How do I pay for things onboard?
A cash-less system is widely used on cruise ships, and applies to nearly all onboard services. You will be asked for your payment method during the check-in process. You may wish to put down a cash deposit, or use a debit or credit card. Your account will be open from the time you embark the ship until disembarkation. You will be issued with a plastic card, which will act as both your payment card and room key. You will also need this to get on and off the ship. Your onboard account will be automatically be debited after disembarkation. You can check the balance of your account at any stage during the cruise. This may be done either at guest services, or on the interactive televisions in cabins. Depending on which cruise line you are travelling with, the currency onboard will either be Pounds Sterling, Euros or Dollars. This will have to be used if you are settling your onboard account in cash.
What dining options are there?
Dining options differ from ship to ship. Some cruise lines will require you to request one of two specific dining times, usually 6pm or 8:30pm, as well as your table size. If this is the case, then your cruise specialist will ask for your preference at time of booking. It's worth noting that there are limited tables for two, so sharing with fellow passengers may be You will have the same table each night for the duration of the cruise, and the waiters will get to know you, your favourite bottle of wine, or perhaps how you like your steak. Some ships also offer a more flexible dining service, where you are free to dine at whatever time suits you. You will be allocated a different dining table each night, and you may have to wait some nights until a table has become vacant. For a more casual dining experience, the buffet is open for self-service dinner. The relaxed atmosphere has no suggested dress code, so if you would rather not take part in formal night, or just want a change, the expansive buffet is a great option. All meals are included in the cruise fare, but for something extra special, or the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion, consider one of the speciality restaurants. For an additional charge, these intimate restaurants specialise in a particular cuisine, such as Italian, a steakhouse or perhaps sushi.
What is the dress code?
Dress codes differ between cruise lines, with some enforcing strict dress codes, and others offering a more relaxed stance. Common practice is as follows -
Throughout the day, you are free to where what you feel comfortable in. T shirts, jeans, shorts, and beachwear is acceptable. However in the dining areas it is not appropriate to wear beachwear.
- Smart Casual
Informal is more relaxed and casual, however beachwear and shorts may not be appropriate for dining. Some cruises have special themed evenings like British Night and make suggestions to wear items such as red, white & blue clothes.
For gentlemen it is appropriate to wear a tuxedo or dinner jacket, alternatively a smart shirt and tie is also usually acceptable. For ladies, a cocktail or evening dress is the usual.
Do I need insurance?
All passengers must have valid travel insurance. In most cases you will have to supply your travel insurance information to the cruise line before they will send out your tickets. If this is not completed this may delay the dispatch of your cruise tickets. You can complete this important information on the relevant cruise lin'es website, logging in with your reference number. Alternatively, speak to one of our team who will be happy to assist you.
If you do not have insurance, call our team on 0800 368 9059 who will be able to find you a competitive policy with one of our recommended suppliers. If you already have insurance, with your bank for example, it is important you check that this includes cruise cover. You are recommended to take your insurance documents with you on your cruise.
Is there Wi-Fi?
Most mainstream cruise ships offer wi-fi throughout the ship or will have an internet lounge. Unless you are sailing with a premium cruise line, there will most likely be a charge for this service. Wi-Fi packages are available, allowing you to connect for a period of time at a set price. Prices vary.
How do I book my cabin?
When booking your cruise you will be given the option to pick a cabin number, or some cruise lines may offer a lower price to book a ‘guarantee’ cabin. When booking a ‘guarantee’ cabin, you will not be given a cabin number until you receive your final cruise tickets. You will be guaranteed the cabin type you booked, such as Inside, Outside or Balcony, but you have no choice over which deck or position on the ship. In most cases, you will have to pay a higher price to secure your exact cabin number and location on the ship. Each night you will receive a daily schedule which lists the following days activities, entertainment, port information and dining times. Your cabin attendant will clean your cabin each morning, and replace towels. In the evening, while you are enjoying dinner or seeing a show, your attendant will come to do a turndown service. Towels will be replaced, your curtains will be drawn, and your bed will be made ready for you to relax for the night. You may even find a surprise waiting for you in the form of a creative towel animal or a chocolate on your pillow.
How do I board the ship?
Embarkation generally commences from 1pm, though your time will be confirmed on your cruise ticket. Make sure you attach luggage labels prior to arriving at the terminal, as porters will be on hand to take your luggage as soon as you arrive. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin. Make sure you are carrying your passports, cruise ticket, and any other documentation or medication, and that these essential items are not in your luggage. You will be required to provide your passports and ticket at check-in. You will be issued with your ship boarding card, which will act as your security ID to get on and off the ship at each port, as well as the card to charge your onboard account.
How do I reward outstanding crew members?
