You are a veteran cruiser. You would never make these mistakes! You have shared your enthusiasm with another couple who are taking their maiden voyage alongside you on your next cruise. Here are a few tips you might pass along.
- Do have your passport and visas in order? Maybe shots if you are going someplace exotic. (We will likely be required to produce proof we’ve had the Covid-19 vaccine.) You need all this in order or they won’t let you board the ship.
- Do bring appropriate clothing. Cruise lines have personalities. Learn about them ahead of time from your travel agent. Wearing a tee shirt on a formal evening is not the hilarious statement you expect. Other people may have saved up for the trip of a lifetime. Don’t spoil it for them.
- Bring enough money. You will need small bills for tipping, taxi drivers, parking and other things. $ 1.00 and $ 5.00 bills are useful.
- Remember foreign currency. Don’t assume you will get to an ATM before you need a taxi. Don’t assume everyone takes US dollars or accepts credit cards. Bring some Euros or pounds with you if you are traveling to Europe. The easiest way is to get them from a well-travelled friend and return them when you return home.
- Be modest. The cruise line brochure shows the ship is elegant and luxurious. You feel the need to tell fellow passengers this is what you are used to all the time. Somehow, you manage to find fault. You come across as self-important because we are all going to the same place on the same ship.” You are all equals.
- Book your connections ahead of time. The cruise is only part of your vacation. You need to get to the airport, from the airport to the ship and back again. Cruise lines sell reasonably priced transfers. Don’t assume you can walk off the ship, stand in a crowd of 100 people and hail a taxi.
- Don’t be late getting to the ship or airport. You have these friends! They are never on time for anything! Allow time for flat tires and traffic jams. You should arrive at least couple of hours before the plane or ship leaves.
- Don’t overpack. You’ve seen those people with mammoth roller bags. Two of them! How much could they need for a seven-day cruise? Experienced travelers know how to pack optimally. You might offer friends your tips. Remind them they will need to maneuver their luggage several times.
- Don’t be cheap. You will spend more money out of pocket than you expect. Restaurants cost money. Taxis too. You will purchase shore excursions. Figure you will be suspending reality for a week or two. That’s what vacations are all about.
- Don’t miss the boat in port. You’ve seen this problem in the third person. The ship’s departure from a port is delayed because some passengers are late. You are having a few drinks in a quaint bar in town and lose track of time. You arrive at the dock. The ship isn’t there.
- Don’t talk about how much your ticket cost. You might feel you got a great deal. Then you learn someone else paid less. You feel like an idiot. Cruise fares often include extras like gratuities included or cabin statement credits. Ticket price isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Don’t treat the crew as servants. Insecure people do things like that. They are people working very long hours, trying to make a living and send money to their families back home. Everyone is an equal.
You would never make these mistakes. Friends might benefit from your advice.
Cover photo: Cruise Ships in Grand Turk, photo by Doug Chambers