TRAVEL TIPS: SURVIVE THE AIRPORT
You might want to take a lot on vacation, but there are many restrictions placed on travelers that will not allow that. Various items are not permitted on aircraft, and the bags that you check in must be under set weight and of maximum size. Make sure that you know these restrictions from the airline before you start to pack. This will save you much hassle and you won’t risk having your luggage denied and/or leaving without it or paying a fortune to take it ‘as is’.
1. When packing your bags, ensure that they are not overweight because if they are you will pay a fortune in penalties.
2. For local flights make sure that you ARE at the airport check-in desks 2 hours prior to departure and 3 hours at least for an international departure. Be late for your flight and you will not be refunded your hard-earned monies!
3. Make sure that your tickets, passports, IDs, and any other important docs are in your HAND luggage! Put them in your checked-in luggage and you won’t go anywhere!
4. Airport Security. In order to force you to spend your money at the shops inside (because of the horrendous rent they need to pay the airport’s company) you may not take drinks through. You can of course take empty bottles to fill up with liquid once through. Have as little metal on you as possible (coins, belt buckles, eyeglasses, jewelry, etc) because you will be searched.
5. At South African Airports generally you will not find iced water fountains, massaging chairs, or cellphone charge stations, so ensure that you do fill your bottle with that liquid and that your high-tech stuff is fully charged.
TRAVEL TIPS: SURVIVE THE FLIGHT
Let’s be honest here; many of us would probably love nothing more than to spend our time in first class with all the room we can imagine. However, the reality is that’s not always an option. It can be even tougher when you know there’s a long flight in store. Nevertheless, learning how to survive flights in the economy section should make things more comfortable.
As mentioned above, make sure that your high-tech items are fully charged (especially on/at South African flights/airports) and if necessary have a power bank with you. Then, if you are one who can’t sleep on flights, download movies, podcasts, etc to your laptop and keep yourself entertained.
It is also good to walk around the aisles a few times during a long-haul flight.
Drink lots of liquid on board and ask for ice. Those empty bottles can be filled with water after you go through security, and again simply ask for a glass filled with ice once onboard. Always carry a ziplock bag in your hand luggage filled with sweets and snacks.
TRAVEL TIPS: SURVIVE THE AIRPORT SHUTTLE OR TRANSFER
After 30 years of service, we can honestly say that we try very hard to please everyone but that there is always that 1 person who is so irritated that they have to upset our staff and all the people they come into contact with. I trust that these tips will help everyone understand and accept that a perfect service can always be compromised by events beyond our control. We trust that these tips will help you understand exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Definitions of our services:
- This is a shuttle service on the day of the ship’s arrival/departure between the airport and the ship. It is not to be confused with a more expensive ‘Private Transfer’ where you travel in a vehicle without other people joining you. You are booked on a ‘seat-in-coach’ basis and we operate and determine the size of the bus on the day (these range between 22, 36, 54, and 70 seater coaches).
- We can never guarantee a departure time for a coach. We do, however, guarantee that we will get you to the ship on time.
There are many unforeseen events that can change departure times dramatically –
2.1 The ship can be delayed due to bad weather, the port authority making her wait outside, or instructions by the police or health department. Make sure that you have a flight home as late as possible.
2.2 Accidents and road work on the highways can also cause havoc with our departure times and will most certainly affect departure times from the airport. Always be prepared to spend longer times at the airport – but then you might think of taking an Uber or Bolt. Just some advice on this option, please note that they operate illegally as they are taking a fare-paying passenger and are contradicting the road traffic act. Not only that, but you will most probably arrive at the harbour before your scheduled time and will not be allowed to enter!
- Refunds: On bookings made in advance through an agent, MSC, or with us directly, they must be canceled 7 days prior to the service in order for a refund to be granted. Tickets sold within and upon the day of a departure are not refundable unless we are unable to perform the service.
- No-show Passengers: Our last shuttle departs the airport promptly at 15h00. If you have not checked in at our desk located at the Mugg and Bean by 14h30, you will be deemed to be a ‘no-show’ and will lose your ticket.
