I am a certified cruise specialist and have now been on 20, to date. Here’s a few Cruise FAQs.
Is motion discomfort a problem?
Today’s modern cruise ships are quite large and contain hi-tech stabilizing devices and advance weather notification processes. In the unlikely event you experience motion discomfort, there are a number of over-the-counter solutions to ease your concerns. These include Bonine, Mecklizine, Dramamine, Transderm Scope Patches, and Seabands. Please consult with your physician or pharmacists before taking any medication.
Can we stay in touch with the outside?
Quite easily. Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores. Staterooms on all of today’s modern cruise ships are equipped with satellite televisions and in some cases in-cabin internet connections. While most ships now have telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone on shore through the ship’s radio operator while at sea. And, you can make phone calls from most ports. In addition, many ships have fax capabilities and newer ships offer Internet access and e-mail capabilities to passengers.
Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms. But do check with your us to be sure. Many ships even feature hair dryers in your cabin.
There are basically four types of onboard accommodations on most cruise ships:
- Oceanview with Balcony
- Suites and mini-suites
You should expect your interior, oceanview or standard cabin with a balcony have two twin beds on the floor that your cabin steward can slide together to become the size of a queen or a king. They usually stay together just fine unless you find yourself under battlefield conditions. If your cabin is one of those that can hold additional passengers, those beds pull down out of the walls or the ceiling. Then your cabin looks like you’re having a sleep-over. Kids love it, but most adults would prefer connecting staterooms.
Interior rooms are located in the internal hallways of the vessel and do not have a window or a porthole. Usually the rooms are the same size as the oceanview accommodations, but definitely feel smaller. Interior cabins are located on almost every deck of the ship and are the least expensive.
Oceanview rooms are located around the perimeter of the ships passenger decks and will have a window or a porthole. The windows are usually quite large and the view is the same regardless of which deck you’re on. Many ships do have a small amount of cabins that have a view obstruction, often from the lifeboats, but these are usually easy to spot on the ship’s deck plan and can be avoided.
All ships will also have a few cabins with portholes rather than windows. Portholes are small and round, so the view is not as expansive. These cabins are always located in the front of the ship and sometimes in the back on the lower decks. The benefit to one of these over an interior room is that there is some natural light in the cabin.
Oceanview cabins will fall in the mid-price range for the cruise. The cabins with obstructed views and those will portholes are sometimes less expensive than the full oceanview cabins with large picture windows.
Oceanview cabins with balconies are the most popular choice for accommodations, and newer cruise ships with offer a greater number of cabins with balconies than any other type. The most affordable cabins are often the cabin is the same size as a regular oceanview cabin, but with a small private balcony attached. But these cabins, and their balconies, can come in many sizes.
Suites and mini-suites offer the widest variety of room sizes, amenities and facilities, and the choices will differ greatly from one cruise line to another. Sometimes the suites will be very different from one ship to another, even within the same cruise line. Suites on almost every ship have king-size beds and large private balconies. The newest ships tend to have the most from which to choose, and some cruise lines offer concierge services or even butlers for guests who buy suites. Just like at hotels, suites can be the size of small apartments with more than one room and large enough to hold pianos, wet bars and whirlpool tubs. It comes as a surprise to lots of folks that suites often accommodate only two guests! So that idea you just had for 17 of your closest friends to share the cost with you just went overboard.
Eating on a cruise ship is an event and it usually takes more time that you dedicate to it at home. Perhaps that’s why some people say that’s all they did. Or maybe it was all they did. Either way, it must be good or everyone wouldn’t be raving about it all the time. So what makes the food so good on cruise ships? It’s really quite simple: everything is made on board from scratch. The galley crew is like a bunch of elves up all night mixing, baking, slicing and dicing. And they work all day, too, to deliver their guests the finest quality and the widest variety of choices available anywhere.
Dining is one area in which the cruise industry has made big changes over the past few years. Dining schedules? Gone! Almost every cruise line has found a way to let you eat where you want, when you want and with whom you want.
