How do I pay for my cruise? What are the deposit and final payment requirements?
Always, always, always use a credit card to book your trip. They’re convenient, they are safe, and you get extra protection for your holiday from your credit card company. But if you must, we will accept cheques payable to CruiseAway for payment.
If you are booking your cruise early (outside of four months prior to travel) the cruise line typically requires a deposit ranging from $100 per person for a 3 or 4 night cruise, $200 – $250 per person for a 7 night cruise, and $300 or more for longer cruises. Your cruise must be paid in full at least 65 days prior to travel for most cruise lines (some require final payment even sooner). CruiseAway will discuss payment terms with you with regards to your particular cruise.
You will get a comprehensive receipt for every payment and will receive a final payment reminder to keep you on top of things. If you would like to make periodic payments on your trip, you may do so provided all payments are completed prior to the final balance due date.
Should I buy cancellation insurance? Is it worth it? What does it cover?
Without insurance, if you cancel your cruise after final payment, you will suffer penalties. There is no question about it. Cancelling your cruise could range from $50 per person or could be the full cost of the trip. The cruise line doesn’t care if it was your life savings, if it was a heart attack, a death or if you promise to rebook and say good things about the line. You will not get your money back after final payment without insurance.
We mention insurance to everyone. We don’t push it on anyone. But you should consider your own situation before deciding for or against it?
* Would losing the total cost of the trip hurt?
* Do you have family members who are ill or at risk of illness that if their condition turned worse you would abandon your travel plans? Young children or older family members?
* Do you have a pre-existing medical condition?
* Is your trip relatively expensive? Are you leaving the country for 10 days or longer?
* Are you at a point in your life where you are susceptible to accident or illness?
* Are you booking your own air transportation?
* Have you ever experienced baggage delay or loss by the airlines?
* Does your insurance cover medical expenses in a foreign country? Probably not.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider insurance. Insurance typically costs about 10% of your total trip and usually covers baggage, trip delay, trip interruption, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more. The cruise lines’ insurance typically doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions but we have other insurance we sell to cover these situations. Ask us for a brochure explaining it in more detail.
Is insurance worth it? If you have to use it, definitely. Insurance also buys peace of mind, which is not a bad reason to have it either.
Can I extend my cruise holiday?
Our experienced Cruise Consultants can arrange pre- or post-cruise land packages at the same time you book you cruise. These are available through the cruise line and usually include transfers or a rental car.
Flights can sometimes be arranged at your personal request. Additionally, we offer a number of Fly Cruise packages which can have stays, transfers, tours and flights included, you can find a list of these here.
Do the cruise lines ever give free upgrades?
Everyone either knows someone, met someone on a ship, or they themselves have been upgraded to a higher category than they paid for. Yes, it does happen but not as frequently as people think. How do upgrades work? Who knows? We’re still trying to figure it out, but here’s our theory.
Most upgrades go to passengers who book early and buy the lowest category on the ship in the form of a “Guarantee Cabin.” A “Guarantee Cabin” means that when you book your cruise, you are not assigned a cabin number, you are simply guaranteed that category or better. Since most people who cruise simply want to get the best price, “Guarantees” are a great way to fill the ship with people looking for a good rate.
The cruise lines always sell more “Guarantees” in a category than there are cabins in that category. For example, the lowest category on Celebrity Cruise Line’s Summit is Inside Cabin Z. There are approximately 6 Category Z cabins. However, on each sailing, Celebrity will sell between 40 and 60 Category Z “Guarantees”. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that 34 people are going to get a free upgrade. Usually these upgrades are given on a first-come-first-served basis.
Most upgrades are often from low Inside Cabins to higher Inside Cabins, or low Outside Cabins to higher Outside Cabins. Rarely do passengers get upgraded from Inside to Outside but it does happen. Saying that, don’t book an Inside Cabin expecting a free upgrade to an Outside. It probably won’t happen.
If you are assigned a cabin when you deposit on your cruise, your chances of an upgrade are very slim. Upgrades from a Quad are very rare as there are relatively few Quad Cabins on a sailing. Cabin assignments can be made anywhere between a few weeks before and the day of departure. If you don’t like the cabin you are given, tough luck, you’re stuck. So if you’re afraid of being at the front, back, top, bottom, under the dining room – don’t take the chance. Take an assignment at time of booking.
Why shouldn't I just deal with the cruise line directly?
