When planning for a much-needed vacation, few experiences are as rewarding as cruises. A cruise allows you to take a break from your daily life and temporarily “get lost at sea.” For the duration of your trip, you will indulge in plenty of fun and relaxing activities. As you plan for your first cruise, there are many important things you need to know. Common mistakes can easily turn your dream vacation into just another chore.
Avoid the following faux pas when planning for (and while on-board) a cruise to ensure that this is your best vacation yet!
Don’t pick the wrong cruise
Different cruise lines offer different travel atmospheres. While some cruises have an overly abundant itinerary geared toward family-friendly activities, others cater to an adult-only crowd. You’ll find cruises vary not only by audience, but also by ship style, cruise duration, port destinations, and more. Don’t find yourself regretting your decision once on-board, but rather put in a little extra pre-planning to find the cruise that is right for you.
Don’t choose the wrong cabin
Once you find the right cruise, the next step is to select an appropriate cabin. Some of the factors you should consider when selecting a cabin include:
- Size: Cabins come in multiple size options. There are smaller cabins suited for one or two guests, and larger cabins well equipped for families. Our recommendation? Don’t book a larger room than you need. Chances are you’ll find yourself spending more time outside the cabin exploring the ship.
- View: Some cabins come with a clear view of the ocean, while others may be located towards the interior of the cruise ship. If you wish to have a clear view of the surrounding water, book your cabin in advance (and expect to pay for it).
- Price: Larger cabins located near the deck will cost more than smaller cabins that are towards the interior of the cruise ship. Consider your budget and determine the most comfortable type of cabin you can afford.
Don’t fly into the port city on the day of departure
What could possibly be a worse way to start a cruise than if the ship leaves without you? If you’re flying into the port city, plan to arrive at least a day before departure. This gives you enough leeway to accommodate flight delays or other travel complications. Arriving early also allows you the opportunity to explore the port city before the cruise ship departs.
Don’t book your return flight too early (on the day of arrival)
Cruise ships are both transport and accommodation vessels. This means that checking out procedures include settling financial matters as well as clearing with customs (in the case of an international cruise).
Because these procedures tend to be time consuming, avoid booking your return flight too close to the arrival time of your cruise ship. A slight delay during checkout may cause you to miss your flight.
Don’t forget about excursions!
Excursions are the bread and butter of your cruise trip. Sure they are an added expense, but they give you an opportunity to engage in truly memorable activities, from seeing the shorelines via zipline or exploring new cultures and customs.
When booking a cruise, make sure you work with a booking service that understands what your interests are. For example, DestyDo considers what your preferred activities are and matches you with cruises that will bring your dream vacation to life.
Don’t pack at the last minute
Preparing for cruises is essential towards having a relaxed, stress-free trip. Preparation involves packing well ahead of time. Not sure what to pack? Try downloading a cruise packing list to give you a better idea of some of the items you should bring and surely don’t want to forget!
Packing early also allows you to make inquiries about what you can and can’t have on board the ship.
Don’t forget your legal documents
Your ID/Passport are always important documents to have whenever you travel on an international or local trip. Make sure you carry these in your carry-on luggage during the cruise.
Travel insurance may also come in handy. If you lose your luggage or miss your cruise (because of reasons such as illness), the insurance policy will likely reimburse you for all travel costs incurred.
Don’t travel with the wrong person
Your first cruise should be a truly memorable experience. As you plan for your trip, carefully consider who you’ll be traveling with. Your travel partner should make you feel safer, less stressed, and bring out the best aspects of your vacation! Make sure your budgets, interests, and timeline of vacationing are aligned to mitigate any stressful situations that could arise during your trip. While cruises are a versatile vacation, usually having something for everyone, it is always important that you and your travel partners are on the same page.
Bringing the kids on vacation is also something to consider. Indeed, their curious nature leads to humorous questions that add a great atmosphere to your trip. In addition, some cruise ships cater solely to the family experience. However, your kids might be the whole reason you’re going on vacation! If this is the case, it doesn’t hurt to have them visit with their grandparents while you take a relaxing, less worrisome cruise.
Don’t forget to monitor your phone bill
Phones are part and parcel of our daily lives. However, while on a cruise ship, you can easily incur hefty roaming charges. Closely monitor your phone usage while on a cruise. Instead of policing social media, try to enjoy the experience by disconnecting from the usual distractions of your daily life.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay connected every once in a while in case of an emergency. Establish a routine for regularly checking missed calls, checking in with family and responding to messages.
Don’t forget your sunscreen!
For the sake of having a great time basking under the sun (yes, there is even sun on Alaskan cruises), you should definitely carry sunscreen. During the cruise, there will be plenty of outdoor activities such as live entertainment, poolside lounging, and on-shore excursions. While there is sunscreen for sale on the ship, it will cost much more than what you would regularly pay.
Whether it is your first time cruising or you are a seasoned travel veteran, cruises are such a unique way to see the world. To get the best out of your trip, it is important to do a little planning ahead of time, and avoid some common pitfalls that we often forget to think about.
With DestyDo by your side, expect to find a cruise that fits your needs and interests. Whether it be on land or sea, we are here to help you have an adventure of a lifetime… that is, until your next vacation!