MSC Cruise hacks worth reading

MSC Cruise hacks worth reading

I recently returned home from my 4th cruise experience with MSC cruises. I’ve been on the Sinfonia, Musica (twice) and now on the Orchestra.

So, I would like to think I am a cruiseaholic.

I’m going to share a few tips/lessons I’ve learned based on my previous experiences.

1. ALWAYS buy your drink/excursion vouchers before your cruise. It is a little cheaper because you will still pay in Rands. Once you onboard, everything is in Dollars. The vouchers are a good option to buy for cocktails or if you want a variety of non-alcoholic drinks.

Beers end up working out cheaper onboard but remember all drinks purchased onboard will have a service charge.

Did you know you can keep your vouchers for like 3 years if you don’t use them all? (But you most probably will.) 😉

2. Using the internet is extremely expensive on the cruise, so you have to think about how important this is to you. If you want, purchase it before you embark on the cruise, on the MSC website. It works out much cheaper. You will pay around R480 for a gig.

3. Arrive at the Port early if you want to have the ship a little to yourself before everyone else arrives. Also, give yourself enough time to drive to the Port and park as traffic is crazy since guests are coming and going at the same time.

msc cruise hacks

Carry a small bag with essentials since you will most probably only get your checked-in luggage later on that evening.

4. Tape your luggage tag page or insert it in a plastic folder before you staple it around your bag handle to make sure it is 100% secure to avoid them misplacing your luggage if the paper tears.

Carry a lanyard for your cruise card.

5. If you are a germ freak like me, make sure you use the jacuzzi first thing in the morning. Make use of the hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship and carry your own air freshener for the bathroom.

Check out Poo Pourri, something worth investing in when traveling. 😉

6. Best time to cruise? From my experience, I found January has more of a younger crowd on the cruise + we experienced lovely weather at Pomene.

7. Carry cash for the Island if you want to buy something. They accept Rands.

8. I had 3 hours (max) fun on the Island, after that it became too hot and busy. The best time to go is early in the morning and be out by the first boat back to the ship (if you don’t have an excursion planned) so you can shower, take a nap and get ready for an exciting night ahead.

If you don’t want to take your phone to the Island, invest in an Instax camera that you can use to capture some moments and make a holiday scrapbook afterward!

9. Dress up for theme nights – carry a few formal outfits if you doing the sit-down dinner (it isn’t compulsory) and something tropical for the sail away party which normally happens the night you leave the island you visited.

Try to pack a capsule wardrobe – the rooms are small for big suitcases and trust me, you won’t end up wearing all 4 pairs of shoes. 😉

10. Don’t book right at the bottom of the ship – sometimes there’s a smell that is unbearable lingering around. It does happen… So many people on a ship, food wastage, etc. I still think the balcony cabin is a good investment especially if you are doing 4 nights otherwise book an inside cabin (14 is easy to access the deck and buffet).

11. Carry your own coffee sachets or five roses tea if you love a good cup! You might not always find your desired brand onboard however there is always tea, coffee, and water available free of charge for you.

Food is available like 20 hours a day so you never going to starve! There are some dishes that are limited so if you want a variety to choose from especially the Indian/Halaal cuisine, make sure you on time for lunch and supper.

12. Carry a water bottle to fill up at the water station to carry around.

13. Carry toothpicks or floss mint, pain meds and something for the flu – just in case.

14. Breakfast in bed? Yes, can be done and for free. You can get a cup of coffee, yoghurt or a croissant delivered to your room if you leave the hanger out on the door.

15. Get involved in the games and events, it’s loads of fun.

Make sure you read your daily planner, you can carry a highlighter or take out a photo to remember which ones you want to check out.

Make friends, that is if you want to make new friends. I made a ton of new friends and many were in the buffet line while waiting for food.

16. If you want to buy something on the cruise, wait for the last day as they have some good deals.

17. Try to settle your bill a day before you leave (during the day) to avoid the long crazy lines.

cruise hacks

18. Sign up to the MSC voyagers club and save 5% on your next cruise.

19. Sign up to the MSC Cruises newsletter for ridiculously cheap last-minute cruises.

20. Try to sleep a lot before you embark on the cruise because you want to make the most of your time on the cruise! I had max 4 hours of good sleep a day. I have no regrets and will definitely do it again! 😊

Did I leave something out? Please do share in the comments section below.

Why not fly to Durban a little earlier and enjoy the city before your cruise? You can get R825 ZAR off your first trip with Airbnb! Click here to redeem it.

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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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1 Comment

  1. 2020-02-09 / 15:06

    Hi there, were you on the Orchestra from 27-31 January? We were on that one. My first MSC cruise with my husband and son, my mother’s 6th cruise. We wouldn’t have known any of the things (like checking your luggage out the night before, buying vouchers, paying your bill the day before disembarkment, etc) if it weren’t for them. It was a lovely experience, especially for my son. I was sea-sick the Monday and couldn’t really enjoy supper. But luckily my sister had meds to help us. So I would suggest Zofer or Medazine for nausea. Ps. Medazine made me super drowsy but it’s such a lovely feeling to sleep on a boat, it basically rocked me to sleep! Another thing was which dinner sitting to choose: my mother chose the 20:30 one for us which made sense at the time because my son literally hates sleeping so we thought he wouldn’t be tired by that time. Wrong. Maybe if he still took naps everyday then he would be fine by supper BUT how do you get children to nap when there’s a world of wonder outside the cabin door and they have serious FOMO??? So I would definitely do the 6pm dinner next time and then he won’t have to pass out on the floor next to the table every night. Sigh. I agree with the hotness of Pomene. We also didn’t know we had to book an umbrella before the time and as a result we are all busy peeling and I think I actually had heat stroke that day. Anyways it was lovely, the ship is beautiful and the staff absolutely amazing! We might go again, but with friends with children/without children.

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