The week before your cruise

So, after scouring for the perfect itinerary offered by the cruise line which suits you best, you’ve finally booked your cruise. OK, maybe you’re not quite ready to book and want to find out a little more about the experience. Either way, I thought a guide to preparing for your cruise in the week before you travel would be the perfect thing to get you in the mood. That said, I’m sure there are some more experienced six star cruisers out there too who are a little more used to preparing for a luxury voyage but a little refresher course can’t hurt and besides, it’ll be the perfect quick read to get you in the mood for your next opulent adventure!

Pack in advance

There are always going to be some things you can’t pack too early but in the week before you travel, you should have dusted off the suitcases and dug out those cruise clothing essentials. Exactly what you pack depends on where you are travelling but for warmer climes some resort-casual linen is always a good choice. Cargo trousers are great for days ashore too – lighter than jeans and plenty of pockets. For the men, you’ll want to make sure that your tuxedo is dry cleaned and ready for your ship’s formal nights, while ladies should have singled out three or four cocktail or dinner dresses to take with them. Shoes can be a bit of a space eater, so strong soled walking shoes will take care of most day situations.

It’s probably a good idea to put the camera and charger in your case now too and don’t forget that all-important mains adaptor – either European or US depending on which line you are traveling with. Here’s a tip – some offer both, so take both adaptors – they’re not expensive and will come in handy in the future. Also, a cap or sun hat and of course sun glasses could also be put in your case early.

Early check-in

Many cruise lines –much like the airlines – now offer on-line check-in, which is possible once you have received all your tickets and details. The idea of this is that it saves you time at port check-in and let’s face it, with such luxurious ships to explore – who’d not want to get on-board a little quicker for a look around? The week leading up to your cruise is the perfect time to check in online.

Spending money

Though on-board spends are typically managed by an account that you pay direct by card at the end of your cruise, you’ll still need spending money to spend on days ashore, or indeed, if you want to leave something a little extra for your butler or stewardess. OK, you can get your currency exchanged months before you travel, but if you’re anything like me, you wait until the last week before, just so you know you haven’t missed out on that last-minute favourable change in the exchange rate! Of course, if you’re in need of a currency which is a little more difficult to get hold of, you’ll need to book that one well in advance.

Dinner date

Wherever you decide to dine on a luxury vessel you can be assured of the finest gourmet cuisine – it’s something which all the lines pride themselves on, after all. However, that said, if you feel like an extra-special gourmet treat, it’s possible to book into one of your ship’s speciality restaurants before you travel and secure your place at the table.

Spa date

All the luxury lines offer a wide range of spa and well-being treatments. For the vast majority of lines, these are not included in your cruise fare, so if a spot of pampering is a vital ingredient of your days at sea, it’s a good idea to book your treatments in advance to ensure that you don’t miss your slot.

Late excursions

Excursions are an important part of cruising – particularly on itineraries where there’s a lot of history and culture to explore. Providing you’re not the type who insists on striking out on your own, booking these in advance is a given, because you don’t want to miss out on your chance to see the sights. You can book excursions months in advance but it’s important to note that, with a week to go, there’s still time to book.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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