• Check what sort of identification you need when traveling to your destinations.
  • Notify the cruise ship of any special dietary restrictions or requests at least 60 days prior to departure.
  • Leave copies of your passport, airline tickets, travelers cheques and credit cards with a family member or a friend.
  • Discuss your travel plans with a doctor. Some countries may require certain immunizations. Bring any immunization records with you.
  • If you tend to get motion sickness, see your doctor prior to departure for recommendations. Dramamine and patches often work to curb seasickness.
  • It may be easier to email friends and family members back home if you have established a Web-based email account, such as Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL, beforehand.
  • Check and confirm your airline reservation 24 hours prior to departure.
  • If you have an ongoing medical condition, ask your family doctor to write up your brief medical history, which you can take with you and provide in the event of a problem.
  • Check your cruise ticket and verify its information.
  • Check your airline ticket and verify its information.
  • If you book cruise only, you are responsible for getting to the ship from the airport.
  • If you plan to bring a hair dryer or an electric razor, check the cabin voltage. You may need an adaptor.
  • Give relatives and friends the ship’s telephone number, in case of an emergency.
  • If you booked an air/sea package through a cruise line and you missed the ship because of late/cancelled flight, most cruise lines will get you to the next port.
  • Arrive at the embarkation area at least two hours prior to sailing.
  • Complete the immigration/embarkation and the onboard credit card application forms before you register at the check-in desk
  • Don’t purchase duty-free alcohol to take onboard. It is confiscated until the last day of the cruise.
  • Purchase some guidebooks so you can read about the ports of call you will be visiting.
  • If you plan on scuba diving, consider becoming certified before you embark on the cruise. You’ll save time and money.
  • Pack different clothes for the different climates you foresee experiencing.
  • If you plan on working out, don’t forget some gym clothes.
  • Life aboard a cruise ship is laid-back and casual. Dress for comfort.
  • Bring two or three swimsuits.
  • Footwear should include walking/running shoes and sandals.
  • When cruising outside warm weather destinations, never underestimate the importance of a sweater/sweatshirt, a raincoat, a hat and gloves.
  • During “casual” dining, t-shirts, jeans and shorts are not allowed in the dining rooms.
  • During “informal” dining, women typically wear dresses or pantsuits, while men usually wear lightweight jackets.
  • During “formal” dining, women should be prepared to wear cocktail dresses or gowns, while men should consider wearing business suits or tuxedos (though not required).
  • Some cruise lines let you preorder formalwear, thus eliminating the need to pack it.
  • If you’re traveling to warm weather destinations, do not forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Consider bringing a small amount of detergent for washing clothes within your own cabin. Almost all ships have laundry-facilities, but they can be costly – especially dry cleaning.
  • Most ships have powerful air conditioning. A sweater/sweatshirt may come in handy.
  • Bring a camera. Cruise photographers charge high prices to take your picture.
  • Pack enough prescription medication for the entire voyage (keep drugs in prescription bottles). Ships only stock general medications and ports may not have them available.
  • Do not pack your passport, visas, driver’s license, medications, cruise documents or airline tickets in luggage. Keep them in a purse, jacket or backpack.
  • Pack a written list of your medications, including the name of the drug, dosage and times taken, in case they are lost.
  • These items should be packed in your carry-on: perishables, liquor, cash, credit/debit cards, jewelry, business documents, travel and health insurance information, laptops, computer disks, cell phones, cameras, binoculars,videotapes, CD’s and cassette tapes.
  • Bring credit cards and travelers cheques instead of large amounts of cash.
  • Pack a water bottle so you can bring water from the ship onshore. Or just purchase bottled water at the ports of call.
  • Use hard-sided luggage. Do not use garment bags with hanger hooks protruding from the top.
  • Put a card with your name and address inside your luggage, as well as on the outside.

  • Remember that shore excursion expenses are typically not included in the cruise fare.
  • Expect to pay $20-100+ for shore excursions.
  • If you are elderly or have a handicap, you may not be able to go ashore at some ports. Check with the cruise line.
  • Check with the cruise director or physician about where to eat onshore. Some food items and beverages, especially water, may be off limits.
  • To explore a city more in depth or to see an aspect of it not included in the fare, consider traveling on your own rather than with a tour group.
  • Book shore excursions as soon as possible either before you leave or immediately after boarding a ship.
  • You aren’t likely to be covered under a ship’s insurance if you explore on your own. Check the details of your ship’s cruise policy beforehand.
  • During a shore excursion, always carry identification, the name of your ship and its docked location. Take a photocopy of your passport with you as well.
  • If you explore on your own, it up to you to get back to the departure point on time. If you miss a launch, you’ll have to meet the ship at the next port – at your expense.
  • Leave valuables, excess cash and unneeded credit cards aboard.
  • Guides may give you badges to wear for identification, but bear in mind these identifiers only make it easier for shop keepers and thieves to target you.
  • Many cruise lines offer in-cabin babysitting. Take advantage of this service.
  • Plan to spend about $10-15 a day for tips.
  • Tip waiters, headwaiters, shore guides, spa and salon experts, cabin stewards and any other persons who give extra-special service.
  • On many cruises, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs.
  • Do not leave valuables out in the open in your cabin.
  • You do not have to soak up all of the sun on the first day.
  • Drink in moderation. Most onboard mishaps are alcohol related.
  • Don’t panic if your luggage isn’t in your cabin when you arrive. It may take a few hours for luggage to be distributed.
  • Learn the exit route from your cabin to the open decks, in case of emergency.
  • Sign up for salon appointments, health spa services, sports and all other activities early.
  • If you booked an air/sea package and your luggage does not arrive, the airline is responsible for delivering it to the next port. Give the airline an itinerary and a list of port agents.
  • Inspect your cabin and report any complaints immediately.
  • Few ships offer tables for two dining. If yours does, ask the maitre d’ to provide accommodations for you and your partner.
  • Attend the lifeboat drill and pay attention to the information given.
  • Note the phone number for the ship’s hospital or doctor in case of emergency.
  • Grab your deck plan and take a walk to familiarize yourself with the layout of the ship, and learn how to reach your cabin from the main stairways.
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks not consumed at dinner, laundry, phone calls, casino gambling and other various activities are not included in the cruise fare.
  • At the end of the cruise, you will receive a bill for signed items. If extra charges appear, ask to see all the charge slips and get a copy of a modified bill.
  • If your cruise is less than satisfactory, inform the cruise line representative immediately. For valid complaints, cruise lines may offer credit toward a future cruise.