If you decide you want to explore a destination on your own, make sure to research the locale ahead of time. Look into the safety of the area and have a route mapped out to follow. Always notify cruise staff of your itinerary and give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship before it is scheduled to leave port.
Be sure to contact your insurance providers to discuss your trip. Some may not provide coverage outside the United States or may require a certain amount of advance notice.
Leave a detailed itinerary of your travel plans and any other important information with a friend or relative at home. You might want to keep a copy of the information with you on your trip in a place separate from your purse or wallet, in case either is stolen.
Attend the ship’s safety drill so you know where your lifeboat is located and what you should do in case of an emergency. You should also try on your life jacket to make sure you know how to use it and that it fits correctly.
If you intend to shop, research the retail areas in each port you will be visiting for safety and to get an idea of what you might want to purchase at each location. Try to hold off buying items on the ship so you won’t miss the discounts that are usually offered on the last day of a cruise.
Pack carefully and lightly. Think about the weather common to your destinations. Only bring what you will really need. Include a couple pairs of comfortable, sturdy shoes. Do not pack anything that is irreplaceable. Leave all valuable jewelry, family photographs, and items with sentimental value at home.
Don't forget your medications. Be sure to bring enough to last through the entire trip or perhaps even a little beyond if possible. Pack them in your carry-on luggage. It is also a good idea to bring along written prescriptions.
Choose shore excursions carefully. Select only those appropriate to your health status and abilities. Do not try something new that may be too demanding. If you use a wheelchair or walker or have mobility issues of any kind, contact the cruise line in advance to see if any special arrangements need to be made on the ship or at any ports.
Before leaving on your cruise, talk with your doctor about sea sickness symptoms and treatments. You will also want to discuss how sudden changes in diet, climate, and activity may affect your health.
Book your cruise as far in advance as possible to guarantee you can get the stateroom of your choice. Reserve a stateroom that is in a convenient location. You may want to select a room near an elevator or close to the areas you will be using most frequently during the cruise, such as the dining room, theater, or pool.
With so many alluring destinations and such a wide variety of activities that appeal to all ages, it isn’t surprising that millions of people go on cruises each year. But the cruise industry has received quite a bit of negative publicity in recent years, which is causing many folks to question whether or not a cruise is worth the potential risks.
Despite the stories we’ve all heard about flu outbreaks, loss of power, onboard fires and crime, as well as ships running aground, the cruise industry as a whole actually has a solid safety record. The cruise industry must meet high safety standards and strict requirements. In fact, all cruise ships with an international itinerary that dock in the United States are subject to unannounced inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Center for Disease Control.
If you are thinking about planning a vacation at sea, it is always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons. Research the cruise line you are considering and the destinations you will be visiting. Make sure their ships are appropriate for our age group and can accommodate any disabilities or physical challenges you may have. Look at online reviews and ask friends for recommendations.
Many people in their seasoned years have happy, safe experiences while cruising, but there will always be a chance that something could go wrong. As vacationers, there’s only so much we can control. The following tips may help to ensure that your next cruise is enjoyable, safe, and relatively problem free.