Travel Insurance. We strongly urge you to protect your investment. Cancellation penalties apply! Upon receipt of your cruise deposit, we will send you a Travel Guard Insurance form for you to fill out and mail directly to Travel Guard or you can also sign up here online.
Don’t buy anything for a cruise you won’t wear again. The big challenge may be the two formal nights on most seven-night itineraries. You’ll find many interpretations of what is indeed formal. For me, the secret to looking great on formal nights is separates. From a dressy blouse over black pants to a tuxedo, anything but jeans. Cruise ships have far too much air conditioning at night, so I recommend something with sleeves. Like most people, I buy – and take – far more than I’ll ever need on a ship. Try packing all that you want, then removing half of it!
No matter which ship you take or region of the world you visit, daytime attire is usually: sneakers/sandals, shorts, T-shirt and hat. It really doesn't get any fancier than that. Some cruise lines (Carnival) provide passenger-operated washing machines so you don't have to take a change of clothing for each day of the voyage. In all likelihood, you'll purchase a T-shirt along the way, so plan on this.
To help make your vacation more enjoyable be sure to include the following when you pack.
Also, make sure you have identification on your luggage.
1. Hat - Baseball cap or one with an elastic band
2. Sunglasses - Especially in the Caribbean
3. Comfortable Shoes - Sneakers and boat shoes are great for strolling around port.
4. Light sweater or jacket in case the evenings are cool. Most ships are over air-conditioned and you'll need one at night.
5. Tote Bag - Leave your wallet and documents in the room safe and carry books, lotion and incidentals to beaches and the pool area in an inexpensive bag.
6. Waterproof Poncho - In regions of the world where there is rainfall, such as Alaska, this is invaluable and eliminates the need to purchase an umbrella in port.
7) Proper immigration documentation such as passport, birth certificate, and/or notarized letters for minors.
8) Government issued photo identification. Driver's license if your package includes a car rental.
9) Major credit card for rental cars, hotel incidentals, etc.
10) ATM card, major credit card, or traveler's checks
11) Plane tickets, hotel, transfer, and/or rental car vouchers
14) Camera and film
15) Books, magazines, playing cards for the flight
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* Whenever possible, I arrive in the port of embarkation a day early It de-stresses you from the torture of air travel and generally adds a day of fun to your cruise.
* Always carry your documents and valuables with you. . A good rule of thumb: if you can't bear to part with something forever, don't pack it in your suitcase.
* Purchase travel insurance. All travel agents sell cruise insurance and it's worth the extra money. Aside from illness, travel insurance protects you from so many mishaps that can happen, including lost luggage, flight delays.
* If your heart is set on a massage, hair styling or other spa treatment during a day at sea, be among the first to board and then run to the ship's fitness center - these are booked first. The same is true for obtaining reservations at a ship's alternative restaurant, when an advance booking is required.
*If you encounter any problems in your cabin or wind up with noisy neighbors, go immediately to the purser's desk. If they can't resolve the situation right away, they'll make every attempt to move you to another stateroom. Ditto the restaurant: if you can't stand your dining companions, go immediately to the maitre' d and ask to be assigned to another table.
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Seasickness does exit and is probably the primary reason many people avoid cruises. But there are regions of the world where you are unlikely to be affected. Moreover, there are over-the- counter remedies which work for most, and procedures you can follow if you do feel queasy. And, if you do happen to hit a storm in the Atlantic, ships' doctors can administer injections that eliminate all discomfort. ·
REGIONAL SAILINGS. You are least likely to suffer from motion sickness in the Caribbean. The islands act as a barrier to the Atlantic Ocean, and seas are tranquil unless a storm should hit. . Rivers and canals offer smooth sailing, and you'll find smooth sailing in Alaska after passing through the Inside Passage (the first and last day if sailing round-trip from Vancouver).
· THE PATCH. The medicated Transderm patch is back on the market . It’s only available by prescription, so be sure to ask your doctor about side effects.
· OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION. Most people have excellent results from Bonine, but these should be taken a day before departure to eliminate discomfort. As in the case of any medication, check with your doctor to determine if it is suitable for you.
· SEA BANDS. Non-medicated wrist bands which relieve motion sickness by acting on acupressure points. Tested by the Australian Yacht Club, I've met people the world over who swear by them. Available in pharmacies and aboard most ships.
