As a first time cruiser, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the cruising world and the intricacies. While each cruise line is different, there are few simple suggestions you can do to help make your trip a smooth one.
Ensuring that my clients are fully prepared is my goal as their travel agent. So here are a few tips I share with my first time cruisers to make the process seamless.
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1. Travel with a Passport
Although passports are not required to go on a closed-loop cruise from the US (start and ending in the US), it is absolutely recommended to always travel with it. If there was any kind of an emergency for you or your family member that required you to fly, you will be thankful you have it.
2. Download Cruise Line's Mobile App
Technology is great and has certainly made traveling easier. Cruiselines have done an excellent job keeping up with the times. The mobile apps offer a lot for both pre-cruise as well as while you are onboard. So if you haven't done so already, download your cruiseline's app and get setup with an account.
Although each app is different, many of them allow you to look at your itineraries, learn about the ship as well as the ports you will be visiting. But many of them go beyond that now and allow you to make reservations for speciality restaurants, entertainment on board, and even texting with other passengers onboard.
If you need help finding which app to download for your cruise, don't hesitate to contact me.
3. Check-In No Less Than 3-days Prior to Sailing
Unlike the airlines where you must check-in within 24 hours prior to your flight, cruising is different. You can normally check-in for your cruise around 90 days prior to sailing. This is where you enter or upload your identification information and also setup your onboard account for any room charges. Ensuring this process is completed no less than 3 days prior to sailing will allow for your experience at the pier to be smooth sailing.
Please refer to your specific cruiseline as the requirements may differ.
4. Bring Refillable Water Bottle
Bringing a reuseable bottle can really come in handy for a cruise. I definitely recommend having one that is insulated to keep your beverages both hot or cold longer. Having a water bottle is perfect for the days you are in port and will be exploring.
The Hydro Flask 21 oz bottle is one of my favorites to travel with. It will handle both hot and cold beverages and with it's insulation, they remain this way for hours. I also love that they have versatile lids you can purchase depending on the activity. Plus it's slim, sleek design makes it easy to throw in your backpack pocket.
5. Make Reservations Ahead of Time
Onboard entertainment is very popular with passengers. Whether it is a Disney Cruise Line character breakfast, or a Broadway style show on Royal Carribbean, seating is limited so don't wait to get onboard because you could be disappointed. For these type of shows on board, you will want to reserve your seats when reservations open up for the event. Refer to your cruiseline's website as to how far in advance you will be able to reserve your spot. Sometimes this will be based on whether you are past guests or the room type you have booked.
Beside entertainment, it is also a great idea to personalize your vacation with any specialty dining restaurants you may be interested in eating at.
Most cruiselines will allow you to make these reservations through most their app.
Don't wait until you are on board to book your excursions, especially if there is one in particular you are eyeing. Excursions fill up and you may be out of luck if you wait. Instead look over your options to find the best excursions for the ports you will be visiting.
My favorite company to use for shore excursions is ShoreTrips. Not only are you going to get smaller, more intimate group excursions compared to the large groups many of the cruiselines will have, but you also have the option of making it a private activity. This is perfect for the families or groups of friends.
If you recently booked a cruise on your own, message me to see if you can take advantage of my travel services at no additional cost to you!