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There are so many preparations you can -- and must -- make well ahead of your cruise vacation to ensure it will go smoothly. Here's a checklist you will find in handy:

1. Get acquainted with your ship.

Study the deck plans on the cruise line's website, read online reviews and passenger chat boards, and scan social media sites. The idea is to know what to expect before you actually step onboard. Through social media, you may even be able to communicate with other would-be passengers who will be taking the same cruise with you.

2. Make all necessary requests.

If you have any special food needs (if you're on a strict fruit diet, for instance) or food allergies, it's best to tell the cruise line in advance. These are things they should be aware of early on. Check it out!

3. Check your documents.

Check all of your cruise documents to ensure that your name is spelled correctly and consistently, and that it's the same name on your ID; if something's wrong, ring the cruise line or your travel agent immediately. Your birth date should be correct, too. And while you're at it, complete all required documents online or in the packet that your agent gave you.

4. Prepare a budget.

Remember to include gratuities for the ship crew, as well as souvenirs for people back home and for yourself, of course. Determine how much cash you should have on hand, too.

5. List down all your medications.

Ensure that your prescriptions are updated and that you have enough supply to last you through trip. And grab some sunscreen while you're at the drugstore.

6. Prepare your passport.

The last thing you want before a trip is a misplaced passport.

7. Make arrangements for you will be leaving behind.

Make sure the the dog sitter, house sitter or babysitter knows exactly when you will be away.

8. Gather key items.

Pick a place in your house where you intend to deposit all essential cruise items, such as your camera and charger, batteries, etc. Each time you remember something you need to bring, you'll know where to put it.

9. Determine which credit card you'll need.

If you intend to use your credit card, call the company to tell them you will be traveling overseas and in what particular countries. On top of a lost passport, you'll also hate having your card flagged for security reasons.

10. Double-check everything before making your way out.

Simply put, check if you have everything you need, such as money, credit cards, paperwork, medicines, and so on. Set your work email in "out of office" mode. Give instructions to everyone who needs them, whether your staff or your children. Visit traveldesignusa.com if you have questions.