Cruise FAQs

Frequently Asked Cruise Questions

Q: What is included in my cruise price?

A: Your cruise will include shipboard accommodations, meals, and most of the entertainment while aboard the ship.

Q: What is not included in my cruise price?

A: The price will not include organized shore excursions, carbonated soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, photographs, gratuities, medical services, casino expenditures, spa and beauty treatments or other miscellaneous items you have purchase on board.

Q: What is the difference between an Inside and an Outside stateroom?

A: An inside stateroom will have artwork or draperies on the walls and is considered a "No View" room. An outside stateroom will have a window or porthole and is considered an "Ocean View" room.

Q: Are the cruise itineraries subject to change?

A: Yes, all cruise itineraries are subject to change. With guest safety as the number one priority for the cruiselines, on the rare occasions that weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances may occur, it may cause a change in the original itinerary. In these circumstances, the cruiseline staff will do everything within their power to visit an alternate port-of-call.

Q: Is cruising right for honeymooners?

A: Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere that's just right for romance... cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars). Most lines provide special services -- from Sunday or Monday departures to champagne and breakfast in bed. For more details just check the Cruise Guide for Honeymooners. Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your marriage vows.

Q: Are there non-smoking areas?

A: Virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking sections in the public rooms. In fact, many dining rooms, and even some entire ships, are now totally smoke-free, reflecting passenger requests. If you want your dining table in a non-smoking area, just tell your CLIA-affiliated travel agent. On board, you can advise the maitre d'.

Q: Are there different classes of service onboard?

A: Today's cruise ships are "one class". The ships facilities are available to everyone onboard.

Q: Will I get bored or feel confined?

A: It's not likely. Most ships are a good size and it usually takes a couple of days to fully explore the different options available on board. You can rest by the poolside, join a dance class or sports activity, see a movie, or try your luck in a casino - the options are endless! In addition to the activities onboard, you also have the opportunity to explore new and exciting ports-of-call.

Q: When can I board the ship?

A: Embarkation normally begins approximately 4 hours prior to departure. Passengers must be on board no later than 30 minutes prior to sailing.

Q: What if I have medication?

A: Please carry any medication in its original bottle. It is recommended that medications be carried in your pocket or purse so they will be available when needed because checked luggage may not be accessible at all times. If you are using any prescription drugs, vitamins, or other medication on a regular basis, you should bring an adequate supply since they may not be readily available aboard the ship or in ports-of-call. Commonly used medications may be purchased at the office of the ship's doctor.

Q: What about electrical appliances?

A: Hair dryers and electrical razors can be brought with you. Staterooms for most cruiselines are capable of handling all normal appliances and are equipped with 110 volts AC. Some appliances may require an adapter.

Q: Are there laundry services aboard ship?

A: Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Many ships also have self-service launderettes.

Q: Is there parking available at the pier?

A: There is parking at major piers. The exact rates and style of lot vary.

Q: How do I get to the ship?

A: If you have airfare through the cruiseline, a representative from the cruiseline will meet you by the baggage claim. They will escort you to the transfer shuttle that goes from the airport to the pier and back again after the cruise. Most cruiselines offer these services for an additional cost to passengers providing their own airfare. View US Pier Directions

Q: Can I bring visitors on the ship?

A: For safety and security reasons, no visitors will be allowed on board the ship.

Q: Will I get seasick?

A: Seasickness is not common on larger cruise ships. Larger ships are equipped with stabilizers designed to minimize the feeling of movement. If you should feel queasy, medicine is available from your stateroom steward or the ship's doctor. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider consulting your physician prior to departure.

Q: Will I need a tuxedo?

A: Many cruiselines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise -- while on others, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don't buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. Plus, many ships offer tuxedo rental services.

Q: How do I pay for onboard purchases?

A: For your convenience, you may charge most of your purchases on board. An account may be set up for you when you board the ship and purchases will be billed automatically to your major credit card. If you don't have a credit card you may use a cash deposit ranging from $100 for the week to $100 per day depending on the cruiseline. Traveler's checks may be cashed at the Purser's Desk to cover gratuities and can be used to pay off your onboard account if you do not wish to have the charges applied to your credit card.

Q: What about tipping?

A: The following are suggestions only. Please remember to recognize outstanding service. Waiters and stateroom stewards - $3.00 per passenger per day, Assistant Waiters - $1.50 per passenger per day, Head Waiters - $2.50 per passenger per day, and a 15% gratuity is added to most bar and wine checks.

