A checklist before browsing

It is not the "Love Boat", but it is its own cruise and, for many, the dream of a lifetime. To get the most out of your aquatic experience, it is good to mark these items on your list before boarding.

There is always that nasty old paperwork that accompanies any vacation. Do you have your passport, visas (if necessary), plane tickets, car rental agreement, travel insurance? Have you left a copy of your credit card, passport and traveler's check numbers at home with a close relative or friend? Nothing spoils cruise vacations like a lost passport or a credit card! Having easy access to these numbers (by phone or email to a loved one at home) can save you precious time on your vacation.

Do you have adequate prescription supplies, over-the-counter medications (such as aspirin), sunscreen (and after-sun aloe soother) and toiletries? Most of these can be collected along the way during your cruise, but who wants to pay inflated prices or waste time looking for shampoo when they could buy souvenirs? For dizzy travelers (those experiencing dizziness), go directly to the cruise doctor's office once on board to ensure the best preventive measures.

Pre and post cruise arrangements
Nothing is better than having a quiet approach and landing. When you book local hotels before and after your cruise, it eliminates connection stress and lack of time. Enjoy one or two days in your departure city. Sunbathe a few days after the cruise before flying home. Not only will it extend your vacation, but it will also reduce the stress of the trip.

Cruises offer the luxury of removing a large amount of luggage. Once you enter your cabin, there is only the task of unpacking and repacking for the trip back home. This does not mean you should pack too much. Like most travelers, you will surely add many memories to your transport home, and you still have to handle those bags on the plane. Do not anticipate too much free time you will have. Cruises are excellent for offering many activities day and night, so you don't really need all those books to read while sunbathing on the deck. Most likely, you don't even finish one, with all the shore excursions and on-board activities lined up for you.

In short, planning a cruise vacation is no more demanding than a normal vacation. Remember that many of those who travel by cruise have gone before you and come back with sunburn, exhaustion and wonderful travel stories to prove it. Good trip!