12 Things To Do A Week Before Your Cruise

12 Things To Do A Week Before Your Cruise
The week before vacations can be hectic. It’s important to prepare properly, however, and avoid leaving key tasks to get done until the night before your cruise. By then, it can be too late to get some things accomplished.

If you’re taking a cruise, here are twelve things to do at least a week before you leave on vacation.

1. Call Credit Card Companies. Credit cards are one of the safest ways to pay for items while traveling. Call your credit card companies several days before departure to let them know that you'll be traveling, your dates of travel, and the destinations you will be visiting. By contacting the credit card companies in advance to make sure they are aware of your travel plans, you’ll ensure that your credit card will be available for use. Make sure to include any countries you’ll be connecting through, just in case you miss your connecting flight and have to stay there overnight. Credit card companies monitor your charges and if anything out of the ordinary appears, such as your card number being used in a foreign country, the credit card company will refuse the charges and put a lock on your account. Once this happens, you will not be able to use the card for purchases. While you are on the phone with your credit card companies, ask if they impose any additional fees for using your cards internationally. If so, make a list of the charges for each card. This will help you decide which card(s)to use.

2. Contact Your Bank. If you're planning to bring an ATM card along to use on vacation, contact your bank in advance and let them know where you’ll be traveling and your dates of travel. Banks will block ATM cards being used internationally unless they have received prior notification. Some banks may require a personal visit to authorize ATM cards for overseas use, so make sure to check in advance. Make sure to include any countries you’ll be connecting through, just in case you miss your flight and have to stay there overnight. Check on the safety and availability of ATM outlets as well. It’s often wisest to withdraw money at a monitored bank location.

3. Refill Prescriptions. At least a week before your cruise, check to be sure you have enough prescription medications to last for your entire vacation plus a few extra days in case of flight delays. Prescriptions can be difficult to fill while traveling internationally. If your prescription has expired or your pharmacy is out of stock, it may take several days to get the medications you need, so plan ahead. If certain prescriptions are absolutely critical to your health, bring a copy along just in case.

4. Monitor The Weather Forecast. Vacationers often assume the weather on their cruise will be warm and sunny. That’s not always the case, however. Weather can be highly changeable, particularly during hurricane season. In addition, travelers sometimes forget that a Canada/New England cruise may have significantly different weather than their last Caribbean trip. Check the forecasts for each destination a few days in advance to see what the weather might be and plan accordingly. Keep monitoring the weather up until departure, since it’s always good to be prepared.

5. Compile A Detailed Packing List. Think carefully about each destination that you will be visiting and the activities that you’ll be doing on your cruise. Put together a detailed packing list at least a week before your trip. This time frame is important, as you may find that you need to purchase a few additional items to bring along. If you’re not sure what to bring, take a look online to get ideas. There are a number of detailed packing lists provided here on BellaOnline. If you will be flying, contact your airline or visit their website to learn more about baggage and carry-on restrictions.

6. Do Laundry. Don’t wait until the night before your cruise to start doing laundry. Take your detailed packing list and put aside the clothes you’re planning to bring on your cruise at least several days before your trip. If you’re traveling with children, make sure to review their clothes as well. Then, get the laundry done and folded so you’re all set to go.

7. Try Out Cameras And Video Equipment. Photographs and videos are important ways to capture memories and document your cruise vacation. Don’t wait until the night before your cruise to find out that your camera doesn’t work. Put your equipment through a dry run at least a week before your trip. In addition, consider bringing along a back-up camera just in case something happens along the way.

8. Stop Newspaper And Mail Deliveries. If no one will be at home while you’re on vacation, make sure to contact the postal service and newspaper circulation departments to stop deliveries while you’re gone. Sometimes these deliveries happen, however, even if proper arrangements have been made. Have a neighbor double check to make sure that papers, packages and mail aren’t conspicuously left at your home while you’re away. Set timers for indoor lights, too.

9. Check With Your Cellular Service Provider. Before going on your cruise, call your cellular provider to find out what the voice and data charges will be in each of your port destinations and ascertain the costs involved in using the ship’s cellular service. Doing this can eliminate costly surprises on your bill when you return home. Before leaving, research alternative methods of getting in touch, including mobile apps, Skype, international SIM cards and places that offer free Wi-Fi in each port of call.

10. Pay Bills. Everyone wants to avoid late fees, so vacationers often spend the night before their cruise madly going through mail and paying bills. That’s not the best way to start off your vacation, so try to avoid this practice by taking care of this chore several days before you leave.

11. Review Shore Excursions And Logistical Arrangements. Vacationers sometimes focus solely on booking their cruises and flights, leaving little details to get lost in the shuffle. This is another key area where travel agents can help. Check in online well before departure, print out your travel plans and documentation and review them to make sure everything is all set. Place them in a folder to bring with you on your trip. Check on transfer arrangements and shore excursions choices. Certain popular shore excursions can sell out in advance, so book any “must do” shore excursions before embarkation.

12. Research And Download Apps. Many cruise lines offer apps that help guests manage their cruise experience, make dining reservations and stay in touch with family members and friends traveling with them. Check to see what your cruise line has available and download the app in advance along with a picture to personalize your interactions. In addition, research additional destination-specific and language apps that might be helpful to you on your cruise.

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