Ask the cruise specialist

Find your question below and click on it for the answer.

 
Why take a cruise? Will I need a tuxedo?
Where can I go on a cruise? Can I take a cruise if I am single?
How long is a cruise? Is there an age requirement?
What is included in the price? What is the alcohol policy?
What costs extra? Do I need a special adapter for my hair dryer or razor?
What is a Sea Pass card? What are dining assignments?
What is the tipping policy? Can I get a special diet?
Can I purchase trip insurance? What if I don't like my tablemates?
Can I extend my vacation? Do I have to eat in the dining room every night?
What are the differences between cabins? Are there non-smoking areas?
Can I book a cruise at the last minute? Can I celebrate a special occasion?
Are all cruise ships the same? Is a cruise right for a honeymoon?
Do I need a passport? Can I cruise if I am pregnant?
Can I take the family on a cruise? Can I stay in touch with the rest of the world?
What is there to do on the ship? Are there medical services on board?
Are there casinos on board? Will I get seasick?
What can I do in port? Are there laundry facilities on board?
What should I pack? This all sounds too good to be true, is it?



Why take cruise?

A cruise is the best vacation value, because it's one convenient package.  You don't have to worry about connections, making dinner reservations, or packing and unpacking.  You can lie back and get pampered, dine like never before, enjoy one great show after another, and so much more.

 

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Where can I go on a cruise?

Almost anywhere you want.  Cruises visit more than 1800 ports worldwide and practically every destination accessible to water.  You also have the convenience of departing from almost anywhere in the world, whether it be Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Rome, Athens, you name it.

 

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How long is a cruise?

A cruise can be as long or as short as you want.  Cruises range from weekend getaways to 3-month world tours.

 

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What is included in the price?

Almost everything is included.  Your stateroom, transportation (port to port), ground transfers, all meals, sports activities, parties, entertainment, all port charges and taxes, and airfare.

 

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What costs extra?

Not much.  Drinks, gambling, spa treatments, and shore excursions cost extra.  Tips are also an additional charge, but in most cases, you can pay those in advance with your Sail & Sign Card.

 

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What is a Sea Pass card?

Cash is not used on board except in the casino.  Every thing you charge is placed on your Sea Pass card, which is linked to your major credit card.  If you choose not to pay with a credit card, there is the option to pay by cash or traveler's check at the end of the cruise.  You decide at the beginning of the cruise how you are going to pay.

 

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What is the tipping policy?

Tipping policies vary on each ship.  Some ships have the tips included in the price, while others have a "no tipping required" policy.  As a rule, the price is $3.50 per guest per day for the waiter and cabin steward, and $2.00 per guest per day for the busboy.  This information is provided with your documents before you travel.

 

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Can I purchase trip insurance?

Yes, there is always an option to buy insurance.  The cost varies from cruise to cruise.

 

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Can I extend my vacation?

Definitely!  You can extend your vacation with either a pre- or post- cruise package.  These value priced packages include hotel accommodations, room tax, and transfers or car rentals.

 

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What are the differences between cabins?

Cabins are classified by category.  The categories are broken into classes of interior cabins, ocean-view cabins, balcony cabins, and suites.  The lower the category, the lower the price.  The most significant difference between each class is location on the ship.  With the exception of balcony cabins and suites, most cabins are the same size and have the same amenities.  There are cabins that are handicapped accessible, and can accommodate three or four people.  There are also adjoining cabins.

 

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Can I book a cruise at the last minute?

There are so many cruises that there is a great chance of being able to get on one at the last minute.  It is recommended to book early for the best deal, but there can be great rates available at the last moment, too.

 

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Are all cruise ships the same?

Hardly!  Ships range from 200 feet long to over 1000 feet long.  You can sail with 100 guest or 5,400 guest.  Some ships feature basketball courts, miniature golf courses, ice skating rinks, rock climbing wall and so much more.  While others feature sternwheelers or sails.  The type of cruise you go on is based on what you want to do while sailing.

 

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Do I need a passport?

Currently, the only destination where you do not need a passport is the Bahamas.  You will need a passport to travel to any other destination.

 

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Can I take the family on a cruise?

But of course!  Most cruises are designed for families.  Most cruise lines offer great children and teen programs with supervised activities for kids as young as 3 and as old as 17.  Some even offer babysitting services (for a nominal fee) so that the parents can enjoy some time alone.  If your children enjoy swimming, movies, video games, sports, computers, and adventure, then a cruise is just what they are asking for.  The youth counselors are highly trained professionals.  Best of all, children generally travel at a much lower rate.

 

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What is there to do on the ship?

It is more like what isn't there to do.  You can take a walk on the ocean, get a massage at the spa, get in a workout in some of the best gyms in the world, enjoy a leisurely afternoon, listen to talks on the ports of call, catch a Broadway show, have a drink with some friends, dance the night away in a nightclub and so much more.  You can do as much or as little as you want.  What you do is up to you.

 

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Are there casinos on board?

