Planning Ahead Tips, Part 2

Planning ahead
What are the benefits of taking a cruise vacation?
There are many benefits to cruising. Some of our favorites include all-inclusive meals, unlimited entertainment options, and traveling from one destination to the next from the comfort of your ship (plus, only having to unpack once). Rather than spending your travel time in a car or on a train, you can be watching Broadway-style shows, eating fine cuisine, swimming in the pool, and sleeping in your private stateroom.

Can I add a passenger to my stateroom at a later date?
You may be able to add another passenger, depending on the stateroom’s passenger capacity and the point at which you decide to add the passenger; however, there is no guarantee that the person can be added, or that the price would stay the same. If you would like to add another passenger, please call your Travel Agent.

Can I change a passenger in my stateroom?
Many cruise lines will not let you change a passenger’s name after you complete your reservation. If they do allow changes, a large fee will likely be tacked on to the change.

Should I upgrade to an oceanview or balcony stateroom?
Different passengers have different stateroom preferences. Some passengers book an inside stateroom in order to save money, especially if they're active types who spend little time in their staterooms. However, if you plan to spend a lot of time in your stateroom, we suggest booking one with an ocean view. You may want to splurge a bit and upgrade to a balcony stateroom. Many new ships now have a large quantity of balcony staterooms, making them more affordable than ever before.

How early should I arrive at the pier?
Ship boarding usually begins four to five hours before the ship is scheduled to depart, and all passengers must be onboard 90-120 minutes prior to departure. Check with your cruise line about their policy.

Pre-Cruise Checklist!

Before you head out on your cruise, ensure you take care of the essentials beforehand. Print out the following list to make sure you have a smooth beginning to the trip of a lifetime!


* Identification requirements vary with every trip. Be sure to know exactly what type of I.D. you will be required to present before you go.

* Leave copies of your passport, airline tickets, traveler's cheques and credit cards with a family member or a friend back on the mainland.

* Some countries require certain immunizations to enter. Discuss you travel plans with a doctor. It may be necessary to bring proof of immunizations with you.

* Setting up a web-based e-mail account before you depart (such as Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL) makes it easy to e-mail friends and family while you're abroad.

* Always call to confirm your flight 24 hours prior to departure.

* If you have any ongoing medical conditions, ask your doctor to write up a brief medical history for you to travel with.

* Double-check your flight information and airline documents for accuracy.

* Remember, if you book "cruise only", you are responsible for arriving at the port in time for check-in, security and departure.

* If you plan to bring a hair dryer or an electric razor, inquire with your cruise line as to what the cabin voltage will be. You may need an adaptor.

* Leave the ship's contact information with a friend or family member back home. This information can usually be found on the cruise line's web site or by contacting them directly by phone.

* Check-in and security procedures can be involved. Be sure to arrive at the embarkation area at least two hours prior to sailing. If you board early, there are plenty of activities that begin before the ship leaves port.

* Most lines send an onboard credit card application form with the tickets. To save time, complete the form beforehand and bring it with you when you check-in.

* Some lines help you save time by allowing you to complete your immigration and embarkation forms online. Check with your cruise line.

* You'll be given a receipt when you hand over your passport upon boarding. If not, ask for one.

* Reading up on your ports of call (in guidebooks and on the Internet) can greatly enrich your journey. In addition, most ships have a library with information on your destinations.

* Want to learn to scuba dive? Consider doing the class work at a local dive center before you leave and save the open water portion for your trip. This will minimize your time sitting at a desk while on vacation.