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Friday, October 9, 2015

What to Do While You’re Waiting

You’re dreaming of lying on the beach or by the pool, drink in your hand, Kindle by your side, basking in the sun to the sounds of a steel drum. And waiting for your cruise is sheer torture.

Picturing yourself here, in Roatan's Mahogany Bay?
Is there anything you can do to pass the time? Sure! Here are some things you could do—and should do—to get pumped up and ready to go:

Do now
Passport valid? Check! You’ll need it even for the Caribbean—or the cruise lines will make you show a certified birth certificate. Important note: your passport cannot be expiring within six months of your trip. For more, see the posting, “The One Thing You Absolutely Must Know Before You Cruise.”
 
Make your list and check it twice. Now’s a great time to make your packing list if you don’t have one. You’ll want plenty of time to add to it.
 
Extra! Extra! Sign up for the extras—beverage packages, excursions, specialty restaurants and shows now so you don’t have to think about it later. (For Oasis and Allure of the Seas, you need to
Sign up for  the ice show on the Oasis or Allure before you go
book shows online before you go, unless you want to stand on a wait-list line before the performance.)

 
Lose it. You might consider dropping a few pounds to make room for some new ones. And once you do, you’ll need new clothing for the new, svelte you, so…
 
Shop for less. Time to get shopping! All you’ll need is a bathing suit, cover up, shorts, tops, flip flops and a few nice things for dinner.
 
Don’t forget the to-do. You don’t want to get halfway to the airport or port and get that punched-in-the-stomach feeling when you realize you left something behind. Make that to-do list now. Some tasks to put on it: pay bills, stop mail, turn off water, gas up car, give contact info to family.
 
The right dose. Check your medicine supplies to make sure you’ll have enough. You don’t want to run out while you’re in the Caribbean.
 
Travel ahead. Book your flight and/or hotel sooner rather than later to get a good deal and make sure you can get the place and time of your choice.
 
Watch for a drop. Keep your eye on the price of your trip. If it goes down, you could qualify for a discount.
 
Plan to socialize. Sign up for a Cruise Critic “Meet and Greet” if there’s one on your trip. Check out cruisecritic.com to find out and/or join the roll call and virtually meet some of your upcoming travel peers. See posting “Free and Worth Every Penny.”
 
Get in the groove. Add a count-down graphic to your Cruise Critic signature and blog, and change the wallpaper on your PC to a beach scene.
 
Cruise the web. There’s so much info out there to give you tips on your ports and ship. For some great sites, see the posting “Cruising the Web.”

A week before
Follow that ship. Use the (free) Ship Mate app, which you can get from cruiseline.com, to track where your ship is at any given moment.
 
Weather watch. Check out the upcoming weather at your ports of call with cruiseoutlook.com.
 
Get Harry to sing. Few sounds evoke the Caribbean more than Harry Belafonte’s Calypso. Spring for one of his CDs or hop on YouTube for some “Day O.”
 
If Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” or Arrow’s “Hot, Hot, Hot” is more your style, they’re on YouTube, too. Guaranteed you’ll hear both at least once on your cruise.

Start the party now. Now that you’ve got your Harry Belafonte CD, throw yourself a Bon Voyage party. Brew up a batch of rum punch, carve a watermelon boat, make some jerk chicken and limbo the night away!

A few days before
Get ‘em clean and full. Juice up your tablet and phone, make sure your camera batteries are full and your SD card is clean and ready.
 
Pack it in. The earlier you start, the more time you’ve got to swap things out. And add in what you almost forgot.
 
Now you’re ready to cast away!