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  • Cruise Primer

  • Imagine a vacation where you can visit several exciting cities, beaches and ports, shop, enjoy water sports, Broadway caliber shows, go zip-lining through jungles and more.  A vacation where you can have gourmet meals daily, try your luck at the casino and dance the night away.  On a cruise you can have all this and more and only have to unpack once.   today’s modern ships have all the amenities of a land based resort while allowing you explore multiple locations and some of the worlds greatest cities.

     
    Questions about Cruising?
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    Cruise Faqs

    Yes, when compared to land-based vacations, cruising is a great value. For one price your room and meals and entertainment is all included. All you have to budget for is gratuities and extras. Extras can include shore excursions, meals on land and options add on items.
    Almost anywhere. The most popular cruises are in the Caribbean, Alaska, the Pacific and Europe. There are now cruises through the northwest passage, Asia, The Galapagos and more. Pick your destination and explore the world by cruising.
    As long as you want! Short getaway cruises run from 3 to 5 days. Many vacation cruises are 7 days or up to 14 days, You can also book world cruises lasting up to 146 days.
    Many of the popular cruise lines have similar options however they may vary in amenities and culture. Some cater to families and friends while other may cater to an older well traveled crowd. The new mega ships offer the full resort experience while the smaller ships offer a more intimate experience. Small ship cruising can be one of the most luxurious travel opportunities you can fine.
    An air/sea cruise vacation package includes much reduced airfare along with you cruise ticket. These money saving options are available from most major North American cities and include transfers between the airport and ship as well as baggage handling.
    Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. But, to get the ship, cabin, and sailing date you want, you should plan and book early. The days of the "last minute specials" are pretty much gone now due to the increased demand for cruises. Most cruise lines are focusing on early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. In today's cruise market, early bookings are your best bet. Besides, if you do book your cruise early and the price drops, you'll be able to get the rate adjusted most of the time if before the final payment date.
    Most closed loop cruises starting and ending at the same US port do not require passports, however, when traveling outside the US a passport is always recommended, even if not required. Government issued photo identification is required for all guests, crew members, and visitors boarding a cruise ship. U.S. citizens require a passport OR a birth certificate (original or certified copy) PLUS a government issued photo ID card. Children under 16 do not require a photo ID. Non-U.S. citizens require a valid passport and visas (when necessary) in addition to an Alien Registration Card (ARC or "Green" Card). You'll receive complete information on required documents well in advance of your departure, so you'll have plenty of time to make arrangements. A Passport is always strongly recommended
    Most of today's cruise ships are "one-class." Everyone onboard can use all of the ship's facilities. The price of a cabin 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.
    Hardly! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no land-based resort can offer. Every time you look out a window or gaze off deck, there's some new and amazing view. And, there's plenty of room. Many ships today are like floating cities. It will probably take you a few days just to discover everything that's on board. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring many exciting ports of call. Remember, cruise ships are floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer and more. You can lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the fresh sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, watch movies under the stars, 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 in some fresh air on the jogging deck. Or, you can swim, stretch out in the sauna, or work out in the gym. There's way too much to do on the ship and in port to list here...you'll just have to experience it. The bottom line is that a cruise vacation is anything but boring and confining...it's truly liberating.
    There's so much to do in port that you'll have a hard time choosing! You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (referred to as shore excursions). Search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, 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 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!
    On a cruise, you do what you want, when you want, how you want. You can do everything or do absolutely nothing. It's your vacation...enjoy it any way you want!
    More and more cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines make a special point of providing supervised activities for kids, 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 well trained youth counselors will help keep them safe, busy, entertained, and having the time of their lives. Ships even offer different types of age appropriate activities, suitable for toddlers to teens. Best of all, children often travel at reduced rates which makes cruising an even better vacation value for families with children.
    When the stars come out, a cruise ship really turns on. There's dancing, live entertainment, nightclubs, lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends. Most ships also have casinos. If that's not enough, there's special events, the Captain's Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, guest lecturers, Broadway-style shows, Las Vegas-type revues, and much more.
    Never. On a cruise vacation, all of the entertainment is on the house. There's no cover, no minimum, and no charge for admission. The shows are live, the films are first rate, and it's all included in the cost of the cruise.
    A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends because everyone's so friendly. The atmosphere is cordial and relaxed. And, you'll have all kinds of things in common to talk about. Whether you're at dinner, at a cocktail party, hanging around the pool, or strolling along the promenade deck, you'll be surrounded by people that have something in common with you...the cruise they're enjoying. And, don't be surprised if you find yourself making arrangements to meet them aboard ship again next year.
    There's no such thing as a typical cruise passenger! All kinds of people take cruises now. All ages. All walks of life. Singles. Couples. Families. Just ask us which is the best ship for you based on your tastes and lifestyle.
    Pack like you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you're on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress. On ship and on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. At the Captain's Gala, for example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit, or a cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.
