Tips for a Smooth Cruise Experience

Dated: 04/14/2019

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Going on a cruise is a great way to unplug, relax and travel to multiple destinations in one trip.  The thought of cruising can also be quite overwhelming for those who have never cruised before. There’s a lot to think about while planning for your trip, along with the process of embarkation (boarding your cruise ship).    

Below are some tips to help curb travel-induced stress and maximize your enjoyment as you set sail for your amazing cruise vacation.  


Be a smart packer!

In addition to the obvious essentials, consider your destination(s) and excursion(s) that you will be going on as you are packing.  Are you headed for a tropical rainforest climate? You will definitely want to pack a poncho! Headed to a cooler climate? Bring jackets and clothes for layering! Comfortable footwear for excursions is also a must!

Get the scoop on cruise line dress codes.  Some have formal dining events where casual wardrobe will not be allowed in the dining room.  

Pack a light weight carry-on bag with embarkation day essentials, including snacks, drinks, a change of clothes, a jacket & hat, medications, sunblock, battery pack and charging cables for mobile devices and your travel documents.  If you are embarking on a tropical or Caribbean cruise, don’t forget your bathing suit, flip flops and cover up! It will likely be hours before your luggage is delivered to your stateroom and you will want to change and slip into vacation mode.   

Be sure you have up to date documents (passports, etc.) way in advance of your trip.  You will want to have all of your documents in order and keep them in a safe place in your carry-on.  Ziploc bags are great for keeping your important documents together so they are safe and dry. Bring a couple of extras!  

Familiarize yourself with your cruise line’s rules regarding what you are and aren’t allowed to bring on the ship.  Do not pack any prohibited items, or you may have an embarkation delay (or bigger problem) on your hands.

If you are worried about sea-sickness, be sure to pack Sea-Bands and/or motion sickness medication like Dramamine. You can even being taking motion sickness medication a couple of days prior and/or board the ship wearing the bands.  

Travel Planning Musts.

Fly in a day early!  You don’t want to be dealing with added stress if your flight is delayed or cancelled and you miss your embarkation time.  

Get cash in advance.  Also, call your credit card company and provide them with a travel advisory so your credit account doesn’t get locked up while you are traveling.    

Plan transfer transportation before your trip begins.  You don’t want to be standing in the baggage line at the airport without a transfer plan and risk getting stranded.  

Give yourself plenty of extra time in your itinerary!!  


Embarkation Day.

Know your embarkation time and plan ahead!  Expect to wait in long lines. Show up super early and be one of the first people in line, or come on the later side of your embarkation time if you want to avoid standing in long lines.  If you are showing up later, be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the end of the embarkation time period.

Know your stateroom number.  

Have your important travel documents in order and in an easy-to-grab spot in your carry-on bag.  

Once you’re on board, explore the ship. Hit the pool. Stop by the excursion desk and plan your excursions, spa appointments and specialty dining reservations before everybody else does.  If you are traveling with kids, stop by the kids club and sign up for onboard kids activities (if you haven’t done so in advance). Meet your cabin steward and let them know any requests you have.  Plan on attending a mandatory safety drill (required even if you have cruised before).

Avoid the buffet on embarkation day!  Most cruisers board the ship hungry from the long, drawn out travel and embarkation process.  Buffets on embarkation day are typically a madhouse, crowded with disoriented passengers and their belongings all over the place.  Seek an alternative dining option, if possible.

Now it’s time to….Sit back. Relax.  Enjoy your cruise!!

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Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams has been involved with real estate since 2008. She has been a private money lender for Fix-N-Flip Deals, Flipped homes herself, bought and sold homes on lease options, subject- to, an....

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