Going on a cruise for your vacation can be a wonderful and an exhilarating experience. It is not often that you can go on a leisurely cruise, as you need more time for this sort of vacation. Choose the best time to travel to ensure that you get the most out of your cruise ship vacation. The following are some tips to help you prepare.
- Determine the places that you want to visit and look for the cruise ship that have these places in their itinerary.
- Make your booking and check all the necessary requirements. Once you have confirmed your booking you will need to complete immigration information. Ensure that it is very accurate and that the name that appears in your cruise booking is the same as the name that appears on your passport. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months during your cruise.
- Travel document requirements vary from country to country. A valid passport is required for almost all areas. To ensure a hassle free cruise, bring a copy of your birth certificate and government-issued identification card with picture. You should also have a copy of your naturalization card if that is applicable. US and Canadian citizens still need a valid passport for international travel to places such as Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe, India, South Pacific and Central and South America.
- Check the visa requirements for all the countries that you will be visiting. You are responsible for securing the visas. Visa and travel documentation requirements can change from time to time and by destination and you have to check and look for the latest guidelines. You should secure the visas and travel documentation for each port of entry at least thirty days prior to your scheduled cruise. Some countries such as Benin, Togo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, The Gambia and Indonesia will issue a temporary visa upon the cruise ship’s arrival.
- It is also your responsibility to update your vaccination certificate. You will have to carry the original copy of your complete vaccination certificate with you. This has to be presented to all ports of entry that will require it. You can verify current regulations through the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. You should also discuss with your doctors about all the vaccination and immunization requirements when you plan to take a cruise.
- Check all the activities and functions that will be happening aboard the cruise ship. You have the option not to attend all the functions but do ensure that you bring some formal wear with you for the Captain’s dinner and other formal gatherings. Bring plenty of lightweight leisure outfits that will be easy to maintain and dry. Choose cotton shirts and pants and shorts that will keep well in hot and humid weather. Bring a windbreaker, a thick jacket to ward off the strong sea breeze especially at night. Pack lightly and bring only the essentials depending on the places that you will visit. Cruise ships have several stores where you can buy supplies and clothing in an emergency.
- Take a first aid kit with you and bring your prescribed medicine in their original containers so they cannot be mistaken for illegal drugs. Bring your prescriptions with you for extra insurance.
- Place important documents in sealed plastic pouches to protect them and seal out moisture. Make another copy and store it somewhere else in your luggage. Get a fanny pouch or a belt wallet where you can keep your personal identification card and cash.
- Get travel insurance with extensive coverage that will be honored internationally. Also check your medical insurance and see if you can extend its coverage for international doctor and hospital visits, even if the cruise ship is fully equipped with medical supplies, personnel and equipment.
Check off each item in your packing list and ensure that you have your mobile phone, your video and digital camera, extra battery packs and memory cards and prepare to have a grand time aboard the cruise ship for a truly memorable vacation.