Lasting Cruise Memories Tips

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(93) Making Cruise Memories Last

It has been a month since you returned from your cruise. Photos are stuffed in a shoebox in the closet. Your trip seems like a dream. The memories are fading. Use these tips from a creative travel expert to capture special cruise moments and make your memories last.

Making Memories Begins with a Plan. One essential part of creating and capturing your cruise memories is simple planning. Make travel planning a joint project. Hold a family meeting or pre-cruise planning party with friends and develop cruise “wish lists.” Plan some separate activities and arrange group travel days for those who want to experience the same things. Participation adds excitement and gets everyone off to a positive start. Read over guidebooks and highlight must-see attractions and activities. Hand out Internet research assignments and hold a contest for discovering the most unusual ship activity or the best cruise port tours. Create a take-along folder of cruise ideas for your voyage.


Planning Your Next Cruise

Wow! It is difficult to return to life on terra firma. Almost by the time you return home (or before), it will be time to start planning and booking your next cruise. After all, now you are no longer a cruise virgin. You are a past guest; entitled to discounts and perks available only to privileged past cruisers. Where will you cruise next? Note: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these tips. However, change is a constant in today's world. Always check Websites and call individual travel agencies and cruise lines for the latest industry specials and travel updates.


(100) Disembarkation Tips

The morning of disembarkation, you must vacate your cabin immediately after breakfast. (The crew has only a few hours to get ready for the next group of guests). Count on spending two to three hours in one of the ship's public areas while customs clears the ship. Be patient. Read a good book. Reminisce about the cruise. Plan your next cruise. Your time will come. Waiting is a good time to check your customs form and make sure it is complete and correct. Be absolutely certain you are not bringing home any restricted items that will delay your progress through customs.

Some cruise lines often offer expedited disembarkation to guests who can literally “take themselves off the ship.” This means you must be able to handle all of your luggage with no assistance and arrange your own transportation from the port to the airport and you cannot be traveling on cruise air. Expedited disembarkation is ideal for travelers who drive to the cruise port and another good reason to travel light! Check with the cruise pursor's desk before the final day of the cruise to arrange expedited disembarkation.

If you do not qualify for expedited disembarkation, when your color code is called, exit the ship. Claim your luggage and clear customs. Again, be patient. There are lines for immigration and customs. Don't make jokes or complain. Their work is serious and customs officials are not known for their sense of humor. Suffice it to say, disembarking is not as much fun as embarking! Soon, you'll be home telling everyone about your wonderful cruise and planning the next one!


(99) All Good Things Come to an End

All too soon it is the last day of your cruise. Where did the time go? Time to pack your bags again. Your biggest problem may be getting all the souvenirs and purchases home. It's time for that collapsible tote bag or backpack you packed. You'll be glad you have it. The cruise ship shops also sell an “over-flow” bag during the last few days of the cruise. (Sales are always brisk!) Pack your important “can't lose” or breakable items in a carry-on bag. Don't forget medications and a change of clothes.

Next, attend the disembarkation talk to learn how to expedite customs/immigration clearance. You will receive color-coded baggage tags. These tags are for identification and indicate the order for disembarking. Checked baggage must be tagged and outside your cabin door before .

Heads Up: In addition to your carry-on bag, be sure to keep clothes to wear in the morning. You don't want to parade off the ship in your pajamas! It happens!


(98) Capture and Preserve Cruise Images

Combined with your travel journal, photographs, postcards and small prints tell the story of your trip.

  • While you are writing postcards for the folks back home, send a couple to yourself at home and add them to your cruise photo memory album.
  • Digital cameras make capturing travel images a breeze. You can point and click to your heart's content. Later, review and discard the rejects. Purchase a book on photography or take a basic photography class before your cruise. Be alert for intriguing photographic perspectives.
  • While digital cameras are great, don't underestimate the memory capturing value of simple disposable cameras. Give a disposable camera to each family member. After a few basic point-and-shoot lessons, you'll find travel photos from your five-year-old, teen or eighty-year-old grandmother will add interesting perspectives to your travel memories.
  • Purchase a good quality scrapbook or album for cruise memories. Get creative! Clip relevant facts and figures from brochures to supplement photographs of local sights and attractions. Use a cruise ship menu as the background for photos of family members feasting on cruise cuisine. Copy excerpts from your travel journal as captions. Treasure and share your travel memories!


(97) Cruise Souvenirs Should Be Special

Many travelers give in shopping impulses and return home with “junk” that is later ditched or sold at a garage sale. The unusual and unique will last long after the t-shirt wears out or you sell the souvenir drink glass at a garage sale. Use your imagination. Start a collection of recipes from around the world. Purchase holiday ornaments and relive travel memories as you decorate your tree each December. Purchase small pieces of artwork and build a cruise wall art collection.

Some examples of unique mementos at popular cruise destinations includes: jade and pearls in China, silver and turquoise in Mexico, diamonds and Delftware in Amsterdam, crystal in Ireland, Lladro ceramics in Spain, oriental rugs in Istanbul, Murano glass in Venice, and hand-painted tiles in Lisbon.


(96) Take New Knowledge Home with You

Be open to new experiences throughout your cruise. Research educational opportunities onboard ship and in ports of call. Expert lectures, craft classes, wine tasting, flower arranging, bridge, photography and computer skills are just a few of the enrichment opportunities on most large cruise ships.

At cruise destinations, research local festivals, special exhibits, performances, lectures at a local university and local classes. Book a cooking class, golf lessons or spend a morning doing Tai Chi with a local expert. Each time you practice your new skill, you'll remember where you learned it. Discover lifelong learning opportunities around the globe at Shaw Guides ( For example: a search of “cooking classes” turns up over 700 recreational cooking classes worldwide.


(95) Slow Down and Savor Special Moments

Travel pleasure and education come from immersing yourself in the flavor of your destination whether it is the Coliseum, the Parthenon, ruins of Pompeii, the Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal or glaciers of Alaska. Trouble is, many travelers rush frantically from sight to sight, madly snapping photos and videos. Later, they ask, “Was this Barcelona or Brussels?” Visit famous attractions and must-sees and capture those important travel moments. Then, slow down.

There are many small and spontaneous cruise travel moments that will stay in your heart and mind long after castles and cathedrals merge and blur. Spend some time off the beaten path. Relax at a sidewalk café and watch the world go by. Savor a sunset or sunrise over the harbor. Talk to locals and learn what they like best about their world.


(94) The Best Souvenir You Can Bring Home

Writing in a travel journal allows you to retrace, relive and share your cruise memories for years to come. Make sure you purchase a travel journal and start capturing your memories before you leave. Write an introduction for your cruise detailing the cruise preparations, expectations and excitement about the journey.

During the cruise and while in ports, keep your journal close so you can write down memorable moments when they happen on ship and shore. Record interesting facts and details that you hear and want to remember while touring specific areas. Use your five senses to help tell your story -- colorful adjectives describe what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel and make your cruise journal come alive. Encourage family members to add comments to your journal entries. And don't forget about the people you meet along the way! Record funny or not so funny things that happen along the way. Your cruise journal could become a travel book!

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt