As you know, we love to travel. For this month, my posts are going to be about how we plan the day to day details of our upcoming cruise.
We have our airfare, hotel and cruise all purchased. Now it’s time to do the research on the cruise itinerary. Personally, I create a sheet with the date, city, information and money columns.
This is what my sheet looks like – date (Monday, January 1), the city – this includes the time in port (Miami 7 to 8). The information section- this is all the details on what we are planning to do and that can be anything as simple as walking around to a tour and all the information including a confirmation number and contact info) and the money column – is it paid or what do we need to pay and in what currency.
This is not something that is compiled in one day – this takes us more than a month. We do our research on the area:
What do we want to see or do?
How can we do that – on our own, a tour, does it need to be reserved in advance, what is the cancellation policy – are some of the information we need to make a decision.
From the simplest – use the shore excursion from the cruise line.
But what if the cruise line doesn’t offer what you want to do? That’s where the research starts. Here are some of my favorite trip planning websites:
Guide books for the area you’ll be visiting
TripAdvisor / Viator websites and the companies that are recommended in their information
Cruise Critic to register for the board for your specific cruise (cruise line, ship and sailing date). You can chat with other cruisers on your cruise to make plans. We have done many things both on board (lunch dates, sail away party, cabin crawls and more) as well as shared taxi service and tours. We have made some great friendships through here.
We typically do a mixture of exploring on our own, cruise line shore excursions and private excursions. But all this take research and time to make our choices and then find the best deal. Remember that if you tour on your own or with an outside company, you need to make sure you arrive back at the ship in plenty of time so the ship doesn’t sail without you. Look for a cruise guarantee policy.
We are still in the middle of our research. As we find what we want to do, we reserve and purchase these so that they are paid in advance as we have the cash. That way we don’t have a big bill at the end of the vacation waiting for us.