General Cruise Questions

Why is a cruise a good vacation option?

A cruise generally represents a great value for travelers and also provides them with a variety of choices for activities and locations. Because cruises include meals, your cabin, onboard activities and nighttime entertainment, it is much easier to budget your cruise vacation over a traditional holiday. The only extra expenses incurred will be drinks, gratuities, any off shore excursions you will participate in and the ships personal services such as hairstyling or massages. Also most cruises offer a huge array of dining and activity choices for travelers so you know you will always be well fed and never bored. A cruise may be the perfect vacation getaway.

How do I book a cruise?

Booking a cruise can be a bit more involved than booking regular travel arrangements such as a hotel room or airline flight. This is because the cruise is actually your hotel room, restaurants, entertainment and activities all rolled into one big package. We recommend that you take your time and research all the cruises that are available to you and find one that will meet your needs and your budget. Luckily, you have Destination Oceans as a resource; you can call our cruise specialists and allow us to aid you in choosing the exact cruise that is right for you. Many customers find that by calling us before making cruise reservations they are able to save their time and money and take a vacation that suits them perfectly.

Do people still get seasick?

Today's luxury cruise liners provide a much more tranquil voyage than those of the past. Cruise ships are outfitted with computerized stabilizers and high-tech weather notification systems. This technology enables these ships to provide travelers with calm seas almost everywhere.

Why choose a European cruise?

European cruises offer travelers the chance to experience many different cultures and cities of historical significance with ease and comfort. Imagine the difficulty of booking flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, restaurant plans and more in multiple countries. Anyone would need a vacation after setting up that itinerary. Now envision flying into Istanbul, and spending the next 15 days leisurely sailing the Mediterranean and visiting five distinctive countries and eight amazing cities without ever having to unpack! Now that is a vacation. Another exciting and unique way to experience Europe is by river cruise, such as a Danube river cruise. You get the opportunity to see the interior cities of Europe and view the change in landscape as you go by on your floating hotel. Taking a European cruise is the perfect way to visit the Old World without any headaches.

What about special dietary or medical needs?

Most ships can provide handicap accessible cabins as well as dietary compliant meals for travelers with special needs. You will be required to fill out a medical advisory form from the specific cruise line so that they are aware of your condition. Please contact one of our travel experts here at Destination Oceans and advise them of your condition when reserving your cruise.

Is it a good idea to get travel insurance?

Although you probably have your own insurance policies, traveling is often not covered. Getting travel insurance covers you and your family in the event that baggage is lost, you must cancel your reservations, or if other emergencies occur. While your home insurance policies and some credit cards may cover some of these risks, travel insurance is the only way to be sure that you will receive comprehensive coverage wherever your vacation takes you. There are a wide variety of coverage plans to suit all kinds of travelers. You can click here to learn more about the travel insurance we offer, book online, or call to speak with a knowledgeable representative.

Do cruise ships make you feel confined?

Today's cruise ships are like floating resorts. They do not feel confining, as they have many different areas such as restaurants, shops, and multiple opportunities for recreation. Oftentimes it takes a few days for you to explore all that the ship has to offer. Also with the many amazing ports of call you may find that there just isn't enough time to do all the exciting activities available on your cruise vacation. Also, with options like state rooms and even villas available on some ships, you may find that your room is more spacious and comfortable than many hotels.

What are the port charges?

Port charges are taxes assessed by the government and local agencies. These are implemented to help with costs incurred while in port, such as waste removal, payroll for port personnel and stevedoring.

How much should you tip?

A good rule of thumb for tipping is approximately $3.00 per person per day for room steward and half that amount for the busboy. Other ship personnel can be tipped for special services or recognition of exceptional service.

Important Passport information?

The newly amended Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has delayed the mandatory passport deadline for cruise passengers until June 1, 2009, but the U.S. government will require all air travelers from the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America (including Panama), and Bermuda to have a valid passport in order to enter or re-enter the U.S. by Jan. 8, 2007.

Why do business with a Certified Specialist?

