How To Prepare For A Cruise

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How To Prepare For A Cruise

Simple tips to prepare for a cruise

There’s SO much to think about before leaving on a cruise, from getting all your travel documents ready to hiring a pet sitter and even watering your plants. We are going to walk you through the process of how to prepare for a cruise and help you break it down into easy steps so you can enjoy a relatively stress free embarkation. We also share this info in video form here, or by scrolling to the bottom of this article.

How to prepare for a cruise – First things first

If you’re a student of our Intro to Cruising Master Class, you already know this tip!

First up, check that passport expiration date well in advance of your cruise – preferably before you book. Now more than ever, you need to be aware of your passport expiration date. Issues like COVID-19 can lead to mailing delays and impact passport processing. Keep in mind that processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility.

At the time of recording, standard passport service is running between 8 and 11 weeks, and that does not include delivery time. Expedited service takes from 5 to 7 weeks excluding mailing times on the front and back end. And that’s the best case scenario, so again, you want to make this a priority.

How to prepare for a cruise - passport

This next tip is super critical, especially during these unpredictable travel times. Our advice is if you’re flying to your cruise port, plan to fly in well before your cruise. A minimum of one, but preferably two days before embarkation will help ensure that any flight or travel delays can be avoided, or at least resolved by the time you’re expected to be on that ship. 

Next, check your cruise line’s health protocols. Testing and vaccination policies are ever-evolving, so we won’t go into specifics here, but your cruise line’s health and safety info on the website will guide you. Better yet, a good travel agent can help you navigate through this and save you time & trouble. 

While you’re at it, have your travel agent book a good travel insurance policy for you, and make sure it covers your flights and pre and post cruise stays. 

How to prepare for a cruise – Getting closer

As you get closer to your cruise, you’ll likely need to check-in via your cruise line’s website. Once you, or your travel agent have completed the check in process, you’ll want to Print or download your boarding documents and pack them where they are easily accessible with your passport or other id. Keep your medication handy too because you’ll be separated from your luggage for a while on embarkation day.

You’ll also want to call your credit card companies before cruising, especially if you’re leaving the country, so they don’t shut off your cards if you try to use them in unfamiliar places. These days this only takes minutes and can save you a ton of hassle. Some companies allow you to do this online too. 

How to prepare for a cruise - credit-card

How to prepare for a cruise – Often overlooked details

Next order of business, call your cell phone provider to explore your options for coverage during your trip. While we recommend you invest in them, Shipboard Internet and cellular plans are generally very pricey, and don’t cover you fully in some cases, like when you’re off the ship.  Contact your mobile provider to explore international options like ATT’s International Day Pass, where you can use your mobile device in certain countries for a low rate. That will help you on port days.  Just be sure to go into airplane mode while ON the ship, even if you’ve purchased an internet package. 

Speaking of cell phones, it’s a good idea to make some space on your cell phone for photos and videos.  I use my phone a lot, and I’m constantly running out of space.  Before I leave for a cruise I always move all my photos and videos off my phone and on to my computer.  That way I’ll never miss a shot because I’m out of space. While you’re at it, check out our tips on how to take better vacation photos.

How to prepare for a cruise – Time to hit the road

Next on your list, be sure luggage is well marked with your contact info in case they get lost – or in the unlikely event your cruise luggage tags are torn off during transit. Just before you travel, Attach your cruise luggage tags to your bags. Consider using clear plastic ones.

How to prepare for a cruise scanning a luggage tag

If you’re flying to port, you may want to wait until after your flight to attach your tags so they don’t get roughed up or torn off. You may also want to invest in a luggage tracking device like airtags, which we’ll link to in the description. 

Getting your home and vehicle ready before you cruise is something that’s easy to overlook. Arranging for a pet sitter, watering plants, adjusting your thermostat and locking all of your doors & windows is a good place to start. If you’re driving to port, getting your car checked out before you cruise can offer peace of mind too. 

And don’t forget to stop your mail. If you live in the U.S., This can be done online at Holdmail.usps.com. You can choose to have accumulated mail delivered on your return or held for pickup at your local post office.

How to prepare for a cruise - mailbox

How to prepare for a cruise – One more thing

Finally, consider making reservations before you cruise. You can book spa visits, drink packages shore excursions, specialty-dining reservations, and on some ships, entertainment up until a few days before you set sail. Check out your options in the online check in area before you cruise. Oh, and be sure to download the cruise line’s app before your embarkation day. While it won’t really work off the ship, you don’t want to deal with downloading it once you’re onboard. 

We hope this article has been helpful. Consider checking us out on Instagram @CruiseTipsTV

See more CruiseTipsTV videos here.

Cruise like a PRO!

Download our shore day bag checklist, and more cruise packing and planning checklists & videos by joining the CruiseTipsTV Academy. We have a special discount code for our readers on this Intro to Cruising Master Class.

To redeem the $5.00 discount on our master class enter code ALLABOARD here, and, welcome to the Academy!

Need a Travel Advisor?

Contact our travel agency partner, Montebello Dream Vacations: Let Wendy know you were referred by CruiseTipsTV when you call. Wendy will match you with the best agent for your needs, and an agent will give you a call back! Phone number is on the website.

Cruise like a PRO!

Download our shore day bag checklist, and more cruise packing and planning checklists & videos by joining the CruiseTipsTV Academy. We have a special discount code for our readers on this Intro to Cruising Master Class.

To redeem the $5.00 discount on our master class enter code ALLABOARD here, and, welcome to the Academy!

Need a Travel Advisor?

Contact our travel agency partner, Montebello Dream Vacations: Let Wendy know you were referred by CruiseTipsTV when you call. Wendy will match you with the best agent for your needs, and an agent will give you a call back! Phone number is on the website.

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Sheri and her family are California based cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.