You can make reservations with some cruise lines, but usually this is not to your advantage. As a Top Producer with most cruise lines, we often get special rates that are not available to other travel agents, much less the public. Furthermore, on CruiseAway, you deal with one agent that you’ve developed a relationship with. Most cruise lines have hundreds of reservations agents. To them, you’d be just another passenger. To us, you’re a valued client.
If you booked directly with the cruise line because we weren’t available or you didn’t know about us, the cruise line will release your booking to us provided you request for that prior to your final payment.
Do the cruise lines have senior citizen rates? Family rates? Last minute discounts?
Most of these promotions are available in the off peak booking seasons, right after the first of the year and between September and mid-December. Anyone can qualify for a senior rate provided one of the passengers in the cabin is 55 years or older. Usually these rates are $50 to $100 per person lower than the normal rates. CruiseAway will post senior rates on the Internet as they become available.
Family rates are offers that cruise lines use to fill the third and fourth berths on cruises on soft sailings. For example, the third and fourth person in a cabin may pay $499 per person on a typical seven night cruise. However, to help fill a ship, the cruise line may reduce this rate to $99 or even offer free passage to 3rds and 4ths. We will post these specials as well.
Finally, last minute discounts are less popular than in the past. Today, the cruise lines are trying to fill the ships with better early booking discounts like Royal Caribbean’s ‘Breakthrough Rates’ and Carnival’s ‘SuperSavers’. They can now tell about three months prior to departure if a sailing needs help. If they do, they’ll institute Past Passenger Discounts first, Senior Rates second, Regional Promotions third, and then drop the rates if necessary. Either way, if you book early and the price comes down after putting down your deposit, some cruise lines may lower your rate to the new promotion (booking change fee applies). You’re always better off booking early.
Can I book a last minute cruise?
Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. So, have CruiseAway check or visit our site for periodic updates. But, to get exactly the ship, cabin and sailing date you want, you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. Then, just sit back and anticipate all the fun you’re going to have!
Why are your rates better than what my local travel agent is quoting me?
Since we are a top producing Cruise Only Travel Agency, we have better buying power than over 90% of the travel agencies across the country. Our margins are often better because we buy in bulk. Often we have group rates that your local agent doesn’t have. We are informed immediately of special offers and sales. Our agents are trained to ask for the best deal and most corporate intensive agencies are not. By specializing in cruises, we’re also very good at finding them at the best prices, often passing on our margins to you in the form of greater discounts.
I'm in Brisbane and I've never done business with you. How can I be sure you're legitimate?
Very good question and one you should ask any agency you’re working with. We’re a member of the International Cruise Council of Australia, Travel Agents Licence No 32070. You may contact the cruise line that you are considering and ask them about us. We can give you references of other clients in your area. We will be glad to give you any information that will make you feel comfortable with us.
Why should I book with CruiseAway?
We are a top preforming cruise portal in Australia, and are able to offer the best cruise deals available. Our agents are passionate about their job, and provide exceptional service. This is why we often see customers coming back and booking multiple cruises with us. If you are feeling hesitant check out our website or give us a call, and you’ll notice the quality of our agents, the great rates of our cruises, and the overall CruiseAway difference.
How do I book a cruise?
Simply call CruiseAway on 1-800-887-590 or submit an online Booking Enquiry form and one of our enthusiastic, knowledgeable representatives will be glad to help you. We will help you pick the cruise that fits your holiday schedule, tastes, and budget; then make all the arrangements to get you from your doorstep to your cabin and back.
Is there any difference between cabins on the lower decks and cabins on the higher decks?
On today’s newer ships, there are basically four types of cabins:
Inside Cabins – these are cabins without windows
Outside Cabins – basically the same size as Inside Cabins only they have portholes or picture windows.
Balcony Cabins – about the same size as an Outside Cabin, except it will have a private balcony which adds to the overall square footage of the cabin.
Suites – significantly larger than other cabins on the ship, often with a private balcony or veranda.
You find the Balcony Cabins and Suites on the higher decks of a cruise ship, so, yes, there is a difference here. However, standard Inside and Outside Cabins are basically the same on any deck. For example, a Category 4 Inside Cabin on Carnival’s Fantasy on the Riviera Deck is the same size as an Outside Cabin Category 9 on the Empress Deck. The difference becomes evident in the Category 11 and Category 12 Mini-Suites and Suites.
How many people can I get into my cabin?
