Advisories & News
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|Getting A Passport|
|Prevent Motion Sickness with SeaBands|
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|Q: Are there laundry services onboard the 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.
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: Are there medical services onboard?
A: 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.
|Q: Can I book at the last minute?
A: It is strongly recommended that you book well in advance in order to ensure you get exactly the ship, cabin, sailing date and dinner seating you want. Also, many cruise lines offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. However, sometimes space is available at the last minute due to cancellations, so just give us a call to speak with a cruise specialist if you have a last-minute sailing date in mind.
|Q: Can I extend my cruise vacation?
A: Cruise lines feature special pre- or post-cruise hotel packages that allow you to extend your vacation in either your port of embarkation or debarkation.
|Q: Can I order room service?
A: Cruise lines do offer room service and some offer it 24 hours a day.
|Q: Can I use my hair dryer or shaver on the ship?
A: Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms. But do check with your CLIA-affiliated travel agent or agency to be sure. Most ships even feature hair-dryers in your cabin.
|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 just for singles–early on, so you can get to know people right away. Many ships even offer gentlemen 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 cruise lines 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. For more details see the Cruise Guide for Singles.
|Q: Can we celebrate a special occasion?
A: Absolutely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and a chorus of "Happy Whatever" to honor the occasion. Your birthday or anniversary can be more festive with champagne, flowers, or canapes. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise your CLIA-affiliated travel agent in advance.
|Q: Do I need insurance?
A: A Cruise World strongly recommends that all passengers be covered by travel insurance or cancellation protection. If your current coverage is not adequate we can provide you with the insurance you need to ensure your peace of mind. Be sure to discuss this with your cruise specialist.
|Q: How do I book a cruise?
A: To book your cruise all you have to do is find the sailing you want online by choosing your destination, clicking on when you want to sail and then designating the specific sailing you are interested in. When you've made your selection, call one of our cruise specialists' toll free at 1-800-442-9278 Our cruise specialist will then ask you for your credit card number and the necessary information to complete the transaction.
You may choose to specify the sailing you want by sending your request online. If so, you'd click on the "Sign Up/Inquiry" link off a specific sailing page. When you've completed the form, a cruise specialist will contact you within 24 hours of the next business day to complete the booking of your cruise. If you're not sure about which cruise you want to take, don't see what you want, or have any questions or concerns - simply call or send an e-mail to a cruise specialist.
|Q: How do I pay for any onboard items that are not included?
A: Generally, upon pre-boarding or boarding you must provide a credit card for an onboard account. You will be provided with a card from the cruise ship that enables you to charge services onboard. Whether you want to buy a drink, shop in on board boutiques, or take an extra excursion you don't have to use cash or travelers checks. This only applies to purchases made on your cruise ship and not in any port of call. Before disembarkation you will be given the opportunity to settle your account. You may use credit cards, cash or travelers checks to take care of any charges.
|Q: If I cancel my cruise will I receive a refund?
A: The refund policies vary from cruise line to cruise line. In general, in order to receive a full refund notice of cancellation must be in writing and received by the cruise line by the deadline stipulated on your reservation agreement. Your cruise specialist will be able to provide you with full details. Travel insurance is strongly recommended
|Q: Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?
A: More and more cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines provide plenty of supervised activities for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, they'll love a family cruise. You'll find that children adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won't have to wonder what they're up to every minute. The youth counsellers will help keep them busy and entertained. Ships even offer youth camps that cater to all ages, from toddlers to teens. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate. For more details, see the Cruise Guide for Children.
|Q: Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value?
A: Yes! Cruising is the best vacation value! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget. Your cruise fare includes all meals, your stateroom, on-board activities and entertainment, plus transportation from port to port. You'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling. See the chart to compare the value of a cruise to the total cost of other vacations. You'll be amazed!
|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 under the stars and so much more you'll remember forever.
|Q: Is there a charge for entertainment?
A: Never. On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There's no cover, minimum, or charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live, films first-rate and all included in your cruise fare.
|Q: What about passengers with special needs?
