This is an exiting time – you’re about to take a cruise! All you can think about is the incredible ship you will be on and all of the amazing amenities you will be enjoying. There will be a variety of different cuisines from around the world at a myriad of restaurants, rejuvenating treatments at the spa, stunning accommodations, total pampering during your vacation and much more. You can hardly wait for the day to arrive!
Regardless if it is your first or you have sailed many times, early preparation is one of the keys to a relaxed send off. Once you begin taking care of essentials — and the sooner the better — the more you can focus on your fabulous vacation and all of the wonderful destinations you will be visiting.
You may think you are ready, but in all the excitement of “getting away,” it is easy to overlook important items and things to do. Spare yourself the last-minute rush and the “I wish I had” and begin your checklist at least one month prior to sailing. These easy steps will help you to have a stress-free experience before your cruise so that your journey is a breeze.
30 Days Prior to Sailing (or sooner)
- Make sure you have a valid passport. It is a good idea to also make copies of it to bring with you (and keep in a separate place from the original), just in case it gets lost or misplaced. In addition, leave a copy with friends/family back home.
- Check to see what other requirements may be needed for the destinations you will be visiting such as visas and vaccinations.
- Check your paperwork thoroughly. This is the time to review all your documents and make sure names are spelled correctly and birth dates are accurate. If not, notify your Cruise.com agent immediately.
- Reserve your airline seats and review the baggage rules of your carrier so as not to incur extra fees or have any last-minute surprises.
- Make special requests, such as diet needs, with your cruise sales agent.
- Select what you want to see at your destinations and which shore excursions to take. Research what restaurants you may want to try and if reservations are needed. See which shops have the items you might like to purchase. Find out if special transportation arrangements may be needed.
- Familiarize yourself with your cruise ship, know where your stateroom is, the elevators, stairways, restaurants, lounges, bars, spas, pool area and more. This will save you time onboard so you can start enjoying all the fun amenities.
- If you prefer to have your luggage picked up and delivered to the ship, make arrangements now as sometimes this is done two weeks before the cruise for a fee. Some of the luxury lines also handle this for you.
21 Days Prior to Sailing (3 weeks)
- Refill any prescription medications and keep a copy of the prescription with you. If you have a tendency toward getting motion sick, speak to your doctor about “the patch” or wrist bands. It is a good idea to carry these items onboard with you and not pack them.
- Select your toiletries and keep in mind that when flying, you are allowed up to a quart-sized bag of liquids, gels, aerosol sprays, pastes and creams. (For more information, visit tsa.gov.)
- Reserve airport transfers for your departure and return whether you are using a private driver, a limo company, friend or family member. If you’re using a shuttle service, allow extra time for them to pick up other people.
- Make arrangements for pet care and make sure they have registered chips with your current phone number and contact information for their caretaker while you are away. Put any instructions in writing and make copies of vaccination certificates for the pet sitter. Advise your veterinarian there is a designated person who can act on your behalf while you’re away. If the person caring for your pets should have to make a decision on their behalf, you will need a legal power of attorney given to them.
- Start reserving the things you want to see and do on your cruise, including shows, dining and shore excursions. If you are hoping to dine at a specific restaurant while in port, make sure you make reservations well in advance and preferably get an email confirmation.
- Time to take out the luggage as anticipation grows for your upcoming cruise! Now is the time to make sure your suitcases are in traveling conditionand you can also freshen them up by putting a dryer sheet inside. Attach the cruise line luggage tags and tape a paper with your name and contact phone number inside your bags.
- Make sure you have completed your travel paperwork and have everything you need, such as your cruise e-documents. Once everything is filled out correctly make copies.
- Keep a list with you of various passwords that you may need while cruising – from your bank account to Facebook. In addition, a separate list of contacts just in case you lose your cell phone is a great idea.
7 Days Prior to Sailing (1 week)
- Start tracking the weather — where you are flying to and from. If no air is involved, just keep an eye on local weather and leave extra early for the port.
- Time to pack if you haven’t already begun. It’s always advisable to bring layers of clothing, such as sweaters and light jackets depending on the itinerary. If you are going to the Caribbean or other balmy destination, make sure you pack your bathing suit in your carry-on. If your luggage is not delivered until later, you can still head to the pool and let the fun begin!
- Go through your packing checklist and take out items not really necessary.
- Put those last few items in your suitcase.
- Make certain you have everything you need in your carry-on: cash, credit cards, medication, jewelry, electronic devices, cruise documents and your passport! Change your email settings to the “out-of-office” reply, set your thermostat and your alarm system.
The time has come for your wonderful cruise and you are all prepared. Bon Voyage!
For more information on How to Prepare for a Cruise, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.