Will I get seasick?
We often hear, “I was on a fishing boat once, and I was so seasick! There’s no way I’ll go on a cruise!” Honestly, we don’t know how anyone wouldn’t get seasick on a fishing boat! But a 15-foot fishing boat and a 90,000-ton cruise ship offer a completely different experience. Today’s modern cruise ships are gigantic, and use hi-tech stabilizers as well as advanced radar systems. Although the odds are very good that your journey will be smooth and comfortable, if by chance you encounter rough weather and you are one who is more predisposed to motion discomfort, there is always the possibility of feeling a little uneasy. However, there is good news. In the unlikely event that you experience any motion, there are a number of over-the-counter solutions to ease your concerns. These include Bonine, Mecklizine, Dramamine, Transderm Scope Patches, as well as Seabands, which are a non-medicinal option. If you know that you are more prone to motion discomfort than others, the best time to take the medicine is before you start feeling symptoms. We suggest taking it before you board just as a precaution.
Will I get bored?
Not a chance! In fact, there is so much to do, that people who said “I’ll be bored!” before they ever cruised said after they came back that there weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything they wanted to do! And since cruise lines know that one size does not fit all, there are a wide range of choices from fun and active events, to intellectual and leisurely pursuits, and everything in between. There truly is something for everyone!
Oh, and don’t forget – you’ll be visiting some of the world’s most exciting destinations, which you can choose to explore through dozens of wide-ranging activities!
I heard that all you do is eat and eat and eat.
We think that myth came from the fact that cruising offers so many dining choices to appeal to a wide range of tastes and formalities, that it’s become a common misconception. It’s your vacation, so the cruise lines want to offer you every dining option to suit your mood. You can eat in the formal dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner where you order off a menu, or you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the casual buffet-style restaurant. Or, if you just want a slice of pizza in the middle of the day, they have that too. Prefer an intimate dining experience to celebrate a special occasion? There’s a restaurant for that as well. Got the late night munchies? The Midnight Buffet will cure that craving. Don’t feel like going anywhere to eat? Order room service. It’s all included. What’s even better is the fact that cruise ships’ extensive menus offer an eclectic array of entrées in addition to the traditional favorites. That means you’ll have the opportunity to try new things that you may have never tried before (and aren’t even sure how to pronounce!) And remember, every dining option comes with low-fat, low-carb and/or low-calorie selections.
Isn’t cruising really formal?
In the early days of passenger cruising, this luxury was afforded only to the very rich. And as a display of wealth, it wasn’t uncommon to travel with a dozen steamer trunks full of formal attire to suit every activity of the day. Fast-forward 60 years…..Did you ever watch an episode of the popular 70’s TV series The Love Boat? Everyone on the show was dressed to the nines, with formal gowns and tuxedo’s worn to dinner every night. Sure, the fashion was turned up a few notches since it was made for TV, but it left a lasting impression nonetheless. This general formality in cruising existed until as recently as the mid 80’s. Thankfully, those formal days are long gone, and in keeping up with today’s lifestyles (and with the fact that you are on vacation), cruising is more casual and comfortable than ever before. There is still at least one formal night on board as part of tradition, so if you want to participate, you can. However, you can even “opt out” completely by choosing to dine on formal night in one of the more casual alternative restaurants.
I’m claustrophobic, and I’m afraid I’ll feel confined.
The thing to keep in mind is that these are modern-day luxury cruise ships, not naval battleships. With three-story show lounges, grand, sweeping atriums, tons of windows, and endless open decks, it’s hard to feel confined. But if you know you are the type of person who is predisposed to feeling delimited, you should definitely opt for an ocean-view, if not a balcony cabin. Interior cabins will likely make you feel uncomfortable if you are sensitive to enclosed spaces. Exclusive of that, you should be just fine.
Is cruising safe?
Contrary to what the media portrays, cruising is the most safe and enjoyable means of vacationing today. Statistically speaking, the incidence of crime at sea as compared to any other city in the United States or abroad is exponentially low. According to the most recent industry data which was based on 15 cruise lines’ submissions, there totaled 206 complaints from passengers and crew during a three-year timeframe (2003-2005) when more than 31 million people sailed on cruise ships. 31,000,000 people is more than the entire population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore and Seattle combined. Even though the instances of crime on board cruise ships are rare, it is important to be observant of one’s possessions and one’s surroundings at all times while traveling. Cruise passengers are reminded of this, just as they are in any hotel, by safety information, daily bulletins, port visit briefings and the provision of room safes or safety deposit boxes.