At Destination Oceans our specialists are truly cruise experts. All of our staff members have completed extensive training about the cruise lines, packages, and cruise-only deals that we offer. Speaking with a person who knows all the details and can answer even your most specialized questions will take a lot of stress out of planning your cruise vacation. Also, working with certified specialists means that you will receive just what you paid for; you will never run into unpleasant surprises and charges when you are working with Destination Oceans. Your cruise vacation is a special and memorable occasion, and working with experts will make it easy and enjoyable - even while you are in the planning stages.

Is there hurricane danger?

Cruise lines take the safety of their passengers and crews very seriously. Because safety is always the number one concern, hurricanes and storms are tracked very closely by the cruise lines in conjunction with national weather stations. Hurricanes move very slowly and follow paths that are predicted with sophisticated equipment. The cruise lines reserve the right to change the itinerary of a cruise at any time in order to provide a safer and more enjoyable cruise vacation. This could mean that the order of ports is rearranged, or one or more port could be changed all together. Cruise lines understand that altering the times of departure and arrival of a cruise ship can be inconvenient for travelers, so any itinerary changes are selected for the safety of those onboard. A word of advice when selecting your cruise package: do not select a cruise for only one port of call, in case a change must be made and you are left disappointed. Look into all of the cruise ports and the amenities onboard to assure that you will be happy, even if the course is altered.

Do I need foreign currency or traveler's checks

It is a good idea to bring traveler's checks for your shore excursions. When you leave the cruise ship, you will be responsible for any expenses including meals, souvenirs, and activities. Most shops and restaurants will accept major credit cards, but this is not the case everywhere. Before embarking on your cruise vacation, become familiar with the ports of call you will be visiting to get an idea of how you will be spending your money. Some destinations can be teeming with shops and restaurants where you will want to buy gifts and unique memorabilia, while at other destinations you may just want to relax on the beach with a chilled beverage. Doing research about the ports you will be visiting will help you asses the amount you bring with you in traveler's checks. Also, most ports of call will have a bank where you can change your checks into local currency, if you find this to be necessary. Many ships will also have the ability to change currency for you.

Is there a safe on the ship or in the cabins?

Virtually every cruise ship has a safe onboard and many have safes in the cabins as a service to guests. If you feel that you would like to keep some of your valuable items in a safe in your cabin or in the cruise ship's main safe, your cruise expert can help you make the necessary arrangements.

Is there gambling onboard?

Many cruise ships have casinos, and gambling is a popular form of entertainment while at sea. If you are hoping to take part in some of the fun, remember that the casino is just about the only place on the cruise ship where you will need cash. Most ships have ATMs, so this shouldn't be an issue. Whether you enjoy the excitement of sitting at the gaming table, or the relaxation that can be found poolside, you will find no end to the amount of options you have for entertainment on your cruise vacation.

What should I pack?

Cruise lines don't have a limit to the amount of luggage you can bring onboard, though the airlines do. We always recommend checking with your airline and verifying the amount of luggage they allow. In general, international flights allow more luggage than domestic flights, so consider this while packing for your cruise vacation. Always keep your destination in mind while packing. If you are going on a Mediterranean cruise pack light, warm weather clothing and plenty of sunscreen. If you are heading on a cruise in Norway to see the fjords, bring plenty of layers and prepare for chilly evenings. Most cruise ships offer laundry facilities, so there is no need to pack an iron. Also, most ships offer 110v outlets for shavers and hair dryers and some have dryers in each cabin. Think about the activities you will want to participate in while you cruise; bring fitness apparel if you hope to jog or take a fitness class, swimsuits for enjoying the pools, and formal attire for special evenings and dinners onboard.

What about special dietary or medical needs?

Most cruise ships can provide handicap accessible cabins as well as meals that comply with special dietary needs. You will be required to fill out a medical advisory form for your specific cruise line so that they are aware of your condition. Some cruise ships have doctors onboard; however this is not the case for all cruise lines. Also, vegetarians should be able to find a variety of selections to suit them when dining. If you have special medical needs or dietary needs, please contact one of our travel experts here at Destination Oceans and advise them of your condition when reserving your cruise. We will make every effort to make your cruise vacation as comfortable and accommodating as possible.

What social activities are available?

