|How long are
The 3-day weekend, 4-day midweek, week long, 10 day
are all popular, but you can also find cruises that are several months
in length. You can find 2-day cruises and even some lasting only a few
hours just to gamble in international waters. In other words, any
combination of time from hours to months are offered to attract your
Just about anywhere in the world. The Caribbean,
Pacific coast of California, Mexico and Alaska are popular among
tourists from the United States. But, cruising is basically found where
ever you find water.
pick a region, arenít many of the cruises offered within that region the
No, youíll also be able to find a great variety of
types of cruises in many areas of the globe. The Caribbean is sailed by
many different Cruise Lines and ships. Each Cruise Line and ship has its
own flavor. Youíll find budget all the way to super luxury available
in the Caribbean. The cruise itineraries also offer differences in
lengths and ports visited. Any two Caribbean cruises can provide very
different vacation experiences.
cabins are built for two or more people, can I go on a Cruise if Iím by
- Yes, Cruise Lines usually have a special rate
available if you are cruising alone. However, this rate can be as high
a 200% of those for a single person in a double occupancy cabin. In
other words, you might be paying for two cruises even though you are
by yourself. Youíll want to look for a Cruise Line that has a lower
- You can also consider a "single share"
program that some Cruise Lines offer. The Cruise Line will find a
roommate for you, so you can cruise at the lower double occupancy
rate. If they canít find you a partner you usually still get the
cabin at the cheaper rate. With partner programs, you might find a
lifelong friend. However, you are also taking the risk of being stuck
in a room with someone whom youíre not comfortable.
type of cruise I pick really make a difference in my vacation?
- Yes, the Cruise Ship is your hotel, restaurant
and entertainment for your whole vacation. It is a package deal that
is different from a traditional vacation. Youíll want to spend some
time and do some research to make sure you pick the right cruise for
you. The perfect cruise for some might be a miserable one for others.
Make sure you find the best match. Youíll want to find the best rate
on the right cruise for you, not just the cheapest rate. Cruise Lines
cater to certain groups and their whole ship is meant to entertain and
please that crowd.
- Some cater to certain age groups, singles or
- Some are calm, elegant and feature haute cuisine.
- Some have lots of loud, exciting activities to
attract the active crowds.
- Others have lots of family activities planned, so
the ship will be filled with kids.
- You will find some that have shore excursions
just for you, while others look boring.
|How can I
find the best cruise for me?
- Do some research, it will be worth it.
- Check out the Cruise Lineís web pages and
brochures for information. Look at the pictures and see what types of
activities they have planned. Have they planned a cruise to make
someone like you happy?
- Make some decisions early. Are you looking for a
quiet relaxed cruise, a romantic getaway or a party atmosphere? Once
you have an idea of what you want out of your vacation, you can judge
the different cruises on how well they meet your expectations.
- Ask your friends, but remember that you are
looking for the best cruise for you. Make sure you ask them what they
were looking to get out of their vacation. Your friends may have loved
the cruise because it was exactly what they wanted. Make sure you have
similar expectations before you book the same cruise.
- Ask lots of questions of your booking agent.
should I consider to help me decide which cruise to pick?
- The amount you have budgeted and the overall cost
of the cruise.
- Any special price breaks or deals.
- The Cruise Lineís reputation for the quality of
its cuisine and its menu.
- The Cruise Lineís reputation for customer
- The Cruise Lineís previous ship safety and
- The overall atmosphere the cruise conveys.
Whether it is family fun, party time, quite elegant sophistication or
- The length of the Cruise.
- The Shipís own facilities.
- On ship activities planned.
- Any theme attached to the cruise.
- The ports you will be visiting.
- The shore excursions that the Cruise Line offers.
|How can I
get a good cruise rate?
- Paying the brochure rate for a cruise is like
paying the full sticker price for a car. You should be able to easily
find a good discount off those rates, if you canít, keep looking
- Book early, the booking rates become more
expensive the closer to sailing. Booking early on a Cruise Line
generally refers to 120 days prior to sail date.
- Shop around, shopping the Internet can be the
quickest and easiest way to compare many different cruise rates.
- Be flexible about your travel plans. As with
every other travel industry, cruising during the off season will also
help you save money.
- Apply any coupons or special discount programs
for which you are eligible.
of special discount programs are available?
- Discounts may be available for associations,
corporations, seniors, children or even large groups or family
- Memberships in loyalty clubs often include offers
of discounts and upgrades.
- Some credit cards will have special discounts
available to their cardholders.
- Package deals often include a discounted cruise
price along with pre or post-cruise activities.
|Do I have to
book early to get a good deal?
If you book early you will have a better chance of
getting exactly what you want and a discounted price. However, if the
ships have low occupancy rates close to sailing, you can still find
great deals. With all the new large ships that are being launched, last
minute deals are still a possibility. But, these deals can be limited
and many people donít have the flexibility to leave or at least book
in an instant.
ever go on sale?
Yes, 2 for 1 deals are popular sale incentives where
two cruises are offered for the price of one. However, airfare is
usually not included in the two for one rate. Cruise Lines have also
offered discounted or free airfares; free post or pre-cruise hotel
stays, free cabin upgrades, extra days free or free shore excursions.
any deals to encourage me to go on my first cruise?
Some Cruise Lines will offer a first time cruiser
discount to encourage you to give their Cruise Line a try. It probably
wonít have to be your first cruise, just your first cruise with that
any discount programs available for frequent cruisers?
Yes, Cruise Lines are beginning to go the way of the
airlines and offer special discounts or other incentives to those who
have been on previous cruises with the Cruise Line. Most of these
loyalty clubs publish magazines to update frequent cruisers on their
Cruise Lineís programs and will often include discounts and other
|What is a
Since peak seasons vary in different parts of the
globe, Cruise Lines will sometimes move their ships around to keep a
higher occupancy rate and to take advantage of those peak season rates.
When a ship moves from an existing itinerary in the Caribbean to Alaska
or Europe, the trip to the new itinerary is called a repositioning
going on a repositioning cruise save me money?
The Cruise Line wants to cover the cost of moving the
ship by filling the ship with paying customers. These cruises are
different than what the Cruise Line normally advertises and many are
unaware that these cruises even exist. The Cruise Line will often offer
deep discounts on these cruises to encourage bookings. Although youíll
be seeing a different part of the world and probably spend less time in
ports than on their normal cruises, youíll get the same ship and all
the good food at a better rate.
|How can I
get the most for my money on a short cruise?
You might consider a during the week four-day cruise
instead of a three-day weekend cruise. Since it is harder for people to
get away during the week than on the weekend, there can be less demand
for the four-day cruise, so you might get that extra day cheap.
matter how I pay for my cruise?
It might, some credit card companies have special
discounts available if you use their credit card with a particular
Cruise Line. Some Cruise Lines will also offer a discount if you pay for
the entire cruise in advance instead of just paying the standard
return from a cruise they often talk about the meals, whatís the deal?
