Answers to frequently asked questions about cruising:
For your cruise and other travel, you will need proof of citizenship, such as a certified copy of your birth certificate or a passport. You don’t actually need a passport for cruises and travel to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Alaska, but if you have one, take it, as it is the best identification that you have. If you take a certified copy of your birth certificate, you will also need a government issue photo I.D., (such as driver license). Cruises and travel to Costa Rica, some part of South America and other areas of the world, including Trans canal cruises do require a passport and in some cases a visa. Your Come Cruise With Us & Tours, Inc specialist will advise you as to proper documentation. The U.S. State Department determine documentations requirements. Your Come Cruise With Us & Tours, Inc specialist can only advise you of the State Department requirements. For questions concerning identification requirement please contact the U.S. State Department (1-202-647-6575 or www.firstgov.com). If you need a certified copy of your birth certificate visit ( www.vitalcheck.com ).
Insurance is optional, however it is strongly recommended for protection due to losses occurring from, but not limited to, cancellation of trip due to illness or incapacity, interruption of trip due to medical or family emergencies; operator default or insolvency. For specific coverage details, refer to the insurance carrier.
HOW CAN I BE REACHED
ONBOARD THE SHIP IN AN EMERGENCY?
Carnival…877 225 7447 --- Norwegian…888 627 4477
Royal Caribbean...888 724 7447 --- Celebrity...877 266 1020
Disney...888 322 8732 --- Holland American...900 225 5425
PCL...900 225 5744
The general trend in
cruising today is to dress the way you feel the most comfortable.
Some ships are obviously more formal than others, so choose the one
that suits your taste and lifestyle.
Cruise vacations are casual by day whether you’re aboard ship or on
shore. Slacks, shorts, sport shirts, and comfortable shoes are a
sure bet for both men and women. Bathing suits are not allowed in
the dining room or the public rooms of a ship, but are perfectly
acceptable on the deck and at deck buffets. Shorts are not allowed
in the dining room in the evening.
It’s very unlikely. Today’s ships use a combination of sophisticated weather forecasting to plan the course of a voyage and stabilizers to ease the rolling motion of the ship. Unless you’re prone to motion discomfort at home, you most likely will not experience it aboard ship. Consult your doctor; he will be able to recommend a good anti-seasickness medication as a back-up measure to insure your peace of mind. Such remedies include: Dramamine, Bonine, Trans-Scop 5 (the tiny patch you wear behind your ear), and the new SEA BANDS (elastic bracelets that act on an acupressure theory) are all readily available. It’s best to secure any medication before you leave home.
PORT OF DEPARTURE
If you are using the cruise line’s Air/Sea package you will be met at the airport by a cruise line representative either as you deplane or in the baggage claim area. This person will direct you to the proper transportation (usually a bus) to the pier. If your cruise fare does not include transfers taxis are available from the airport to the port. You can also buy transfers to the ship at the air port.
Approximately three to four hours before sailing, so there may be some waiting time at the pier before you can check in. You may want to take along a book or some other reading material to help pass the time.
Embarkation begins three or four hours before sailing. Services are
available at the ports for handling and loading your luggage. A
clerk will take your documentation and cruise tickets check-in
procedure is much like that at an airport. At the ship entrance
stewards or other members of the cruise staff will direct you to
The luggage is loaded onto the ship and delivered to your cabin around sailing time. All luggage should be properly marked with your name, the name of the ship, and cabin number. Attach your cruise line’s luggage tags before you leave home so it’s readily identifiable everywhere.
If you have arrived early you will have time to explore the ship and get your belongings before the ship sails. You may want to slip into those comfortable clothes that you brought in your carry-on and take a tour of the ship. Most ships provide a lunch on the deck or around the pool for you convenience.
ON BOARD IN GENERAL
Your cabin steward or stewardess will greet you shortly after you arrive. He or she will keep your cabin neat fill your ice bucket and replenish your towels as you use them. He can answer many of your questions and you will find that he or she generally provide excellent service-much nicer than a hotel.
