When heading on vacation, there’s so much organisation and planning that goes into the process.
Thus, it can be easy to forget to complete important steps before jetting off. If you’re lucky enough to look forward to travelling, we’ve provided cruise preparation tips so you don’t forget anything. More than anything, we don’t want your experience spoiled because you forgot to bring your credit card. Cruise ships are fun and adventurous, so we want you to have the best time ever.
Cruise Preparation Tips to Start Your Journey Right
If you've already booked your cruise, you may falsely believe that the rest of the journey is handled. Don't fall prey to this mindset though! There are several aspects of your vacation you'll want to take care of well in advance. These cruise preparation tips will get you started.
1. Check-in Online
When considering cruise preparation tips, one of the easiest and most effective strategies is to check-in online. As there are different cruise companies, their requirements may differ, so check your confirmation e-mail/booklet to see when you’re allowed to check in. Doing so saves time and stress. You won’t have to fill in any forms at the pier. As a result, when you and your guest arrive at the dock, you’ll only need your pass, identification documents, and credit card you used to register online.
There are a few pieces of information you’ll need for you and your guests before checking in. The first is your reservation number (provided in your confirmation e-mail/booklet). Then, your passport number. Have your home address and the addresses of your guests handy, followed by an emergency contact name and number for each guest. This will save you so much time and hassle and make the start of your cruise a lot smoother.
2. Pre-book Events and Restaurants
Cruises are exciting for everyone, and so they can quickly get busy, allowing the best activities to get booked up. If you’re a spontaneous person who likes to arrive at a restaurant last minute, you may want to change your approach to ensure you don’t miss out on a cruise.
Many cruise companies enable you to pre-book entertainment, restaurants, sports, spa and even land excursions up until the final days before you sail. Ensure you take advantage of this option to not miss out on the things you’re most excited for. Research online for their most luxurious restaurants and indulge in a new activity to test yourself on a cruise.
3. Secure Your Flight
If your cruise journey involves you taking a flight, ensure you secure your seat and check-in well in advance before departure. You’ll need your flight number, passport number and possibly visa details of yourself and our cruise companions. To ensure you are all seated together, check for the earliest time you can reserve a seat on your plane. Don’t miss out, or you’ll sit far apart and have to head to the airport earlier to check in.
If you’re taking a flight, it’s important you know how this related to cruise preparation tips at this point. Have your important documents (sail pass, identification, passport and credit card) in your carry-on case to ensure the transition from flight to cruise is as smooth as possible. If your flight isn’t direct to the dock, we definitely recommend keeping important documents and essentials in your carry-on case just ensure you’re not without anything if there’s lost luggage.
Keep your liquids below 100ml and no more than 10 items, and store in a clear, plastic, sealable bag. Ensure your electricals are out of your carry-on case when heading through security in the airport. Wear comfortable clothes and take your belt, shoes, and coat/jumper off when walking through the screening. Being prepared helps to put your mind at rest and make the process a lot less daunting.
4. Book Your Excursions Well in Advance
A cruise is an amazing adventure, though it’s possible to get overwhelmed with the amount of activities and excursions on offer to you. Research, plan and book your excursions well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on some unforgettable memories. When heading to a new destination, you want to explore their culture and environment as much as possible in the short amount of time you’re there. Fill your days with endless fun and don’t hold back on trying new experiences.
Depending on what’s on offer to you, or where your location is, there will be a variety of things to do, such as:
- Beach and water-sport activities
- Cuisine tours to expand your taste buds and try new culinary dishes
- Experience an aerial view of the city from a helicopter
- Test your skills in a new sport, such as golf, volleyball and many more
- Immerse yourself in entertainment with popular musicals and performances
- Embark on a guided tour to explore your new environment with a professional
Explore what’s available and book well in advance so you don’t miss a spot. This will ensure that you are well prepared on land. The last thing you want to be doing is walking around a foreign city with no idea what to do and where to go.
