Know Before You Board

When planning to take a cruise, you’ll need to make some advance preparations before you board. This goes for the important, obvious things, such as having all your documents in order, to otherĀ matters you may not be aware of. Here are some things you’ll want to have taken care of before your cruise, and perhaps they will give you ideas for additional preparations you can make that you hadn’t thought of before.

Travel Documentation

Depending on where your cruise departs from and where it plans to port, you may require multiple documents to allow yourself complete access and entry to every stop on the cruise. At the very least, you’ll require a passport. You may require a specific visa to enter certain countries where your ship will dock; look into this in advance and make sure you have all the appropriate visas for your cruise.

Onboard Reservations

Not only will ships let you check in online, you can also make reservations for various onboard activities in advance. Reservations for high-end dining, spa treatments, and onboard entertainment like shows can be made before you board– in some cases there’s an easy smartphone app for doing this.

Travel Insurance

While not necessary, medical conditions and other emergencies happen often enough that travel insurance is usually a smart option. Insurance, as always, is something you hope you’ll never need, but you’re glad you have it when you do. If you require some kind of medical assistance, or have to cut your vacation short to return home, travel insurance will go a long way toward offsetting those costs.


Tell your bank where you’re headed before leaving on your cruise, Otherwise, you might find the bank chalks your vacation spending up to fraudulent activity, and you might end up spending a large part of your vacation on the phone trying to unlock your accounts. In addition, purchase some local currency for whichever countries you will head onto shore.

Shore Excursions

Similarly, it’s best to have a schedule of shore excursions ahead of time and sign up in advance for any you want to participate in. Booking in advance usually allows you priority of departure upon docking, guarantees , and, of course, it reserves a space for you in the event that the excursion fills to its limit.

Itinerary Updates

Most cruise providers will offer a means for you to check any updates made to the itinerary since you booked the cruise. Sometimes weather forces changes in the ship’s route. Other times, construction or some other outside factor not under the cruise line’s control means a planned excursion isn’t available, or a ship has to choose a different port of call. Get the scoop in advance so you won’t be caught unawares by these changes.

If you keep these tips in mind, you should be well-prepared for your cruise, and should have smooth sailing. For any other questions on cruises, or for help booking a cruise, visit or call 1-800-627-3753.