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February 2019 / Travel / by Sophie Hampton

How to Prepare for a Cruise Holiday

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If you’re anything like us, booking a cruise will have you looking forward to departure day from the second you confirm your voyage, but it’s important not to get so caught up in the fun that you forget to carry out some vital prep before you sail.

We’ve put together some tips for making sure that you’re prepared for whatever your cruise brings, so take a look below and sail with confidence!

Check the dress code on your ship

Where ships can dramatically differ from each other is in terms of the dress codes for different events and dining locations. Where one ship might be more than happy with casual clothing choices from morning until night, many others will aim to cater to a more sophisticated aesthetic, meaning that you could need formal wear to enter particular restaurants and bars – and a standard suit might not cut the mustard.

Be prepared by looking at the dress codes of your particular ship, in line with evening events that you will definitely want to attend. For example, if there is a gala evening, ladies might be required to wear floor-length gowns, with their male counterparts sporting tuxedos.

Your packing list really does need to be tailored to your ship’s requirements.

See which apps could be helpful

We’re well and truly in the modern age now, which means that there are apps for everything and cruises are no exception.

Because it’s so easy to get carried away on holiday, selecting a few must-have cruise apps is a great idea that can help you stay on top of everything, from your finances through to currency exchange rates during shore excursions.

While you might not be thinking about the people back at home while you’re at sea, you never know when you might need to get in touch, so apps that let you text for free, even when abroad, are fantastic. We rather like the idea of downloading some fun apps, such as constellation identifiers, which will make warm evenings up on deck that bit more interactive.

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Pick some must-see sights

It’s entirely up to you whether you want to book all of your shore excursions ahead of your voyage or when you actually get on-board, but a good rule of thumb seems to be that planning ahead is advised. We agree, as this gives you a chance to do some research and decide on particular points of interest you definitely want to see.

If you are going ashore for a whole day, it might be a prudent idea to choose some restaurants ahead of time, particularly if they are popular, as you may need to book a table. Likewise, if there are some bucket-list sights you want to experience, you’ll want to know about entrance fees, peak times and any accessibility issues.

To tip or not to tip?

This is an issue that stumps many cruisers, but all the major cruise lines are open and transparent as to whether you should feel expected to tip crew members or not. Be sure to take a look at the guidelines and terms and conditions of your particular voyage and, if you’re in any doubt, get in touch with your cruise line and simply ask the question.

In many cases, you won’t be required to offer a gratuity, as they will have already been factored into the cost of your cruise. This is especially pertinent on all-inclusive voyages, but taking this for granted could leave you red-faced if it’s not the case, so it pays to be cautious and informed.

Make your health a priority

It might sound silly, but so many people forget the simple things, such as suncream, medications and even activewear. A cruise is a luxury holiday option that allows you to get away from it all, but you don’t want to return home in worse health than when you left.

It is recommended that you compile a checklist of medications you need to take, including seasickness tablets (these can be very costly on-board), as well as stocking up on suncream and packing some gym gear, in case you fancy burning off some of the delicious buffet indulgences.

Think about your tech items

Last, but not least, make sure that every piece of technology you are taking with you has fresh batteries and chargers. There’s nothing worse than reaching for your digital camera only to find that it has run out of charge and can’t be taken ashore for a day. Likewise, your smart devices will be invaluable, especially if you’ve downloaded helpful apps, so keep them topped up as well. Don’t forget to connect to the ship’s free Wi-Fi as soon as you step aboard, too!

By factoring these tips into your cruise prep, you should be ready for anything, not least, a luxurious holiday, free from bad planning regrets.