- Are there activities for children on a cruise?
- Will I get seasick?
- Do I have to participate in scheduled activities or can I just relax?
- Do I need to tip? If so, how much?
- Will I need a passport?
- Can I call home from the ship?
- Can I get my e-mail while onboard the ship?
- Are medical services available?
- Will I get bored?
- What should I pack?
- How much is it going to cost?
- What is included in the price of the cruise?
- What about sightseeing when in port?
Are there activities for children on a cruise?
Most cruise lines offer programs for children. Many offer special teen and pre-teen scheduled activities. The larger ships almost always include a video arcade, kids disco or other designated "kids area".
Cruises are a great way for families to travel and see a variety of countries and ports.
Some ships also offer babysitting services and daycare centers.
Will I get seasick?
It is unlikely that you will notice any motion on a large cruise ship, even if you are sensitive to motion in automobiles or airplanes. All ships today have stabilizers to smooth the ride. Some cruises sail calmer waters than others. Caribbean and Alaska cruises enjoy smoother sailings than say Bermuda. If seas do get rough, there are many preventative medications available on board.
Do I have to participate in scheduled activities or can I just relax?
There are dozens of activities going on all over the ship every day. One the best ones can be "doing nothing at all". Relaxation is what attracts many people to cruise travel. Every ship has one or more pools that you can lay around with a good book, most have a library and several lounges where you can sit and relax by yourself or with friends.
Do I have to tip? If so, how much?
Tipping is up to you. Generally speaking, $7.00 to $9.00 per day/per person should take care of your waiter, bus boy and cabin steward. Other ship personnel can be tipped at your discretion. There are a few cruise lines that have a "no tipping" policy.
Will I need a passport?
All U.S. and Canadian citizens must travel with proof of citizenship, which is a valid passport, or birth certificate (complete with raised seal, not a photocopy) with a picture identification, or a certified naturalization certificate with picture identification. Any state government issued drivers license or other form of picture identification should be acceptable.
Non-U.S. citizens who are residing in the United States are required to travel with their Alien Registration Card (Green Card) and valid passports. All others must have valid passports and necessary visas at embarkation. You should consult with your travel agent for more information if necessary.
Can I call home from the ship?
Many of the newer or recently refurbished ships provide Ship to Shore telephone service. On some ships you can call from your stateroom. Ship to Shore rates apply so you may want to limit your conversations.
Are medical services available?
Virtually every major cruise ship will have a staffed medical facility to handle emergencies. If you suffer from a medical condition, check with your travel agent before booking to make sure the ship on which you are cruising can handle your needs.
Will I get bored?
That is very unlikely! However, if you are concerned about having enough to do, choose one of the larger ships (40,000 tons and above), they will typically have more activities due to the sheer numbers of people on board.
Most ships have dozens of planned and spontaneous activities going from sunrise to way past midnight. Pool activities, sports, bingo, casino, wine tastings, dance lessons, dancing, karoake, live entertainment, movies, television, fitness centers, shore excursions, talent contests, masquerade parties, Captain's party, country western night, just to name a few!
What should I pack?
Generally speaking, cruise travel is very casual during the day and casual to formal in the evenings. This can vary depending on the itinerary. Caribbean, Hawaiian, Alaskan cruises are more informal while Transatlantic, Mediterranean and European cruises tend to be a little more formal. This can also vary from cruise line to cruise line and ship to ship.
Princess Cruise Line would probably lean toward formal whereas Carnival will tend to be more informal and casual. There is no real hard and fast rule, however, here's a try.
Men should always pack one dark suit which will usually suffice even on "formal night." You can take a tuxedo, but we recommend that you rent one on board the ship (most ships offer this service) unless you own one and just want the extra baggage. Tuxedos are generally not "required".
Ladies can take cocktail dresses or a full length formal.
There are usually 1 to 2 formal nights on a 7 night cruise, only 1 on 3 & 4 night cruises. The rest of the time is typically very casual. Even on "non-formal" nights, men should wear a collared shirt to dinner and slacks or skirts for the ladies.
How much will it cost?
One of the most attractive features of a cruise vacation is the price. Even more expensive cruises are a good value for the money. You can spend anywhere from $400 for a 3-night Bahamas cruise to $30,000 for a suite on a 30-day cruise to Africa!
No matter how much you spend, you pay one price that covers virtually everything: meals, accommodations, taxes, on-board entertainment and in some cases, airfare! The only extras are shore excursions, liquor, tips and incidentals (photos, etc.).
Undoubtedly, a cruise is the most affordable way to travel. Compare a 7-night cruise to the Caribbean at around $1300 pp (including airfare) with a 7-night trip to Hawaii. In Hawaii, a hotel comparable to your cabin on the ship will be at least $150 per night (that's $1,000 right there!), your airfare from most cities will be at least $600, and meals in Hawaii to rival that of the cruise ship will easily be $100 per day per person (another $700!). That is $2,300 per person compared to $1,300 and we haven't even talked about entertainment!
What is included in the price of the cruise?
Just about everything! All your meals are included (and there are usually about 7 or 8 per day from which to choose), all accommodations, all shipboard entertainment, all taxes and in some cases your airfare and ground transportation to and from the port is included.
You must pay for extras such as liquor, shore excursions, gratuities, photos, incidentals, gambling, etc.
What about sightseeing when in port?
Your ship will typically arrive in port early in the morning at which time you are free to go ashore. In most cases, you will be back on board the ship by 5:00pm to 7:00pm. This gives you more than enough time to enjoy one of the cruise lines' shore excursions, or, go off on your own to do some shopping, sightseeing, swimming, scuba diving, etc.
We highly recommend the cruise ship sponsored tours and excursions. In some ports, when you debark from the ship, local sightseeing companies (in some cases a local with a van) will be waiting to temp you with their own tour. Take our word for it, while these tours may be safe and in some cases quite good, it is always a safe bet to stick with your cruise ship's recommendation.
Can I get/send e-mail while onboard the ship?
Many of the newer ships do have a business center complete with computers connected to the Internet. Some charge as little at $16 an hour for computer time and you can get your e-mail using Microsoft HotMail or Yahoo Mail. Check with your cruise line for availability of these services.
If you have a laptop onboard, you can make a ship-to-shore call to dial into your Internet provider, but at $8 to $10 per minute it can get very expensive.