This post was inspired & sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions expressed are my own.
Going on a cruise can seem fun and exciting until you realize you will be stuck on a ship with thousands of other people. If you’re an introvert like me, then you understand how this can be your worst nightmare. I’m here to share some helpful cruise tips and secrets that will assure you, you can have an enjoyable and relaxing vacation while on a ship.
If you follow me on Instagram then you already know Princess Cruises recently invited me on a 10-day Panama Canal Cruise aboard the Coral Princess. It was an incredible experience, one that I will never forget. Cruising really is one of the best ways to enjoy bits and pieces of other countries.
This was my first time cruising with Princess, but my third cruise in total. It was this cruise that converted me to a cruise fan and I will never choose another cruise line to sail with. The Coral Princess was spacious and surprisingly quiet. The staff was delightful and the overall experience was top notch.
As an introvert, the thought of going on a cruise can be exhausting. And you may have the preconceived notion that the cruise ship is loud and overcrowded, but this is not the case. You are lucky to run into two, maybe three, people while navigating the halls and the inside lounges are almost vacant during the day.
Also, if you choose Anytime Dining, you can dine at any time between dinner hours and may choose to eat only with your own group so you won’t have to sit with strangers. There’s also the option of dining at the specialty restaurants the ship has to offer, like Sabatini’s or Bayou Café & Steakhouse.
For a more relaxed dining option, you choose from the Horizon Court, Princess Pizzeria, or the Bar & Grill. These are great because you can sit in any of the public areas while you enjoy your meal or take your plate back to your room.
I highly recommend booking a room with a balcony. It’s very private and a great place to hang out while you sip your morning coffee or eat the dinner you carried back to your room.
One of the things that make cruising such a great way to vacation is you have a lot of options as to how you spend your time. You can choose to do the things you like to do. And you continue to enjoy the quiet life of an introvert.
Here are a few cruise tips and secrets I learned while on the Panama Canal Cruise with Princes and how I survived 10-days in an out-of-the-norm social setting.
1 – The Sanctuary
During the day the pool areas are usually busy with people. Everyone is enjoying the sun while cooling off with a dip in the pool. Sometimes there’s live music or a movie on the mega screen that sits high above the outdoor pool.
While all of these things are great for the outgoing extrovert, my energy became depleted rather quickly in this setting. That is why I was so thankful for the Sanctuary.
A note about the Sanctuary is that you need reservations for this secluded spot on the ship. And you need to be sure to make them early, like right when you board, it fills up fast and I now understand why.
The noise is kept to a minimum and there are no kids allowed in this spa-like setting. The wait staff offers you light meals, flavored waters, and massages. The Sanctuary does come at an extra cost but is completely worth it.
This quiet space is the perfect place to escape for introverts who need to recharge their batteries and I guarantee about 50% of the people on the ship are also introverts, so reserve your spot.
2 – Secret Sun Deck
If you don’t make it into the Sanctuary or don’t want to pay the extra cost, do not fret my friends! I stumbled across a quiet deck located at the back of the ship on deck 11. I don’t think many people know about this area since it’s not listed on the Coral Princess deck plans.
Though you won’t get pampered with massages and citrus water, it’s still a great place to go for some solitude. Each time I visited there were only one or two other people there.
Some areas are well shaded if you prefer to avoid the sun. I carried a bottle of water and my kindle out to this deck for an hour or two of reading. It was just what I needed after a few days of back to back shore excursions.
3 – Private Dinner
I have to say this is one of my favorite cruise tips!
My husband’s birthday fell in the middle of our trip so of course, I brought him along to celebrate. A Princess cruise is a great way to celebrate a special occasion and what’s more special than the day the love of my life was born?
We arranged a private balcony dinner but ended up having it inside our stateroom because it was too breezy and humid out. You can do this through room service, they come in and set everything up for you.
We were served a 5-course meal which included dessert plus the chef made a special cake for Harry. Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end of it all.
It started with a plate of hors d’oeuvres which consisted of slices of mango wrapped in prosciutto. I would have never thought to pair the two together! The appetizer was a delicious crab cake made with blue crab. Crab cakes are the absolute best and I devoured mine without thinking of the remaining meal to come.
The appetizer was followed by a generous serving of salad. I could have stopped here but we were only halfway through the meal. For the entree, we had a mushroom topped filet, lobster tail, and crisp mixed vegetables.
Dessert was amazing! Naturally, that would be my favorite part. Little pillows of chocolate mousse sandwiched between thin layers of milk chocolate and topped with fresh raspberries was the perfect way to finish the meal.
Most importantly, Harry felt special. He’s an introvert like me, so a night with just the two of us was well received and appreciated by us both.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of going on a cruise but feel apprehensive about it because your energy gets depleted from too much activity and social interaction, I say just go for it.
You will have plenty of opportunities to slip away for that much needed alone time. Who knows, you may discover some cruise tips and secrets of your own!
If you get the chance to cruise with Princess Cruises, be sure to try the Nutella donuts from the International Café, the classic lime margarita, and Southern Fried Catfish from the Bayou Café & Steakhouse.