Getting ready for any special trip takes planning but if you are getting ready to head on a cruise for the first time, here are some more great quick tips to keep in mind as you get ready for your trip.

Make a packing list – We’ve all done it, gotten everything packed and are on the way to a vacation when the ‘oh no’s hit.  You realize you’ve forgotten your shampoo or your suntan lotion or you are so used to flying you automatically leave out items that are not allowed in favor of picking them up at your destination.  Taking a cruise is totally different from any other vacation and you can’t just pop into the local Walgreens to get that forgotten bottle of lotion.  Everyday household items if they are available on board will be extremely expensive.  So make a packing list.  Include over the counter items such as cold relief pills, feminine products, batteries, an extra pair of sunglasses, etc.

Check out the ship’s configuration – This is an especially good tip if you are a first time traveler.  Your travel agent can help you get the details on how your room is configured, whether the beds are nailed to the floor as in older ships or if they are pushed together to make a king sized bed.  Space in your cabin will be tight so knowing what to expect before you board is always a good thing to know.  Also ask about the electrical configuration.  While most large cruise lines do have American style current and plugs, some of the European lines do not.  Knowing what your ship before you get on board will help you better prepare if you will need to get an adapter to charge your phone, iPod or laptop.

Check your documents – I just cannot emphasize this enough.  Make sure to look over your cruise packet carefully.  If you traveling on multiple carriers, check all of your departure and arrival dates and times to make sure that everything lines up correctly.  Make sure to find out if you will need your passport if you are planning to take an off cruise excursion.   And even if you are not planning to leave your ship, taking your passport along if you are traveling up around Alaska or into Canadian waters is a good idea.  While nobody anticipates the possibility of having to leave the cruise to fly home unexpectedly, it’s always good to plan for that contingency.

Here’s hoping that you find something wonderful in your stocking from Santa!

Have you ever had to change plans in mid cruise?

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