How to: Get Lucky on a Cruise Ship….

November 27, 2014

If you’re on the cruise holiday of a lifetime – or at least of this year – then you’re already pretty lucky, right?

Still, there are always ways to make your dream cruise even more special are there not?

Check out these fifteen easy ways to get lucky on a cruise ship – shamrocks and rabbits’ feet not required:


1 – Lucky in Love

What possible better way could there be to get lucky on holiday than lucky in love – provided you’re single of course (no post-cruise divorce proceedings please!).

If you’re a single pringle then dump those nasty solo supplements and get ready to mingle in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Solo Studio Cabins.

Solo studio cabins are very much available on NCL Epic, Breakaway and Getaway and are a cruise line innovation that really changes the game for single cruisers.

As well as an ultra modern, comfy, single stateroom (with full-size bed, just so you know) guests will also have exclusive access to the Studio Lounge where you can get a great (free) coffee or (not free) cocktail, attend singles events and get to know your fellow single-status travellers.

You won’t find a better concentration of single people anywhere else on any ship – it’s like Tinder at sea!

NCL solo cabin


2 – Red or Black

Another safe bet for a great night is the on-board casino – whether you win or not.

However, you can increase the odds of leaving the tables with a little more that just the flush of a non-stop adrenalin rush.

Sign up to free lessons in games you like the look of and sign up to any available reward schemes while you’re at it.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’s Casinos at Sea concept is a winner in its own right, bagging multiple awards and the Players’ Club welcomes members of all skill levels. Collect points as you play to spend on perks including drinks, meals, spa treatments and even cash off of your end of cruise bill. You’ll even get your own ‘hold in the hand’ membership card – great for reminding you of the good times while scraping ice off your windscreen back home!

Roulette wheel


3 – Best Dinner Guests

If you’re on a fixed dining plan with main dining room meals then it can feel very much like pot luck whether you enjoy a week of sparkling company over dinner or whether mealtimes fall flatter than an undrunk glass of cava but there’s no need to put bad dining companions down to just bad luck.

If you discover a Mr Brag or a Mrs No-Table-Manners – or anyone else who you don’t like the look or sound of – at your allocated table, a quiet word with the maitre’d can usually sort the problem quicker than you can say ‘no kids please!’

Alternatively, book yourself onto a cruise with flexible dining – NCL Freestyle cruises allow you to ‘book as you go’ for dinner, choosing when, where, what and with whom you eat, as does the new Dynamic Dining concept on Royal Caribbean Quantum and Oasis class ships.

Cruise dinner companions


4 – The Only Way is Up(grade)

This one’s a biggy and probably the holy grail of getting lucky on a cruise ship (perhaps even better than romantic relations, depending on how highly you value free dressing gowns and posh toiletries).

Bagging a cabin upgrade is a cruise holiday rarity that’s well worth bragging about if Lady Luck does smile down on your allocated room number.

Ways to swing the odds in your favour include staying loyal to a cruise line, booking early or late for the best special deals, keeping an eye on price drops after you’ve booked or booking a ‘guaranteed’ cabin where you could be upgraded depending on availability.


5 – A Special Invitation

Imagine the thrill of discovering a personal invitation to sit at an Officer’s table at dinner or better still, the Captain’s. Or to a VIP party in the Crow’s Nest or an exciting private Bridge Tour.

Being specially selected for such a treat can make a cruise holiday extra-memorable, so up your chances by being a repeat cruiser, making a good impression on staff, behaving (and dressing) impeccably for dinner, booking a high value cabin or getting your cruise consultant to register your interest.


6 – Right Place, Right Time

Seeing all the available activities on a cruise ship is mega exciting, for all ages and members of the family.

However, on ships that hold thousands of passengers, the best stuff can get booked up pretty quickly.

If there’s an option to book activities before you cruise, make sure that you know about it. Otherwise, you’ll need to join the line at Guest Services on embarkment to make sure that you don’t miss out on that cookery class, flamenco lesson or outdoor yoga session. Or – even worse – that the kids’ club spaces have all been taken; one sure way to go from lucky to unlucky in the time it takes for them to say ‘fully booked’.

If you didn’t get a place on everything you wanted to do, ask to be put on a waiting list and, if there is no waiting list, polish your brass neck and turn up anyway. When it comes to free activities, some people might over-book themselves enthusiastically and then be tempted away by the pool instead.

It’s worth popping your head around the door to see if there have been any last minute no-shows – just don’t get the kids to set up camp outside of Andy’s Room or the Monsters Academy.

Andy's room kids club

Andy’s Room Kids Club


7 – Best Seat in the House

No-one wants to be stuck at the back during showtime or in the way of the running track on a sunlounger but there’s a crafty way to get the best seat at a show, by the pool, in the bar or elsewhere on the ship without having to be super-organised and extra-early.

Simply make friends with someone super-organised and extra-early and ask them to save you a place.

Do be prepared to get the drinks in, pick up the fresh towels or bring the popcorn though, as crafty cruising freeloaders will soon be caught out and ditched.

Cruise line theatre


8 – In It to Win It

Keep your competitive spirit sharp whilst onboard – you never know what you could win with a little talent and enthusiasm (and perhaps just the right amount of sequined attire).

