- One thing we've always made sure to do is get to our port city at least one day early. This is especially important when your cruise leaves from Hawaii where incoming flights are limited. It's no fun to begin what should be a fun, relaxing vacation worrying about whether you'll miss the ship. There are hotels in every port city that cater to the cruise crowd.
- Always purchase travel insurance! I know people who skip this, but with three children and older parents, we always felt there were too many risks we weren't willing to take and cruises are expensive.
- Watch your fare! I know as a travel agent, we are there to serve you, our clients, but checking your fare is something you can do yourself. If the price of your cruise decreases after purchasing, call your travel agent and see what can be done. Maybe a refund or upgrade can be yours.
- Let your credit card company know that you'll be making purchases from out-of-the-ordinary places. Wouldn't you hate to be in some little boutique in St. Thomas, ready to purchase something only to find out there has been a hold placed on your credit card?
- This one goes without saying-stop your mail and newspaper, unless you have a kind neighbor.
- Like I mentioned in #2, I have older parents not in the best of health and it's nice to be able to keep in contact. One of the first things I do when boarding the ship is find the internet cafe and sign up for an account. That way I can send a daily email saying where we are, everyone is fine, and just make sure everything is OK at home. It's much cheaper than calling.
- Bring postcards from home. Before tips were automatically included in the price of your cruise, tips were given out on the last day before exiting the ship. If you're like me, you really become acquainted with the hard-working people who take care of your needs during your time onboard and you want to give them something. I would always include a hand-written thank you on my postcard along with their tip money. We still give a little something extra and I still like to write a thank you, maybe including something special they did that week that made our trip something we won't forget. The picture above was taken in the dining room on our first cruise on the Carnival Celebration when my kids were much younger.
I'm including a link to Linda Coffman's website, better known as the "Cruise Diva". I can almost guarantee that if you have a cruise question, she'll have an answer. If you've been thinking of booking a cruise, I would love to help you. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,