Traditional dining times can still be found, though, because some people really like it. But the great thing about today’s cruises is that it’s not the only option anymore. These additional venues are considered “alternative” dining.
Ships with alternative dining have anywhere from four to 10 different restaurants! (And there’s always 24-hour room service available if you’ve missed something.) Just about any type of food you like is offered: French, Italian, Cajun, Asian, fusion, tapas, sushi, deli, pizza, vegetarian, steaks and chops. Oh yes, and good ole’ hamburgers, too. Family-friendly cruise lines even have separate kids menus.
The main dining room is open during certain hours and never requires reservations, but some alternative dining venues are quite small and require a reservation to guarantee that a table will be available when you’d like. Others are super casual or out on deck and you go when you like and don’t even have to get dressed up. See below under the What’s Not Included section for more information about alternative dining.
Nightlife is one of the best reasons to choose a cruise over another type of vacation. Every ship offers some type of entertainment, and most have more than one lounge plus a casino. Large ships have dozens of choices. Production shows generally fall into one of two genre: Las Vegas or Broadway-style. Both offer a montage of your favorite show tunes but one usually has more feathers. These shows can be quite spectacular with troops of dancers, acrobats, special effects and elaborate costumes and set designs.
Comedy acts are quite popular and are usually suitable for adults only. Newer ships also have sports bars and offer live games via satellite.
All types of music are represented throughout the cruise as well and performed live by the ship’s musicians. The dining rooms and cocktail lounges usually have a live pianist or string quartet. The bars and theme lounges offer raggae and calypso by the pool, pop and soft rock for dancing, jazz for groovin’, oldies for sing-a-longs and the nightclub will always have a DJ with plenty of techno dance mixes loaded into the machine.
Many people are concerned about being bored on a cruise. My answer to that is that if you’re bored it’s because you want to be. Don’t worry, napkin folding has gone down with the Titanic. Here’s another area in which the cruise lines have responded to their guests changing lifestyles with a whole new menu of interesting and educational activities designed to enrich your life and your cruise experience.
Fill your days at sea with art classes, dance lessons, computer learning, wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, art auctions, yoga or Pilates, bridge lessons or casino gaming lessons and tournaments. For something less cerebral, there are golf simulators and putting courses, basketball, state-of-the-art workout facilities and personal trainers. And just about everyone has heard about the ships with rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks and in-line skating tracks. Yes, there’s still shuffleboard. Also ping-pong, video game rooms, chess, backgammon, cards, board games, movies, books, the ever-present internet cafe and most ships have spas and salons with dozens of different types of facials, massages, manicures and pedicures.
By nature, a cruise is both a ship and a hotel. As passengers, we interact with the hotel side of the operation such as the food and beverage servers and the cabin staff. One of the ways that the service on a cruise differs from that of a hotel is that specific staff members are assigned to serve you personally while you’re on our cruise vacation. You can definitely get used to this, but remember, the crew has to stay on board! For example, very shortly after you’ve boarded your ship, your cabin steward will usually tap on your cabin door to introduce himself. And what’s really neat is that he will already know your name. If the cruise line was informed in advance of any special needs you have, he will probably know that, too. Throughout the cruise he will pay scheduled visits to your cabin at least twice a day to tidy up and deliver fresh towels, and at night he’ll turn down your bed and often leave a little surprise. In between, he’s on call just waiting to dash back to your room should you think of something. Try finding that at a hotel!
You will also enjoy the attentive service of your assigned waiter and his assistant should you participate in the traditional dining experience. Together they will cater to your personal preferences by memorizing such vital information as how you take your coffee. And they’ll be there waiting for you every time you enter the dining room, no matter what time of day or night; so no one is really sure when they sleep.
