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We want to prepare you for the vacation of a lifetime!

For the best cruise experience, review our insider cruise tips.


There are a couple questions you need to ask yourself when you decide you’re ready for the exciting journey of a cruise vacation. It’s important to consider what type of cruise experience you would like, what port you would love to visit and how you want to cruise. Once you’ve decided on the destination and what cruise line is the best fit, booking in advance would be a great idea. Not only would you have ample time to plan for your vacation but you will receive the best options available. The next thing you must do is contact your Independent Vacation Specialist for possible exclusive perks, special deals, onboard credit and even stateroom upgrades.


Certain things you should consider when choosing a stateroom are comfort vs. cost. Taking the time to explore the different stateroom options may save you a lot of money.

Find Your Level - Decide what deck level you prefer to be on. Perhaps you would like to be closer to the upper decks and posh pool areas or a short walking distance from the vibrant dining and entertainment areas. Whichever stateroom you prefer, your Independent Vacation Specialist will be sure to guide you in the right direction.

The View for You - From obstructed view cabins to spacious balcony suites, there is definitely a perfect fit for you. The suites are usually situated on the higher level of a ship. If you choose a midship cabin, the cost may be lower but you may be exposed to more hallway traffic from other passengers.  If you prefer to awaken to the sounds of the ocean breeze surrounded by breathtaking panoramic views and the warm glisten of the sun, a balcony cabin is best! 

Ride the Wave- There are a few cruisers who may be concerned about that “woozy” feeling of cruising. If that’s you, consider a lower cabin option. According to most ship composition, you will experience the least amount of movement in the lower and more central area of the ship.


The following checklist includes cruise essentials which may come in handy on your next cruise vacation.  

General Items:

  • sunglasses
  • sun screen/sun block
  • mini hand sanitizers
  • essential toiletries including razors
  • electronic/ reading material
  • electronic device chargers
  • disposable underwater camera
  • digital camera/ extra memory cards
  • batteries/battery charger
  • small umbrella
  • small first aid kit
  • small back pack for items/ electronics

General Women Essentials:

  • night gown/pajamas/robe
  • purses (day and evening)
  • dress scarves
  • walking shoes/sandals
  • beach footwear
  • evening formal attire
  • swim suit
  • sundress/shorts
  • swim suit cover-up
  • casual outfits
  • sweater/ jacket

Don’t Leave Home without US:

  • all required cruise/travel  documents
  • passports and visas/ proof of citizenship along with photo ID
  • medical insurance cards
  • credit cards / cash(singles)/ travelers checks
  • emergency numbers
  • prescription/other essential medications

General Men Essentials:

  • pajamas/ robe
  • dress socks
  • walking shoes/sandals/sneakers
  • beach footwear
  • evening formal attire
  • casual shoes
  • sweater/ jacket
  • T-shirt/ dress shirts
  • swim suit
  • shorts
  • casual outfits


For safety reasons and for the protection of the staff as well as fellow passengers, many cruise lines have prohibited the following items onboard.

  • Any weapons (including firearms, knives, ammunition, etc.)
  • Non prescribed Illegal drugs
  • Candles, incense or any scent burning device
  • Decorative souvenir canes/ walking sticks
  • Electrical appliances such as coffee makers, hot plates, hair dryers and electric irons
  • Clothes Iron
  • Any sporting equipment ( including scuba equipment,  skateboards,  hockey gear, surfboards, etc)
  • Self-Defense Gear (including handcuffs, pepper spray and night sticks)
  • Flammable liquids, chemical and explosives (including lighter fluid, bleach, paint, fireworks, etc. )
  • Power Tools
  • Musical instruments

Tipping is a basic standard in cruising. When you think about all the hard work each individual on the ship puts in to make your experience incredible, the small tips can go a long way. Majority of the cruise lines include the daily balance of tips to your shipboard account while others leave tipping ship personnel up to your own discretion. Generally, it’s best to plan for about $1.00 to $3.00 per person. If you plan on partaking in a shore excursion, we would recommend to plan to tip $2.00-$5.00 for the tour guide and about $1.00-$2.00 for the driver.


When on port, there are so many activities that will undoubtedly take your breath away. Whether it’s horseback riding on the beach, scuba diving in a reef haven or swimming with the dolphins, there are a myriad of options available to you.  To ensure you won’t miss out on what many consider as the most intriguing part of their vacation, it’s best to confirm your excursions in advance; ideally BEFORE you leave for your cruise. Your Independent Vacation Specialist can assist you with picking the best shore excursion for you.


Additional Discounts
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Resident Rates
Take advantage of discounted rates by state! Plus, just one guest needs to qualify for everyone in your stateroom to be eligible for state savings. At pier check-in, show proof of residency, a driver's license, for example. Applicable states and rates change often, so be sure to ask our cruise experts for the latest deals offered to residents of your state.
Senior Rates
Passengers 55 and older by their departure date can qualify for special rates. You must confirm your age with a government-issued ID (we recommend a passport or driver's license) at the pier before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines qualify seniors as 55 and older. Exceptions to this are: Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises. These lines qualify seniors as 60 and older.
Past Guest Rates
Most top cruise lines offer special bonuses and rates to past guests; these may include free stateroom upgrades and onboard spending credits. If you've sailed before, provide your agent with your past guest number and we'll find the best past guest offers available for even greater savings in addition to our already low prices. Cruised before but don't recall your past guest number? Just give us a call at 800-288-6006 and we'll be happy to assist you.