FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS and ANSWERS ABOUT CRUISING
How do I pay for onboard expenses? For your convenience, all shipboard expenses are charged to your shipboard account by establishing your method of payment with credit card, debit card or cash deposit.
What about currency? You may cash travelers checks on board. Exchanging currency at prevailing rates is available on some cruises. It is often recommended to carry a small amount of local currency when visiting foreign ports, although credit cards are commonly accepted in shops and restaurants.
Documentation, Visas and Passports - All guests must provide key personal information in advance of sailing. Documentation requirements are subject to change and should be verified prior to sailing.
What are the customs allowances? United States residents must declare all articles acquired abroad and in their possession when they return to the U.S.. Visit the U.S. Customs website - www.customs.ustreas.gov - or call 1.202.927.6724 and ask for the brochure "Know Before You Go."
How many suitcases can I bring? Most cruise lines allow up to 200 pounds of personal luggage on board. However, if you are traveling by air, ask the airline if it has different restrictions. Both have limited liability for loss, so be sure all baggage and personal belongings are properly insured. Suitcases should be securely locked and tagged. You should hand-carry medication, jewelry or other valuables and important documents.
Will I need an electrical converter? The current on board is 110 volts AC. However, some high-voltage hair dryers, electric rollers and electric razors may require a converter.
What about smoking, drinking and gambling on the ship?
SMOKING: Most public areas throughout ships are smoke free. Smoking is limited to designated areas only.
DRINKING: Drinking ages vary on the ships. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume ANY alcohol on Alaska and Hawaii itineraries. On other itineraries guests between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty (20) are sometimes permitted to purchase and personally consume wine and beer with the consent of an accompanying parent or legal guardian on the same sailing.
GAMBLING: If you want to gamble on board you must have a valid ID showing you are 18 years or older. Hawaii sailings typically DO NOT have gaming.
Dining/Food & Beverages – Passengers will pre-select a dining time when they book their cruise (early or late). This is for the main dining room. Ships have many different dining options. Usually guest fare includes main dining room, complimentary 24 hour room service, daily casual buffet offerings and more. Specialty restaurants are now available on many of the larger cruise lines for an additional fee (Steak House, French and Italian dining, some even offer Teppanyaki).
Alcohol/Beverages - Beverage services are varied, check with your cruise line for their policy. Most ships charge extra for alcoholic beverages, sodas and non-alcoholic mixers. Basic beverages like milk, Ice Tea, coffee, Juice (breakfast time), lemonade, fruit punch, etc are often included in your fare. Some ships have a café that will offer specialty coffees and smoothies for an extra charge. Some cruise lines even offer unlimited use soda-cards for a fee. Guests are usually not permitted to bring beverages on board. Alcohol purchased in port will be held by the ship until disembarkation and may not be consumed on board. Some ships allow guests to bring their own wine on board with a corkage fee.
Are there children's programs? Most ships offer excellent programs to help keep the kids entertained. Babysitting services are also typically available.
What other services are available? Beauty parlor and spa services include hair styling, manicures, pedicures, facials and massages. Gift shops feature duty-free shopping, with fine jewelry, perfumes, clothing, cosmetics and limited drug store items. Laundry & dry-cleaning services. Art auctions. Photographs taken throughout the cruise
Guests with special needs? Advance notice is requested in order to accommodate guests with special needs. Most ships have designated staterooms with wider doorways and bathrooms that will accommodate wheelchairs and staterooms with lights and under-pillow vibrating alarms for guests with hearing impairments. Guide dogs are permitted on most ships. Many staterooms have refrigerators that can be used to store medications that must be kept cold. Guests who use wheelchairs must provide their own.
Is there a doctor on board? A physician and nurse are on each ship to provide medical care and services at customary charges. Commonly used medications are kept on board and may be prescribed by the ship's doctor.
What if I'm pregnant? Cruiselines have some restrictions for pregnant women. You will need to provide proof of due date and may be allowed on board until your 24th week of pregnancy. Most ships will not allow pregnant women to board if closer to due date.
Shore Excursions? An updated listing of Shore Excursions is available approximately 6 months prior to the first sailing of each cruise destination season. Shore excursions are NOT typically included in your cruise fare. Your travel agent can help you find the right shore excursion for you and pre-book through outside sources or directly with the cruise line. Once onboard, Shore Excursions can also be purchased at the ship's Shore Excursion Desk.
How can we celebrate a special occasion? You may purchase wine, or bon voyage gifts, such as fruit baskets, champagne, birthday cakes, canapés, flowers or other gifts for your stateroom. Please let us know at least three weeks before sailing.
What if I need to stay in touch while away? Most ships have computer terminals you can rent by the hour at the Internet Café many now have WIFI access on board as well. You can also telephone, telex, radiogram or fax to anywhere in the world and be billed* at applicable ship-to-shore rates.
What about Tipping? Cruise lines generally will charge your stateroom $10-$14 per pay, per guest fee to cover all ship gratuities. This prepackaged charge helps the cruise passenger to know how much to tip. Guests can certainly add to these or request that these charges be removed from stateroom charges and tip separately. Certain staff positions provide service on an individual basis to only some guests. We encourage those guests to acknowledge good service from these staff members with appropriate gratuities. For example bar drinks, spa services, concierge and butler services.
Where can I keep my valuables? Most staterooms and suites have mini-safes. Please note, however, that the cruise line will not accept responsibility for valuables left in staterooms or elsewhere on board.
Are visitors allowed on board? Due to security reasons, unfortunately, no.
Rewards programs – Some cruise lines now have rewards programs that provide repeat guests with benefits and privileges. This varies from ship to ship. Some rewards come with fare discounts and upgrades, others offer on board amenities like ship credits or baskets.
What Should I Pack? This will depend on the cruise line and itinerary that you are choosing. Some are more formally attired than others. Consult with your travel agent or cruise line. Since all suitcases are collected the night before we return home, don't forget to bring an overnight bag packed with a change of clothes, prescriptions and need-to-have items.
What can't I bring onboard? Passenger is not allowed to bring on board the vessel any intoxicating liquors, or beverages, firearms, weapons of any kind, ammunition, explosive substances or any goods of a dangerous nature, nor animals of any kind, except service or guide animals, provided the passenger notifies
Age Requirements? This varies. Some company policy dictates that a passenger under 21 years of age must be accompanied in the same or connecting stateroom by a passenger 21 years or older who expressly agrees to be responsible for the under 21 passenger throughout the cruise. If the accompanying adult is not the minor's parent or legal guardian, a release form that authorizes the minor's travel and further authorizes medical treatment in case of an emergency must be delivered to an ship’s representative at the pier. Failure to produce this letter at embarkation may result in boarding being denied, with no refund of cruise fare provided. Kids under two cruise at a substantially reduced fare and certain itineraries offer specials on 3rd and 4th guests in the same stateroom. Infants under six months may not be eligible for cruise travel .
What time do I board the ship on embarkation day and in ports of call?
Arrival at the Cruise Terminal - For your comfort and convenience, we recommend that guests arrive at the cruise terminal no later than two (2) hours prior to the scheduled embarkation time printed on your cruise documents. Check with your cruise line for check in requirements and boarding information. Be prepared and check in early to get to know your ship before sailing.
Boarding Time in Ports of Call - Typically In ports of call, it is the guest's responsibility to be back onboard the ship no later than (1) hour prior to the ship's scheduled departure time. Please be aware that shipboard time may differ from the port of call and it is the guest's responsibility to follow the shipboard time. In the event a guest misses the ship, it will be the guest's responsibility to pay all expenses incurred to rejoin the ship.