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Pre-Cruising is So Stressful! (Final Days Advice)


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Check in is a few days away.  We have bought pretty much everything we want/need on the cruise planner in advance.  We have bought and planned out stuff to pack (umbrellas, rain jackets, binoculars, meds, outlet adapters, magnetic hooks, binder clips, etc).  We have count-downs on whiteboards, calendars, and anywhere else in the home, office, or cars to remind us how close we are to vacation.  We have pre-planned dining and activities.  We have prepared a centralized information sheet with all emergency contacts and such.  We have ordered our e-med test kits (with extras just in case). We have double checked flight, hotel, and other reservations.  We are up to date on vaccines and boosters.  We have passports and most documents ready.  We watch YouTube and check the forums daily (almost 5 times a day).  Spouse and I have almost caught up with work to avoid vacation work e-mails.  Bills are paid to date and funds available to pay bills while away.  Cash has been withdrawn in various denominations for extra tipping, etc.  Arcade funds deposited onto kids' sea passes.  Already into our second week of dieting and I am at 6 pounds lost so far (for a goal of 15 pounds lost prior to entering the Windjammer 😁).  We check Royal Up and do mock bookings daily (up to 5 times a day).  We talk to our TA at least once a week (she is our friend).  I have pre-printed past Compasses and nearly memorized MDR and specialty dining menus.  We even have our alcohol orders (with back up choices) pre-planned for each day of sailing.  Got new prescription glasses and visited dentist in case any fillings were loose or new cavities.  

WTH....this is STRESSFUL! I NEED HELP. LOL

Anything I am missing?  Please..Calgon...take me away. (BONUS points if you get that reference....and no...I am not old, I just remember those ads from childhood)

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Ummmmm........you are missing the part where you relax! 

I am a planner (by nature and vocation) and used to plan cruises like that. I now have learned to relax and enjoy and not plan every second of every day.

Reading your post I understand exactly how you feel and trust me, you need to relax or the vacation will be over before you realize.

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6 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

No.  Been on many.  This cruise was our first cruise that we booked more than 2 months in advance.  We booked January 2.  How do you guys book cruises 2 years in advance?  I would waste away in those two years LOL

The trick is booking multiple cruises and to always be booked. That way even though booking 2 years in advance you already have others booked and are not actually waiting 2 years for your vacation

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6 minutes ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

Ummmmm........you are missing the part where you relax! 

I am a planner (by nature and vocation) and used to plan cruises like that. I now have learned to relax and enjoy and not plan every second of every day.

Reading your post I understand exactly how you feel and trust me, you need to relax or the vacation will be over before you realize.

Thanks for that.  As a child, as I am sure many of you have experienced, my parents were the type of people who shoved us into the car and drove until sleepy, pulled into the first motel or hotel they saw, booked a room, ate at whatever restaurant was on the way, etc.  It made for some stressful and disappointing times.  I swore not to do that with my kids.  My kids are loving the pre-planning.  I am not (at least not anymore).

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11 minutes ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

The trick is booking multiple cruises and to always be booked. That way even though booking 2 years in advance you already have others booked and are not actually waiting 2 years for your vacation

I feel ya. You wait so long and the excitement builds up. Then in no time, the cruise is over. 

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35 minutes ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

The trick is booking multiple cruises and to always be booked. That way even though booking 2 years in advance you already have others booked and are not actually waiting 2 years for your vacation.

That way you're always teed up and the anxiousness fades away in the background... Oh, and just ignore your bank account pleading for relief.

But seriously, 2020 was supposed to be the year we got back to our regular cadence post-kids... That didn't happen, obviously, and then we couldn't help but feeling like Charlie Brown every time Lucy would pull away the football up until we made it on a ship last fall. The not-so-great experience of cruising mid-COVID was enough to quell the excitement (somewhat) for our next one, but if this one is more normal we'll be in the same place as Newb and utterly unable to deal with the waiting for our next one!

