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7 TikTok cruise tips and if they actually work

07 Dec 2022
Matt Hochberg

I love sharing cruise tips and tricks because it helps people have a better cruise, and I'm always looking for new secrets.

The TikTok social media platform has become well-known for sharing advice on just about every topic, including going on a cruise.

Just like anything on the internet, just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's true.  So I wanted to check out the top cruise advice to see which tips were being shared and if I agreed with them or not.

I spent a couple hours checking out every cruise related tag to see what tips I could find, and I'm happy to report the vast majority of tips were quite helpful and the sort of tried-and-true advice that has been shared for years.

Liberty of the Seas pool deck and chairs

There really was no outlandish or bizarre advice that truly defied logic. I guess that's still relegated to investment advice on there.

But I did find 7 popular videos that cover various aspects of going on a cruise with tips and tricks that I thought were worth evaluating since they had fairly high view counts.

Be sure to follow Royal Caribbean Blog on TikTok if you don't already for our own collection of cruise tips and fun videos!

Let's dig into these cruise tips!

Bring your swimsuit on the first day

@yourstrulychelsea A tip for first time cruisers #cruise #cruiselife #cruisetips #cruisetipsandtricks #cruisehacks #vacation #royalcarribean #royalcarribeancruise #carnivalcruise #carnivalcruiseline #virgincruise #virgincruiseline #norwegiancruise #disneycruise #disneycruiseline #ocean #cruisequestions #cruisequestionsanswered #qanda #cruisefacts #goingonacruise #crusingtok #cruisetok #cruisetiktok #cruisetiktoks #cruiseessentials #cruisefood ♬ Good Day - Nappy Roots

The first video I found was by yourstrulychelsea and it talks about wearing your swimsuit on the first day of the cruise.

"Be sure to bring your swimsuit in a carry on bag or wear it under your clothes," she shared because of how uncrowded pool deck activities can be on the first day.

She recommended it for the water slides, FlowRider and even pools or hot tubs.

Women on pool deck

Matt's advice: I totally agree with Chelsea, and this is very underutilized tip.

Pack your bathing suit in a carry on bag and then change in one of the public restrooms.  By bringing bathing suits with you to change into on embarkation day, you will be able to enjoy the pools and hot tubs without the crowds that will soon arrive for the rest of the cruise.

Verdict: True

Read more25 things you need to know for your first day on a cruise ship

Don't shower in your stateroom

@joe_tolley My number one cruise tip… #cruise #cruiseship #cruisetok #royalcaribbean #carnivalcruise #disneycruise #norwegiancruise #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

Our next tip is by joe_tolley and he advises instead of using the shower in your cabin (or having to share it with someone in your cabin), use the free showers in the fitness center.

He says for guests to go to the changing room in the ship's gym where you'll find (likely) a nearly empty space where you can enjoy a complimentary sauna, steam room, and of an extra large shower.

Fitness Center

Matt's advice: There's some truth to what Joe recommends, but it depends on your ship.

He's right that every ship's fitness center has a changing room and shower that you could use. No denying that piece of advice.

The issue is not all ships offer complimentary sauna and/or steam rooms for guest use.

To the best of my knowledge, these ships offer complimentary steam rooms and saunas in the fitness center changing rooms:

  • Adventure of the Seas 
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas

The rest of the ships do not offer these.

Verdict: Somewhat true

Don't pack towels

@yourstrulychelsea #cruise #cruiselife #cruisetips #cruisetipsandtricks #cruisehacks #vacation #royalcarribean #royalcarribeancruise #carnivalcruise #carnivalcruiseline #virgincruise #virgincruiseline #norwegiancruise #disneycruise #disneycruiseline #ocean #cruisequestions #cruisequestionsanswered #qanda #cruisefacts #goingonacruise #crusingtok #cruisetok #cruisetiktok #cruisetiktoks ♬ Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift

Another TikTok by yourstrulychelsea says not to pack towels because the cruise ship will provide them.

"You can use them at the pool and you can take them off the boat and use them in port."

She also advocated returning them to avoid being charged for them later.

Matt's advice: Chelsea is correct again, there's no need to bring towels with you on a cruise ship.

I think maybe some people think they should pack towels for use on a shore excursion, but Royal Caribbean's towels are more than sufficient. 

Couple at the pool

You can get the towels from the pool deck. Don't take the bath towels in your cabin off the ship.

And Chelsea is also right about the hefty fee if you don't return them. It's $25 per towel for any unreturned towels after the cruise is over, whether you take them home or left them somewhere.

Verdict: True

Hacks for Cruisers from a Crew Member

@ezrafreeman PART 1: Hacks for Cruisers from a Crew Member!!!! 🥳🚢 did you know you could do this!?!? #cruiseship #travelhack #travel #cruisehacks #cruising ♬ original sound - Ezra 🙏 Georgian-American Life

Ezra works on a Princess Cruises ship and listed tips and hacks for cruisers from a crew member perspective.

She recommends asking the activities staff to add events to the calendar if there's something you think is missing.

"This is something people don't take advantage of," she says in her TikTok. "You can literally add it in. You have way more power than you realize, as guests."

Trivia event

She says it's their job to keep guests happy and if the staff can add it to the schedule, they absolutely will.

She mentions an example of when a guest wanted more outdoor deck parties on a recent sailing instead of the one they had on the schedule.  They ended up adding one every day of the cruise as a result of the request.

