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3 Ways to Ensure a Smooth-Sailing Cruise

(Sea what we did there?)

Just a few things to do before you board…PHOTO: ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

The second round of Drew and Jonathan’s Sailing with the Scotts is just two months away, so we’ve got cruising on the brain. Whether you’re booked on SWTS—which ships out from Miami and stops in the Bahamas’ CocoCay and Nassau—or are hopping on another cruise in the near future, these tips from Perla Georgino of Burbank-based Senator Travel will give you total cruise control.

Prep Your Passport

Will you need a passport for your cruise? Great—and tricky—question. So-called “closed-loop” cruises, which start and end at the same U.S. port, do not require a passport. But it’s best to get confirmation from the agency handling your cruise; you can also ask them about any applicable inoculations, health requirements, or advisories. (There’s a plethora of information online, too, but make sure you’re getting it from an official source like a passport agency or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.) If you’re getting or renewing a passport, knock out this step at least three months prior to your departure date.

Pre-Reserve Everything

All major cruise lines offer pre-registration, which is basically like checking in for a flight super early. You can often check in 90 days before you leave, and most lines recommend checking in no more than three days before departure.

If you plan to do any kind of shore excursions on your cruise, make sure everyone in your group pre-reserves their spot. Don’t wait until you’re on board—jump on this as soon as reservations are available, because these activities fill up quickly no matter where you’re sailing. (Some cruise lines even offer early booking discounts if you pre-pay.) If you’re on the fence, remember that excursions are a great way to get the full experience of a port city, so take advantage! Booking four to six weeks before cruise date is sufficient.

Lastly, reserve your dining preference—early or late—when you book your cruise. These spots also fill up quickly because the dining rooms have a maximum capacity. Determine what your typical cruise night will involve (dancing? lounging?) and strategize the time of your dinner based on that. 

Catch an Early-Bird Flight

If you’re traveling to your departure city via plane, you might want to take one extra step. Anyone flying in from a place that experiences winter weather (think the Midwest, the Northeast, or any place that gets snow) should plan to arrive in their departure city the night before the cruise leaves. Yes, this might involve an added hotel cost—but the flip side is risking a weather delay or flight cancellation that causes you to literally miss the boat.

Want to sail to the Bahamas with Drew and Jonathan? Book your Sailing with the Scotts cabin here!

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