Don’t Make These Mistakes on Your Next Cruise
I always tell my clients how great a cruise vacation can be for their families. But as great as a cruise vacation can be, there are a few things you can do that can spoil the experience. I started to think of the worst mistakes you could make while cruising. Now, I am sharing those things with you, and hopefully, you can avoid them on your next cruise.
Cruising Without a Passport
If you need to fly home from any of your ports-of-call because of a family emergency, illness, injury, or some other unexpected scenario, you could be totally out of luck! Remember, you are in a foreign country. Without a passport, you will have a very difficult time getting a flight home.
Having a passport also makes the check-in process very smooth. Just a quick scan and go. Without it, you must present your birth certificate (official copies only) and government-issued identification. Oh, and they must match! Otherwise, you’ll need documentation of your name change (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.) A Passport is a small investment that lasts a long time and it will ensure a quick and hassle-free boarding process.
Roaming Cell Phone
This is a BIGGIE! Before stepping foot on the ship, you should go to the settings on your phone and make sure that data roaming is turned off. This will keep your cell phone from racking up huge charges and using data even when it is in your pocket. You can go a step further by putting your phone in airplane mode. This will also keep you from racking up additional charges. If you can’t live without data, pay for the internet plan, it will cost you less than the roaming charges. Do not skip this step or prepare to pay a hefty phone bill when you return.
Getting Left Behind
When the Captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, he/she means it. The Captain isn’t going to wait around for those who lost track of time. If you get left behind, you are responsible for your transportation to the next port or back home. The costs can be several thousand dollars each and will be even more complicated if you are traveling without a passport. Our advice? Plan on arriving back near the ship 1 to 1 1/2 hours before you are scheduled to leave. This not only gives you some time to shop in the port area but also gives you plenty of leeway if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus has a breakdown on the way back.
Eating Only at the Buffet
While newer ships have great buffets, the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room or specialty restaurants. By eating only at the buffet, you miss out on the great food and service that you can experience if you just slow down and enjoy it. I get it, the buffet is just so convenient. If you are the type that hates to be bogged down to a certain dining schedule, opt for flexible dining times. This way you can show up whenever you’re ready to eat.
Booking an Early Flight Home
Cruise lines generally recommend not booking flights before noon on disembarkation day. Just because your arrival time says 7:00 a.m., there is almost no chance of catching an 8:30 am flight. Sometimes you’ll be able to walk right through security, and other times it can take forever to get through the line. And don’t forget the time it takes to go through customs. And then there’s the time it takes to get to the airport and to your gate. Why end your vacation with a stressful travel day? Instead, opt for a later flight. Enjoy a late breakfast, avoid the deboarding rush, and take your sweet time getting to the airport.
Hopefully, you will never make any of these mistakes, and all your cruises will be smooth sailing (see what I did there) and stress-free!
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