A: Cruise lines work hard to accommodate and assist passengers that have special needs. To receive appropriate assistance, you must make sure you inform your cruise specialist in writing at the time of booking detailing any special medical or physical need or other relevant information such as wheelchair characteristics. Passengers with special needs should be self-sufficient and we recommend that they travel with a companion to provide required assistance. Tendering may preclude passengers with wheelchairs from going ashore to certain ports of call.
In addition, please note:
All passengers must insure that they are medically and physically fit for travel and that such travel will not endanger themselves or others. Any condition requiring medical attention must be reported to a cruise specialist at in writing when the booking is requested, or if such a condition arises after the booking is requested prior to the embarkation date for that passenger's cruise. Passengers dependent on oxygen or requiring oxygen therapy must meet certain requirements before boarding the vessel. Passengers who are entering their third trimester of pregnancy by the beginning of their cruise will not be accepted. Professional medical services are available. At least one qualified physician and two registered nurses are normally in attendance on your cruise ship.
|Q: What are the different classes of service?
A: Ships today are all one-class. Different prices charged are based on stateroom size and location. Whatever category you choose you will enjoy the same service, menus, activities and entertainment as everyone else onboard.
|Q: Will I get bored? Feel confined?
A: Hardly! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no land-based resort can offer. There's plenty of room. And it will probably take you two or three days just to discover everything that's on board. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring many exciting ports of call.
Cruise ships are like floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer. You can lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or watch the ever-changing seascape. If you're more active, join in exercise or dance classes, and sports contests. Practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or take some fresh air on the jogging deck. Swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can also see a feature film, attend an enrichment lecture by renowned experts, play backgammon or bridge. And that's just when you're on board! For more details, see the Cruise Guide for Active Adults.
|Q: What documentation is required?
A: This depends on the type of cruise and your destination. For US and Canadian citizens, have either:
1) A valid passport or
2)A birth certificate or a certified copy of a birth certificate. This document must be accompanied by an official photo identification, such as a valid driver's license.
3)U.S. naturalization certificate accompanied by an official photo identification, such as a driver's license.
Non-U.S. citizens who have previously been admitted to the United States for permanent residence must carry their passport and Alien Registration Receipt Card, Form I-151. Resident aliens not in possession of this form should obtain one at the nearest office of the U.S. Immigration Service. All other non-U.S./non-Canadian citizens must have valid passports and any necessary visas. Such passengers should verify the existing identification requirements for their particular travel situation as these requirements may change.
|Q: What's an air/sea cruise?
A: A fly/cruise or an air/sea cruise vacation package includes either free or specially-reduced airfare along with your cruise ticket. 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 is the food like and what if I have special dietary needs?
A: 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. But, 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, vegetarian or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. Best of all, the one thing you'll never see on a cruise ship menu is a price. Because all your meals are included!
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 your cruise specialist when you book your cruise.
|Q: What if someone wants to contact me on the ship?
A: Cruise lines usually have a phone number that can be used to contact you while the ship is at sea. You can also the the AT&T High Seas operator connect a call to your cabin on the ship by calling (800) SEA-CALL.
|Q: What are the different meal seatings?
A: Some ships' dining rooms can accommodate all passengers in one "seating." But most ships have two seatings, which differ only by time. Typically 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late–then have your CLIA-affiliated travel agent request your preference when you book your cruise. Whichever seating you choose, remember that one of the best ways to make new friends is to ask for a large table. In addition, some ships offer alternative dining rooms, such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Southwestern themed restaurants, separate from the main dining room.
|Q: What about tipping?
A: 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. (A few cruise lines include tipping in the price and will so inform you.) Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.
|Q: Are there non-smoking areas?
A: Today, virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking tables and/or sections in the dining rooms and lounges. In fact, many cruise ship 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, in "open-seating situations," you can advise your waiter or the maitre d'.
|Q: What can I do in port?
