Cruises are large floating resorts at sea, that offer a two in one vacation option. With all the energy focused on enjoying the vacation, you may have over looked the complexity of planning. Before taking your cruise vacation you must know what you want and what will be needed. However, do not feel that this too much to handle. A cruise vacation is extremely worth the preparation. If you desire, you could hire a travel consultant to do most of the work for you. Consultants are great resources and may have discounts too. But, if you are a savvy vacation goer and want to do the preparation yourself, here are simple steps that can be completed so that you can enjoy a wonderful cruise vacation.
1. Write down exactly what you would like to do on your cruise. There is a cruise for everyone, with different themes, interest and activities.
2. Select a destination. The Caribbean and Alaskan cruises have long been favorites among cruise goers.
3. Select what time of year you would like to go on your cruise. Pick a season that is favorable to you. High season means a lot of visitors; you may want to go on your cruise when there are fewer people traveling to that destination at that particular season.
4. Choose a cruise line. Each cruise line offers different amenities, on board activities, shore excursions, dinning selections and time schedules. Base your cruise line choice on your personality and the activities you wish to partake in.
5. Decide how long you want to stay. Remember to add an extra day to any cruise and use that extra day to arrive at the port a day earlier; this way you should not miss the boat.
6. Find the best bargain. When booking your trip early you are almost always going to receive a discount. Other discounts can be found based on the season, travel agent and your age. Do note: cruises with unique itineraries or popular cruises may not offer many discounts.
7. Buy Insurance. Look for an insurance plan that will provide sufficient coverage for your vacation needs
8. Decide how you will arrive at the port? Which ever way you choose, book your transportation to the port and the rest of your trip through the cruise line or travel agent. This will make the cruise line or travel agent responsible for getting you to your cruise (certain conditions do apply).
9. Pay for your cruise and calculate the total fixed cost of your trip. Once you know how much you have spent, give yourself a budget for everything else.
10. Documentation should be a passport. Check with your cruise line to see if additional identification may be needed.
11. Pack a carry on bag and leave it separate from your luggage. The carry on should have your medication, documentation, change of clothes and anything else you would immediately need after boarding
12. Secure your home and make sure pets are taken care of.
13. Cruise lines will only accept your original documents. Make copies of your important documents and leave then in a safe place or with a responsible person.
14. Board early and pay for shore excursions before the line starts
15. Set sail and enjoy your cruise.