Planning for a cruise ship excursion is one of the best ways to ensure that your entire cruise experience is a positive one. From anticipating cruise ship sickness to paying heed to cruise ship tips such as what to pack, where to find the best cruise packages, and what to expect can help any cruise ship excursion for first-time cruisers or more seasoned cruises be an unforgettable vacation experience.
Avoiding cruise ship sickness is of course an important issue for having a great time on your cruise. Sea sickness is experienced by most people as feeling nauseous and dizzy, which is no way to feel while on vacation. While there is debate about what actually causes sea sickness (some people become sea-sick at the mere mention of waves without actually being on them), the cures are fairly well documented. First and foremost, avoid cruise ship sickness by staying well-hydrated and trying to keep something wholesome in your stomach. If you do get sick, there are a number of different sea-sickness pills on the market, and your onboard physician will have them. If you think you might get sea-sick and want to avoid the hassle of buying pills on the ship, you can also talk to your doctor at home before leaving on your cruise ship excursion.
Other cruise ship tips include information on what to pack. No matter where your cruise destination lies, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing for hiking and walking around at port. Swimming suits are a must for warm weather, as well as some light cotton clothing. For warm weather, do not forget a warm jacket and a hat (a hat with a bill can be a useful way to keep rain out of your face). Formal attire is also a must, as almost all cruise ships, large and small, sea and river cruises, will have at least one formal dinner event. The formal dinner night is best attended in long dresses by ladies and suits and ties or tuxedos by the men.
Cruise ship tips involving the tipping of cruise ship workers can also be helpful. It can be confusing to know who to tip and when. In general, it is expected that you tip your servers during meals, your housekeeping staff and the maitre d'. Some cruise ships simply charge a "daily tipping fee" to your bill automatically. If your ship doesn't, expect to tip the afore mentioned departments about $1-$3 per day, per person in your group. You can often have this amount charged to a credit card along with your bill at the end, or you can take advantage of the "tipping envelopes" provided by most cruise ships at the end of a trip meant to be filled with cash.
Cruising abroad comes with its own set of unique requirements. Travelers who are accustomed to cruising to different countries know that passports are required for entering Europe, including France and Germany, as well as for cruises to South America or the South Pacific. Until recently, cruise ship passengers from the United States headed for Mexico or the Caribbean could enter port with a birth certificate and picture ID and did not need a passport. The laws have now changed, and all passengers, including children and infants, will need their own passport to cross into Mexico and countries throughout the Caribbean. Passports are checked when passengers leave the cruise ship to visit a port by officials for that country, so be sure to bring your passport with you when cruising if you will leave the country. A thin money belt which can fit discreetly under your clothing is the best way to carry your passport as you walk around on port and is also useful for storing your cash for the day. Most cruise ship cabins have in-room safes, which is where you will want to store your passport when you are onboard the ship.
Another useful tip for cruising is purchasing travelers insurance before you travel, which can cover medical expenses abroad and lost luggage. Travel with travelers checks of varying amounts and cash them as you go, so that you won't be carrying around your entire vacation's worth of cash at one time and will be less likely to lose it or have it stolen. Credit or debit cards are useful and widely accepted on board a cruise ship, but cash is better in general when you are at port.