The crew aboard many ships is international and you’ll find men and women of all ages from exotic locations. Some cruise lines, however, hire men and women of a single nationality in an effort to provide consistent European or Asian-style service. Regardless of the origin of the staff members, it’s the personal attention that makes the service on board a cruise so different from other types of vacations. Passengers and crew members often get to know one another quite well, and it’s always a treat to find your old friends aboard your next cruise vacation.
Some cruise lines are very family-oriented and offer a comprehensive children’s program. Usually the activities and playrooms are divided into four or five categories based on age, and staffed by certified child counselors who entertain and educate the children both in port and while at sea. There may even be a separate pool for young children. The minimum age for a child to participate in the program is 2 or 3 years old and he or she must be potty trained. The only exception is Disney Cruise Line, which offers a nursery. But there is an additional charge for that service.
When you board the cruise you can pay a visit to the children’s area and meet the counselors. They’ll help you enroll your children and get them started having fun with the other kids as soon as possible. The kids usually have such a great time it’s often hard to get them to leave. Whew! But it is your responsibility to remember to take them home with you at the end of the cruise.
Certain itineraries or destinations on some cruise lines do not guarantee the availability of a children’s program, so please ask your agent for specific information about the cruise you are considering. Most luxury cruise lines and speciality cruises do not offer any facilities for families traveling with children. Your CruiseCheap.com agent will be happy to suggest one that meets the needs of every member of your family.
The children’s program is separate from babysitting, which is usually offered in the playroom during the evening hours for an additional charge. Surprisingly, it’s probably less than your babysitter charges at home and there is even a multi-kid discount!
What’s Not Included In The Upfront Price?
Below is a description of the things that are not included in the upfront cost of the cruise that most of us will wind up spending money on during the cruise. All of these items are within your control, so it’s hard to say how much money you’ll need. Some people buy lots of shore excursions while others spend their money in the spa, but this will give you an idea of additional expenses you may need to prepare for.
The cost of airfare is not included in the upfront price of the cruise, but is almost always available for an additional charge. We’ll ask you where you are flying from and quote you the cruise line’s price. Most domestic air add-on will be $200-$500 per person. There are two reasons why it may not be offered: first, you may ask to fly out of an airport that the cruise line cannot service for the itinerary you’re interested in. In this case we can find the closest airport to your home that does work. Or second, we may find you a certain promotional cruise fare that can only be booked cruise-only. There may also be a higher cruise fare available to which air travel can be added. In either case, we’re happy to show you your options.
You are always welcome to shop for your own air travel and can often save some money by buying the air from someone other than the cruise line. However, before you do that, please allow your CruiseCheap.com vacation consultant to share with you the pros and cons. We will also want to give you the flight time parameters for your specific cruise departure and return. That way you’re sure to make the right decision for you.
Alcoholic Beverages & Some Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are not included in your cruise price, and since soft drinks come over the bar there is charge for them as well. Specialty coffees are also almost always additional. All beverage purchases are signed to your shipboard account and the service charge, a.k.a. the gratuity, is automatically added. Prices are usually about the same as they are at home, and a lot less than you’d find at most hotels and resorts!
Some cruise lines have a soda package, which is great news for families. Not only is it a lot more economical, it has really cut out a lot of whining. In the past, you’d have to pull yourself out of your deck chair every time your kid needed a soda. Now, he or she can approach the bar themselves and hand the bartender their bottomless bottle or show their soda card. Feeling like an adult probably makes them suck down twice as much, but what do you care as long as they leave you alone?
Gratuities (these are now mandatory, and can be prepaid so that you don’t face them at the end of the cruise)
Your personal service staff works hard for you while you’re enjoying your cruise, so pleeeeaaaaase tip them before you disembark. Most cruise lines make it easy for you by automatically adding gratuities to your shipboard account, which is usually about $12.50 per person, per day, for a 7 day cruise. This amount covers your cabin steward and the waiters and assistants who have served you all over the ship. Just because you’re being automatically billed doesn’t mean you don’t have control. You can adjust the amount up or down by paying a visit to the Purser’s desk; however, it’s wise to do so before disembarkation day. In this way you can reward those who gave you extra special attention. And in cases where service wasn’t up to snuff, the ship can become aware immediately and take steps to correct the problem.
