Cruising for the first time

Cruise destinations are varied, the most popular being trips to the western Mediterranean, such as Corsica and Sardinia, followed by cruises in the eastern Mediterranean, such as Cyprus or Egypt, and cruises in the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic Sea and the Caribbean.

The average expenditure on cruise trips ranges from 500 to 1,500 euros, which includes onboard expenses such as food, drinks and tips, and expenses on activities outside the ship. Due to the high price and the advance booking, it is advisable to take out a cruise insurance. At the end of this article we tell you how this type of policy works.

What do you need to know to travel on a cruise?

Travelling on the high seas has some peculiarities that make us have to contemplate certain details or preparations different from those of land travel.

Documentation for travelling on a cruise

Don’t forget to bring your identity documents, such as your ID card or passport, as well as the corresponding visa or excursion permit in case any of the countries where the boat docks require it.

You should also have noted the information of the trip (stops, schedules, etc), the number of current account and some emergency or interest phone numbers. Also carry a credit card and a copy of your cruise insurance policy.

How to pack for a cruise

You will have to dress in swimwear and other more comfortable or formal clothing, as well as wear some that protect you from the wind. Don’t forget to protect yourself with sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen.

You should also take into account the measurements and weight limits of the hand luggage of the airline you are going to use to fly to the city where the boat is leaving from. Also check these figures for luggage on board the ship.

Medications to take on a cruise

Buying medicine on board is often more expensive than usual, so don’t forget to take a personal first aid kit with you, containing anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, ointments for muscle aches and pains, and medicine for sea sickness and digestive problems.

Check with the Ministry of Health if you need any vaccinations for any of the countries where the cruise ship is going to dock.

Duty Free on Cruise Ships

As in airports, when you purchase the products and services offered on a cruise you will not pay VAT. However, when the ship is berthed in a port the shops remain closed. On the other hand, what you buy when you enter your country of origin will be exempt from taxes as long as it does not exceed the values stipulated by customs.

In addition to cash (some companies have exchange offices), the cruise companies usually offer forms of payment to facilitate purchases on board: personal card linked to current account or credit or debit card, checks or vip membership in the cabin.

The purchase of alcoholic beverages on board, not consumption in the establishments of the cruise, is controlled so that they will be delivered to you the day of disembarkation.

On-board electrical and electronic devices

Remember to turn off your mobile phone data to avoid surprises on your bill. Also, set the time on your phone and set the alarm clock to travel according to time zone changes. Make sure you take a universal plug adapter with you.

Book your cruise in advance

Cruises are the type of trip that is booked most in advance. In the case of Spaniards, compared to the 32-day average for other similar trips (international destinations and stays of one week on average), a cruise is booked 71 days in advance. Hence, half of the incidents on cruise trips are related to the cancellation of the trip.

Problems to consider when travelling on a cruise

It is important to inform travellers of the main problems that can arise on board a cruise. One of the most common incidents, largely due to the fact that the trip is booked well in advance, is the cancellation of the trip. In this sense, it is important to bear in mind that cancellation costs can be very high, as the average booking cost is 800 euros.

In addition, health care and the purchase of medicines on board are usually quite expensive, in fact a routine consultation can cost up to 110 euros.

In case of pregnancy by the date of the cruise, it is necessary to be well informed of the company’s policy, as many do not accept reservations from passengers who are in the 24th week or more advanced gestation at the end of the trip.