The deal is food, food, and more food. Breakfast,
brunch, lunch, mid afternoon snack or tea, dinner, midnight buffet and
room service, youíve never had so many eating opportunities. They have
to think up names for all the different meal times. Youíll have as
many as 10 opportunities a day to eat.
quality of food vary between the Cruise Lines?
Of course, some of the Cruise Lines focus on high
cuisine. The more expensive Cruise Lines will generally have the more
exotic foods to please all those pampered taste buds. So if you have
those taste buds, youíll want to do a little research to find the best
match for you. Sample menus are usually posted on the Cruise Lineís
web pages to give you an idea of their offerings. Most Cruise Lines
sailing from U.S. ports provide very good quality food, but donít
expect to compare most ships to a five star restaurant. Remember, many
ships may have to serve 2000 or more passengers, ten meals a day.
Cruise Line handle my special dietary needs?
If you notify the Cruise Line up front, they can
usually make some accommodations for your special needs. Often the menus
will already have choices that are low calorie, low sodium or
vegetarian. But, youíll still want to notify the Line up front to see
if they can accommodate your requests.
|With all the
different meals, how will I know when to eat?
- Cruise ships generally offer two main seating
- The early seating generally starts with a
breakfast around 7:00 a.m. with lunch at noon and dinner at six.
- Late seating starts around 8:30 a.m. for
breakfast with lunch at 1:15 p.m. and dinner at 8:15 p.m. These times
arenít exactly the same for every ship, but these examples should be
- Once you pick a mealtime youíll be expected to
follow it for the three main meals of the day.
- Some ships are more flexible about breakfast and
lunch than dinner.
|What if I
canít make it to my scheduled mealtime?
You might let your waiter know so they donít wait
for you. Youíll have lots of other meals that you can catch. You
canít go hungry on a cruise ship. There are lots of other
opportunities to find food. Early breakfast on deck, maybe an informal
lunch on deck by the pool, tea, midnight buffet and most ships have room
service, some for all 24 hours.
seating should I choose?
- Itís up to you and those in your party.
- Are you early risers or late sleepers?
- When do you usually eat?
- What type of cruise activity is your favorite?
The early schedule will cut into your sunning on deck time. The late
seating cuts into your nightlife.
- If you like to linger over a long dinner, the
later seating will feel less pressure to clear the table since there
wonít be another seating immediately following your dinner.
|What are my
choices when picking my table preference?
Many ships have 2, 4, 6, 8 and larger person tables
in their dining rooms. The Cruise Line will do its best to match you to
your preference, but just like the cabins, those who book earliest will
have a better chance at getting their request.
|How do I
know which size table is best for me to request?
- If itís just the two of you, and you want
privacy, go for the 2 top. You will have to move quickly, since there
is a limited number of two person tables available.
- The four tops can be risky for a couple. Youíll
only have one other couple at the table, and you might get lucky or
get stuck with some duds.
- Many cruisers enjoy the chance to get to meet
others and go for the larger tables.
- A bigger table will also increase the chance that
youíll be able to find others in the mix whom you will enjoy
|How does the
Cruise Line figure out the seating arrangements?
They look at what seating time you requested, your
preference for smoking or nonsmoking, as well as your table size
|How will I
know which seating I have been assigned?
- They should have your request listed on the
cruise information packet that youíll receive after booking.
- Some Cruise Lines will confirm your seating
before you arrive.
- Youíll usually also find a meal assignment card
in your cabin when you arrive. It should have your tableís number on
- You might want to take the assignment card along
to your first meal, so you know where you are going.
|What if I
donít like my meal seating assignment time?
Speak with the Maitre dí immediately. They probably
wonít be able to do anything immediately since the time you want may
already be full, but they can start to work on solving your problem.
|What if I
donít like my table companions?
Speak with the Maitre dí immediately. They probably
wonít be able to do anything immediately since all the tables will
already be full, but they can start to work on solving your problem.
|at is there
to do on a Cruise Ship while the ship is at sea?
- Youíll have many different opportunities to eat
and enjoy dinner conversation.
- You might want to exercise some of those meals
off. Most Cruise Ships have equipped gyms and some have exercise
- You can try a game of chance in the casino.
- Go to the shipís theater and catch a movie.
- Enjoy some live entertainment shows.
- Become a dancing fool in the lounge.
- Lie on the deck and catch some rays.
- The ships will have a variety of other activities
scheduled to keep you busy.
|If there are
all these things to keep me busy, then how will I know what is going on
when and where?
- The ship will have at least one centralized
notice board with a schedule.
- Most cruise ships also will have a schedule
printed and placed in your cabin.
|Do I have to
participate in all the activities?
No, you donít have to participate in any. They just
have them in case youíre interested. Itís your cruise to enjoy as
|What is a
- It is a cruise booked around a certain theme.
- It could focus on a particular interest and have
certain lectures on board.
- It could be a celebrity cruise that will give you
a chance to rub elbows with the famous.
- It could have a theme around a type of
entertainment such as Country or Big Band music.
- If you can think of a theme that interests
people, they probably have a cruise to match it.
enjoy a theme cruise?
They can be great fun if you pick the right theme for
you. Check to see if a Cruise Line offers a theme cruise that matches
your interest. Youíll also want to see if the cruise you are going to
book has a theme or possibly a large group joining your cruise. You
might not want to spend your vacation being the odd man out because you
donít like the theme or because youíre not part of the large group.
cruises can go to different ports, how will I know how to pick the one
Iíll enjoy the most?
|Check out the ports of call.
Since these will also be a major part of your cruise, you want to know
where youíll be going and what you can do there. Youíll want to ask
about the types of the shore excursions available. What do you enjoy:
shopping, nature, sports, historical sites or exotic culture? Youíll
want to pick ports of call that have activities that interest you.
|How can I
find tourist information on the ports that my cruise will visit?
|The Tourism Offices
Worldwide Directory web site. This site provides a collection of
addresses, phone numbers, and web links to many foreign governmentsí
official tourism offices. It also contains a search feature that lists
contact information and web links for official U.S. State Tourism Offices,
regional, city, and convention and visitor bureau sites.
|How much do
the shore excursions cost?
Youíll want to know the cost of the available shore
excursions. There are generally fees for ship sponsored shore
excursions. They can cost range from only twenty dollars to several
hundred. Youíll want to know the costs of shore excursions in advance
so you can compare complete cruise packages. There can be a large range
in costs for shore excursions. Shore excursions are also a safety issue,
which you can read about in our Cruise Safety section.
|How do I
find out about the shore excursions?
Many are listed on the Cruise Lineís web page and
some can be booked in advance before you reach the ship. There should
also be information in your ticket packet for you to read. Once on
board, most will have a lecture about the port of call with a
description of the available shore excursions and have someone available
to answer your questions about the packages.
|What do I
need to know about the shore excursions?
- Youíll want to know the general game plan to
see if you are interested.
