You’ve just booked a cruise vacation – now what? It’s time to start getting ready for your vacation with these important things to do before a cruise.
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Important steps to take after booking a cruise
The important steps to take to get ready for a cruise start as soon as you are making that booking.
Take note of the following and store it in a safe place (not a scrap piece of paper)
- Booking number
- Stateroom (aka cabin) number
- Name and phone number of the person you booked with or the website used
- The total cost
- Any booking bonuses
- Date and amount of deposit paid
- Important payment dates
- Cruise cancellation deadlines
Be sure to add important payment dates into your calendar. I use my phone and add these payment deadlines into my calculator a few weeks out to remind me that payments are coming due and then again a couple of days prior to the payment deadline.
Be sure you have valid and proper travel documentation. Check the expiry date on your passport. Look into whether you need any special travel visas or vaccines.
Another thing to consider is travel insurance. Purchasing travel insurance is often very time sensitive to be fully covered, especially if any amounts paid are non refundable. Check the details with your travel agent, insurance agent or cruise line.
More important pre-cruise preparations
Getting ready for a cruise is exciting and this next part is one of my favorite pre cruise preparations other than packing.
Log in to the cruise line’s website
Each cruise line is different, however, here are some of the things you can do online.
- Request bedding configuration (2 twins or pushed together to form a king)
- Register kids in kids’ club
- Browse/purchase shore excursions
- Look into drink packages
- Check out specialty dining packages and reservations
- Price out WIFI costs
- Order pre-cruise gifts
- Select staggered check-in time if your cruise line offers this (Carnival Cruises offers staggered check-in at many of their departure ports)
- Complete your online registration
- Fill out your onboard payment method
Depending on how far out you have booked, some of the above might not be open yet, but keep checking back if that’s the case.
Download the app
Make sure you do this before leaving home. Many of the cruise lines have a cruise countdown on their app that can be fun to look at and help build the excitement.
The following may not need to be done right away depending on how far out you have booked but should be considered and noted to do in the future.
If it’s too far out to book your flights to your cruise departure point (if needed), put a reminder in your phone to check flights at a later date.
You should however check for flight availability and to make sure the cost is reasonable before your cruise payments become non refundable. Always check with the cruise line what these dates are.
Flights are often non refundable so be sure everything is in place before booking. And be sure to check the flight canellation and change policy.
Book pre and post cruise hotels
If you have to travel to meet the ship it is definitely recommended to arrive the night before. You just don’t want a delay that could cause you to miss the ship – how devastating would that be.
Check the hotel cancellation policy before booking.
Book or plan transfers
You will need to decide how you will get from the airport to the hotel and then to the ship’s terminal. Some common options are transfers purchased from the cruise line, shuttle bus companies, taxis and ubers.
Some hotels have free or minimal charge shuttles to and from the airport and/or to and from the cruise terminal so check this first.
Arrange pet sitting or boarding
Book your pet sitter or kennel. Double check what vaccines are needed at the kenned and check that your pet’s vaccines are up to date. Book your pet in at the vet if they need a vaccine update.
Pre cruise checklist
Use this checklist a day or so prior to departure and pack the following in your carry on bag.
- – Be sure your cruise online check in is complete
- – Print any boarding passes
- – Attach airline luggage tags
- – Passport – consider carrying it in a RFID passport wallet for added safety
- – Any required travel visas
- – Debit and credit cards – I carry mine in an aluminum RFID wallet like this one.
- – Travel insurance
- – Airline confirmations and boarding pass if you can check in online
- – Hotel confirmations including the hotel phone number and address
- – Cruise confirmation and boarding pass
- – Any other transportation confirmations (transfers/shuttle bus)
- – Tour or shore excursion confirmations
- – Other prepaid confirmations (drink packages/wifi/specialty dining)
- – Cash in proper currency (ex/ Canadian sailing out of USA will want some US currency)
Organize your travel documents
I find the best way to organize your travel documents (confirmations/boarding passes/tickets) is to put them in order of use.
For example, I’d put our confirmations/tickets in the following order:
- Airline confirmation/boarding pass
- Hotel confirmation (assuming hotel has shuttle from airport)
- Transportation confirmation (hotel to cruise terminal)
- Cruise confirmation/boarding pass
- Shore excursion confirmations (in order)
- Transportation confirmation (ship terminal to airport)
- Travel insurance
Once we are done checking in for the flights, I’d then put the airline confirmations behind the transportation confirmation (ship terminal to airport) so it’s handy for our flight home.
Enjoy your vacation
After all your planning and preparing, have fun and enjoy. Create life long memories.
Here are more posts you might find help.
- Carnival Club O2: The Ultimate Hangout for Teens 15-17
- Carnival Celebration Restaurants – What’s Included, What’s not
- Carnival Celebration Activities: Fun Things to do onboard
- Ultimate Guide to Best Cruises for Young Adults
- 9 Surprising Things to Bring on a Carnival Cruise