October celebrates National Cruise Week. I love to take the entire month and celebrate cruising. It is one industry that is constantly changing with all of the new itineraries and new ships that continue to launch.
Have you cruised before? If not, why?
I love cruising, it truly is that one vacation that I can completely unplug and stay off of the technology wheel that bombards my life and I’m sure your life too. Once onboard, you unpack and you are done for 7 to 14 days or longer depending on the length of your cruise. There is no packing and unpacking.
I do hear people say they don’t like cruising or they don’t want to try cruising because they don’t like large crowds, or they can’t really experience a destination because of the short time they are in port, or they are afraid they will be bored on the ship. All of which are simply not true and this month I hope I can teach and show you why it isn’t true.
Before we set sail and explore ships, itineraries and activities, I would like to start with cruise safety.
Cruise vacations are among the safest types of vacations. The cruise lines see more than 17 million passengers annually and serious incidents are very rare.
Muster Drills are mandatory, they always have been, but even more so as a result of the tragedy of the Costa Concordia. They must be held prior to the ship leaving the dock. For those of you that haven’t sailed before, a muster drill is the lifeboat and life jacket drill. You will be assigned a location on the ship to report in case of an emergency onboard. You are required to show up and check in with the ships personnel that will be monitoring your station. For those of you that have done them before and don’t think you need to show up and decide to blow it off, DON’T! Cruise lines are now required to check in every passenger assigned to that station, if you are a no show, you will most likely find yourself and your luggage walking the plank to the dock and you won’t be allowed to sail, nor will you receive a refund. I can assure you the cruise lines are walking people off the ship.
Always be smart when you travel whether it is on a cruise or not. Always be aware of your surroundings and protect your belongings and yourself as you would if you were home.
Make yourself aware of the evacuation plan which is posted on the back of your cabin door.
If you have medical issues, allergies or take medication on a regular basis, always bring your own supply, don’t depend on the ships infirmary to supply you. I pack a small travel medication bag with the basics and have it stored in the cabin. I also tuck in copies of passports, and some extra cash and keep my cabin card and cell phone close by just in case I need to grab it quickly and leave my cabin.
Most ships have a doctor and nurse onboard. If you want to make sure those services are available to you on your ship, your travel consultant can always check on that for you.
To avoid shipboard illnesses, all ships that I have been on put the automatic hand sanitizer machines around the ship and I use them every time I pass by. I also will pop into a bathroom and just wash them with hot water, it is very simple. If you do become sick, please stay in your cabin, contact ship staff and stay put until they clear you to leave your cabin. Don’t spread the illness to other passengers please.
Maybe you have special dietary needs and you are worried that you won’t be able to cruise, you can still cruise. Most cruise lines are able to accommodate these needs with advance notice. Let your travel consultant know, so they can notify the ship and cruise line. Walkers and wheelchair arrangements can also be made, again your travel agent can make those arrangements for an additional fee.
Well, that covers the basics and now we are ready to set sail. I hope you will join me throughout the month as I cover cruising. Monday we will start with the most popular cruise vacation right now, river cruising.
If you are at all interested in what I pack in a basic travel medication bag, drop me an e-mail with your request and I would be happy to e-mail you the list.
Have a great week!