Expert advice: Before your cruise

Whether it’s your first time on a cruise or you’d like to know how to get more from your holiday, cruise travel expert John Honeywell has some top tips

The Douro River Valley © Uniworld
The Douro River Valley © Uniworld

Avoid choosing a cabin immediately below a pool deck, restaurant or promenade. The noise of sun loungers being dragged across the floor, or from early morning joggers, can be an annoyance.

To save money on spa treatments, massages and manicures, choose a port day when they’re discounted and most of the other passengers are off the ship on excursions. They’ll come back frazzled, while you’ll be feeling like a million dollars.

If you’re on a cruise where you’re seated with other people at dinner, you can make friends for life – but choose your dinner table carefully. A table for 10 is too big for everyone to join the conversation. Pick a table for four and you might be stuck with people you don’t click with. The optimal table sizes are six or eight.

The cruise line’s shore excursions may seem expensive, but if you’re delayed returning, at least the ship won’t sail without you. Going on shore independently can save money and be more fun – but make sure you get back to the gangway on time or you could be left behind.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural holiday or relaxing break, find your perfect cruise here.