ButtonsTwirlWispa · 17/05/2021 18:04
I've never been abroad. Always holiday in the UK but my circumstances have changed and I got my first passport just before covid hit.
Initially I thought I'd start off with a trip to France or Spain but I decided to go for it and booked a cruise for me and my partner. It's always been a dream trip but after booking it online, I'm suddenly nervous about doing something wrong or rather not doing something I should but haven't thought of. Can anyone give reassurance and advice please?
astuz · 17/05/2021 19:39
what do you mean by 'doing something wrong' - do you mean forgetting to take stuff or not having the right paperwork at customs, or do you mean you're worried about annoying people due to cultural differences?
I've travelled widely from downright stupid things like hitchhiking in South Africa (don't do it!), nearly getting eaten by a Hippo, travelling alone by train across Europe, to bog standard AI holidays in the Med, and we've also done cruises. I've also driven all over France.
I'd say you've chosen really well with a cruise, especially if you don't need to fly to get to your starting port. There'll be people on hand on the ship all the time to help you out, and you can just stay on the ship the whole time if you're very nervous, although I would advise at least going for a walk for a couple of hours at each port.
Things you need to think about are parking at the starting port if you need it, and do a bit of research for each place you're visiting. Maybe do the odd excursion if you can afford it, but there are usually nice walks along the coast/beach/into the town, so no need to spend a fortune.
ButtonsTwirlWispa · 17/05/2021 20:48
Astuz, thanks for your advice. Yes, it's paperwork I'm concerned with mainly. I probably should have gone into a travel agent to book, then I could have asked questions. Firstly I realised that I haven't included our middle names on the booking so they don't totally match our passports. Does this matter? If so, I'll need to change it. Also the booking confirmation said that the next step is to check visa requirements. Hadn't even thought of that.
We're flying from Bournemouth Airport and boarding the ship in Corfu. Parking is included in our package.
astuz · 17/05/2021 21:24
They always say to check visa requirements to cover themselves, there probably won't be any, but you should do a quick check - just go to the foreign office gov.uk website for each country you're visiting. A ton of stuff on there is related to COVID entry restrictions, but if it's a cruise I assume you'll be sailing next year or something (hopefully when travel is back to normal)?
For example, we were supposed to do a Baltic cruise last year, and St.Petersburg requires visas BUT after doing a bit of research on the internet, it turns out that if you book an excursion with a proper tour company (doesn't even have to be the ones offered by the cruise line), then the visa and all paperwork is automatically included. If I'd not found out that we needed visas, the worst that would have happened is we wouldn't have been able to get off the ship at St. Petersburg - annoying, yes, but there's far worse things that can happen.
Not sure about the middle names thing - we always put ours on. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me will come along, or you could do a google search eg. "do I have to declare my middle name on a holiday booking if it's on my passport" or something, or just contact the cruise company and ask them.
EileenGC · 17/05/2021 21:40
I can't help with cruises specifics as I've never been on one, but I would try and add your middle names to the booking if you can. In general I always use my full name when booking travel, especially for flights.
Be aware that updating your name with whatever provider you booked with, will not automatically mean your flights will be amended too. You normally need to contact the airline for this. If it was easy and hassle-free I'd update, if it's going to cost you £120 per person and flight (I'm looking at you Ryanair) then don't bother!
I have two passports in two slightly different names (extra surnames on one) and I frequently change them around, much of it due to different visa allowances on each passport. I'm a frequent flyer on several airline schemes and sometimes forget to change my name to the passport I'll be using for an upcoming trip, as all data is autofilled at time of booking. Same happens when my main passport is being renewed, etc... I've never bothered changing the info on all the airlines that have my data, for the sake of a couple of weeks. I am yet to be denied boarding of a flight or anything like that.
Sorry that was way too long, but I just wanted to say that it would be unlikely the absence of your middle name would cause problems! It never has for me. Visas now (which you shouldn't need for Europe?), you want every single letter to be correct on them.
motogogo · 17/05/2021 21:49
Your cruise line should advise if visas are required plus any covid protocols. They do very though in what they provide, which cruise line? I've done several different companies and haven't been disappointed
motogogo · 17/05/2021 21:53
The cruise line should also advise on dress code and if there is a formal night, varies between lines. They other things you need to think about is whether you are booking excursions through the cruise line hassle free but £££) or independently. I book independently myself, Google the ports you are staying in and you'll find options, eg you can book Italian railway tickets through the train line, other ports we found local companies offering yours just outside the port for a fraction of the official tour
ButtonsTwirlWispa · 18/05/2021 08:15
Thanks everyone for your advice, it's much appreciated. We're going next year so maybe covid rules will have changed by then.
