Don’t add stress to your trip by falling prey to these cruising mistakes.
1. Skipping Your Research
Just because your neighbor loved their cruise experience, doesn’t mean you’ll love the same thing. There are so many cruise lines, ships, and itineraries to choose from, and you want to find the one that is best for you. Your Brownell Advisor will work with you to pair you with your perfect cruise experience.
2. Forgetting to Check Your Passport
We can’t stress this enough! Before you travel, check the expiration date of your passport. Again: CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE OF YOUR PASSPORT! Many countries require it be valid up to six months after your estimated date of departure. That means if you’re headed to Spain for a cruise departing from Barcelona and your passport expires in two months, you better have a Plan B (and travel insurance!).
3. Arriving the Day-Of Your Cruise
Arrive the day before your departure, especially if you’re flying. Inclement weather, flight cancellations, missed connections — you name it — could cause you to be late and thus miss your departure. It’s best to get there early, relax, get over any jet lag, and get in vacation mode so you can fully enjoy your cruise.
4. Reenacting the Titanic “I’m Flying” Scene
This would definitely be frowned upon…and dangerous.
5. Being Late to Ship
You’re having a great time in port and think to yourself, “what’s the harm in being a little late?” Well, no harm as long as you don’t mind figuring the logistics to get to the next port on your own. The ship waits for no one!
6. Only Packing Clothes in Suitcase
You’ve boarded the ship, found your cabin, and are ready to take on the day. One problem: your luggage hasn’t arrived yet. Depending on the cruise line, it could take hours before you get your suitcase, so be sure to pack a change of clothes, a bathing suit, or anything you might need in your carry-on.
7. Ignoring Travel Insurance
This isn’t just a cruise mistake — we see all types of travelers skip travel insurance. Even if you’re healthy as a horse, there are plenty of things that can go wrong that are simply out of anyone’s control (hello, crazy weather!). So just get the travel insurance.
You only have so much space to unpack in your cabin (not every ship has walk-in closets like Regent Seven Seas Cruises!), so don’t bring your entire wardrobe. Look at your day-by-day itinerary, and plan your outfits ahead of time. Bring neutral items and change up the look with accessories like scarves or statement necklaces. Packing smart will also leave room for souvenirs — you’ll be so glad you have space for that new pair of shoes or sweater you found at a local market in port!
9. Not Planning Ahead
If you know you want to treat yourself with a spa treatment or have a prime-time reservation at a specialty restaurant, make those reservations before the cruise. Certain times, like enjoying a massage during the day at sea, will fill up quickly, so you will want to plan ahead.
10. Booking Without Considering Time of Year
Do you want a relaxing escape where you can enjoy peace and quiet? Spring break season is probably not your ideal cruise time if you are going to be on a family friendly cruise. And that three-night weekend Caribbean cruise…watch out for 20-somethings who see it as a party boat.
And while all of these rookie cruising mistakes are avoidable, the best way to avoid adding stress is to plan your cruise with a travel advisor. Your Brownell Advisor will work closely with you to find out your unique preferences and interests and then will match you with the cruise line and itinerary that best fits your needs. Plus, through Virtuoso and our preferred partner status with many cruise lines, your advisor can access exclusive amenities and benefits that add value to your sailing (hello private shore excursions and onboard credits!).