FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS?
Every day, more and more people discover the inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends sail away on the vacation of their lives. This year, over 13 million people will enjoy a cruise vacation. When you add it all up, it’s easy to see why.
The price of your cruise includes your accommodations, activities, parties and entertainment; most meals and snacks on board; and, an exciting voyage to some of the most enchanting and culturally-enriching places in the world. You’ll find that the large cruise ships are floating resorts, with all the things a fine resort has to offer and more. Smaller ships often offer unique destinations. You’ll meet new friends who share the same tastes and interests as you.
The hassles of an ordinary vacation are eliminated. A cruise is one convenient package. You don’t have to make dinner or nightclub reservations, run to make a flight connection as you travel from one destination to another, or constantly pack and unpack.
You can lie back and be completely pampered. Or, go non-stop. Dine like never before. Enjoy one great show after another. Visit interesting places. Let your cares float away!
It’s no wonder that more people are taking cruise vacations than ever before. And once they get a taste of cruising, they come back for more, again and again.
FACT – Cruises have among a highest percentage of satisfied customers of all vacation experiences
Cruising is the best vacation value! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget! Your cruise fare includes your accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, most meals, plus transportation from port to port. You’ll know what your vacation will cost you before you go. (Typically, your only extra expenses will be drinks, specialty restaurants, optional shore excursions and personal services such as massages or hairstyling.) See the chart to compare the value of a cruise to the total cost of other vacations; you’ll be amazed!
As long or as short as you want. Cruise lines offer itineraries that range from three days to more than three months
Wherever you want! Cruises visit over 500 ports worldwide and practically every destination accessible by water. You can embark on y our cruise vacation from a wide variety of over 30 North American ports close to home or exciting and exotic locations around the globe.
Visit or call Travelwise International! We have agents who will help you pick the cruise that fits your vacation schedule, tastes and budget. We can make all the arrangements to get you from one doorstep to your ship and back. Plus, our agents are CLIA Certified Cruise Counsellors and certified by each cruise line. Our cruise specialists have completed an extensive program of training, including sailing on and inspecting a number of cruise ships. You can feel confident that a recommendation from a CLIA Accredited Cruise Counsellor is based on personal knowledge and experience.
Far from it. Cruise line ships range from intimate and yacht-like to vessels stretching longer than three football fields. You can sail with fewer than 100 fellow guests or with more than 5,000. Enjoy atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, contemporary to classic. Enjoy the endless activities offered on a contemporary resort-style cruise, or immerse yourself in the culture of a destination on a special interest cruise.
There are cruises designed to suit virtually every interest and personal preference.
The choices include: boutique, luxury cruises with globetrotting itineraries; large, contemporary ships with a fantastic array of recreational facilities; classic vessels evoking the time-honored traditions of cruising; special-interest or exploration cruises specializing in unique destinations with an accent on cultural enrichment; river voyages into the heart of a destination.
There are cruise lines that feature soft adventure expeditions to such unique frontiers as Antarctica, the Amazon Rain Forest or the African Serengeti. Or, Discover historical legacies closer to home with enlightening itineraries to New England, French Canada, Colonial America, and America’s Rivers.
For many, the perfect vacation includes the non-stop fun and sun of a tropical resort-style cruise to the Caribbean, where you can sample a variety of island cultures and cuisines while relaxing your cares away. Plus, many cruise lines create special “themes” onboard, with entertainment ranging from jazz festivals and classic music concerts to golf clinics and murder mysteries at sea!
To complement the spirit of discovery that travel evokes, many cruise lines feature an extensive program of onboard enrichment programs hosted by distinguished guest experts. In addition to lectures highlighting the history and sights of the ports you will be visiting, there may also be special in-depth presentations ranging from Renaissance art to strategic financial planning to epicurean secrets of classic French cuisine.
A fly/cruise or an air/sea vacation package includes, along with your cruise fare, free or reduced-cost airfare to and from the ship’s port of embarkation. These convenient money-saving options are available from most major North American cities and include ground transfers between the airport and ship as well as baggage handling.
Travelwise recommends a passport on all cruises. While the U.S. Government may not require a Passport for Sea travel on certain “closed loop cruises” originating in the U.S. and for travel only within the Western Hemisphere, other specified documentation is required. Travelwise strongly recommends that all travelers apply for or renew their passports as soon as possible. Government regulations are continually being modified and it is best to be prepared. Besides, a passport grants you unlimited cruise vacation options around the world.
