8 Important Things To Do Before Going on a Bahamas Cruise

Bahamas, a country with 700 islands and thousands of islets and wonderful caves, is among the most popular destinations for Atlantic cruises. This is because The Bahamas is truly a beautiful country that amazes both travelers and scientists alike, especially when it comes to exploring the famous “Blue Holes”.

More than 4 million tourists enter the Bahamas each year, mostly via cruise ships. It is really fun and enjoyable to visit the Commonwealth of the Bahamas aboard a luxury cruise ship as travels like this is typically accompanied by parties, celebrations and other tourist activities on board.

Like any type of international travel, going on a cruise to Bahamas will require travelers to prepare adequately. Below are the eight important things one should do before booking a cruise to the Bahamas.

1. Obtain a passport. Upon entry onto the cruise vessel, passengers will be required to present their valid passport. Usually, cruise trips consist of visits to more than one country. Hence, Bahamas also require a passport for entry. Passports can be obtained from your country of origin’s governmental passport office. US citizens aged 16 and above will be required to present a valid passport or a passport card while those aged 15 years old and under will be required to present an original state issued birth certificate from the Us Department of Health and Vital Statistics if a passport is not available. Copies of the birth certificate (photocopy) are not accepted. It is advisable to prepare a passport and an original birth certificate for each traveler.

2. Obtain a visa. Visa is not required for US and Canadian citizens. However, if you’re from outside the United States or Canada, you may need a multiple-entry US visa and if necessary, a Bahamian visa (better check with the Bahamian consulate to make sure). Foreign students studying in the United States traveling with a US visa must also present a valid SEVIS to travel.

3. Prepare a valid ID. Aside from a passport and a visa, travelers may be required to present a valid government-issued identification card.

4. Prepare other documentations as proof of citizenship. Naturalization papers may not be accepted by the cruise line. Lawful US resident aliens may be required to present their valid resident card. Students will also need to secure a completed I94 form as well as a valid signed paperwork from the school. All documentations must be original copies.

5. Book your cruise trip. It is best to book your trip at least 3 months prior to your travel date to make sure you are still getting the best price for the tickets. Remember that the fares tend to increase in price as the travel date approaches and the number of available tickets decreases. You can opt to call your trusted travel agent to help you find the best deals for cruises or just go to a reputable online DIY (do-it-yourself) travel booking site. Majority of travelers use online travel booking sites because customers are given full control when it comes to building their own trip. There are hundreds of online travel sites in the worldwide web and most of them are owned by independent travel agents or individual affiliates of travel agencies. It is advisable to use the websites of travel agencies that already have a solid experience in the industry because these companies have contact centers with experienced and highly trained specialists ready to assist you should you need help on things related to your travel. Reputable sites and travel agencies also choose their partner travel supplier carefully. You can be sure that you will not be referred to “shadowy” deal providers and suppliers.

6. Inform the cruise line if you need special assistance. Upon booking your cruise reservations, it is advisable to specify any special assistance needed. DIY travel sites often have a designated field (often the “remarks” field) in their booking forms for special assistance requests such as adapted armchairs, elevator and access ramps, adapted toilets in the communal areas, and wheelchair. Upon check-in, reconfirm with the cruise line if your request has been noted.

7. Get a travel insurance coverage. Travel insurance is a vital addition to any type of travel. About 70% of cruisers buy travel insurance for three main reasons: peace of mind, concern over losing the money invested in a trip, and protection against unexpected situations.

8. Pack your luggage. Check the Baggage requirements of the cruise line. Some cruise line may charge fees if you exceed the dimension or weight limit of the baggage. Make sure that you comply with any applicable regulations, laws and conditions of the cruise lines and the ports. Generally, weapons, firearms, hazardous items, flammable items, controlled substances and contraband prohibited by the local and national laws are not allowed.

The most affordable cruise packages to The Bahamas are the ones from Fort Lauderdale, because this port is very close to the country. You may opt to book a cruise only fare or a package deal that consists of a cruise and a hotel reservation in the Grand Bahama island.

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Dress Atire for a Cruise

When deciding what cruise you want to book, some of the decisions you will need to make are readily apparent, such as the length of the cruise, the port from which you leave and return, and the ports of call. Other decisions as to which cruise are not as obvious, such as what to wear on a cruise.

During the past two decades, many cruise lines have sought to broaden their clientele by appealing to families, singles, and those who have never taken a cruise because they shy away from the structure and level of formality associated with cruises.

Part of the strategy for appealing to a broader range of people for some of the cruise lines is to relax the dress code for passengers on board their ships, while other cruise lines continue to have the traditional dress requirements.

Deciphering the Definitions

Most cruise lines in their brochures or itineraries will indicate the type of dress passengers are expected to wear in a particular area of the ship or event. Reviewing the guidelines of what to wear on a cruise not only gives you an idea about what you might need to add to your wardrobe but also about the atmosphere aboard the ship.

For instance, if you see more areas of the ship and activities requiring formal and informal attire as opposed to casual dress, you might want to look at other cruise lines if you plan to bring children or teens that balk at dressy clothes.

Some of the definitions included in brochures include the following:

Formal

Cruise lines often require formal attire in dining rooms and in many evening activities. For men, this means at the least a dark suit and tie, if not a tuxedo. Formal attire for women means an evening gown or cocktail dress.

Informal

Informal attire for men refers to a sports coat and a collared shirt, and for women, this means a dress one would wear to an upscale restaurant or cocktail party.

Smart Casual or Resort Casual

The word casual has different meanings for different people, but in this case it does not mean jeans and a t-shirt or short-shorts. For men, this designation of attire means something along the lines of khakis and a polo shirt. Casual attire for women means sporty dresses, capris and a polo shirt, or skirts and a blouse.

Swim Attire

While this appears self-explanatory, swim attire does not mean cutoff jeans or a thong bikini that leaves little, if anything, to the imagination. A rule of thumb to see if a bathing suit is appropriate for a cruise is to decide whether you would be comfortable wearing it in front of your seven year old cousin. Additionally, remember to bring along a cover up since many cruise lines frown upon passengers walking through the ship in their bathing suits.

Other Considerations When Deciding What to Wear on a Cruise

In the event, you want to avoid having to rent a tuxedo or spend a few hundred dollars buying evening and cocktail dresses, it is worth checking into some of the freestyle cruises as they have fewer guidelines for what to wear on their cruises.

Additionally, do not assume a cruise line that has numerous activities for children has a less stringent dress code compared to other cruise lines. The reasons the cruise lines put these dress codes in place is not to regiment their passengers, but rather to provide an environment where all their passengers can feel comfortable.

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