10 Essential Things to Do Before Your Cruise for a Stress-Free Vacation!

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Essential things to do before a cruise

Everyone goes on vacation to relax, there is no doubt about that.

However, the real problem is the organization of the trip and all the preparations one must make before leaving.

For a stress-free vacation, I have decided to make a list of the most important things to do before going on a cruise.

I hope it will help you to organize everything and will help you leave as fresh as a daisy.

Check your documents

organizer for important documents
Passports in an organizer

The absolute first thing to do is to check your documents, especially your passport.

First of all, put it in a place where it is easy to find.
It happened to me once that the night before departure I could not find my passport. Only after many hours of searching, I found it in an old backpack I no longer used.

Second, check the expiration date of the passport. Remember that for some ports, you must have at least 6 months of validity to disembark.

Finally, check that the inside pages are intact and the cover is not damaged.
If the passport is too damaged or some pages are torn you may need to ask for a replacement.

Check-in online

Cruise countdown to check-in
Cruise countdown to check-in

Before you leave, remember to check in online for your cruise. All the largest cruise lines give you the option to do that.

Usually, you will be asked to enter your personal details: first name, last name, date of birth, and ID number.

In some cases, you will also be asked for a photo that you can take on the spot or upload from the gallery.

One very interesting thing, which I recommend you do, is to connect your bank card to the onboard account.

That way when you get on the ship you don’t have to go to the front desk and your cruise card will already be fully functional.

Depending on company rules you will receive tickets before or after check-in.

Once received (or printed) keep them with care in a document holder, which is among the cruise essentials for me.

Arrange transfer to the port

The third thing you need to do is to make arrangements to get to the port.

Usually, cruise ports are very well connected with public transportation so there shouldn’t be any problems in that sense.

On the other hand, if you prefer to go by car, remember to reserve parking in advance for the whole duration of the cruise.

From my experience, some ports, especially in small cities, have very limited parking spaces, so if you don’t book in advance, you risk not finding a spot.

Plan the excursions

Cococay port
Excursions in CocoCay

Before going on a cruise, it is essential to prepare an itinerary with the things you want to see.

Simply Google the main attractions in the city and select the ones you do not want to miss.

After that, look up information about how transportation works in that city and purchase any tickets.

If you don’t like this organizational part, you can always choose the tours offered by the cruise lines.

They are a bit expensive but are usually very well organized. I usually do a mix, some autonomous sightseeing for some cities and some organized tours for others.

Buy drink packages

drinks at the bar of the cruise
Margarita on a cruise

Drink packages are very important on a cruise, especially for people who drink a lot.

Before you leave, take a look at what your cruise line offers and consider whether you should buy a package.

Here on Cruise with Leo, you can find my guides on:

Again, remember that the price may vary between before departure and on board.

Take my advice, if you want to save money you should always buy before the cruise!

Join cruise communities

One thing I recommend you do before you depart is to join communities to connect with other cruise passengers.

This way you can ask questions, exchange information or meet other passengers who will be traveling with you.

I usually use Facebook, there are many groups for all cruise ships.

You can also follow my Facebook page, where I share many interesting tips, or join my newsletter.

Book pre-departure appointments

Remember to book all appointments in advance before the cruise.

For example, if you need to go to the hairdresser, the beautician, or if you need a medical check-up or prescriptions for medicines to take with you on the trip.

Check electronic devices and bank cards

A must-do before any trip is to check electronic devices and payment cards.

First check that cell phones, tablets, and cameras are working properly, and have memory cards inserted and their chargers in case needed.

Then move on to payment cards. Check that you have enough money in the account and that the cards can be used in the countries you will be visiting.

If you have any doubts, call your bank before you leave. In addition, check the article on how much cash to bring on a cruise.

Pack your bags

luggage tag holders
Luggage tag holders

A couple of days before leaving, start packing.

First, check the weather to see the temperature and check if there will be any rain.

In any case, I always recommend that you bring a raincoat or umbrella, as the weather can change quickly during some months of the year.

For the suitcase, try to balance the quantity: don’t bring too much or too little. Bring comfortable clothing for the day and just something more elegant for the evening.

Also remember to attach the tags to your luggage if you have already received them. Check my Royal Caribbean luggage tags guide for more information.

Get your house ready before you leave

Before you go on a cruise make sure to prepare your home.

As first thing unplug all unnecessary appliances, then turn off the water and clear out your fridge.

Close all doors and windows tightly before you leave and notify your home alarm company or some friend or family member.

To sum up

As you have seen there are some essential things to do before going on a cruise.

Some of you may see these as boring things to do, but they are necessary to get you off on a worry-free trip.

As always let me know below in the comments if you have any other useful tips, and I wish you a wonderful cruise!

Please share this article! It can be useful to another cruise enthusiast!

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