So, you’ve finally booked your dream cruise vacation and wants to experience only the best? A cruise trip is way more different from any other type of trip whether you are doing this for the first time or this is something you have done for a while. Furthermore, the cruise line is constantly improving, innovating and making changes to give its passengers an unforgettable experience.
When going on a cruise trip, you must plan ahead of time. The moment you board that cruise ship, you are theirs. Meaning, if you forget to pack or buy something, then you will have to do without it.
To help you plan a truly memorable high seas vacation and enjoy it to the maximum, below is everything you will need to know right after booking your cruise to preparation and embarkation.
1. Have your travel documents ready
After booking your cruise ship, the next thing you need to do is to ensure all your travel documents are ready. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your cruise. Your identification documents such as your driver’s license should be valid as well. More so, don’t forget to apply for visas to your port destinations not later than three months after you have booked your cruise ticket. Please, take this very seriously. If your travel documents aren’t up to date, your dream cruise vacation may go to waste and you will have no one to blame.
2. Get a travel insurance
Getting an insurance cover doesn’t mean something terrible will happen. It means you are covering yourself just in case something goes hire wire. This is particularly crucial if you are travelling with kids. Just basic travel insurance is absolutely okay but if you would want more assurance, then don’t hesitate to get a comprehensive travel insurance that covers evacuation, medical and trip cancellation due to emergencies.
3. Book the best cabin
Cruises have four types of cabins. The inside cabin is the cheapest among the four. If you want to choose it, keep in mind that it doesn’t have windows. Then there is the outside cabin with not only a window but an ocean view window. The other one is the balcony cabin which has its own mini-deck. The sophisticated one is the suite which is larger, gorgeous but of course the most expensive. Choose the cabin depending on your needs and your budget.
4. Consider boarding later
As much as you are excited to board the ship for your long-awaited trip, showing up immediately after the boarding window open will lead to a lot of waiting. Almost everyone wants to get in and this leads to longer queues. Hence, if you want to board faster, then show up about an hour before the boarding window closes. It will take you about 10 to 20 minutes to check in and board. You won’t have to deal with long lines nor the mad rush that is usually the case right after the boarding window opens.
5. Pack the necessities
Your itinerary should help you to pack what you’ll actually need. Otherwise, there is no need of packing things that you will not use. For instance, if you didn’t book for scuba diving or snorkelling, then just leave the gear at home.
6. Find out what’s not included
Before you indulge in those drinks and other luxurious services, please, make sure you are aware of what is included in the package and what costs extra. Like in most cruise lines, food at the main dining room and the buffet is unlimited. But if you are to dine in speciality restaurants, then you have to pay. Also, on most ships, regular beverages like tea, coffee and juice are free but you will have to pay for other types of drinks such as soda and alcohol.
Ways to save money on a cruise trip
There are so many ways you can save money when travelling on a cruise. Here are just a few clever ways.
Book a hotel near the port
If you don’t want to spend much on your accommodation, then book a hotel near the post. These hotels are ready to do anything that will attract more clients. You will even find some that will allow you to park at their hotels for free or on a discount during your cruise. On top of that, they will also offer a shuttle ride to the cruise port. Saving money on your cruise parking and getting to the port is not something you want to miss.
Book an older ship
If not travelling on the latest and greatest ship doesn’t bother you or ruin the experience you would want to have, then this is a quick way to save some money. Older ships are way cheaper than the newer ones doing the same itinerary. Just that you will miss special things like waterslides and several swimming pools. Therefore, if you want to be out on the water, then go for an older ship. You will save money and still enjoy your cruise vacation.
Check for fare drops
Though tedious, constantly checking the cruise website for price drops can help you save some money. At times you can find good rates if you book early although you might miss out on last-minute offers as well. Do you want sober advice on this? Just wait until you find an offer that suits you and book your cruise. Sometimes, waiting to get the best of the best deal may take forever. The other thing you should do is to pay for your cruise slowly. Don’t be in a hurry to pay off the entire cruise vacation. Even though this is satisfying, if the price drops, you will be the loser. When you have paid only the deposit, you can easily negotiate for a lower price if you see a price drop.
Cruise when schools are in session
If you really want to sail cheap, then consider booking your cruise dates when kids are in school. The idea behind this philosophy is the fact that most families with children aren’t comfortable taking such trips when the kids are in school. Therefore, cruise lines are likely to offer cheap fares just to entice people to sail. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find them reducing the price by half to fill the rooms.
Get the best cruise experience
Hopefully, you will find this extensive list of the best cruise tips and tricks useful for your next cruise vacation. Know the best times to book your cruise and take advantage of the offers available to save money. If you are travelling on a low budget, then consider eying for early booking offers, seasonal specials, last-minute bargains or any other offer you find important when booking your cruise trip. The key point is to have the best cruise experience within your budget.