COOKIES ON Westmeath Examiner

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Take the trip of a lifetime from right on your doorstep

Thursday, 21st February, 2013 4:22pm

Take the trip of a lifetime from right on your doorstep

As winter draws in further and the chance of snow hovers over Westmeath like a chilly cloud, there is no better time than now to book a holiday to warmer climes. With creeping price hikes from budget flight operators many people are looking at a wider range of options when booking holidays. One way to avoid the stress and discomfort of flying is to take a cruise.

You can take a ship from Dublin (or Belfast if you don’t mind travelling north) to the sun-drenched Mediterranean, in the blissful comfort of a grand cruise ship. Taking a cruise is a fantastic way to get away. The major cruise lines like Princess and Royal Caribbean have onboard pools, and a range of restaurants, not to mention the excursions you’ll be going on. You won’t need to change currency for a trip to the Mediterranean and with the Euro being strong at the moment you will find your money goes further out there.

You may not have taken a cruise before, so to guarantee you have the best possible time for your money, you should give a moment to prepare for your time away. First make sure to book online to get the best deal, and then ask yourself these simple questions:


What clothes should I pack?

Are you the kind of person who will enjoy formal dinners and dances or would enjoy a more casual experience for your trip? Your travel agent will have detailed information about what clothes you should pack, but it is best to pack at a few smart outfits with your casual clothes.

Even if your cruise will be heading to the scorching hot Caribbean, it is still best to pack enough warm clothes for that romantic late night stroll on deck.


Are all my documents in order?

Take a little time to check your tickets, passport and anything else you need for your cruise. Make sure the departure date and location are correct, as well as the names. In addition, double check that your passport is valid and that the names on your ticket and passport are the same.


Is there anything I’ve not thought of?

Don’t pack your passport and ticket in your luggage, as you will need to show these when getting on. Take a small bag for excursions off the cruise ship, with space for a jacket and other useful things. One nice thing to do is to pack a few sweets to use as small gratitude for the hard working staff. A simple thing like a few treats can bring a smile to the face of your attendants and may even get you a little special treatment. After all, who can resist a combination of gifts and Irish charm?


What else might I need?

Everyday items can be expensive and difficult to buy while you are at sea. Some useful things you may want to bring are: sandals, sunglasses, mobile phone charger, pen and notepad, batteries, feminine hygiene products, painkillers, insect repellent and sunscreen.

If you intend to take your mobile phone with you then it is best to talk to your mobile operator about international roaming rates. This way you can spend your hard-earned cash on cocktails on the beach, not huge phone bills.


Think ahead

If you intend to pick up gifts for friends and family then you should pack an extra collapsible bag for all the bargains you will be picking up. Consider packing some looser fitting clothes for the later part of your cruise. With all those great restaurants and relaxing, you may find you put on a little weight while you are away.

So why not book a lovely relaxing cruise in the sun? It might just be the trip of a lifetime.