According to Cruisemates.com, almost all cruises stop in foreign ports, so a passport is almost always required. If you are traveling within Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean as a U.S. citizen and are returning to the same port at which you embarked, you can use your state-issued ID and a birth certificate, but it’s much easier to simply use your passport. Passports are a good idea in case of an emergency that requires you return home by air or land. Passports also guard against unexpected problems with the cruise ship stopping in another port.
There are a variety of options to look out for when planning your cruise. When selecting a cabin, keep in mind that each cruise line designates them differently, so it’s important to check their websites for specific information. Generally, according to Cruisemates.com, cabins are broken down into inside cabins, ocean view cabins, balcony cabins, mini-suites and suites. The prices climb as you go up.
Remember that usually, there is no personal alcohol allowed on the cruise ship. Do not try to get by security with inventive smuggling techniques; they’ve seen it all before. If you intend to drink on the ship, be sure to include this in your budget, because it can get expensive. There are certain cruise lines (Carnival) that will allow a single bottle of wine or champagne to be brought onboard at the port of embarkation, but they will charge a corkage fee for that option. Also, the Disney Cruise Line will allow alcohol to be taken onboard in a day bag or carry-on, but it can only be consumed in your cabin. Alcohol policies are prone to change to match competitors, so be sure to check with your cruise line about it before booking.
Other considerations to consider include what you’re willing to spend, how many days you want to cruise, when and where you’d like to travel, what kinds of activities you like and how you’ll get to your cruise. Keep all of these in mind while researching.
Packing A packing list is essential for a cruise. Prices for items that you forget to bring are inflated onboard, according to CruisesOnly.com. A packing list will make it much easier to avoid spending extra cash onboard and will also keep you from undue stress caused by forgetting an essential item like your camera or underwear. And remember, don’t try to pack the booze before checking your cruise line’s policies.
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