An arctic cruise sounds like a grand time. Picture this: You’re walking down the ship’s desk, basking in the wind and view, with a hot drink in hand. There are different dining options on the ship when you get hungry, and you hear there’s live entertainment later tonight. Best of all, you get to spend time with like-minded explorers.
It all sounds so idyllic, so it should not come as a surprise that people jump at the opportunity to book a reservation. It’s easy to get so excited that you forget to consider factors like what to pack, how things work onboard the ship, and what to do before and after you get off the cruise.
It’s easy to get swept up in the fantasy, so we’ve put together a list of things to remember before booking an arctic cruise for you and your loved ones. Remember: a cruise isn’t going to stop sailing for anyone unless it’s an absolute emergency, so you want to make sure that you don’t want to forget anything important. After all, you could be out at sea for weeks.
1. Prepare for departure
A common mistake among arctic cruise newbies is that they overlook time sensitivity. A cruise vacation can cost thousands of dollars, excluding airfare, gratuities, and other extra expenses — even if you’re just a few minutes late, you can miss check-in and lose your entire deposit. Fly in at least a full day before departure, and make sure to check into a hotel near the port.
Most arctic cruises depart in the afternoon, so it’s best to leave the hotel early to beat the morning rush. It’s okay to be optimistic, but you can’t predict traffic flow, so don’t take your chances and get to the port early. Being early and killing time at the port ready to go is loads better than sitting in the back of a cab and missing the ship altogether.
For those flying in from abroad, allow yourself two to three days to rest before getting on the ship again. If you’re flying in from Europe or Asia, the jet lag could get to you, so you’ll have to let your body adjust to the shift in time zones before going on a ship.
2. Prepare a go-bag
The crew will take your luggage to bring to your cabin or suite, so it’s best to keep your necessities in a smaller bag to carry with you. You might appreciate the luggage service because getting around a ship is more difficult than navigating an airport or a train. Yes, it’s convenient, but it’s also going to take a few hours as they will have to deal with thousands of people’s luggage.
Make sure to bring essentials like electronics, medicines, and a change of clothes in your carry-on. You can also pack sunscreen, a journal, or your favorite swimwear if you’re planning to lounge by the pool as soon as you’re settled. It’s also advisable to pack a Bogner men’s vest to protect against wind chill. Do your best not to overpack your carry-on, though.
3. Do some research
Being on a ship means you’re secure from scammers and grifters because you won’t need to take your cash out as long as you have your band or pass. But getting off the ship to explore the different ports on the ship’s itinerary is an entirely different ball game. Most companies provide information about ports through pamphlets or guide books, but they mostly focus on tourist spots. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, you might want to look elsewhere.
Go on the internet and scour travel websites and blogs for honest opinions and experiences. See what’s out there and ask people about lesser-known spots at different ports that are worth visiting. You might discover a hidden gem that isn’t included in the official handbooks. Who knows, you might even see better sights and enjoy a richer cultural experience!
A final word
An arctic cruise vacation can be a wonderful experience, making great memories and fun stories down the line. Knowing what to do the first time can guarantee you a better time, so keep these three tips in mind. It’s still a vacation, after all, so your priority is relaxation. As long as you do your research and keep a good schedule, you’ll enjoy a worry-free time out at sea.