Most cruise ship cabins are built to accommodate two passengers. However, there are many on each ship that can accommodate three and four passengers. Carnival and Disney, for example, have ships that sleep five in one cabin. These cabins are obviously very popular among families and go quickly during family vacation times. So book them early.
Is an Outside Cabin worth the extra money?
Our clients tell us that the biggest advantage of having an Outside Cabin is that it makes the space around you seem so much bigger. It’s amazing what natural light will do for a room. It also gives you some perception of time. When you wake up at 7.00am in an Inside Cabin, you can’t tell if it’s 2 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. For them an Outside Cabin is worth it for this reason alone. Want to know what the weather’s like? Open your curtain. With an inside cabin, you throw on some clothes, run outside and run back again.
However, other clients will say the opposite: “Who needs a window. I’m only going to be in there when I sleep anyway. I could use that extra money on shore excursions, my bar tab or my next cruise.”
Who’s right? They both are. It’s really up to you. Outside Cabins generally cost about $100 more per person for a 7 or 10 night Caribbean cruise and about $200 more per person for a European or Exotic itinerary. Our agents will be glad to discuss the features and benefits of both types of cabins without pressuring you into something you don’t want.
The only itinerary where we highly suggest an Outside Cabin is Alaska. With daylight approaching 20 – 22 hours in the peak season, it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy it from your cabin.
What is the best location for my cabin if I'm concerned about the ship's motion?
While motion sickness shouldn’t be a major concern on today’s ships, you should still know the best way to avoid it if possible. If available, request a cabin that is relatively close to the middle of the ship. If you can imagine a see-saw in the play ground, it’s the ends that go up and down, not the middle. (No, cruises are not like see-saws) You should also look for a cabin that’s closer to the bottom of the ship, not the top. The higher you are, the greater the potential to feel a left to right rolling motion. For example, the top of a tall palm tree will always sway more in the wind than the bottom of the tree.
Again, today’s ships are fully stabilized making your cruise comfortable in virtually any location. As a matter of fact, if motion discomfort were such an issue, the Suites on a ship wouldn’t be at the top and near the front.
To make sure you get the best cabin for you – book early. If you wait, you’ll have less to choose from.
I don't plan to spend much time in my cabin. What's the most affordable way for me to get on the ship?
Very good question, and one we hear quite often. The most affordable way to get on the ship other than stowing away is to book an Inside Guarantee Cabin. The rate is often a little lower than the rate for the lowest category on the ship. You will not receive a cabin number when booking, it can be assigned as late as the day of sailing and your cabin assignment could be in any category on the ship. You could receive the lowest category on the ship or the highest. You never know. However, expect an Inside Cabin. The drawback is that you don’t know where you’ll end up. It could be the front, back or middle, so if that’s a concern to you, we recommend avoiding this pricing programme.
Guarantee cabins are offered on a company level, and not all companies offer them. If you are looking at booking a cruise with a company that doesn’t offer guarantee cabins, the cheapest way to cruise would be in an Inside Cabin or a Quad.
Can cruise lines accommodate special dietary needs?
Most ships and cruise lines can accommodate a variety of dietary needs, although all companies’ offerings are different. Our Cruise Experts can advise you on the different policies cruise lines haves. Just make sure you keep in mind that this request must be made in advance, so be sure to let your agent know when you book your cruise.
What if I don't like my dining companions?
This is rarely a problem. However, if you wish to move to another table, speak with the Maitre D’. He will make every effort to seat you with more compatible people – discretely and politely.
Can we get a table for two?
On the more upscale cruise lines like Crystal and Seabourn, for example, a table for two is usually no problem. It’s on the mass market lines where this request is a little more difficult to confirm.
The newer ships (circa 2005 and later) are being built with more this in mind. We can never confirm a table for two, we can only request it. Table and dining assignments are made by the ship’s Dining Coordinator who works in the cruise line’s corporate office. This person makes the assignments 2 weeks prior to sailing and submits the list to the Maitre d’ the week before sailing. We submit your request to the Dining Coordinator 30 days before sailing but, unfortunately, cannot guarantee you’ll get it.
I am not a morning person, will I miss breakfast?
Normally you dont have to worry about missing breakfast (unless you sleep right into lunch). It is normally served as a buffet and is available until 10am or even later – although this can differ with the cruise line and ship.
