You have booked a cruise vacation! You might be wondering what is next to prepare for your vacation on the high seas. 

There are several things you and your planner can do to make sure once you are on your cruise that the only thing you need to worry about is when the last time you put sunscreen on!

You Have Booked A Cruise - What's Next?


If you have booked less than 11 months out and you need to fly to your port, then this would be your next step. We recommend arriving to your departure port area at least the day prior to your cruise just in case there are travel delays.

Quick Tip: If you are flying with children try to have the least amount of connections as possible.


Even if you are not flying, and it takes more than a few hours to get to your departing port it is a good idea to stay the night before your cruise in the area of the port. This helps you be more relaxed and get into vacation mode even more quickly.

Quick Tip: Selecting a hotel that offers a shuttle to port saves on one extra item you need to figure out.

You Have Booked A Cruise - What's Next?


Most cruise lines have several options for dinner times. Typically, they will at least offer an earlier and a later dining reservation that help line up with evening show times available. Some cruise lines also offer an anytime option, this allows you to go to dinner whenever you like in the evening.

Specialty restaurants are also an option for dining, but be aware that these almost always have an extra cost above your cruise fare involved. They usually require reservations and the best time to make those is either prior to your cruise or on the first day when you get on the ship.

Quick Tip: If you want to try out the specialty restaurants, but don’t want to spend too much money, consider making lunch reservations. They usually offer the same menu at a reduced price.

You Have Booked A Cruise - What's Next?


Pack on the fun and add activities to your port stops. There is usually a very wide variety of things to do while in port, so having an idea of how you want to spend your time is quite helpful. Your Journey Planner can assist with suggestions based on your wants.

You can book excursions through the cruise line or 3rd party. Booking through the cruise line offers the safety of if the tour is running late the ship will wait for you to board before departing. 

Quick Tip: Book early! The more popular excursions tend to sell out quickly.

Cruise Account and/or App

Many cruise lines have the ability for you to create a cruise planner account to add details to your days as well as purchase drink packages and extras. You may also be able to book and purchase your excursions offered through the cruise line.

This account will allow you to check in for your cruise and select your arrival time to port. You must do the check in process in order to get your boarding pass. You will also get luggage tags to print and attach to your luggage. 

Quick Tip: Print all of your travel documents and keep them in a safe place prior to your cruise.

important documents

Try not to overplan when preparing for a cruise. It can be tempting to try to do and see everything, but remember that this is your vacation!

When you are ready to start planning your next (or first!) cruise vacation, reach out to one of our knowledgeable Journey Planners who will help you curate the perfect trip just for you.

Did you miss the blog about booking a cruise? You can check it out here.

Thank you to Stephenie Surber, the Embrace the Journey Travel’s Cruise Manager for writing this blog. Learn more about Stephenie here.