A: So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (often referred to as shore excursions). Search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, a bicycle down the side of a 10,000 foot volcano, or a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a waterskiing boat. If there's still time, play golf or tennis. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world's best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel, or scuba dive. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs. In short, cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of new destinations and try all the things you've ever dreamed of doing, while never having to pack and unpack!
|Q: Will I get seasick?
A: All modern ships are equipped with stabilizers to minimize side-to-side rolling. In most cases you will feel no motion at all. However if you tend to be affected by motion sickness, it is recommended that you bring medication along with you. Otherwise, medication is available through the Doctor onboard.
|Q: Will I need a tuxedo?
A: On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don't buy a tuxedo for the trip. If you do want to dress the nines, many ships offer tuxedo rental services. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are perfectly fine for the dressiest occasions.
|Q: Why can't I always get my preferred airline seating?
A: Airlines hold up to 80 percent of all advanced seat assignments for airport check-in. For example, a standard 737 aircraft has approximately 110 coach class seats. If 80 percent of those seats are set aside for airport check-in, there are only 20-22 seats for pre-assignment. Of those, 7 would be aisle seats, 7 would be window seats and 7 would be center seats.
|Q: Why do airlines hold back seat assignments for airport check-in?
A: Airlines overbook their flights. If most people holding over-booked reservations show up for departure, the airline wants to control who gets "bumped." As an example, travelers without seat assignments who check-in late for their flight will likely get bumped when flights are over booked. As a result, it is better to have a center seat assignment than no seat assignment at all.
What to Wear and Pack
You may not know it but you already have a CRUISE WARDROBE IN YOUR CLOSET! That’s because the only thing different about packing for a cruise vs. other vacations is that you may want to change clothes more often during the day because of the different things there are to do out on deck, indoors, and ashore.
You’ll want CASUAL COMFORTABLE play clothes and bathing suits aboard ship, trim sports wear for going ashore, and dressy or fun things for evening. If you have formal clothes that you rarely get a chance to wear, bring them! A ship is the perfect opportunity to enjoy looking your elegant best. Gentlemen, if you have a tuxedo and you like how you look in it, by all means bring it. But if you prefer to avoid too much formality, that’s fine. Just take a dark suit and you’ll feel your handsome best.
Aboard ship, the suggested dress for each night will be announced in your Cruise News daily program. However, you’ll quickly discover that because of the WIDE VARIETY OF PEOPLE CRUISING TODAY, the interpretation of dress code are equally varied. The most important thing to remember is to dress to please yourself, and to have a good time!
THREE CASUAL NIGHTS. This means jacket and tie are not required. Sports shirts and slacks (or even jeans on Country Western Night or 50s & 60s Night) are the standard. Women should also dress for comfort and fun, nothing fancy is expected. Bring some colorful bright clothes for the Big Band night if you want.
TWO INFORMAL NIGHTS. Midway between casual and formal. This usually means coat and tie for men, which could be a suit or perhaps a blazer and slacks. (Some men will forget the tie altogether). For the women, a simple cocktail dress, a caftan or a nice outfit you might wear to work or out to dinner would do. Or wear something frivolous and fancy.
TWO FORMAL NIGHTS. Formal suggests a dark suit or tuxedo for the men. For the women, dressy cocktail gowns (long, short, or in between) or slinky trousers with tunics, or hostess skirts, etc. In the Caribbean, fewer than half the men wear tuxedo these days, so whichever you choose, you’ll be in good company.
Sunglasses, a hat or visor, and your medication are a must (but remember to keep medications in your carry on luggage). Even in the Caribbean, it can be chilly out on deck in the morning or after sundown. Everyone should pack at least one sweater or wind-breaker on warm weather cruises. Some people find they also need a sweater, shawl or jacket indoors at night when the air conditioning may be too cool.
There may be a passenger talent night, so don’t forget your sheet music, kazoo, or tap shoes if you think you’ll want to participate. Take enough film and extra batteries for your camera so that you don’t waste time (or money!) buying them in foreign ports. A small pocket calculator can come in very handy for foreign currency exchange during your overseas shopping sprees.
