It’s that time of year again, time to escape the winter weather, and head down to the Caribbean for some fun, sun, and your long-awaited, long-deserved cruise. Because any offshore injury lawyer are our firm knows all too well that disasters can happen on a ship, we want to make sure that your experience is delightful and, above all, safe. Here are a few tips to help make your cruise experience a memorable and safe one.
First and foremost, check your itinerary. Weather and other circumstances sometimes affect itineraries and cause certain ports to be canceled. It’s important to check these things ahead of time so you don’t get an unfortunate surprise at the port. Passengers should also double check that they have packed their passports and any visas they may require for their cruise. There are times when travelers have not been allowed to disembark or re-board their ship at a foreign port of call because they forgot crucial identification. Being left behind at a port can mean a ton of expenses to return home and can place passengers at risk for criminal attacks, so be sure to compile a list of important identification needs to cross out before departing.
Depending on the destination, you may want to opt for warm or cold weather, but here are some general tips on how to pack to ensure you have all your wardrobe needs met. Regardless of where you are going, it’s recommended that cruise passengers bring casual day clothes, clothes for sightseeing (depending on the kinds of excursions booked), and evening clothes. Resort wear, with an arsenal of swimsuits, cover-ups, polos, and shorts is never a bad call either. Passengers should also do their research and make sure they understand their ship’s dress code. Every cruise line has its own policy. Many evening restaurants require passengers to wear formal clothing, though some ships have done away with formal dinners. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to pack clothes for formal evenings so that you can enjoy that fancy romantic dinner, if you choose.
When considering what to pack, the most frequently forgotten items are: sunscreen, insect repellent, feminine hygiene products, and sunglasses. These items can cost you a pretty penny onboard the ship, so it’s best to come prepared. Finally, bring cash as well. On-ship ATM’s often carry exorbitant surcharges for use. Having cash on hand will prevent you from finding yourself stuck if you want to spend a little more at the casino or buy souvenirs at one of the ports of call. However, keep cash to a minimum when exploring a foreign destination. Many countries in the Caribbean have been plagued by high crime rates, and several crime victims have been cruise ship passengers. Criminals can spot tourists a mile away, and it’s a lot easier to replace credit cards or traveler’s checks than cash.
It’s also important to pack an emergency kit with essentials like important medicines, bandages, alcohol swabs, and other medical or injury products because they aren’t always available on a ship. Our offshore injury lawyers have blogged about how onboard medical facilities lack crucial equipment to handle larger traumatic injuries and disasters, but bringing your own care package can at least help with minor accidents. If you suffer from any medical conditions, bring preventative medication also. You may not be suffering from symptoms now, but if an emergency does strike, and the cruise ship’s medical facility does not have the medication you need, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you will receive the treatment you need.
Anticipate Additional Costs
You may have gotten a sweet deal on your cruise vacation purchase, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to spend a pretty penny on board. Between booking shore excursions, specialty dining reservations, spa packages, gambling at the casino, and, not to mention, alcohol, your $200 cruise can quickly turn into a $1,000 money guzzler. Be realistic in your expectations and determine how much you could imagine spending on board so you won’t have a panic attack when that final ship bill comes in.
Many cruises also add a $10 to $15 surcharge per day to tip wait staff at the end of the trip, so travelers should expect to add this to their final tab as well.
Important Requests and Other Responsibilities
Since every cruise line has different policies, passengers should visit their particular cruise line’s website to learn more information about accommodations for passengers with special needs, requirements for luggage, information about boarding responsibilities, and other matters. It’s also a good idea to speak to a cruise line representative on the phone for extra assurance that you have the answers you need.
While the planning might seem a little intricate at home, with a little sweat and research you can ensure yourself and your family a smooth and safe cruise vacation this holiday season.