Is it better to book my own flight or use the cruise line’s air/sea program?
Booking airfare with the cruise line directly:
- Convenience of not having to book your own flight.
- Transfers to/from the ship are automatically included.
- If for any reason you miss the ship because of a delayed flight, the cruise line has the responsibility to catch you up to the ship, and will typically pay for the flight to get you to the first port of call (but not any other expenses).
- It typically costs more than booking airfare on your own.
- Sometimes the flight schedules and routes the cruise line chooses are not the most convenient.
- You are required to call the airline directly once you know your schedule (within 21 days of departure) to request your seat assignments, and often there is a limited seat selection by this time.
- If you want to choose which airline, schedule, or connection you want, you are required to pay what’s called a “deviation fee” ($50 and up PER PERSON plus any additional costs in airfare).
Booking airfare on your own:
- Typically costs less than cruise line’s rates.
- You can choose exactly which airline and schedule you want.
- You must make your own arrangements.
- You must make sure you arrive within the allotted time frame to make it to the ship on time.
- If you miss the ship, you are ON YOUR OWN to catch up to it.
- You must pay for your own transfers to/from the ship
What if there is a flight delay?
If you booked the flight on your own, and the flight is delayed, you are responsible for catching up to the ship. Our Customer Service team will help you, but you will be required to pay for any incidental expenses as a result of the delay. You will not be reimbursed for any missed time on board the ship.
If you booked the flight through the cruise line directly, they will assist in getting you to the meet the ship in the first port of call, oftentimes at their expense (airfare only). You will still not be reimbursed for any other expenses as a result not for missed time on board the ship.
*** We highly recommend scheduling to arrive one day prior to your cruise’s departure to ensure not only a timely arrival for your cruise, but to enjoy a day in some of the world’s most exciting cities! We even more strongly recommend coming in a day early if you are traveling during the winter months. Weather delays are common, and a storm anywhere in the country can still cause for delays everywhere else. ***
Can I book a hotel before or after my cruise?
YES, you can! In fact, we highly recommend coming in a day early to your port of departure if it’s at all possible. Cruises sail from some of the world’s most exciting cities, and there are a wide variety of fun activities to enjoy before your cruise. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you’re already near the ship, thereby ensuring you’ll make your cruise departure on time. You can book your pre-or post- cruise hotel package with the cruise line (we will make these arrangements for you), or directly with the hotels through our website at a discount. Click here to search for the best hotel deals in your departure port city!
How do I get to the ship from the airport?
If you booked your airfare with the cruise line, your transfers are included. A representative from that cruise line will meet you at baggage claim, and direct you to a bus to transfer to the ship.
If you booked your airfare on your own, you are responsible for your own transportation to and from the pier. You can choose to take a taxi, hire a limo, or take a shuttle service, which are located at most major airports. Even if you purchased airfare on your own, you CAN still purchase transfers with the cruise line. You must do so in advance by calling your Go Travel Customer Service Representative, so please have your flight information ready.
What kinds of shore excursions are available on my cruise, and can I book them in advance?
You have several choices when booking shore excursions for your cruise. The most convenient way is to book them through the cruise line. You will pay for this convenience, however, as they typically cost more than through other means. You can also click here and save up to 40%.
Are tips included?
With the exception of luxury cruise lines, tips are not included, and are approximately $10 per guest, per day. These tips cover the services of your cabin attendant, waiter, and assistant waiter. Nowadays, most cruise lines will conveniently place the standard tip suggestions ($12/pp/day) right on to your onboard charge account. You have the full discretion to either increase or decrease these standard amounts, depending on the level of service you’ve received. Just visit the ship’s purser’s desk to make the adjustments.
- A 15% gratuity will automatically be added on to onboard beverage purchases.
- Tipping for the Maitre D’ is at the guests’ discretion, based upon services rendered.
- Guests under two years of age are typically not required to pay gratuities.
- Gratuities for room service deliveries, port stevedores, shore tour guides, etc, are not included, and are at the guests’ discretion.
- Certain cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your onboard sailing account. Should you not want this, please see the guest services desk while onboard.
How do we stay in touch with the outside world?
We know that even though you are on vacation, you may still need to be in contact with the outside world. In today’s high-tech environment, there are now several ways to stay in touch.
You will be able to use your cell phone while docked in a U.S. Port. Once you set sail, you will begin to lose your signal (unless you have a satellite phone) and will not get a signal while out at sea. You will however, likely get a signal while traveling in Alaska, the Bahamas, and various parts of the Caribbean and Bermuda, depending on your cell phone carrier. Check with your provider prior to your departure to determine accessibility and rates.