Ships on cruises of one week or longer usually offer valet laundry service. Some ships have laundry rooms with washers and dryers for passenger use. There also is usually an iron and ironing board available or the room steward may be able to arrange to have your clothes pressed. If you are going to use the ship’s laundry service do so early in the cruise as nothing is accepted on the last couple of days.
Every cruise ship has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency. If you need to see the doctor there is usually a charge of $20-$25, so be prepared to pay.
Almost all ships are equipped with a beauty salon where you may have you hair done, get a manicure, a facial, or a massage. Make your appointments early in the cruise since certain time periods get booked quickly particularly on formal nights. There is a charge for these services just as there would be at home.
Some new ships have locked drawers or even small safes available in the cabins. If yours does not inquire at the purser’s office shortly after boarding about the safe deposit boxes. Most ships have them available on a limited basis and at a nominal charge.
All ships sailing from United States ports must comply with International Convention Standards for Safety of Life at Sea and be inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, regardless of country of registry. Every ship has enough lifeboats for both passengers and crew. At the beginning of the voyage the crew has been thoroughly trained in emergency measures will conduct mandatory lifeboat drills. For your safety and that of your fellow passengers please attend this drill.
Most ships have a daily newsletter with late news
headlines selected stock quotations and sport scores. All ships are
equipped with radio and telegraph facilities and depending on the
sophistication of the system it is possible to phone anywhere in the
world from the Radio Room and on some of the newer ships from you
stateroom or a pay phone. However, calls that are ship to shore are
still fairly expensive.
There are a variety of activities available on most cruise ships. These include exercise classes, dance classes, sport contests, and other organized deck activities such as shuffleboard, ping pong, skeet shooting, driving golf balls of the fantail and on some ships volleyball and basketball. Of course, there’s always swimming and sunbathing. You can take in a feature movie, listen to a lecture, or play backgammon or bridge.
Dancing and live entertainment is usually available in nightclubs, discos, and lounges. Most ships show first-run movies and almost all ships have casinos for you gambling pleasure. There are Broadway-type shows and Las Vegas-style shows revues in the main lounge and small clubs have entertainment into the wee hours. There are also special events such as the Captain’s Welcome Party, Passenger Talent Night, a Masquerade Parade, and Midnight Buffets.
Aboard ship everyone seems to be in a great mood, so
it’s easy to mingle and have fun. Pick out a few people you would
like to know and make it a point to introduce yourself to them.
If you would like your cruise to be “just for you” pick out a cozy corner in a quiet lounge or an out-of-the-way spot on the deck and enjoy your own company in peace. Skip the evening shows, have dinner in your cabin, or stroll on deck in the moonlight. It’s your vacation so please yourself.
Read your Cruise News or Daily Program that your cabin steward will deliver to your cabin each evening. The Cruise News lists all activities available the next day plus opening times for the shops, beauty salon, etc.
FOR YOUR DINING PLEASURE
A confirmation of the dining room seating that you
requested should be in your cabin when you arrive. If not, the
Maitre’d will be available in one of the lounges during embarkation
for you to reconfirm your request. As in any nice restaurant if you
desire to change your seating or would like to request a particular
table a discreet tip to the Maitre’d will help. Usually $5-$20 is
When a ship has two seatings for meals it is considered courteous to be on time (or no more than 10 minutes late), so that everyone can enjoy their dining experience and the dining room can function at peak efficiency.
It’s fun getting to know your tablemates. But if you find that you simply don’t hit it off, just ask the Maitre’d to change you after the first or second night. He’s usually able to accommodate this type of request.
Many people like to take turns hosting the table to
wine, so feel free to make the suggestion. You tip the wine steward
15% when you sign or pay the bill, just as you would at home.
Have as much or as little as you would like. Your
waiter will be happy to bring you seconds. Have several appetizers
and skip the main course if you wish. It’s all up to you and you
will find your waiter very accommodating.
