Are you ready for a cruise vacation? It’s the perfect way to relax and experience something new!

But as great as it can be, there are some mistakes that could spoil the experience. We know these experiences can be priceless, so we’ve compiled the worst of them right here. Ready to find out what not to do while cruising?

Cruising Without a Passport

If you need to fly home from any of your ports-of-call because of a family emergency, illness, injury, or some other unexpected scenario, you could be totally out of luck! Remember, you are in a foreign country.  Without a passport, you will have a very difficult time getting a flight home.

Having a passport also makes the check-in process very smooth. Just a quick scan and go. Without it, you must present your birth certificate (official copies only) and government-issued identification. Oh, and they must match! Otherwise, you’ll need documentation of your name change (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.) A Passport is a small investment that lasts a long time and it will ensure a quick and hassle-free boarding process.

Roaming Cell Phone

Before setting foot on the boat, don’t forget to review the settings on your phone! Take a moment to double check that data roaming is switched off. This seemingly small precaution could save you big bucks in the long-run – no one wants an unexpectedly large bill after returning from their vacation. You can go a step further by putting your phone in airplane mode. This will also keep you from racking up additional charges. If you can’t live without data, pay for the internet plan, it will cost you less than the roaming charges.

Don’t Get Left Behind

When the Captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, they means it. The Captain isn’t going to wait around for those who lost track of time. If you get left behind, you are responsible for your transportation to the next port or back home.

The costs can be several thousand dollars each and will be even more complicated if you are traveling without a passport. Our advice? Plan on arriving back near the ship 1 to 1 1/2 hours before you are scheduled to leave. This not only gives you some time to shop in the port area but also gives you plenty of leeway if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus has a breakdown on the way back.

Eating Only at the Buffet

While newer ships have great buffets, the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room or specialty restaurants. By eating only at the buffet, you miss out on the great food and service that you can experience if you just slow down and enjoy it. I get it, the buffet is just so convenient.  If you are the type that hates to be bogged down to a certain dining schedule, opt for flexible dining times. This way you can show up whenever you’re ready to eat.

Beware: The Risks of Booking an Early Flight

Don’t make the mistake of purchasing morning tickets on your disembarkation day! Cruise lines generally recommend not booking flights before noon as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to make that flight. It’s important to remember that airport security can be unpredictable. Sometimes you’ll glide right through and make it to your gate with time to spare—other times, it can feel like a never-ending wait. Don’t let your dream vacation end in a rush of stress and anxiety on the last day. Why not opt for a later flight instead?

Hopefully, you will never make any of these mistakes, and all your cruises will be smooth sailing (see what I did there) and stress-free!