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"Before You Go" Checklist

Home > Special Features > "Before You Go" Checklist

We know that there's a lot to remember before going on a cruise, so to help you out we've made this list of things to make sure you do and take with you.

Cruise Check Box Verify identification requirements!
If you're a US citizen and need to bring a valid passport on your vacation make sure that it's valid for at least 6 months following the end of your trip. If you're not from the US, check with your government and cruise line for the required documents. If you don't need a passport, you're going to most likely need a valid government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license...not needed if you're under 17 years of age) and your birth certificate (not a photocopy). Of course, don't forget to bring your cruise documents along with you. In a worst case situation where you forget them, you should be OK as long as you still have valid photo ID...but that is a hassle you can easily avoid by making sure you have everything you need with you. A good tip is to make photocopies of your identification and to leave it with loved ones back home. Doing this will ensure that if you lose the originals while away your loved ones can send a copy to you (via fax, e-mail, etc).

Cruise Check Box Be smart...get insured!
Many insurance companies will not insure you if you're out of your country of residence or if you're in international waters. Purchasing traveler's insurance is one of the smartest moves you can make. Yes, the chances are you will not need it most of the time...but the one time you don't take it you may regret it. Seeing the doctor on the ship is expensive and if something serious happens you may need to be air-lifted off of the don't want to pay the bill for that, trust us! Besides the medical reasons, you may have to cancel for work reasons: some insurance companies will cover you for such reasons! Don't forget that all cruise lines have a penalty period, usually starting about 90 days prior to your departure date. If you cancel for a covered reason during this period you'll get all your money back...without insurance you won't!

Cruise Check Box Bring the right clothes!
To do this right you have to pay attention to two things: Your cruise line's dress code and your itinerary. Some cruise lines have formal nights during the cruise, requiring men to wear a sport jackets. If you're going on an Alaska cruise (even during the summer) it's going to be chilly at times, so make sure you pack appropriately.

Cruise Check Box Check the weather report!
You don't want to be surprised while on vacation. Although the cruise lines will divert any major storms in the path of your cruise, you're not guaranteed that the weather will be perfect. If there has been a major heat wave or colder weather than usual in your destinations you want to make sure that you've brought the appropriate clothing with you.

Cruise Check Box Leave early for the airport!
If you're flying to and/or from the cruise make sure that you're at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure time if you have a domestic flight, and at least 3 hours prior if it's an international flight. The last thing you want to happen is to miss a flight because of an unexpected delay. Also, be sure to double check on your flight times the day before and day of the flight.

Cruise Check Box Complete the pre-registration!
Most major cruise lines now require each passenger to fill out a pre-cruise registration form (usually on their websites). By doing this you're going to save time during the check-in process at the pier. Plus, many cruise lines say that they may deny you boarding if you don't do so. Each cruise line has a deadline to complete their form (usually coming about 3 to 14 days prior to the cruise, depending on the cruise line).

Cruise Check Box Pre-reserve shore excursions!
If there's a particular shore excursion that you're interested in, it's highly recommended to pre-reserve it to avoid it selling out by the time the cruise comes. Yes, in most cases there are options available at the pier when you arrive, but do you really want to gamble like that with your vacation? We don't recommend it. The best part about it is that most cruise lines will fully refund you if you cancel your excursion at least 48 hours prior to it, so there's really nothing to lose. If you decide to go with an independent shore excursion company please be aware that if you run late the cruise ship may leave without you (which will not happen if you book a cruise line provided shore excursion).

Cruise Check Box Bring paper and plastic!
Is it better to bring cash or a credit card? Neither! You should bring both. Why? Because depending on the situation one is better than the other. For instance, when you check into the cruise ship they ask you for a credit card that they can use to charge your onboard account at the end of the cruise. Yes, you can pay cash instead but it's highly recommended to use a card in this type of situation (as a cash deposit is required and you may have a limit put on your account if you use cash only). Another situation where a credit card is useful is if you want to avoid having to exchange currency while in another can be a headache! Why have cash too? What if you lose your credit card? Also, having small bills is great for tipping, when you feel it's deserved.

Cruise Check Box Bring a camera!
Being able to look back on your vacation is a fun and enjoyable thing to do. Don't forget to pack your camera with you while getting ready for your cruise. If you're an ocean lover and have some extra cash, splurge for an underwater disposable camera (or a protective case for your digital camera) for some realy neat pictures.

All travel tips and information listed on this page are provided as a courtesy only, based on the travel experiences of our staff. Times change, so do laws, make sure to verify all travel requirements will your cruise line and travel agent prior to leaving for your vacation.

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