Cruise Planning Tips

September 15, 2014 1 By admin
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way. 
This content was written based by my experience with planning previous and current cruises.
Hi there! I’m Amy, founder and author of Love & Hot Chocolate
and Rhode Island State Rep for Northeast Bloggers. If you’ve visited my
blog before, you know that I am completely head over heels for
cruising. I’ve been on two and currently planning my third with my
husband for March of next year. I’m here to share with you some valuable
advice I’ve learned when it comes to planning a cruise.

One // Research, Research, Research!
*just listing a few popular cruise lines
While my heart is set on Royal Caribbean,
there are other great cruise companies out there that offer so many
different things. It’s all about what you are looking for during your
cruising experience. Be sure to check out cabin and dining options,
beverage packages, entertainment and shore excursions before making
final decisions. Cruise Critic even has some great information and reviews to help make your final decision.
Two // Book With a Travel Agent
While
it might be easier booking a small vacation yourself, but when it comes
to cruises, I highly recommend using a travel agent. With a travel
agent, we have the ability to get the best price with the best room. If
you need to change a date (which we did a few times) it’s so simple with
no hassle whatsoever. If you need to modify your dining, done. Setting
up a payment plan to pay off your cruise? Done. You want to have the
best cruising experience, so why not make the booking experience
hassle-free too? 
Three // Splurge on the Balcony

If
you can do it, definitely go for a balcony. When I went on my first
cruise out of New Jersey, I had a balcony and it was absolutely amazing.
During my second cruise, my husband and I opted for a promenade room
and even though it was affordable, we traveled out of New Jersey in
April and hit rough seas. It was awful when we couldn’t have access to
fresh air 24/7. 

Even
though most people are right, you don’t spend that much time in your
room, it’s nice to be able to get the fresh air when you need it or
relax during activities. Even laying in bed at night with the door
propped open listening to the ocean breeze is a nice way to utilize your
balcony. 
Four // Create a Budget

Most,
if not all cruise lines require you to obtain a sea pass during your
vacation. It allows you on and off the ship, into your room, and links
up to your credit card which allows you to pay for drinks, specialty
dining and shopping. I highly suggest sitting down before your cruise
and create a budget. It’s so easy to lose track of what you’ve already
spent and you don’t want that surprise bill on the last day of your
cruise. Even though you’re on vacation, you do still have that
rent/mortgage, monthly bills and other expenses. 
Five // Important Cruise Documentation 

This
is SO important. I’ve heard so many stories about people not being able
to go on their cruises because they don’t have the correct documents
they need to board. If you’re unsure of what documentation you need,
check the FAQ’s, and if you’re still unsure, call the company and speak
with a representative. You will also need a passport. Please, please,
please make sure your passport is up to date with correct name and
information.

I am not a travel agent or mega experienced cruiser in any means, but I’d be happy to answer any questions and share more photos!

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