There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a luxury cruise, and while there’s probably no way to have that bad a time on a cruise (unless you’re prone to sea sickness or afraid of deck chairs) there are ways in which you can considerably enhance your experience.

We’ve put together a list containing seven tips and tricks for getting more out of your cruise so you truly have a cruising experience to write home about.

1. Get to your port of departure a night before

Did you know hundreds of cruisers actually miss the boat entirely because of delayed flights, traffic and bad weather? And many more get their cruise off to a bad start as a result of the fact that they’ve only managed to board by the skin of their teeth.

Do yourself a pre-cruise favour and arrive at your port of departure a day early.

2. Don’t be afraid to splurge and say Bon Voyage in style

A luxury cruise is no time to be a frugal Fred Flintstone. Get your cruise off to a great start (and look like a real hero in front of your spouse) by splashing out on champagne and roses. There’s no better moment to make a toast to new adventures!

3. Avoid the pool area during busy times

This might seem strange, but when have mega cruise ships ever had enough poolside chairs to accommodate everyone? You’d be much better served by scoping around to find a place to call your own and avoiding the mass of humanity who are sitting around the pool sun-burning in tandem.

4. Eat on your own terms

Sure, it’s nice to meet and greet strangers at group dining times, but sometimes it’s also equally as nice to break up the routine. So don’t be afraid to order room service breakfast and have a picnic on your balcony or pay an extra little bit to dine at your cruise’s speciality restaurant.

5. Stay on the ship

Of course this doesn’t apply to all port calls (if you’re visiting Venice you have to see Venice) but these forced events are generally rushed, contrived and not all they’re hyped up to be. And by staying aboard the ship you have all the ships facilities (with the exception of maybe the ship throttle and steering wheel) to yourself!

6. Get a spa pass

A lot of cruises are offering these nowadays and for something as simple as $25 a day you can soak, steam and be massaged in luxury. There’s nothing like getting a luxury massage as you cruise through the pacific ocean, relieving your aches and pains.

7. Go to the disco

Even if dancing isn’t your thing, you owe it to yourself to bust a move at the ships disco. You’ll definitely meet some interesting characters there and chances are you’ll be more than willing to return to the floor the next night. It’s a vicious, funky cycle!

Images: Getty

This article first appeared on Over60.