5. Be Prepared with Any Prescriptions You Need to Take
If you’re on medication, speak with your doctor well in advance of setting sail. Ensure you have the correct amount of medication to see you through your journey to prevent any health issues. You may also need to declare this when making your booking, and keep them in a safe place for security checks on the ship (and if applicable, the airport). Heeding this and other cruise preparation tips serve to keep you healthy and happy.
6. Arrange Transportation
Another important of our cruise preparation tips is to consider your transportation to the port and/or airport. Book a taxi well in advance, or arrange with a friend to drop you off and pick you up on the assigned days. With everything else that you’re planning, it’s crucial that you don’t forget this critical point, or you won’t be going at all.
Some cruisers like to stay in a hotel prior to departing to prevent early-morning journeys and to start their journey off peacefully. Research nearby hotels to your port, and if applicable, arrange transportation from them to your destination. this is one of the essential cruise preparation tips to keep you on schedule.
7. Download the App of Your Cruise Company
This isn’t so much an essential, rather a suggestion. Downloading the app for your cruise company ensures that you’re the first to know about any delays or announcements. Typically, there aren’t issues with cruise companies as it’s all well organised, but if something changes, you want to hear about it straight away. Check your itinerary prior to heading to the port to revise what time you have to arrive and where you need to be to dock the ship.
8. Take Cash with You
Although you might be under the assumption that everything is all-inclusive, there are still plenty of temptations to spend your money on. For example, certain alcohol and dinners are exempt. As a result, if you wish to use their facilities, you’ll need to pay an additional fee. Having cash is also easier than using a debit card as not all on-land resorts accept card payments.
There are cash machines on many ships, but they’re not always easy to find. If you plan on hitting the casinos, you’ll need cash for that. There are also plenty of extras you may wish you pay for. For example, spa treatments, on-board video games, Internet-use and laundry and dry-cleaning services. Generally, the cheaper the cruise, the more likely you are to pay for these extras.
9. Consider What Clothes You’ll Take with You
There are plenty of considerations to make here, starting with the temperature of the destinations you’re hitting. Ensure you research into the climate of each location properly. For example, Las Vegas gets extremely hot around June, but the casinos and hotels have the air conditioning on full blast, so you could wear trousers if you wanted to.
Some cruise ships – particularly their restaurants – have a strict dress code. If so, you’ll need a smart attire to enter these zones. If you plan to sunbathe on the cruise ship, make sure you have proper garments to cover you up before heading into public shops and restaurants, as many cruise ships have a strict policy against this.
10. Understand Your Ship’s Electricity Outlets
Depending on the region of your ship, you may need to purchase different electricity outlets to utilise your devices on-board. You may be able to purchase these on-board, but at a higher price, so it’s best to be prepared beforehand.
11. See What Toiletries and Amenities Are Included in Your Cabin
Typically, high-end, luxury cruise ships provide all the shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotions you need. They’ll even equip your room with a hair dryer and fan. However, not every cruise company carries this policy, so it’s important you know prior. You may need to take your own amenities, or at least ones which cater for your skin type. But, if you don’t need to and these are included in your package price, leave them at home. The lighter you travel, the easier your life will be.
12. Make Any Special Requests in Advance
If you have any special dietary needs, ensure you communicate this with your cruise ship well in advance so they can prepare for it. One company announced that they had a guest who requested 20 bananas for a special diet. Yours might not be this extreme, but staff like to know about this kind of thing well in advance. Alternatively, if you’re planning a surprise for a guest, communicate this well in advance too. This will make the staff’s lives easier, plus ensure that your requests are submitted.
Do You Have Any Helpful Cruise Preparation Tips?
When life gets daunting and stressful, the best approach is to face the problem(s) head on. Rather than burying your head in the sand, plan ahead and never leave anything to the last minute. When it comes to preparing for a long travelling experience, prepare a list of your essentials a few weeks before departing. Add clothes, products and accessories whenever you remember. This way, you’re less likely to forget the important things.
Do you have any cruise preparation tips? If so, we’d love to hear from you, so share your advice in the comments to help others out. Happy cruising!
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