Pool party

Matt's advice: I'm certainly not going to doubt a crew member as to whether or not this is possible.

I think it's a terrific piece of advice that most are unaware of, but I think the important thing to remember is the activities staff can't accommodate every request.

On an Anthem of the Seas cruise I took a few years ago, I remember asking the Cruise Director about an event I didn't see on the schedule and he checked on it and then was able to get it added to the calendar.

Piggybacking on Ezra's tip, I'll add it's important to get the request in early on in the sailing so they have time to circle back with their team and verify it can be done and then still have time to add it to the schedule.

Also keep in mind that they'll likely schedule it where there's a gap, and that doesn't necessarily mean it will be at a convenient time for you.

Nonetheless, this is a terrific piece of advice to keep in mind if your favorite activity isn't listed.

Verdict: True

Unconventional packing tips

@flyingwithjames Unconventional packing tips for a cruise — thank me later 💡 #carnivalcruise #carnivalpanorama #cruisetips #cruiselife #traveltips #packingtips #cruisingtok #fyp ♬ Che La Luna - Louis Prima

This video had 2.4 million views and included these items you should pack:

  • Over the door shoe organizer
  • Multi-plug outlet
  • Magnetic hooks
  • Laundry hamper
  • Nightlights
Inside cabin

Matt's advice: Having recently put these packing hacks to the test, I agree with flyingwithjames' advice.

The only tip I personally don't find useful is the over the door organizer, just because I don't find it all that useful.  But I do recognize others may find it helpful.

Regardless, these are smart ideas to bring on your next cruise.

Verdict: True

Five things I would never do while cruising

@dutchworld_americangirl Five things I would never do while cruising #cruise #cruiseship #hollandamericaline #cruisedirector #alaska #caribbean #europe #travel #dontdothis #traveltips ♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy

Another (former?) cruise director, dutchworld_americangirl, shared her list of 5 things she would never do when taking a cruise.

  1. Never fly in the same day of the cruise
  2. Picking cruise line more important than picking destination
  3. Never travel internationally without travel insurance
  4. Book shore excursions with the cruise line
  5. Never forget to put phone into airplane mode
Odyssey of the Seas at dusk

Matt's advice: I agree with all of Christine's advice, but there are two pieces of her advice I want to expand upon.

Her suggestion to pick the cruise line before picking the destination is very interesting, and I like this tip a lot.

She talks about the importance of knowing what you are looking for in a ship, such as water slides, being able to learn something, dining options and more.  Figure that out first, and then look at where you can sail to.

I think a lot of first time cruisers can overlook this tip because they may assume all cruise lines are mostly the same.  Cruise lines can vary quite a bit in terms of how the onboard experience, as well as what they excel in.  It's a very good idea to learn about the line and ship you're considering before you start looking at where you can go.

Her other tip is to book shore excursions through the cruise line, "if you're in a port of call for only a limited amount of time."

The reason why she recommends this is if there's some kind of an unexpected issue during the tour that prevents you from getting back to the ship on time. Cruise line sponsored tours have the benefit of ensuring they'll get you back even if the tour is delayed.

This is definitely true, although I think you can safely book a tour on your own provided you give enough time before the all-aboard time to protect against traffic, flat tires, or some other delay.

How much time should you pad? Two hours is a good number to start with.

But there's nothing wrong with booking a tour with the cruise line if that concern is too great for you.

Verdict: True

Get free credit card points or cash back

@thecreditbrothers The Cruise Ship Hack To Get Free Credit Card Points Or Cash Back @alexojeda ♬ original sound - Credit Brothers

I tried to find a piece of cruise advice I've never shared and something I haven't really heard of either, and I think I found it with this tip from thecreditbrothers.

Their advice is if you have a credit card that gives you 2 or 3 times points back on travel purchases, to get up to $2,000 per day in cash advances from the ship's casino. 

Because that cash advance gets billed to your room, the charge to the credit card after the cruise will still be from "Royal Caribbean", it will be categorized as a travel charge.

Casino on Royal Caribbean

In their example, on a 7-night cruise where you take $2,000 out every day, you'll rack up $14,000 in cash and that counts for (up to) 42,000 credit card points.

That is the equivalent of $420 in cash back, or just a ton of points to redeem for travel or something else.


Matt's advice: I can't speak for all cruise lines, but this advice has a major catch if you're brand new to Royal Caribbean or someone that doesn't gamble a lot in the casino.

Yes, you can take out cash advances every day of your cruise and those charges do come back to your credit card as a travel category charge because everything on your SeaPass account gets lumped into one final cost at the end of the cruise.  If you had the right travel credit card, it would then qualify you for bonus credit card points.

The catch is the fee the casino charges (besides having $14,000 in disposable income you can draw from and a high enough limit not to hit).

Casino Royale on Royal Caribbean charges 5% on every cash advance you make at a table or from the cashier.

There is a workaround, where any money you take out as a cash advance from a slot machine does not accrue the 5% charge for some reason.

However, the slot machine limits you to $500 per cash advance, as I recall. You may be able to get $500 four times a day from the slot machine, but I've never tried it.

Another workaround is if you are Prime or higher in the Casino Royale loyalty program, but I suspect not many people are at that level.

So this hack is feasible, but not for everyone. And the financial responsibility side of this hack is an entirely different question that you need to evaluate for yourself.

Verdict: Theoretically possible, but maybe not a great idea.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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