - P&O Aurora - 1,874 Pax 850 Crew - First Balcony

P&O Aurora Cruise Ship P&O Aurora Cruise Ship

Looking over my balcony Looking over my balcony

Fourth Cruise - Scandinavia 2015 - Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess - 3,140 Pax 1200 Crew

Caribbean Princess Cruise Ship Caribbean Princess Cruise Ship

Copenhagen Mermaid Copenhagen Mermaid

Caribbean Princess life ring Caribbean Princess Life Ring

The Caribbean Princess what a ship The Caribbean Princess what a ship

**Fifth Cruise - Norway 2018 - Princess Cruises ** Sapphire Princess - 2,670 Pax 1,100 Crew

Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship

Norway scenery with goats eating grass Norway scenery with goats eating grass

Norway scenery with 2 cruise ships in the distance Norway scenery with 2 Cruise Ships in the Distance

Norway scenery with a beautiful winding road Norway scenery with a beautiful winding road

**Sixth Cruise - British Isles 2023 - Princess Cruises ** Regal Princess 3,560 Pax 1,346 Crew

Regal Princess Cruise Ship Regal Princess Cruise Ship

The Titanic Museum The Titanic Museum

Scotland Port of Glasgow Shipbuilders Scotland Port of Glasgow Shipbuilders

Scotland Scenery Rest and Be Thankful Scotland Scenery Rest and Be Thankful

Stateroom with balcony view Stateroom with balcony view