I love to cruise. Getting out on the high seas is so peaceful and beautiful. The gentle sway of the ship back and forth really relaxes me. But there are some things that can really ruin your cruise if you are not prepared in advance. Now I can’t take all the credit for writing this week’s E-Newsletter. I read most of these tips on Conde Nast Traveler but I have to share them as they are very good points. So next time you start planning a cruise make sure to avoid these mistakes:
Mistake #1: Bringing the extra-large suitcase! Yes, staterooms are getting bigger and bigger and most of the time you can stow your larger suitcases under the bed. However, this doesn’t hold true for all cruise ships especially those older ships. If you bring an extra-large suitcase it may have to stay out next to the sofa the whole cruise. Bring the smaller suitcase and roll your clothes to save space.
Mistake #2: Not booking your shore excursions in advance. Nowadays every cruise line uses the internet to make it easier for their cruise clients to make their excursion reservations. They have them broken down by port, pricing, and activity level. Some cruise lines are better than others with how descriptive they are but overall you get the idea of what to expect on the excursion. If you are taking the time to read them online and find one you like then simply add it to your cart. You can also make a list and send it to your travel agent, but make sure to book early or it may not be available by the time you board the ship.
Mistake #3: Not bringing your own conditioner. Most cruise lines provide you shampoo in the dispenser adhered to the shower wall and soap. Ladies, make sure to bring your own conditioner because you want those formal night photos to look fantastic.
Mistake #4: It’s HOT – not talking about the weather, but the amazing deals! A deeply discounted cruise is a great deal, right? Well, I have always been told that if it is too good to be true it is. You really want to see Alaska and that deal for May is amazing but are you prepared for snow? Or how about a really discounted Caribbean cruise in September but be prepared for hurricanes with tidal waves. Always consider the climate or season for the areas you will be traveling.
Mistake #5: Flying in the same day as your European cruise. I have always told my clients that they should arrive a few days earlier when taking any type of European cruise. Sometimes the cruise line does not stay in port overnight the day you board so you will miss out on an amazing city. Take the time and explore the city where your cruise begins. Arriving early also allows you peace of mind knowing you will make it to the ship on time.
Mistake #6: This one ties in with Mistake #4. Not expecting rainy weather on your Alaskan cruise. Rain and sometimes snow are very common when taking an Alaskan cruise. June seems to be a good month to try to stay dry but there are no guarantees. A raincoat and umbrella are a must for an Alaskan Cruise.
Mistake #7: Booking a cruise during a school holiday. Unless you have children where you have to get your vacations in when they are out of school, booking a cruise during any type of holiday or school break is not a good time for those looking to have a more adult friendly cruise. This does not hold true to all cruises, but I would try to avoid any Caribbean or Hawaiian cruises during holidays.
Mistake #8: Assuming everything is included onboard. This can be a bit confusing for some first time cruisers. The pricing you receive is for mostly basic amenities unless you are cruising with an All-Inclusive cruise line, which are more expensive. Specialty dining, fitness classes, spa treatments, excursions, gratuities, and even soda packages are a few of the extras once onboard. Now a days a lot of cruise lines have been giving away onboard credits for you to try out some of these extra amenities, but don’t be fooled, some are quite pricy and your onboard credit will not cover the full cost.
This was a great article written by Heidi Sarna, Bon Voyage Magazine with some additional tidbits from me. I wanted to share this article with everyone because I believe that at least one of them has happened to us on one of our cruise adventures. As always, make sure to ask your travel consultant questions about your next cruise. We are here to make sure that you have the best experience possible and avoid mistakes like those above.
The anxiety of how much will the trip cost, how am I going to entertain them for a week, which parks should we do, where to eat, dining plan or no dining plan, etc. Yikes!