- Plan to arrive at your departure city a day or more before the cruise
Your ship may leave in the late afternoon, but a delayed flight or heavy traffic is not a fun way to start your holiday! If you are late, the ship will leave without you so it is always best to plan to arrive the day before or, even better, arrive a few days before so that you have the opportunity to explore the departure city a little too!
- Pack a carry-on bag
Typically you’ll board the ship well before your luggage reaches your cabin, so pack any necessities, medication, important documents, phone chargers, in a carry-on bag. If you’ve got room, include items like swimmers and sunscreen so you can immediately jump in the pool or soak up the sunshine without having to wait for your other bags.
- Pre-book activities before you leave home
If you’re determined to enjoy a particular shore excursion, spa service, class or specialty restaurant, book them in advance. “Reservations onboard book quickly — especially during high-traffic times like any of the Holiday seasons. Depending on the cruiseline, these open in your cruise personaliser a few months in advance so speak to your consultant so they can advise as soon as you can do this!
- Switch your mobile to airplane mode
International roaming rates can cost hundreds of dollars, even if you don’t make a call, so switch to airplane mode or contact your mobile phone carrier about travel-worthy phone plans. Many passengers have come home to an outrageous phone bill because they didn't understand how it worked on a cruise ship.
- Don’t assume the cruise is all-inclusive.
Cruise fares typically cover the cabin, meals, onboard activities and entertainment. Expect to pay extra for drink packages, gratuities, internet, and shore excursions. It is always good to check what is included before you leave!
- Pace yourself
Each day you’ll receive a copy of the ship’s newsletter with scheduled activities and events. The options can be overwhelming — movies, dance classes, arts and crafts, seminars, comedians, bands, shows — not to mention time for meals, swimming and tanning. Wondering how to fit it all in? You won’t, so mark your top choices. You don’t want to end your cruise feeling like you need a vacation.
- Watch the clock
Some ports are in different time zones than the ship’s clock, so make sure the times match. Passengers are usually required to be back on board 30 minutes before the ship’s departure. And the ship won’t wait if you’re late!
- Relax and enjoy
“A bad day on a cruise ship is better than a good day at work!”