cruise planning tips

What To Do After Booking A Cruise

As we are preparing for our cruise on the Freedom of the seas, we thought this would be the perfect time to share what you should do after you book your cruise!

You'll want to research the ports and shore excursions! -I’m sure you did plenty of research of the ports- but Incase you didn’t… do that now! Look for things you may want to do- excursion with the cruise, 3rd party or just exploring on your own!

Create a packing list - based off the itinerary, the excursions you plan to do, cruise line, dinner attire, etc.

Make sure your passports are current & won’t expire for at least 6 months after your cruise. You can cruise with an original birth certificate and your driver's license, but we find it easier to just pack your passports!

Do your online check-in. You have until 3 days prior to sailing to complete this, but I try to do it as soon as they open it up, which is usually 60-90 days out. 

Make dinner & show reservations depending on your cruise line. If you are cruising with Norwegian, you will most likely have to reserve everything, regardless if there is a fee or not. So just be aware that you could miss out on some things if you don't reserve them ahead of time.

Download the cruise line & Shipmate app. The cruise line's app (Carnival Hub, Norwegian Concierge, Royal IQ, etc) will be helpful while you are on board. Shipmate should help you before: You can explore the ship and the ports ahead of time and connect with new people that will be on your sailing.

Which brings us to the next tip- Find your Roll call on Cruise critic, Facebook groups or the Shipmate app. Here you can find other people on your sailing, ask questions, plan meet ups, look at photos and videos of the ship/ports.. It's a great way to keep the excitement!

Book extras for the room like decorations, cake, liquor, or treats. If you are celebrating something or just want it to look/be special, this is nice touch!

Do you last minute shopping early! Look at your list of things you will need and start buying things a little at time. This way you don't forget anything and you don't have an overwhelming amount of things to purchase at the end.

Start packing a few weeks out. Gather the clothes, toiletries and other items you know you won’t be wearing before your cruise and start packing.  It will make things less stressful later!

Call credit card company/bank to let them know you will be out of the country. Prime example- Griff forgot to do this while we were in Cozumel and they shut down his card! So avoid the hassle and plan ahead.

Book and schedule personal appointments before your cruise, i.e. hair, mani-pedi, facials, etc. You’ll want to get this all done before you leave- but you can also get it done on the ship if you want to treat yo-self… but of course, it'll come at a premium! So go ahead and look fabulous!


Those are only some of the things we do after booking a cruise. What are some things that you like to do before your cruise? Let us know in the comments!