The clear majority of today’s cruise ships are “one-class”. Everyone can use all the ship’s facilities. The price of your cabin is based primarily on its size and location. Regardless of the category you book, you’ll enjoy the same courteous service, menus, activities, and entertainment as everyone else on board.
Hardly! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no-land-based resort can offer. There’s plenty of room and it will probably take you two or three days to discover everything that’s onboard. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring many exciting ports of call, often a new one every day of the trip!
Cruise ships are floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer. You can lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or watch the ever-changing seascape. Smaller ships focus on the treasures and delights of myriad destinations.
If you’re more active, join in exercise or dance classes, or sports contests. Practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or take in some fresh air on the jogging deck. Or you can swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can also watch a feature film, attend an enrichment lecture by experts, or the slots or blackjack. And that’s just when you’re on board!
So much that you’ll have a hard time choosing! You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (referred to as shore excursions). Search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids or a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a waterskiing boat. If there’s still time, play golf or tennis. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim a some of the world’s best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel or Scuba dive. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs.
In short, cruising is the perfect way to sample many new destinations and try all the things you’ve ever dreamed of doing, while never having to pack and unpack.
On a cruise, you do what you want, when you want. You can do everything or do absolutely nothing. It’s your vacation!
More and more cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Twenty-five percent of cruisers sail with children and most cruise lines provide plenty of supervised activities for kids, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games, movies and the adventure of new places, they’ll love a family cruise. You’ll find that children adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won’t have to wonder what they’re up to every minute. Trained youth counselors will help keep them safe, busy and entertained. Ships even offer different types of age-appropriate activities, suitable for toddlers to teens.
When the stars come out, a cruise ship turns on. There’s dancing, live entertainment, nightclubs and lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends. Most ships also have casinos. What’s more, there are many special evets like the Captain’s Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, roadway-style shows and Las Vegas-type revues.
On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There’s no cover, minimum or charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live, films first-rate and all included in your cruise fare.
There’s no such thing as a typical cruise passenger. All kinds of people take cruises now..all ages.. from all walks of life.. singles, couples, and families. Just ask us for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.
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. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. At the Captain’s Gala, 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.
Reflecting today’s lifestyle trends, many cruise lines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise – while others, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don’t buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. Plus, many ships offer tuxedo rental services.
Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone because it’s so easy to meet people \. In fact, most ships have p arties for singles early in the cruise, so you can get to know other guests right away. Some ships even offer gentleman hosts to be dance partners, dinner companions or a fourth at cards.
Many ships also have single staterooms and others offer single rates for double staterooms. If you ask, many cruise lines will even find you a roommate, so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more on a great vacation.
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms but do check with us to be sure. Most ships feature hair-dryers in your stateroom.
Choices, choices and more choices. During the day, there are many different dining options – in the formal dining room, on deck, in a pizzeria and at an espresso bar, to name a few. At night, most ships offer several venues. Some ships’ dining rooms can accommodate all guests at one time, called a “seating”. Many ships offer you a choice of several seating times, and others offer multiple restaurants for “anytime: dining. More traditional ships have two seatings in their formal dining rooms, which differ only by time: typically, 6:00pm and 8:30pm. To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late – then you let your agent know so we can secure your seating. Frequently, you can choose to enjoy dinner someplace other than the formal dining room, such as in an intimate restaurant that features Italian or Asia cuisine. More and more cruise lines are opening their informal lido areas to evening dining, where the dress and dishes always are casual, and sometimes, you can even eat out under the stars. And a large number of ships offer romantic in-cabin dinners. The choice is yours!
Everything you’ve heard about cruise ship dining is true. At each meal, you’ll find a varied selection of entrees (appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts, too), and each day the selection will be different. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a cuisine or try a dish, you can feel free to order more than one entrée or appetizer (or dessert!). But, just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food, doesn’t mean you’ll come home out of shape. You can choose low-cal, low-carb, spa, vegetarian or health-conscious menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. Best of all, except for certain specialty restaurants on some ships, the one thing you’ll never see on a cruise ship menu is a price because all your meals are included!
Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, low cholesterol, diabetic, and select other diet preferences. This request should be made in advance, so be sure to advise your agent when you book your cruise.