Other things to note about shuttle services:
- We are only advised by MSC that a person by your name is coming. We are never told what flight you are on nor what time you are landing, and we are never given your cell numbers. For this reason, you are served on a ‘first come, first served basis. Waiting times can be expected.
- Do not depart your home in a bad mood. It will determine the rest of your holiday.
- Do not put the luggage tags on your bags…we will do that for you at our airport desk. You must however put the new luggage tags that the ship staff put under your door on the last night of the cruise.
TRAVEL TIPS: SURVIVE THE CRUISE SHIP
Growing up, some of my major fears in life included a shark attack, a blue-bottle sting, a shipwreck, nausea whilst being out on open water, and not knowing what dangers lurk beneath the surface. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my 70 years on this planet, it’s that “a life ruled by fear is no life at all”. And you can quote me (Charles Robbie) on that. Today I sail wherever and whenever I can!
- Know your mind and body and plan accordingly. Nothing can destroy your fun on a ship quicker than nausea (sea sickness). I am not a believer in taking so many medicines and prefer natural remedies instead. You can stop sea sickness by trying out the following in this order:
1.1 – Have a strong rum or brandy (I enjoy 2 double shots of Captain Morgan) when you get on board. (Did you know that the British Navy issues a good shot of rum to each sailor every night to help with sea sickness?)
1.2 – Never look at the horizon if you feel nauseous but rather at the deck and you must be outside getting fresh air.
1.3 – GINGER! So far everyone who has tried this method has confirmed to me that it works! Glazed Ginger Chocolates (sold by Woolworths) are a treat! You can also take a little grated ginger and lemon rind in a ziplock bag and drop a little into black tea onboard.
1.4 – Put on your cozzie and jump into the pool.
1.5 – Once you have tried all of the above, only then go to reception and ask for a pill.
- Embrace the opportunity to switch off and unplug.
For goodness sake, you are now on holiday. Humans have lasted thousands of years without Cell Phones, Facebook, Twitter etc. Get back to basics and speak to everyone naturally – I promise you will see how easy that can be. Put your phones on airplane mode and forget about them. Your brain and body need some fun in the sun – just do it!
- Explore the ship!
There is something for everyone to enjoy on board. You just need to find them.
- Come prepared to play!
Perhaps take a couple of board games along with you (especially when Gran and Gramps are with you) and who knows you might just enjoy going back in time. The Casino is not open to passengers U18 years of age. If you have little Kiddies with you, sign them up for the supervised Kiddies Clubs and they will truly enjoy that FREE offering from MSC.
- Having a balcony room is worth every penny.
Anyone who has cruised regularly knows that booking a balcony cabin is certainly the way to go. Just having the opportunity to sit outside on your own private balcony and feel the salt air brushing your face is priceless, so the little extra one has to pay for this is so worth it.
- Tax Free Shopping – Bring back a souvenir to remember the trip by.
Do not bother with buying the same items that you get at home. Drinks and sweets from abroad are overpriced but not by too much. I suggest MSC bags, caps, clothing, and trinkets as the best way to remember your awesome MSC Holiday by.
- Soak up some vitamin D!
The sun can be harsh! Bring along sunscreens and big floppy hats. You will find orange swimming pool towels in your cabin. They used to be available at the pool, but MSC has cut back on that service. Take 2 extra-large ziplock bags with you in your beach bag. One is for your cameras and electrical equipment, the other for slip slops and towels. You WILL get wet when disembarking the tender boats.
The Jacuzzi – There are only a couple of these available…best time to use them is very early morning. Do not hog them and give others a chance to enjoy them also. Some people think it funny to fart or pee in it…please report this disgusting behavior to the officer on deck duty.
The Swimming Pools – Filled every night with seawater. If you want to take babies into the water with you, please ensure that they have nappies meant for swimming in pools!
- Plan at least one night to get all dolled up!
Sadly MSC has also dropped the ‘Tropical Night’ and ‘Formal Night’ but that does not mean that you and your friends cannot get all dolled up for a lovely dinner together.