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1 hour ago, CruisingNewb said:

Check in is a few days away.  We have bought pretty much everything we want/need on the cruise planner in advance.  We have bought and planned out stuff to pack (umbrellas, rain jackets, binoculars, meds, outlet adapters, magnetic hooks, binder clips, etc).  We have count-downs on whiteboards, calendars, and anywhere else in the home, office, or cars to remind us how close we are to vacation.  We have pre-planned dining and activities.  We have prepared a centralized information sheet with all emergency contacts and such.  We have ordered our e-med test kits (with extras just in case). We have double checked flight, hotel, and other reservations.  We are up to date on vaccines and boosters.  We have passports and most documents ready.  We watch YouTube and check the forums daily (almost 5 times a day).  Spouse and I have almost caught up with work to avoid vacation work e-mails.  Bills are paid to date and funds available to pay bills while away.  Cash has been withdrawn in various denominations for extra tipping, etc.  Arcade funds deposited onto kids' sea passes.  Already into our second week of dieting and I am at 6 pounds lost so far (for a goal of 15 pounds lost prior to entering the Windjammer 😁).  We check Royal Up and do mock bookings daily (up to 5 times a day).  We talk to our TA at least once a week (she is our friend).  I have pre-printed past Compasses and nearly memorized MDR and specialty dining menus.  We even have our alcohol orders (with back up choices) pre-planned for each day of sailing.  Got new prescription glasses and visited dentist in case any fillings were loose or new cavities.  

WTH....this is STRESSFUL! I NEED HELP. LOL

Anything I am missing?  Please..Calgon...take me away. (BONUS points if you get that reference....and no...I am not old, I just remember those ads from childhood)

I love this cause this is ALSO ME! I've had 3 cruises and we do a nice vacation every year (except 20-21) but I have that mental checklist that HAS to be completed before I can even think about relaxing. 

I think you might be forgetting the "car pre-pack" - where you take everything out and make sure it all fits in the car at LEAST 3 days before you leave. 😄 

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9 minutes ago, ellipses127 said:

I love this cause this is ALSO ME! I've had 3 cruises and we do a nice vacation every year (except 20-21) but I have that mental checklist that HAS to be completed before I can even think about relaxing. 

I think you might be forgetting the "car pre-pack" - where you take everything out and make sure it all fits in the car at LEAST 3 days before you leave. 😄 

No car pre-pack for us.  We already did the suitcase pre-pack.  We are good.  Only plan on taking carry-ons and back packs on the flight and onto the cruise.  But for a road trip..YES...car pre-pack for sure!

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Basically, you are enjoying the entire cruise experience.  Stressful?  Yes.  But, the best kind of stress is the stressful situations you can control or really makes no difference if it happens or not.  Like someone said, "go with the flow".    

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My biggest stress point these days is the COVID test. Since I switched to using the at home test that's helped, and I agree have extras. Then I need to check all our documents multiple times to make sure that I have them and have them all together ready for boarding. Our last cruise we flew following all the advice to arrive the day before. Even though our flight would have gotten to the port on time. Ha, plane stated down the runway and then turned back, three hours later was finally left. Had this been day of cruise we would have missed it. For our Alaska cruise in June we're leaving two days early.

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Honestly, after my first cruise experience, where I walked around not knowing what I was doing/needed to be done, I would prefer to be highly organized than to "go with the flow" and later discover I missed out on things.
It seems like you have thought of every scenario.  The only thing  I do (and I may have missed it) is I print the schedule of ports (time arriving/day of week/location/time departing) and what we are doing.  I do it in columns, on color paper, so it can't get lost in the shuffle.  I make a copy for everyone (my kids are separate cabins).  It sure beat "what are we dong tomorrow? What time?  This was only for planned excursions and of course the dinner time was noted as well as if it was formal night.  As the planner I enjoy the planning however I hate being asked 10 different times daily "what's today/what's tomorrow".
The app is for all the rest of the stuff....

As for paperwork.  I paperclip their covid vaccine cards into the back of the passports and use an upside sticky note-sticking out and stuck into the info page of the passport-I write each family member name on the portion that sticks out and the sticky note makes it easy to open the page to the required info.  I distribute the passports as needed and collect them all at once when they are reviewed.   I also like to print out the set sail pass and the seapass and now the Covid test results as well-so we aren't fumbling for phones.  I write each family member name in large print at the top of their papers, staple the individuals papers together  those get passed out as well when we get to the appropriate line and collected once they pass through.  My folder has the itinerary and calendar written on the outside along with confirmation #'s, contact numbers for airline, transportation etc (in case my phone craps out).  All papers in my folder move from right to left.  Airline papers start in the front, and move to the left when done-to become scrap paper and records in case it is needed.  Next are the hotel reservations, then cruise papers, etc....Onboard they all get my predone schedule.  By the end of the trip all papers should have shifted to the left.  The folder fits in my large size pocketbook.  The passports go into one of those smaller pouch type bags I can wear around my nect, or throw into my large pocketbook-it is an obnoxious color/decoration making it easy to find-my kids all recognize it for what it is should I ever lose site of it (has not happened in 15 years but you never know).

