January has arrived, the holidays are passed, and you finally realized your cruise that you booked two years ago is four months away, now what. What do you need to do from this moment to the minute you board that ship to ensure you have a stress-free cruise.
1. Make your final payment.
Typically, the full amount of your cruise is due about three months before sail date.
Ways to make your final payment:
If you are using a travel agent, the payment can be made directly through them- easy as that!
If you booked directly through the cruise line or a third party booking portal; you could make your payment online or over the phone using a credit card.
*Remember to always keep track of your payments throughout your payment period.*
Now it is time to stop stalling and get your payment made; you know that it is well worth it!
2. Check your Documentation
What forms of ID do you need, do you have them ready, are you going to bring a passport, are you traveling with someone else's child? These are the question you need to ask yourself, or your travel agent should be asking you.
Passport: Do you need one? If you are a United States citizen and are leaving out of a U.S. port, then you are not required to have a passport to cruise. However, I as well as most travel professionals highly recommend having a passport when you cruise for those "Just in case" situations. During an emergency, a passport is the most essential documentation to have.
If you are taking a cruise that is leaving from a port outside of your country of citizenship, then you absolutely must have a passport not only to board your plane to get to the port but as well as to board the ship.
Marriage Certificate: This is only needed if you are newly married, typically. If your name on your passport or identification card is different from the name on your cruise ticket, you must have proof that you are who your I.D. or passport says. If you are unsure, then bring a copy of your marriage certificate with you.
Underage Child Permission: This is a rare occurrence but it does happen. If you are traveling with an underage child without both of the birth parents, a notarized permission letter is needed to take the child out of the country. Situations when this is needed:
When you are taking any child out of the country who you are not the legal parent or guardian.
When only one parent of the child is traveling a document granting permission for his/ her child to be taken out of the country is needed.
This is a rare occurrence but necessary; cruise lines take this very seriously and without proper documentation will not permit you to board the ship.
Don't get intimidated this is just part one and it is way easier than you think! By this time you are in the 75 day count down to your cruise and that pina colada in a pineapple cup is so close to reality !
Stay tuned for Prepping for a Cruise Part 2 - Hidden Expenses.