We've booked through TUI and it's an Adriatic adventure taking in Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy.
I'm very excited. Also, this is the first time I've posted on mumsnet so I'm grateful for all of your messages 😀
HoppingPavlova · 18/05/2021 08:31
Doesn’t matter how many times Covid rules change, they can change again in an instant while you are out at sea. Last place I’d want to be is on a ship unable to dock if the situation changed quickly, it’s quite a risk.
astuz · 18/05/2021 14:22
@hoppingPavlova But you can say that about anything anywhere. I've had holidays cancelled/got stuck places due to revolutions, volcanic ash clouds etc. Look at Israel - it might be on the green list for Corona, but the government could easily ban travel there due to civil war, these things happen. Everything is a risk, getting in my car every morning is a risk.
The OP has said they feel nervous and it's their first ever time abroad - why make her feel bad with a post like that?
Hopefully everything will be sorted Covid-wise next year and the OP will have a great time. The places she's going to should be fully vaccinated by then and we can't live our lives around 'what ifs'.
ButtonsTwirlWispa · 18/05/2021 17:38
It's been a rough year for everyone but personally I think it's time to get back to some sort of normality and to make plans. I know some people wish to remain cautious but I'm fed up with life being on hold and want an amazing adventure to look forward to.
HoppingPavlova · 19/05/2021 12:30
But you can say that about anything anywhere. I've had holidays cancelled/got stuck places due to revolutions, volcanic ash clouds etc. Look at Israel - it might be on the green list for Corona, but the government could easily ban travel there due to civil war, these things happen. Everything is a risk, getting in my car every morning is a risk.
That’s different though. Mainly, in these situations you can’t get transport out but are free to do whatever you want otherwise. I was stuck in London with the last major ash cloud. Was there for business but couldn’t fly back. I could go out, walk about, see a few shows, do a few things, go shopping etc. Very different to being confined to a ship stuck out at sea if you can’t dock let alone a cabin on a ship once someone on board comes down with something. I don’t even mean Corona, there have been numerous instances where there have been gastro outbreaks on ships and they have been prevented from docking. Google it and you will get images of hundreds of people on board banding together with objects to spell ‘help us’ on the upper decks once they have been stuck out there for not too long. Very different to being on land and not confined but just not able to get transport out.
SwimBaby · 19/05/2021 19:22
OP I have sailed on that TUI/Marella cruise and you are in for such a treat. The scenery is absolutely amazing. I visited a fairytale castle in Slovenia. I’ve always found Tui ships really friendly with high quality shows. The cocktails and mocktails are really good.
ButtonsTwirlWispa · 21/05/2021 16:34
Swimbaby, we watched a YouTube video about the ship and the entertainment. It looked brilliant.
SwimBaby · 21/05/2021 17:06
One night the dancers did a 12 minute performance of the cancan dance, not one step wrong. It was amazing to think they were on a moving ship on a fairly smooth stage.
You won’t believe the scenery on that cruise, it’s breathtaking.
imnottoofussed · 21/05/2021 17:12
things to check is the drinks package do you have to pay for them and choosing which one you want. Also excursions for each port if you want any which you can also book in advance with the ship.
PleaseReferToMeAsBritneySpears · 21/05/2021 17:16
Are you watching Cruising with Jane McDonald?! (It's on demand) She did a bit of the former Yugoslavia coastline and said it's in her top three cruises - and she's done a LOT! You're in for a treat!
SwimBaby · 21/05/2021 17:39
With Tui your drinks are included, I think you can upgrade to a premium drinks package but there’s absolutely no need to do this. If there is a drink that’s only on the premium menu then you just pay the extra bit which is usually something like £2.
You’re going to have such a great time.
Mindymomo · 24/05/2021 06:51
We started cruising just over 10 years ago. It was a bit daunting at first as there was so much information you had to take on, for instance dress code, dinning arrangements etc., but we really loved it as there was something for everyone.
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