Once you’ve booked your cruise vacation, it’s completely normal and warranted to feel super excited and go through a planning frenzy immediately after the deposit clears your bank account. You could spend your time living life or you could obsess for the next several months on how to plan out flawless itineraries for port days, purchasing all of the must-have add-ons for the perfect cabin, or reading every review imaginable for all of the onboard dining and entertainment. If you enjoy dedicating hours and hours to travel planning, then by all means go right ahead. But if you don’t have the time or energy to put into ensuring the perfect trip, here are some tips to maximize your next cruise vacation while maintaining some sanity.
- Utilize your membership and talk to a travel concierge – Don’t be hesitant to delegate many of the cruise booking worries to your travel concierge including payment due dates, advance reservation dates for tours and onboard dining, and any price drops or upgrade offers on your already booked trip. As a member, your travel concierge service is a resource and you should fully utilize its benefits.
- Book excursions and truly experience everything the cruise has to offer – This is another area where your travel concierge can be of great help to you in the planning process. There are a lot of options for shore excursions when the ship makes its way to the various ports of call on the itinerary. Passengers can opt for independently operated tours or cruise line sponsored tours. The excursions offered through the cruise line will inevitably be more expensive, so we recommend using your membership benefits to get already cheaper excursions with additional discounts. Regardless of what type of excursions interest you and which tour operators you decide to go with, we recommend booking these adventures ahead of time to ensure your spot is secured and you don’t have to worry about how to spend your day at port as the trip approaches.
- Bring rainy weather gear and a really good book – Instead of obsessing over what the weather is going to be while on board or more specifically at the various ports of call, prepare for the possibility of unfavorable weather and make the most of it regardless. With a raincoat and some good shoes, you can scoff at the rain clouds and have a blast on that excursion anyway. And if the storm is just too intense on a particular day at port, revel in some legit rest and relaxation with a good book or make the most of the myriad onboard activities.
- Don’t consume yourself with message boards and reviews – It can be very easy falling into a rabbit hole of comments, reviews, and discussion boards on the internet. It’s no different in the cruiser space. And while it can be beneficial reading about past cruiser experience, it’s important not to consume yourself with too much of the chatter. Limit your time scouring reviews and comments and trust you’ll have a blast on your next cruise vacation.
- Make and follow an extensive packing list – Making lists can save so much time and energy regardless of what you’re trying to do in life. Packing for a vacation is no exception and packing for a cruise is a bit different than any other vacation. Drafting a comprehensive list before departure is a very important step to ensure you’ll enjoy your cruise vacation to the fullest extent without being bummed about something you left behind. There are lots of lists on the internet to help with packing.
- Temper your “fear of missing out” – FOMO or “fear of missing out” is a term that has made into the common lexicon in the past several years. With so many options for entertainment, dining, and activities while on a cruise ship, FOMO can get the best of even the coolest heads. You will inevitably miss out on a show or a tour you hoped to catch, or not find the courage to go down the water slide, but as long as you do your best to have fun throughout the journey, you will leave the boat at the end having experienced one of the best vacations of your life.