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Part 2 – Things You Need to Pay Attention to When Cruise Planning

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In Part 1 I hopefully helped you through the booking process, so presuming you’re booked, and have purchased the Travel Insurance, what’s next in your planning agenda?


It used to be a much larger concern about what is “appropriate” attire for your cruise, than it is today. A decade ago the norm was to expect 2 formal nights, 2 semi formal nights, and the remaining casual nights, on a seven night cruise, on most cruise lines, as suggested dress codes onboard.

These days, with the exception of just a few lines, those dress codes are much more relaxed, and in some cases essentially laid by the wayside. Even the lines which still have formal nights during the cruise, now just note suggested dress for men as “suit and tie”. And it’s become somewhat rare seeing more than 10 – 15 % of men wearing tuxedos.

Even the luxury lines are offering some of their sailings, such as Alaska itineraries, where the suggested dress for the entire cruise is “resort casual”, with no formal nights at all.

The success of Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Freestyle”, where even on nights designated “Formal”, formal clothing is entirely optional, has led other cruise lines to move to less restrictive dress codes.

Semi-formal (or informal) nights have been pretty much eliminated.

It’s very wise now to check the suggested dress codes of the cruise line you’ve booked to sail. In most cases, you’ll now find that there’s much less need to bring, or shop for, more dress clothing.

By coincidence of timing, the less restrictive dress codes are making it easier for cruiser’s who have to fly to their embarkation ports. As airlines have added surcharges for extra pieces of luggage, the less restrictive dress, allows cruisers to cut back on the amount they have to pack.

Shore Tours and Excursions –
Almost all the cruise lines now allow advance purchase of shore excursions. Of course, they much prefer you book in advance on tours offered by them, than for you to tour independently, and spend those dollars elsewhere.

To take full advantage of your short times on shore in ports of call during your cruise it’s very important to research your port stops and try to see what optional activities sound like they best suit your vision of what you’d like to see and do.

How best to proceed to decide between tours, and whether you should book through the cruise line depends very much on your itinerary, in my view.

These days, in most Caribbean ports of call, it’s very easy to purchase tours as you leave the ship, and save money from what the cruise lines charge for similar tours. And with a bit of searching on the Internet, you can get good recommendations for private tour operators, which you can book in advance, if you want to.

I think in most of those ports it’s also relatively safe to do so, in order to save some money. However, when touring independently, or with a private tour operator, you need to understand that you are also accepting responsibility for yourself. You need to spend some planning energy, and assure that you are back to the ship before it leaves.

Doing so is not that difficult, and nor do I recommend against it. But you need to be aware of your responsibilities.

Even on more exotic itineraries, in ports less visited by cruise ships, it’s often easy to arrange your own private tours. In some areas of the world safety issues are more of a concern than others, and once again knowing your responsibilities, and planning in advance are the keys to making your decisions about whether to book private tours, or those offered by the cruise line.

It’s impossible for anyone to tell you how much you are going to spend on your cruise, above the cost of the cruise fare, travel insurance, and transportation costs.

What you’ll spend will depend on how much you tour, shop (both onshore and onboard), gamble, drink, eat in speciality restaurants etc.

As a general rule I think it’s safe to say that you’ll spend at least the equivalent of your cruise fare, per person, on extraneous expenses… and in some cases much more.

The most important thing about budgeting for your expenses is to force yourself to stick with a budget you can afford. There’s not much worse than returning home from a cruise with great memories, but a financial burden, you didn’t have before you left, and can not afford.

To return to Part 1 of Things You Need to Pay Attention to When Cruise Planning

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Related posts:

  1. Things You Need to Pay Attention to When Cruise Planning – Part 1 Once you get onboard a ship for your cruise, you...
  2. Minimizing Dress Codes – Is There A “New Formal”? For some time now life has been on the move...
  3. It’s Getting Easier To Cruise Without Clothes To those who haven’t been watching, there’s been a sea...
  4. Shore Excursions are a Profit Center Not an Amenity for Passengers Originally when cruise ships began offering shore excursions for their...
  5. Are The Cruise Lines Using “The Politics of Fear” to Sell You Shore Excursions? It wasn’t so long ago that the cruise lines didn’t...


Comment from RayB
Time June 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

KUKI—You did not mention the Gratuties. Those are most important to those that are budgeting. Most ships add that to the bill and it is normally $10 to $11 per day per person. For a longer cruise than 7 days that would run up very fast.

Just a thought.

Comment from Cyndy
Time June 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Do I really need insurance for a short cruise out of Florida and I live near by?

Comment from Kuki
Time June 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm


No, not at all… that is assuming you also have your own helicopter and pilot, in case a medical evacuation from the ship becomes necessary.

Yes… you need insurance which covers all those eventualities.

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