It may seem silly to sign up for services you’re not sure you’ll need or want before you board your cruise. And there’s a lot to do before you go, so maybe you’re tempted to put off things like booking excursions, kids club spots for your children, and even things like drink and photo packages. But by taking care of these things in advance, you can get what you want, while saving time and money, too.
Make Your Reservations Early
Sure, for things like soft drink packages, you’re probably not going to be shut out because they can’t accommodate you if you don’t sign up in advance. But for limited-space programs and events, book ahead of time to be sure you get a seat. This applies to things like kids club programs, shore excursions, on-board classes (think yoga, sushi-making, photography, and more), salon services, and even on-board restaurants. Cruise lines usually allow you to book in advance worry-free, because it’s usually possible to cancel if needed, as long as you do it with enough advance notice.
Making arrangements for programs and events in advance can also save a lot of money. Pre-cruise rates for things like photo and drink packages are often less expensive. If you decide to sign up on-board, expect to pay a premium. Make sure to read the fine print so you’re sure of what your package includes. For example, some cruise lines offer drink packages in tiers. You can choose just soft drinks, beer and wine, or beer, wine, and cocktails. Photo packages are often also offered in several tiers.
Don’t Miss Out on Cruise Amenities
The best place to find out about all of the great programs, services, and events offered on your cruise ship is the cruise line’s website. Use the cruise planning tools available online. Sign up for email notifications to have information, deadlines, and reminders sent to you, to make sure you don’t miss anything. Review booking and cancellation policies, too. Some events and programs close out before embarking; others have strict limitations on the number of participants, so check early and often to see what’s available for the best choices.
It may seem like a hassle to do all this planning and booking ahead of time. But embarkation day is always a little chaotic. Instead of running all over the ship to get kids into day care, reserve shore excursions, and make dinner reservations at the upscale on-board restaurants, you could be enjoying the view instead.