Is cruising affordable and a good
Yes! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget, from the
cost-conscious to the most luxurious. Even more important, a cruise offers
the best travel value for your money. Your fare includes: your cabin, all
meals, onboard activities, parties and entertainment. Your only extra
expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services
such as massage or hairstyling.
How long are cruises?
As long or short as you want. Your agent can give you information on itineraries from
two days to over one hundred days.
Where can I go?
Wherever you'd like to go! Cruises visit practically any destination
accessible by water.
Do I need a passport ?
Since most cruises visit the ports of many different countries, proof of
United States citizenship is required not only to allow you to visit these
countries, but also to allow you re-enter the United States. On most
cruises a birth certificate with raised seal, or a valid passport is
required. If you will be traveling to countries requiring visas, the
cruise line will send you the required forms. If you are not a U.S.
citizen, please be sure you are bringing the correct documentation for all
the countries you will be visiting. Due to security at the airport photo
identification must be shown to board the plane. Check with your agent for
additional requirements. Passport rules for US citizens will be changing
in June of 2009.
What happens if I need to cancel my cruise ?
We strongly recommend trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect
your investment. The criteria and penalties for cancellations are listed
in the back of most cruise brochures.
What is an Air/Sea package?
An Air/Sea package includes your cruise ticket, an airline ticket and
ground transportation needed to get you to the port. When using this
package, the cruise line will, at their discretion, fly you on either a
scheduled airline or a charter flight. Ground transportation is then
provided to take you to your ship.
What airline will I fly on if I purchase an Air/Sea
Cruise lines block space with the major airlines such as Delta,
Continental, and, USAir depending on where you are flying from. Your
travel agent can give you information regarding doing an air deviation
if you require special flights.
Can I get frequent flier miles when using an Air/Sea
Frequent flier members may inform the gate agent when checking in for
their flight of their frequent flier number and you will be credited with
What about passengers with special needs?
The cruise lines welcome passengers with special needs and work hard to
assist them throughout their trip. It is essential that the cruise lines
know well in advance if you have any special medical, physical or other
requirements that need to be addressed. Most modern cruise ships have a
number of cabins specially designed to accommodate passengers in
wheelchairs or in need of TTY communications. Service animals are
permitted on board if prior arrangements have been made. The Cruise
Planner Representatives can help answer any specific questions concerning
What will my cabin be like?
Cabins on most cruise lines are smaller than they appear on "The Love
Boat". They are designed for efficiency and to encourage you to use the
much larger public facilities on board the ship. If you requested an
"outside" or "ocean view" cabin, you will have a porthole or picture
window, depending on your ship design. Some outside cabins will also have
a small balcony. If you requested an "inside" cabin you will not have a
porthole, window, or balcony. Most cabins have twin beds which can be
converted to a queen size. Your cabin steward is there to make your stay
comfortable; whether to change the bed configuration to suit your desires,
or to bring you extra towels, pillows, or blankets if needed. Many of the
newer ships have safes in the rooms, and TVs that show current movies,
give casino instructions, and general cruise information.
What type of dining experience can I expect?
Your dining preference can be requested at time of deposit. This request
is not guaranteed; if you are unhappy with your seating assignment, you
can see the Restaurant Manager and he/she will do his/her best to
accommodate you. Meal times vary on different cruise lines. Many cruise
lines now offer choices in dining times and places.
Almost all meals, including 24 hour room service are included in the price
of your cruise. Depending on the ship you can find up to 8 meals and
snacks per day plus room service so you (or your kids) will never be
hungry on a cruise ship.
Can I get a special diet?
Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, Kosher, or other
diet preferences. However, this request must be made in advance so be sure
to advise your The Cruise Planner Representative of this requirement when
you book your cruise.
What if I don't like my tablemates?
Rarely is this a problem. However, if you wish to move to another table,
speak with the Restaurant Manager. He will make every effort to seat you
with more compatible dining companions.
What about tipping?
Tipping is a matter of individual preference. A general rule of thumb is
to plan for about $3.00 per person per day for your room steward and
dining room waiter, and about $2.50 per person per day for your busboy.
Other ship board personnel can be tipped for special services at your
discretion. Some cruise lines do not require, accept, or encourage
tipping. Some cruise lines allow you to pre-pay tips. Ask your agent about
specific cruise line tipping policies.
Can I book on short notice?
Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of
late cancellations. But, to get exactly the ship, cabin, and sailing date
you want, you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer
early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead.
Will I get bored?
Hardly. Being at sea gives you a feeling of freedom few places can offer.
There's plenty of room. It will probably take you a few days just to
discover what's onboard. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring
new and exciting ports of call. Cruise ships are like floating resorts
with all the things fine resorts have to offer. You can be by yourself and
lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read
good books, or watch the ever-changing view, you can join in exercise
classes, dance classes, sports contests and other organized deck
activities. Perhaps you would like to practice your tennis stroke or golf
swing, or shoot some baskets. You can go for a swim, stretch out in the
sauna or work out in the gym. You can see a feature movie, attend a
lecture by renowned experts, play backgammon or bridge. It is amazing how
much you can do on a cruise.
What's there to do in port?
So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own, take
a guided tour, search ancient ruins , hunt for shopping bargains, ride a
raft over river rapids, a bicycle down the side of a volcano, or ride a
horse across miles of hills and beaches, climb a waterfall or pyramid, see
the birthplace of civilization or listen to steel drum bands, follow the
footsteps of history or the wake of a water skiing boat, if there's still
time, enjoy a show, play golf or tennis, eat native foods, learn how to
windsurf, swim at some of the world's best beaches, catch a record marlin,
sail, snorkel, or go scuba diving, go to a nightclub or casino, take a
cable car to the top of a mountain, or explore dark catacombs. In short, a
cruise is the easiest way to see new places and do all the things you ever
dreamed of. Cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of destinations
and you never have to pack and unpack.