Some Dining Options
Alternative dining options are all the rage onboard contemporary ships these days and the cruise lines have a couple of different ways of charging you extra for them. For all restaurants other than the main dining room you should expect to find that reservations are required. There is a fee for that reservation that usually runs from $10-$25 per person and the gratuity for the meal may be additional. The rationale behind the service fee is that seating is often limited to less than 100 people at a time, and I guess they figure it will make you show up.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also added a selection of a la carte restaurants on their newest ships. A la carte means you pay as you go, just like any land-based restaurant you’re used to. Menu prices are usually the same as you’d find in any tourist location; not outrageous, but probably more than you’re used to.
Purists scoff at the idea of paying for food on a cruise ship, but there’s a trend here that seems to be popular with folks new to cruising. Besides, it’s still your choice. And the menus selections and dining experiences are very different that one can find in the main dining room, so it’s been decided that this is value, as well.
Shore excursions are a very important part of your experience in each port of call, especially if you’ve decided to take the adventure route. But you can also strike out on your own by walking or hiring a taxi from the pierside queue. Excursions run the gamut from city tours on a bus to flightseeing by helicopter and can often be booked in advance on the cruise line’s website. Look there for a complete list of shore tours offered for your itinerary.
If the excursions cannot be reserved in advance you can purchase them on board the ship. Sometimes it’s helpful to speak to the experts at the shore excursion desk before making your decision, because once booked there are penalties to cancel them. You’ll also have a better handle on the weather and the level of physical activity required.
Most people find that they have time to take only one excursion in each port of call. Excursions generally range from $40-$250 per person depending on what’s included. Again, the cruise line’s website will have the most up-to-date information.
Your ‘welcome aboard’ photo is your first encounter with the ubiquitous ship photographers. They’ll be on hand to capture all the fun and excitement, and then sell it back to you for $20 for each 5 x 7. Lots of folks take advantage of their opportunity to have a portrait made while they’re all gussied up. You won’t have to make an appointment with a photographer at home, pay a sitting fee and then be obligated to by 24 wallet sized just get an 8 x 10. On the ship you never have to purchase a photo if you’re not happy with the way you look, and you can even have it done again and again. Cruises are also great for getting family and group photos taken when you have a captive audience and it’s impossible to get everyone together at home.
Spa Treatments & Salon Services
Arrangements with fancy spas and salons has become one of the hottest new things with the cruise lines in the past few years as passengers are focusing more and more on their well-being. You’ll find everything from The Canyon Ranch, to the exotic Mandara Spa out of Asia, to French companies such as La Carita Paris. Whatever the origin of the mud in which you’re soaking, you’ll be amazed at the variety of hedonistic treatments in which you can indulge. There are even massage lessons and treatments for couples only! If you’ve never treated yourself before or you’re an experienced spa-goer there’s a great time to be had by all.
Some cruise lines even offer pre-packaged menus of spa treatments that can be booked in advance. If not, you can do it on board, and last-minute slots to fill can sometimes be snagged with a discount. Spa treatments tend to be expensive and can range from $75-200 each depending on how long it takes to complete the service.
Common Myths about Cruise Vacations
Everyone has an opinion on cruising. Some good. Most very good. But when it comes to people who have never cruised before (First-Timers), their views are more like misperceptions than anything else. Royal Caribbean International does a great job of addressing these truths to help you First-Timers get out there.
Myth #1: Cruise ships are too confining
Today’s modern cruise ships are out of this world. Royal Caribbean’s amazing ships offer rock walls, restaurants, lounges and shops; their Voyager-class ships offer a Royal Promenade about the size of two football fields, a five-story theatre and full-court basketball. You’ll quickly realize that this vacation is not confining at all. In fact, with all the places to explore, you might forget you’re actually sailing the high seas.