Take a sweat suit or comfortable easy clothes to jump into when you wake up late with just a few minutes to get breakfast, or to see the sunrise as you enter port, or when you want to go to the gym/sauna/health club. If you work out, take your work-out clothes with you, including your shoes, because there are ample opportunities for exercise aboard ship.
Bring a travel alarm clock or watch with an alarm. Although wake up service may be available, it is difficult sometimes to tell what time it is in your cabin especially if you have booked an inside stateroom. If you have a cabin mate, its also easier to set your own individual time you want to wake up with an alarm clock.
If you look forward to reading in a deck chair, do take your own selection of BOOKS. On board the ship, the libraries are limited in content, and shipboard boutiques stock only the same type of books you’d find at the airport.
Your travel documents, and valuable such as jewelry, cameras, or irreplaceable items of clothing should always be HAND CARRIED. Don’t entrust them to anyone to carry for you.
Before Leaving Home
Call your airline to VERIFY YOUR FLIGHTS (numbers and schedule). Periodically they make revisions that could change your departure time without notification.
Leave your contact information with family and friends so they can reach you if necessary.
You must travel with PROOF OF CITZENSHIP. A valid passport will be required of all Caribbean cruises as of December 2006. Until then, the original or certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate with a current picture i.d will suffice.
If youre worried about being SEASICK, theres Mazarine at the pursers desk free of charge that you can take one hour before sailing. The newest remedy for seasickness is based on the principle of accupressure. By wearing The Sea Band snugly around each wrist, pressure is applied to the point which controls nausea. Hence no seasickness! Get them before you go at your local drug store.
Attach your cruise lines BAGGAGE TAGS before you check your luggage so that its readily identifiable, everywhere.
Plan to enjoy everything that is different from what you may have expected. This is one of the great pleasures of vacation travel.. to experience life differently than you do at home!
If you are using the cruise lines AIR/SEA PACKAGE, look for their uniformed representative at the airport baggage claim area. Claim your own luggage so that youre sure that it has arrived, then the cruise line representative will assist you to waiting motor coaches for the transfer to the ships pier. Additional details from the cruise line are included with your final documents. Read these carefully, especially if you using the cruise lines hotel package before the cruise.
There is often some waiting time at the pier ( to allow the crew to prepare the cabins for your arrival), so you may want to have a book with you (or how about reading up on your ports of call!) to help pass the time pleasantly.
Representatives of the cruise line will greet you at the pier, and your CRUISE TICKET will be collected before you board. Please fill out these PASSENGER REGISTRATION FORMS or clearance forms before you get to the pier. This will save you time and confusion at embarkation.
Cruise ship CABINS ARE NOT LIKE HOTEL ROOMS. They are designed for your comfort and convenience, and will efficiently accommodate you and your belongings, but they may seem smaller than you remember from the brochures. Ships devote maximum space to the public areas where passengers spend a maximum amount of time. Once you unpack and settle into your own cabin, youll find that its quite homey, even if it s not like what youve seen on Love Boat.
Your LUGGAGE will be delivered directly to your cabin, but dont expect it right away. It can sometimes take several hours to reach you, so carry with you anything youll need immediately on arrival, for example, a change of clothes or toiletries. If your luggage still hasnt shown up by 30 minutes before sailing, contact the Pursers Office.
Youll be meeting your CABIN STEWARD soon after arrival. He will keep your cabin tidy, keep your ice bucket filled, and your towels fresh and clean. They can bring you breakfast in your cabin, plus room service at other times of the day. They can answer most all of your questions, and youll generally find a much higher level of service than youve ever experienced in a hotel.
Your electric hair dryer, curlers, or shaver should work in your stateroom. For those small ironing jobs, you may want to bring a small iron with you to save time and money with the ships dry cleaning service.
Aboard ship, EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE IN A GREAT MOOD. So its easy to have fun. Pick out a few people youd like to get to know and make it a point to meet them. Dont wait to be sought out. Just smile and say Hello. Remember, youre all in the same boat. If you enjoy meeting people, and would like to make friends quickly, participate in everything! Volunteer for games and have fun playing.
