Are you about to embark on your first cruise?
Are you unsure what to expect from a break at sea?
Is there a burning question you need to answer?
Then fear not, as we’ve put together a handy list of frequently asked questions to try and ensure that your dream cruise holiday passes without a hitch.
If your question isn’t featured below, then feel free to call our specialist Cruise Consultants, who will be happy to share their knowledge to help resolve any queries you may have.
ONBOARD THE SHIP
What activities can I enjoy on my cruise?
If you think a cruise holiday is simply stepping onto a ship and heading out to sea then you’ll be mistaken, as today’s modern cruise liners provide everything you could possibly want from a top class holiday experience. Consider your ship to be a floating resort that will bring the sights to you, and you won’t be far wrong. Take in a West End style show, learn to dance, relax in a Spa, try your luck on the casino tables, return to your youth in a water park, go for a run, listen to an education lecture or even try your hand at skydiving. All that, and plenty more besides, can be enjoyed on a cruise holiday.
What are the dining options?
The dining options available on a cruise holiday are as diverse as those available in any city around the world with some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, offering more than 20 different dining options on each ship. You might even find yourself encountering the culinary creations of a celebrity chef, with Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White, Guy Fieri and James Martin amongst those to have links to a cruise line.
Sample culinary delights from around the world showcasing the best cuisine from France, Italy, China, and India to name a few served in both formal and informal surroundings. From candle lit dinners for couples, to buffets that are perfect for families, poolside grills for a quick snack and room service for those who prefer to dine in their private quarters, the list goes on.
Special dietary requirements can be accommodated, although it is best to mention them at the time of booking.
(NB: While food is included in the price on the majority of cruises, some dining experiences will incur an additional charge).
How do I book a shore excursion?
No matter which cruise line you are travelling with, a range of shore excursions will be available on every trip. Although excursions can be booked once you are onboard, it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment and our specialist Cruise Consultants can provide a quote on any trip you may want to take.
If you don’t want to embark on a set shore excursion, you can also explore at leisure while the ship is docked in port, with information available onboard to help guide you around the various sights.
What is the accommodation like?
Modern cruise ships have a range of accommodation to suit all need, from value for money standard rooms that include comforts such as TV, fridge and safe to premium rooms with balconies and views of the sea. For the ultimate in luxury, suites can include whirlpool baths, exclusive dining and use of your own butler. In short, no matter what the budget, there is an accommodation option to suit.
Is there a formal dress code?
Not at all. You don’t need to worry about packing your tuxedo just because you are heading out on a cruise, with the huge range of options available meaning you can chose one that suits you best.
If shorts and a t-shirt are your thing, then the various informal dining options will be right up your street although getting dressed to the nines is part of the charm for some; who can make use of the formal dining available.
I want to celebrate a special occasion. Can I?
Of course you can. No matter if it’s a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday or you even want to get married on-board, our partners will want to make your occasion as special as possible. Just mention it to your Cruise Consultant at the time of booking and we’ll do the rest.
WHO CAN CRUISE?
Can my children come on a cruise?
Absolutely – if anything, there’ll be more for the younger guests to do on a cruise ship than there would be in a traditional resort! Children can be entertained in games arcades, can be thrilled by waterparks, can dance the evening away in their own discos, dine at their own buffets and enjoy plenty more besides.
Kids clubs allow youngsters to spend time with travellers of their own age, ensuring you can stay relaxed while they are kept busy by qualified teams of entertainers.
However, our cruise partners do not tend to allow infants under the age of six months to travel, and on some cruises it is mandatory children are aged one-year-old or above. Also, under-18s must be accompanied by a parent or companion over the age of 21.
Our Cruise Consultants will help with any queries you might have.
I’m travelling alone – is a cruise a good way to meet new people?
Of course. Just because you are travelling alone, you’ll still have ample opportunity to meet new people with many of our cruise partners going to great lengths to help the single traveller. That might be through a welcome cocktail party for single guests or a table at dinner reserved for single guests to sit together.