- Youíll also want to know how guided youíll
be, is this just transportation or a tour?
- Can you take the tour and still have some freedom
- How much walking or physical activity will there
be on the shore excursion?
- What about food, will any be included or are you
fending for yourselves?
- Are admission and fees included when we get
there, or will there be extra charges to participate once we arrive?
|Do I have to
take a shore excursion to make it to port?
No, you shouldnít. You should be able to walk or
cab if you are docked at port or be able to take one of the shipís
scheduled tenders to the dock. The ship might also have a free shuttle
to take you into the most popular areas. You can wander on your own if
you like. Your time at port is your own.
|Can I stay
on board the ship while it is in port?
Yes, and some do to enjoy all the shipís amenities
while the crowds are off at the port.
|What do I
need to know about the ship before I book my cruise?
- Youíll want to know the size of the ship; they
can give it to you in tonnage such as 60,000 tons and/or number of
passenger. You also want to know when the ship was launched and when
it was last refurbished.
- Youíll also want to know the square footage. Or
at least the range of square footage of the cabin classes you are
interested in. This will give you some information for comparison. You
may find a particular ship has bigger cabins at a certain class than
- If your cabin has a veranda, make sure the size
of the veranda is not included in your cabin square footage, so that
you are comparing cabin size to cabin size.
- You might want to investigate the shipís
sanitation record. See our Cruise Safety section for information on
how to investigate a shipís sanitation record.
the ships within a certain Cruise Line the same, you know sister ships?
- Some Cruise Lines do have sister ships, which are
ships that were built to very similar specifications.
- The Cruise Lines will have other similarities in
- They will tend to recruit their officers and
crews from a certain area of the world.
- The same Entertainment Company may provide much
of their entertainment or shows.
- Their activities will be designed for a certain
type of cruiser.
- The types of dťcor will often have a certain
- The menus can be similar or even identical.
- However, Cruise Lines also will have some
differences in their ships.
- Most Cruise Lines have a variety of ships in
different sizes that will offer different amenities.
- The age and condition of ships within a certain
line will also vary.
- Even in an identical sister-ship you will have
two different crews so itís best to do research on both the Cruise
Line and your particular ship.
|Why do I
need to know the overall size of the ship? Isnít it the bigger the
- Not necessarily, the bigger the better wonít be
everyoneís idea of a perfect cruise. Knowing the size of the ship
will help you decide which cruise will provide the better match for
your personal tastes.
- The Cruise Lines have been building some huge
ships lately and the bigger ships have room for every imaginable
- The bigger ships can provide more options, but
they will also have more people on board to pay for all that size.
- Bigger doesnít automatically mean less crowded.
In fact, some can seem more crowded.
- The smaller ships can also have plenty of
activity in a more intimate setting.
|Why do I
need to know when the ship was launched or refurbished?
This will help you to judge the overall condition of
the ship. You may see pictures of the ship on the Cruise Lineís web
site, but those pictures were probably taken when the ship was new or
just redecorated. You want to have some idea of the age of those
pictures. Inaugural cruises and sailing just after refurbishment can be
exciting since everything is new and fresh, but you might be the one to
discover that the new toilet in your cabin doesnít work.
smoke free areas on the ship?
- Yes, most have smoke free dining sections and
many have smoke free dining rooms.
- Many of the general entertainment areas are also
divided into smoking and nonsmoking sections. Some ships only allow
cigar and pipe smoking on the outside decks.
- Some Cruise Lines are beginning to offer
nonsmoking cruises and even prohibit you from bringing any tobacco
products on board. But, itís a little too early to see if these will
become main stream offerings.
- If you do go on a nonsmoking cruise, donít
break the rules. The rules of these cruises usually state that you can
be put off the ship if you smoke or even possess tobacco products. You
do not receive any reimbursement for your lost cruise and must make
your own way home. You may even be subject to a fine for smoking on
the ship. If you think they are kidding when they say nonsmoking only,
know that people have already been put off the ship for breaking the
ships still divided by class?
No, almost every ship has common areas. Youíll eat
the same food in the same dining rooms and sit together at the same
arenít classes, then how come there is such a variety in rates?
Itís the cabins. Your cabinís size, bed
arrangement, view and location will determine your rate. The small
lower, inside cabins are the least expensive. As you move to the outside
and/or move up decks, your rates will increase. The upper deck suites
with the outside verandas are the most expensive.
|If I can get
the same food and entertainment as the people in the expensive cabins,
then shouldnít everyone book the cheapest cabins? I wonít be in my
cabin much anyway, right?
Not everyone will be happy in those cabins and a
little extra cost could make for a much better vacation. You will spend
some time in your cabin and it will be your home for the entire cruise,
so space is an important consideration. Youíll have to decide if the
price difference is worth it to you. The Cruise Lines price in gradients
so you might spend a little more to get a porthole or a more convenient
location to save some steps. If you always stay in the suite at the
nicest hotels, donít expect the smallest cabin to make you happy.
knowing the age of a ship effect my cabin choice?
Most of the ships that have been built since 1985
have more standard size cabins, so it is a little easier to compare
cabins. In the pre-1985 ships, you can find a great deal of difference
in the cabin sizes. You canít always tell by just looking at a
shipís layout so youíll want to know the square footage of the
besides size is important to your cabin choice?
The location and the view, porthole or veranda of
your cabin will also make up price differences in your cruise. The
layout of the cabin beds can also make a difference. You may have bunk
beds, two side by side or one big bed.
|Why is the
location of the cabin important?
- Youíll want to know what is near, next to,
above or below your cabin.
- You may like the convenience of being next to the
stairs or elevators, but those areas will also be noisy.
- Cleaning closets can also be noisy.
- Being directly above or below common areas of the
ship, such as the kitchen, dining room, work out area, walking/jogging
track or bars can also keep you from sleeping.
- The lower rear cabins will suffer most from
engine noise and vibrations.
- Cabins at the front and rear of the ship will
suffer more motion than mid-ship cabins.
- Cabins at the front of the ship will sometimes
get a wakeup call when the anchor is lowered.
- Lower mid-ship cabins provide the smoothest ride
for those suffering from seasickness. If you book these cabins with a
view, it might be of a sloshing ocean so you might consider an inside
cabin if you fear seasickness.
I know before I pay for a view?
There are things to remember when upgrading into a
room with a view. If you are paying for it, you want to know what kind
of a view you are getting. Not all views are equal. You probably donít
want to pay the extra just so you'll have a lovely view of the
lifeboats. You also might not want to look out on the busiest walking
and jogging deck and get a view of everyone walking by. Look at the
ship's layout to evaluate your view and decide if itís worth it to you
to pay the extra money.
I know before I pay for a veranda?
You might consider the use youíll get out of the
veranda. Are you sailing in an area of the world with temperatures that
would encourage use of the veranda? How big is the veranda? Could you
sunbathe if you wanted to or is it covered? Is it private? This will
depend on the ship's layout; many are not private with other verandas
easily looking into them. The sliding glass doors will certainly make
your cabin seem less confined, but you might be able to get an even
bigger cabin for the same or an even lower price without the veranda.