Most ships have an Internet café, and some newer ships offer wireless Internet service on board. If you use these services, expect to pay approximately $0.50-$0.75 a minute. The cruise lines will offer discount packages for bundled minutes if you plan on spending more time online.
Each stateroom is also equipped with a direct-to-shore dial phone. Although this is the most convenient means of communications, it is also the most expensive. Prices per minute can range from $6-$20, so even a few short phone calls can add up quickly. You can set up voice mail in your room at no charge, so people from both inside and outside the ship can directly dial to your stateroom and leave you a message. But be aware that people back home who call you on board will pay upwards of $10 a minute, billable to a major credit card. Further details can be found in your cruise documents.
Can I use my hairdryer or electric razor on board?
You can bring your own hairdryer, but most new ships have hair dryers provided in your stateroom. Ask your Cruise Hound Customer Service representative to determine if your ship provides them.
You can bring an electric razor on board, as most ships offer a 110AC outlet standard in the bathrooms.
Are there laundry facilities on board?
Yes. Most ships offer self-service laundry areas, which provide washers, dryers, irons and ironing boards, as well as detergents. In addition, many offer full-service laundry and dry cleaning. As a matter of safety, cruise lines will not allow you to iron in your stateroom.top
How much luggage can I bring?
Although cruise lines have no luggage limitations, airlines do. So if you are flying to reach your ship, please be aware of the maximum limitations allowed by your airline, in order to avoid paying a baggage surcharge.
Are there medical services on board?
All cruise ships have infirmaries, which are equipped to handle everything from the most basic of needs (motion discomfort) to more severe ailments. They are typically equipped to stabilize most medical emergencies until more advanced medical facilities can be reached. Costs for these services can be quite high, and are not covered under most guests’ domestic health care plans. We highly recommend additional Travel Insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses while on your vacation.top
Are there wheelchairs on board?
Wheelchairs are only available to assist guests while boarding and disembarking the ship. If you are in need of a wheelchair during the entire course of your cruise, you will need to provide your own.
Can I bring my child’s stroller on board?
Is there an ATM on board?
Most cruise ships offer on-board ATM’s. In addition, there are ATM’s located in most of the ports of call. Be aware however, that the convenience fees for using these ATM’s can start at $5 per use.
My cabin was booked as a “Guarantee”. When will I find out my cabin number?
You will find out your cabin number when you arrive at the pier. The baggage porters will have a current manifest, which will show your cabin number. They will place the appropriate bag tags on your luggage for delivery to your stateroom.
Please do not contact us to find out your cabin number if you were booked on a ‘guarantee’. The cruise lines do not provide us with this information in advance of your cruise.
When will I receive my documents, and what kind of tickets will I receive?
If you booked your cruise on Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Regent, Seabourn, SilverSea (among others), outside of 30 days prior to your departure, then you should receive your documents in the mail within 30 days of departure. If you booked your cruise within 30 days or at the last minute, you may be issued either “pier pick-up” or “e-Documents”. All guests, regardless of what type of tickets they are issued, are required to pre-register for their cruises at each respective cruise lines’ website in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security requirements.
What are e-Documents, and how do I know if I will be using these?
Just like most airline tickets issued today, e-Documents are electronic tickets that are used as a convenient alternative to the ticket packets are sent via regular mail. As a cost-saving measure, if you are booked with Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (among others), you will automatically receive e-tickets, and will be printing out your required documentation at your convenience from your own computer. All guests, regardless of what type of tickets they are issued, are required to pre-register for their cruises at each respective cruise lines’ website in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security requirements.
What are “Pier Pick-Up Documents”?
If your cruise was booked too close to departure to print paper tickets and send via regular mail, cruise lines may opt to issue “Pier Pick-Up Docs”. In this case, there are no tickets issued, whether on paper or electronically, and you will simply show your I.D. and Proof of Citizenship to any clerk at the terminal, advise them that you have “Pier Pick-Up Docs” and will direct you where to pick up your tickets.
How do I get my Certified Birth Certificate?
You will need an ORIGINAL, OR CERTIFIED COPY OF YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE (the one with the raised seal) as proof of citizenship, or to apply for your passport. You can obtain this by contacting the Office of Vital Statistics in the state in which you were born. Information is also available online at http://vitalrec.com/birthcertificates/ . Although expedition services are available, it is important to allow enough time to receive your copy prior to your cruise vacation.
