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Cruise Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go.

 

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
A cruise vacation is an experience you'll never forget. And we want to help you get the very most out of every moment. So we've put together a few basic tips and guidelines to make sure you've got everything you need for your upcoming
adventure. Here are a few must-have cruise items that'll help make your vacation more comfortable, enjoyable and memorable.

 

CRUISE PLANNING & ADVICE

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Welcome to the ultimate source of information about your cruise. We've added some new sections to the Ultimate Cruise Guide, so even if you've been here before, you should take a good look around. Do you have a question about cruising? Or a subject you want to learn more about that we haven't covered in the guide? Is there a resource you can't find? Send an E-mail to our Cruise Guide Editor, at editor@cruisedirectonline.com , so we can make the guide even more helpful to you.

 

This guide is intended for reference purposes only. It is generic in nature, the content is subject to change without notice and is not intended to replace or supersede the information provided you by the cruise line. You should consult the cruise line's most current brochure and your cruise documents for information specific to your particular cruise.


 

Ultimate Cruise Packing List
Learn how to pack light, avoid bag fees and still have room for those must-have souvenirs. Use our Ultimate Cruise Packing Check List to make sure you have ...
Everything you need to know about packing for a cruise. Click here to learn more.
What To Pack For an Alaska Cruise 
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What To Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
Ultimate Cruise Packing List. Packing  for a Caribbean Cruise. Does your cruise visit Southern ...
What To Pack for a Europe Cruise
Ultimate Cruise Packing List. Packing for a Europe Cruise. Does your cruise visit Mediterranean ...


 

 
On the first day...
For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, workout clothes, and any medications you may need. That way you don't have to wait for your checked bags to arrive in your stateroom.

Onboard attire...
Shorts, t-shirts, slacks, trousers, casual skirts, blouses and sundresses are all perfect during the day, whether indoors or out.

For lounging by the pool, pack two bathing suits (an extra suit in case the other is wet) and a pair of casual shoes (e.g., flip-flops, sandals, sneakers). You'll also need some casual shorts and a couple of t-shirts or a cover-up for getting to and from the pool areas.

If you're planning to visit the onboard fitness center, be sure to bring extra shorts, t-shirts and socks that you won't mind working out in - plus a pair of tennis or running shoes/sneakers.

If you're planning to ice skate on Royal Caribbean's Voyager, Freedom and Oasis Class ships please make sure to bring long pants and socks. All skaters are required to wear long pants and socks for their own comfort and safety.

Dinner attire...
Meals in the main dining room follow this schedule:

Note: This is an example, your cruise ship may have a different schedule. Consult the cruise line's brochure or website for details
 

Cruise Length
Casual
Smart Casual
Formal
3-night
2
0
1
4-night
3
0
1
5-night
3
1
1
6-night
3
1
2
7-night
4
1
2
8-night
4
2
2
9-night
5
2
2
10-night
6
2
2
11-night
7
2
2
12-night
8
2
2*
13-night
9
2
2
14-night
8
3
3
15-night+
Remaining Casual
3
3

The number of smart casual and formal nights is at the ship's discretion.

Note: *Some 12-night European cruises may have 3 formal nights

We appreciate your usual parental guidance and cooperation in observing these easy guidelines with your children.
 
 
Suggested guidelines for these nights are:
 
  Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women
  Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women
  Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women

For fun... There are four very important types of books you'll want to consider packing:
 
  Travel guides - to help you explore new destinations
  Poolside pleasures - nothing beats a great read in the sun
  Journal - keep an account of your adventure for sharing and reminiscing
  Address book - send your friends a postcard to make them jealous

Binoculars are another often forgotten, yet indispensable travel item. Be sure to pack a pair for magnified excitement onboard and onshore.

Save space...
Be sure to leave some room in your luggage for all those souvenirs and mementos. Some space-saving ideas include:
  Bring shirts and pants/skirts that mix and match, turning three outfits into five or six.
  Wear your heaviest shoes during embarkation and disembarkation so you don't have to pack them.
  Pack small items inside larger ones for efficiency.
  Bring an additional empty bag for those acquired extras.
 
 
For formal nights you'll need cocktail dresses for women, suits and ties - or tuxedos - for men. And for the smart casual nights bring dresses or pantsuit for women, jackets for men.

Remember, shorts, T-shirts, and bathing suits are not considered appropriate attire in the dining rooms at dinner. Casual dress dining is available nightly in the Windjammer Cafe. And be aware you'll also need smart casual attire for some of our specialty restaurants.

We also offer tuxedo rentals for formal dinners and special occasions.

Onshore attire...
You'll need comfortable walking shoes, as well as a hat and sunscreen for protection from the sun.

If you are cruising to Northern Europe or Alaska, remember that nights on deck can be cool. Bring sweaters, jackets and long pants. And if you'll be touring any museums, cathedrals or churches, it's always wise to dress conservatively. You may also want to bring a raincoat, hiking shoes and a travel umbrella. And don't forget your swimsuit - it may be cool outside but it's always warm in our Solarium.

What Not To Pack
Weapons, illegal drugs, and other items that could interfere with the safe operation of the ship or the safe and secure environment of our guests and crew are prohibited. The United States Transportation Security Administration also recommends that you do not pack fragile or expensive items (such as jewelry) in checked luggage.
The following are examples of items that guests are not allowed to bring onboard. These and other similar items will be confiscated upon being found. Alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, flammable liquids, explosives, and dangerous chemicals will not be returned.
 
  • Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
  • *Sharp Objects, including knives and scissors.
  • Illegal Drugs & Substances
  • Candles & Incense
  • Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, & Hot Plates
  • Baseball Bats, Hockey Sticks, Cricket Bats, Bows & Arrows
  • Skateboards & Surfboards
  • Martial Arts Gear
  • Self-Defense Gear, including handcuffs, pepper spray, night sticks.
  • Flammable Liquids and Explosives, including lighter fluid and fireworks.
  • HAM Radios
  • Electrical Extension Cords
  • Dangerous Chemicals, including bleach and paint.
  • **Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Note:

*Personal grooming items such as safety razors are allowed. Scissors with blade length less than 4 inches are allowed.
** Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call or from shops onboard will be stored by the ship and delivered to you on the last day of the sailing. Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned.

 

PREPARE YOUR HOME

Here are some helpful - and important - things you can do in and around your home.
1. Make sure someone is taking care of the pets. Get a friend or neighbor to feed the fish, walk the dog and water your plants. Then they'll be tip-top when you return.

2. Put your lights and/or radio on a timer. People shouldn't be able to tell you're away just by looking at your house. A simple timer can turn the lights and a radio or TV on after dark.

3. Make sure someone gets your mail/newspapers. Same reason as #2. Plus, there's only so much mail the carrier will jam into your mailbox. You could also have the post office hold your mail from 3 to 30 days.

4. Check your thermostat settings. If there's no one home to enjoy the heat or a/c, turn it off before you go or set your thermostat to its recommended temperatures.

5. Change the settings on your answering machine. A constantly ringing phone could annoy your neighbors and let strangers know you're away.

6. Make sure everything that needs to be off is off. Your vacation should be worry-free, and that includes thoughts like "did I leave the stove on?" Double-check before you go. You can even unplug non-essential appliances like your computer, TV and other electronics.

7. Get rid of perishable items and leftovers. No one wants to come home to fuzzy things in the fridge. If it's uneaten the night before you go, just toss it.

8. Turn the water off. Close the water valves for your sinks, dishwasher and clothes washer. That way nothing can leak and make a mess while you're not home.

9. Keep track of your house keys. When you don't use them for a week or more, it's easy to forget where you stuck them. Find a spot in your carry-on luggage where they'll be safe for the duration of your trip.

 

WHAT TO DO AT THE PIER

Whether you're cruising for the first time or the millionth, you'll find a nugget of wisdom or two in this section. Check out the top ten things you need to know about those moments just before and after you hop onboard.

 

1. For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, workout clothes and any medications you may need. That way you don't have to wait for your checked bags to arrive in your stateroom.
2. If you've never been to the departure port before, you can find and print directions at MapQuest.
Guests are required to complete Online Check-In no later than three days prior to the cruise in order to expedite the pier check-in process.
3. Most cruise lines requires guests to be checked in no later than 90 minutes prior to the scheduled sailing time*. Guests arriving late will not be permitted to sail. This supports government regulations in some ports that require cruise lines to submit a departure manifest 90 minutes prior to sailing.
*Some sailings may require an earlier check-in time. Please refer to your cruise line's website or brochure for specific information.
4. Friends and relatives are welcome to come to the pier to see you off. However, for security reasons, they will not be allowed to board the ship at any port or enter the terminal in some ports.
5. Many cruise lines use single-color luggage tags for all ships in their fleet to help your bags get where they need to go. Luggage tags are now personalized with name and stateroom number. Tags for different ships are identified by bolded ship name for ease of identification. You can download luggage tags up to two weeks prior to sailing.
6. If you're a frequent cruiser with the cruise line, be sure to take advantage of priority check-in.
When you first come aboard, be sure to check out your stateroom. There you'll find a daily newsletter with schedules for all the onboard activities.
7. If you're traveling with family, be sure to check with the reception desk who will tell you all about the activities available for families and how to register for their Youth Program.
8. If the spa or fitness classes, or specialty restaurants are your thing, try to make your appointments/reservations on the first day, as the most popular venues and times fill up fast.

 

 

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Find Caribbean Cruises

The enchanting islands of the Caribbean offer every opportunity to slow down your days or spice them up completely. What you do with your vacation is up to you because a Caribbean cruise vacation is one of the few places on earth where completely unwinding and living it up play so well together.
With each stop in the sun-soaked islands, you'll quickly surrender your senses to laid back rhythms. You can unwind on a pristine beach, savor a fresh fruit smoothie at a waterside cafe, or spend an afternoon in the embrace of a handmade hammock in the shade of palm trees.

Island Hop with ease on your Caribbean Cruise - Find Caribbean Cruises  Find Daily Cruise Deal Offers

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Find Europe Cruises

It's the region of 'mosts.' The most romantic cities. The most fashion forward. The most delicious foods. And the most sought after cruise destinations Norway to Mykonos, France to Africa delivered in a way ion time.

 

Arriving for your Europe cruise, you will explore lands rich in romantic languages, classic architecture, food, art and music for one or multiple days at a time. You can hop from port-to-port, or take a Cruisetour, which allows you to have more land time to explore. So you can spend time enjoying centuries-old treasures on land and return to luxurious accommodations onboard to restore the new you.

Cruise Europe to best discover its many treasures - Find Europe Cruises   Find Daily Cruise Deal Offers

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Find Alaska Cruises

Awaken your love of the great outdoors when you experience the boundless splendor of Alaska's wilderness on board a cruise ship. Alaska: Mother Natures piece de resistance. It is, quite simply, the world in its purest form.

 

Imagine vast glacial fields juxtaposed against immense evergreen forests, infinite fields of wildflowers, and heady rushing waterfalls. Nowhere on earth is as diverse as The Last Frontier as seen in the summertime. (Oh, and remember to pack your sun block. Summer temperatures in Alaska are mild and the days last well into the night.)

There are many ways to explore Alaska - Find Alaska Cruises   Find Daily Cruise Deal Offers

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Cruises. They're not just a vacation.

They're the time of your life.

 

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