Again, it will be a personal choice whether the veranda is worth the
|What is an
This means that your cruise has been booked with
Airline tickets to get you to the shipís port and back home again.
|How does an
Air/Sea Cruise work?
- The Cruise Line buys its tickets in bulk from the
Airlines. They find out where you are coming from and book you passage
from a nearby airport to one close to the shipís home port. Each
Cruise Line has its own policy on how they deal with the sale of
Airline tickets so youíll want to ask some important questions.
- What is the cost of the tickets if I book them
with my cruise?
- If I need to cancel, are the refund policies
different for the plane tickets than for the cruise?
- Is there a service fee charged to have the Cruise
Line issue my Airline tickets?
- Do I have any choice in which Airline is used?
- Can I get credit for my frequent flyer mileage
- Can I fly nonstop or have any control over the
route that is taken, or do I just get what ever they find?
- How do I get from the Airport to the shipís
- Is there a shuttle service available from the
airport where youíll be arriving? Is there a charge for this service
or is it included? Is the service included if you donít book your
flight through the Cruise Line?
- How and when do I meet up with Cruise Line
- How is my luggage handled, do I have to pick it
up at the airport or is it automatically sent to the ship?
- What accommodations, if any, are made if the
Airline they use causes me to miss the ship?
book my plane ticket with my cruise or buy them separately?
- You should consider the advantages and
- Can you get a better deal on your own?
- The strongest consideration should be how
confident you are in being able to make it to the ship on your own. If
you are already flying in a few days early, know youíll be there on
time and you can save over the Air/Sea on plane tickets and shuttle
costs, then you might just consider going it alone. But, remember you
are going it alone.
- The Cruise Lines will be more likely to make
accommodations and work with the Airline if their booking didnít get
you to the ship on time. They will be better able to track your late
flight and might even delay the ship if they know youíll only be
slightly late. They might pay for you to stay in a hotel or pay for
flights so you can catch up with the ship at the first port. Depending
on the circumstances, they might even rebate some of your cruise or
give you a discount toward your next cruise with them. However, the
Airlines are independent contractors. Most cruise conditions of
carriage state that since the Airlines are independent contractors the
Cruise Line makes no warranty and assumes no responsibility for any
failure or delay in their contractorís services. This is another
reason to purchase a strong trip insurance package.
- If the route you picked to make it to the ship
fails, you are on your own. Donít risk missing the whole cruise over
a few frequent flyer miles. Sure you can probably get on if you can
catch the ship, but will you be able to find a flight and
transportation to the ship. Will it be worth it, considering how much
youíll have to pay in last minute travel arrangements?
- No matter how you get there, try to avoid this
situation by booking a flight that leaves you plenty of time to get
you to and from the port to the Airport.
|What are the
advantages of buying Air/Sea Cruise package?
- They take care of the Airline reservation.
- Since Cruise Lines buy in bulk and usually
provide a discount package rate, the ticket price is generally low.
- The transfer of luggage can be easier.
- A free shuttle from the airport to the docks is
- The Cruise Line will have your flight information
and will be able to track your flight in case of a delay. Others on
the cruise might be on the same flight and they might just hold the
- The biggest advantage is that if anything goes
wrong to delay you, the Cruise Line will generally become more
involved to help you make it on board the ship.
|What are the
disadvantages of buying the Air/Sea Cruise package?
- You might be able to find a better deal on your
- You might not be able to get credit for your
frequent flyer miles.
- You might have to fly an Airline you donít
- You might not be able to fly nonstop.
- You might end up flying a longer route than
youíd pick for yourself.
|Where can I
find information on airports so that it will be easier for me to see where
I'll be meeting the Cruise Line's personnel?
|Go To: US
Airport & Foreign
|This page contains web links
to many major U.S. and foreign airports. Although, each airportís site
is different many contain airport layouts and other information that could
save you time and help make your visit a safe one. This links page also
lists many airport codes that can be helpful when making Airline
reservations so you and your luggage will be heading to the right airport.
if a hurricane blows up around the time of my cruise?
- Every Cruise Line has its own policy, but they
all usually reserve the right to advance, cancel or postpone a
scheduled departure. They also reserve the right to change the
itinerary, ships or ports of call.
- Cruising during the hurricane season does
increase the chance that your vacation plans will be modified, but it
doesnít necessarily increase any risk to your personal safety.
- For safety reasons, they might need to change
itineraries to be able to sail into safer waters.
- Cruise ships have sophisticated weather-tracking
systems, and they use them to stay in calm waters to avoid the storms.
- If you plan a cruise during hurricane season,
keep track of the weather in the area you are planning to sail. If it
begins to turn nasty, keep in touch with the Cruise Line for updates
in case they do need to change your cruiseís itinerary.
- Cruise ships might also have to change ports of
call to avoid local political upheavals that would risk the safety of
- Canceling is an option, but it would be the last
resort of the Cruise Line.
- Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance
coverage to protect your vacation dollars.
|What is Trip
- This is also often referred to trip cancellation
insurance, but most policies do more than protect you if your vacation
- Policies are sold that will refund your losses if
you have to cancel your cruise beyond the time you could get a full
refund from the Cruise Line.
- They can also offer protection if a delay causes
you to miss the ship.
- They may extend coverage to protect your luggage
or other personal belongings.
- Many offer a very important extension of medical
coverage to protect you if you become ill or are injured while on your
- As with any insurance, each policy will vary in
its cost, deductible, protections and exemptions. Youíll need to
read the individual policy yourself to find the best coverage for you.
|Should I buy
the Trip Insurance?
- It is certainly worth your strong consideration.
- With most cruises, you book far in advance and
although we donít like to think about it, many things can happen in
a yearís time that would cause you to miss your cruise.
- Most Airlines and Cruise Lines state very low
liability limits. If they loose or damage your luggage, youíll
probably not receive enough to cover your losses.
- You should look closely at your own personal
medical coverage. You may not have any coverage at all outside the
- If something would happen on your trip, you might
not only be stuck without coverage, but also be in a place that cannot
offer sufficient medical aid. The cost of a medical evacuation back to
proper medical care is extremely high.
- When you do consider the trip insurance, be sure
to read the fine print. As with any insurance, there are exceptions
and in many cases pre-existing conditions are not covered. You want to
make sure the policy you buy is a good one for you
|What will I
need to know to book my cruise?
- Youíll need a list of the names of the
passengers that will be going on the cruise.
- The credit card type, number and expiration date
of the card to be billed.
- You will need to have selected a ship and cruise
- Any pre or post-cruise activities that you are
booking through the Cruise Line.
- Youíll need to have decided how you are getting
to the port so you can book an air/sea package, check on shuttle
services or parking policies.
- Youíll need to have your cabin choice made.
