You have a Royal Caribbean cruise booked, and if you are like me, then you probably have that warm, fuzzy feeling in anticipating of a brand new vacation adventure.
In the weeks and months leading up until your cruise, here is how to keep that fun feeling going until it is time to board.
Plan your onboard activities
Once you book your cruise, the next logical thing is to start planning what you're going to do on the cruise. It's the next best thing to booking the cruise!
Figuring out which shore excursions you will take or which specialty restaurants you will eat at is always fun and it usually takes up a lot of time with the necessary research. Don't forget about add-ons for your cruise like the unlimited beverage packages, stateroom decor and maybe even a surprise for your loved one.
You can also read a past Cruise Compass to get a better idea of what activities, events, and timing of everything on your sailing. We keep an archive of past Cruise Compasses to help everyone easily find one.
Meet people on your sailing
A fun way to make friends on the ship before you step foot onboard is to join a Facebook group for your sailing.
If you go on Facebook and search for your ship name and sail date, there is very likely a group set up for it. It is free to join these groups, and often groups will set up special events, or simply provide a means of sharing in the pre-cruise planning excitement.
Every group is different, and depending on how many people have joined the Facebook Group, as well as everyone's level of participation in the group, you can get to know folks before the cruise. Plus it's just fun to find others who are as excited as you about your cruise (instead of annoying your friends).
Go cruise shopping
Our family has a running joke that when we book a cruise, we always end up at the mall buying a bunch of new clothes and other cruise related purchases that we simply "must" get. Clothes, gadgets, luggage and more always seem to be things we buy quite often once a cruise starts getting near.
The truth is, purchasing a new outfit or toy for the cruise is always a fun exercise and buying new duds helps keep the cruise in focus. In addition, you can take advantage of off-season sales to stock up on things you will need in the warm Caribbean (or wherever your cruise is going).
Watch Royal Caribbean TV shows
Over the years, various travel shows have featured Royal Caribbean cruises in their episodes and thanks to the Internet, there's plenty of them around.
You can start on YouTube and search for phrases like "royal caribbean episode" or "royal caribbean tv" or "royal caribbean travel channel". Google searches with the same phrases will also turn up results elsewhere.
If you don't mind paying for it, there are also some other TV show episodes available on iTunes or Amazon you can purchase for just a few dollars.
The great thing about these tv shows is they focus on life onboard the cruise and it helps me take a mental escape to my upcoming cruise.
Of course, I feel obligated to shamelessly plug the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast, which is an audio show that is free and full of Royal Caribbean fun!
Watch YouTube videos
To get a good visual of what you can expect for your Royal Caribbean, there are no shortage of videos on YouTube to check out.
Search for your ship name and odds are you will find hundreds of videos to watch. Some are tours, some are family vacation videos and others explain aspects of the cruise. Regardless, it's a fun way to see what you can expect on your cruise and add ideas to your little list.
While you are on YouTube, be sure to check out our channel of helpful trip planning videos.
Read trip reports/photo reports from others on same cruise
Speaking of mental escapes, I really find reading other people's trip reports and looking at their photos to be a great way to get excited for my own cruise. After all, it's helpful to see what others found useful or a waste.
Once again message boards are a great place for this, such as the live blog area. This is where cruisers share details of their cruise, as it happens.
Besides being entertaining, reading these reports helps with the first idea I posted about planning the cruise. If someone reports a fun excursion or restaurant to try, I will note it in my cruise planning spreadsheet (yes, I have a cruise planning spreadsheet) for reference later.
Watch web cams
Catching a glimpse of the ship you are booked on in real-time is always a highlight.
There are port webcams that on select days you can see Royal Caribbean ships in port and admire them for their beauty. By far seeing them leave port in the evening is the highlight because it gives you a great view of these ships. PTZtv has a network of cams across North America and there's usually a couple of cams with Royal Caribbean ships to see.
Play music that reminds you of a cruise
There's a lot of great music out there that reminds me of a cruise. It's the sort of music I'd hear on a cruise ship and for me, that can help get me through a day of work.
We posted earlier a cruise music mix but there's plenty of other music out there. You can always tune into Radio Margaritaville for Jimmy Buffet music, which is all about warm islands with boat drinks.
Regardless of what music reminds you of being a cruise, I find it a great way to help me cope with not being on a cruise and getting excited for my upcoming cruise too.
How do you get excited for your upcoming cruise? Share your favorite ways in the comments below!