So, you are going on a cruise. You are so excited and wondering what should I pack? What do I need to do to get ready?
Well, first of all, upon receipt of your travel documents make sure everything is correct. Check the spelling of your names, your address, the ship, the sailing date and time and the cabin number. Read all the fine print. Hopefully you booked the cruise through a travel agent and there aren’t any errors. But, if there are errors, contact who you booked the cruise with immediately. Your name needs to match whatever government identification you will be using to travel, preferably a passport. The passport is recommended for ease in travel in case of an emergency. Put your documents, including a copy of your travel insurance (it is recommended you purchase this) in a safe place to take with you.
I recommend purchasing travel insurance from a third party through your travel agent as there is more coverage for health and emergency evacuation if needed. Not all insurance companies cover you when traveling outside of the United States. Please check with your health insurance carrier for more information on your coverage.
Next, print out your luggage tags. Most cruise lines only provide these in printable form. You need to then attach them to all pieces of luggage, including your carryon. Plastic luggage tag holder sleeves are available for purchase and can be reused on your next cruise.
Now the fun part starts. What do you pack? Obviously pack according to the destinations you are visiting. Is it hot? Is it cool? Is it cold? Is there hiking or a lot of walking involved in the tours you plan on taking? In either case, don’t forget the swimming suit! There is almost always a pool available for your use or a spa. Clothing and shoes should be chosen based on the activities you plan on doing on your cruise. Is there going to be a formal night onboard? There are usually one to three, depending on the length of the cruise. You don’t have to dress up but a lot of people like doing it just for the fun of it. You can also have professional, formal pictures taken on formal night for a fee. Attached is a sample packing checklist.
Now, it is the day of your cruise. You’re at the terminal, ready to board. You have gone through the check-in desk, obtained your cabin key and are walking the gangplank ready to board your ship. But, no luggage. Your luggage was left with the porters on your arrival so you better have what you need for the rest of the day in your carryon. What should you include? Obviously all your travel documents, medicines, a change of clothes, swim suit(s), sunscreen, book(s) or e-books, games, a small power strip (there are never enough plugs), lip balm, headphones and anything else you would need during the day. Your luggage comes to your cabin a few hours after you board. Most of the time before dinner but not always. There is a lot of luggage being delivered to cabins.
We’re here! You’re finally onboard, you have found your cabin and dropped off your carryon items. Now what? Eat! Yes, eat. There is always a buffet ready to indulge in on the pool deck (Lido deck usually). The buffet is not only a small row of offerings. Oh, no. It’s lots and lots of offerings. There are sandwiches, there is meat and potatoes, salads, fish, and, of course, the delicious, tempting deserts. And, of course, drinks. Tea, coffee and water are free. Soda and mixed drinks are for a fee. You can purchase a drink package for the cruise or go ala carte. Drink packages can be purchased onboard or ahead of time from the cruise line. If you don’t want to go to the buffet, one of the restaurants is usually open for a short while. Check your shipboard newsletter that will be in your cabin for details.
After filling your belly, it’s time to relax. That includes getting your spa days scheduled. Visit the spa early on embarkation day and make your spa reservations for the trip. If you are not going ashore when in a particular port, make a spa reservation for that day. Pricing is usually cheaper on port days. Sea days are almost always busy at the spa so if you need to make a reservation for a sea day, do it early, maybe even before you board the ship. Spa reservations can usually be made online. Then pull up a chair at the pool or along the promenade or elsewhere. Tour the ship. See what’s available to do. Find the showroom, the dining room, the piano bar and all the other bars. Or, go back to your room and take a nap. The day is yours. Do what you will.
Happy cruising! Elaine