Q: What's an air/sea cruise?

A: A fly/cruise or an air/sea vacation package includes, along with your cruise ticket, either free or reduced-cost airfare to and from the ship's port of embarkation. These convenient money-saving options are available from most major North American cities and include ground transfers between the airport and ship as well as baggage handling.

Q: What are my dining options?

A: Most cruiselines offer both a Main Seating and Late Seating in the main dining room. Dining preferences may be requested at the time of the booking, however no requests are guaranteed. Your seating and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. Either seating will allow you to see all shows and experience everything your cruise has to offer. As an alternative to traditional seatings, some cruiselines now offer "freestyle"dining. This option provides guests with the flexibility to dine when they wish. You may also choose your dinner companions and request specific table sites rather than being assigned to a particular time and table for the duration of the cruise. For your convenience, in addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets, many ships also offer complimentary room service. Low-fat and vegetarian entrees are often available at lunch and dinner.

Q: Can singles have fun on a cruise?

A: Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties for singles -- early on, so you can get to know people right away. Many ships even offer social hosts who can be dance partners, dinner companions or a fourth at cards. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. If you ask them, many cruiselines will even find you a roommate to share a cabin so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more on a great vacation.

Q: What if I'm on a special diet?

A: Special meals are available to accommodate different dietary needs. Requests should be made at the time of booking.

Q: What if I am celebrating my anniversary/birthday?

A: If you are celebrating a special occasion on the ship, we can add that information to your reservation in advance or you can let the maitre'd know. Cruiselines love to celebrate with you.

Q: What is an assembly drill? Do I have to go?

A: These are generally referred to as lifeboat drills. Everyone on board the ship is required to attend a compulsory safety drill before departure to comply with Coast Guard and international safety regulations.

Q: Do I have to participate in the cruiseline's organized activities?

A: Your activities are all up to you. You can try everything or just lounge by the pool. It's all your choice!

Q: Do cruiselines have activities for kids?

A: As more and more families begin to cruise, most cruiselines have developed supervised programs for kids. These programs are designed to give your kids a chance to go swimming, play sports, watch movies and get to know other kids on the ship, while giving you an opportunity for some worry free rest and relaxation. Some children may be too young to participate in certain programs.

Q: What's available to do in the evenings?

A: Nightly activities are just as exciting during the day. Test your luck in the casinos, whoop it up in the nightclub, take in a show, or maybe stay up to watch a breathtaking sunrise over the sea.

Q: Can we stay in touch with the outside?

A: Very easily. Most ships have televisions in the rooms plus a daily newsletter with headlines. There are usually phones in the rooms or you can have the ship's radio operator contact the mainland for you. Also, many ships have fax capabilities or internet lounges. There are charges to contact the mainland in any form. Please check with the purser to find out exact amounts.

Q: Are the casinos and shops open all day?

A: They are open while you are at sea; however, they will remain closed while the ship is in port.

Q: How will I know what activities are happening on the ship?

A: Your stateroom steward will leave a news update in your room, which will provide a schedule of events for the following day. This update will detail the events and their locations and times.

Q: How do I pay for purchases in port?

A: Most shops accept major credit cards and traveler's checks. Some ships and ports-of-call have ATMs; however, they may not always be in service and fees are involved.

Q: What is there to do in port?

A: There is something ashore for everyone. Each port offers a unique experience where you can explore on your own, book an organized shore excursions from the cruiseline, go shopping, relax on the beach or take in some historical sites.

Q: Do I have to get off the ship at every port-of-call?

A: Not if you don't want to. You are more than welcome to stay on the ship and relax by the pool or participate in some of the organized activities.

Q: What do I need to know regarding the embarkation and disembarkation processes?

A: Your cruise experience begins as soon as you step aboard the ship. Boarding for the cruise usually begins around 1 PM. We recommend that you arrive at the pier around noontime. It takes about an hour to have your documents checked and processed, get your onboard account card, and line up for boarding. On the final night of the cruise, you should be packed and have your luggage in the hallway by 2 AM. Make sure to leave out your clothes for the next day, as well as your sleepwear. In the morning, breakfast is served early; then guests go to public rooms to begin the disembarkation process. This allows the stateroom stewards time to clean the stateroom for the next guest. Please not that you may disembark in groups. Wait in the public room until your group is called. Be sure to bring a carry-on for your sleepwear and toiletries. Once off the ship, you may pick up your luggage.

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