Cruise Planning Checklist: What to Do 6 Months Before Your Cruise


With six months left until your cruise, now’s the time to start thinking about things like travel documentation, packing necessities and on-shore activities. Use this quick checklist to make sure you’ve tackled these and other important cruise details well before you say ‘bon voyage’.

Cruise Documentation Passport and visa check
Before going on your cruise, check to see if a passport or visa is required.
  •  Check with your cruise line and/or State Department to understand visa requirements for travel.
  • Confirm passport validity. It’s strongly suggested that the expiration on your passport is no less than six months after your voyage end date. If passport renewal is required, start the process now.
Cruise Travel Arrangements and Extra Packages Flights, hotels and ship packages
If you are traveling to your cruise port, book your flight at least 6 months before you sail.
  • Traveling to your departure port? Now’s the time to book your flight.
  • Reserve your hotel. (Note: If it’s not high season you can wait another three months).
  • Need transportation to the cruise port? First, check if it's included in your cruise fare, If it is, make sure you're clear on the kind of transportation covered (ex: transfer to cruise port from hotel vs. airport). If it's not, now's the time to plan for it.
  • Decide if you want to purchase any extra packages (such as alcohol or internet packages). For instance, it may be more cost-efficient to purchase a drink package rather than purchase your drinks individually, especially if you'll be doing so several times throughout your cruise.
Cruise Dining Logistics When's dinner?
Before you cruise, check the dining times on board to help plan activities around your meals.
  • Log onto your cruise line's website and start familiarizing yourself with dining times and which ones work best with the activities you’d like to take part in.
Start Reading About Your Ports of Call From port basics to shore excursions
Cruise guest walks with an on-shore excursion guide during cruise vacation.
  • Star reading about your ports-of-call to see where you're headed and what you can do on shore. If you're interested in shore excursions, now would be a great time to start weighing your options (some of these fill up quickly, so the earlier you start planning, the better). Take this time to compare pricing and see what others have to say about the acitivites you're interested in trying.
  • While you research excursions, you can also compare the offerings of guided shore excursions vs. solo excursions to determine which kind fits your travel style best.

There's still a lot more to plan and prepare before your cruise. Check out our complete cruise-planning timeline to learn more pre-cruise prep tips. 

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