Going on a cruise can be a fun adventure and a great way to gain new experiences, and best of all, relax! There are many different cruise packages to choose from, each with its own activities and shore excursions, so finding one that interests you should be a pretty easy task.
Cruises may sound luxurious and over-the-top, and like anything else in life, they probably can be. But I’ve also heard from many of my friends that going on a cruise is one of the best ways to take a vacation when you are trying to stick to your budget.
Here are some things you need to know before you take a cruise so you don’t encounter any unexpected expenses.
1. Plan an Extra Day to Arrive
Flight delays, bad weather, traffic and other unexpected problems make people miss getting aboard, so make sure it doesn’t happen to you by planning ahead. You’ll be far less stressed and enjoy your vacay that much more. Plus, many cruises don’t offer a money-back guarantee if you miss your ship.
2. Know What is Included
It’s a good idea to purchase an all inclusive trip package from a reputable cruise line to get a good deal. Sign up for a newsletter from a good cruise line, or shop the internet and look at the reviews to find the best deals and find out what to avoid. Some spa services and restaurants on board may cost an additional fee, so make sure you read the fine print, even if it says it’s all inclusive. Knowing what is and isn’t included will help you avoid being hit with additional fees once you are on board.
3. What to Wear and Pack
Look at the itinerary so you know how many nights formal attire will be needed. Otherwise, pack according to your destination and try to plan ahead based on the weather the day or two before you leave. Make sure your packing includes a light jacket and pair of pants for cool evenings, even if you are going on a Caribbean cruise. Pack a day bag you can fill with a water bottle, sunscreen, camera, and other essentials for shore excursions so you don’t have to spend money on those things once you get to shore.
Here is an excellent and informative article about packing for a cruise.
4. In Case of Emergency
It’s a good idea to have your passport, photo ID, and birth certificate (just a copy will do) with you just in case. If you do need to get off the ship early for an emergency, most cruise lines will allow it. Check ahead of time to find out if you can get a refund if this should happen. You can also check your credit card policy to see if they offer trip insurance as part of using their card. That can save you a lot of money!
5. How to Prevent Motion Sickness
You can purchase medication for motion sickness or try Sea Bands, which apply pressure to your wrists at certain pressure points to prevent sickness. Also, try to book a cabin in the middle to lower decks of the ship so you don’t feel the motion as much.
6. Shore Excursions
Many times the shore excursions get booked quickly, so make sure you book yours before you set sail. This will also help you plan for any fees that may or may not be associated with some shore excursions. Booking excursions at the last minute can be very pricey, so ask your travel agent ahead of time, or call the cruise line for recommendations.
7. Don’t Overbook Activities
Give yourself some down time to do nothing but relax because you’re supposed to be on vacation. If you book too many activities you will be stressed instead of relaxed, and you might end up spending money on things you normally wouldn’t. There are typically a lot of activities to do on the cruise, so don’t count those out.
If you’re really wanting to do some excursions or activities, head into the port your docked and check out the town. Talk to people and find out what you can do. Most of the time, you can do something for much cheaper than a shore excursion.
A cruise can give you a lot of fun and relaxation, and be kind to your budget, if you plan ahead properly. Make sure you do your homework so your cruise will be smooth sailing.
What are some other things to know before going on a cruise? Have you found any hidden fees the hard way on a cruise?
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