- Youíll need to have selected your meal seating
and the names of any other passengers you wish to have join you at
- Youíll need to make any special requests, such
as those for smoking/nonsmoking or special dietary needs.
- This is also the time to book any shore
excursions, if you are already sure you plan on going on a particular
- Youíll need to have decided if you are
purchasing trip cancellation insurance through the Cruise Line.
- Any discount or coupon information you are
planning on using.
- Youíll want to verify when final payment on the
cruise is due.
|Do I need to
go through the cruise packet they will send me?
- Absolutely, it is filled with information that
you need to know.
- Forms will be included that you should fill out
in advance, so you donít keep us all waiting in line.
- It should also have a section on the travel
documentation you'll need to go on the cruise.
- There should be tags for your luggage inside the
- Instructions on how, when and where you will meet
- Youíll want to get the shipís satellite
communications telephone number so you can leave it in case of an
- You should also check your booking to reconfirm
all your plans.
|Do I need to
confirm my reservation?
Yes, it never hurts to confirm your reservation
directly with the Cruise Line, especially if you depended on someone
else to book your cruise for you. Be sure to verify all your booking
information and make sure that the Cruise Line has the correct contact
information in case they need to contact you before the cruise. Also,
make sure that any special requests you have made are listed in your
|What type of
I.D. will I need to get on the ship?
Your ticket packet information will give you specific
instructions, but most Cruise Lines will require at least a state issued
picture I.D., even if your cruise will stay in U.S. territorial waters.
If your ship is going to another country, youíll probably need to
bring a passport or a birth certificate with a raised seal and a
governmentally issued I.D. such as a driverís license.
|Will I need
- It depends on where you are going. Foreign travel
often requires a passport. However, you may be able to enter some
countries with just a notarized birth certificate with a raised seal
and your driverís license. Although, some countries may not require
much to enter, youíll still need proof of citizenship when you
re-enter the United States.
- Youíll need to find out if any of the foreign
travel you are planning will require a passport or visa.
- You should be able to find specific instructions
on what type of paperwork youíll need in your cruise packet
- The passenger is completely responsible for all
- If you donít have a passport, apply for one at
least 3 months before travel.
- If you already have a passport, make sure it will
still be valid for your entire trip.
- If your passport will be within six months of
expiration while youíre traveling, you may want to get a new
passport since some countries now require that your passport must be
valid six months after your return to the U.S.
|Where can I
get a passport?
You can get one at a State Department Passport
Agency, a clerk of any Federal or State Court of record, designated
municipal or county official or a designated U.S. Post Office.
|Where can I
find online passport information?
|The U.S. State
Departmentís Passport Services web page. This site contains information
on how to get a U.S. passport.
|What will I
need to get my passport?
- You may need to appear in person. If you are a
first time applicant, youíll need to appear in person at one of the
official locations listed above. You will also need to appear in
person if it has been more than 12 years since your last passport was
issued or you were under 16 years of age when your last passport was
issued. Applicants under 13 are not always required to appear in
person since a parent or guardian may execute the application on the
- You will need one of the following to provide
proof of U.S. citizenship.
- A certified copy of your birth certificate with
a U.S. State or county embossed seal. Hospital certificates are NOT
- Your naturalization/Citizenship certificate. OR
- Your previously issued and expired passport. If
your name has changed from the one listed on your previous passport,
you must submit the sealed legal document showing the name change.
(Marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)
- Two identical recently taken 2x2inch front view
facial, from the bottom of your chin to top of head, photographs. No
hats or dark glasses can be worn in the photographs. Have them taken
at a passport shop since snapshots and machine photos are not
acceptable. You may also want to get several extra copies of the
photograph since they can also be used for international driver's
permits and other documents. Traveling with extra photographs will
also make it easier to replace your passport, if your is lost.
- A Driverís license or Military I.D. issued over
six months ago. State I.D. cards are only acceptable with several
other forms of I.D. Temporary or altered documents are NOT accepted.
Parentís I.D. will be used for that of a minor child.
- A completed official passport application form.
- Youíll also have to pay a passport fee that
will be listed on your application form.
|What is a
A visa is an endorsement on your passport that will
allow entry into the country youíll be visiting. It states that your
passport has been inspected and that everything is valid. It will
usually give permission for you to visit a country for a specific time
period and purpose.
|Will I need
Many countries youíll be visiting on a cruise do
not require a visa. Youíll want to ask your travel consultant in
advance and consult your cruise packet just to make sure youíll have
the papers youíll need. Visas often take several weeks to process. All
travel documents are the responsibility of the passenger.
|How can I
find out if I will need a passport or visa for my trip?
The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular
Affairsí Foreign Entry Requirements web page. This site lists the
entry requirements of foreign countries. It also includes the addresses
and telephone numbers of foreign embassies and consulates in the United
States. This web site is a good starting point, but since the
information presented is subject to change, you should also check
directly with the embassy or consulate of the country you a planning to
This page contains links to many foreign countriesí
Embassies and Consulate Offices located in the United States. Each
Embassyís web site is different, but they all contain contact
information and other helpful information for anyone planning on
visiting their country.
The U.S. State Departmentís Foreign Consular
Offices web page. This site contains an updated listing of contact
information for foreign countriesí consular offices in the United
|What do I
need to pack?
- Everything you would need, if you were staying at
a resort hotel in the same geographic area of your cruise.
- Avoid over packing by reading the recommended
dress section of the cruise literature that will be mailed to you
after you book.
- Check to see if they have a theme night or talent
show where you might need some special outfits.
- Even in the warm Caribbean, you might need a
sweater on the decks at night. The air conditioning can also be icy.
- Pack some comfortable rubber soled shoes to get
around on the decks.
- Bring a pocket calculator to help you figure your
ports of call exchange rates.
- Bring a white T-shirt if you plan on going
snorkeling or you may have a burned back when you are done.
- You might also pack some drinking straws to use
while at port. This will help you to avoid touching your lips to a
canís top. The top might be covered with contaminants that will make
cruise ships really formal?
No, cruising isnít just for the stuffed shirt crowd
anymore. Casual attire is appropriate for almost all of your cruise.
|Will I need
any formal clothes?
Yes, cruises still have dinners where more formal
clothes are appropriate. The last night of a cruise is usually a formal
night, and a seven-day cruise will usually have two formal nights. These
are the meals that used to require tuxedos or cocktail dresses. They are
now optional but, if you have them dust them off and bring them along.
Many Cruise Lines will rent tuxedos, so you can check into this option
before you go. Fewer passengers are taking this option and a dark suit
and dresses are perfectly appropriate and will probably be the most
common passenger attire for the formal nights. On the other nights a
sport coat and tie or pants suit are appropriate. Some Cruise Lines are
recommending even more casual attire such as sport shirt and pants on
all but the formal night. Read your cruise packet or check out the
Lineís web page for your particular ship's recommendation.
I pack in my carry-on bags?
- Items of value that should never go in your
checked luggage such as cash, jewelry, medication, travel documents
and a list of everything in your checked baggage.
