This time of year, every blogger posts his or her own “gift guide” for the holidays. Here’s my take on fun—and useful—gifts for cruise travelers…
My best investment of the year was enrolling in Global Entry. This is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows members to speed through Customs when returning to the United States from overseas. Simply apply, pay a $100 fee (which will be refunded if you use your American Express Platinum card), and attend a short interview at your local airport. After that you’ll spend far less time in line when returning from a cruise. In fact, on our last trip from Singapore, we spent a mere 45 seconds at the U.S. Customs kiosk when we returned to Newark Liberty Airport!
I’ve renewed my annual MedjetAssist membership every year for the past five years. Access to competent global travel assistance and medical evacuation gives me peace of mind at a very affordable price. (I had to medevac my father from Jacksonville to Boston last year and it cost $16,000. How I wish I had gifted him a MedjetAssist membership before he went on that trip.) Annual MedjetAssist memberships start at $250 and short-term memberships start at $95. This is the perfect gift for a loved one who travels.
InterContinental Ambassador Membership
We find this annual membership quite useful since we often stay at InterContinental hotels pre- and post-cruise. Benefits include guaranteed room upgrades (no matter what rate code you book), fresh fruit and mineral water upon arrival, one complimentary weekend night (buy one, get one), 4pm late check-out, complimentary pay TV film per stay, instant check-out, and a bonus points “accelerator” (earn 20,000 bonus points for every 15 qualifying nights). Ambassador membership costs $200 per year (or 32,000 Priority Club points).
Just for Fun
Scratch-Off Map of the World
I’ve already ordered a bunch of these from Uncommon Goods for my friends with wanderlust. This 32-by-22-inch world map has a “scratch off” component so you can scratch off the areas you’ve visited in order to “color in” the globe. I've never seen this particular item in stores before so I thought it would make for an unusual stocking-stuffer. $24
Vintage Cruise Ship Posters
Art.com has a nice selection of vintage-style cruise ship posters. I’ve got several of these in my office and they look fantastic.
Cruise Ship Ornament from Kyle Design
This is a nice-looking two-sided, engravable holiday ornament with a cruise-ship motif. This would be a great way to invite a loved-one on a Christmas cruise! $19.95
Sextant Pendant from Dolphin Designs
This sextant pendant with an 18-inch box chain can be made with a variety of semi-precious stones, including lapis lazuli (shown), amethyst, turquoise, amazonite, malachite, aventurine, rose quartz, mother of pearl, onyx, and jade. $113.99
Propeller Cuff Links from Cuff Daddy
These three-blade propeller cuff links come in a variety of finishes, including sterling silver and gold. $28.99–$119.00