Five Tips for Planning a Cruise
My family and I are preparing for our first cruise. My parents and siblings have been trying to convince us to take a cruise with them for years. We have finally decided to book a trip for next year. I’ve been researching, and I’d like to share four tips to help you plan your own cruise.
Research Deals and Specials
Cruising has become very popular, so cruise lines are constantly offering special offers. Cruise deals vary based on the company and time you’re traveling. I’ve found specials for lower down payments, onboard credits, upgrades, and more. Another way to save on a cruise is to travel in a group. Some ships have staterooms that sleep up to five people. You can save by splitting the cost of the room equally.
Take Advantage of Travel Agents
If you don’t have time to research cruises on your own, take advantage of a travel agent. They can help you get unadvertised rates and specials. Agents usually get their commission from the cruise lines, so you don’t have to pay for their services. Travel agents can also provide expert advice about add-ons and extras on the ship, which can end up saving you money. Booking with an agent can also be beneficial for travelers who want a payment plan.
Plan Your Activities and Shore Excursions
Once you’ve booked your cruise, start planning your onboard activities and shore excursions. Most ships offer endless entertainment options for adults, kids, and families. Carnival ships has a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast for families that’s just an additional $5 per person. They also offer movies, plays, comedy shows, and more, all included in your booking price. When the ship is docked, book shore excursions like snorkeling, hiking, and private tours, or explore the local culture with a guide.
Plan Your Wardrobe
Another important phase of arranging your trip is planning out your wardrobe. Overpacking is a problem for me, so when I travel, I love to use a travel packing list. This helps me stay organized and plan my outfits for the entire time I’m traveling. Depending on the length of the cruise, you may need elegant clothes for the Captain’s dinner. Your packing list can help you remember all the key essentials for your time on the ship.
Secure Your Travel Documents
Before you get ready to sail, visit the cruise line’s website to ensure you have all the required travel documents. It’s recommended that passengers have a valid passport, but United States citizens on cruises starting and ending at the same port in the US can use an original government-issued picture ID and an original certified birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Minors sixteen and under must have an original certified birth certificate or naturalization certificate to travel.
If you’re flying to your port, book your flight early to save on travel. Search sites like Expedia for flight deals and other specials. If you’re flying to a port, book travel from the airport to the departure port as well.