Cruises 101: Learn the
Basics of Cruising
FACT - Cruises have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience.
Cruises are the best value for your vacation dollar. A cruise gives you unmatched variety, convenience, and fun, all in one. Plus cruises are more affordable than many land-based vacations. On a cruise you can visit multiple destinations - all for one low price and without the hassel of having to pack and unpack. Your cruise vacation starts the moment you step onboard.
What’s Free On a Cruise and What Costs Money?
The price of your ticket usually includes your cabin, on-board entertainment and food. Other items (available for an additional charge) to consider when budgeting your trip include:
› Taxes, surcharges, and fees, such as airport fees, handling fees, and departure taxes. Find out what fees and port taxes are included in your cruise fare.
› Bottled water, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks. Some ships have "soda packages" available that gives you unlimited sodas during the cruise for $20-$30 or so.
› The cost of reaching the ship, your airline tickets if not booked as part of the cruise package, airport shuttle service or pier parking fees, if not included.
› Pre and post hotel stays and transportation and meals if not purchased through cruise line as part of package.
› Your shopping purchases made on and off the ship.
› The on-board extras such as spa fees, gambling, and ship-to-shore phone calls.
› On-board photos taken by ship photographer.
› Premium restaurants available on some ships.
Cruise lines use a billing system for your convenience. The cruise line will take an imprint of your credit card using it to set up a tab for your cruise purchases (such as shore excurions, onboard shopping, tipping etc.). You will be presented with an itemized bill at the end of the cruise. Keep all your receipts you sign to verify the total.
Cruise Travel Tips
- Purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
- Read your cruise documents throughly in advance for important information, tips and guidelines.
- Before leaving home, call the airline or check the airlines website for flight arrival and departure information.
- Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to flight departure time unless the airline advises otherwise.
- Minimize any carry-on luggage and be prepared to have them searched. Any items such as knives, scissors, clippers, files, etc., can be confiscated and possibly subject you to a further delay.
- Clearly tag your baggage with your name, address and contact information. Also complete and attach the cruise line tags provided with your cruise documentation.
- Keep all required medical items with you and not in checked bags.
- Verify that you have all proper identification required for everyone traveling and keep it on you. Do not put passport in checked luggage.
- Expect and prepare for delays.
- Enjoy your cruise!
Important Changes in Proof of Citizenship Required:
The U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security has announced that U.S. Citizens will soon be required to present a valid passport to exit or re-enter the United States.
ALL PERSONS traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport book or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.
LAND AND SEA TRAVEL
ALL PERSONS traveling by land and sea outside of the United States are required to present a passport book/card, or other valid travel documents to enter or re-enter the United States.
The following summarizes information available on the Department of Homeland Security’s website:
- Effective June 1, 2009, all U.S. citizens are now required to present a passport book, passport card, or WHTI-compliant document when entering the United States.
Please Note: Children under age 16 will be able to continue crossing land and sea borders using only a U.S. birth certificate (or other form of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate.). The original birth certificate or a copy may be used. See the Department of Homeland Security's Ready, Set.. Go! for more information on the changing travel requirements.
Get a passport for everyone traveling!
Please keep in mind that you will need to allow 6-8 weeks for your passport to be processed. For further details regarding the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, as well as further information regarding obtaining a passport, please consult: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html