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Congratulations you are going cruising! We wanted to share some tips we have learned over the years and from our knowledge as travel agents helping 1000’s of clients with their holiday plans.
The most important thing is to not miss the ship! If your ship is leaving around 4:00 p.m., then typically you should plan to board the ship between 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Ask your travel agent for the appropriate time for embarkation, or check with the cruise line.
If you are sailing during stormy winter conditions, or you are flying stand-by (interline people, you know who you are) you may want to fly in a day early, just to avoid any stress and freaky snow storms.
Complete your pre-cruise check in on line, after you have booked your cruise, as this speeds up the boarding process. We always send our clients the link to do this, and it allows them to put in emergency contact information, and other details that the cruise line needs.
After you have completed your pre-cruise check in, you can also take a look at the shore excursions offered for your particular sailing, and it is a great idea to pre-book any that you really want to do, as space is limited for some excursions and they can sell out. The company we utilize for shore excursions are generally less expensive and less crowded than those offered by the cruise line.
Make sure you bring your passports and visas, and check the requirements at your ports and for your shore excursions. Make a copy of important documents and put them somewhere safe, or give a copy to someone you trust. (Passport, driver’s license, Medical card, traveler’s insurance, country Visa’s, credit card information, medication list, emergency contact information, itinerary, and whatever else is important to you).
Don't forget your proper ID for your cruise!
Keep a list of any medications you are on, medical history, name and home address, your blood type, a list of allergies you have, and whether you have wear contact lenses, hearing aids, prescriptions glasses, or need a cane or a walker. Your immunizations should be up to date, and if you are traveling anywhere unusual, check with a travel immunization clinic to see if you need anything special for where you are headed. Do this far in advance of your trip. If you have any mobility issues, please let your agent know so the cruise line can be notified.
On Board, wash your hands frequently, and stay well hydrated with water (both alcohol and caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you). The cruise lines have many bottles of sanitizer on board, so please use them, especially before you eat.
Sanitize your hands frequently when traveling.
Many cruise lines allow you to bring 1 or 2 bottles of wine on board, and If you like to drink (we love our wine) check with your travel agent or the cruise line to see what is allowed. Many cruise lines also have drink and wine packages you can buy after you do your pre-cruise check in, or on board. If you do buy drinks on board, check the bill to see if gratuities are already added, so you don’t double tip by accident. Some cruise lines will allow you to bring soft drinks or water on board, though they all have different requirements as to what and how much, so please check with your agent or the cruise line for specifics.
Gratuities (tips) are calculated at a rate of $11.50 - $15.00 per day/per person (depending on the particular cruise line) though you have the option of changing the amount with the purser. They will be collected (unless you prepaid) at the end of the voyage along with any other shipboard charges. If you take money from the ATM’s, keep careful track of your withdrawals as many cruise lines do not link back to your bank account until later in the voyage so you don’t want to withdraw more than you have in the account.
If you are interested in spa treatments, or specialty dining, it is a good idea to make reservations in the first or second day, so you get the best selection of times. There are often special deals for the spa during the days that the ship is at a port, and the ship is less busy. We have stayed on board at times, when everyone else has gone into the destination, just to enjoy the ship!
World class cuisine is available on cruise ship lines like Silversea.
Pace yourself with all the amazing snacks, meals and midnight buffets, and take the stairs as often as possible. Walk around a lot to balance out any additional calories you maybe consuming. Cruises also offer you the opportunity to try something new like yoga, rock climbing, or Pilates. Many cruise lines have excellent healthy selections at mealtime, so you can definitely choose wisely and maintain a healthy weight. If you have any dietary needs, let your travel agent or the cruise line know ahead of time as the chefs are very happy to accommodate special requirements.
Try Rock Climbing on your next Royal Caribbean cruise.
For new cruisers that are unsure of cruising, we sometimes recommend a shorter cruise with lots of ports on the itinerary, and a balcony, or Oceanview cabin, for the best experience. If anyone is worried about feeling any motion sickness, there is an infirmary on board for assistance.
Pack a power strip for your stateroom to make it easier to re-charge your electronics. If you plan on using your cell phone check into international roaming packages ahead of time, so you don’t end up with a big bill for your phone after your holiday.
Your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom on your first day, however it might take a little while for your stateroom to be cleaned, and for your luggage to arrive. If you wish, pack a bathing suit or shorts, sandals and a few other things you may want to have access to in your hand carry baggage, so you can start relaxing and be comfortable.
Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin by friendly porters
Have fun in the casino on your cruise!
Read your ships daily newsletter to learn about all the activities and entertainment, and don’t miss the sail-away party on the first day. Walk around and familiarize yourself with the ship to find the art gallery, stores, restaurants, bars and do things like have breakfast on your balcony, watch the sunset over the ocean, sing karaoke, play bingo, take in a lecture, try a new craft, hit the casino, and dance the night away at the disco.
It is your holiday, and you deserve it, so have a fun time!