Do I have to participate in the activities?
On a cruise, you do what you want to. You can do everything, or lie back
and do absolutely nothing. It's your vacation.
Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?
Nearly one third of cruise vacations are booked by families with children.
Most cruise lines make a special point of providing supervised activities
for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your child enjoys
swimming, sports, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, he/she
will love a family cruise. You'll find the kids adapt to shipboard life
with ease, and you won't have to wonder what they're up to every minute.
The cruise staff will help keep them busy and entertained. Best of all,
children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate.
What's there to do at night?
At night, a cruise ship really comes alive. There's dancing; live
entertainment in nightclubs, discos and lounges; feature films; and
parties with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos. There are
also many special events like the Captain's cocktail party, passenger
talent night, the Las Vegas style show, magic acts, and the late night
Is there a charge for entertainment?
On a cruise, the entertainment is included . There's no cover, no minimum,
no charge for admission.
How much money should I take with me?
That depends entirely on you, the cost of your cruise includes everything
except: alcohol and sodas, shore excursions, tips and personal items such
as souvenirs, massages, and hair styling. When you board your ship you
will be asked to activate your account, this is like running a tab during
your cruise and all expenses will be charged to your room, at the end of
the cruise the credit card you used to activate your account will be
billed for the amount you charged while on the ship. Your agent can advise you on which cruise lines differ from this
policy and answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding this
type of payment arrangement.
Is it easy to meet people?
A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends, because everyone's so
friendly. The atmosphere is cordial, relaxed and you'll have all kinds of
things in common to talk about. Don't be surprised if you find yourself
making arrangements to meet them aboard another ship next year.
Will there be people like me?
All kinds of people take cruises. Passengers can vary from ship to ship
and cruise to cruise. Just ask The Cruise Planner Representatives for
advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle. There
are over 30 cruise lines and over 130 ships for us to choose from, we are
sure we can find the right one for you.
Can singles have fun on a cruise?
Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet
other people. In fact, most ships have singles parties early on to give
you the opportunity to meet your shipmates. Most ships also have single
cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. In many cases, the
cruise line will even find you a roommate to share a double if you ask
What should I pack?
Pack like you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day,
whether you're on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to
dress. Attire is dictated by occasion, the Captain's Cocktail Party for
example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a
dark suit, or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown. Some
ships have theme nights such as Country and Western night, or a Roman Toga
party, so you could dress accordingly if you desire. Shorts are not
allowed in most main dining rooms during the dinner meal. Your agent can provide you with information about your ship's
Will I need a tuxedo?
On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. If you do
want to dress up, many ships offer tuxedo rental services. Even on the
most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine.
Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?
The majority of modern ships today have hair dryers in every cabin.
Are there non-smoking areas?
Virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking tables and/or sections
in the lounges and dining rooms. In fact, many dining rooms are now
smoke-free, reflecting passenger requests.
Is cruising right for honeymooners?
Without a doubt, cruising offers an atmosphere that's just right for
romance. Cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the
night away under the stars, and so much more to remember forever. Most
cruise lines provide special services such as: Sunday or Monday
departures, congratulatory champagne, cabin decorations or breakfast in
bed. Some ships perform a marriage ceremony or will renew your marriage
vows in port.
Can we stay in touch with the outside?
Quite easily. Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines,
selected stock quotes and sports scores, some even deliver the Wall Street
Journal to your room. Staterooms on many ships are even equipped with
televisions so you can tune in to CNN or ESPN. While many ships now have
telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone through the
ship's radio operator while at sea, and you can phone home from most
ports. In addition, many ships are equipped with fax capabilities.
Will I get seasick?
Not really. The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters
in the world. In addition to the large size of today's passenger liners,
stabilizers, advance availability of accurate weather information, and
development of effective preventative medications have eliminated most
cases of motion sickness. If in doubt you may want to check with you
physician prior to sailing.
Is there a doctor onboard?
Virtually every cruise ship has a fully-equipped medical facility and
staff to handle almost any emergency.
Are there laundry services aboard?
Yes. Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and a great many
provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for
professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Most ships also have
Can I extend my cruise vacation?
Your agent can arrange pre-or post-cruise land
packages at the same time you book you cruise.
How do I pay for my cruise?
Your cruise will usually be broken down into two payments, a small deposit
of between $100.00 and $300.00 per person is due to confirm a booking, the
balance is due approximately 75 days (depending on actual cruise length) before you sail.
Most cruise lines accept almost all major credit cards. Any bookings made within
75 days of
sailing (depending on actual cruise length) must be paid for in full at time of booking.
When will I receive my tickets?
Many cruise lines are beginning to issue cruise documents as well as air
tickets in electronic format. Princess, Norwegian and Oceania are just a
few of the cruise lines that issue electronic documents (eDocs). Ask
your agent about how your specific cruise line issues their documents.
It all sounds too good to be true, Is it?
The one major complaint we hear over and over again is that cruises end
too soon! Beyond that, it's hard to find any negatives. After all, you
don't have to run to make plane connections to get from one port to the
next, you don't have the hassles of making dinner or nightclub
reservations, you don't have the bother of packing and unpacking as you
move from place to place, you don't get unexpected, expensive surprises at
restaurants or nightclubs, you have a wealth of options for shopping,
adventure, sightseeing, exploring, entertaining and sports activities, all
you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying your vacation. Most
importantly, every crew and staff member onboard is dedicated to making
your cruise the best trip of your life (until you top it with your next