I have just returned from a 12 night Princess cruise of the Holy Land aboard the Royal Princess and a 2 night POST stay in Venice. As I always say to my client’s, I learn the most valuable travel knowledge by experiencing the “World of Cruise Travel” myself. It never seems to amaze me that even I can make travel blunders. But before I tell you my travel cruise blunder (I promise not to keep you hanging) I wanted to give a list of tips that will come in handy when you cruise. I witnessed others who encountered problems that had they had tips like these their travel would have been much less stressful;
1. Pack 7 nights of clothes in a 45 inch carry-on. More then 10 travelers from our 720 passenger ship did not get their luggage and we were leaving for a 12 night cruise. One couple I met went 5 nights until their luggage caught up to them. The airlines are not giving ample enough connection time. Luggage is not arriving when you arrive. Cruising without your luggage can be a real drag.
2. Purchase travel insurance to give you lost baggage overage and baggage delay coverage. Not to mention when you are traveling out of the USA, travel insurance gives you medical and emergency evacuation coverage.
3. Items to pack for a cruise that can come in handy; scotch tape, string, cold medicine, extra camera batteries, extra memory chips, safety pins, manicure scissors (pack in checked luggage so TSA does not take them), power strip (this is excellent for giving additional outlets in your stateroom) and a night light.
4. Check on the average temperatures for all destinations you will be traveling to. The temperatures for the Mediterranean from November 3-November 19 ranged in the mid 80’s to low 40’s. Some traveler’s did not have warm enough clothes packed for Croatia and Venice.
5. Invest in silk long underwear, packs light and will add warmth should you be traveling off season (for best travel rates) or traveling to a colder client.
6. Notify your credit cards of your travel dates and all of your travel destinations. It is a pain to try to reach them from the Sea to let them know it is you making the charge from Haifa, Israel or Cairo Egypt. Most credit card companies are denying charges from far way to protect you from possible fraud.
7. If traveling with others, take along wipe able message boards. They can be found at Dollar Stores. You can communicate with your travel companions since cruising offers so many options for entertainment and dining. You can meet up easier with a quick note on where to meet for a cocktail or catch a show together. Plus they are just plain fun.
8. Ask your Travel Consultant about private excursion options for your port of calls. If you are traveling with others it can come out less for private excursions and you get so much more knowledge and attention then in a group tour environment. With reputable private tour companies you receive exclusive attention of your guide, most private tour companies will use educated guides with degrees. Our guide in Vietnam ( Minh from Minh Anh Travel ) was an Vietnamese guide and had many contacts throughout Vietnam . He got us in the Ethnological Museum before the crowds, took us immediately to Halong Bay before the crowds worked their way up to this area. He also arranged for boat cruise for us . In Venice we used IC Belliago for our 2 night stay in Venice. Our certified guide Roberta was outstanding. Her knowledge and knowing the “ins and outs” of Venice was priceless. We started our Venice experience disembarking at the Venice pier to be greeted by Roberta for our private water taxi and Hidden Canal tour followed by a walking tour. The next morning 3 of our group took a market trip followed by a cooking class. Later that day the 5 of us took the “Three island” tour. Our first stop was the island of Torcello, where we toured the old cathedral, much older than St. Mark’s. Then we visited the island of Burano, with beautiful painted and colorful houses, for a demonstration of lace making. Then off to the island of Murano for a private and I mean private demonstration of glass blowing. I can say private excursions are priceless and give you so much more value the large group tours.
Now for my travel blunder. I travel frequently and ever since 9/11 we can no longer bring liquids in our carry-on unless it follows the 3-1-1 rule. Since I went to Greece and Venice I purchased one bottle of wine, one bottle of Ouzo and one small bottle of olive oil. When preparing my luggage for my return to home I totally forgot I was packing wine, olive oil and Ouzo in my carry on to make sure they arrived home not breaking in my luggage. I was more concerned for my breakable souvenirs to be hand carried back with me on the plane and the 3-1-1 rule just vanished in my mind. Well, I am here to report the Security of Venice airport is on top of things. I was greeted by the Security man to be asked “do you have a bottle of wine in this bag?” Oh dear, could I have climbed under a rock. I quickly dashed to the ticket counter, begged a man to cut in front so I could see the same young lady that checked in my 2 checked bags already. I was fully prepared to pay additional Euro’s to get my third bag checked in. I was lucky, the lovely young lady did not charge me for the extra checked bags and thank you to the man that allowed me to cut in front of him. So even seasoned travelers can have a travel blunder every now and again.