Preparing for Your Cruise: 30 to 60 Days Out

Many people like to start preparing for their cruise months ahead of time. I am one of those people who gets so excited about my upcoming cruise that I enjoy doing all the pre-cruise work to get our family ready for the big event. Assuming that you have already booked and paid for your cruise, made any pre-and post cruise hotel arrangements, and booked your air transportation, here are a few of the things that you can do in the 30 to 60 day window to get ready for your cruises.

1. Gather and Organize “Cruise Stuff”

Many of us have a few items that we only utilize or buy especially for our cruises. I like to get a suitcase together with these things in the 30 to 60 time frame. Sometimes it takes time to locate some of these items, and gathering them over a few days and putting them all in one place I make sure that I have all of my special cruise items.

List of my “cruise stuff”:

Tide-to-Go Pen for quick stain removal
Downey Wrinkle Release for all clothes because many cruise lines don’t allow irons for passenger use
Fashion-Fix clothes tape to prevent wardrobe malfunctions
Inflatable Pillow for long flight
Camera Tripod
Clothes pin and clothes line
Power strip for a few extra outlets
Travel size liquid bottles for flying carry-on
Command Adhesive Hooks for extra hooks and no damage removal
Formal wear accessories

2. Try-on your formal wear & Swimsuits

Even if you haven’t gained or lost weight since your last cruise, it is a good idea to try it all on during this 30 to 60 day window. That way you’ll catch any problems in time to fixed them before your cruise. Many of us only wear our formal wear once or twice a year, so it is a good idea to check them for spots, tears, or zipper problems in plenty of time to remedy the situation. A few years ago my husband tried on his tux shirts on a Saturday afternoon, when we were departing for the cruise on Sunday. With a combination of a slight weight gain, and perhaps a little shrinking in the laundry, the sleeves were about 3 inches too short. This left me in a panic and having to rush out to purchase a shirt from a rental store. I ended up paying a new price for a used shirt and still not getting a perfect fit. Another thing to check is your cuff-link and stud sets. I actually did this today and found that we only had one complete set. I was able to go on E-bay and order another set for less than $6. Swimsuits can loose their elasticity over time, so it is a good idea to make sure that your swim suit is still in wearable condition. If you need to replace either your swimwear or formal wear, the 30 to 60 day window gives you plenty of time shop from either an online or retail location.

3. Review camera equipment and needs

This is another area where the 30 to 60 day window gives you much more time to shop. Check and see if you need memory cards, film (if you still use it), batteries, video tapes, or other recording media. Again this gives you plenty of time to shop around and decide what products meet your needs the best. If you have rechargeble batteries, make sure your charger and batteries are packed with your cameras.

4. Tour Arrangements

If you haven’t already arranged your shore excursion, this is a great time to do it. Most cruise lines have websites that allow you to pre-book your excursion. When you pre-book you pay for them with your credit card ahead of time, so if you are planning to pay with an On Board Credit, you need to wait until you are aboard the ship to book your shore excursion. However, some of the most popular tours can sell out pretty quickly online, so if you know what your want to do, now is the time to book your tour. If your tour is pre-sold, out there will most likely be seats available for on board booking, as most cruise lines reserve a certain percentage to be sole on board the ship. If you are booking an independant tour, this is also a good time frame in which to finalize your plans.

5. Transfers

If you have not arranged your transfers from the airport or other location to the cruise ship this is also a good time to finalize your options. In some cities like San Diego or Barcelona, a simple taxi hailed at the airport may be your simplest and least expensive option. In other locations like Vancouver or Rome where the distance between the airport to the cruise port is significant, it may be a good idea to pre-arrange your transportation. Also if you have a larger group, often pre-arranged transport is a good option. The transport is usually less expensive when arranged on your own for a larger group. I usually do a bit on online research to compare rates, services and customer reviews. If you do a web search including the city and the words cruise port, airport, and transportation, many different options will come up. Once you have the companies you can enter their name and the word “review”. In most cases a few reviews will come up on line on places like “Cruise Critic” or “Trip Advisor.” Once you feel like you have enough information to make your decision you can usually book online or over the phone. In some case city travel websites will give you enough information about taxi service, rates, and cruise port tariffs so that you may feel comfortable simply hailing a cab upon your arrival.

6. Luggage

Check you luggage for things like torn corners or failing zippers. You may need to either repair the suitcase or replace it. I had a suitcase fail the night before a cruise, and I live 45 minutes from the nearest store. That meant a drive into town to the closest open late Wal-mart in order to replace the suit case. If I had checked it prior to packing, I could have replaced it earlier or repaired the problem.

If you have any special cruise preparation tips please feel free to leave a comment and share them with our readers.