From the Desk of Clearissa Coward’s Command Center/Divinely Organized
Phase II – How to Organize for a Caribbean Cruise
Last week we discussed preparing for a 7-day cruise and I told you that I would take you along for the organization and prep for a cruise we are planning a year out. I realize that may seem like overkill to some but it is a definite process and the prep work can be fun because it keeps the upcoming vacation at the forefront of your mind and helps to maintain the anticipation and excitement of the trip.. On to Phase II – How to Organize for a Caribbean Cruise.
As I said before the first step is to decide where you want to go or at least have an idea of how you would like to spend your precious time vacationing. Once you have a place or activity in mind, the next step is to contact your travel agent. If you don’t have an agent, I know two who are excellent at what they do and their contact information is below. Not sure what to ask your travel agent? Let me try to help.
First Call or Meeting with Travel Agent
- Yes, this is business, but I truly suggest that you try to build a real relationship with your agent. The better s/he knows what you like and dislike, would like to do, and your budget the more helpful s/he can be. Also, getting to know your travel agent will open up a new world of travel knowledge for you and place all that knowledge at your fingertips.
- Make a list of the questions you would like to ask your agent in advance. Although your agent will be full of information and suggestions, have your questions ready just in case they are not a part of the agent’s presentation. Also, asking questions will help your agent know what is important to you. For example, for a cruise as long as ours, you may ask the following.
- Can s/he arrange your transportation to and from the originating port – depending on where you live, that would include flights (for example we live in NC and our port of call to leave on our cruise is Puerto Rico) or it could be something as simple as an Uber to port. It all depends on how much or how little you want your agent to do for you.
- Does the cost of your trip (cruise) include travel insurance? Trust me that is a little expense you want to incur. If you have ever almost missed a flight connection and panicked, imagine how stressed you would be if that missed connection could mean the ship would sail without you. Ask if your insurance would guarantee transportation to the first port so you can catch up with the ship just in case, God forbid, something like this happened. Better safe than sorry.
- What is appropriate dress for your particular vacation? For us the dress code is comfortable, swimwear, sundresses, etc.
- What does the ship allow passengers to bring aboard? (bottled water, a bottle of wine, etc.)
- Does this trip require a passport? (more to come)
- How much is a passport?
- If required, how far out before the trip should one get a passport?
- Since we are planning this trip so far in advance, is there a payment plan? If so, when is the first payment due and what is the payment schedule?
Find a Spot in Your Home to Place All of Your Trip Information
- You will need a drawer, backpack, or someplace where all of your required paperwork is located in one place. I have a drawer that houses both our passports (Mister needs to get one) and all information/paperwork you will need for your trip.
- If you are saving money over time for your vacation, designate a convenient place to drop off your weekly trip savings. For me, I have a hiding place in a room in the house where I hide the money from myself. I drop off my weekly change and any monies left over from my weekly allowance goes into this hiding place and once I’m ready to cash in, I am always surprised at how well I’ve saved just by placing it out of sight. Mister, on the other hand, like to dump his change in a 2-liter soda bottle stored out in the open so he remembers to dump his change. Two very different approaches but with the same result.
“Vacations are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity. In our modern, fast-paced, demanding society, your body, mind, and spirit needs vacation like your car needs oil changes! Preventative maintenance keeps things running…you don’t want to wait until things break down to fix it. Plan ahead and make vacation part of your budget like any other bill. Good planning will allow you to take a great vacation even on a minimum wage salary. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away; I say a vacation a year keeps your mind clear.”
The Passport Debate
- Do you or do you not need a passport? That is the question. A lot of cruise ports do not require a passport; however, my travel agent firmly suggests that we have a valid passport anyway. It is a great form of identification and my agent’s motto is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
- It sometimes takes a few weeks to get your passport, so I would suggest applying for your passport at least 6-months prior to your trip.
- Mister and I will get a date on our calendar this week to take a few hours together and apply, me for a change in name for my passport, and him to apply for his first one. Yaay!!!
There you have it. Phase II of preparing for our 2017 7-day cruise. Your takeaway – be sure to keep a list of questions to ask your travel agent and a list of things to do is a good list to have as well.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy this one. And if you are in need of a travel agent who is passionate about travel and ensuring clients have the best experience ever, visit the Travel Diva at http://atraveldiva.com or Mia’s Foodie Travel at www.miasfoodietravels.co. Mia’s Foodie Travels provided the quote this week.
See you soon with the next installment of this series. How is your travel planning going? Follow along and get some good tips during this series and leave your travel tips in the comments section.
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