Short disclaimer: I am no cruise guru. However, I have a hand full or so cruise vacations in the books! Therefore, here I'll share just a few tidbits. At this point, you have booked your cruise and ready to get to the port.
Travel: If you reside in the city where you will port from, you can possibly skip away from this portion. All others, my suggestion to you... if flying, fly in a day before. Yet, if you happen to be flying in that day... many cruise lines will offer shuttle services (at a fee) from major airports to the port. Nonetheless, just to give yourself time to arrive in the City and not feel rushed with airport traffic, delays and that sort. Try to land lodging (hotel or airbnb) close the cruise line to minimize the distance of travel before boarding.
Parking: If you are driving to the cruise line, they offer daily parking at the port. It's fenced in. As always, never leave items visible in the vehicle. Check your cruise line official website for parking fees.
Cash vs. Card: In my opinion, travel with both! Once you pay for your cruise... truly there is nothing more you HAVE TO SPEND. However, it is highly suggested that you tip the staff. Trust, the staff puts in work... just so you can live the life of the rich and famous even if it's for just a few days! Also, when you port (meaning: get off the ship to visit the island) having cash is more ideal for your shopping. Though, make sure either means of money is in a safe place on your personal. Like in the states, paying with a card can come with extra fees. PLUS: In the event you are mistakenly charged for something... issuing a claim via your bank can be a racket. On the same token, most cruise lines offer a seapass (see your cruise line official website for further). With this pass, it covers your additional cruise expenses such as fine dining, stores, the "Bahama Mamas", casino, internet use and the sort while on the boat. The seapass in most cases have to be linked to a debit or credit. Therefore, you have the leisure to leave your suite without carrying your wallet. If you desire to track your spending on the boat, visit the customer service desk. At that time, you are free to dispute a charge, add money, get change, pay your balance from another form of payment or the like. Oh, before I forget... it's a ATM on the cruise ship. Personally, using that one beats using one at the porting location.
PSA: Prior to your trip, contact your financial provider to let them know you are traveling out of the country. Therefore, they won't think it's suspicious charges and decline a purchase.
Tipping the Staff: Many cruise lines suggest that you tip what they recommend and via your seapass. Follow at your discretion. The final night on the ship if not before they will disclose their suggested tip amount. You will only understand this when you witness how hard they work for you. As for me, I tip to my liking and via cash.
What to Pack: Comfortable but cute! Nightly, it's a option to enjoy formal dinning (this is included in your cruise price). Therefore, change into something nice for dinner. Think about it, you have been beach or poolside, walking the island or just simply lounging all day. For any occasion, think summer! Yet, for at night a jacket or cute scarf will do. Shoes: It's your choice... I have seen and packed tennis shoes, heels, flats and flip flops. Don't forget to pack your swim attire!! Most cruise lines, it's a laundry option at a fee.
Cell (and internet): Prior to your trip, contact your cellphone provider to advise your travel. Perhaps, they can share any international rate savings. At the very least, before going to bed that first night on the ship place your cell on airport mode OR turn your roaming option off. This is a way to ensure you don't get roaming fees while at sea and still be able to use your cell for pictures and video. Then share or post once off the ship (and back home). Once in the Bahamas, my husband and I were able to use our cell via Wi-Fi OFF the boat. However, get this first cruise under your belt before you get too tech savvy. In the meantime, pack a camera or simply airport mode your cell. On the ship, you have computers at your finger tips... to use at a fee. I would suggest, once or twice communicate with family and/or friends via email and be done with it. Work emails... you are on vacation, leave work emails to your commute back home.
Suite Mate: Traveling with a spouse or family member... you know if they're a morning person or not. If traveling in groups, be mindful of both of your privacy. Their need to turn the light on while they sleep. Or their cleanliness or lack there of. Trust, this is not a big deal. The rooms are quaint but doable.
Documents: Be sure to pack your unexpired government issued state ID or drivers license, a original copy of your birth certificate and/or passport. Store them in a safe place while on the cruise. Go an extra mile, email a copy of both to yourself and a close family/friend for emergency. If on meds, same suggestion... have that information handy. Most importantly, make your way back to the RIGHT ship at least an hour before suggested!!
Share. Comment. Like if you find this piece helpful. Don't think too hard about it! When you are greeted with a Bahama Mama or the like as you board the ship.. take it and keep moving. Be watchful, which is always. And have fun. Here's to making memories!
airbnb: Sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your first adventure. Here’s my invitation link: https://abnb.me/e/DGsBxPPsiS