Many travelers who have been on a cruise vacation agree that planning is a big part of the experience. What we do both on and off the ship is surely worthy of our time; we don’t book a cruise simply as a mode of transportation. What to bring along is the topic of countless packing lists, all aimed to be sure we have the right tools for the job when we sail. Some cruise travelers make an (enjoyable) job out of planning. Others pay their fare and let the experience come as it way, with little preparation. It’s that later group, the ones that don’t put a lot of time into planning that we’re speaking to today on some critical must-do pre-cruise activities
Check Airline Reservations Frequently
To get to the port of embarkation, a flight is required. You booked your flight, paid for the ticket and you’re done right? Not really. Flight times can and do change. If you selected seats when the booking was made (smart) and flight times change, even by a few minutes, those selected seats may be gone. Recently, I heard the story of one cruise traveler who failed to check their flight time before leaving the ship, found that the flight had left three hours earlier and ended up getting home at 9PM the next day. It happens.
Check Cruise Booking Frequently
Savvy cruise travelers already know that better deals can and do come up between the time of booking and when final payment is made. Many experienced cruise travelers and travel agents will testify that there are usually some changes to every booking between when it was made and when it sailed. This is a good thing. The cabin you really wanted might have opened up; pricing may have changed, affecting initial booking decisions; another ship and/or sailing date might look more attractive later. Looking at a cruise booking as a work in progress from beginning to end is a wonderful idea.
Check-In With The Cruise Line As Soon As The Booking Is Made
Registering online with the cruise line we selected is critical for a number of reasons and needs to be done the same day a booking is made. Cruise lines commonly send out a series of emails with important information you need to know. This is also a good time to catch any errors that could slow down or prohibit boarding, something that can be a very expensive mistake.
Develop A Packing List That Works For You
This can be an open file on a computer desktop, a note on a smartphone or a pen and paper notepad to record additions as they come up. The point is to capture those packing list items as we think of them, read what others are bringing and develop a list that works for us. Cheat by scouring the Internet for the packing lists of others as a place to start but make it your own list, one that works for you.
There are other activities that can help make your cruise vacation a better experience too. Memorizing deck plans and the locations of different venues around the ship is a good idea. Learning more about the ports of call, the ship and what is offered onboard helps too. The idea is to be fully prepared before boarding so we get the most out of the experience.