Caribbean Cruises can be an amazing experience for a first time and even experienced cruiser. Exotic ports of call and warm tropical weather is just a little of what you will experience. There are few things you’re going to have to remember.
10. Know Your Cruise Ship
There are five basic categories which are the ultra-luxury market, the upscale mass market, the middle of the road mass market, the bargain/smaller lines, and specialized cruise lines. Make sure to carefully research the ship and cruise line so you’re not stuck on the boat not having a good time. Decide what type of cruise suits your style & needs. Some cruise lines also target specific age groups and this tends to set the atmosphere of the boat. Make sure you review the available off-shore excursions; some cruises ask that you book these activities ahead of time. Remember use the internet to find cruiser reviews, compare prices, and find the perfect Caribbean cruise for you.
9. Keep Important Items in Your Carry On
As you may or may not know; when you arrive on the ship you will not receive your bags for a few hours. So remember to keep important items, like your medication, change of clothes, and any other items you will need immediately in your carry one. This is also a good precaution to take, as many people may have experienced in the past, your luggage may be misplaced or damaged.
8. Always Pack For the Unexpected
Even though the weather is expected to be very warm, you will want to pack a few extra items just in case. Remember the air conditioned dining areas will not be as comfortable in your summer attire as the outdoor pool. Remember to bring nicer outfits for formal dining and clothing for activities like the onboard club and gym. Remember always pack for the unexpected when you going on a cruise. You can also check with your specific cruise line to find out what you should bring.
7. Don’t Forget Your Camera!
From personal experience I can tell you how much it hurts when you can’t document that amazing sunset you experienced while sitting on the deck of the boat enjoying a refreshing pina colada. Always test your camera before taking it with you to avoid an unexpected surprise. Remember to bring an extra memory card and film just in case you run out or misplace your storage media. Always bring extra batteries, because you know batteries always run out at the most inconvenient times. I recommend you keep your camera in sight when you leave the boat and keep your used film and media cards in your room safe, just in case.
6. Beware of the Sun
Yes, the entire point of this cruise is to enjoy the magnificent Caribbean sun but you don’t want to cause permanent damage to yourself just for the experience. Remember to wear polarized sun glasses to protect your eyes from the glare. Always, no matter how tan you want to get, wear sunscreen when you’re outside. The UV levels are higher in the Caribbean than where most people live, so always take precautions to protect your skin. Remember to bring a bottle of water whenever you leave the boat or are sitting out in the sun. The number one cause of sun stroke is dehydration, and remember alcohol just speed to process up. And as my mother always said “Bring a hat” just in case the sun gets to be too much.
5. Bring the Right Footwear
Don’t forget that various activities you will take part in will require different footwear. Bring flip flops or sandals for hanging out at the beach and pool. Remember some the off-shore excursions will require walking or even hiking, so remember to bring comfortable shoes for these activities. Make sure you break in those new shoes before your cruise. Also, there may be a formal, semi-formal, or another night activity that will require nicer footwear. And always pack backups, because you should always expect the unexpected on a cruise.
4. Research your Destinations
Cruises are great way to experience multiple vacation destinations without having to deal with the hassle and planning. You should research each location your cruise ship plans to stop at. Find out the best locations to visit, get information about activities or events that may be going on during your visit, and learn about local culture. Since some cruises only dock at ports for specific amounts of time, you are going to want to use your time in port efficiently.
As you know you will find some amazing deals when you visit the Caribbean. You will be able to shop in open air markets and enjoy some nicer stores on the various islands. Remember to always find out what your money is worth and if they accept your local currency. Some deals may seem too good to be true, and they usually are. Be wary of the products you purchase while you are on shore. Research the island and find out the shopping hot spots. The helpful staff on the cruise ship will surely be able to direct you to some of the more popular shopping destinations on the island.
2. Travel Advisories and Health
Based on where you ship will start you may need to visit your local doctor to be inoculated for common sickness you may come upon in the Caribbean. Most tourist destinations are safe but you should visit your physician before you cruise and let me them know which countries you plan on visiting. You can also contact your cruise line for more information on health advisories so you are prepared for anything (also, be sure to check out travel advisories from the US government). Remember every ship has an onboard infirmary with a qualified medical staff that prepared for any medical emergency.
1. Protect Those Important Documents & Items
The biggest way to ruin the magical Caribbean cruise is to lose your passport or even worse all of your cash. Most cruise ships will provide you with a small in room safe you can store your valuables in. Remember to keep your passport and ID safe. You should make copies of these documents and keep a copy in your carry on and keep the originals locked in your safe. Sometimes it easier to have cash but remember it is just as easy to lose that cash. Convert your cash in to travelers check and only cash them in when you need them. Most on shore locations will accept your travelers’ checks. They are traceable and replaceable so if you do loose them you can have a new set issued. Cruise ships are very safe but remember to always keep your valuables safe just in case.
Remember these tips and you will have a spectacular Caribbean cruise. Always do you research; you will enjoy your trip more when you are prepared for the unexpected. Have a great time on your holiday vacation cruise in the Caribbean!
photo credit: flickrized