As we prepare for the long awaited release of P&O Cruises and Cunard’s World Cruises programme, we found ourselves thinking about the preparation that goes into actually setting sail on the holiday of a lifetime. When you leave the world behind, what are the must haves that you must not circumnavigate the globe without? From visas to vaccinations, money matters to medication; here is how to prepare for a world cruise.
It’s a subject that is oh-so-boring but oh-so-important: visas. When you’re visiting several countries, it has never been more important to ensure that your visas are in perfect order.
Many ships won’t even let you aboard without having the necessary visas in place, whilst others will stop you leaving the ship without the correct documentation for that specific destination. Cruise lines are able to provide concise information on the different visas required, based specifically on your world cruise itinerary, with our administration team here at Bolsover Cruise Club also on hand to offer advice where needed.
One word of warning however – leave visa applications until the last minute at your peril; the process can take months in some cases.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the final port visit on your itinerary and must also have a minimum number of consecutive blank pages for immigration purposes. Check yours the moment you book your world cruise, making sure it meets the grade. There is nothing worse than starting to pack just weeks ahead of your cruise and realising that you’re destined for a hasty trip to the nearest passport office!
Travelling without insurance is risky business at the best of times but travelling around the world without insurance is downright unthinkable. With visits to far flung destinations that don’t often factor on a normal holiday itinerary, plus a greatly extended period of travel, it is imperative to know that you will receive the right care if the worst was to happen. Here at Bolsover Cruise Club, we work with the holiday insurance gurus at Holiday Extras, who have a policy to cover all eventualities (even pre-existing medical conditions). Whoever you book your world cruise travel insurance with, make sure that the pay-out is sufficient to cover the cost of leaving part way through lengthy itineraries and that it covers you for more than the standard 30 days.
Thinking of booking a 2017 world cruise or sector with P&O Cruises or Cunard? You can enjoy free insurance on all sailings of 89 nights or more, with some reduced rates also available on shorter sector itineraries.
Multiple destinations often means multiple vaccinations, with some even requiring a course completed over several months. Your sales consultant here at Bolsover Cruise Club will be happy to offer advice on necessary vaccinations, however we always advise speaking directly to your GP or practice nurse too. Take a copy of your world cruise itinerary with you and they can give you all the information for all of your destinations, all at once.
If you’re setting sail for long periods, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough medication to last the entire duration of your trip. In the worst case scenario, and with a prescription and doctor’s note as evidence, you may be able to obtain medication from the ship’s doctor BUT this isn’t always the case with more specific medications. Save yourself the hassle and don’t risk a medical emergency blighting your world cruise experience.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on over-the-counter medication such as stomach settlers, headache tablets, plasters and seasickness relief whilst you are at the chemist, as you’ll pay over the odds for them if you wait until you need them on board.
Taking different cash currency for all the countries on your itinerary is neither practical nor sensible. Instead, speak to your bank about debit and credit cards specifically designed for travellers. The rates on offer are usually comparable to those you would expect to receive for currency and it will allow you to avoid travelling with large amounts of cash. Make sure you notify your bank of your travel plans; the last thing you need is an expensive call with them after discovering your card has been blocked from halfway round the world!
World cruise bookings often attract some hefty benefits. P&O Cruises and Cunard’s World Cruise 2017 programme is no exception, with on board credit of up to $2200 per cabin for P&O Cruises and $3600 per cabin for Cunard. Even better, double on board credit for past passengers see this amount soar to around $4400 for P&O Cruises and $7200 for Cunard!
Whilst on board credit of that amount gets you off to a great start, it’s important to plan your budget carefully to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything you really want to see or do along the way. Take into account the costs of shore excursions, gratuities, laundry service, Wi-Fi and souvenirs for back home when working out your budget, plus the beverages if you’re a drinker.
In a digital age, there is something exciting about receiving a handwritten letter or postcard from the other side of the world. Budget a little for postage, especially if you have grandkids or other family members young enough to get excited waiting for the letterbox to go.
Staying in touch
Whilst the whole point of a world cruise is to escape the rigours of routine for a while, you’ll still want to keep family up to date on your adventures and perhaps sort matters regarding the care of pets or your home.
Using mobile phone services abroad can be extortionate and the ship’s own phone and internet services can also be costly. Make sure you budget for staying in touch or consider other means of communicating from wherever you are in the world; WhatsApp and Skype are both free when you are connected to Wi-Fi, as is FaceTime if you own an iPhone or iPad. Wi-Fi hotspots are usually available around ports, with the ship’s crew often able to tell you how to find them if you’re unsure.
With all of the necessities taken care of, all that is left to do is pack your case and countdown to your holiday of a lifetime. Stay tuned for ‘How to Prepare for a World Cruise: Expert Packing’.