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July 19, 2018 4 min read

Whether you're planning a cruise trip for the first time or are a well-seasoned cruising fanatic, you can make the most of your time aboard ship by taking care of as many details in advance of your trip as possible. Why waste valuable vacation time dealing with mundane, but necessary, tasks when you could be seeing the sights, basking in the sun or enjoying some of the legendary dining experiences you will find on your cruise?

Before you get on your ship, give yourself a break by enlisting some cruise essentials used by the seasoned professional cruisers.

1. Start planning in advance

Start planning well in advance of your trip.. Books as far in advance as possible. It's almost always a mistake to think you're going to get some grand, ridiculously low price on your cruise by waiting until the last minute. Cruising is hugely popular and all of the most desirable cabins and best itineraries get locked in quickly. A year in advance is not too early to make your arrangements. 

woman at airport

2. Arrive a day or two early

It's good practice to arrive at your city of debarkation a day or two ahead of your sailing date. This is especially important if your travels take you half way around the world. Flight delays, weather problems, even political unrest in third world countries can cause you to miss your ship if you're counting on arriving the morning you set sail. Use the extra day or two to rest for your cruise or to see the sights in a different city.

3. Book your excursions ahead of time

Cruise lines do an excellent job of organizing excursions that allow you to see some of the most interesting sights at each port along your route. It's important to check into what's available as soon as you book your cruise and to book your excursions soon after. Seasoned cruisers know what to look for in an excursion and all the really good ones go fast. Whatever you do, don't wait until you get onboard to sign up for your excursions. You're bound to be disappointed. 

lounge chair on cruise

4. Think of what to do while on board

Cruise ships generally have a smattering of days at sea traveling from one port of call to the next where you won't be able to get off the ship. These are great days for relaxing and regrouping for your next land adventure. Think about what you want to do with this onboard time. You can see a wide range of shows onboard the ship, sign up for a seminar on your favorite hobby or pastime, or shop at the many venues onboard for jewelry, leather goods, artwork, beauty items, or almost anything else you might want on vacation. Savvy shoppers enjoy this tax and duty-free opportunity. You can use this time to relax in a lounge chair, soak up the sun and read a good book. The list is endless, but it's a good idea to make some decisions upfront so you don't waste too much time with indecision on your cruise. 

5. Keep a carry-on bag when you embark

The cruise lines are experts at moving people and their luggage around at commendable speed. This doesn't guarantee that your luggage will arrive at your cabin as quickly as you do. Keep a cary-on bag with you when you embark. Make sure it's equipped with the basic necessities you might need in your first few hours on the ship. This includes comfortable change of clothes, suntan lotion, necessary medications, and anything else you need to make your life easy.

travel insurance

6. Purchase travel insurance 

Travel insurance may seem like a needless waste of money, and it is, until you need it. Travel insurance protects you against a wide range of unforeseen circumstances and gives you peace of mind before and during your trip. It's a small price to pay for added security. Shop around for the best deal well in advance of your sailing date. 

7. Download your cruise line app before your cruise

If your cruise line has it's own app, and many now do, download it before your cruise begins. It will keep you informed of even the most significant changes in the ship's schedule. It's also a good way to manage your account before and during your cruise.

phone charging

8. Be prepared with the proper charging equipment

In this age of electronics, everyone travels with a gadget or two. Make sure you have the proper charging apparatus you need to keep your gadgets operating fully. Don't assume your ship will meet all your electronic needs. Consider the Wi-Fi purchase options onboard the ship. While you're considering the option to buy, also consider the option to turn off the outside world while you're on vacation and enjoy a stress-free environment away from the constant input of daily life.  

Cruising is the optimal way to see the world for many people who would never be able to see as many exotic locations on their own as they can on their floating hotel on the sea. By clearing up small details in advance of your sailing day, you can save yourself aggravation and time waiting in line and arrive at your cruise ship ready to jump right in and enjoy every moment. Be sure to track your oceanic adventures on a one-of-a-kind Blue Ocean World Map.

Zoe Capozza
Zoe Capozza

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