When I don't travel with my family it goes to hell in a hand basket, but that's their problem.  Typically things will go smoothly if I organize it.  One of the few times it did not was a late night arrival (I had let the hotel know) and it turns out my credit card that I had to replace due to being compromised was no longer valid for my room, which they gave away-we were a party of 8.  It was a HUGE hassle.  So now I know to note the credit cards used for reservations and be sure if there was an issue after reservations were made to update the hotel.  There is always something new to learn!

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10 minutes ago, Pattycruise said:

Honestly, after my first cruise experience, where I walked around not knowing what I was doing/needed to be done, I would prefer to be highly organized than to "go with the flow" and later discover I missed out on things.
It seems like you have thought of every scenario.  The only thing  I do (and I may have missed it) is I print the schedule of ports (time arriving/day of week/location/time departing) and what we are doing.  I do it in columns, on color paper, so it can't get lost in the shuffle.  I make a copy for everyone (my kids are separate cabins).  It sure beat "what are we dong tomorrow? What time?  This was only for planned excursions and of course the dinner time was noted as well as if it was formal night.  As the planner I enjoy the planning however I hate being asked 10 different times daily "what's today/what's tomorrow".
The app is for all the rest of the stuff....

As for paperwork.  I paperclip their covid vaccine cards into the back of the passports and use an upside sticky note-sticking out and stuck into the info page of the passport-I write each family member name on the portion that sticks out and the sticky note makes it easy to open the page to the required info.  I distribute the passports as needed and collect them all at once when they are reviewed.   I also like to print out the set sail pass and the seapass and now the Covid test results as well-so we aren't fumbling for phones.  I write each family member name in large print at the top of their papers, staple the individuals papers together  those get passed out as well when we get to the appropriate line and collected once they pass through.  My folder has the itinerary and calendar written on the outside along with confirmation #'s, contact numbers for airline, transportation etc (in case my phone craps out).  All papers in my folder move from right to left.  Airline papers start in the front, and move to the left when done-to become scrap paper and records in case it is needed.  Next are the hotel reservations, then cruise papers, etc....Onboard they all get my predone schedule.  By the end of the trip all papers should have shifted to the left.  The folder fits in my large size pocketbook.  The passports go into one of those smaller pouch type bags I can wear around my nect, or throw into my large pocketbook-it is an obnoxious color/decoration making it easy to find-my kids all recognize it for what it is should I ever lose site of it (has not happened in 15 years but you never know).

When I don't travel with my family it goes to hell in a hand basket, but that's their problem.  Typically things will go smoothly if I organize it.  One of the few times it did not was a late night arrival (I had let the hotel know) and it turns out my credit card that I had to replace due to being compromised was no longer valid for my room, which they gave away-we were a party of 8.  It was a HUGE hassle.  So now I know to note the credit cards used for reservations and be sure if there was an issue after reservations were made to update the hotel.  There is always something new to learn!

You and my wife would get along quite well.

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5 hours ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

The trick is booking multiple cruises and to always be booked. That way even though booking 2 years in advance you already have others booked and are not actually waiting 2 years for your vacation

Accurate statement. 

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On 4/21/2022 at 10:15 AM, CruisingNewb said:

Check in is a few days away.  We have bought pretty much everything we want/need on the cruise planner in advance.  We have bought and planned out stuff to pack (umbrellas, rain jackets, binoculars, meds, outlet adapters, magnetic hooks, binder clips, etc).  We have count-downs on whiteboards, calendars, and anywhere else in the home, office, or cars to remind us how close we are to vacation.  We have pre-planned dining and activities.  We have prepared a centralized information sheet with all emergency contacts and such.  We have ordered our e-med test kits (with extras just in case). We have double checked flight, hotel, and other reservations.  We are up to date on vaccines and boosters.  We have passports and most documents ready.  We watch YouTube and check the forums daily (almost 5 times a day).  Spouse and I have almost caught up with work to avoid vacation work e-mails.  Bills are paid to date and funds available to pay bills while away.  Cash has been withdrawn in various denominations for extra tipping, etc.  Arcade funds deposited onto kids' sea passes.  Already into our second week of dieting and I am at 6 pounds lost so far (for a goal of 15 pounds lost prior to entering the Windjammer 😁).  We check Royal Up and do mock bookings daily (up to 5 times a day).  We talk to our TA at least once a week (she is our friend).  I have pre-printed past Compasses and nearly memorized MDR and specialty dining menus.  We even have our alcohol orders (with back up choices) pre-planned for each day of sailing.  Got new prescription glasses and visited dentist in case any fillings were loose or new cavities.  