- Dining Experience
The buffet restaurant is open for around 18 hours a day.
Dining Rooms require a smart casual dress code. No ties are required gents but long pants and a cotton shirt are accepted.
TRAVEL TIPS: WHAT DO WE PACK?
1. Your Luggage
You do not need the biggest bag out there so that you can fit the kitchen sink into it for a 3 or 4-night cruise. They also take up the same amount of luggage space on the buses as 2 standard bags would and sometimes big bags cannot fit onto the bus and need to go on the next bus which means that you might have to wait for it to arrive. You basically need 1 – 2 changes of clothing per day.
2. Start off with the basics.
As for any trip, don’t leave home without your underwear, socks (both athletic and dress socks), and bras/undershirts as the base for any day’s dress. You’ll want comfy pajamas to cozy up in after a long day spent exploring in port, too. Do not forget your costumes as you will be either in the pool, relaxing on a beach or swimming in the sea. A few T-shirts and shorts are ideal for being on deck. 1 pair of takkies and/or slip-slops and one pair of evening shoes. Dinner is a semi-formal/smart casual affair so gents need long pants and a shirt. Ladies you know what to do here 😛 Slip-slops, shorts and pool or sea wear are not allowed in restaurants.
3. Handbags or Beach bags
Once you get the luggage unloaded, you’ll want some smaller bags on hand for the many adventures that await during the course of your cruise. A daypack and/or beach bag is essential for toting items while in port, as well as whatever purse you want to use on board in the evenings.
Ziplock bags are essential items for your digital equipment that may not get wet. You can get sprayed disembarking and traveling on tender boats.
Here is an ultimate packing checklist guideline… You do not necessarily need all of these items so simply bring along what YOU need!
Undergarments & Sleepwear
- T-shirts/tank tops
- Dress shirts
- Cocktail dresses/gowns
- Dressy pantsuits
- Hats/sun hats
Beachwear & Activewear
- Workout clothes/activewear
- Leisure shoes
- Dress shoes
- Specialty footwear (hiking boots/rainboots/water shoes)
- Glasses cases
- Daypack/beach bag
- Collapsible tote
- Ziplock bags
- Wet bag
- Luggage locks
- Laundry bag
- Laundry kit (detergent/wrinkle-release spray/stain remover)
- Dental floss
- Facial cleanser/skincare products
- Lip balm
- Shaving cream
- Contact lenses/case/solution/eye drops
- Nail file/clippers
- Cotton balls/pads
Hair & Makeup Products
- Hairstyling tools
- Hairstyling products
- Hair accessories
- Makeup remover
Health & Safety Products
- Sunscreen/aloe vera
- Insect repellent
- Feminine hygiene products
- Birth control
- Pain relievers
- First-aid kit
- Seasickness remedies
- Hand wipes
- Hand sanitizer
Wallet & Money Belt Items
- Wallet/money belt with cash/ATM card/credit cards
- Driver’s license/international driver’s license
- Medical insurance card
- Travel insurance information
Documentation & Contact Info
- Travel documents (cruise boarding passes/airline tickets/hotel info/itinerary/etc.)
- Printed/personal luggage tags
- Maps and directions if you don’t have them on your cellphone
- Travel guides/phrasebook
- Prescriptions/list of medications/medical history
- Copies of passport/important documents/credit cards/etc.
- Important phone numbers (credit cards/emergency contacts/etc.)
- Addresses/e-mail addresses for friends/relatives
- Small notebook/journal
- Cell phone and charger
- Laptop/tablet and charger
- Camera/lenses/memory cards/batteries/charger
- Voltage adapters (for international pre-/post-cruise hotels)
- Alarm clock
- Power strip
- Portable speaker
- Waterproof phone case
- House/car keys
- Snacks/chewing gum
- Reusable water bottle
- Travel aids (earplugs/sleeping mask/travel pillow)
- Pleasure reading (magazines/books/e-book with charger)
- Antibacterial wipes
- Kids/baby gear (diapers/toys/games/etc.)
Enjoy your cruise.
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