Another way to meet people fast is by throwing a cocktail party for the people youd like to know better. Do this early in the cruise, and you can usually be assured of RECIPROCAL INVITATIONS during the rest of the trip! Your room steward can help with extra glasses and ice for small party in your cabin.
Make it a practice to review your ships daily program, CRUISE NEWS, which be delivered to your room each night so that you can make plans for the following day. Keep reading your CRUISE NEWS and plan to try every activity or sample every experience youre curious about, early in the cruise. Dont wait until the last night to discover that youve been missing the dance combo at cocktail hour every night because you always took a nap instead; or to discover that youve been missing all the fun during the pool games because you always went to a movie. Try a massage and sauna, try sheet shooting, try a pedicure. Spoil yourself with new experiences.
If you like a have a massage, or have your hair or nails done while aboard ship, make your appointment at the BEAUTY SALON early, since certain periods get booked quickly, particularly before formal nights. (The charges for these personal services are usually less than what youd pay at home).
Inquire at the Pursers Office shortly after boarding about SAFE-DEPOSIT BOXES. Most ships have them available for a nominal charge; bout only a limited number, so its first come, first served.
A confirmation of the DINING ROOM SEATING requested for you should be in your cabin when you arrive. If not, see the Matre d as soon as possible to make sure your request is on record. (During embarkation, or shortly thereafter, he will be available in one of the lounges for this purpose).
Dont forget to take the card confirming your TABLE NUMBER with you to the dining room on the first night or two, so that you know where to go. It is considered courteous to be on time (or no more than 10 minutes late) so that the dining room can function at its best in serving all passengers.
At dinner many people like to take turns HOSTING THE TABLE TO WINE, so feel free to initiate the suggestion. A 15% gratuity will be added to your wine bill for the services of your wine steward. If you have WINE left at the end of the meal, just ask your steward to save it for the next night.
Have AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE from the menu as you wish. Your waiter will be happy to bring you second portions. Have 3 shrimp appetizers, if you wish, and skip the main course altogether. Its all up to you. You can save menus as souvenirs of your cruise.
If you have a craving for a dish not on the menu, (perhaps Beef Wellington, a special pasta, or souffle), your Head Waiter can sometimes arrange for it to be SPECIALLY PREPARED for your table. Ask a day or two in advance and plan to tip him extra for this extra service. (Since special menu requests are generally made on behalf of your entire table, you should tip on behalf of all, based on time, effort, and overall manner in serving you, and the number at your table. $5-$20 is suggested.
Be adventuresome and TRY SOME of the new or exotic tastes offered aboard ship that you may not want to risk paying for at a restaurant back home, such as caviar or escargot. (If you dont like it, just send it back and try something else!)
If you decide to SKIP DINNER some evening or if you think you might like to have dinner ashore some night in port, its courteous to let your table mates or one of your waiters know in advance, just so they dont wait or worry unnecessarily about you.
Most ships offer the choice of having BREAKFAST AND LUNCH in the dining room, or a more causal buffet lunch or breakfast on deck or near the pool. Try both! (But not necessarily on the same day). And, on the days when you want to get an early start going ashore, have breakfast in your cabin while you dress.
Aboard Your Ship
If there is any part of the ship that youre interested in touring, speak to the Pursers Office. They may be able to arrange SPECIAL SHIP TOURS of the Bridge, Kitchen, Water Purifying System, Engine Room, etc.
If you plan to make use of the ships LAUNDRY OR PRESSING SERVICE, do so early in the cruise. Laundry takes a bit longer aboard ship than in a hotel, and neither laundry nor pressing are accepted towards the end of the cruise. Instructions on laundry or dry cleaning should be in your closet or introductory packet in your stateroom.
As in shore side CASINOS, the blackjack dealers are croupiers are trained to be impartial to the players at the tables. They may therefore appear to be unfriendly, but in reality they are observing the protocol of their jobs.
