10 Tips to Help Plan Your Cruise Vacation

View from deck of ship overlooking water with green landscape in the background.

Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned pro, Holland America Line is here to help you plan your cruise. From choosing your destinations to exploring shore excursions and onboard activities, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 tips to help you plan your cruise vacation:

1. Find a destination that excites you.

Whether it’s Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe or another cruise destination, there are plenty of places to explore. Our first tip to help you plan your cruise vacation is to consider when and where you want to go. If cooler temperatures and incredible landscapes are calling your name, consider places like Alaska and Northern Europe. If you want to relax on the beach and soak up sunshine, the Caribbean, Hawaii or Mediterranean may top your list. Planning a family cruise with kids? Exploring itineraries for multi-generational cruising? Learn more about family cruises with Holland America Line.

2. Explore our perfectly sized ships.

Once you know where you want to go and when, explore the Holland America Line ships that can take you there. Learning more about our ships will help you become familiar with different activities you’ll find on board.

3. Connect with a Personal Cruise Consultant at Holland America Line.

As members of the team, Personal Cruise Consultants have unique expertise on the Holland America Line experience and in-depth knowledge about destinations around the world. They’re here to help you plan every detail of your cruise at no extra cost to you, as this is a complimentary service for guests.

4. Make the most of special offers.

Explore available cruise deals to help you make a great vacation even greater. Whether you’re planning ahead or looking for last-minute offers, Holland America Line looks forward to welcoming you aboard.

5. Book shore excursions early.

From wildlife encounters in Alaska to horseback riding in Half Moon Cay, there are plenty of shore excursions to choose from at each destination. Spots fill up quickly for many activities, so book early. Also make note of any age limitations if you’re looking for kid-friendly activities. A Personal Cruise Consultant can help you explore family-friendly shore excursions.

6. Ensure you have the necessary travel documents.

All guests must have the required documentation to embark and disembark throughout the voyage. For smooth sailing, make sure you review and comply with all identification requirements. If you don’t already have your passport and need one for travel (read all identification requirements), make sure you apply for one well in advance of your cruise. It can take weeks to months to receive it after you apply, so don’t delay this process.

7. Make a list of additional travel items you’ll want to bring.

Going to the Great Land to experience Alaska wildlife? Consider investing in a great camera with a long lens for incredible wildlife photos. Binoculars are also helpful when sightseeing through places like Glacier Bay. Also consider luggage cruise tags, travel organizers, cell phone accessories to keep your phone charged, Orange Party fashion accessories and more.

8. Pack for your cruise.

From passports and medications to your favorite flip-flops, packing your essentials is an important part of cruise preparation. Remember to keep essentials – like medications and identification documents – in a carry-on bag. Also, check the weather forecast for your trip to ensure you pack accordingly.

9. Download the Navigator® App.

Holland America Line’s Navigator® App is your essential cruise companion. This free mobile-friendly tool helps you personalize your cruise experience once you’re on the ship by planning your daily activities, browsing and purchasing available shore excursions, viewing restaurant menus, making dining reservations, checking your account balance and more.

10. Book early for spa reservations.

Though you may be able to secure a spot at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon® once you’re on board, it’s best to book in advance. From facials and massages to the thermal suite and hydropool, there are plenty of reasons to say “ahh” at the spa.

Visit Holland America Line to learn more about the cruise experience. If you’re an avid cruiser, share some of your tips to help plan cruise vacations in the comments below.


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