Cruise Tips From Cruise Ship Passengers – Part 2

Cruise Tips From Cruise Ship Passengers - Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

Welcome to part 2 of cruise tips from cruise ship passengers. This month I have interviewed the cruise ship passenger and author Paul C. Thornton.

He has kindly shared all of his cruise tips and tricks for you to take on your next cruise.


Paul has sailed on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.

He has a passion for cruising, so much he has written a book all about cruising from different perspectives.

Paul is an experienced cruiser and has lots of tips, so let’s dive in!

The Joy of Cruising - Cruise Tips from Cruise Ship Passengers Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

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Which is your favourite cruise ship?

Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas (sentimental favourite): 1. The first cruise, shortly after launch in 1988, so introduced me to a new passion; 2. Sentimental value: first time travelling with my date—eventually became my wife of 26 years; 3. Sovereign was a “game-changing” ship that launched the era of mega-ships.

How many cruises have you been on?

10 cruises

Where have you sailed to on the cruises you have been on?

All of the Bahamas and Caribbean except once to Canada.

Do you have a favourite cruise?

Christmas 2018 on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas. I took my family including my wife Cheryl, daughters Kina and Shornay, Kina’s husband Lance, and my grandchildren—14-year old Kalen and 9-year old Laki, for whom the cruise was a surprise.

On Friday, December 21, embarkation day finally arrived. My grandkids couldn’t understand why they were not going to school. With a ruse of driving from their home in Delaware, three hours to New York to their great-grandma’s house, the grandkids and my oldest daughter and son-in-law drove up to my younger daughter’s office in New Jersey ostensibly to pick her up en route.

In the lobby of the office building my grandkids were given a giant Christmas card which announced the cruise and contained photos of all the Anthem fun activities—bumper cars, surfing and skydiving simulators, rock climbing wall, and so on.

Unbeknownst to the kids, my wife and I had flown up from Florida and could see all of the high fives and jumping up and down through the dark tinted windows from a limo parked outside the lobby as the grandkids got the first surprise.

The second surprise was when they came out to the limo and my wife and I was sitting inside. The cruise itself was everything I had fantasized it would be when I began planning the surprise a year earlier.

Cruise Tips From Cruise Ship Passengers - Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

Do you have any embarkation day tips?

On most ships, the buffet is a madhouse for lunch on embarkation day. Research in advance alternative places on the ship to eat lunch, and usually there will be plenty of seats, small crowds, and great service as most people will not know about places other than the buffet.

Do you like to go on tours in port or do your own thing?

Up to now, do my own thing but I am sure that as we start to cruise to destinations in Europe, Alaska, and other places beyond the Bahamas and Caribbean, we’ll go on tours.

The Joy of Cruising - Cruise Tips from Cruise Ship Passengers Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

What are your disembarkation day tips?

Do not do what I did! Last year on a cruise on Celebrity Equinox, on the night before disembarkation I accidentally packed my wallet and documents in my luggage before I set it outside my cabin door for the stewards to pick up.

Minutes after the luggage was picked up I realized what I had done. I pleaded with the steward to retrieve my luggage but he told me it was among thousands of pieces of luggage and that he had no way of locating it.

It was a sleepless night for me, but in the morning I was reunited with my luggage and was able to retrieve my wallet and get on my flight.

Do you have any cabin tips?

It may seem trivial but what has been very helpful on cruises is to bring along battery-operated motion sensor nightlights for the cabin.

Do you have any cruise booking tips?

This may be US-only but I book via Costco (always includes a Costco cash card of several hundred dollars depending on the price of the cruise.)

What dining options do you prefer onboard? Dining room, speciality dining or buffet?

Buffet almost always for breakfast/lunch, dining room for dinner. Typically once per cruise will try the dining room for breakfast. No much of a speciality dining person.

What do you do on the days at sea?

Well, for much of the last four years I have been writing a couple of books. As they are both nonfiction, I also did a fair amount of online research.

There is nothing more motivating to a writer—at least this writer—than to have the ocean as my office while I write or browse the net.

I know some will say you should disconnect during a cruise.  But writing is very relaxing and for me disconnecting would actually be very stressful.

The Joy of Cruising - Cruise Tips from Cruise Ship Passengers Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

Do you have any cruise packing tips?

I advise that you take less than what you pack (I have never been on a cruise where I did not overpack!)

Do you like formal nights?

Not really, except that usually means lobster tails—my favourite. I don’t want to dress up; I wear suits about half of the time at work so on a cruise I tend to be totally casual.

I did go on a higher-end theme cruise last year and I did wear a tux on a formal night. It was the first time getting dressed up since my first cruise 30 years ago. Of course, then, getting dress up was the norm.

What are your tips for first time cruisers?

My suggestion is to do a 3, 4, or 5-day cruise for your first just cruise just in case you decide that you don’t like it or get seasick. However, almost everyone I talk to gets hooked after their first cruise.

More about Paul…….

I am Paul Thornton, originally from New York City, I now live in Fort Myers, Florida with my wife Cheryl where I am a university administrator.

I consider cruising with our grandkids life’s ultimate escape. I just published my second book, The Joy of Cruising, a labour of love given my burgeoning passion for cruising, and the enjoyment I got out of interviewing, writing profiles about, and sharing the fascinating stories of passionate cruisers from all over the world, such as Lucy Williams, The Traveling Wife Cruising Around the World.

The Book – The Joy of Cruising

The Joy of Cruising looks at the magic of cruising from the vantage point of travellers passionate about cruising and the many ways cruisers act on their passion.

Award-winning author Paul C. Thornton profiles travellers from all over the world with a passion for cruising and who act on that passion in creative and fascinating ways: from millennials to 90-something’s; from a Grammy award winner, Poker Hall of Famer, winner of the TV series Last Comic Standing, cruise ship Godmother, to “ordinary” cruisers doing extraordinary things.

Paul’s book is now available on Amazon as an eBook and in paperback.

The Joy of Cruising - Cruise Tips from Cruise Ship Passengers Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

Paul shared some fantastic cruise tips and I’m sure you will take away some of his cruise advice for your next cruise.

Cruise Essentials

Here are some cruising products from Amazon you may find useful on your next cruise – have a look at my Amazon shop page and click here.

You May Also Enjoy Reading…

I hope you enjoyed reading Cruise Tips from Cruise Ship Passengers – Part 2, next month we will feature another interview with a cruise ship passenger.

Please share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Happy Cruising!

Cruise Tips From Cruise Ship Passengers - Part 2 - Lucy Williams Global

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