- Since luggage is often not delivered to your
cabin until after your first dinner, be prepared and pack a change of
- You might also consider one-day items, in other
words all the items you would need to make it through a 24-hour day,
just in case your luggage goes missing.
- Keep lots of crisp one-dollar bills wherever you
keep your money. This will come in handy when dealing with all the
skycaps and porters.
|What do I do
if I canít find my luggage?
If you are still at the airport, notify the Airline
immediately. Hopefully, youíll have a list of everything in your
checked baggage in your carry-on, so you can make them a copy for the
claim. If the Cruise Line transferred your luggage and you never saw it
at the airport, youíll need to work with the Cruise Line first.
people contact me while Iím on the ship?
The information packet you receive should list the
shipís satellite communications telephone number. Youíll want to
leave this number with someone at home so they can get in touch with you
in case of an emergency. Youíll need to leave them the Cruise Lineís
name, the shipís name and itinerary. You should probably reinforce the
emergency part since the calls are expensive and the shipís personnel
will have to track you down. If you want to keep in close contact with
home, you should schedule calls home. If the calls to home can be made
while in port on a calling card, youíll probably get a better
connection at considerable savings.
|How can I
keep in touch with the outside world while on the ship?
Most cruise ships have newspapers waiting for them
once they reach port. They also have radiophones and satellite
communications available. Satellite communications are clearer, but are
more expensive to use. You should also check into getting an email
account with an Internet Service Provider that you can access anywhere
in the world. Youíll want an email account that you can pull up from
an Internet account by using its domain address on the World Wide Web.
That way you can avoid the problem of having to call a particular phone
number to connect you to your email account. You could then forward your
more restrictive email accounts to a full access email account. Cyber
cafes are starting to pop up all over the world and finding one of these
can get you access to your email.
|How can I
get access to the Internet when I travel?
This site contains a searchable database with contact
information and web links for over 4000 cybercafes, public Internet
access points and kiosks in 135 countries. They also offer some premium
information services for a fee.
This site contains a searchable database with contact
information and maps for Kinkoís in the United States and several
|s it help to
arrive to the ship early on my sail date?
Yes, find out from the Cruise Line how early you can
board the ship and try to arrive early. Youíll be able to avoid the
crowds; you can use the extra time on board to confirm your seating
assignment and be the first to make it to the sign up sheets. It could
also help your budget when you take advantage of the free lunch that
many ships serve while the passengers are boarding.
carry on my own bags or let the porters do it?
|You may not get to see them
if you fly in and they load them right on board, but if you have your own
bags and are physically able, consider carrying them on yourself. If you
booked a room deep in the ship and brought lots of bags this might be a
task, but youíll have a head start on everyone else.
- You can be all unpacked and enjoying the ship
while others are still waiting for their bags.
- It can take several hours for your bags to make
it to your cabin and sometimes you get stuck wearing your dirty
traveling clothes to dinner. Wouldnít a shower and fresh clothes
make you feel better?
- There will also be less chance for your bags to
disappear and some Cruise Lines state a liability maximum limit of
$100.00 for your luggage.
I do when I first get on board?
- Youíll probably find your cabin steward who can
show you how everything works. Make them your friend, they can be very
- If you have your luggage, itís nice to unpack
so youíll get it over with and have some room in your cabin.
- You should check to see if your meal seating
confirmations are in your cabin, if unacceptable, you need to go see
the Maitre dí.
- Check to see when the lifeboat drills are
- If you plan on using the spa, salon or
babysitting service, find them and sign up before all the good times
- Check on the shore excursions if you know you are
definitely going. See if you can sign up now, so youíll be sure to
get on before they sell out.
for an upgrade at the last minute?
Yes, if your ship has better cabins that went unsold
you might be able to work your way into a free upgrade or at least one
for a discounted rate. If the ship is sailing and the better cabins are
empty, then anything the Cruise Line gets helps cut their losses. Check
with the Purserís office to see if there are any available. Some
Cruise Lines will only accept cash or travelerís checks for this
upgrade, so you might need to plan ahead and bring some.
|How do I
deal with the shipís multinational crew?
Cruise Lines recruit from all over the world, and
getting to know your multinational crew may be one of the best parts of
your cruise. The crew you deal with should all speak English, but they
may not all be native speakers of the language. If they donít seem to
be following your request, try to speak slower and more clearly. Donít
embarrass yourself, by speaking louder or developing a fake accent that
you think they will understand. You can also try some other alternative
words that they might know to get your point across. Remember, English
is a language that has lifts in England and elevators in the U.S., and
depending on your location in the United States, you may need to order
pop instead of soda to get a cola.
|How do I pay
for things on board the ship?
- Most Cruise Lines have developed a billing system
for your convenience. They will take an imprint of your credit card
and set up a tab for the cruise. You will then receive a total bill at
the end of your cruise. You might want to keep all those little
receipts you sign to verify the tab at the end.
- You can usually use a credit card, travelerís
check or U.S. dollars aboard the ship if it sails out of a U.S. port.
- Personal checks are not always accepted or they
may have limits, so youíll want to check the Cruise Lineís policy
on this if you plan on using this option.
|Why does it
matter if the ship sails out of a U.S. port?
Whenever a passenger ship sails out of a U.S. port,
even under a foreign flag, it must pass U.S. Coast Guard inspection
standards, which are some of the highest in the world. This is even true
of a ship that spends most of its time in Europe, but spends a season
sailing the Caribbean out of a U.S. port. For it to be here, it must
meet U.S. requirements. Youíll want to be more cautious if your ship
doesnít sail from a U.S. port. If it does not, you will want to check
into that Cruise Lineís reputation for safety and that particular
shipís safety precautions before you book your cruise.
|How can I
find out about my shipís sanitation record?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Preventionís, Sanitation Inspection of International Cruise Ships web
page. This site contains links to the CDCís published inspection
scores of international cruise ships. Any ship that carries 13 or more
passengers and sails from a U.S. port at anytime during the year is
subject to two, yearly unannounced sanitation inspections. The ships can
also be re-inspected at anytime if necessary. The inspections are made
as part of the Vessel Sanitation Program of the U.S. Center for Disease
Control and Prevention. A maximum score of 100 points is possible, with
a score of 86 or higher judged as acceptable. If you do investigate the
shipís scores, remember that anyone can have a particularly good or
bad day. To get the best overall picture of a shipís sanitation
record, you should evaluate several of the shipís scores over a long
period of time.
The inspectors evaluate the ship in the following areas.
- Water supplies, distribution and storage.
- Food storage, preparation and service.
- Potential for contamination of food and water.
- Practice and personal hygiene of employees.
- General cleanliness and physical condition.
- Training program in environmental and public
|How can I
increase my safety while aboard the ship?
