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Will I need a passport?
Due to the fact that most cruises visit many different countries, proof of United States citizenship is required not only to allow you to visit these countries; but, also to allow you to re-enter the United States. On most cruises a birth certificate with a raised seal, or a valid passport is required. If you will be traveling to countries requiring visas, the cruise line should advise you of the appropriate documentation. If you are not a citizen of the United States, be sure you carry the correct documentation for all the countries you will be visiting. Because of tight security at the airport, photo identification must be shown to board the plane
Is cruising a good value compared to other vacations?
Absolutely! There are cruises to suit every budget, from the budget-minded to the most luxurious. More importantly, a cruise offers the best travel value for your dollar. Your fare includes: all your meals, accommodations, onboard activities, parties and entertainment. You will know what your vacation will cost, before you travel. Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as spa activities or gift purchases. This is why cruising is becoming the most popular form of leisure travel. The total package cost is hundreds of dollars less than any other prearranged vacation package.
How can I get the best cruise price?
The best way to get the best cruise price is to book in advance. As you get closer to departure date, the cruise price increases. Exceptions to that rule apply when a particular cruise has not sold out. This is rare and often cruise lines will offer great savings to help sell their cabins in advance.
If I have to cancel my cruise , will I be penalized?
All cruise lines have different cancellation policies and penalties that may apply.
What about cruise passengers that have special needs?
The cruise lines welcome passengers with special needs and work hard to assist them throughout their trip. It is essential that the cruise line know well in advance if you have any special medical, physical or other requirements that need to be addressed. You should also advise the cruise line of any special dietary needs. Most modern cruise ships have a number of cabins specially designed to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs or in need of TTY communications. Service animals are permitted on board if prior arrangements have been made.
What type of restaurants are on the ship?
Your dining preference can be requested at time of deposit. This request is not guaranteed; if you are unhappy with your seating assignment, you can see the Restaurant Manager and he/she will do his/her best to accommodate you. Meal times vary on different cruise lines, but on average cruise lines have two different seating times per meal. All meals, including 24 hour room service are included in the price of your cruise . Breakfast is usually served in the main dining room, as well as a buffet in the patio restaurant near the pool. Lunch is also served as a buffet in the patio restaurant or a full course selection in the main dining room. Most ships serve an afternoon snack of ice cream, tea, cookies, and cakes. Dinner is served in the main dining room, followed by the midnight buffet. Some ships also offer 24 hour pizzerias. Depending on the ship you can find up to 8 meals and snacks per day plus room service so you (or your kids) will never be hungry on a cruise ship.
What will my cabin be like?
Cabins on most cruise lines are smaller than they appear on television. They are designed for efficiency and to encourage you to use the much larger public facilities on board the ship. If you requested an "outside" or "ocean view" cabin, you will have a porthole or picture window, depending on your ship design. Some outside cabins will also have a small balcony. If you requested an "inside" cabin you will not have a porthole, window, or balcony. Most cabins have twin beds which can be converted to a queen size. Your cabin steward is there to make your stay comfortable; whether to change the bed configuration to suit your desires, or to bring you extra towels, pillows, or blankets if needed. Many of the newer ships have safes in the rooms, and TVs that show current movies, give casino instructions, and general cruise information. Most cabins have only a shower and cabins with tubs are available on most ships.
Can I get a special menu prepared for me?
Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, Kosher, or other diet preferences. Diabetic needs and other medical diets should be specified in advance. The cruise line will try to meet your needs, however, it is your responsibility to advise all parties ahead of time. Any special requirements that the cruise line may not be able to meet, should be arranged on your own. This request must be made in advance so be sure to advise your travel representative of this requirement when you book your cruise.
What are the proper tipping procedures of the ship?
Tipping is a matter of individual preference. A general rule of thumb is to plan for about $3.00 per person/per day for your room steward and dining room waiter, and about half that amount for your busboy. Other ship board personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion. Some cruise lines do not require, accept, or encourage tipping.
Can I book my cruise on short notice?
Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. To get the exact ship, cabin, and sailing date you want, you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead.
Are cruise lines accustomed to having families with kids?