How do I make a change to my booking?
We will be happy to assist you in making any necessary changes to your booking. Contact your Cruise Hound Service Representative for assistance.
Please be aware that making any changes to your cruise after you have deposited will likely subject you to change fees incurred by the cruise lines. Many bookings are made on promotional fares (during a sale, or with certain restrictions), so changing your reservation after deposit may also result in an increase of cabin fare, in addition to the change fees. We will advise you of any such charges before making the change.
What if there is a hurricane?
First and foremost, it is important to know that cruise lines are NOT going to sail in hurricane conditions, or in any other condition that is unsafe for their passengers, crew, or vessel.
Hurricane season runs from June through November. Due to the unpredictable nature of hurricanes it may not be possible to give information about itinerary changes in advance of the sailing, as hurricanes have been known to change their course drastically at the last minute. The cruise lines’ main priority is the safety of their guests and crew, as well as the vessel. It is rare for a cancellation to occur due to an impending hurricane, and in most instances an itinerary deviation is available in order to avoid a storm. For example, if you’re scheduled to go to the Eastern Caribbean, and there’s a hurricane heading towards the Virgin Islands, you’ll likely be going to the Western Caribbean instead. It is entirely at the cruise lines’ discretion to decide how much, if any, compensation will be credited for the inconvenience. Remember, hurricanes are “Acts of Nature”, and cruise lines are not held monetarily responsible if the itinerary must be altered and/or ports are missed to ensure the safety and security of its guests. Guests that have any questions about their cruise should contact our Customer Service department the day prior to sailing, as that is when we will likely have definitive information from the cruise lines about any possible changes or cancellations.
What happens if I miss the ship?
If you miss the ship’s departure due to an airline delay, and you booked your airfare through the cruise lines, they are usually required to make arrangements for you to meet up with the ship in the first port of call. That means, that they will assist in making flight arrangements, but not hotel or transfers (we can help you with that). You will personally incur any out of pocket expenses associated with the missed departure unless you have purchased Travel Insurance, which includes trip delay coverage.
If you missed the ship and you booked airfare on your own, then you should contact your Cruise Hound Customer Service representative to assist in making flight arrangements to meet up with the ship in your first port of call. Remember, any incidental costs associated with a missed departure are entirely on your own account. We highly recommend Travel Insurance to help recoup the cost of any out of pocket expenses due to an unforeseen delay. If you drove to the pier and you missed the ship, you can also call your Cruise Hound Customer Services Representative to help make arrangements to meet up with the ship in it’s next port of call.
In any event, the cruise lines do not reimburse you for any loss of time onboard ship. If you choose not to meet up with the ship, the cruise lines will assess a 100% penalty of your cruise fare.
We highly recommend Travel Insurance to help protect you against losses associated with trip delay.
What if I have to cancel?
If you need to cancel for whatever reason, please call our Customer Service Department immediately.
DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE IN VOICE MAIL OR SEND AN E-MAIL. We cannot be held responsible to make a timely cancellation on your behalf if we do not speak to a traveling passenger directly. We will then contact the cruise lines and cancel your cruise.
Each cruise line has cancellation penalties that vary depending on how close to sailing you cancel your cruise. When you booked your cruise, you were advised of your cruise line’s cancellation policy and penalties. If you cancel your cruise outside of your final payment period, you will likely have little or no penalty by the cruise lines. If you cancel the week of sailing, you may receive no refund at all. The amount of the penalty depends upon when you cancel. It is your responsibility, as the passenger, to become familiar with the penalties assessed for canceling the cruise.
A $25 administration fee also applies to all cancelled reservations that were booked online
We highly recommend Travel Insurance to protect yourself from penalties assessed for canceling due to covered reasons for yourself or family members. Every passenger is offered Travel Insurance at the time the reservation is made. If declined, please be advised cancellation penalties will be applied to your reservation.
Can I cruise if I am pregnant?
Most cruise lines cannot accept guests who will have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the beginning of, or at any time during their cruise or cruise tour. A physician’s “Fit to Travel” note is required prior to sailing, stating how far along (in weeks) your pregnancy will be at the beginning of the cruise, and confirming that you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. This is for your health and safety, and is non-negotiable. Guests not providing proper documentation will be denied boarding and no refund will be issued.
What is the youngest age an infant can be to sail?
Most cruise lines require that infants be at least 16 weeks old to travel, while others require an older minimum age for longer and exotic itineraries. Age must be substantiated with a certified birth certificate. These policies are non-negotiable, and are for the health and safety of the infant.