    On some cruises, formal dinners and 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.
    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. Some ships even offer gentlemen hosts who can be dance partners, dinner companions, or a fourth at cards. Newer ships have single cabins.
    Most ships have 110 volt outlets in the staterooms. In fact, many ships even feature hair dryers in your cabin.
    Again, there are choices and more choices. During the day, there are many different dining options including in the formal dining room, on deck, in a pizzeria, at a buffet, or at an espresso bar, just to name a few. At night, most ships offer several venues. Some ships' dining rooms can accommodate all guests at on time but, most offer more than one seating time. To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late and specify your choice at the time of booking. Which ever 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 options. For example, theme such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese, or Southwestern restaurants separate form the main dining room may be available.
    It's better than you've heard. You'll find a varied selection of entrees, appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts prepared by world class chefs every time you sit down. And, there's no limit on what or how much you can order. Can't decide between the steak or the lobster? Have both! Just because the cruise lines offer plenty of delicious food doesn't mean that you'll come home out of shape. You can choose low-cal, low-carb, spa, or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. The only thing you'll never see while enjoying the cruise ship dining experience is a price (except in certain venues) so, bon apetite!
    Most ships can accommodate salt-free, vegetarian, low-carbohydrate, low-cholesterol, Kosher, or other diet preferences. However, this request must be made with the cruise line in advance so be sure to take care of this at the time of booking.
    Rarely is this a problem. Most ships now have "anytime" dining where you do not have a set table, however you still have the option for set dining and if you wish to move to another table, speak with the maitre 'd. He'll make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions...discretely and politely.
    Today, virtually all ships are non-smoking in the dining area. Most ships still allow smoking in lounges and designated smoking areas.
    Absolutely! Most cruise lines will accommodate your clients a tasty treat and chorus of "Happy Whatever" to honor the occasion. For an additional fee, you birthday or anniversary can be made even more festive with champagne, flowers, or canapés. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise the cruise line at the time of booking.
    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. Most cruise lines provide special services ranging from Sunday or Monday departures to champagne and breakfast in bed. Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing marriage vows.
    No problem. Today's ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes, and sports scores. Most ships have high speed internet cafes and wifi access. Almost all staterooms are equipped with televisions and have satellite or cellular telephones. You can even call someone on shore through the ship's radio officer while at sea.
    Tipping is a matter of individual preference. Gratuities are usually charged per day at $10 to $15 per day per person. Although charged to your room account they are optional and you have the ability reduce or increase the amount. Most accept them as is as the service is usually fantastic. The gratuities are then pooled and distributed to the crew. I usually tip my room steward at the end of the cruise and may tip others for exceptional service. Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.
    Virtually every cruise ship (except for some small vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency.
    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.
    Yes, most cruise lines will work with groups and can offer special incentives. the group leader can even earn significant discounts. Meeting rooms and theaters are available for group activities.
    Just about every full size ship has public rooms to offer as meeting space for groups. If you'd like to make such arrangements, just contact the cruise line's group sales department to coordinate schedules and arrange for any catering needs. Many ships are also able to offer audio-visual equipment.
    You can arrange pre- and post-cruise land packages at the time you book your cruise. And, in many cases, your airline ticket will include helpful options, such as free stopovers, that enable you to make your own special arrangements.
    Almost never. 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.
    Secured outdoor parking facilities are available at each port of embarkation. Charges per day vary.
    Generally speaking, all passengers must be at least 21 to stay in cabin without legal guardian (or at least someone who is 21 or older) on all cruise lines except Princess and Disney. Some cruise lines will make an exception for married couples, but they must present a marriage certificate at boarding. If the cruiser is under 21, there must be someone over 25 in the cabin. If in doubt, contact your travel agent.
    Yes. Pregnant women can sail up until the end of the 24th week.
    Wheelchairs are only available to help passengers on and off the cruise ship during embarkation and disembarkation. All cruise lines will allow a stroller. At this time only Carnival Cruise Lines has stroller rentals on select ships. If a stroller is required during the cruise, the client should plan to bring your own. Wheelchairs and scooters can be rented prior to the cruise for use on board.
    Due to heightened security, visitors are not allowed on board cruise ships unless they are members of a wedding party and prior arrangements have been made with the cruise line. Wedding parties are the exception and guest can come on board for the ceremony and reception.
    Gambling is not legal in the state of Alaska. However, the cruise lines will open the casino during the period when you are sailing in the international waters around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At all other times, the casino will be closed. Casinos are also not open while sailing through Hawaii.
    Most of today's ships have mini-safes in all rooms. For additional security, most ships also have safe-deposit boxes available at the reception desk.
    The muster drill is conducted either when your ship departs or shortly thereafter. It is a safety drill that you are required to attend per U.S. Coast Guard and international safety regulations. You will be asked to take your life vests from your room and meet at a designated spot on the ship when the ship sounds its alarms. The ship's officers will also announce the drill on the ship's PA system. Once at your meeting spot, the ship's officers will demonstrate procedures in case of an emergency. The drill rarely lasts more than about twenty minutes, and it is conducted for your own safety. Please take it seriously