- Myth #2: Cruising is boring
Not so. There are a wide range of exciting onboard and shoreside activities. There is spectacular nighttime entertainment, such as ice-skating shows, contemporary Broadway-style stage productions, nightclubs and our incredible Casino Royale. Daytime can be even more exciting, with activities ranging from swimming with stingrays to a luxurious spa afternoon, including hot-stone massages, steambaths and facials. Whether your idea of a vacation is relaxing by the pool or parasailing over coral reefs, you have lots of options.
Myth #3: All you do is eat
It’s true that cruise ships offer amazing culinary delights in their dining rooms and specialty restaurants, but eating doesn’t have to be on the top of the agenda with all the onboard activities. For example, Royal Caribbean ships offer rock climbing, basketball, miniature golf, an outdoor jogging track, and specialty fitness classes such as Pilates, yoga, and spinning. And even while dining, you can watch you figure with our special fitness menus, offering low-calorie, low-fat options.
- Myth #4: Cruises cost too much
Compared to what? A land based vacation? Please. Check our Cruise -versus- Resort Vacation chart. Remember, when taking a land-based vacation, there are a lot of expenses like flights, hotels, meals, snacks, taxi cabs, and entertainment, just to name a few. When taking a cruise, one single price includes most meals, entertainment, transportation, to various ports of call and onboard activities. So when you do the math, cruising is really the best value.
Myth #5: Not enough time or variety in ports
Cruises offer options to fit everyone’s needs. Choose from itineraries where you spend the night in port, or one with fewer sea days, or a cruise that offers a variety of ports of call.
- Myth #6: Cruises aren’t for people like me
If you like adventure and new experiences then a cruise is perfect for senses and inspire the explorer in you.
- Myth #7: The kids will be bored
Kids have tons of options, too. Kids cannot only be creative with arts and crafts activities, but they can actually learn about things like gravity during our science experiments. And for the teens, there are lounges and clubs, designed just for them!
Myth #8: Cruises are too formal
Not at all! If you want casual, you can simply lie back in shorts every day. Today’s ships have a few formal evenings in the dining room, but they are optional. Many cruise lines offer relaxed, alternative dining options that let you be more casual for evening dining. And of course, for real casual, there is always room service.
Every day, more and more people are discovering the pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. Last year alone approximately seven million people enjoyed a cruise vacation. When you add it all up, it’s easy to see why.
The price of your ticket includes all of your meals and in-between snacks on-board; your stateroom, activities, parties and entertainment; plus, an exciting voyage to some of the most enchanting and culturally enriching places in the world.
You’ll find that a cruise ship is a floating resort, with all the things a fine resort has to offer and more! You’ll meet new friends who share the same tastes and interests as you.
The hassles of an ordinary vacation are completely eliminated. A cruise is one convenient package. You don’t have to worry about making dinner or nightclub reservations, running to make flight connections as you travel from one destination to another, or packing and unpacking.
You can lie back and be completely pampered. Or, go non-stop. Dine like never before. Enjoy one great show after another. Let your cares float away!
What are different meal seatings?
Some ships’ dining rooms can accommodate all passengers in one seating. But most ships have two seatings which differ only by time. Early Seating begins between 6 pm and 6:30 and Late Seating begins around 8:15 pm. To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late then request your preference when you book. Which ever seating you choose, remember that one of the best ways to make new friends is to ask for a large table.
Many ships are now offering both alternative dining and choice dining options. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy special theme restaurants such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Southwestern restaurants separate from the main dining room and give you a chance to choose when and with whom you would like to dine. This varies by cruise ship.
Is it better to have Early Dining or Late Dining?
As a rule of thumb, Early Dining means you’ll have dinner between 6 pm and 6:30 pm and Late Dining means you’ll have dinner between 8:15 and 8:45 pm. There are many reasons why one dining may be better for you than an other.
Early Dining is great if you are traveling with small children who need to stick to a set meal and bedtime schedule; like to go to bed between 10 pm and Midnight; or you are an early riser.