WTH....this is STRESSFUL! I NEED HELP. LOL

Anything I am missing?  Please..Calgon...take me away. (BONUS points if you get that reference....and no...I am not old, I just remember those ads from childhood)

I used to feel this way when I first retired and my wife was still working.  I felt I had to take total responsibility for everything so all my wife needed to do was pack and go.  It is much less stressful when the planning shared. 

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On 4/21/2022 at 8:15 AM, CruisingNewb said:

WTH....this is STRESSFUL! I NEED HELP. LOL

Just remember the only thing you have to have is your vaccination card, covid test results, passport and the cloths on your back.  Everything else is extra.  If you forget something you must not have needed it.  Have fun

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After lots of cruises, I’ve discovered the most important thing for me. I love the planning, scheduling and all the frenetic little details as I count down to the cruise and wish time would pass quicker.

But….on boarding day, as I walk onto the ship, I do my best to will time to slow down. I try to take in as much of the sights and sounds and people watch as I can. I don’t let the frenetic activity and planning continue. I know when I need to be somewhere…dining, shows, excursions…but I don’t let my future plans cause me to ignore where I am right now. Even if I decide to skip something planned because I’m happy where I am, I’ll do it. 
I don’t want to be that person who has nearly every moment planned and anxiously scurries from place to place without taking the time to just stop and enjoy. I have friends who tell me they do that because they want to cram everything they can into their long-awaited vacation, but they end up stressed out, always looking at their watch. Getting very little sleep as they try to do virtually everything listed on the Cruise Compass. Sorry, not for me. 

Enjoy the time leading up to your cruise, even if it is stressful and anxious…but don’t forget to enjoy your cruise!😎

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I am a planner too...I like redirecting it to enjoyment and considering that when the time comes, will the planning cause everything to fall into place. When it does...I think, "cool"...I alleviated stress for everyone...when it doesn't, I don't beat myself up, I see what I can learn in the moment and try to enjoy a little spontaneity. It's vacation.

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It sounds like you are 100% prepared. you need nothing. Anything you forget won't be worth it, if anything you've overthought it. 

 

I obsessively plan until the day of the cruise then I just let everything happen and live in the moment -  I like knowing what I can do but doing what I feel like doing. People who travel with me love it because I'm like a little guide. 

 

 

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On 4/22/2022 at 2:12 PM, Stargazer said:

We are OK with paper work,and documents.It's the COVId Test 2 days before we leave that have given me and my wife  sleepless nights.I wish they would have given us 3 or 4 days before to take the test.But I know we will be fine,along with my daughter and her friend

 

I'm the same Stargazer with the anti-gen test.  Though good news (I'm Canadian) now that the surge of nonesssential Canadians have done their sprint to the gates of freedom (to travel for vacation rather than previous government requirements for " nonessential" only).  Finding a place for affordable anti-gen tests has become easier / less expensive (Walmart is where I'll be getting mine done the day before I head out on my cruise). I'm thinking positive that the test will be negative for all of us!  Also, I'm solo on this trip - and I'm a little bit nervous - but I used to always travel solo before I got hitched up to a wagon 🙂  over 30 years ago.  Got my big girl pants stuffed in my 35L backpack (I travel light even as a Type 1 Diabetic with a lazy pancreas with 3X what's required in meds/technology to stay alive incase our cruise ship decides to do a longer "3 hour tour" 😉  ).

Counting down the hours - working my bleep bleep off - so I don't have to work when I'm in an area with freebie wifi! If you see me buried in my laptop or mobile - slap me ... gently ... and tell me to R E L A X.  

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I know how you feel...

I will be boarding a cruise this coming Saturday (another cruise line--Princess)...and I have six more upcoming cruises booked after that--hopefully seven but Celebrity hasn't posted it yet...

I go through all of that same planning stuff as early as possible for EVERY cruise...and have for ever since I've been cruising.

HOWEVER, of late, there has been much added stress.  All of the pre-planning stuff I can CONTROL.  So I am fine with it...I am actually rather good at it all.

What I CANNOT control--so it drives me absolutely crazy--are the new things:

1)  Covid tests and various ever-changing requirements.

2)  Canceled cruises (We just had our 2023 Japan and Transpacific cruises canceled and had to "lift-and-shift" to 2024.

3)  Canceled or changed ports.  One of our ports on August 5 Vision of the Seas, Cagliari, Sardinia, was recently canceled and changed to Ibiza.

4)  Canceled Shore Excursions.  One of our RCCL Shorexes--Beziers and Canal de Midi out of Sete, France has now been canceled.

THESE are the things that drive me crazy.  I'm trying to get all of these worked out while I also pack for Saturday...and worryt about taking Covid tests Thursday.

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