Traditionally, both breakfast and lunch were served in two seatings, however many cruise lines have now switched to an ‘open dining room’ concept – this means you can come at any time, providing the dining room is open. This is not to be confused with ‘open seating’, meaning you can sit wherever you like, without being allocated a particular table.
Can I eat any time I want? What about room service?
Most ships have room service available 24 hours a day. Some cruise lines will even let you order off the dinner menu (during dinner hours) if you prefer to eat in your cabin.
Depending on the cruise line and the size of the ship, you can often eat all day if you want. Let’s look at a day on the Carnival Destiny:
* Room service at 6.00am
* Buffet breakfast served in the dining room from 8.00am until 10.30am
* Lunch buffet opens at 11.00am
* Lunch in the dining room at 12.00pm
* 2.00pm: ‘I think I’ll have Chinese at the Chinese Grill’
* 4.00pm by the pool: ‘I could eat a pizza from the 24 hour Pizzeria’
* 6.30pm: ‘Time for dinner’
* 10.30pm: ‘Let’s have a sandwich at the Pizzeria’
* 12.00am Midnight Buffet opens
* 1.30am scrambled eggs and bacon at the late night Mini-Buffet
* 3.30am: ‘I’m done dancing, let’s get another pizza’
* 4.00am: ‘Honey, how about a turkey sandwich from room service’
In this case, the answer is yes, you can eat anytime you want.
Is smoking allowed on board?
Smoking is normally only allowed in designated smoking areas. There is mostly no smoking in cabins and public areas, this is due to customer requests, health reasons, and general safety concerns on board the ship.
Can we celebrate a special day?
Absolutely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and a chorus of Happy ‘fill in the blank’ to honour the occasion. Your birthday or anniversary can be made even more festive with champagne, flowers, canapés, wine or cheese. You can also arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise the cruise line in advance.
What about tipping?
Tipping is a matter of individual preference. The general rule of thumb is to plan for about $2.50 to $3.00 per person per day for your room steward and dining room waiter, and about half that amount for your busboy. Other onboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.
A few cruise lines include tipping in the price, and they will let you know. Others automatically add tips and gratuities to your onboard account, which will be charged at the end of the cruise. You can always discuss this with the customer service desk, and add or subtract from what is being automatically calculated.
What do I wear for dinner? Is there a dress code?
This depends on the cruise line and the ship. Generally, you will already have an idea of what the dress code may be at the time of booking. For example, Arctic Expeditions will require different clothing than the luxury cruise lines.
Breakfast and lunch: no special dress code, even in the dining room. Shorts and tasteful T-shirts are acceptable. No swim suits or cover-ups.
Normally, dinner falls into one of three categories: formal, informal (also called semi-formal) and casual. Since there are many types of outfits women can wear, we won’t comment on this – just dress to compliment the guys.
Formal: dark suit or tuxedo
Informal: suit or sports coat with tie; some ships don’t mention a tie (i.e. Holland America)
Casual: slacks (nice jeans) and sport shirt
On a seven night cruise they will normally have two formal nights and one or two informal nights. Three and four night cruises have one formal night.
Some newer ships will have alternative dining facilities where you can dress almost any way you want to. If you would really like to go informal, look into cruising on sailing ships (Windstar Cruises; Windjammer) or one of the smaller cruise lines (Clipper, etc).
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 appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts 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.
Which is better, early or late dining?
Early dining means you’ll have dinner between 6 and 6.30pm, whereas late dining is between 8.15 and 8.45pm. There are many reasons why one dining may be better for you than the other.
You may want early dining if:
* You are travelling with small children who need to stick to a set meal schedule
* You don’t enjoy the being full feeling before bedtime
* You generally go to bed between 10pm and midnight
* You are taking a very “At Sea” intensive itinerary
* You are an early riser
You may want late dining if:
* You are a night owl, who catches their second wind later in the evening
* You don’t want to feel rushed for dinner after a day in port
* It takes you or your spouse a long time to get ready for dinner
* You don’t mind finishing your meal around 10.30pm
There are some trends that we have noticed with regards to itineraries and the popularity of a particular dinner seating.