With most cruise lines, gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account daily. This will be billed in the currency used onboard, and is around £6-10 per person, per day. This will be shared out evenly amongst the staff members. For some cruise lines it is possible to pay your gratuities at the time of booking, please ask your cruise specialist if you would like to do this. If you would not like your gratuities to be automatically added to your onboard account, or you would prefer to tip crew members individually, then visit the guest services desk during your cruise. Some cruise lines, may already include service charges in the cost of the cruise, so speak with your travel consultant if you are unsure whether you should tip or not.
How much luggage can I bring?
You are free to bring as much luggage as you wish on a cruise, however this should not exceed 90kgs. If travelling as part of a fly/cruise package, your allowance is subject to the airlines regulations. This may also differ from airline to airline. However, normally the baggage allowance for economy class is 20kg with one piece of hand luggage at 5kg.
Can I travel alone?
Cruising is an ideal getaway for solo travellers. It offers you the chance to be independent and explore ashore on your own, or be part of a group on an organised shore excursion. Onboard, there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends, by taking part in the daily activities and entertainment offerings. Alternatively, relax in one of the lounges, have a drink at a bar, and strike up a natural conversation with fellow guests. Many cruise lines welcome solo guests onboard with exclusive events where you can meet other solo passengers. Cruise lines have several dedicated solo cabins, and some (such as Norwegian Cruise Line) even have exclusive areas of the ship. These cabins may have a reduced solo occupancy rate.
Some cruise lines offer gentlemen dance hosts onboard and are selected on the basis of their dancing ability. There is no need to worry about your dining arrangements either because the majority of dining rooms have seating for groups of 4, 6 or 8 people or can be an easy way to meet new friends. If you want to be seated with other solo cruisers, make sure you ask the Maitre'd and they will accommodate your needs. Generally passengers are grouped together with others of a similar age and background, so you will never feel left out.
What children facilities are onboard?
This will widely vary depending on ship. Some ships offer a great range of children facilities such as kids clubs, children’s pool, children’s areas and night nurseries, which vary by child age. Please ask your cruise specialist when calling.
What happens on disembarkation day?
Prior to the end of your cruise you will be issued a colour-coded disembarkation card. This card needs to be placed with your luggage on the last night of your cruise. You will then place your luggage outside your cabin door before midnight to allow the crew to prepare the luggage for disembarkation. This ensures that disembarkation is as easy and effective as possible. Don't forget to pack an overnight bag with clothes for disembarkation day! Alternatively, you can opt for the self check-out option, where you wheel you own cases off, however you will have no help from the porters. The ship will most likely dock early in the morning, with disembarkation commencing from 7am. You will be asked to vacate your cabin by around 8am, in order for the cabin attendants to prepare the hundreds of cabins for the next set of guests. You will be asked to leave the ship by 10am.
What travel documents do I need?
It is compulsory that all passengers must hold a full valid passport for the duration of the cruise. Some ports of call will require at least 6 months validity after your return to the UK. It is your responsibility to ensure you hold a valid passport.
UK passport holders will need visas for certain destinations. This may be advised to you by your travel consultant when booking; however it is your responsibility to obtain all the visas needed for your trip. For entry to the USA you are required to complete an ESTA visa online at least 72 hours prior to arrival. We offer a chargeable service for customers without internet access to arrange visas. Speak to one of our travel consultants for further information and to arrange.
It is the responsibility of all non-British passport holders to ensure that they are in possession of a valid passport and any entry visas or permits for their chosen cruise. Failure to comply with this may result in refusal of carriage or the imposition of individual fines by the local immigration authorities.
How do I go ashore?
The ship will usually berth in the port of call's harbour and a gangway will be positioned so you may come and go from the ship as you please. In smaller ports, the ship's tender boats will be lowered and used to take you ashore. These tenders will run a frequent shuttle service between the ship and the shore. Queues are likely, especially within the first two hours of arrival and the last hour ashore. Therefore it is important to factor in these wait times when planning your day. Those booked on cruise line excursions will have priority of the tender service. Unfortunately, it is not possible to tender passengers ashore with reduced mobility, due to health and safety reasons. Due to weather conditions, it may be necessary to cancel or alter a port of call, especially if a tender is required. You will need your cruise card to present as you disembark and embark the ship. You will also need to present this to port security upon your return to the port. It is also recommended that you take your passport ashore with you, in case the unlikely event that you miss the ship.
Can I smoke onboard?
Smoking policies vary between cruise lines. In most cases smoking is not permitted in any public areas. Smoking is not allowed inside your cabin, and most cruise lines do not allow smoking on your balcony. There are designated areas onboard the ship where smoking is allowed - usually one side of the pool and promenade decks. Some ships may also have cigar bars or smoking lounges.
Our travel team will be happy to answer any further questions you have about cruising. Call 0800 368 9059 or use the live chat option.