- Check to make sure there are enough life jackets
in your cabin for everyone, if you need more ask your cabin steward to
- Attend and pay attention to the shipís lifeboat
drill. Learn the best route from your cabin to the lifeboats and fire
- Always use the handrails, decks can be slick and
it takes a while to get your sea legs.
- Sure, you want to party a little, but wait until
you get used to the shipís motion before you start enjoying those
adult beverages. The sea can have the same effect on your equilibrium
as alcohol and you donít want to get hit by a double whammy.
- If you smoke, donít throw your cigarette butts
off the shipís deck, they can blow right back onto a lower veranda
or open window and start a fire.
|How can I
improve my safety in the cabin?
- Always lock your cabin door.
- Use the shipís safety deposits boxes or cabin
safe for your valuables.
- Never leave cash in your room.
- If you have bunk beds in your cabin, be sure to
use the ladder they provide.
- Make sure you always know how to contact your
- Don't give out your cabin number to strangers.
lot of people get seasick on cruises?
- Not so much anymore, cruises tend to be in calm
waters and the ships have gotten so large that their shear size helps
lessen the motion.
- Modern weather tracking devices help keep the
ship sailing in calm waters by avoiding any storms.
- The improving technologies of large modern ships
provide for better stabilizers that counter act the motion of the
- Modern preventative medications are also readily
available. All these factors work together to lessen your chance of
|How can I
avoid getting seasick?
- You can book your cruise in calm waters aboard a
larger modern ship with stabilizers.
- Book a mid-ship, lower level inside cabin, those
have the most stable ride.
- Book a cabin with beds that are parallel to the
length of the ship; the rocking is usually easier for your body to
handle than a rolling motion.
- Speak with your doctor before you leave for
recommendations of preventative medications you could use.
- Some people find an accupressure bracelet around
the wrists to be helpful.
- Once on board, spend some time on deck and focus
on a fixed point of the horizon. This helps your body to adjust to the
- Avoid alcohol, it will only increase the symptoms
of motion sickness.
|What if I
get sick while on my cruise?
- You should check, but your ship will probably
have an infirmary with a doctor and nurse on staff and available 24
- If you have any pre-existing conditions that
might need medical attention while on board, notify the Cruise Line in
advance of booking to see if the type of assistance youíll need is
- Since cruise ships arenít hospitals and canít
handle all emergencies, you should also check into trip insurance that
will help cover the costs of reaching proper medical care if needed.
Be sure to read the fine print of the policy to see what is covered.
There are exceptions and in many cases pre-existing conditions are not
|How can I
protect myself from travelerís diarrhea while at port?
- When you are off ship, donít forget that
drinking the port countryís water can be dangerous.
- Stick with bottled or boiled water and carbonated
- Remember that the ice in your drink turns into
water so order them with out ice.
- Wipe off the tops of cans before you drink from
them, or better yet bring some straws to use for drinking.
- Avoid raw foods, as they can also be a good way
to get sick.
- Only brush your teeth with bottled water and keep
your mouth shut when youíre in the shower, even an accidental spray
can get you sick.
|How can I
protect my health when I travel?
- If you have any food allergies, learn the names
of those foods in the languages used in the countries youíll be
visiting. This way youíll be better equipped to stay on the look out
- Find out what types of diseases are common to the
area youíll be visiting and take actions to prevent your exposure to
- Find out what types of vaccinations you will need
to enter the country, there may also be medications youíll need to
take before, during and even after your trip. Get your vaccinations
done early in case you have a reaction and need some recovery time.
- You should consider a dental appointment if you
havenít had a check up in a while.
- Be careful what you eat and drink.
- Carry complete health information with you on
- Consider joining Medic Alert or IAMAT, the
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
information should I carry with me?
Complete and take with you a personal medical
history. Your doctor should be able to help you complete the history. It
- Your Insurance Companyís name and address.
- Trip Insurance contact information.
- Contact person in case of emergency.
- Your blood type.
- A copy of your eyeglass prescription.
- A list of current medications with their
generic names, brand names can vary in foreign countries.
- A list of allergies, including any known food
or drug allergies.
- A list of immunizations with their dates.
- A basic description of your past and present
medical condition, including past hospitalizations and any current
|Where can I
find information that will help keep me healthy while Iím traveling?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Travel Information web page. This site contains updated information and
articles on diseases. It also includes guidelines for travel to areas
that have suffered a recent natural disaster. The most valuable section
of the site is the destination section. This area of the site contains
detailed specific information on diseases common to particular regions
of the world, along with the recommended precautions and vaccines
advised to avoid those diseases.
|Where can I
find information that could help me to receive proper medical care while
The International Association for Medical Assistance
to Travelers homepage. This is a nonprofit organization that helps
travelers to avoid illness while traveling abroad. It also helps guide
travelers in 125 countries to competent medical care with doctors
trained in Western countries that speak either French or English in
addition to their native tongues. There is no charge for membership in
this organization, but donations are appreciated to help continue
The Medic Alert homepage. This is a nonprofit
organization that provides bracelets that identify diseases or allergies
from which you suffer. The bracelet also contains a phone number that
can be called so medical personnel can have access to your medical
records 24-hours a day. There is a registration and yearly membership
fee to receive this service
I know about shore excursions and safety?
- Your time at port can be your own or you can join
a Cruise Line sponsored shore excursion. Wandering a port on your own
can be a great way to get away from the crowd and immerse yourself in
a new culture, but it will also present challenges.
- Since everyone for miles just noticed the big
white ship full of wealthy tourists coming in, your chances of
blending in unnoticed are probably small. Even if you are traveling on
a tight budget, the fact that you got off this ship labels you as
wealthy, and compared to what youíll find in most parts of the
world, you are. This could place you in a dangerous situation, so
youíll need to be careful. The more you know about the specific port
and country the better.
- Doing a little research can greatly increase your
safety. The less experienced traveler should consider the Cruise
Lineís shore excursions. Although possibly more confining than
wandering on your own, you might actually find more freedom to enjoy
shore activities since youíll know youíre safe. There are
generally fees for ship sponsored shore excursions, so youíll want
to know those in advance so you can compare complete cruise packages.
|How can I
protect my safety while at port?
- Do the research so youíll know the particular
risks you face.
- If you havenít left your valuables at home,
leave them in the shipís safe.
- Donít draw attention to yourself, avoid wearing
flashy jewelry and donít display large amounts of cash.
|Where can I
find information on issues that will effect my safety while Iím
The U.S. State Departmentís Travel Warning and
Consular Information web page. This site contains detailed information
on foreign countriesí entry requirements, safety, crime, medical
facilities, traffic and aviation safety, customs, criminal penalties,
and special issue information. It also includes contact information and
web links to foreign Embassies and Consulate offices.
How can I avoid being the victim of
Donít travel in narrow alleys or poorly lit
When possible, avoid having crowds of people
Carry a dummy wallet and put your money in your
Place a rubber band around your wallet, it will
make it much more difficult to remove from your pocket without your
Carry your purse under your arm.
Carry your money under your clothes.
