How to Prepare for Your Cruise Ship Vacation

There is so much to love about cruising, but if you have never gone on a cruise before there are some things you should know.  This article will help you get prepared for your trip so that it will be a memorable vacation on the high seas of luxury.

Determine what to pack.  Where your cruise ship is going will help determine what you should pack.  If you are doing an Alaskan cruise I recommend you dress in layers because of the wild temperature swings between night and day.  Other than that you can pack just like you would for any vacation, except for a few things you can leave behind.  Some things you don’t have to pack are towels, soap, a laptop (most cruise ships have an internet café), an iron, and a few other toiletries depending on what boat you are sailing on.  Always find out as much as you can about your boat so you know what is already provided.

Plan your excursions in advance.  Excursions are those activities you do when your ship docks at different islands.  These can include jet skiing, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, scuba diving, touring the island, parasailing and more.  You can book these excursions through the ship or on the islands themselves which can be cheaper.  But an advantage to booking your excursions through the cruise line is that they will not leave you behind if your activity takes longer than expected.

Bring some sun block.  When you are on a cruise you will probably be spending more time in the sun than you are used to, so having the right sun block can keep you from being miserable the whole trip.  I have seen people get burnt to a crisp their first day because of swimming in the ship’s pools all day.  Come prepared with sun block because the sun block you can buy on the ship is very expensive.

Don’t park at the port.  If you leave your car at the port it can cost anywhere between $20 and $30 a day.  And since you are not using the car it is just wasted money.  You are better off just getting a taxi from your hotel to the port, or getting a friend to drop you off.  You can pay him $20 and still save a lot of money.

Get a quick tour of the ship.  I always recommend you read up on your ship and get to know it before you even board it, but once you get on it’s a good time to walk around and get to know where everything is.  You will find plenty of places where you can eat for free, and at least one of them will be open as soon as you board.  This is usually the buffet but you can find other places too.

               Set meeting times and places with your group.  If you are traveling with a group it can be difficult to communicate with everyone.  Cell phone minutes are very expensive at sea and walkie talkies don’t always work.  It’s best to set times when you will meet with the rest of the group to discuss plans.  And of course, you can always use the room phones to keep in touch as well.


A cruise ship not only offers a great way to travel, but it also offers an experience of a lifetime.  Many people are a little nervous or hesitant to go on a cruise ship, but once they have gone on one cruise they can’t wait to plan their next getaway.  I hope these tips help you have an amazing cruising experience.

Jon is a writer for a cruise travel tips website at, where you will find more helpful tips for cruising.