What to Bring?

Should I get a passport before I travel?
Garry and Anita Thompson strongly recommends that you always travel with a passport. A valid passport is the only form of identification accepted by most countries. And it's required by Canada/United States for reentry into the Canada/United States when flying from abroad.

All travelers must provide proof of citizenship when boarding the ship, even if your cruise includes only domestic destinations. If your cruise ship stops at any port outside your country of citizenship, you must have a valid passport. And if you're traveling on an international sailing, the countries you visit will also require proof of citizenship.

View more information on travel requirements.

What documents might I need when traveling with children?
All children, including infants and newborns, must have their own passport. Some countries may require extra documentation as well. Country-specific information is available in the Consular Information Sheets pages on the U.S. State Department website. It also is available from the consulate of the country being traveled to. Please note that requirements can change at any time; confirm them close to your departure date.

Do I need cash onboard the ship?
We suggest that you bring some cash. Some cruise lines require that you use cash for tipping and casino gambling. It's also handy to have in port. Most cruise ships do have ATMs onboard; however, the ATM service fee may be high.

Do I need to bring my own life preserver?
No, life preservers are provided in your cabin. You will be required to attend a lifeboat drill where you will be taught how to use them in case of an emergency.

What should I put in my carry-on bag?
Unlike a hotel where people check in on varying days and at varying times, folks check in to a cruise ship en masse. As such, a ship receives thousands of pieces of luggage in a matter of a few hours, which means your bags may not arrive in your stateroom until a few hours after you've boarded. Carry-ons are important. Pack everything needed to get you and your family through dinner time -- bathing suits, cameras, medications, sandals, sunscreen, a change of clothes and toiletries, and if you're traveling with small children, enough diapers and wipes to get you through a day.

What types of clothing should I pack?
Keep both your destination's climate and the cruise ship's dress code in mind when deciding what clothes to pack. If you're traveling to Alaska, be sure to bring protective rain coverings for Alaska's and Canada's rainy days. If you're traveling to the Caribbean, be sure to bring plenty of cool clothing and sunscreen for warm days. In addition, if your ship has formal nights, men should bring a dark suit or tuxedo, and women should bring a pantsuit or cocktail dress. If you don't own these items, no worries: Most ships have casual dining venues to cater to those who aren't interested in dressing up, and some ships also have formal wear rental shops.

Does the ship have a dress code?
Different ships have different dress codes. Most ships suggest "resort casual" attire throughout the day, which includes shorts, pants, blouses, and shirts; and skirts and slacks for evening attire (except on formal nights, when women wear evening gowns or cocktail dresses and men wear suits or tuxedos.  Generally, shorts and jeans are not allowed in the main dining rooms during dinner while swimwear is not permitted in any onboard dining rooms, including casual buffet-style restaurants. There are some ships that do suggest casual attire and may not have formal nights. Garry and Anita Thompson can help you identify these more ships.

What is a medical release form, and how do I know if I have to submit one?
To ensure proper treatment in case of an emergency, cruise lines require that all guests with special medical needs submit this information to them prior to travel. Passengers who carry syringes for medical use must also carry a letter from their physicians indicating such.

Can I bring alcohol on the ship?
Cruise lines have a variety of policies regarding how much alcohol you can bring onboard with you. Some do allow you to bring a bottle or two of wine or Champagne, others do not.  Ask Garry and Anita Thompson to check the latest rules on your specific cruise line.

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