* Eastern Caribbean cruisers like early dining because of all the days at sea
* Western and Southern Caribbean cruisers like late dining because of all the ports
* 3 and 4 night cruisers prefer late dining as they party right into the night
* Family reunion groups will go for early dining due to the variety of age groups
* European and exotic cruisers prefer early dining because the older the passengers the earlier they prefer to eat
Many of today’s cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess offer alternatives to having dinner in the dining room or room service. For example, Norwegian have ‘The Bistro’ on all their ships, a separate a la carte restaurant open between 6.30 and 11.00pm where you can get dinner anytime you like. Carnival, Princess and NCL are all using their Upper Deck facilities to offer a buffet version of their dinner menus. These restaurants are more casual allowing you to be more flexible with your meal time and dress code.
Can singles have fun on a cruise?
Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it’s so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties just for singles early on, so you can start to be involved right away. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms.
When is the most affordable time to take a cruise?
If you are looking for the least expensive time to take a cruise, consider sailing between end of August and before Christmas, not over Christmas. Most families have children that are back at school and everyone’s saving money for the holiday season. Considering all of these factors, expect to cruise prices that are better than 2-for-1 with reduced rates for 3rd and 4th passengers.
Is cruising right for honeymooners?
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) and so much more to remember forever. Most cruise lines provide special services like welcome champagne and breakfast in bed. And, speaking of beds, most ships have them in double, Queen, or King sizes! Also, some ships offer special programmes for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your marriage vows on board.
Where can I go?
Where do you want to go? Cruises visit practically any destination accessible by water – Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, South America, India, Panama Canal and much more. If you can name it, we can probably get you there by ship.
Are all ships and cruises fairly similar?
Far from it, you can sail with anywhere from fewer than 100 fellow passengers to over 2,600, experience atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, classically simple to ultra-deluxe. You can also choose between traditional propeller-driven craft, sail-assisted cruise ships, or even a paddle-wheel river boat.
I have never been on a cruise. Which is the best cruise line for me?
This is a common question, and the answer is – it depends. It’s like asking what is the best car? Everyone has different priorities, interests, etc.
This may be bad news – but you’ll probably have to do a little homework. You’ll be spending quite a bit of money so it will be worth it. The good news is that you probably will enjoy the cruise on any line – they all do a good job. But if you can zero in on one which may be best for you, you may even have a better time.
Fortunately there is a lot of information. One of our agents will be glad to help you.
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 stateroom 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.
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 things 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 or dance classes, sports contests and other organized deck activities. Perhaps you can practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or shoot some hoops. You can go for a swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out at 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 on board!
Is motion sickness a problem?
Not really. The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, advance availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.
Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?
32% of cruise holidays are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines make a special point of providing supervised activities for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, they’ll love a family cruise. You’ll find the kids adapt to onboard life with ease, and you won’t have to wonder what they’re up to every minute. The cruise staff will help keep them busy and entertained. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate.
What's there to do at night?
There’s dancing, live entertainment in nightclubs, discos and lounges, feature films and parties with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos. There are also many special events like the Captain’s Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, the Masquerade Parade, the Late Night Buffet (just for one last bite to tide you over until breakfast). And the night can go on as long as you want. Even until the spectacle of sunrise at sea.
Is there a charge for entertainment?
Never. The entertainment is on the house. There’s no cover. No minimum. No charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live. The movies are first-rate. The variety is limitless.
Is it easy to meet people?
A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends, because everyone’s so friendly. The atmosphere is cordial, relaxed. And you’ll have all kinds of things in common to talk about. At dinner. At cocktails. Around the pool. Or along the promenade rail. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself making arrangements to meet them on board again next year.
Will there be people like me?
No matter what you’ve heard to the contrary, there’s no such thing as a typical cruise passenger! All kinds of people take cruises, of all ages, from all walks of life, singles, couples and families. Passengers can vary from ship to ship and cruise to cruise. Just ask your consultant for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.
What's the best time to take a cruise?
Anytime is the best time to take a cruise, but it also depends on where you’d like to go. The Caribbean is fantastic year round; however, some of the more exotic destinations are seasonal. For example, you will probably enjoy Alaska more between May and September; Europe between April and November; Bermuda between April and October and the Panama Canal between September and April. So you see, no matter what time of year it is, it’s a perfect time to cruise.
How long are cruises?
As long or short as you want. There are cruise lines that offer itineraries from three days to three months. Whatever your schedule, we’ll do our best to find the cruise for you.
Will I need a dinner jacket?
On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don’t buy a tuxedo just for the trip. If you do want to dress to the nines, many ships offer tuxedo rental services. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions.
Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?
