When you think about preparing for your cruise vacation you probably picture packing a swimsuit and sandals. However there are a few things that are often overlooked that can make a huge difference. If your trip takes you outside the country ensure your passport is valid. As soon as you receive your cruise documents make your reservations for on-board amenities and shore excursions. Assess your available credit and make sure you have plenty of cash. These small steps can greatly enhance your cruise vacation enjoyment.
Depending on where your cruise vacation takes you it is a good idea to get or renew your passport. Recent changes in US law mean that a passport is required to reenter the States from Mexico and the Caribbean. If you already have a passport check the expiration date and make sure it has blank pages. You don’t want to be on the high seas when you realize that it expired a month before or worse during your trip.
If you don’t have one get one as soon as possible and pay the extra money to expedite the process. Once you receive your new passport make several copies of it. If it is lost or stolen you will be very glad you took this step. Give copies to your emergency contact back in the states and put one in your suitcase.
A month or so before your cruise vacation you’ll receive your documents. These contain vital information about the amenities on your ship shore excursions and all the activities available. You can probably make your reservations online. Those who wait until they board their cruise ship to do this will find a long line and inconvenient times available. If you book ahead you can step on board knowing that your spa appointment was not booked during dinner.
You may have booked your cruise vacation to celebrate a birthday anniversary honeymoon or other milestone. Most cruise lines have special packages to enhance your festivities. It is a great idea to give the staff plenty of time to make arrangements such as having hors d’eouvres in your room. Waiting until you are at sea to request twelve dozen orange roses is likely to result in disappointment.
Several months before your cruise vacation assess the amount of credit available on your credit cards. This gives you time to move money around open another card or pay down your balance. Expect that your cruise line will place a hold on your credit card for incidentals upon check in. This hold could range from $50-200 per day.
Confirm your cruise line’s policy with a quick call. This is really important if you plan more hotel stays and car rentals during your vacation which mean multiple holds on your account. While you will ultimately only be charged for actual expenses it make take several days for it all be adjusted. To avoid the embarrassment of a declined credit card during your trip make sure you have enough available credit.
A few days before leaving you’ll want to get some cash. Even though you’ll use your credit card a lot there are times when you’ll need cash. Because of the high rate of fraud traveler’s checks aren’t taken as often as they used to. Most ships these days have ATMs but you can count on a high fee and they sometimes run empty. When you’re on shore you’ll find that street vendors and smaller merchants will only accept cash. Recognize your cruise ship staff for all their great service with cash tips. To avoid a lot of inconvenience on your dream vacation pack some cash.
A little preparation will ensure that you are prepared to fully enjoy every minute of your vacation. Check your passport make your reservations and assess your credit and cash situation. These small but important steps will pay off in cruise vacation enjoyment. Of course pack your swimsuit and sandals and enjoy your trip!