Know the pickpocket's tricks
What are some of the pickpocketís
There are lots of situations that pickpockets
use to create opportunities to relieve you of all that heavy cash. Be
especially aware of your money when you find yourself in the following
Getting bumped by someone else.
Having something spilled on you or someone
pointing out a spot on your clothing.
Someone approaching you and asking for help or
Someone causing a disturbance that draws
Being surrounded by a crowd, especially if you
are surrounded by groups of children.
How can I avoid getting into
trouble with the locals?
Know the laws and obey them.
Learn the customs and respect them.
Remember that those of us in the United States
are some of the most hurried people in the world. Not everyone in the
world values the demands of a fast paced life. In fact, many think we
are fools to spend our lives rushing around. You should try to respect
the culture of others and follow their pace. You may find it
frustrating to slow down, but youíll probably find it even more
frustrating when your attempts to hurry everyone else is met by an
even slower pace.
Be careful when taking photographs. Many
countries have restrictions against taking pictures of military or
police operations or facilities. Taking photographs of public
demonstrations can also be risky. If you have doubts, ask permission
Be courteous and respectful when taking
photographs and/or observing cultural and religious events. Put
yourself in their place. How would you like some improperly dressed
tourist showing up and taking pictures at a family funeral just
because they find the ceremony interesting? Again, if you have any
doubts, ask permission first.
happens if I get into trouble with the law while at port?
- Donít, you wonít have the same protections
that you do in the United States. Youíll be under that countryís
legal system, which may not have bail or the right to a speedy trial
among other protections available in the United States.
- If you are arrested, ask that the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate be notified and ask to speak with their representative.
- U.S. officials can help you to locate an
attorney, secure supplies you might need and notify those back home of
- The U.S. Embassy or Consulate can only make
requests on your behalf since they donít have any authority to
intervene in another countyís internal criminal matters.
|Who can I
contact if I get in trouble abroad?
The U.S. State Department International Information
Programís U.S. Embassies web page. This site contains links to U.S.
Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries throughout the world. Each
site is different, but they all contain information that would be
helpful to a U.S. citizen planning on visiting the particular foreign
|How can the
U.S. Government help me if I get into trouble abroad?
The U.S State Departmentís Services and Information
for American Citizens Abroad web page. This site contains links to
specific information on services that the U.S. State Department can
provide to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. It contains sections on
emergency services, legal assistance and other aid available, in case of
crisis, arrest, death or marriage aboard.
I know about shopping abroad?
- In many countries of the world, negotiation on
the price of an item is appropriate and often expected.
- Satisfaction guaranteed is much more widely
practiced in the United States. Make sure you are familiar with their
return and exchange policies.
- Many countries do not enforce copyright laws, the
logo you see may have nothing to do with the company it represents to
you. Check to see if the item is a fake.
- Some items for sale may need a special license
for export. This is especially true for antiques, works of art or
other items of cultural significance.
- Taxes can make up an even larger percentage of
the purchase price than you will find in the United States.
- Duty free may only mean the items are free from
duty where they are sold. U.S. Customs have their own guidelines for
taxation when you return.
port, what does Caveat Emptor mean?
It means the buyer beware. Remember merchants know
that putting up a duty free sign often means bargain to many. There are
some great buys to be had, but make sure your purchases are good values.
Stick with brand names you know and make sure those brand names are
spelled right on the product. In other words, make sure itís not a
fake. Also, duty free may just mean it is duty free where you are buying
it. U.S. Customs have their own guidelines for taxation when you return.
|Where can I
get quick access to cash while Iím traveling?
Visaís ATM locator web page. This site provides a
searchable database that locates ATMís belonging to the Visa, Visa
Electron and Plus ATM network worldwide.
MasterCardís ATM locator web page. This site
provides a searchable database that locates ATMís
belonging to the MasterCard and Cirrus ATM network worldwide.
|Where can I
get help in understanding all the U.S. Customs Service regulations?
The U.S. Treasury Department Customs Serviceís
Traveler Information, Know Before You Go web page. This site contains
information on U.S. Customís declarations, duty free exemptions,
prohibited and restricted articles and the procedures for shipping items
back to the U.S.
The U.S. Customs Service Traveler Information web
page. This site contains links to the services the U.S. Customs Service
provides to travelers; some of these web sites are also individually
linked to this web page for your convenience.
I find information about the restrictions for bringing food, plants,
animal products or pets into the U.S.?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Serviceís Travelersí Tips web page. This site
contains the procedures and restrictions for bringing food, plant and
animal products into the United States. It also contains a general list
of approved products and links to other relevant government web pages.
The U.S. Customs Service Traveler Information
Pets/Animals web page. This site contains the procedures and
restrictions for bringing pets and other animals into the United States.
It also contains links to other relevant government web pages.
I do if I have a problem with the facilities or service aboard the ship?
- If your problem is in the dining room, speak with
the Maitre dí. If your problem is specific to your cabin, speak with
your cabin steward. If you have problems with any area of the ship,
speak to the shipís purser.
- Whomever you speak to, explain the problem and
ask for it to be fixed.
- If you can think of a satisfactory solution to
the problem, suggest it to whoever is working with you.
- Allow for a reasonable response time considering
the nature of the problem.
- Remain calm and keep it businesslike. Donít
make it a personal attack against the person who is trying to help
you. The person is human and your professionalism will bring you
better results than unleashing your anger.
- Donít play the "big shot" game unless
you really are one. "Do you know who I am and how often I cruise
with you" might be greeted by yes, once over the last five years.
Computers are doing a wonderful job keeping track of customers and
they may have you information right on their screen. If you try to
fake them out by acting like a big shot, they might just think you are
trying to get something for nothing and doubt your whole story. You
are their customer and that is enough to demand good service.
- If you donít feel the person whom you are
dealing with is helpful, ask to see a supervisor.
- Calmly explain your situation to the supervisor
and allow them to fix the problem.
- If you have gone up the shipís chain of command
and are still unhappy, contact the Cruise Lineís customer service
information should I have if I need to contact the Cruise Lineís
customer service department?
- Write soon after the incident, while the
information is fresh and you are still within any time limitations.
- Include as much specific information as possible
when describing the problem.
- The date, location and time of the incident.
- Your name, reservation or confirmation number.
- Your sailing date, shipís name, and cabin
number. You should include your meal seating and table number if
appropriate to the issue.
- Keep the originals, but include copies of any
- Name, title, employee number or physical
description of those you dealt with if you have them.
- A description of the actions taken by those
- If you doubt you were treated according to proper
company policies or feel those policies donít provide for proper
customer service; question the customer service department about your
- Include the effect this problem will have on your
past and future impressions of the Cruise Line. But, donít
baselessly threaten "in any case, Iíll never use you
again", they might just write you off and leave you unsatisfied.
- If you can think of a satisfactory solution to
your problem, suggest it to the customer service department to give
them a chance to win back your business.
- Include your name, address and a telephone number
where they can reach you with their response.