Cruise Planning – Less Than 1 Month Out

You’re in the final stretch and your excitement is so palpable that you can taste it! Your cruise is almost here, and you leave in less than a month. You’ve made all of the advance preparations, but there are still a few things to do before you leave.

First of all, you must make arrangements to be away, just as you would for any vacation. Find someone to watch your house and/or your pets while you are gone. Ensure that you are caught up on all of your bills, so that you do not miss any payment deadlines while you are away. Hold your mail (this can be done easily and for free at, and they will even deliver your accumulated mail when you return) and any newspaper or other regular deliveries. Set up any light timers or alarms you wish to employ in your absence. Of course, you will also have to make any necessary arrangements to be away from work. This may be the time to remind your boss that they approved your days off months ago.

Another important consideration for any vacation is to call your credit card company and let them know that you will be traveling, and to which countries. The last thing you want is to have a fraud alert while you are away, and discover at an unexpected moment that your card has been cancelled! And while you’re calling your credit card company, this is the time to redeem those credit card rewards for your trip, particularly if you opened an account on a cruise-line related card.

As always, when you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, you will also need to make sure that all of your prescriptions are up to date and refilled if necessary.

Most cruises have at least one formal night, and as such you will want to check your formal wear. Since most people do not wear formal clothes often, you will need to make sure they still fit (with a little room for expansion; you are going on a cruise, after all) and do not have any obvious rips, stains or tears. For women, you will also want to ensure that you have the appropriate undergarments for your formal wear. If you wish to rent formal wear on board, now is the time to do so (you can rent online through This also applies to shoes: make sure the shoes you plan to wear are comfortable and in good condition.

If you are driving to the port, you will want to see how close you are to your next oil change/maintenance check. You may wish to go through these repairs before your journey, particularly if it is a long one. If you are flying to your cruise port, you should make arrangements for transportation to and from the airport, both in your home city and at your cruise embarkation/debarkation ports.

Once all of this is done, about two weeks before you leave, you should make a packing list. I know it seems early, but this gives you time to adjust or replace things if necessary (say, if you find that you are missing travel sizes of your usual toiletries, or that your favorite sun hat has a hole in it). You can pack slowly over those two weeks.

Check your camera and confirm that you have enough batteries and memory cards to last for the duration of your trip. If you plan to use a cell phone, contact your carrier to see what the charges will be if you use it from out of the country, or in US territories such a Puerto Rico.

Lastly, about a week before you leave, you will want to confirm all of your independent arrangements. Check your flights and make sure the airlines haven’t changed the schedules. Confirm that your hotel reservations are still intact. Email any independent tour operators you may have used and remind them of your booking, as well as your need to be met at the ship in each port. If there is a problem, it is better to find out now, rather than when you are on your trip!

And most importantly, dream about your cruise vacation. It’s almost here!

Next time I’ll talk about what to do on the day that you board the ship.