Saturday, May 2, 2015

Come aboard - tips on cruising

I'm about to embark on a little vacation in the Mediterranean. Vacation again? Yes, again.
I have chosen to cruise for a whole week and I am looking forward to it. I don't necessarily think cruising is the best travel style but it is still a value for money choice. I have cruised since my teens and the travel experience of cruising in a huge boat is so different than renting a car or an apartment. If you still think cruising if for old people, you are wrong my friend. Today's vessels are state of the art and will adapt to anyone's taste. The value of a vacation on a cruise is like no other experience out there.

Clearly a cruise is a "town on the sea" so if you do not like crowds this may not be the vacation for you. Personally I'm a social bug and I love every aspect of cruising: meeting people, the all inclusive concept, the entertainment, the captain get the idea. If you're considering cruising keep in mind that every company is different and researching is important, not only for price but for what kind of taste you have. You will be in a boat with hundreds of people so choose wisely.
Once you select the ship, consider your cabin choice. A nice balcony with your own privacy is worth the money if you are cruising for more than 5 days. If you are not able to do so, you can still enjoy the sunsets on a lounge chair on deck. If you can watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand, do it. Or in the company of someone special, well that's just even better! The key to booking a cruise is taking time to find an experience that can be offered according to your likes. If you are into visiting remote locations, playing the casino, dancing all night or enjoying great spas, today there are companies who cater to almost anyone out there.

Regarding my vacation, I knew I had to start making a check list to make the trip the smoothest possible. Things like passport and visas requirements, confirming the currency on board and budgeting the extra expenses are my TOP 3 priorities. Every cruise company is different so it is important to visit their website. Be aware that gratuities, beverage packages, onshore excursions and extra amenities on board are going to cost you extra. Budgeting is key.

It is essential to bring certain items that will be very handy once you arrive to the cruise. You may be surprised on the items that can save you an expensive trip to the ship's stores to say less.

1. Prepare a bag with several over the counter medicines including: aspirin or ibuprofen, allergy pills and upset stomach remedies of your choice.

2. Motion sickness/Anti nausea bracelets or medication for those of you who might not do well under rocky seas.

3. Swimwear. Even if you will be cruising up North, there are still spas and hot jacuzzi on board.

4. Plug in travel adaptors. It is better to have it than to realise you won't be able to charge your camera because the plugs were not compatible.

5. A nice semi formal/formal outfit. Almost all cruises will have that one night were you should look a little more presentable. It will also make you feel less out of place. Try to bring bright colors if you're traveling in warm weather locations. It will just make you feel more ''vacationy.''

6. With all the around the clock food available, I suggest bringing your workout clothes and tennis shoes. Most cruises have gym facilities or a nice promenade deck to go for a jog.

7. Last tip is watch out to turn off your roaming on your phone.

I am looking forward to experiencing this new cruise vacation and I'm hoping to have great weather, meeting new people, relaxing a bit and enjoy. Before I set off, I leave you here with some links if you're considering cruising. As always, I'm here to help with any info. you may need.

Cruise critic - Trustworthy Editorial ship Reviews and descriptions.
Cruise currents - Cruise industry news and information for each cruise company.
Whats in port - Helpful information for any cruise port of call.
Conde Nast traveler - Their best cruises selection article
Cruise compete - Great link for USA residents to find a cruise 
Rick Steeve's Cruise Ports Info. of the Ports in the Mediterranean.