6 Invaluable Cruise Planning Tips for Retirees
By Guest Writer Sophia Young
Have you ever tried going on a cruise as part of your winter activities? If you’re the type who doesn’t enjoy the cold or you just want to see more of the world, a cruise could be right for you. Cruise trips are not only senior-friendly, but they’re also enjoyable and easy on the budget too.
With that said, you need to plan for everything beforehand. Like any trip abroad, going on a cruise means taking care of a few things before you start packing. Here are 6 invaluable cruise planning tips that every retiree needs to know.
- Account For All Your Luggage Basics
When it comes to cruise packing, it’s important to account for all the basics you would need on the cruise. Apart from clothes and cash, you need to prepare a checklist to make sure everything is accounted for. Depending on how long your cruise lasts, you would need to pack several extras of every travel essential.
Make sure you have your prescription medication – enough to last the entire trip and a few more days after. While cruises have toiletries provided for, you may still want to have a few special toiletries to make everything much easier.
Keep medication and several changes of clothes in your carry-on luggage. Check-in luggage may take time to reach you and even get lost, so you want to have something ready.
- Inform The Staff of Your Needs Ahead of Time
Part of preparing for a cruise is notifying the cruise staff of your needs. If you check out how CruiseTipsTV prepared for a Royal Caribbean Cruise [VLOG: How We Are Preparing For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise], you will see that the staff are more than happy to provide most things that you’ll ask from them.
For starters, check with the cruise staff how they can accommodate special needs. Most cruises will have setups for disabled passengers, including railings and movement assistance equipment. Wheelchairs are usually available for the duration of the cruise.
On-cruise doctors can perform some emergency procedures, and replenish some prescriptions for common medication. Calling ahead can help set you up for the right room, whether it’s for wider doors or bathrooms with roll-in showers. Telling the staff what you need can help them prepare for everything that can help you stay comfy.
- Take Advantage of Retiree Discounts
Seniors have a special discount with cruise lines, something that many younger passengers can’t access. It’s best to maximize this discount and use it as needed by checking with a travel agent or directly from the cruise company. You can get a nice discount with some cruise lines and special promotions for members of the AARP.
If you book as far as 9 months in advance, you can even get somewhere between a 5 to 10% discount. These are mostly for select cruises, so read the terms and conditions of the discount before you book a cruise. If you’re traveling alone, it’s also smart to book single occupancy rooms.
Most cruises offer double-occupancy rooms by default, which can cost solo traveling seniors a little extra money. Make sure to ask for the availability of single rooms. Most cruises have oversized single and studio rooms, especially those with special access to several locations and nice views.
- Choose Shore Excursions That Are Suitable For You
Among the most enjoyable aspects of cruise travel are the extracurricular activities and the shore excursions. If you’re going on a cruise, check on the itinerary and make sure that the activities they have are suitable for you. Depending on your level of mobility, you may want to opt for a more leisurely activity if you have issues with movement.
If you want to learn the activities of the ship, there should be brochures for the line or some online information about its different destinations. Often times you will see several icons that indicate what kinds of activities you can expect. If you see beach destinations or city sprawls, be sure to read the excursion description for mobility details.
Most tour descriptions will notify visitors if the excursion will include extensive walking and standing. Don’t overestimate what you can do. Know your limits and don’t overextend, otherwise pick and choose the excursions you’ll join in.
- Invest In Travel Insurance
Cruise vacations can be physically taxing and will likely have complicated itineraries for your entertainment. One mishap can ruin the entire thing and cause an untoward injury, especially if you’re a retiree. It’s vital to opt for travel insurance outside the limited option that some cruise lines provide.
Most travel insurance policies have several levels of coverage. You want, at the very least, some coverage for accidental injury and illness during the cruise. Most insurance policies will also be more than happy to reimburse you for canceled trips or even help you rebook flights.
When it comes to cruises, you want comprehensive travel insurance for something that will last a few weeks. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, this can be a literal lifesaver. The price tag for travel insurance changes according to the time frame, age, and general cost of the trip. Always buy insurance within a week of the trip, at most.
- Pace Yourself
Many feel that a cruise offers a near-infinite level of freedom. For retirees, it’s important to not overdo it. Pace yourself with indulgence, especially on the food and alcohol. While it’s one thing to enjoy a good meal, overindulgence can wreak havoc on your health, especially on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Try to mix it up with the food. A steak a day shouldn’t be too bad but couple that with some decadent desserts and carbs, you’re toeing the line a little too tight. Try to go for healthier items as well like salads and veggies to get the right nutrition.
Review the activities for the day and see if they’re appealing to you. If you feel tired after several activities on the tour, don’t hesitate to stay in your cabin to relax. There are several relaxation venues within the ship that won’t have the typical crowd of people.
The Bottom Line
Are you ready to try a cruise? If you’re not sure if a voyage is right for you, follow our tips above and see the experience is right for you. Planning a cruise can take time, but it will be an exciting time for sure.
See more cruise articles here.
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