5 Tips For an Unforgettable Cruise Experience

IMG_0652Booking a cruise to the Caribbean has never felt better. Your dream vacation is about to cryztallize, along with the perfect chance to experience a new culture, learn more about the world around you, and relax as the sunshine warms your skin. Paradise.

But lounging on deck and watching the world go by constitutes just a fraction of a cruise’s possibilities. Many cruise travelers end up wishing they had done more, gotten up earlier in the morning rather than wasting the day away or researching ports of call before the ship docked. By digging a little deeper, you can get all you can out of your cruise vacation days.

Stay safe! Aarp.org offers some great cruise safety tips. Among them: pay attention to the safety briefing and take the time to get an idea of the lay of the land — er, boat. Identity theft protection might also be a good investment. Identity theft protection testimonials give you a hint of some customers’ real-world experiences: “I called LifeLock and I said, ‘This company is trying to get a hold of me, and they want know why I have over $1,000 that I owe them, when I’ve never opened up an account with them.’ LifeLock was so incredible. They took care of everything.”

Get to know the people around you. If this is your first cruise, don’t hesitate to ask around. People who often go on cruises may have even more advice on making the most of your trip. You could even end up making friendships that will last long after the vacation is over.

Research the ports you’ll be visiting before you go. You might find out about a great dive site in the Bahamas or a restaurant you need to try when your ship is in port. By reading up ahead of time, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect at your destination, and you won’t be pulled unwittingly into tourist traps.

Make sure your itinerary, travel documents and other information is in order before you go. It’s a good idea to leave a copy of your travel plans with a family member or trusted friend back home. The U.S. Department of State also recommends registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This informs the U.S. government of your itinerary and other travel plans so it’ll be easier to get in touch with family or to get in touch with government officials if something goes wrong.

Don’t get so caught up in prepackaged travel and touristy traps that you don’t truly enjoy your destinations and your shipmates. By doing a bit of research ahead of time (best mojitos in Cabo? Ask those who’ve been there!), you won’t end up wasting half the days away trying to figure out what to do when your vacation actually arrives. Try something new and get out of your comfort zone — you won’t regret it!

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