If your schedule permits, dont miss SUNDOWN! Its one of the prettiest times of the day, especially at sea. Its also one of the most peaceful times out on deck because everybody else is getting ready for dinner. So, check your daily program for the exact time, and schedule a romantic stroll, or invite friends for cocktails, or have your daily run or work-out, outdoors.
Many cruise lines offer free POSTCARDS OF YOUR SHIP at the Pursers Office. Stamps can also be purchased there for most of your ports of call.
If youre curious about what OTHER TYPES OF CABINS are like, take a stroll through the other decks in them morning when the stewards are making up the rooms and you can get a good peek through the open doors.
With the exception of the Cunards QE2 Trans-Atlantic crossings, the tradition of reserving deck chairs is obsolete. With most cruise ships today, there are abundant chairs on deck for everyone to be comfortable.
There will be a PHOTOGRAPHER present at most events, and photos of the previous days activities will be posted by the next evening. If you want copies, its best to order them day by day because its easy to forget, and difficult for the photographer to locate your special choices later.
Shipboard photos arent cheap (between $10-$20 each), but its always fun to have at least one or two with the cruise lines name on them as SPECIAL SOUVENIRS. Photos are usually taken of each passenger (or couple) with the Captain at this welcome aboard party
thats always a nice one to keep! A TIP FOR SINGLES, on most ships the photographer will take pictures of all passengers as they first come aboard the ship. If you look over these photos when theyre displayed you can see whos traveling with whom, and whos traveling alone!
On arrival in port it always takes time for the ship to be cleared and tour buses organized. Relax and enjoy the morning coffee - DON’T RUSH and wait in a hot crowded gangway. Enjoy your time and wait for the announcements that the way is clear (You’re going on a vacation; don’t turn the going ashore part into a rush hour commute). If you purchased your excursions in advance, meet with your group at the designated location onboard ship and proceed to the gangway together.
Don’t be startled if you notice that your legs are wobbly when you first go ashore. After you get your SEA LEGS, they sometimes readapt slowly to solid ground.
Be prepared to visit your post visits! Your cruise brochure tells you a few thing about each port and you’ll usually be given some information aboard ship the night before each port, but this can’t really prepare you fully. Contact the tourist bureaus for the ports you’re going to see, or GET A BOOK AND SOME MAPS of the your destinations and read up. (Perhaps designate one person in your party to take on this responsibility). This will enable you to decide if the shore excursions are for you, or if you’d rather be off and on your own to do and see all the thing that you personally find exciting.
When you go ashore, wear the most COMFORTABLE CLOTHES AND SHOES, and carry close to nothing - a small shoulder bag should suffice. (The more you carry, the sooner you’ll get tired).
Some ships are prepared to pack a BOX LUNCH for you to enjoy ashore. Ask at the Purser’s Office if this can be arranged, and make your request the night before you want it.
SHORE EXCURSIONS, if you choose to take them, they should be enjoyed - knowing that you’ve paid more than you would have if you had arranged it on your own. By paying a bit more, you’re eliminating the worry and responsibility of planning and operating your own tour. So enjoy it all! If the description of the shore excursions sound appealing to you, but you’d like to GO IT ON YOUR OWN, rather than on a tour bus with the group, ask several other people to join you, and share expenses.
For a pleasant relaxing day in the Caribbean, just take a taxi to the BEST HOTEL IN PORT and enjoy lunch by the pool. Wear or take your bathing suit. Chairs or towels can usually be rented for very little. This is a lovely way to check out a hotel for a future visit.
If SPORTS are your goal for the day in port, you must get an early start. Most diving or snorkeling trips and rentals of boats or fishing are easier to arrange first thing in the morning, because equipment is sometimes limited. Get there early to avoid disappointment.
Don’t forget your SUN BLOCK and a long sleeved shirt if you’re the type to turn lobster red.
The most important tip about going ashore is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO. Some people prefer the peace and quiet of a day aboard ship when everybody else is gone. So suit yourself.
