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World Cruise Tips – how to prepare for months at sea

Tue, 15th Nov 2016 Email to a Friend | Printable Version

Booking a world cruise is one of the most exciting trips you will ever book. All that time spent planning and deciding which way you want to go, where you want to visit and crucially which cruise line will take you there will be worth it once you step onboard and set sail on that very first day. It’s quite likely however that there will be a fair bit of time between you making the booking and paying your deposit and the cruise actually departing (unless you are a spur of the moment type of cruiser looking to pick up a real last minute bargain). This is not a time to rest on your laurels and sit back congratulating yourself on booking this amazing world cruise – this is your time to get planning!

Months away at sea means lots of things to think about from what you need to take with you to who’s going to looing after the plants and pets at home. Use the time you have wisely and check out our list of world cruise planning tips to make sure you tick everything off before you board, helping you to kick back and relax without having to worry that you have left behind something crucial or forgotten to turn off the gas!


Once you have decided on your route you need to check the places that you will be disembarking and check if you require a visa to step foot in that country. We’ve seen it too many times where someone doesn’t have the relevant visa so they have to stay on board and miss out on a day trip or great excursion. As soon as you know your route, this is the thing we would advise you sort out first as the paperwork can take time to complete and approve.


When you book, make sure you will have enough time left in your passport to allow for at least 6 months wiggle room after the date that your cruise finishes. Also, make sure you have plenty of room in your passport for all the stamps. A world cruise can take you to a lot of different countries and whilst all may not stamp your passport, you need to make sure there is room for them to do so.


Depending on where your world cruise will take you, it may be necessary for you to get some vaccinations done before you board. Some of these exotic locations require you to have vaccinations for things like yellow fever (South America and Africa), an up to date tetanus, hepatitis B and diphtheria. It’s always best to check with your own doctor and on the CDC website and make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations and paperwork.

Travel Insurance

This should go without saying and many people these days have annual travel insurance cover for multiple trips. It’s still worth checking that you will be covered for the specific duration of your world cruise and that activities that you want to try whilst you’re on your cruise are covered.  If you are visiting remote countries, make sure you are covered worldwide and evacuation from all countries is included – this could literally be a life saver so don’t cut corners!


Being away at sea for so long can make communication difficult, however things are definitely changing. It’s impractical to get a new sim card for every country you visit so if there is a reason you need to be contactable at all times, consider a worldwide roaming sim or speaking to your provider to see about the cost of using your New Zealand data overseas. Many cruises these days do have good access to the internet although this can be expensive depending on who you are cruising with. Internet cafes are found the world over so keeping in touch is much easier than in days gone by but make sure people have access to your itinerary before you leave so they know when you will be in port and when they can contact you in case of any emergency.


This is something else that has got a lot easier as ATMs have made accessing local currency much easier. We would recommend taking some currency onboard with you (NZD and perhaps USD) which can be used and converted either on board or when you disembark should you need it, however the easiest way these days of getting local currency is through the local ATMs. Try to plan ahead – if you know you are going to be paying for a trip or souvenirs, draw the money out in one go to save on bank fees. The exchange rates for overseas withdrawals are very competitive these days so this is one less thing to worry about.

House sitter or Air BNB

In days gone by, getting in a house sitter was a really good way of giving you peace of mind whilst you are away for so long, especially if you have pets and plants that need looking after. These days, it may also be worth considering putting your house onto Air BNB, a website where people can look to get cheap accommodation in people’s houses. This is especially true if you live in a popular destinations for tourists such as Auckland, the Bay of Islands, Rotorua etc. You can actually make a lot of money renting out your property but remember that there are some things you need to consider like who will come in to change the bedding etc whilst you are away. With some careful planning and kind family members or neighbours, this can be a great way to offset the cost of your world cruise.


Packing for a world cruise is something to be well thought out. During the course of a cruise, you can pass through many different climates and it is important to be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. It’s not always sunny on a cruise either so don’t forget the wet weather gear! Another thing that needs thought is your formal wear. World cruises tend to take a more formal approach to dining than shorter cruises – there is still that element of romance from the golden age of cruising on a world cruise so it’s important you have enough formal clothing for lots of different occasions. For ladies, 3-4 long dresses and the same number of shorter dresses should be enough whereas for men, a couple of suits, a tuxedo and a jacket will be fine. Pack lots of ties to help mix up your outfits and some different coloured shirts if you are usually a white shirt man can help.

Medicines and first aid

If you are on any prescription medication, make sure you plan ahead with your doctor to make sure you will have enough to last you for the duration of your world cruise. It’s also sensible to pack other over the counter medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol as they are not always easy to come by. Packing a basic first aid kit is a good idea to cover all bases.


Being away at sea for so long, you are likely to get through a lot of books. Most world cruise liners have great libraries so bringing your own books is no longer really necessary as they take up a lot of room and weigh a lot. Alternatively, invest in an e-reader like a Kindle and add as many books as you like before you go to keep you busy whilst you’re away.

Camera and electronics

Depending on what type of camera you have, be sure to pack lots of batteries or invest in some rechargeables and a charger. Many of the modern cameras come with a lithium battery which are relatively quick to charge but it may be worth investing in a spare as the last thing you want is to be without your camera at a crucial stop on your world cruise. This goes for all other electronics like mobile phones, tablets, e-readers etc – make sure you have the charger and relevant adaptor should you need them.

This covers off a lot of the things you need to think about before you embark on your world cruise of a lifetime. There are of course other things you need to plan – which ports you are visiting and the trips you want to make but that will keep for another post – this ticks off a lot of the practical stuff you need to make sure you have done before you go.

Don’t forget, if you book with iCruise, you can speak to one of our cruise experts at any time to make sure you have got everything covered and they will be more than happy to help.