It’s projected that over 30 million people worldwide will go on a cruise in 2019. Cruises have steadily grown in popularity over the past several years, but that doesn’t mean everyone is an expert.
Are you getting ready to set sail on your first cruise in Miami? Make sure you take a look at this guide to learn how you can prepare before going on a cruise.
Pick the Best Cruise
The first decision when looking for cruises, it to pick your destination. There are hundreds of cruise options going to different parts of the world so you need to narrow down your search by location.
Once you know where you want to go, decide which cruise line you want to travel with. Different cruise lines vary in price and entertainment.
It’s also important to make sure that your cruise line leaves from Miami for convenience. Luckily, Port Miami is known as the Cruise Capital of the World, serving over 20 cruise companies.
With the destination and cruise line picked, then base your decision on the dates and length of the available cruises.
Set Up Transportation
Once your cruise is planned, then you can set up transportation to and from your cruise.
If you plan on driving yourself, you need to find a garage or parking lot to leave your car at. You can park at Port Miami for a premium price or park further away for cheaper. Many parking lots at and near Port Miami offer shuttle services to and from the port for convenience.
If you have a long way to travel, look for hotels near cruise port to stay the night before your cruise. You don’t want to spend the whole first day of your cruise recovering from a long drive or flight!
Get Travel Insurance
As soon as you pay for your cruise’s down payment, you need travel insurance.
Depending on the insurance you choose, the insurance can cover your whole cruise cost for any reason. Some insurance policies only cover a percentage of your trip if a specific emergency occurs, such as a hospital stay.
The first place to look for travel insurance is through your cruise line. Most cruise lines offer a policy when you book your cruise for an extra cost. If you don’t like that policy, then you can look for a policy through an independent travel insurance company.
Have the Right Documents
Before you can go on a cruise, you need to have the right documents.
At the very least, you need proof of U.S. citizenship. This could be a government-issued photo identification like a driver’s license. Certified birth certificates also work.
You technically don’t need a passport if your cruise ship departs and returns to a location within the United States. But, if you were to have a medical emergency or miss your cruise ship while docked at a foreign location, you need a passport.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry and bring a passport just in case. If your cruise is fast approaching, there are ways to expedite your passport.
Book Your Excursions
You can wait to book your excursions until your cruise begins, but you risk having the more popular excursions sold-out.
Instead, look at the list of excursions online before your trip. Decide which events are must-haves and book them early. This way, you are guaranteed a spot.
An added bonus to booking your excursions early is that most cruise lines offer a discount.
Prepare for Motion Sickness
Taking a cruise, especially for the first time, results in motion sickness for many people. Instead of spending your cruise sick to your stomach, go prepared.
Pack over-the-counter medications for motion sickness, such as Dramamine or Bonine. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, a doctor can prescribe a more powerful medication for you.
When choosing your room, opt for a room in a lower and central location. This portion of the ship experiences less motion than a room in the front or back of the ship.
Call Your Bank
Before you hit the seas, make sure you notify your bank that you’ll be traveling.
When a bank sees unusual charges, they often put a hold on your account — leaving you without a debit card to use. A cruise can look suspicious if you’re visiting different locations throughout your trip and spending money on shore.
When you notify your bank beforehand, they’ll add a note to your account that you are traveling. It helps to provide them with the exact dates and locations of your trip.
As a backup, always pack some cash with you in case you run into any issues.
A cruise is different than just a vacation on the beach, so you need to pack differently.
Keep in mind that many cruise lines have dress codes for dinners and public areas. You’ll need formal wear for many dinners and cover-ups for your swimsuits.
You also need to keep in mind the excursions you picked. You’ll dress differently for a day of hiking then you would for a jet-ski tour.
With a cruise, it’s easy to change your outfits multiple times a day due to varying activities.
One of the last things to know before going on a cruise is to check-in online.
Your cruise line will send you reminder emails of this step leading up to your trip, but it’s worth mentioning here. A pre-check will save you time and hassle on your arrival day.
When you check-in, you confirm your trip specifics and let your cruise ship know about any special accommodations you need. You’ll also get important information about the day-of check-in process.
Enjoy Going on a Cruise
With these ten tips, you’re prepared for going on a cruise.
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