Increasingly, the shipboard dining experience has become more casual and often there is open seating, allowing you to dine when, where, and with whom you wish. However, experienced cruisers say they prefer sitting at a table with several other diners; some lifelong friendships have been made this way. Some lines have assigned seating in the main dining rooms, others offer open seating with or without reservations. It is best to choose a line that offers the type of experience that you prefer. But the cruise lines are geared to accommodate each guest’s wishes, and it is possible to request a table for two or four. In the unlikely event that you do wish to change tablemates, speak with the maître d’, who will make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions...discretely and politely.
Virtually all dining rooms and many other public areas are smoke-free. Some public rooms have designated areas for smoking. Policies vary by line. Check with your Travelwise agent for each individual cruise line’s policies.
Most cruise lines will treat you to a complimentary special dessert and a chorus of “Happy Whatever” to honor the occasion. Cruise staff can make your birthday or anniversary more festive with champagne, flowers or whatever the occasion demands. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise your Agent in advance, so that they can advise the cruise line prior to your cruise.
Yes! Cruising offers an atmosphere that’s just right for romance: cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away, and ample opportunities to stargaze. Most lines provide special services from Sunday or Monday departures to champagne and breakfast in bed. Also, more and more couples are having destination weddings on a cruise and many ships offer special packages for marriage ceremonies, receptions, and vow renewal. For more details, contact a Travelwise Agent at 301-248.8898.
If you must, you can! Most staterooms are equipped with televisions and telephones. You can even use your own cell phone on some ships, where cellular service is available. Many cruise ships are now Wi-Fi enabled, so you can check your e-mail on your laptop in your stateroom or go to the onboard Internet facility – specially designed to meet your online needs onboard. In addition, most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores. Additional charges apply for phone, internet and cellular service; have your Agent check with the cruise line for current rate and information.
Tipping is a matter of individual preference. In general terms, the average (inclusive of stateroom steward/ stewardess, waiter, assistant waiter, head waiter) is approximately $10-$15 per person, per day. Any shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services received or at your discretion. For your convenience, most lines add the standard gratuity to bar service tabs. In most cases, general gratuities may be charged to your stateroom. Some lines include gratuities in the price of your cruise, while others maintain a “no tipping” policy. Check with your Agent regarding the individual cruise line’s policies.
Cruising is extremely safe and one of the safest forms of travel among all comparable forms of passenger transportation. All cruise ships must be designed and operated in compliance with strict requirements of international law. Ships must follow an extraordinary number of rules and regulations to protect passengers and crew while onboard.
Ship Captains and all crew undertake extensive and ongoing training, certification and drills for emergency situations, including ship evacuations.
The average cruise ship carrying approximately 2,700 passengers and 800 crew, typically has 5 firefighting teams, 4,000 smoke detectors, 500 fire extinguishers, 16 miles of sprinkler piping, 5,000 sprinkler heads and 6 miles of fire hose. All cruise ships are required to have:
Doctors on board international ships are trained and licensed with at least three years of clinical experience, including minor surgery and emergency care. Modern cruise ships also have sophisticated medical facilities ranging from intensive care units to x-ray suites and laboratories for blood testing.
Historic incidence rates of gastrointestinal illness aboard cruise ships are low and the clear majority of outbreaks occur in land-based settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. The cruise industry has taken steps to prevent sick passengers from bringing norovirus on board a ship and, in the rare instances of an outbreak, immediately employ numerous practices to mitigate its spread and treat ill passengers and crew.
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities, and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services.
Nearly every full-size ship has public rooms or conference center to offer as meeting space for private or corporate groups. Many feature dedicated meeting facilities. If you’d like to make meeting or incentive travel arrangements, ask Travelwise to contact the cruise line’s group sales department to coordinate schedules and arrange for any special requirements. Your ship may also be able to offer audio-visual equipment, communications, meeting coordinators, secretarial and printing services and more.
Cruise lines usually offer special pre- and post-cruise vacation packages that allow you to extend your vacation in either your port of embarkation or disembarkation.
Rarely. Popular cruise itineraries sail some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, availability of advance weather information, and development of effective preventive medications have, for the most part, reduced or eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.
The one complaint we hear time and again is that cruises end far too soon. Beyond that, it’s hard to find any negatives. All you have to do is relax and enjoy your vacation. Most importantly, every crew and staff member on board is dedicated to making your cruise the best vacation of your life (until you top it with your next cruise!).