I heard a story this week, about a girl getting married on Saturday and traumatically rushing out to buy her dress just the day before. This begs the question, why get into this stressful situation in the first place?
In the same way researching the perfect cruise and then booking it well in advance, makes life easier and more enjoyable.
First do the obvious groundwork; the places that appeal, the ships that meet your needs and the dates that work. Check the cruise lines latest news and itineraries and speak to friends and relatives about good and bad experiences.
How much does the time of year effect the price? Are there any special offers? It’s possible to see updated information about the industry at Travel Weekly’s Blog
Looking properly at the deck plans makes cabin options more understandable. What are the dimensions? Do you really need a porthole or will an inside cabin do as well? What deck is the most suitable?
Then read about the ports of call and access the on-board excursions being offered. Do you want to go on them all? Are there some venues where it is better to do your own thing? If so buy, or borrow the necessary guidebooks and work out the best way to spend the time. If the ship is stopping at a substantial port, does the ship provide a free bus that will take passengers out of the dock area?
It might be useful to see what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend on their website under “Travel Advice By Country” including visas and safety issues.
What realistic temperatures can be expected during the trip to help decide what to pack? Perhaps there is a special occasion in the middle of the holiday. Check the itinerary, to see if there is any sort of dress code.
For the first day of your cruise, it is often useful to have a little carry-on bag with travel documents, a change of clothes, swimsuit, exercise clothes and any medicines. That way you can get on with life on board before your bag arrives in the cabin.
I used to think it was clever to pack with no wasted space, but then had a problem with finding enough room on the way home to put presents and souvenirs. I now take an extra empty bag.
Insurance is a necessity but having time to shop around for the best deal can save money and make the experience hassle free. Pre booking airport parking and/ or hotels nearby can reduce stress levels even further, as I know to my cost.
On a trip, the motorway journey to Heathrow was held up by an accident and I arrived about an hour before the flight… only to find my seat had been sold on. It seemed that the only way to reach Oslo, where my cruise around the Baltic was beginning, was to take 2 different planes. Even so, harassed and exhausted, I was embarrassingly the last person to board the boat, and the whole experience spoilt at least the first day and a half of a lovely voyage.
When at last all the decisions have been made, it is then that the forms have to be filled in, and final payment needs to be sent. It is worth making make sure everything tallies up, from names to passport numbers to credit cards.
Then all there is left to do is enjoy the feeling of anticipation, and to remember in a stressed world, that in the unlikely event any problem should arise, it is always possible to pre book an anti stress treatment at the on-board Spa!
We’d love to hear your tips for ensuring planning your cruise is stress free. Let us know using the comment form below.
Next Wednesday I’ll be exploring how to enjoy your cruise stress free.
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