Cruising 101: Most Popular Questions
1. What is included in the cruise fare?
Your cruise fare includes accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner, entertainment, and an endless number of activities. Your ship will transport you from one port to another and best of all, you will only unpack once.
The extras (at a cost) include drinks, gratuities, excursions, spa services, casino, shopping at the many onboard boutiques, laundry, specialty restaurants and internet. Cruise lines will, from time to time, offer promotions that include drinks, excursions, specialty restaurants, internet and/or gratuities. Your travel agent will always be on the lookout for that on your behalf. If you require pre/post accommodations, your agent can book those as well.
2. Will I get seasick?
There is always a risk of motion sickness if one is prone to that; however, when the weather is mild and the seas are steady, you won't feel much movement at all especially on larger modern ships. Most ships are well-stabilized, and you don't even know you're on a ship. To ensure your best chance of avoiding motion sickness, we suggest that you book your cabin in the middle of the ship. Mid ship cabins tend to have less motion so if you are prone to motion sickness, this is where you want to be. You may also want to consider a shorter cruise duration or one with multiple stops. If you are still worried, there are over the counter medications that can be taken as well as patches and bands, or natural remedies that can help mitigate the effects. We recommend you speak with your physician about this.
3. What should I wear?
It depends on the cruise and the destination. You should research the average temperatures of the locations you will be visiting in order to pack the proper clothing. While onboard for most cruises, you are free to wear comfy and casual clothing. Some cruise lines have a few restrictions in their dining rooms and guests are expected to dress accordingly. This is similar to what you'd wear when going out to a nice restaurant at home. Many cruise lines have a “dress to impress” night where formal attire is recommended (ie suits and gowns). If a guest is not interested in this type of dining, you can always enjoy dinner in another dining venue on the ship. As each ship has their own rules about dining attire, it's important to discuss your needs with your travel agent and choose a ship that is tailored to your preferences.
4. Is there phone and internet access?
While at sea, we recommend using the ship's service (usually at a cost if not included in your fare) since most mobile device providers will charge you a very high price to roam in international waters. Trust us, you don't want to get a $1000 surprise invoice when you return from your dream vacation. Please note that internet access via satellite while at sea is significantly slower than high-speed connections on shore. Enquire about internet packages when you book or when you board.
While in port, depending on the country, you can contact your mobile provider and ask about prices and plans.
5. Is there enough to do onboard? Will I be bored?
There are many things to do onboard should you choose to participate. You may also choose to do nothing at all, it's your choice. Below are examples of activities you can participate in while onboard. Please keep in mind that each ship and cruise line is different. Ask your travel agent what activities will be included on your ship. Some cruise lines charge a small fee for certain activities such as wine tasting, bingo, casino games or spa treatments.
- Movie under the stars (with a blanket and popcorn)
- Dance Classes
- Sunbeds by the pool
- Trivia, pool games and various tournaments
- Mixology contests
- Jogging tracks, fully equipped gyms, yoga classes or shooting hoops
- Culinary or ice carving demonstrations
- Vegas style shows
- Stand-up Comedy
- Music and bands (all types throughout the day)
- And much more!
6. What are the cabins/rooms like and how do I choose?
Cabin types are usually inside, oceanview, balcony and suites and each cabin type has it's own unique charm. Cabins will have a different category based on their location on the ship. Typically, the higher deck you choose, the higher the price of the cabin in each category. The majority of ship cabins are smaller than a regular hotel room. That said, if you're taking advantage of all that your cruise has to offer, you won't be in your room much to notice the difference. Most cabins are equipped with a TV, a mini refrigerator, a safe and complimentary shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Best of all, ships offer room service.
There is a wide range of cabin options and depending on your budget, your travel agent can suggest the best fit for you. If you would enjoy a more spacious cabin, consider getting a balcony or mini suite. For VIP service, you can treat yourselves to a larger suite stateroom. Please discuss cabin options and prices with your travel agent.
7. What is the legal age for drinking and gambling?
Most cruise lines will have a drinking age of 21+, but there are exceptions. In Europe, for example, where the drinking age is typically 18, many lines will lower their age accordingly. Other lines will allow passengers 18+ to purchase alcohol with the permission of their guardian. Most lines allow passengers 18+ to gamble but there are some exceptions. You can check with your cruise line or your travel agent to confirm.
8. What about the food? Do ships cater to my special needs?
The quality and quantity of food on cruise ships is second to none. If you can't find something you like to eat on a cruise, you might be referred to as an extremely picky eater. Each restaurant has a large a-la-carte menu and there are always the buffet restaurants that have more items than you can imagine for breakfast, lunch, dinner. If you prefer breakfast in bed, simply ask for room service the night before.
As for food allergies and special requests, cruise lines have varied options and you can find out more by discussing this with your travel agent.
9. Will it be crowded?
It all depends what cruise you choose, where you go, when you go and the size of the ship. Larger ships have more guests than River cruises for example. You will also notice a big difference between port days and sea days. On port days, when guests are on shore, it will sometimes feel as if you have the ship to yourself. If you're like most people, you'll also be on a shore tour or spending your day at a beautiful sandy each. On seas days, certain areas of the ship can get a little congested, especially in the afternoon but if you don't like crowds, you can always find a quiet spot. Discuss the options with your travel agent and find the right size and fit of ship for your taste.
10. What about the kids?
Most cruise lines have programs and camps tailored to children of all ages. There are some cruise lines that excel at entertaining your kids. On sea days, many parents barely see their children as the children are enjoying the cool and exciting activities with new found friends. On port days, activities can be limited as typical families are exploring the port together. There are security protocols in place for the children's programs and as a parent, I've always felt that my child was safe while participating. Enquire with your travel agent about the kids' programs on your cruise.
Note: most cruise lines require your child to be 6 months of age as of your sail date to take part in the children's programs.
11. How will I pay for things onboard?
All purchases made onboard are made using your cruise ID card, which is linked to your onboard account and your credit/debit card. At the start of the cruise (or during), you can deposit cash on your account if you prefer.
12. How will I get my luggage onboard?
Except for your carry-ons, your luggage is checked at the cruise port before you board the ship. Make sure to pack all your essentials (bathing suit, toothbrush, change of clothes for dinner, medications etc.) in your carry on, because it can take up to several hours for the crew to deliver everyone's luggage to their stateroom.
13. Where can I find more information?
Each cruise line has their own FAQs that can be referred to for more information.