Here’s the packet of papers that I’ve organized in chronological order for our next trip, which is a 7-day Mediterranean cruise. I just need to add our boarding passes. I’ll print off the off-site airport parking information but that won’t go with us–it’ll stay in the car.
What I bring depends on the resources I’ve used to plan the trip. On this trip I used the following:
We have a long layover in Amsterdam on the outbound. If we’re not too jet-lagged, we’ll store our carry-on bags at AMS and take the train into Amsterdam and perhaps take a canal tour or just walk around town. I googled “7 hour layover in Amsterdam” and got plenty of information, including the itinerary for a walking tour. If we feel too sleepy after our overnight TATL flight, we’ll hang out in one of the airport lounges.
Cruise Critic Forums
This site is indispensable for any information having to do with cruises. There is a community of experienced European cruisers who are active on the Europe Port boards. From this info, I was able to direct my internet searches more effectively. For example, one of our stops in Kusadasi, Turkey. Almost everyone who stops here takes an excursion to the Roman ruins at Ephesus, but we’ve already visited, and would like to see something new. After scanning several pages of the “Other European Ports” forum, we’ve decided to rent a car and tour Priene, Miletus, and Didyma, which are also ancient Roman cities.
Tom’s Port Guides
I was looking online for walking guides for Rhodes, Greece and I happily stumbled across this website. It had a detailed walking tour of old Rhodes. Tom has compiled detailed guides of what do in over 50 cruise ports. We’ve printed off the walking tour, which was free. In the picture below you can see the type of helpful detail he provides in his annotated photos.
For a one-day visit to well-known cities, you can’t beat Rick Steves’ walking tours. He has just the right amount of historical information mixed with his logistics. I don’t like to use his recommendations for restaurants and hotels. The recommended restaurants are pricey and full of tourists, and the recommended hotels, at least at the low $$$ end, are nothing special. I cut up his books and take the parts I need. When I get home I put the book back together with a big rubber band.
I’ve already printed off our cruise documents, and I’m checking our flights every couple of days until we leave.