If you are pregnant and are going to be in your third
trimester (27 weeks) they will not allow you to board the ship.
Notify the cruise ship of any special dietary
restrictions or requests at least 60 days prior to departure.
Leave copies of your passport, airline tickets,
travelers cheques and credit cards with a family member or a friend.
Discuss you travel plans with a doctor. Some
countries may require certain immunizations. Bring any immunization
records with you.
If you tend to get motion sickness, see your doctor
prior to departure for recommendations. Dramamine and patches often work
to curb seasickness.
It may be easier to email friends and family members
back home if you have established a Web-based email account, such as
Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL, beforehand.
Call the airline you are flying with and confirm your
reservation 24 hours prior to departure.
If you have an ongoing medical condition, ask your
family doctor to write up your brief medical history, which you can take
with you and provide in the event of a problem.
Check your cruise ticket and verify its information.
Check your airline ticket and verify its information.
If you book cruise only, you are responsible for
getting to the ship from the airport.
If you plan to bring a hair dryer or an electric
razor, check the cabin voltage. You may need an adaptor.
Give relatives and friends the ship's telephone
number, in case of an emergency.
If you booked an air/sea package through a cruise
line and you missed the ship because of late/cancelled flight, the
cruise line will get you to the next port.
Arrive at the embarkation area at leas two hours
prior to sailing.
Complete the immigration/embarkation and the onboard
credit card application forms before you register at the check-in desk.
Ask for a receipt when you hand over your passport.
Don't purchase duty-free alcohol to take onboard. It
is confiscated until the last day of the cruise.
Purchase some guidebooks so you can read about the
ports of call you will be visiting.
If you plan on scuba diving, consider becoming
certified before you embark on the cruise. You'll save time and money.
Check what sort of identification you need when
traveling to your destinations.
If you plan on working out, don't forget some gym
Pack different clothes for the different climates you
Life aboard a cruise ship is laid-back and casual.
Dress for comfort.
Bring two or three swimsuits.
Footwear should include walking/running shoes and
When cruising outside warm weather destinations,
never underestimate the importance of a sweater/sweatshirt, a raincoat,
a hat and gloves.
During "casual" dining, t-shirts, jeans and shorts
are not allowed in the dining rooms.
During "informal" dining, women typically wear
dresses or pantsuits, while men usually wear lightweight jackets.
During "formal" dining, women should be prepared to
wear cocktail dresses or gowns, while men should consider wearing
business suits or tuxedos (though not required).
Some cruises let you preorder formalwear, thus
eliminating the need to pack it.
If you're traveling to warm weather destinations, do
not forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Consider bringing a small amount of detergent for
washing clothes within your own cabin. Almost all ships have
laundry-facilities, but they can be costly - especially dry cleaning.
Most ships have powerful air conditioning. A
sweater/sweatshirt may come in handy.
Bring a camera. Cruise photographers charge high
prices to take your picture.
Pack enough prescription medication for the entire
voyage. Ships only stock general medications and ports may not have them
Do not pack your passport, visas, driver's license,
medications, cruise documents or airline tickets in luggage. Keep them
in a purse, jacket or backpack.
Pack a written list of your medications, including
the name of the drug, dosage and times taken, in case they are lost.
These items should be packed in your carry-on:
perishables, liquor, cash, credit/debit cards, jewelry, business
documents, travel and health insurance information, laptops, computer
disks, cell phones, cameras, binoculars, film, videotapes, CD's and
Bring credit cards and travelers cheques instead of
large amounts of cash.
Pack a water bottle so you can bring water from the
ship onshore. Or just purchase bottled water at the ports of call.
Use hard-sided luggage. Do not use garment bags with
hanger hooks protruding from the top.
Put a card with your name and address inside your
luggage, as well as on the outside.
If you're cruising alone, consider participating in a
cruise line's "guaranteed share rate," which is a program that finds you
a roommate of the same sex. This will help you avoid paying the
If you are cruising alone, expect to pay a "single's
supplement" that can be anywhere from 10-100% of the per person rate.
One way to reduce the expenses of a longer cruise is
to choose a repositioning voyage, which is when a cruise line moves a
ship from one region to another between seasons.
You can also save money through early-bird discounts,
which are discounts given for advanced booking.
Heavily discounted rates are often available during a
destination's off-season. Determine when that off-season is and look for
cruises during those months.
If you are crunched for time, book a 3- or 4-day
cruise. You'll save some money and still enjoy the experience of a
Compare different cruise lines that operate similar
itineraries in the geographical region you'd like to cruise.
Compare ship sizes and facilities.
