If you’re looking for beauty and culture, as well as plenty of opportunities for learning and history too, then you should probably start the search for some popular European cruises. It probably won’t take you long to find a cruise that catches your eye, since there are so many beautiful destinations to choose from. Europe offers plenty of picturesque vacation opportunities, but it’s important to make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting into before you start packing your bags.

Knowing exactly what you should expect from European cruises before you set sail could help you to make the most of your travel experience and keep your risk of mishaps to a minimum. To help you get started, we’ve put together just a few simple things to keep in mind when you’re heading off for your first cruise in Europe.

1. You’ll Need to Have Your Documents Ready

Documents might not be the most exciting part of a trip to Europe or a fantastic cruise, but they are crucial if you want to avoid getting stuck in a dangerous situation. Make sure that you have your documents in a protected and safe location, and think about making photocopies just in case something goes wrong. Remember, you can always think about buying protectors that you can either wear around your waist or around your neck. Whatever you feel comfortable with, there are plenty of options available that can ensure that your crucial documents never have to leave your side, or your sight.

2. Know How to Avoid Pickpockets

Pickpockets can be a common problem regardless of where you travel in the world. If you want to make the most of the ports that you visit on European cruises, then you should think about taking steps to make yourself as pick-pocket proof as possible. For instance, you could always think about keeping your valuables hidden behind your clothing, rather than keeping them in a bag or pocket. On the other hand, you can also think about ways that you can stop drawing attention to yourself by wearing clothes that are like those worn by the locals.

3. Have a Plan for Roaming

If you have a phone that you want to stay connected with when you’re on vacation, it’s important to make sure that you don’t simply allow yourself to fall victim to the high prices of your roaming data charges. If you have an unlocked phone, you can always consider replacing your SIM card with a local SIM when you arrive in your first European port. You can then keep using this SIM throughout the different stages of your European cruise, to keep your cost of calling and connecting with family to a minimum. The only thing you’ll need to do here is make sure that you swap your original SIM back when you get on the plane to go back home. You should also make a note of all the important numbers you want to remember that might be saved on your SIM instead of your phone device.

4. Contact your Bank

When you’re planning to go for one of the European cruises, it can be easy to get carried away with all the excitement of visiting a new place, but it’s important to remember to call your bank too and let them know that you’re going to be going on vacation in advance. The last thing you want is for your bank to shut down your transactions because they notice strange activity on your account. Make sure you think about talking to your mail provider too, to see if they can stop delivering newspapers while you’re out of town.

5. Learn About the Places You’ll Be Visiting

Instead of simply going on one of the many European cruises available on the marketplace today and allowing yourself to simply fall in step with the rest of the people on your ship, think about how you can make your adventure work for you. Start by researching some of the ports you’re going to visit, and look into how much it will cost to take part in new excursions, you might be surprised to discover just how much you can get done with a little bit of planning.

6. Check the Weather

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re going to get tropical weather when you’re going on one of the European cruises. While the temperatures can be mild in some places, you will have to bundle up warm for certain destinations, and checking the weather in advance will allow you to make sure that you’re packing the right things for your trip. Though you can always buy an umbrella in one of the ports you visit, it’s difficult to buy an entirely new wardrobe if you’ve packed clothing that’s too light or not waterproof enough for your vacation experience.

7. Download a Translation App

If you’re not sure how to speak the language but you want to make sure that you’re prepared for almost anything, one of the best things you can do is download an app for your phone. There are countless options available for when you need to find a few quick phrases in case of an emergency. There are even Google-based options available today that allow you to instantly translate the languages written on signs by simply pointing your camera at the text you want to read.

8. Make the Most Out of Your Trip

Chances are that once you’ve flown for a certain amount of time to help you reach the start of your European cruises destination, the last thing you’ll want to do is worry about driving to a port. Instead of pushing yourself too far, why not make your trip last a little longer by booking a night at a hotel in the location at the beginning or end of your cruise. This can help you add an extra something special to the adventure, and it can also mean that you’re less likely to suffer from exhaustion because you’re so busy spending too much time jumping on and off of different forms of transport.