You will find most ships have rates for single cabins or discounted rates for individuals in double cabins.
Is a cruise open to people of all ages?
On most cruises, yes – and the average age of cruise passengers has lowered in recent years. On-board, you will find a mixture of children, young singles and couples of all ages.
By the same score, some cruises are better suited to those travelling as a family, while certain trips are better for the more mature guest. You just need to choose the one that is right for you, and our Cruise Consultants are here to help.
What about someone who is less mobile or disabled?
Our cruise partners all cater for guests with limited mobility or disabilities, with wider doorways and cabins that have been designed with additional spare and with adapted facilities.
Passengers should provide their own wheelchair or mobility scooter and advise at the time of booking of any assistance that will be needed. It is also recommended that disabled passengers are accompanied by a travel companion to help them at sea and onshore.
What is included in the price of my cruise?
A huge amount of things will be included, although the final list will be dependent on the cruise line. In the most cases, you’ll find food, selected drinks, entertainment and activities to be included, along with access to facilities like children’s clubs and the fitness centre. That leaves non-inclusive drinks and meals, excursions and tips to pay for although some all-inclusive deals are available that cover everything.
A cruise holiday represents extraordinary value for money and also means you avoid worrying about how much you are spending on your holiday.
How do you tip onboard?
Tipping is the way in which to show appreciation for the work that the staff onboard your cruise line have carried out and as a rule, most companies request $10 per person per day and a 15% tip on your bar bill.
It’s not obligatory though and is at your discretion, with our Cruise Consultants on hand to help if you have any questions on the tipping policy of an individual cruise line.
Will I need to carry cash?
Cruise lines operate a card system that ensures you don’t need to carry cash. Things that aren’t included as part of your cruise will be added onto your room account, which is then settled at the end of your trip.
How do I settle my bill?
If you have registered a credit card at check-in, or in advance of your cruise, any extras on your account will be settled automatically.
If not, it is possible to settle your bill with traveller’s cheques or cash, although in these cases, a deposit is usually required beforehand. It should also be noted that paying in cash can lead to delays disembarking at the end of a trip while you wait to settle your bill.
What is the smoking policy on-board the ships?
Generally, you are not permitted to smoke in any internal areas of the ship, including staterooms. Smoking is allowed in designated areas on deck, while some cruise lines also allow smoking on balconies.
Your Cruise Consultant can help with the smoking policy for individual cruise lines.
How shopping onboard work?
There are a number of different shops onboard, all trading at duty-free prices and selling a range of goods from things you may have forgotten to pack, to gifts to take back home.
There is a limit to how many tax-free purchases you are allowed to bring back to the UK, with full information available by visiting www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/
Do I need a passport or visa for my cruise?
All British passports must be valid for at least six months after the date of your return. If you are applying for a new passport, make sure you leave plenty of time before your departure date.
Whether you need a visa depends on your nationality and where you are travelling to. Your Cruise Consultant will be happy to help.
Will there be laundry services?
Cruise lines offer laundry, dry-cleaning and pressing which can be charged to your room, while some also provide laundrettes.
Will I need to purchase travel insurance?
Yes, all passengers are required to have travel insurance for the full duration of the cruise. As with any holiday, you should inform your insurers of any pre-existing conditions so that your insurance isn’t deemed to be invalid in the event that you fall ill.
What happens if I get ill?
All cruise lines contain a medical centre staffed by fully-qualified doctors and nurses in the event of illness, although they are not designed to deal with the ongoing treatment of any existing conditions.
Can I take a cruise if I am pregnant?
Most cruise lines will not allow guests to sail if they are 24 weeks or more into their pregnancy. Before that date, some will require a letter from a midwife or doctor to state you are fit to travel and that the pregnancy is not high risk.
Your Cruise Consultant will help when it comes to the policies in place for the individual cruise lines.
Will I need to have vaccinations before travelling?
The Department of Health recommends vaccinations for some destinations that may be visited as part of your cruise. The Medicine Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) can help via their website, www.masta.org, or simply ask your local GP.