Packaging Tips

1. Do not pack your cruise documents in your luggage - you will need them to check in at the pier.

2. If you are flying on airline tickets arranged through the cruise line, when you arrive at the airport in the city you are boarding the ship in, you will probably see a representative of the line holding a sign with the cruise line's name and logo on it. They may meet you at the baggage claim area or direct you to buses waiting to transport you directly to the pier. Make sure you ask the representative if you need to claim your luggage at that time. If you have made your own airline reservations or if you are arriving prior to the day of sailing, it is your responsibility to get to/from the pier unless instructed otherwise.

3. During check-in at the pier, make sure you have all your documents ready. You will need the voucher from the cruise line which shows your name(s), the date of departure, the ship you are sailing on, your cabin number, etc. You will also need either a valid passport or certified copy of a birth certificate (it must have the raised seal) and a photo ID (like a driver's license) for each person traveling. You will have received an embarkation form with your cruise documents. Please take time before checking in for your flight from home to complete the form. It must be filled out completely or they will send you back to the end of the line. All of this preparation will make checking in at the pier much smoother and faster.

4. Before leaving home, I strongly urge you to contact your doctor and ask for seasickness patches. They are wonderful to have along just in case. They can only be prescribed by your doctor. Just because you bring them doesn't mean you will need them. The mega ships sailing today have stabilizers, which cut down much of the motion that may cause you to feel queasy. If you are prone to seasickness put your patch on before you board the ship. The best way to combat the feeling of motion is to go up on an open deck and look out on the horizon and get plenty of fresh air. Speaking from personal experience, the motion of the ship just adds to the adventure and excitement of cruising. I'm not able to go on rides at amusement parks because I'm very prone to feeling sick from the sensation. As yet, I have not had a bad experience on board a cruise ship. However, even I take along the patches just in case. Do whatever you feel is necessary to assure an enjoyable cruising experience.!!

5. When you check in at the pier, you will be given some kind of card which will include your name, the ship, the date you are sailing and your cabin number. It is VERY important that you carry that card with you as a means of identification both on board and especially when you go ashore along with a picture ID. Several of the cruise lines also use the card as a credit card, which allows you to sign for your drinks, gift shop purchases, etc.

6. Do not be concerned if your luggage is not waiting for you at your cabin when you first board. Whether you checked your luggage in curb-side at the pier with a porter or if the cruise line got your luggage directly off your flight when you arrived, your luggage is brought on board with the thousands of other pieces from everyone else sailing on that ship. If you properly completed the luggage tags that were sent with your documents, your cabin steward will bring your luggage directly to your cabin. If you haven't received your luggage within two hours of boarding the ship, contact your cabin steward.

7. Early on in your cruise you should decide on what shore excursions you want to take in each port of call. If the cruise line has not sent you shore excursion information with your cruise documents, you should receive it either during check-in at the pier, it may be waiting for you in your cabin when you arrive, or it may be handed out during the course of the cruise. Space is generally very limited on shore excursions, so be sure to sign up for your choices as soon as they announce reservations are being accepted.

8. If you think you may want to visit the masseur/masseuse or have your hair or nails done at the beauty parlor, make reservations as soon as possible. These services have very limited hours and have become a favorite means of pampering yourself while cruising. You will find that a lot of women will make appointments for those days when the evening requires formal dress for dinner - plan ahead.

9. Speaking of formal wear - the rule of thumb is to bring along adequate attire for two formal evenings. Formal dress does not necessarily mean floor length gowns and tuxedos. It means a nice suit and tie on the gentlemen and a nice dress and/or pant suite for the ladies. On one of the formal evenings you will be meeting the captain of the ship and having your picture taken with him. The ship's crew are in their very best uniforms and the atmosphere is very elegant.

10. I strongly recommend you to  figure out how much money you will need for gratuities for your cabin steward, table waiter and bus boy (as stated in your documents or posted inside your cabin). If you set that money aside in a separate envelope at the beginning of the cruise, you won't have to worry about getting the correct change for (each the last evening on board). The purser's office will be open that last evening for change, but to avoid the hassle I have found that one less detail on that last night is worth the extra effort. Your cabin steward will leave envelopes in your cabin for gratuities the last full day on board. You should try to directly hand out each envelope that last evening. As an added touch to thank them for what has always been outstanding attention to my every desire during the cruise, I bring along fun Thank You notes and include a personal note in each with their gratuity.

11. Make sure you bring VERY comfortable shoes for your time in each port. If one of your ports is in Jamaica and you plan on climbing Dunns River Falls (which I highly recommend), bring along a pair of tennis shoes that you can get soaked and leave to dry in your cabin for a few days. Also, if you plan on doing any sight seeing at any of the Mayan ruins in Mexico, wear tennis shoes and not sandals. Along the same subject, please keep in mind that decks on board get very slippery when wet. Keep this in mind when selecting shoes and walking around on board.

12. Fanny packs are the best invention since the wheel! Who wants to carry around a big purse or have to worry about a wallet slipping out of your pocket when you are on vacation? Since you need to carry your ship ID card, picture ID and probably some pocket money, I have found fanny packs to be the most convenient and secure way to carry everything I need whether I am on a shore excursion or just walking around discovering the ship.

