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what to pack on a cruise

Cruise Tips - What to Pack on a Cruise and More

Every day, more and more people are discovering the all-inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. Last year alone approximately seven million people enjoyed a cruise vacation.  To ensure you have a smooth trip, consider these cruise tips, including what to pack on a cruise, what to bring on a cruise and more.  And as always, remember to consult with a travel agent for your next cruise to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Cruise Tips

  • Check what sort of identification you need when traveling to your destinations.cruise tips

  • 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 your 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.

  • Check and confirm your airline 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, most cruise lines will get you to the next port.

  • Arrive at the embarkation area at least two hours prior to sailing.

  • Complete the immigration/embarkation and the onboard credit card application forms before you register at the check-in desk

  • 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.
  • Pack different clothes for the different climates you foresee experiencing.

  • If you plan on working out, don't forget some gym clothes.tips for cruising

  • 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 sandals.

  • 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 cruise lines 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 best cruise tipshave 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 (keep drugs in prescription bottles). Ships only stock general medications and ports may not have them available.

  • 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,videotapes, CD's and cassette tapes.

  • 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 "single's supplement."luxury cruise tips

  • 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 lifetime.

  • 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 horizontally.

  • 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.

  • If you smoke, consider a balcony stateroom where you can smoke outside.

  • Suites usually provide a separate bedroom, a living area, and a bathroom, and are the most expensive. They cruise tips luxurymay 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 envision.

  • If you need to stay wired while onboard, find a cruise ship with an Internet caf? 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 before booking.

  • 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 days.
  • Remember that shore excursion expenses are typically not included in the cruise fare.

  • Expect to pay $20-100+ for shore excursions.tips for cruisers

  • 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 either before you leave or immediately 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 cards aboard.

  • 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.

  • Many cruise lines offer in-cabin babysitting. Take advantage of this service.

  • Plan to spend about $10-15 a day for tips.cruising tips

  • Tip waiters, headwaiters, shore guides, spa and salon experts, cabin stewards and any other persons who give extra-special service.

  • 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 first day.

  • Drink in moderation. Most onboard mishaps are alcohol related.

  • 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 immediately.

  • 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 information given.

  • 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.