From the time the sun comes up until the wee hours of the night you will have activities to take part in on your cruise vacation. Cruises suit all lifestyles, from couples and families to singles and large groups. Many cruise ships have casinos onboard, late night discos and theme parties, musical performances and theatrical productions for you to enjoy. In the day you can find yourself immersed in an onboard course about the next port of call, an exciting game of swimming pool volleyball, or a yoga or aerobics class. Cruise vacations don't charge you more to attend fun events like the feature films or theme dances, so be ready to take part in all of the social activities you can. Whether you will be going on your cruise vacation alone or with others, you will meet new friends and interact in unique and entertaining ways.

What is dining onboard like?

You have probably heard people raving about the delicious food they ate on their cruise vacation. Well, the rumors are true. Cruise ships offer a wide selection of gourmet choices and you will be eating like royalty for every meal you have during your cruise vacation. The best part about it is that you can order as much as you want and you will never see a price on the menu. If you have special dietary needs, just let one of our travel experts at Destination Oceans know, and we will communicate this to the cruise line. And, if you want to indulge but not gain an ounce, there are delicious low-cal, spa, or fitness options for you to choose from.

Dining options abound on cruise ships. When you book your cruise vacation you will be able to choose whether you want to eat dinner early or late, with a big group or at a more intimate table, and even set reservations for special dinners in one of the ship's bistro restaurants. Choosing to sit at a larger table will help you meet new friends onboard and spark fun conversation each night. Also, many ships now offer different specialty restaurants for when you want to switch up your regular routine. And, there is always the option of 24 hour room service on almost every ship.

From late night buffets to breakfast-in-bed from room service, you will feel totally pampered by the dining options on your cruise ship. If you enjoy the culinary arts, a cruise vacation will make your taste buds sing. And, on some ships, you can even learn a little from the pros in a special cooking class. Whether you want to work on your cooking skills, or just have the experts do it for you, cruise ship dining will be sure to please.

What should I know as a first time cruiser?

If you are preparing for your first cruise or are researching to see whether or not a cruise is right for you, this will help you learn more about what cruise vacations are like. As you probably imagine, cruise vacations are easier than traditional vacations to budget because the most important expenses are all bundled together. With a cruise package you are getting your hotel, entertainment, meals, and the ship all in one price. There are a number of extra amenities that are not included in the main price, but many of these additional items can be booked ahead of time, so they will be on the same bill as well. Cruise extras include shore excursions, spa services, special reservations in alternative restaurants onboard and alcoholic and some non-alcoholic beverages. However, this is not the case on all ships. Some cruise lines boast free-flowing wine with meals, or even include one shore excursion free of charge. Look into the specific cruise line you are interested in to see if these extra bonuses are offered. And keep in mind the fact that there are so many things to do while on the cruise ship free of charge, there is no excuse for ever feeling bored. With Destination Oceans it's easy to make your cruise vacation into a cruise package. We are able to bundle your airfare, shore excursions, even rental cars and vacation extensions into your cruise package price. The Destination Oceans travel experts will help you create Your Vacation, Your Way.

What can you do while onboard?

On a cruise vacation, it feels as if the activities onboard are limitless. The best part is; they practically are! Cruises are for all different types of people, young and old. If you are planning on a family cruise, many ships have programs for kids that will keep them busy day in and day out. There are different onboard activities on every ship, so make sure you look into the special amenities on each ship when you are choosing your cruise. Some cruise ships have everything for the outdoor enthusiast, from rock climbing walls and jogging tracks to ice skating rinks and of course, swimming pools. Other activities include cooking demonstrations, pilates classes, poolside lounging, and shopping. Some cruise ships have art galleries, cigar lounges, and casinos. Whichever cruise you choose, there is bound to be plenty to do, and you may even learn a new skill or find a new passion.

Do I need cash?

The only place onboard the cruise ship where you will need cash is in the casino. All other onboard expenses for drinks and special services will be charged to your credit card. However, it is important to have cash or traveler's checks for the incidental charges you will have on your way too and from the cruise ship. Prepare to pay for such things as parking and snacks in the airport and other similar charges.

You will also want to have money on hand for your shore excursions. Make sure to keep your personal spending habits in mind when you are planning out how much money you will need in traveler's checks. Most shops in the ports of call will accept major credit cards, but not everyplace will. Consider whether you will be spending money on souvenirs, restaurants, or excursions when you disembark. As long as you keep all these things in mind you should have the right amount of cash with you on your cruise vacation.