I've Booked My Cruise...Now What?
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
WooHoo! You're going on a cruise! No matter where you're cruising, there are a few things you should always do.
The first thing you should do once you've booked your trip is to make sure that you have travel insurance purchased. Many factors are used to determine the best insurance for you. Your travel advisor should have sent you at least two plans to look at. I try to send my clients two or three options depending on what type of trip they're taking. I offer the supplier insurance (this is the cruise line or resort where you're staying). Those insurances usually have the benefit of canceling or changing dates without a penalty, but their medical coverages tend to be lower than other third party insurance providers. Third-party providers tend to have better coverage, but fewer options when it comes to changing dates or canceling unless you have a medical or professional reason. Read the entire policies closely to determine which insurance is best for you.
The next thing you should do is get a passport if you are traveling internationally. If you have a passport, grab it and check your expiration date. Most countries have rules on when you travel and the expiration date of your passport. If it expires within a year, you may need to send it in for renewal. Also, be sure and send your travel advisor a copy of your passport in case something happens while you are overseas. If your cruise departs and returns to the United States, a passport isn't usually required, BUT I always recommend having one in case there is an emergency and you need it.
Whether you leave in 6 days or 24 months from now, look at a packing list. Some places like Alaska, Antarctica, or even the Galapagos Islands will have very specific things listed that you may need (like a good camera or special rain gear). Those costs can add up, so not to be spending all your extra money right before you cruise, look at a packing list soon after you pack, make a list on Amazon of things you may want to purchase and start getting those items around. I also recommend having a box or special place you store those items so they don't end up lost.
And last keep up to date with where you're traveling. Check the World Health Organization or Department of Defense for travel advisories, check the weather about two weeks before you leave, and if you have a travel advisor, check with them for the best excursions or any other ship information you may need.
Each cruise line has special things that you must do before you board (this is known as embarkation). Once you have your passport, your booking is paid in full, and you have downloaded all apps you may need, complete any check-in procedures to expedite the process. If I am your travel advisor, I will send you an email when each of these things need to be done. If you're booking on your own, be sure to watch for emails and check with your cruise line to see what you need to do!
Last, but not least, Go and enjoy that cruise!