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Although this cruising advice is commonly shared, it’s fine to ignore these five pieces of advice on your next holiday.

1. You have to get a balcony

Sure, balconies are nice – but they will cost you. You can save up to 25 per cent by choosing an interior cabin, which adds up to a lot of extra piña coladas by the pool. If you’re on a large ship with lots of fun facilities, you won’t want to spend too much time in your cabin anyway. You’ll be out on deck, sampling all the restaurants, stage shows, games, spa or cinema. Interior cabins also have their benefits – if you’re a light sleeper, the lack of windows makes for complete darkness and a much better sleep. Many modern ships even have virtual balconies now, which will project a real-time image of the outside on a screen on the wall.

2. You should only take official shore excursions

One of the best things about cruising is getting to visit many different destinations in the one journey. And shore excursions are a fantastic way to see each port. Your cruise ship will offer a whole range that can be booked in house, but don’t think that these are your only option. Official shore excursions can be very expensive and don’t cover everything there is to see in port. You can definitely look to local operators you find online or go it alone, saving money and creating your ideal itinerary. Just make sure you’re back to the ship in plenty of time, because it is true that the ship can leave without you.

3. You should be prepared to get sick

Whether it’s seasickness or the dreaded norovirus, many people automatically associate cruises with being unwell. In fact, you’re really no more likely to get sick on a ship than you are on a plane or in a hotel. Outbreaks are often sensationalised in the media, so it seems like they happen more often than they really do. While it never hurts to think ahead and pack some basic medications, you shouldn’t board thinking the worst.

4. You must get off at every port

When you first look at your itinerary, it's natural to get excited about every port along the way. But as you’re travelling, you may find that you become exhausted and don’t feel like spending another day ashore. The answer is simple – don’t! A cruise gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want to do and sometimes all you really want is a day flopped by the pool. The added bonus is that the ship will be much less crowded on port days, so you’ll have more space to yourself.

5. You need to buy a beverage package

Most cruise lines now offer ‘all you can drink’ beverage packages that mean you can pay a flat fee per day rather than signing the bill each time. These often sound like a great deal, but make sure you be realistic about how much you’re going to drink. If your cruise has lots of port days, you may not be spending enough time aboard to take advantage of it. If you’re not a big alcohol drinker and are happy to stick to tap water, you’re better off paying as you go. Plus, if you decide you want to sign up later you can generally get a package within the first few days of sailing.

What else would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below. 

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