It seems like just yesterday that I booked a 10-night cruise in February. In fact, it was way back in May last year. Now there is less than a month to go till boarding the Sun Princess to cruise the Pacific.
The cruise will be my first since crossing the Atlantic in early 2012 and I am very much looking forward to it. I have already shared one post about the cruise “Sun Princess: South Pacific Cruise February 2017“. In this post, I walk about the Itinerary and the ports.
Today I wanted to cover some of the things to consider before heading off on your cruise. You will find that I may discuss Princess Cruises, as that is who I am cruising with. However, the information may also apply to other cruise lines but may require a little checking to confirm specifics.
Taking a look at the cruise personalizer is something that you look at soon after getting your booking number. However, I thought it good to include it here, just as a reminder.
If you are cruising with Princess, once you have your booking number you can access the Cruise Personalizer. You can find it by visiting www.princess.com and scroll down until you see the purple box to the right. The title of this box is “Booked Guests” and the last options in there is to “Visit Cruise Personalizer”
The cruise personalizer is basically where you can do everything pre-cruise for when you are onboard. Well, almost everything. The options you have here include
- Booking Summary
- Guest Check-in
- Excursions Reservations
- Onboard reservations
- Plus more…
The first page you will see outlines all the basics of your cruise. Including your booking number, embarkation and disembarkation ports and dates. There is also some information about your bedding and dining requests and stateroom number when available.
The guest check-in section is probably the most important section. There are a few pieces of information that are requested here. Included you will find some personal details, emergency contact, travel documents, shipboard account and travel history.
It is definitely beneficial to get this section completed as early as possible. It saves the chance of potentially forgetting to fill it in and will save time on boarding day. There is some information in this section that is required in advance. So I like to get in and complete as much as possible as soon as I have my booking number.
In most port calls there is the option to take a range of different excursions. Through the excursions reservations, it is possible to browse and book any that you may like to take part in.
There are a couple of benefits with booking an excursion with the cruise line. The first and most important for me is that you are guaranteed a return to the ship. It is worth checking sometimes that this means, for different cruise lines. But in general my understanding is the ship will either wait for the tour to return or arrangements will be made to meet up with the ship.
The other benefit that I have found is the tours are quite a good experience. Unlike taking a taxi or other small self-organised tour, you can be sure to see what you are expecting to see.
When it comes to onboard reservations there are a lot of options you can organise in advance. Everything from drink packages, onboard credit, internet access, photography, flowers, gifts and some special culinary options.
Booking some of the onboard reservations prior to boarding can be beneficial. For example, I know I want to have internet access onboard. If I pre-purchase this time online before boarding there are additional bonus minutes offered. Likewise, there is also a special offer for pre-purchasing photography packages.
Many of the other options may be available just the same after you board. But by pre-purchasing, you save having to think about it once you are onboard.
The one aspect that I find lacking and have enjoyed with other cruise lines is booking speciality dining online before boarding. There are two aspects to being able to book this online. First, you don’t have to spend time going and organising it once you are onboard. Second, you can be sure that you have been able to book into a restaurant you want to visit.
There are a number of other items that may or may not be relevant in the cruise personalizer. There are options for booking and reviewing flights you may need for your cruise. Another section to review any payments or credits you may have or need to make.
Finally, there is a place to look at your calendar (or itinerary) for your cruise. It shows details of the ports, embarkation and disembarkation information.
3 Weeks Until Sun Princess
I must say that I am quite excited to be boarding the Sun Princess in just three weeks. Time does pass so quickly in anticipation. But I expect it will seem even quicker when I am lamenting that it is the last day of the cruise.
I have a couple more posts to come in the next couple of weeks before the cruise gets underway. Including one about packing for your cruise.