Frequently Asked Cruise Questions and Answers

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Is cruising affordable and  good holiday value?

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, gratuities, drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling.For what's included, when you work out the cost per day,it is great value!

How long are cruises?

As long or short as you want. The Cruise Planner offers 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.

Is there internet access on board?

Nearly all cruiselines now offer internet access in some shape or form.This can be via a computer room or via ship's wi-fi.The charges are quite high though so be careful.

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 for additional requirements with The Cruise Planner or the Cruise Lines.

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 package?

Cruise lines block space with the major airlines such as Delta, Continental, and, USAir depending on where you are flying from. Your The Cruise Planner Representative will advise you of your airline and seat assignments when your tickets arrive in our office

Can I get frequent flier miles when using an Air/Sea package?

Frequent flier members may inform the gate agent when checking in for their flight of their frequent flier number and you wil be credited with the mileage.

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 your needs.

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.

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. Ask The Cruise Planner Representatives about this matter when you book your cruise.

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 holiday.

Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?

Nearly one third of cruise holidays 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 buffet.

Is there a charge for entertainment?

On a cruise, the entertainment is included . There's  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. The Cruise Planner representatives 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 them.

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. The Cruise Planner Representatives can provide you with information about your ship's dress code.

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?

Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms, but do check with your The Cruise Planner Representatives to be sure.

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. If you wish to be seated in a non-smoking area, just let The Cruise Planner Representative know. In open seating situations, you can advise your waiter or the Restaurant Manager.

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 BBC worldwide or many Sky channels. 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. Some ships also have self-service launderettes.

Can I extend my cruise holiday?

You can extend your cruise with a land hotel stay or land tour. Indeed it is quite common to book back to back cruises. We know of cases where some passengers spend months on board. For these we are able to offer substantial reductions in price.

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 £500.00 per person is due to confirm a booking depending on the length of the cruise, the balance is due approximately 75 days before you sail. The Cruise Service accepts almost all major credit cards.  Any bookings made within 60 days of sailing must be paid for in full at time of booking.

When will I receive my tickets?

The cruise line will send your tickets to our office approximately 15 days before you sail, this gives us time to ensure your documents are accurate and complete. The Cruise Service Representative will then notify you to arrange for delivery of your tickets. We will normally send your tickets two or three day priority mail and you will have to sign for them. We then recommend you contact us upon receipt so that we may review them with you over the phone.

If you book on short notice you can pick up your airline tickets at the airport and can pick up your cruise tickets at the pier prior to boarding the ship.  We will discuss the process in great deal with you, in regards to last minute bookings.

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 holiday. 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 cruise).