Nearly one third of cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines make a special point of providing supervised activities for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your child enjoys swimming, sports, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, he/she will love a family cruise. You'll find that kids adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you will not have to wonder what they're up to every minute. The cruise staff will help keep them busy and entertained. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate.
What type of activities are there at the ports?
Too many, so you may have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own, take a guided tour, search ancient ruins, hunt for shopping bargains, ride a raft over river rapids, bicycle down the side of a volcano, or ride a horse across miles of hills and beaches, climb a waterfall or pyramid, see the birthplace of civilization or listen to steel drum bands, follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a water-skiing boat, if there's still time, enjoy a show, play golf or tennis, eat native foods, learn how to windsurf, swim at some of the world's best beaches, catch a record marlin, sail, snorkel, or go scuba diving, go to a nightclub or casino, take a cable car to the top of a mountain, or explore dark catacombs.
Is there any nightlife on the cruise ship?
At night, a cruise ship really comes alive. There's dancing; live entertainment in nightclubs, casinos, discos and lounges; feature films; and parties with all your new friends. There are also many special events like the Captain's cocktail party, passenger talent night, the Las Vegas style show, magic acts, comedic acts, dance parties and don't forget the late night buffet.
Is entertainment free or do I have to pay extra?
On a cruise, the entertainment is included . There's no cover, no minimum, no charge for admission. The best seats in the house are free.
How much money should I bring on the ship?
That depends entirely on you, the cost of your cruise includes everything except: alcohol and sodas, shore excursions, tips and personal items such as souvenirs, spa services, and hair styling. When you board your ship you will be asked to activate your account, this is like running a tab during your cruise and all expenses will be charged to your room, at the end of the cruise the credit card you used to activate your account will be billed for the amount you charged while on the ship. When you visit a particular port the amount you spend is entirely up to you. Prearranged shore excursions can be prepaid on the ship with most cruise lines.
Can singles have fun on a cruise?
Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have singles parties early on to give you the opportunity to meet your shipmates. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. In many cases, the cruise line will even find you a roommate to share a double if you ask them.
Are there laundry services aboard?
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many even provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Most ships also have self-service launderettes.
What if I have a medical emergency?
Virtually every cruise ship has a fully-equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency. The cruise line would be happy to advise you of any special medical services that they provide.
Will I get sick aboard the ship?
The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition to the large size of today's passenger liners, stabilizers, advance availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have eliminated most cases of motion sickness. If you are not aware of your reaction to motion, you should carry preventative medication in the event that you become ill.
How do I communicate with my family and work?
Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores, some even deliver the Wall Street Journal to your room. Staterooms on many ships are even equipped with televisions so you can tune in to CNN or ESPN. While many ships now have telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone through the ship's radio operator while at sea, and you can phone home from most ports. In addition, many ships are equipped with fax capabilities.
Are there non-smoking areas aboard the ship?
Virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking tables and/or sections in the lounges and dining rooms. In fact, many dining rooms are now smoke-free, reflecting passenger requests. If you wish to be seated in a non-smoking area, just tell your travel representative. In open seating situations, you can advise your waiter or the Restaurant Manager.
Will I need a tuxedo?
On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. If you do want to dress up, many ships offer tuxedo rental services. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine.
What should I pack on my cruise vacation?
Pack like you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you're on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress. Attire is dictated by occasion, the Captain's Cocktail Party for example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit, or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown. Some ships have theme nights such as Country and Western night, or a Roman Toga party, so you could dress accordingly if you desire. Shorts are not allowed in most main dining rooms during the dinner meal.
Helpful packing list:
Cruise boarding ticket and airline ticket
Proof of Citizenship (a birth certificate with raised seal, or valid passport.)
Sunglasses (and any other necessary eye-wear)
Comfortable walking shoes
Camera & film
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Hair brush or comb
Hairdryer / curling iron
Slacks or skirt
Shirt or blouse one for each day
A lightweight jacket or sweater
Any necessary medications and/or medical instructions
Poncho or rain coat in case of bad weather
Credit Card, Traveler's Checks and / or Cash
well, this is all for the cruise tips, now you are ready to find your Cruise in the Cruise section ...