You may want Late Dining if you don’t want to feel rushed for dinner after a day in port; you love late-night social activities; and if you don’t mind finishing your meal around 10:15 or 10:30 pm.
Is cruise ship dining as good as I’ve been told?
Everything you’ve heard about cruise ship dining is true. You’ll find a varied selection of entrees (appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts, too) every time you sit down. And there’s virtually no limit on what or how much you can order.
Just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food doesn’t mean you’ll come home out of shape. You can choose low-cal, spa, or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. You can also jog, do aerobics, work out in the gym, swim, golf, play tennis, and much more.
Burning calories was never so much fun! Best of all, the one thing you’ll never see on a cruise ship menu is a price!
Do I have to eat in the Main Dining Room?
One of the highlights of cruising is having plenty of options. Cruise lines know that people have different tastes in dining and offer many different choices to accommodate them.
The main cruise ship dining rooms are generally reserved for the traditional cruise guest. Dinner is served at the same time at the same table with the same wait staff and with the same guests each night. You can order from a set menu that changes daily. For most cruisers, this is one of the highlights of the cruise experience and gives them an opportunity to meet new people from all over the world and develop a relationship with a wait staff who has learned how to cater to their individual needs.
Many cruise lines now offer alternatives to this more structured dining experience. This not only includes casual dining venues like lido buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and pizzerias; but also more specialty, gourmet restaurants offering Asian, French, Italian and Southwestern cuisine. Depending on your tastes or mood for the night, you can eat anywhere you want, including room service, which is available on most cruise ships 24 hours a day.
Is there a charge for meals?
You can eat all you want on a cruise ship without having to pay for a meal. You can literally stuff yourself with some of the finest food you’ll ever eat at one of many restaurants and eateries you’ll find on your ship. And all this is included in the cost of your cruise fare. However, many cruise lines today now offer alternative dining options that may require a small service fee.
These “reservations-only” restaurants are small dining bistros that cater to a small number of guests every evening. They offer passengers a chance to break the normal routine and have a nice, romantic dinner for two without the kids to enjoy each other’s company. Many of these specialty restaurants are comparable in quality to the finest restaurants like Mortons, Ruth Chris, The Palm, or Joe’s Stone Crab. The additional charges range from $10 – $20 per guest depending upon the cruise ship and the restaurant.
These restaurants book up very quickly, so you should make your reservations as soon as you board your ship.
Can I get a special diet?
Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, Kosher, or other diet preferences. However, this request must be made in advance, so be sure to advise us of this requirement when you book your cruise.
What if I don’t like my tablemates?
This is rarely a problem. However, if you wish to move to another table, speak with the maitre d’. He’ll make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions… discretely and politely.
Are there non-smoking areas?
Today, virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking tables or non-smoking sections in the dining rooms and lounges. In fact, many cruise ship dining rooms are now totally smoke-free, and at least one ship is a completely smoke-free cruise ship, reflecting passenger requests. If you want your dining table in a non-smoking area, or prefer a smoke-free ship, just tell us! Onboard, in “open-seating situations,” you can advise your waiter or the maitre d’.
Are there different classes of service?
Today’s cruise ships are “one-class.” Everyone onboard can use all of the ship’s facilities. The price of a cabin is based primarily on its size and location. Regardless of the category you book, you’ll enjoy the same courteous service, menus, activities, and entertainment as everyone else onboard.
Is a stateroom with a balcony really worth it?
There is nothing like having a balcony on a cruise. The view on a cruise is always changing. It’s not just water, ocean, water, ocean. Whether you’re sailing along the Inside Passage of Alaska or docked among the pink pastels of Bermuda, you have an almost constant view of some of the most beautiful destinations you’ll ever see.
Private balconies are also a great way to escape the crowds. You can enjoy the same view from your own deck chair while having a cup of coffee – but without the crowds.
