So you’ve booked a cruise! Congrats, and I bet you are excited! As with all vacations, your trip will go much smoother, and you will enjoy it much more if you do some pre-planning and preparation in advance. Here is a handy checklist of things to think about prior to leaving on your cruise. As always, if in any doubt, talk to your travel agent!
Note: for several of these items, see some of my previous blog entries for additional advice and information!
Checklist of To-do Items after you’ve booked
Discuss with Travel Agent
|Buy trip insurance (consider any coverage your credit card carrier may provide).||Yes|
|Make Payment – Initial Deposit|
|Make Payment – Final payment|
|Book hotel/lodging pre-trip.||Yes|
|Book hotel/lodging post-trip.||Yes|
|Research Internet costs onboard ship|
|Research cell phone costs onboard. Contact cruise line and/or your cell phone carrier.|
|Register and “check in” online with cruise line|
|Arrange for parking at port of call (if needed)|
|Watch video tours of itinerary/destinations (online)|
|Decide on (and pre-purchase?) Cruise activities: dining; shows; spa etc.||Yes|
|Decide on (and pre-purchase?) shore trips/excursions. E.g. horseback riding, golf, snorkeling, etc.||Yes|
|Create Packing List|
|Read insurance agreement throughly|
|Pack for trip: clothes etc (use Packing List)|
|Print and take: boarding documents; Insurance agreement; passport|
|Research with your specific cruise line:
Summer (in our hemisphere) is rapidly approaching. This is the time that many people take vacations, simply because it is the time that the kids are out of school! So, it’s a good time to make sure that you are up to date on the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines and tips for traveling with children.
For example, did you know:
- Children 12 and under can leave their shoes on during screening?
- TSA should not and will not ask travelers to do anything that will separate them from their child?
- All child-related equipment that can fit through the X-ray machine should go through the X-ray machine. Examples include: strollers, umbrella-strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats, backpacks, and baby slings.
There is a whole lot more information on the web of course, but the best place to do your reading is straight from the horse’s mouth. So check out this link:
Be sure to view the useful videos on this site as well!
Safe travels! -- Bill.
Carnival is arguably the most popular cruise line out there, at least by sheer number of passengers each year. There are way too many questions (and answers) related to cruises to regurgitate here, but I always advise my clients to make sure they set aside at least one hour and read their Cruise Line’s web site well in advance of their cruise date.
Having said that, I thought it would be useful to post some of the most frequent questions I get, especially from first-time cruisers. Again, this is specific to Carnival, but a lot of this will apply regardless of the cruise line.
- Online check-in is required before your cruise date. Use this link to check in: http://www.carnival.com/BookedGuest
Once you complete all information required for check-in, you will be able to print your cruise documents, including luggage tags, boarding passes and more.
- Passports etc.
US Citizens: Carnival highly recommends all guests travel with a passport (valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel). Although a passport is not required for U.S. citizens taking cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port, travelling with a passport enhances your disembarkation experience, as delays may be expected upon your return to the U.S. if you do not have one. Additionally, passports make it easier for you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port should you miss your scheduled port of embarkation, or need to fly back to the U.S. for emergency reasons.
Non-citizens: U.S. Alien Residents require a valid Alien Resident Card and/or passport (depending on itinerary) to travel on all Carnival cruises. Non-U.S. citizens require a valid machine readable passport and a valid, unexpired U.S. Multiple Re-entry Visa, if applicable, to travel on all Carnival cruises.
Traveling with Children:
When traveling with a minor and both parents/legal guardians are not cruising, we strongly recommend bringing an original, signed letter from the absent parent/legal guardian authorizing the minor to travel with you. This will expedite processing by the Department of Homeland Security. A notarized letter is even better and required if traveling to Mexico.
- What to wear: See this Carnival web page: http://www.carnival.com/Core/FAQ.aspx?faq=wear
Or, refer to my blog entry: T-Shirts to Tuxedos…
- Cell phone and internet usage: See my blog entry: Can I get Wi-fi/Internet on a cruise?
Also see the Carnival Internet Cafe page.
Happy Travels everyone!