If lady luck is on your side then the casino is where you want to be.  Most ships have full casinos that include slot machines, roulette, black jack, craps, poker, and more.

 

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What can I do in port?

There are guided shore excursions that you can take when in port.  These are usually provided to you before you leave or once you get on board.  There is a reasonable fee for these shore excursions and they usually cover the best places in each port.  There is always someone at the shore excursion desk that can help you decide which tour is best for you.  Also, in most cases, the cruise director provides a lecture about each port of call at some point during the cruise.  If you want to go off on your own, that is always an option.  Just check with the shore excursion desk to ensure a safe experience and for any laws that you might be unfamiliar with.

 

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What should I pack?

Pack like you would for any resort.  After all, a cruise ship is a floating resort.  Cruise vacations are casual by day.  Evening attire can vary from each ship.  There is usually a formal night where you have the opportunity to meet the Captain.  In a case like this, a cocktail dress or dark suit is suitable.  It is always a good idea to check what the weather is like in each port to determine the best type of clothes.  Most ships have pools and Jacuzzis that are covered so that they may be used in any weather.

 

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Will I need a tuxedo?

Not necessarily.  The formal nights are a big part of the fun, but don't buy a tuxedo just for that.  A dark suit is perfectly fine.  If you do want to wear a tuxedo, then you may bring your own or rent one on board the ship.  There is usually a form to fill out and send in ahead of time, so that your tux will be waiting for you in your cabin.

 

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Can I take a cruise if I am single?

Yes!  Cruises are ideal for singles because it is so easy to meet people.  In most cases, ships have single cabins or single rates for a double occupancy cabin.  There is also the choice of the cruise line finding you a roommate to share the cabin if you ask for it.

 

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Is there an age requirement?

There are certain age restrictions.  On most ships, no guest under the age of 21 will be booked in a cabin unless accompanied by an adult 25 years of age or older.  In some cases, the minimum age is 18.  This limit will be waived in cases of married couples (proof of marriage is required) and in cases where minor children are traveling with their parents in adjacent cabins.

 

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What is the alcohol policy?

No passenger is allowed to bring alcohol on board the ship.  Any alcohol purchased in the ship's gift shop will be held until the last night of the cruise.  Also, alcohol will NOT be served to a person under the age of 21, proof of age will be required.  These are federal laws.

 

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Do I need a special adapter for my hair dryer or razor?

Most ships have 110-volt outlets.  Also, some ships even come equipped with hair dryers in the cabins.

 

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What are dining assignments?

On most ships, there are 2 dining assignments.  This allows for all of the passengers to relax and enjoy their meals.  Early dining is breakfast at 7:00 AM, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:15 PM.  Late dining is breakfast at 9:30 AM, lunch at 1:30 PM, and dinner at 8:30 PM.  Times may vary on each ship.

 

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Can I get a special diet?

Yes!  Most menus have vegetarian items, but ships can accommodate almost any diet.  Arrangements need to be made in advance.

 

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What if I don't like my tablemates?

Rarely is this ever a problem.  If it is, just speak with the maitre d' and he'll make every effort possible to seat you with other people, discreetly and politely.  If you choose, you can make a special request for a table for two.

 

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Do I have to eat in the dining room every night?

Of course not!  There is always an alternative dining.  Most ships have dinner served buffet style in another part of the ship.  Also, most ships have other restaurants to dine in.  Some of these restaurants require advance reservations, so it is always best to check ahead of time.

 

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Are there non-smoking areas?

Today, virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking areas.  There is even an entire ship that is non-smoking.  Dining rooms on most ships are non-smoking as well.

 

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Can I celebrate a special occasion?

Absolutely!  Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and sing "Happy Whatever" to honor the occasion.  You can also arrange something more special, such as flowers or champagne, ahead of time.

 

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Is a cruise right for a honeymoon?

Without a doubt!  You can even have your wedding on board a cruise ship.  There is nothing more romantic than sitting under a starlit sky with the sound of waves crashing against the ship, or strolling along the deck as the sun is setting, or champagne and breakfast in bed.  There are special packages that you or someone you know can purchase to make your honeymoon extra special.

 

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Can I cruise if I am pregnant?

Cruising is perfect for pregnant women, however there are a few restrictions.  Be sure to check with your doctor.

 

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Can I stay in touch with the rest of the world?

Quite easily.  Ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, sports scores, and stock quotes.  All staterooms are equipped with telephones and televisions.  Plus, more and more ships are putting in internet cafes, where you can surf the web or send and receive emails.

 

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Are there medical services on board?

Virtually every cruise ship has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency.

 

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Will I get seasick?

Doubtful. Popular cruise itineraries boast some of the calmest waters.  In addition, stabilizers on board, advanced technology for accurate weather, and the shear size of the ships, for the most part, have eliminated motion.

 

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Are there laundry facilities on board?

Almost all ships have some type of laundry facilities.  Some have self-serve laundromats, while most have dry cleaning services.

 

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This all sounds too good to be true, is it?

The one major complaint is that it ends far too soon.  Once you've tried cruising, you will never want to travel any other way!

 

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