Balcony cabins seem bigger as well. With a balcony, it’s almost as though you have floor to ceiling window to the most magnificent views in the world. If you’re already spending the money and taking time to go to on a cruise, treat yourself to a balcony as well. So the answer is “yes.” A balcony stateroom is worth it.
Will I get bored? Feel confined?
Hardly. Being at sea gives you a feeling of freedom few places can offer. There’s plenty of room. And it’ll probably take you two or three days just to discover what’s onboard. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring new and exciting ports of call.
Cruise ships are like floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer. You can be by yourself and lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or watch the ever-changing view. Or, you can join in exercise classes, dance classes, sports contests and other organized deck activities. Perhaps you can practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or shoot some baskets. You can go for a swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can see a feature movie, attend a lecture by renowned experts, play backgammon or bridge. And that’s just when you’re onboard!
What is there to do in port?
So much you’ll have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own. Or take a guided tour. You can search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, a bicycle ride down the side of a 10,000 foot 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 waterskiing boat. If there’s still time, play golf or tennis. Eat native foods. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world’s best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel or go scuba diving. Go to a nightclub or glittering casino. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs.
In short, a cruise is the easiest way to see new places and do all the things you dream of. Cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of destinations that you may want to return to for another vacation…and you never have to pack and unpack – the destinations come to you!
Are there medical services onboard?
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully-equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency.
Are there laundry services aboard?
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and a great many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Most ships also have self-service launderettes.
Are there meeting rooms onboard?
Just about every full size ship has public rooms to offer as meeting space for groups. If you’d like to make such arrangements, ask us to contact the cruise line’s group sales department to coordinate schedules and arrange for any catering needs. Your ship may also be able to offer audio-visual equipment.
When will my luggage be delivered to my cabin?
Your baggage will be delivered to your cabin about two hours after you board the ship. It is highly recommended that each person bring a carry-on bag with a change of clothes, medication, sunscreen, bathing suit, camera etc to hold you over until your bags arrive. Your vacation begins when you step aboard. You shouldn’t have to wait for your bags to arrive to start having fun. Come prepared with a carry-on bag.
How much cash should I bring?
How much cash you bring depends upon your personal spending habits, but you should plan to have enough to cover an incidentals while you are on your way to the cruise ship, in port, and on the way home. Incidental expenses can include meals and snacks at the airport, gratuities for skycaps, cruise ship porters, parking at the airport or the pier, and taxis. These same charges could apply for every day that you are in a cruise port of call. While in port, most shops accept traveler’s checks and major credit cards.
When you are onboard the ship, you will only need cash in the casino. All onboard charges including alcohol, spas, sodas, gratuities will go on your credit card. Some ships and most ports of call have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) for your convenience.
As a rule of thumb, two people may want to budget a minimum of $100 in cash or traveler’s checks between them for every day that you are not on the cruise ship to just to cover possible incidental charges. This would be on top of anything you plan to spend in the casino, on souvenirs, etc.
How do I pay for my purchases onboard the ship?
All financial transactions on a cruise ship are done through and onboard account you set up when you board the ship. You will provide a credit card or a cash deposit and then all purchases will be applied to your stateroom. You can conveniently charge all of your onboard purchases (beverages, spa services, ship souvenirs, pictures and shore excursions) to your cabin. On the last night of the cruise, a statement of all of your charges will be delivered to you and charged to your credit card.
If you do not have a credit card, you can leave cash deposit upon embarkation to open your onboard account. You may need to replenish this cash throughout the week if the purser’s desk notifies you. Any unused cash will be refunded to you at the end of the cruise. Cash is accepted in the casino.
How do I find out about the ship’s daily activities? Every evening during your cruise, a daily bulletin will be delivered to your cabin with a complete agenda of all activities, events, movie schedules and special programs. This agenda will list the offered activities, hours of restaurants and shops as well as casino hours. Children’s activities are listed on a separate sheet, so check with the purser’s desk or your cabin steward for a copy