1. Online Check-in

Do your online check in by 30 days before your cruise, if you haven’t done it already. When doing your online check-in, make sure to have your passport or government ID on hand, as well as your proof a vaccine.

You also have a health questionnaire to complete, however many cruise lines will ask you to return to the health questionnaire in the last 24 hours before your cruise. Take note of the instructions, as may differ from one cruise line to another. Health and travel protocols are subject to change, so keep up to date by checking back on the cruise line website and checking your emails.

Check your passport expiry date as early as possible in case you need to have it renewed.

2. Download the Cruise line App


Most cruise lines have a cruise line app and recommend you download it.

In some cases there may be information that you need to complete on the cruise line app. For example, if you’re booked on a Princess Cruise, you will need to do your online check in on the MedallionClass™ app.

However, the cruise line app is handy to have for all cruise lines and is best downloaded before you board. You may be able to do your safety briefing or emuster drill on your phone, view the daily planner and menus, and message other guests on board.

3. Make Hotel Reservations & Travel Arrangements

If you haven’t already made your hotel reservations for a night before your cruise, then make sure to do this now. If you’ve already made your hotel reservations, this is a good time to check back to see if there have been any reductions in the hotel price.

Make sure to check if your hotel offers a shuttle to the cruise port, and otherwise consider your transportation to the ship on embarkation day. 

4. Start a Packing Checklist

Even if you’re not ready to pack yet, you’ll want to start a cruise packing list about a month before your cruise. You may also want to have a place in your home to place items you want to bring on your cruise vacation.

Make sure to try on any outfits that you haven’t worn in a while, to make sure they fit and that you feel your best.

6. Book Excursions & Make Onboard Reservations

If you’re planning on doing cruise line excursions, you should definitely book them within the last month before your cruise. Even if you book your shore excursions privately or plan to explore on your own, make sure to research before you go. 

This is also the time to book your drink packages and dining packages. If you’re lucky, you may even get a discount by booking online before your cruise. Other onboard reservations should be made in the last 30 days before your cruise as well since availability may be limited.


7. Make Self-care Appointments

Consider the appointments that you need to make before your cruise. This may include making an appointment at your hairdresser for a cut or color, booking a manicure and pedicure, having your eyebrows done, bikini wax and any other types of self-care.

8. Join a Cruise Roll Call

Joining a cruise roll call or facebook group for your specific cruise can be really helpful. In these groups, people will share information about the cruise and chat about the excursions and ports. You’ll also be able to “virtually” meet people before you go on your sailing. If you have questions about your cruise this is also a really good place to ask them.

You could find cruise line roll calls on the Cruise Critic message boards and on other online forums, as well as on Facebook. 

9. Print Luggage Tags and Cruise Documents

Remember to print out your cruise luggage tags as well as your cruise documents, shore excursion confirmations and hotel reservations.

Even if you have them on your phone, if you don’t have Wi-Fi at some point it can get complicated. Having your hotel reservation printed it out, as well as any other reservations will give you peace of mind.


10. Alert Your Credit Card Company

And if you don’t travel often, it’s a good idea to alert your credit card company and let them know that you will be on a cruise and in certain cruise ports of call.

While some credit card companies don’t require you to do this, many people do report that they’ve had their credit card blocked or declined when travelling, especially if they made a large purchase. 

Since you don’t want to have a problem, you may want to call your credit card and let them know, or see if you can update this on their website.

11. Withdraw Cash

If you’re taking cash on your cruise as spending money, make sure to go to the ATM or your bank to withdraw money in advance of your cruise. If you need foreign currency you may need to allow some time and order this from your bank.

12. Bring Extra Prescription Medication

Cruise lines recommend that you bring 2 to 3 weeks of extra medication with you on your cruise. This is a good idea for whenever you travel. Make sure to plan for and pick up extra prescription medication as you pack and get ready for your travels.

13. Last Minute Home Organization

Make sure to keep a list of the last minute home things that you need to do before you go on your cruise holiday. 

Some things you’ll want to do include: notifying the alarm company that you’ll be traveling, putting a hold on the mail, setting up an away message on your work email, cleaning out your fridge, emptying your garbage bin in your kitchen, making your bed with clean sheets for when you arrive back home.

14. Complete Health Questionnaire

In the last 24 hours before your cruise, you may need to fill in a health questionnaire on the cruise line website or app. As well, you may have other online check in that needs to be done the day before you travel.  Keep this in a to do list so you don’t forget anything before you go on vacation.

15. Check the Weather Forecast