On every Holland America cruise guests will have the chance to compete in the Dancing with the Stars at Sea contest – like a massive, sparkly dance-off at sea – to be in with a shot at winning a free cabin for two on the Champions Cruise.

Maybe give the free dance classes a go first, if your cha cha cha is a little bit blah blah blah and pick up some tips from the ship’s professionals and even the dancing stars of the hit show themselves.


9 – New High Score

If you’re a gamer fo’ life, yo – or something along those lines – you’ll know that practice makes for a perfect new high score.

There’s no need to despair at leaving behind your favourite next-gen FPS or RPG game though.

FYI you’ll usually find that the megaships take gaming to the next level. Check out the seaside style video arcades on Carnival cruises or game against global opponents in the Xbox Live suite on RCI’s Quantum of the Seas or notch your holiday enjoyment up to ultimate fantasy levels in the EA Sports Bar on some Carnival ships, where you can play the best EA Sports games whilst drinking a beer and keeping half an eye on the big screen games too.

It’s more magical than the first time you completed Mario on your SNES.

Computer games on a cruise ship


10 – Special Service

Getting a really attentive server or cabin steward can make a cruise, so go all out to make your own luck when it comes to getting really great service onboard.

Being nice to cruise staff goes a long way, as does being interested in them as people, rather than just what they can do for you – so take a little bit of time to chat to them and ask about their background.

What also goes a long way is a decent tip, so if you intend to leave one, don’t leave them guessing.

Many cruise guests swear by tipping half upfront at the beginning of the cruise to bag extra special perks from towel animals to quicker service at the bar.

cruise ship waiter


11 – Find the Freebies

There’s no better feeling than getting something for nothing – often it doesn’t even matter what that something is.

Seeking out the best freebies on-board will give you a sense of smug satisfaction unlike anything else.

From the fluffy, free-to-use bathrobes and surprise ‘Welcome’ baskets on Carnival to the free champagne and caviar on luxury cruise fleets like SeaDream and Seabourn, the luckiest cruisers never let a good gratis gift pass them by.

For more exclusive freebies, get involved in onboard activities, quizzes and shows. Contestants playing the Hasbro Family Game Show on Carnival cruises, for example, could walk away with gift cards to stock up the games cupboard with and all manner of Cunard logo’d goodies are there for the winning at the onboard pub trivia quiz – we know you’ve always wanted a QM2 notepad and pen set!


12 – Secret Spots

On a cruise ship with two, three, four or even five thousand passengers onboard you’ll be lucky to find a spot on the ship to have all to yourself.

Still, we believe that you make your own luck here at, so look out for quieter spots, like the secret decks on some Carnival ships, the Alcoves on Celebrity Cruises or a quiet corner in the QM2’s largest library at sea.

Alternatively, get up really early to beat the mid-morning crowds and get your serving of ship-wide solitude before breakfast.


13 – Winner Winner

If you’re one of life’s winners – or you’d like to be – you’ll have plenty of opportunity to flex your competitive muscles on your cruise.

On Carnival ships for example you can hit the SportsSquare and take on unwitting opponents on the table games, get secretly competitive on the mini golf course (Royal Caribbean and MSC also offer mini golf) or get your bounce on with a game of volleyball, basketball or dodgeball (play with caution – black eyes don’t make great holiday photos!).

Increase your chances of a win by getting in some sneaky practice, sussing out your opponents and nabbing all the best players for your own team.

Tip – offering to buy post-game drinks or ice-creams for winners can be a great motivator.

Mini golf on a cruise ship


14 – Lucky in Love part 2

If you’re on a honeymoon cruise then love and romance should come as standard (and if not, it’s not boding terribly well!).

But if you’ve been with your better half for years then romance can slide down the agenda – especially if you’ve got a tribe of little mood killers (aka children!) in tow.

Never fear, a cruise holiday can help you get lucky in love again.

Book the kids onto the kids’ club activities and enjoy a couples’ massage for two.

Let them eat with their new friends or book them onto an evening event and make googly eyes over a romantic dinner and if you’ve got older children or teenagers with you why not look at booking interconnecting rooms rather than all bunking up together?

The new Royal Caribbean Quantum class ships have some fantastically flexible accommodation options.

The opportunities for spark-igniting one on one time are endless on your average cruise ship, so make the most of them before you’re back to work, the washing up and mum and dad taxi duties.


15 – Re-Booking on a Budget

What could be luckier than ending your cruise having already booked your return visit – at a brilliant price?

Visit the sales desk while cruising and you could have some amazing deals offered to you, including discounts, reduced deposits and onboard credit.

Often you don’t even have to choose your cruise there and then – simply lay down a ‘floating deposit’ and make your mind up later at your leisure.

It definitely takes the edge off having to return to dry-land reality and guarantees ‘jammy sod’ status when you’re giving friends and family the holiday lowdown.

Future Cruise Sales desk


Disclaimer: However lucky you’re feeling, do not, under any circumstances, put all your cruise spending money on black in the casino.

Losing the cocktail fund is likely to put you quickly in the unlucky in life and love category – and you definitely won’t be getting lucky that night!


We asked the our cruise community if they could add anymore tips to the list – See their response here…..