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How to prepare for a cruise holiday

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Planning a cruise holiday is an exciting venture and one that so many take on with joy and enthusiasm, but there is more that goes into planning and preparing for a cruise holiday than many think. You’ve probably already chosen your cruise and know where you are planning to go, so actually choosing your itinerary isn’t a worry, but the months leading up to the cruise are a time for preparations, but who knows where to start?

Whether you are going on a short-but-sweet mini cruise or are planning to travel the globe on a world cruise, there is a lot to consider and plan before embarkation. Read this guide to find out everything you need to know and prepare before heading on your exciting cruise holiday.

How to prepare for a cruise holiday:

  • Book as early as possible

  • Choose a stateroom that suits your need

  • Plan your excursions

  • Think about what you need to pack carefully

  • Make sure you have all the right documentation

  • Let the cruise line know if you have any special requirements

Book early

This may sound like a very simple and obvious tip, but the earlier you book, the longer you have to plan and prepare for your cruise holiday. Booking early is also a great way to get a great deal and have free reign of the best stateroom options; it always pays off to be organised. Booking early was a tip that Jillian from the blog Finding Jillian let us know about; she has been on many cruises and has got her planning routine sorted:

“There has been a lot of chatter on the topic, but most travel experts agree that booking as early as possible gives you the opportunity for the best rate. The last minute deals for cruises, which were fairly common a decade ago, are pretty rare. Of course, if you live near a cruise port and have cruised often, there may be some deals out there. For the general vacation goer, booking early is your best bet. As rooms start to fill up, the prices generally start to creep up as well. Book early and then set up a price alert. You can generally price adjust up until your final payment date. Plus, by booking early, you have more time to pay off the balance. This advance planning gives you time to purchase any extras, such as speciality dining, drink packages, etc.”

Booking early also means you have more time to prepare for your cruise. You can get to know the destinations you are visiting more, consider excursions and speciality dining and get excited for your holiday.

Choose a stateroom that suits your needs

On Ambience and Ambition, we have a whole host of staterooms that you can choose from, so we guarantee there will be an option to suit everyone’s needs. Depending on the length of your cruise, you might want more cabin space and room to manoeuvre, or you may not mind a smaller cabin if the cruise you choose is slightly shorter.

It is worth thinking about all the options before you commit to booking your cabin. Do you want a window or a balcony in your room? Would you like a bath as well as a shower? Would a walk-in wardrobe be a useful addition? Our recent article details how you can make the most of your cabin and might offer some tips and things to consider.

Plan your excursions

If you’ve chosen your cruise and you know which ports you’ll be visiting along the way, then you can start planning your excursions and what you’d like to do at each port. Getting your cruise booked early means that you can really do your research and choose the activities you’re really excited about. This is something Jenni from the blog Cruise Mummy recommended to us when we asked about preparing for a holiday.

“When preparing for a cruise holiday, you should make a plan for what you'll do in every port of call. While you can just get off the ship and wander around, a bit of prep goes a long way. I like to see what excursions the cruise line has to offer first.

“I always look the port up on Google Maps to see what's within walking distance. I'll note where any children's playgrounds are and try to find a few places that do vegan food so that we're not wandering around hungry come lunchtime. Then I put all my notes on a single piece of paper and pop it into my travel wallet.”

Think about what you need to pack carefully

The locations you are visiting on your cruise will really determine what you will want to pack and how much you want to pack. If you’re heading to hotter climes such as the Canary Islands or the Mediterranean, then items like shorts, t-shirts, hats and sunglasses will probably be the main items in your suitcase. If you’re heading to locations like Iceland, Norway or Canada, then larger coats and layers are probably going to be packed.

Although there are no limits on how much luggage you can bring on an Ambassador cruise, you’ll want to consider how much space your suitcases will take up in your cabin and keep your packing to a minimum, where possible.

Make sure you have all the right documentation

Before you travel, making sure you have all the right documentation and information on your person is really important and will save stress down the line should you need them. We recommend having all confirmations of your cruise booking printed or available on your devices so you can refer to this if needed. You will need your passport at the check-in desk before you board the ship, so having this easily accessible is a good idea. We highly recommend that everyone has travel insurance that will cover them in the event of any cancellations, lost luggage or medical emergencies whilst away.

Documents to have before travelling:

  • Passport

  • Booking confirmation

  • Medication prescriptions and letters

  • Travel insurance documents

Let the cruise line know if you have any special requirements

If you have any food allergies or medical conditions that the crew or Ambassador team should be aware of, then we advise you to let us know before boarding the ship to allow us time to prepare and cater to your needs. If you let us know that you have specific dietary requirements, we can make sure there are options for you when dining in our restaurants and that the teams are aware of your specific requirements.

If you’re planning to book a cruise or have already booked a cruise and want to know more about what things to plan before travelling, then we hope this guide has supplied you with the information you need. For more articles like this, make sure you head to our blog, which is full of inspiring travel and cruise articles.

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Ambassador Cruise Holidays Limited is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 13299365