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Cruise Planners – Try Our “Three Tab Chrome Destination Research System”

At Travel Like an Architect™ we teach you how to Blueprint your Cruise Vacation, before you leave. Cruise Planners, you won’t want to spend your precious vacation time making these plans and more importantly the “decisions” associated with them.  Important decisions require much consideration and even compromise. Travel Like an Architect™ Get it down in plan, before you leave!

The beauty of a cruise, is that all your travel arrangements from place to place are handled for you, freeing up your time to plan your specific personal experiences in each destination. In this post I am going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to be effective cruise planners of your experiences at each port of call, ahead of time.  As Cruise Planners you will create a trip blueprint to follow. I call it my “Three Tab Chrome Destination Research System”.  Just follow the steps – it is something any cruise planner can do!

Print out your itinerary and have it in front of you.

You’re going to be opening several tabs in your Internet browser; I recommend Chrome.  For this process I will use “Norwegian Cruise Line” and “Santorini Greece” in the examples.

Step One 

Determine the first destination where you will spend time. This might be your embarkation port if you’re flying in a day or so early, or it could also be your first port of call. Open a tab and search for a google map of this destination – turn on the satellite view by clicking on it in the lower left corner of the Google Map.

Step Two

Open a second tab. Type the name of the same destination in the search bar, click enter, then click on the images option, just under the google search field in the top left.

Step Three

Open yet a third tab. Type the cruise line name, the word pier, and the name of the same destination and search that.

Example: “Norwegian Cruise Line pier in Santorini Greece”

This search will yeild a list of questions.

Select the question to answer, by clicking on the down arrow.

Take this exact location back to the google map of your destination (Step One Tab) – insert it prior to the general destination in the top left

Example: “Fira” Santorini Greece 

Click the search icon and google maps will zoom to this spot on the map!

Now that you know exactly where your ship will be, you can better understand which things you could do on your own, versus which things would require you to purchase an excursion, or hire a taxi/uber.

You will see that at the Island of Santorini, your ship will be anchored out in the water and you will “tender” to shore.  (that means they will drive you there in one of the life boats) You will actually see a ship off shore on the map.

Where does NCL dock in Santorini?

Step Four

Go back to the tab where you selected “images” in Step Two. Look at the images to see which things might interest you.

Google Destination Research

Many images are associated with blog posts on certain destination topics. If something looks cool – click on it to see what it is.  Read the post, or learn more, to see if it is something you are interested in. Once you learn more take the experience to the map to see if it is feasible from your ship’s position.

Example: On the island of Santorini you will always find photos of a tight knit city on the side of a cliff, with white buildings and blue domed roofs.  In your research you will learn that this city is called “Oia”.  If you want to find out if it is feasible to see Oia from your ship’s location, click on the “Directions” icon, on the left, then enter “Oia Santorini Greece”. Next, click the search icon.  You will be given a map from the ship’s location to Oia.

Google map to oia

From the Map you can easily see that the city of Oia is a 24 -26 minute drive from your ship’s port, depending on which route you choose.  Conclusion:  you will need a ride to see Oia!  You could purchase an excursion, hire a cab/uber or maybe even rent a bicycle or scooter!

Step Five

Zoom in on your sattelite map, enough that you can look around at the streets and buildings where your ship will arrive. When looking at a map it’s easy to see parks, unique architecture, terrain, and tourist popular destinations.

Using the + and – icons in the lower right corner zoom in to the shoreline near where the ship is anchored, and just move around looking at the Google tags. You will see that there are places to eat, a coffee shop, a boat rental shop, a Fishing Tour business – OH! – and a “Cable Car Lower Station” WOW!

coastline sattelite image

So that means there must be a “Cable Car Upper Station” Looking at the terrain, the hill/cliff must be steep because there are terraced walls that prevent debris from falling down the hill toward the lower station… and of course there is a tag on “Santorini Cable Car” at the top of the hill. There is not much to do and see down at the coast, but you must be able to ride the cable car to the top. What’s up there? you might ask… look around. I see a Catholic Monastery and another domed building very near the Cable Car landing. Wonder what it looks like? Put the little yellow google guy down on the ground to see. Just pick him up with your mouse and set him down anywhere that looks interesting to you.

Santorini view

You will get in to private areas on Google because other people have shared their photos, and those photos will attract the little yellow guy. Looks like the Google car has not been here yet. When you want to get out of the photo and return to the map, click on the left arrow in the black box at the top left corner.

So… By doing this you can conclude that you can explore this town on the island of Santorini on your own. The ship will deliver you to the shore, and it should be easy to take the Cable Car to the town, up on the hill, and then back down to the ship when you are done exploring.

But – Be sure to talk to your travel companions and make a decision together about what everyone wants to do!

Step Six

Repeat steps 1 through 5 with your next itinerary destination.  Soon you will have a complete Blueprint of your next Cruise Vacation!

FYI – the photos in my post are screenshots.  Meaning that they are not interactive.  Just follow the steps outlined above to create your own personalized tabs for your cruise and itinerary destinations, but substituting “Santorini Greece” and “Norwegian” with your cruise line and destinations.

You will NOT regret making a Cruise Destination Blueprint!  When you have a Blueprint, everyone will know what is in store for them, what to pack, which nights to stay up late, and which ones to go to bed early. I mean if you don’t know what you will be doing, everything is more difficult, and you can expect conflict.  When you have a blueprint everything is resolved ahead of time!  When you have a Blueprint, you are just along for the ride…. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Travel Like an Architect™ – Make Great Plans!

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