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International Cruise - Planning Your Cruise Abroad

Two cruise ships docked in bayPlanning an international cruise to a foreign country can be a exciting and memorable experience, especially if you have never traveled abroad. While there are many wonderful sights to see and things to do, there are also some dangers to avoid. Your international cruise will be much more rewarding if you take the following considerations into account.

Since you will be on an international cruise, you will be visiting foreign countries. It is recommended that you learn as much as you can about each country at which the cruise ship will port. One of the first things you need to understand are the foreign entry requirements. The  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative  requires all those who travel by sea to a foreign country and return to the U.S. to possess a valid passport. Depending on the countries you will visit, it may also be necessary to obtain a travel visa. Even if you do not plan to leave the ship, the cruise line will require you to possess the appropriate visas.

It is a smart idea to make copies of all important documents before your trip. You should make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, medical prescriptions, and your medical insurance information. Photocopying your credit cards will allow you to have images of them if they happen to be lost or stolen during your trip. You will have the numbers, expiration dates and the phone number to call if you do misplace them. By copying medical prescriptions you are able to have the information for any medications you might need during your trip. Medication bottles are small and can easily be misplaced. It is important to always have your medical insurance information with you in case of any medical emergencies. Of course, as previously mentioned, you should make sure that your medical insurance fully covers any medical expenses in other countries before departing on your trip. If it does not cover you, travel insurance might be a smart choice for you.

The fact that you chose an international cruise likely means that you enjoy exploring new places and learning about new cultures. Since you will have limited time at each port, it is a good idea to become familiar with the language and culture of each international destination as well as a list of popular sightseeing tours and attractions. This information will also help you decide what to pack in your luggage.

If you are traveling abroad for the first time, beware of scams that many international travelers unfortunately fall prey to. Frequently, petty thieves lurk in areas where cruise ships dock, waiting to make unsuspecting passengers their next victims. Make sure to keep your bags in sight at all times, to avoid getting anything stolen. Also, be sure to only keep items you will really need in your wallet during your trip. Try not to carry a lot of unnecessary items with you. It is also a good idea to lock all baggage that you bring with you.

Make sure you get to the boat early. In today's world, there are a number of security precautions and safety measures that are taken before you are allowed to board any mode of public transportation. This means that you will need plenty of time to check your bags and get through security before your boat leaves. If you end up having a little extra time before you board your cruise, most shipping docks have areas where travelers can wait for their cruises to leave. It is better to have a little extra time than to miss your boat. Also, be sure to have your boarding pass and passport handy so you can get them checked quickly and easily rather than having to search through your bags for them.

Make sure you know the currency conversions between American dollars and the currency of the country you are visiting. Make sure you are visiting places that will accept your credit cards or make certain that you have enough local currency on you for any expenses. You will also want to look into places to exchange your currency. Different places offer different rates of conversion. Banks are typically the best bet, as they usually offer the best rates. However, it is smart to look into this and do some research before your trip. Another option is traveler's checks, which can be purchased from your local bank prior to your trip, and can be used anywhere.

When traveling abroad on a cruise it might be a good idea to invest in international travel insurance. Not only does travel insurance protect you from any unexpected cancellations, which can be important since cruises abroad can be more costly than domestic rates, but international travel insurance can come in handy in other ways as well. Before leaving check into your medical insurance plan to find out if you are covered in foreign countries. Some insurance plans do not cover medical expenses in foreign countries and in some cases insurance plans are not accepted by foreign hospitals. In case of medical emergency while you are away, travel insurance policies can be purchased to cover any unforeseen medical costs that may occur while you are traveling.

The most important tip for people planning to travel abroad is to have fun and enjoy the cruise. For most people it is not everyday that they get to visit a foreign country, so try your best to take in as many sights as possible and don't forget your camera.

You can receive insider tips and techniques from a 10-year crew member at Intelligent Cruiser.

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