Cruising 101: Expert advice from our Cruise Specialists!
Travel Documents & Tickets
Please note that most cruise lines issue electronic tickets. Please be sure to verify that your ticket information is complete and accurate, and print them out and bring them with you. If an error is found, contact our office and we will promptly correct it.
Proof of Citizenship
Due to new security measures, all cruise lines now require proof of citizenship and photo identification. You must carry a valid passport booklet and current photo identification with you on your trip. No photocopies will be accepted. Passport booklet must be valid for a minimum of six months after your return home. Cruise lines reserve the right to deny you boarding if you do not produce these documents.
Visas may be required for your cruise or cruisetour program. For answers to questions regarding visa and documentation requirements, please consult your country's embassy to verify current regulations. It is your obligation to have with you the proper travel documentation.
What to Pack
- All travel documents: a valid passport booklet and current photo identification.
- Clothing specific to the climate conditions of the travel destination. Comfortable shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and protective sunscreen are highly recommended regardless of the destination.
- Adequate supply of prescriptive medication, contained in their original packaging.
- All necessary eye wear, including the following: prescriptive glasses, contacts, and sunglasses.
- Your camera and binoculars.
- And don't forget your flight & e-tickets!
If you happen to experience motion sickness during your cruise, most cruise lines will offer complimentary sea sickness medication, available at your ship's Guest Relations desk. For more severe cases, professionally trained medical staff is available onboard for assistance. Customary charges apply to services and medical care provided.
What to Wear
Dress comfortably and as you would for a land-based resort. As a suggestion for port wear, it is best to keep in mind the temperatures, humidity levels and local customs of your cruise destinations. You may also wish to consult your Cruise Specialist for more destination-specific information. Cruise lines also require guests to follow certain dress codes such as casual, formal, and informal wear. Please refer to your cruise brochure for guidelines regarding appropriate attire.
Optional transfers from the airport to the cruise line terminal on the same day of departure are not included in the cruise fare, but are available for a nominal fee.
Please note that if a transfer is not purchased, you will be responsible for the transport of your own luggage, to and from the airport and the cruise terminal. Independent porters and taxis are generally available outside the airport terminal if you should require any assistance. Please note that gratuities for these independent services are not included in your cruise fare.
Start your cruise early! Arrive 3-4 hours prior to the scheduled cruise departure time and you will be able to sit back and relax as your baggage is taken care of. Please observe departure times carefully to avoid the disappointment of being denied boarding onto the ship.
To make the most of an enriching cruise vacation, be sure to participate in shore excursions in each port you visit. Depending on the port of call, excursions can vary from a relaxing sightseeing train tour to an adventurous helicopter dogsledding tour.
Be sure to book them early! The most popular shore excursions sell out extremely quickly. Excursions typically cost anywhere ranging from under $50 to over $500 per person, with the average around $150 to $200.
For Alaskan cruise guests we have a dedicated in-house shore excursions department able to advise and book excursions with smaller groups and lower prices compared to those offered through the cruise lines. To view tour options in Alaska, please visit our website at www.AlaskaShoreExperts.com
For other destinations, most cruise lines allow guests to browse or book shore excursions online prior to sailing using their cruise reservation number, ship name, and sailing date. For cruise lines with policies that require reservations in person, it is strongly advised that you book your excursion(s) on the first day onboard the ship as spaces are limited and reserved on a first come, first served basis.
Baggage tags will be sent to you electronically along with your cruise documents, some exceptions apply. To avoid discrepancies and/or delays due to lost or misplaced luggage, please complete, print, and attach these tags to your luggage before you leave home. Alternatively, you can get your luggage tags at the pier at embarkation if you prefer. Once you have embarked the ship, your luggage will be promptly delivered to your stateroom. Cruise lines do not limit the number of baggage items you bring, whereas airlines will have restrictions. Please check with your airline for baggage restrictions and policies. Also, keep in mind that your luggage is to be stored inside your stateroom.
Cruise Fare Amenities
- Ship accommodations
- Most non-alcoholic beverages
- Use of pools & saunas
- Ocean transportation
- All meals & room service*
- Onboard entertainment
- Fitness facilities
What's Not Included:
- Alcohol, soda pop, & bottled water+
- Laundry services
- Shore excursions+
- E-mail, fax, internet, & mail
- Spa, health, & beauty treatments
- Enhancement programs
- Specialty restaurants+
- Medical services
- Other personal items
- Other business services
Gratuities are given to the shipboard service staff to award them for their efforts. Most major cruise lines have implemented an automatic gratuity program directly charged to guests' onboard accounts. Guests will always have the flexibility of increasing, decreasing, or eliminating the suggested amount at their own discretion. If your preference is to offer tip in the traditional style of presenting cash in envelopes, you may still choose to do so.
Depending on the cruise line, standard amounts range from $10 to $25 per person, per day. Please note that bar tabs and spa services often charge an automatic 18% gratuity. Please check with individual cruise lines.
Guest loyalty is significantly valued by cruise lines. If you choose to book a future cruise while still onboard the ship, you will be able to enjoy exceptional benefits, varying from discounted cruise fares to stateroom upgrades and shipboard credits. A small deposit amount is required by the cruise line, but usually without any immediate commitment to a specific destination or sail date.
Cruise lines have made life onboard a cruise a worry-free, cashless society. Upon boarding, each guest is issued an identity card serving as a room key, as well as an onboard charge card for shipboard purchases. Guests can choose to have their shipboard charge card linked to a credit card, debit card, or traveler's checks. Cash can also be used, provided that an initial cash deposit is made and additional refills are made to the onboard credit account.
Spa & Enrichment Programs
For a luxurious spa treatment that you've been longing to experience, or an enrichment program you don't want to miss, be sure to plan your onboard spa and health activities ahead of time. We strongly recommend booking these popular appointments on the first day of embarkation or before the cruise, online on cruise line websites.
Cruise lines do their best to comply with your requests for particular dining times and table sizes, although they are not guaranteed. The earlier you reserve your cruise, the better chance of confirming the dining time you want. You may be required to verify these arrangements once onboard. It is always best to reserve your preferred dining times on the first day of the cruise for any specialty restaurants offered onboard. Additional surcharges and/or à la carte pricing may apply to specialty restaurants.
With extensive educational programs, special menus, and facilities designed for children and teens aged 2-18, cruising has become a vacation experience the entire family can enjoy! Babysitting services, where available, are offered for a nominal fee. Parents may enjoy their vacation with peace of mind, reassured that their children are in good hands. Kids will have loads of fun with specifically-designed programs as they meet new friends.
* Extra charges on some cruise lines.
+ Included with some cruise lines.
CruiseExperts Travel, LTD. recommends optional travel insurance that protects you in the event of having to cancel your trip avoiding travel vendor cancellation policies and more!
To expedite the embarkation process it is recommended that all passengers pre-register as soon as possible and this can be done via your cruise line's Web site.
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