If you are worried about getting seasick, book a
cabin in the middle portion of the ship, both vertically and
Inside cabins, which do not provide an ocean view,
are the least expensive.
Outside cabins have a porthole or a window. More
lavish outside cabins may have private balconies.
Suites usually provide a separate bedroom, a living
area, and a bathroom, and are the most expensive. They may or may not
come with a private balcony.
If you're traveling with your partner, make sure that
any smaller beds in your cabin can be adjoined. Or request a double bed.
If you have a disability, make sure that the ship can
accommodate your needs.
Because of noise problems, avoid booking a cabin near
the ship's laundry, generator, galley or clubs.
Many cruise lines describe suites as accommodations
that are simply larger cabins with a curtain dividing the sitting and
sleeping areas. Before booking a suite, make sure it is what you
If you need to stay wired while onboard, find a
cruise ship with an Internet café or in-cabin data ports.
An increasing number of cruises offer accommodations
for birthdays, anniversaries, business meetings and other special
events. If you have reason to celebrate, find out what packaged
amenities are available.
Most cruises offer pre- and post-cruise packages that
involve accommodations, excursions and transfers. These packages are
excellent ways to extend vacations.
Check the demographics of ships carefully, especially
if you are traveling alone or with children.
Many cruise lines offer special children's programs
and activities. If you have kids, inquire about children's facilities
If you are a non-smoker and prefer not to be around
those who smoke, book a cruise on Carnival's Paradise, the world's first
and only completely smoke-free ship.
Remember that 3- and 4-day cruises typically attract
younger passengers, as do cruises on weekends and school breaks.
For a more intimate cruise with personalized service,
choose a smaller ship that accommodates roughly 500 passengers.
For a good choice of company and more activity,
select a medium-size ship with 500-1,000 passengers.
In you crave lots of organized entertainment,
high-tech facilities and lots of potential friends, choose a large ship
with 1,000-3,000 passengers. These ships are destinations in themselves.
If you seek relaxation, a "port a day" cruise may
become exhausting. Choose an itinerary that balances sea days with port
Remember that shore excursion expenses are typically
not included in the cruise fare.
Expect to pay $20-100+ for shore excursions.
If you are elderly or have a handicap, you may not be
able to go ashore at some ports. Check with the cruise line.
Check with the cruise director or physician about
where to eat onshore. Some food items and beverages, especially water,
may be off limits.
To explore a city more in depth or to see an aspect
of it not included in the fare, consider traveling on your own rather
than with a tour group.
Book shore excursions as soon as possible after
boarding a ship.
You aren't likely to be covered under a ship's
insurance if you explore on your own. Check the details of your ship's
cruise policy beforehand.
During a shore excursion, always carry
identification, the name of your ship and its docked location. Take a
photocopy of your passport with you as well.
If you explore on your own, it up to you to get back
to the departure point on time. If you miss a launch, you'll have to
meet the ship at the next port - at your expense.
Leave valuables, excess cash and unneeded credit
Guides may give you badges to wear for
identification, but bear in mind these identifiers only make it easier
for shop keepers and thieves to target you.
Tie your swimsuit.
Many cruise lines offer in-cabin babysitting. Take
advantage of this service.
Plan to spend about $10-15 a day for tips.
Tip waiters, headwaiters, shore guides, spa and salon
experts, cabin stewards and any other persons who give extra-special
On many cruises, a 15% gratuity is automatically
added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs.
Do not leave valuables out in the open in your cabin.
You do not have to soak up all of the sun on the
Drink in moderation. Most onboard mishaps are alcohol
Don't panic if your luggage isn't in your cabin when
you arrive. It may take a few hours for luggage to be distributed.
Learn the exit route from your cabin to the open
decks, in case of emergency.
Sign up for salon appointments, health spa services,
sports and all other activities early.
If you booked an air/sea package and your luggage
does not arrive, the airline is responsible for delivering it to the
next port. Give the airline an itinerary and a list of port agents.
Inspect your cabin and report any complaints
Few ships offer tables for two dining. If yours does,
ask the maitre d' to provide accommodations for you and your partner.
Attend the lifeboat drill and pay attention to the
Note the phone number for the ship's hospital or
doctor in case of emergency.
Grab your deck plan and take a walk to familiarize
yourself with the layout of the ship, and learn how to reach your cabin
from the main stairways.
Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks not consumed at
dinner, laundry, phone calls, casino gambling and other various
activities are not included in the cruise fare.
At the end of the cruise, you will receive a bill for
signed items. If extra charges appear, ask to see all the charge slips
and get a copy of a modified bill.
If your cruise is less than satisfactory, inform the
cruise line representative immediately. For valid complaints, cruise
lines may offer credit toward a future cruise.