“What is the one thing you wish you had known before embarking on your first cruise holiday?” That was the question posed to more than a dozen cruise bloggers/experts. Certainly, the question was thought-provoking, and it caused me to think back more than 20 years ago.
I started my sea voyages back in the 1990s. As a travel writer, I journaled each cruise through magazine articles — and now blog posts, photos and videos — but I wish I had done a better job documenting my trips. For example, I wish I would have collected the key cards from each cruise.
Many of the modern key cards have the passenger’s name, date of sailing and sometimes a photo. I hold on to these nowadays, and they are good reminders of the wonderful voyages I’ve experienced — and they’re free to keep at the end of each voyage.
I have been on vessels where keeping the key to my stateroom would have been an act of theft. Peter Deilmann River Cruises, which shut down in 2010, used brass keys for entry into staterooms on its flagship Heidelberg, for example. At least I have a photo of the key, which I left with the reception desk each time before disembarking the vessel and picked up when coming back on board. I remember how I enjoyed the process of depositing and collecting the key.
I wish I had collected more memorabilia from my cruises. If you’re just getting started on your cruises (river or ocean), take my advice: Collect, and years from now, sit back and enjoy strolling (or make that cruising) down memory lane.