No, most all
ships offer the choice of having breakfast or lunch on deck or
around the pool. If you’re on early seating for dinner, you may
want to have the breakfast buffet on deck, so you can sleep later.
Or on the other hand if you are an early riser, most ships offer
coffee on deck as early as 6AM.
On the day before arrival at each port of call the Cruise Director will give an orientation briefing often enlisting the aid of a local authority. All inclusive shore excursions as well as navigation on your own are discussed; the history of the port and its points of interest; local best buys; and transportation information to enable you to make the most of your time ashore.
Shore excursions can range in price form $25-$150 per person
depending on the type and length. By paying a little more for the
shore excursion, you’re elimination the worry and responsibility of
planning and operation your own tour. You can plan your shore
excursions before you leave home, just take a look at this web site
Pick out a reputable-looking taxi driver (there will be lots at the pier) tell him what you want to see and negotiate an agreeable price for the number of hours you wish to tour before you get in his taxi. Be selective in choosing your driver/guide (be sure you can understand his English) and you’ll have an enjoyable tour. If your driver does a good job of showing you the sights he will expect a tip at the end of the trip in addition to the agreed price.
In many ports ships will dock in the main part of town and you’ll be able to walk right off the ship. If your ship is using a tender (a smaller boat) you’ll board that from the ship and the tender will take you to the dock. Remember it always takes time for the ship to be cleared and tour buses to be organized in port. Don’t rush. Listen for announcements and relax you won’t miss the tour.
Caribbean you can spend a relaxing day in the sun. Just take a taxi
to the best hotel in port and enjoy their pool and beach facilities.
Certainly not. Some people prefer the peach and quiet of a day on the ship when everybody else is gone. If you’re already visited a particular port just enjoy the ship itself.
The price of the ticket included all meals, stateroom, daytime activities, nightly entertainment and if you purchased the Air/Sea package, transfers, and roundtrip airfare from you home city.
Most things are included in the cruise price, but you will need some cash of course. Shore excursions and bar drinks are extra. Most people prefer to carry travelers’ checks that can be cashed at the purser’s office. You will need cash at the end of your cruise for gratuities. Major credit cards are usually accepted at bars and duty free shops and they are also accepted at most large shops ashore.
Most cruise lines have now gone to a “Sign and Sail” program whereby you may charge everything aboard ship to your cabin and then settle your account at the end of the cruise either by credit card, travelers check, or cash. If you are planning on paying cash most ships require a deposit of $50 for the “Sign and Sail” privileges.
General tipping guidelines vary from ship to ship. The cruise director will advise you in his debarkation talk or you will find information in the daily program. On some cruises you can pre pay your tips.
Here are some guidelines to help you plan:
Please Note: On most sign and sail programs the 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar checks or wine bills.
On short cruises gratuities are usually given on the last night of the cruise. You will present these in person to your cabin steward and in the dining room. On longer cruises 14 days or more, tips are usually given on a weekly basis. On some cruises you can pre pay your tips.
Usually luggage is left outside your cabin door before you go to bed on the last night of the cruise to expedite quick unloading of the baggage upon arrival at the pier. Be sure to keep out everything you need for the next morning. Also, if you’ve purchased packaged liquor on the cruise it is safer to carry that off with you.
You will see your luggage on the pier after you leave the ship. In most cases you will be given color-coded luggage tags by the cruise line so that you may tag your bags before leaving the ship. On most piers you will find your bags waiting under the color of your luggage tag, so don’t forget it.
If you have
visited a foreign port you must go through customs inspection. Most
times this clearance is made aboard ship, but occasionally it is
done on the pier. All articles in your possession that you acquired
during your voyage must be declared on the Customs slip given to you
the night before you disembark. You must pay duty on any items over
the duty free allowance. Duty is based on the wholesale price of an
item, so it is not usually prohibitive.
average seems to be two to three hours. The ship’s crew must unload
all baggage onto the pier and the ship itself must be cleared by
U.S. Customs before any passengers are allowed to leave. Just relax
in one of the public areas and you will hear the announcement when
the ship is cleared.