Vacations at sea are amazing and is an experience you'll never forget.  From the big mega-ships with tons of activities to intimate luxury yacht-like vessels with superior service and amenities, there truly is a cruise for everyone. Cruising is one of the best values in travel as well. With meals and entertainment included, it’s a perfect family vacation. Add in the variety of ships and destinations, and you’ve got the makings for a one-of-a-kind vacation.   Be it Ocean or riverboat cruising some travel hints apply to both.  We want to help you get the very most out of every moment. So here are some tips and tricks to help you plan and take your next cruise.  We offer guidelines to help you whether this is your first or fiftieth cruise.

suitcasePacking and hints:
Travel Documents
Camera. Sunscreen. Swimsuit (2 in case one is wet)
Shorts t-shirts trousers casual skirts blouses and sundresses  all are great for sightseeing or relaxing on board.
Shoes appropriate for any on shore activities you might be planning (i.e. hiking, rock climbing, fishing etc.)
Evenings on board have suggested attire based on whether it is a Casual, Smart Casual, or Formal night.  Guidelines as follows:
Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women
Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women
Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women
leave some space in your bags for souvenirs.  
Pack a small carry-on bag with change of clothes, bathing suit, workout clothes and any medications you may need. That way you don't have to wait for your checked bags to arrive in your stateroom.

Our favorite packing hint   BRING LESS CLOTHES MORE MONEY

house pictureKeeping Home Safe
While you’re gone here are some things you can do to make it safe and secure.
 Make sure someone is taking care of the pets and watering the plants.
 Put your lights on a timer. Looking at a dark house is a sure way to advertise you’re not home.
 Make sure someone gets your mail/newspapers, or you stop delivery service while you’re gone.
Set your thermostat settings lower/higher depending on the season or turn it off before you leave.
Set the settings on your answering machine but don’t say your away just not available.
 Double-check everything is off before you go.
Unplug non-essential appliances like your computer, TV, hair dryer, curling iron and other electronics.
Clean perishables out of the fridge, No one wants to come home to strange growth in the fridge.
Turn the water off. Close the water valves for your sinks, dishwasher and clothes washer.  
Keep track of your house keys. When you don't use them for a week or more, it's easy to forget where you stuck them. Find a spot in your carry-on luggage where they'll be safe for the duration of your trip.

clientuploads/CRUSSHP3.jpgChecking in at the pier and boarding the ship
Frequently you can purchase transfers to the ship from the airport and return or just pick your bags up in baggage claim and get a taxi to the pier.  
Your luggage will probably not get to your cabin with you so now is the time to use that change of clothes in your carry on.
You should take advantage of the Online Check-In offered by most cruise lines today.  Best to do no later than three days prior to the cruise.  This will greatly hasten your pier check in process.
Your need to plan you arrival at the pier to check in no later than 90 minutes prior to the scheduled sailing time.  This is required by most cruise lines.
Reconfirm with your cruise line the exact check-in time.
Non Passengers for security reasons are not be allowed to board the ship at any port.  
When you first come aboard, be sure to check out your stateroom. There you'll find the Cruise daily newsletter with schedules for all the onboard activities. You will also find any special notices just for you.  
Like spa or fitness classes try to make your appointments on the first day, as the most popular treatments and times fill up fast.
 If Beverages are not included in you cruise check out the onboard beverage package. The ultimate in convenience and value, pay one set price and enjoy a vacation of endless refreshment.  This is particularly great for children and a soda card but the wine packages also work especially if you like wine with lunch and dinner.  Check these out your first day on board