A journey of
a thousand miles
begins with a single step
You've booked a cruise! Now what?
[If you haven't booked a cruise, see our reason for why you do need to take one!]
Just like any other vacation prepping may feel overwhelming but don't let it be! Here are some tips to make your next vacation on the seas as relaxing as it can be!
In terms of what to bring, less can be more - in this case, make sure to bring more of the right things!
Your cruise is likely going to have theme nights, including at least one formal night - and if you're in to that tip of thing, pack accordingly! But like in the case of a beach vacation, we never thing there's too many swimsuits or coverups/light wear you can pack, since it will be likely what you're live in. And its next to impossible to find unless you're at port or willing to where logo or overpriced ship items. Your cruise ship may also have laundry service available, so in case you didn't bring enough of one thing or need it for emergency purposes, come prepared!
Outside the obvious, including sunglasses, sandals, toiletries, and anything you travel with for comfort, the following are items we definitely saw value in having right with us!
Shopping On Board and Abroad
Some love to take advantage of shopping duty free - and cruising its never easier!
If you’re planning to purchase duty free items, we do recommend you do a bit of window shopping at home to decide if what you're about to buy on board is a better deal than back home. Most of the times it is, but we have find a few items that were worth holding out for.
Not big on souvenirs and considering what to get? Some of our favorite things include the original Kinder Surprise (the eggs are banned in the US); Mexican vanilla because its the real thing; and we love to pick up unique handmade items to support the local vendors (and try not to haggle the price because they are worth every penny).
There's very little you can bring on board in terms of drinks; cruise lines have in the past years cracked down on people trying to bring drinks and avoid spending on board.
That said, most cruise lines will let you bring a case of sodas or water (canned) on the first day of your cruise for you to have. This is a great option for someone who wants their caffeine fix but doesn't want the price per glass. You can also pre-order some to be delivered to your room in case you feel like you will go through your allotment before your sailing ends.
On the same token, most cruise lines all each stateroom with an adult 21+ to bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne (no larger than 750ml). Note that Disney Cruise Line does allow guests 21+ to bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne OR 6 - 12oz beers on board at the beginning of the voyage AND and at each port of call. These beverages must be packed in carry-on bags or luggage so we recommend a wine bag with your carry on. And pack an insulated wine cup so you can have something ready to go in your room (though you can ask your stateroom attendant for a wine glass). Just note that if you are going to open either in the dining room, you will be charged a corking fee. So advise to opt for a twist top OR bring your own wine opener for your room and bring to dinner.
Another option to consider if you're trying to drink but also save a bit is to order a bottle of alcohol to your room before traveling - you can do so on each respective cruise line website under their stateroom gifts option. These orders will be delivered the first day of the cruise and are subject to the rules of each line. Then you can make your own drinks on the go for a fraction of the price. While dining, you will also be able to order wine by the bottle, which can be a substantial savings from ordering by the glass. And if you don't finish at your meal, you can ask to bring with you OR your serving team will cork for the next time you join them for dinner. With either option though, you will not be able to bring any unfinished bottles off, so make sure to never order more than you can have!
Finally, there's always the "all you can drink" packages most lines offer that are worth considering. The price, though significant, can be worth it if you will be drinking the allotment. With most cocktails about at $14+ tax & gratuity and beers starting at $7+ tax & gratuity, the price for the package can easily break even after about 6 cocktails a day (if you plan to have that much). But note, most lines require that all passengers of age in one stateroom to commit, so sharing will be avoided, so a lot of deliberation may be in store depending what type of cruise you'll take.
Always recommend traveling with a passport vs. birth certificate if you are a US citizen on a US closed loop cruise (start and end at the same US port). You are leaving the country, so its always better to have this priceless piece of identification ready to go. Also, it makes the whole embarkation and debarkation process seamless! With facial recognition software in much use, having our passport will save you lots of time when coming home. Just make sure you have at least 6 months left from the last day of your trip of your passport in case of emergency (a good standard to have when traveling anywhere in the world)!
If your stateroom came with onboard credit (OBC) - usually an offer working with a travel planner can get you - it has to be used on board. You can use if for anything you end up spending on board, including gratuities - so it may be a reason to not prepay your gratuity so you have some flexibility with this free money.
Excursions can be booked on the ship at a premium and with peace of mind (the ship will not leave without out). But if you want to explore other options or book another way, with flexibility, check out options for your destinations with my trusted partner Viator. You can also book right at the port where you can try to haggle the price a little - especially if you're okay with being completely spontaneous!
And all goes without being said, book with a travel planner - there's no additional cost, only additional perks, and you have an extra set of eyes to prepare you for your trip!
If you're ready to explore an option for you, fill out the Cruise Form and we can get started on finding a cruise for you!
If you're already booked and interested in having your reservation taken over, fill out the Booking Transfer Form - it can easily be transferred with just your approval (as long as you're not in final payment)!