13. Ships have shops on board that carry items such as toothpaste, film, suntan lotion, etc. not to mention the souvenirs ranging from tee-shirts to jewelry. If you find you have forgotten to pack something, go to the ship's store(s) to see if they have what you need. If not, they may be able to recommend a store in one of the ports you will be visiting.

14. Be VERY careful when you are out catching some sun. The sun will be much stronger than what you are used to. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen along. Again speaking from experience, getting a sunburn on vacation has a way of putting a damper on your enjoyment and relaxation.

15. Just as a warning - the outdoor pools on board cruise ships are generally filled with salt water that has been filtered from the ocean. They are not like the pools at the health club or at the YMCA. When you jump in for a refreshing dip be sure to close your eyes and mouth before hitting the water - otherwise you will get a healthy dose of sodium. You will find salt water pools very invigorating.

16. You may be asked to participate in games/skits etc. that go on during the course of your cruise. Join in and enjoy! The credo of cruising is that you will never see any of these people again so who cares if you let your hair down and get a little crazy - you will bring home wonderful memories that will allow you to go back and recall the vacation of a lifetime.

17. You will be asked to have your luggage packed and placed outside your cabin door before going to bed your last night on board. You will be provided with special color coded tags to be placed on your luggage for you to easily locate and claim your luggage the next morning in the customs area. Your cabin steward will collect your luggage between 1 and 3 a.m. and place it in a holding area so that it can be taken off the ship as soon as the ship gets back into your port of origin. Remember to keep out whatever clothes you want to wear for your trip home - and don't forget to keep any toiletries you will need to get ready in the morning. You will not have access to your luggage until you pick it up in customs when you leave the ship to go home. I have heard some very interesting stories about people forgetting to leave out clothes and having to walk off the ship in a comedy of whatever clothing they could get their hands on.

18. The last evening on board you should complete the customs declaration form that will be left in your cabin. This form must be accurately completed by each traveler and will be required to be presented to a customs agent before you will be allowed to leave the customs area when you depart from the ship in the port of origin. They are very serious about having these forms completed. Custom's agents will choose people at random to request a search of their luggage. Do not be alarmed if you are chosen, they are just doing their job.

19. If your airline tickets were part of your cruise package, the cruise line will most likely have buses waiting to take you to the airport. Several of the airlines may have trucks waiting also so you can check your luggage with them instead of having to carry them to check in at the airport. Several taxis will be waiting outside customs that you can also take back to the airport. Be sure to inquire what the fee will be before getting into the taxi.

20. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful time. I hope that when you get home that you will call me and fill me in on all the wonderful details. By now you should know that I love to cruise and I love to talk about cruising - so please be sure to call.

Tips On Packing

Lock your luggage! Carry keys in your hand luggage.

Remove old Claim Checks to avoid confusion with the baggage handlers on what your luggage's destination is.

Affix identification tags with your name and address to each piece of your luggage. You may wish to use your business address in order to avoid advertising an unoccupied house. ALWAYS include identification inside each piece of luggage as well, in case your baggage tag becomes detached from the exterior.

Place your final destination and itinerary inside your suitcase on top of your personal items. This information may help in minimizing delays in getting your luggage to you if it should become lost.

ALWAYS carry essential, valuable and breakable items with you. This should include items such as travel documents, travelers' checks, house keys, medicines,, prescriptions, eyeglasses and jewelry. Pack an extra copy of your prescriptions drugs for safety purposes. Keep your drugs in their original containers as well.

Mark your luggage in a conspicuous manner, so it will be easily identifiable.

Carry a list of the contents of your luggage, itemizing everything.

Carry a set of luggage straps with you in case of damage to your luggage.

Pack a lightweight, collapsible tote bag in your luggage to bring home souvenirs and last minute purchases.

If traveling overseas, try to pack all of your new purchases in one bag and all of your receipts in one envelope, to help save time when going through Customs.

Check in early and check your bags. Examine your tags to make certain your luggage is marked with the correct destination.

When traveling with someone, you might consider packing half your items into each other's suitcase. If one of the bags is lost, at least you both will still have some of your important items.

Wearing the heaviest or bulkiest clothing and shoes on board the plane can save packing space.

Put a few plastic bags in your suitcase. They come in handy when repacking wet bathing suits, damp clothing or laundry.

Make two copies of the first two pages of your passport; leave one at home and pack the other in your luggage. This facilitates replacement if your passport is lost or stolen.

Pack a pocket calculator for converting foreign currencies and mileage.

Insect repellent, especially for warm weather travel, could prevent some sleepless nights.

A Swiss army knife, complete with scissors, bottle opener and other gadgets, could make a trip hassle-free.

Bring a small flashlight. One never knows when there might be a power failure in a hotel.

Pack a snack - there might be a delay!

Packing Checklist

Night Gowns

Grooming Aids & Toiletries
Dental Floss
Hair Brush
Hair Clips
Hair Conditioner
Hair Dryer
Hair Rollers
Hair Spray
Manicure Items
Razor Blades

Medications & Health Aids
Birth Control
Diarrhea Medicine
Eye Drops
Insect Repellent
Motion Sickness Pills
Pain Reliever
Sanitary Napkins

Address Book
Alarm Clock
Credit Cards
Electric Converter
Plastic Bags
Playing Cards
Reading Material
Sewing Kit
Swiss Army Knife
Travel Ticket
Traveler's Checks

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