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Being A Paperwork Prepared Tourist
When you think about a cruise vacation, you probably think of being a pampered tourist, enjoying lush accommodations and fabulous service. However, there is a lot of work to be done to prepare for a cruise before you get to enjoy the cruising life.
Documentation is key. Depending on where you are going the documentation items you need could be limited or extensive. If you are just going on a one or two day cruise that is in the U.S., you may not need much. But, if you are going into deeper waters and to foreign ports the rules are a little different.
Even if you are only going on a few day cruise to somewhere like Jamaica you are going to need a passport. While it is an island that is very close to the state of Florida, it is still a foreign country, and therefore you need the proper documentation to show your citizenship.
If you donít have a passport, you need to get one well in advance of your trip. Also, if you do have one, make sure it is not about to expire. Generally, you should give your self up to six months to get your passport, at a minimum two. Passport offices around the country are backed up and getting a passport these days takes longer than it did before. If youíre within a few months, you may want to pay extra to get your passport expedited.
There may be even more documentation to be had if your family has some children who are from previous marriages and do not have the same last name of the parent taking them on the trip. If this is the case in your family, you may have to file some extra pieces of paperwork to get a passport, and then to make sure the authorities know it is ok for the child to be traveling out of the country with one parent.
Some countries actually require those who want to stay for a little while to apply for visas, which would mean even more paperwork. The rules for what documentation is required to go into and out of a country will differ by nation, so check with your cruise line about this possibility.
For other countries, you will need to have proof of some medical vaccinations due to the possibility of illnesses in their region.
If you normally book your vacation through a travel agent, they may well help you take care of all of this. They know that for the most part tourists really want to focus on what they will see and what accommodations they will have on their cruise, not the little paperwork details, so they will usually compile a list of all the documentation and any medical certification you will need in order to be allowed to go on your trip. In addition, a good travel agent will know enough about the cruise industry they may be able to recommend great deals on wonderful destinations for your cruise.
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