Most ships have 240-volt outlets in the staterooms so you should be able to use your hair dryer and shaver. However, most new ships include hair dryers in the room. Ask us if your ship has one.
Are there safety deposit boxes on board a ship?
Yes, there are. As a matter of fact most new ships have safes right in the cabin with instructions on how to use them. If you would like a safety deposit box, the concierge will get one for you.
Are wheelchairs available or do I have to bring my own?
Wheel chairs are available for passengers who are injured after they get on board. Most suggest that you bring your own collapsible one if you will need it throughout the cruise. Check with our Cruise Experts when booking regarding your ship’s policy on providing wheelchairs to passengers.
Are there medical services on board?
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 on board?
Yes. Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and a great many provide dry cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for these services unless stated otherwise. Some ships will have self-service launderettes simply because many of their itineraries are 11 nights or longer. Most people don’t have enough underwear for a 96 day world cruise. Can you imagine your laundry bill on a trip that long?
Can I pay with cash on board?
Today’s cruise ships have made the transition to a “cashless society.” All passengers are given an onboard charge card that typically doubles as their boarding pass. You would use this card for all purchases including drinks, souvenirs, shore excursions, boutique services, spa services, etc. Cash is accepted in the casino, as gratuities and at the concierge desk when settling your onboard account.
Do I need a passport?
Every cruise requires some proof of Australian Citizenship before they allow boarding. While a passport is not required for some cruises, a notarized copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal and picture identification is. You may not use military ids, voter registration cards, or a library card. You must have a notarized photo copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal if you do not already have a passport.
Some ports require a visa but we will inform you on proper documentation in plenty of trim prior to travel or even final payment.
It’s a sad, sad thing to see someone denied boarding for lack of proper documentation. Make sure you have your documentation well in advance. Don’t assume it’s in your safe the night before your cruise. Look for it by the time you make your final payment.
What should I pack?
Pack like you would for any resort. Cruises are casual by day, whether you’re on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress codes. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. For the Captain’s Gala, for example, you’ll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.
What do shore excursions include?
Shore excursions include transportation according to the itinerary and meals, refreshments, guides, and entrance fees as indicated in the tour description book. Fares for shore excursions are subject to change without notice.
When and where do shore excursions depart?
Most tours depart from the pier adjacent to the ship’s berth. When the ship is at anchor, staff will be on hand to assist you to the departure point. Prior to arrival in each port of call, departure times will be confirmed by the ship staff or daily activity bulletin.
Is it possible to miss the boat?
All guests are required to be back on board no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time, which is listed in the daily bulletin and at the gangway as you leave the ship. The scheduling of all shore excursions conforms with this requirement. However, if you leave a tour en route, it will be your responsibility to secure transportation and return to the pier on time. If you don’t make it, they’ll see you at the next port at your expense.
What type of transportation is used for shore excursions?
Standards of transport vary considerably from country to country; however, excursions utilize the best quality transportation possible in each port. Air-conditioned vehicles are not always available.
Will transportation be available to the city centers?
There are many ports that are not located in the city center. Some cruise lines will have shuttle bus services in ports that are located a 1km or more away from the closest city center and do not have adequate local transportation available. (Believe us, finding local transportation is not a problem in most ports. They will find you.) Schedules and days of operation are usually posted in the ship’s bulletin.
How should I tip our guide/driver?
Extending a gratuity to your guide or driver is strictly optional; however, in some countries, these personnel may anticipate that if you were pleased with their services, you will reward them in a monetary way. A commonly accepted guideline is $1 per person for a half day and $2 per person for a full day.
Will I miss meals when I go ashore?
Most tour departure times complement the ship’s meal service hours, so you can enjoy your meal on board then go ashore. However, on some full day tours, or if you take more than one tour in a day, your return on board may not coincide with meal hours. A buffet, snack, or room service is usually available all the time.
Will I have time to shop?
Whenever possible, shopping time is allocated within the framework of the excursions. However, tours are not designed primarily for shopping.
How physically challenging are shore excursions?
It really depends on the tour. For example some of the European cities you’ll be visiting are ancient. Their quaint, narrow, cobblestone streets have been in existence long before motorized transportation. To preserve their beauty, they may be pedestrian only. In fact, most tours require some degree of walking some less some much more.
Most cruise lines indicate which tours are more physical than others in their brochures and at the shore excursion desk. Whatever your fitness level, we highly recommend comfortable, low-heeled walking shoes.