Money and Tipping
Your cruise fare covers practically all of your shipboard expenses, so you dont need to carry as much cash as you would on other types of vacations. But, for your personal expenses such as purchases from the shipboard shops, bar or wine, photos, etc.. you will need CASH, TRAVELERS CHECKS OR CREDIT CARDS. Cruise lines have a SIGN-AS-YOU-GO system of payment of on-board purchases, so that youre not bothered with cash payments throughout the cruise. You can pay either by cash or credit card at the end of the trip. Some of the ships with highly computerized billing systems can even arrange to have your charges reflected directly in the normal credit card billing you receive at home. This can reduce your out-of-pocket cash flow for the trip, if you wish.
In Canada, most shops and restaurants are accustomed to accepting U.S. DOLLARS for purchases so you neednt worry about foreign exchange in these ports. Credit cards are accepted in most ports of call, but take more than joust one type of major card, since not all are accepted everywhere.
The safest way to carry extra cash is with TRAVELERS CHECKS, although you may find theyre not as convenient as cash if the banks are closed, or if the Pursers Office has limited currency of the country you want.
Tipping aboard ship is an old tradition. If youve never cruised, it may seem mysterious, but after you see the kind of PERSONAL ATTENTION you can receive on ship, youll probably find that, like most people, youll enjoy the opportunity to acknowledge the performance of your stewards in the dining room and your cabin service.
The general tipping guide vary form ship to ship. You can count on your Cruise Director to advise you (either in his disembarkation announcement or in the Cruise News) on specific suggestions appropriate for your cruise. Meanwhile, here are some general guidelines for planning purposes before you go: (Note: Never tip a ships officer.)
General Tipping Guidelines
Whom To Tip How Much (Per Person/Per Day)
Cabin Steward or Stewardess $3.50 Din Maitre d and/or Head Waiter Based on how attentive they were to you and whether you required any special services
The Pursers Office can provide you with ENVELOPES in which you can graciously present your gratuities, and on which you can write your various stewards names. Couples and friends traveling together can combine their tips in one envelope.
Set aside your cash for gratuities at the beginning of the trip, in SMALL BILLS, so that at the end you dont have to worry or search for the right amount. Gratuities are usually given in person ON THE LAST NIGHT of the cruise.
Some people believe in TIPPING AT THE BEGINNING of the cruise (half of the amount you might expect to offer in total), to alert their stewards that they expect to be well taken care of and will tip accordingly. Most, however, tip at journeys end.
The Last Day of Your Cruise
At the end of the cruise, to expedite quick unloading of baggage, most cruise lines request that you have your luggage packed and outside your door THE NIGHT BEFORE you arrive in your port of debarkation. A small hanging bag and/or a small carry-on bag make it easy for you to keep what you need with you the last night and still get your main baggage off as required.
Most cruise lines will arrange DEBARKATION PROCEDURES very efficiently to insure ample time for airport connections. But, if your air flight home is scheduled with little time to spare, ask at the Purser’s Office (a few days before arrival) if they can arrange for you to debark as early as possible. On most ships you will need specially color-coded tags to identify your baggage as belonging to the early debarkation group. If your baggage isn’t identified properly, it won’t matter how early you personally leave the ship because your baggage won’t be off loaded until its proper turn.
Be sure to fill out the cruise line’s COMMENT FORM which is distributed toward the end of the cruise. Your observations and rating do make a big difference to the management and shipboard staff of the line. Please let them know what you have especially enjoyed, as well as those things that you think should be improved.
If any aspect of your cruise fails to live up to your expectations, and you believe the shipboard staff is at fault, the cruise line management would appreciate it if you would bring the matter to the attention of the person responsible for correcting the problem. Do not wait until the end of the cruise to write your complaint in your comment form. Instead, speak to the Hotel Manager (on some ships, he’s called the Chief Purser), or the Maitre d’, the Cruise Director, or the Staff Captain. The Captain will introduce each of these people at this “Welcome Aboard” party, and clarify their responsibilities so that you’ll know, in the unlikely event that you have a problem, who to talk to. (The cruise line wants your cruise to be perfect, so please SPEAK UP and let them address any problem as soon as it arises).
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