See You in a While: A Guide to Long Cruises

How long does it take to see the maximum benefits of a vacation? According to a study published by the Journal of Happiness Studies, eight days is the magic number—give or take a few. We suggest a minimum of 10 days away to truly unwind.

Booking an extended cruise is the easiest way to see several countries, as well as to experience adventures, relaxation, and cruise ship luxuries. Opt for a cultural Mediterranean journey, or find your slice of heaven in the tropics—whatever your choice, bring a large suitcase and get ready for a bombastic getaway. Here’s our insider’s guide to making the most of your extended time away.


Be Prepared

Pack a smile and a healthy dose of excitement, because you are embarking on a 10+ day journey that will be jammed-packed with activities, celebrations, and exotic ports of call.

Come with the Essentials

Heading to the Caribbean? Pack a swimsuit. Sailing to Alaska? Windbreakers and binoculars are your best friends. Most cruise ships will have these things available for purchase, but maximize your time (and budget) by coming prepared.

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Enjoy the Sunsets

Longer cruises allow for more downtime. We suggest admiring the panoramic views as your pull out from port. Ships tend to leave right as the sun is hitting the deep blue horizon, providing an epic goodbye to one adventure and an otherworldly greeting to the next.

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Try New Restaurants

More evenings onboard mean more opportunities to delve into international cuisines. Reserve a spot at the new Hibachi restaurant, or opt for a night of authentic Italian fare at a specialty spot. Each cruise line treats dining options differently, but one thing is shared—the food is delectable, and the options are abundant. Get ready to satisfy your culinary wanderlust.

 Pick a Luxurious Cabin

Select the most spacious and luxurious cabin within your budget, because you’re worth it! Balconies are pleasant for longer cruises, providing beautiful sights, privacy, and the opportunity for some alone time.


Embark on Shore Excursions

Shore excursions include everything from snorkeling to bike riding to cooking and wine tastings. Enjoy your cruise to the max by choosing some impressive adventures. Who knows? You may even return home with a new skill.

Suggested items for smooth sailing

Identification: Don’t forget your passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate (although always double check with the cruise line if there are additional documents suggested or visas needed). Closed-loop destinations like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Bahamas do not require passports for U.S. citizens, but some exotic ports of call might. Check ahead and be prepared.


Carry-on: Hop onboard with a lightweight carry on and let the fun begin. Pack a swimsuit, sunscreen, something to read, and any other items you might immediately need. Ships are large, so some time may pass before you’re reunited with your luggage. Bonus feature: the carry on can be used to stow your vacation finds when it’s time to return home.

Proper clothing:  Most cruise lines offer opportunities to dress up or dress down, but some require special attire. For instance, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is known for their H2GLOW and White Hot parties—so pack all-white clothes for a night of black lights and glow sticks under the stars. Royal Caribbean Oasis Class ships offer zip lining and rock climbing, which require lightweight athletic wear. Research is key when selecting what to pack.

Portable charger: Want to make memories for a lifetime? Don’t let your smart phone, cameras, or tablets go uncharged. Juice up on the go without needing to return to your room.

Wrinkle release spray: Cabins do not come equip with ironing boards, so pack a portable steamer or bring some wrinkle release spray for your clothes. Staying sharp while having fun is the just the ticket to a stress-free time.

Above all, remember cruising is all about you. Come back rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to take on life. Longer cruises are the perfect way to find yourself and reconnect with all the activities that bring you happiness and joy.