The total Royal Caribbean cruise planning timeline

In:
09Feb2015

Whether you're new to Royal Caribbean or been on a few cruises, there's a lot of considerations as to when to research, plan and book your cruise vacation.  It can be complicated and moreover, you want to ensure you aren't missing something important.

Thanks to the members of Royal Caribbean Blog, we've compiled an optimal timeline of what you should do, when to ensure you're ahead of the game in all respects.

This timeline is a suggestion and it is not to say that not following it in its entirety will lead to be a bad cruise experience.  Rather, this should be a guideline for your planning to assist, not dictate the cruise planning.

24-12 months before your cruise 

  • Start looking at cruise itineraries to pick the right one for you.
  • Check RoyalCaribbean.com for available sailing dates and cruise options.  Depending on when you're looking, deployment schedules may limit how far in advance you can actually book.  
  • Be sure to also look at deck plans for which staterooms have most space (i.e. hump staterooms). Also consider using cruisedeckplans.com to be able to drag the decks above and below your stateroom to ensure your room isn't going to have noise bleed.
  • Put a deposit down on the sailing you want and to reserve the stateroom you want.  You can change or cancel the cruise without penalty for several months while you continue researching.
  • Research if trip insurance for your cruise makes sense, perhaps due to hurricane season or if there are health risks involved.  Royal Caribbean offers insurance as well as third party suppliers, which are often cheaper.
  • Look at excursions after placing your deposit.  When excursions become available varies widely but it's best to start looking at what Royal Caribbean is offer as early as possible.

90 days before cruise 

  • Final payment due for all holiday cruises (Christmas or New Years Day). Look for your passport or birth certificate & make sure they 1) can be found 2) are up to date.
  • Online check-in becomes available
  • Start researching third party shore excursion options.  
  • Check your passports.  If you need to replace a lost birth certificate, apply for a new passport, or renew one that is about to expire, start the paperwork now.

75 days before your cruise

  • Final payment due for 7-night or longer cruises. Look for your passport or birth certificate & make sure they 1) can be found 2) are up to date.

74 - 65 days before your cruise 

  • For those on 7-night or longer cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

60 days before your cruise 

  • Final payment due for 3, 4 or 5-night cruises. Look for your passport or birth certificate & make sure they 1) can be found 2) are up to date.
  • Around this time dining and entertainment reservations will become available on royalcaribbean.com

59 - 50 days before your cruise  

  • For those on 5-night or shorter cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

49 days before cruise 

  • E-docs and luggage tags are available to download and print.

4 days before your cruise

  • Last chance to complete online check-in at royalcaribbean.com. You must complete and print out your SetSail Pass by now.

3 days before your cruise

  • Last chance to reserve shore excursions, specialty restaurants, spa or salon services using Cruise Planner. 

72 - 24 hours before your cruise 

  • Check into your airline online
  • Do one last check of weather expected for your cruise.

2 days before your cruise 

  • Last chance to purchase Gifts and Gear from Royal Caribbean.