How We Plan For a Cruise

Cruise planning is much more than booking for the cruise.

Map of caribbean

So far we’ve booked all cruises directly online and separate flights to match, but for many people the cruise organizer agencies are definitely a good alternative. This takes time and effort on your own, every time.

We are pretty well organized and have lists of things to do at work and at home, lists that in our life as entrepreneurs blend together. Travel is an integral part of our life, part of who we are. It has always been (and we are grateful for that). Oftentimes we have more than one adventure ahead, means that scheduling tasks is the key.

Here is a list of stuff we’ve done for our next trip that includes an 11-night cruise from Miami to Panama Canal and other exiting destinations.

* Fall 2017: Scheduled our possible winter holiday dates with our collegues and decided this would be added with Mikaela’s 40th birthday gift trip (birthday of 2017) as well. The gift included a gift card for Finnair flights.

* Early November 2017: Started talking about our destination options, dreams, possibilities -where does Finnair fly to in February? The season and weather in different parts of the world? ”No socks” was number one on the list.

* Studied flights and at the same time started peeking cruises as well. We subscribe cruise newsletters of the cruise companies we’ve cruised so far and some interesting itineraries came up.

* Late November 2017: How about Panama cruise, babe? Finnair flies to Miami and NCL cruises from there as well. Let’s do this! Some calculating and scheduling.

* Gave dates to our catsitters.

* Booked return Finnair flights Turku-Helsinki-Miami.

* Booked the 11-night Panama cruise for NCL.

* Booked the 4 pre-cruise nights in Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.

* Booked the 2 after cruise nights at Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach.

* Joined the NCL Jade cruise Facebook group.

* Booked a rental car from AVIS for pre-cruise.

* We checked our passports and saw they will not need updating at this time and we have no visa requirements (Finnish citizens are within the visa waiver to US). However, depending on your nationality and destination(s), the 4-2 months prior departure is a good time for thinking about applying for new documents and making sure you’ve got enough time to get new documentary.

* Started scheduling business tasks we’d have to do in advance, things that could be delegated, things that we’d do during our days abroad. Some things that can be scheduled for automated publishing. This scheduling project always goes on ’till the week of take off as our life is far from static. Things are added, removed, re-thought, re-shaped, re-scheduled. Stuff comes and goes.

Norwegian Cruise Line

* January 2018: Late night YouTube -sessions getting more info on the cruise ports. Reading travel books.

* Booking excursions! It’s a good idea to book in advance even as there’s an excursions desk onboard as well; some excursions sell out quickly, we’ve experienced that.


* Making lists of stuff to buy for travel, such as hygiene products, pro-biotics, prescription meds, flight socks..

* Making lists of things like ”book the barber”, ”buy meat for cats for the time away”, ”launder in time” – this list seems to extend often some weeks pre take off. Stuff like ”fix the fridge”, ”call someone to check the air-con”.

* Checking out recommended and required vaccines and meds. Please, don’t skip this. Many horrible conditions can be prevented by taking vaccinations and meds.

Vaccination certificationVaccination

* Finding out Colombia is the only country of our itinerary where yellow fever is existent. Cities like Cartagena are not high risk areas, but the next ports in other countries might ask for the certification of vaccination. Well. The certificate will never have to be re-newed and we don’t want to risk getting to all the fantastic ports – vaccinations it is!

* Booking time for yellow fever vaccinations. Note: the certification has to be issued at least 10 days upon arrival to yellow fever destination.

* Busy working, shopping, getting stuff done.

* Updating ESTAs, updating necessary destination details for airline, checking-in for the cruise.

* Printing and checking all the bookings, writing down dates, names, booking numbers. Printing tags for bags to attach at the port.

* Out packing day before travel is easy. We go by the rules ” only pack stuff you’d use at home” and ”weeks worth of clothes, launder needed” and ”only pack stuff that can be washed together”. The last one means that both have clothes that can be washed together.

* If you are a frequent traveller, it is also a good idea to have a travel cosmetic bag ready with all the daily items, no need to start collecting items. Including the see through carry-on liquids bag.

How do you schedule trips? What are your must do things?

9 thoughts on “How We Plan For a Cruise

  1. Wow – you sound so organised! I didn’t realise so much had to go into booking a cruise, as I’ve never done one (not yet anyway :D) And thanks for the tip about pre-booking excursions, that’s useful to know!

  2. Scheduling the trip.. well I just do the necessary :), I try to keep things minimal and improvise if needed.

  3. Taking a cruise is its own form of traveling. You still have to coordinates dates, choose a route, and such, but would recommend doing one online research about what people have to say about your
    *particular* route you finally choose and your *particular* ship. This can help you choose between routes, ships, and things like rooms within the ship.

    1. Thanks Michelle! Especially when cruising from other continent there seem to be quite a many little things to remember and that have deadlines!

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