By Ronda Addy

When people reach a certain age, they often have regrets about things they wanted to do but never did. If the one thing you wanted to do was take a cruise, what’s stopping you? Can’t come up with a logical reason? The stop trying and get on board that ship.

There are a variety of cruise destinations to choose from. Do you want to cruise to Alaska, Mexico or Europe? Check out the Web sites of some of the major cruise lines to see what port destinations are offered. Once you have an idea of where to go and which cruise line to use, you can start looking at cruise terminal locations, amenities and ticket prices. Check out cruise review sites and speak to your travel agent.

When booking a cruise, you will have a number of accommodations to choose from. Inside cabins are cheaper but offer no views. Outside cabins have portholes or windows. Outside balcony cabins have a small, private balcony. Suites are the largest, most expensive cabins on the ship. They sometimes have a balcony and junior suites. If you don’t plan on spending much time in your cabin, go with an interior room.

After you have booked your cruise, you should get all your travel documents in order and make extra copies of your passport, driver’s license, travel documents and credit cards. Leave a copy with someone at home and pack a copy separately from the originals, preferably in your carryon. Invest in an under-the-clothing moneybag to store your cash in and keep it out of sight.

If you need to buy luggage before your cruise, invest in something plain. Thieves often associate expensive luggage with expensive things. Make a list of everything in your luggage and take a picture of its contents. Don’t put your full home address or home phone number on your luggage tag. If you want to make your luggage extra secure, use a self-locking plastic tag or duct tape. Mark your luggage in a way that allows you quickly identify it when it’s on the conveyor belt. When you get to the ship, make sure you know how many pieces of luggage you have and stay with it until the porter has it and it’s on the ship.

Once you get on the ship, you will be issued a cruise ship ID card. This will allow you to purchase items not included in your cruise package, such as drinks and gifts. It will also allow you to get on and off the ship. Every time you leave and return to the ship, you will have to insert the card into a kiosk. The card will also verify dining times and table assignments and can be used for casino credit if the ship has one.

Safety is essential, even on a cruise ship. Upon arriving to your room, you should check your closets and bathroom with the cabin door open. Don’t leave valuables lying around; put them in either the cabin or purser’s safe. Lock your door at night and don’t open the door to strangers. Don’t give out your cabin number and keep your cabin key in a safe place. Stay in the public areas of the ship. Travel with a group and only use shore transportation and tour companies approved by the cruise ship.

You want to relax on your vacation, so don’t try to do all the things offered. Pick and choose, be safe, and have a good time.


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