· ACTIONS TO TAKE. Here's a sure-fire remedy for queasiness: eat crackers and apples (to absorb the acid in the stomach), avoid all fluids and do not lie down. Go outside on deck and stare at the horizon; avoid enclosed areas such as elevators.
· SHIPS’ DOCTORS. Even ships' crew can become ill if a bad storm hits at sea. Ships have physicians aboard who can administer medication by injection that will eliminate all discomfort.
· CABIN LOCATION. In the Caribbean, where it’s normally smooth as a lake, the location of your cabin matters little. But if you’re considering an Atlantic crossing or a cruise in any of the areas cited realize that you’ll feel the least amount of motion when your cabin is mid-ship and on a lower deck.
· FEAR. Cruise company executives have reported passengers beginning to feel ill on the pier before they even board the vessel! Fear doesn't cause sea sickness, but why hamper the fun of the first few days of the voyage until you discover your fears are completely ungrounded? First time cruisers who fear sea sickness should head for a large ship cruising the tranquil Caribbean. Once you board, just forget your fears and have a ball.
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Shopping at Sea
It's no secret that cruises offers lots of shopping opportunities. In port, you'll find local handicrafts and jewelry stores as well as fun vacation trinkets, t-shirts and beachwear. Aboard ship, you can also shop till you drop. You can spend hours leisurely browsing amidst the Lladro porcelain, Aynsley bone china, Swarovski crystal, and clothing and accessories from the likes of Gucci, Burberry's, and Bally. For your friends and family back home, wade through the myriad T-shirts, mugs, magnets and key chains. There are books for sale along with sundries like film, aspirin, toothpaste and sunscreen. Even the ship's spa is like a mini store; shelves are lined with expensive imported creams, ointments, the latest European firming gel or exfoliating scrub, and workout clothes. You'll also have plenty of duty-free items to pick among, from scotch, whiskey, vodka, gin, and all kinds of booze to cigarettes and chocolates. No matter what you're looking for, onboard gift shops and boutiques are well stocked and you're bound to find something that tickles your fancy.
Keep in mind, sales on select souvenirs and clothing are often held toward the end of the cruise, so you may want to wait.
The Fossil stores on Carnival's ships are a great place for browsing. Besides watches, the hip stores also sell cool belts, handbags, wallets and other leather goods.
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Worried about putting on another 10 pounds from a week of over-eating and lazy days filled with nothing but sunbathing by the pool or leaning over a craps table? Doesn't have to be that way! There are plenty of opportunities to be active on a cruise. From bicycling excursions across mountain ridges, to river tubing adventures down some remote forest river, walking tours of quaint towns, and fun-in-the-sun snorkeling trips, there are more active excursions in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Alaska cruises than ever before. Most ships offer at least a dozen shore tours in each port (and sometimes two or three times that many), and you'll find many geared to today's hands-on, active cruiser. All you need to do is sign up and meet the guide by the gangway. All the details of your adventure will be taken care of for you, and the excursions are charged to your onboard account. How's that for convenient!
Pre-booking Shore Excursions You may not want to wait until you get on board to book the shore excursion of your dreams; that awesome bicycling tour may just be sold out by the time you get to shore excursion desk. Many lines are now offering guests the chance to pre-book shore excursions from home, so you're assured of a spot by the time you get on board. For popular cruising destinations like Alaska, where excursions are so integral to the cruise experience, it's definitely a good idea to pre-reserve excursions. All you need is your reservations number and you can book your tours of choice. The cost will be charged to your room account (you settle your account at the end of your cruise), and tickets will be waiting in your cabin when you first board the ship. Please call us for instructions on how to sign up.
What to Bring To be prepared for the active-style fun you're likely to encounter on a cruise, it's a good idea to pack sneakers, waterproof Teva-like sandals, and aqua socks. If you plan on horseback riding, bring long comfortable pants to wear (i.e. not skin tight, unless you're a glutton for punishment). Snorkelers may want to bring their own mask and snorkel to save a few bucks (although you can always rent them on board and sometimes they are included in the shore excursion rate).
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What is the tipping policy onboard?
Guests can pay their shipboard gratuities in one of two ways:
1. Reverse Gratuity Policy - For our guests' convenience, we automatically add the recommended gratuities to the onboard Sail & Sign account on embarkation day.
Guests will have the discretion to adjust these gratuities based upon the level of service received during the cruise. This includes the option to adjust gratuities (up or down) for any individual on the Dining or Housekeeping staff. In order to do so, the guest will need to visit the Information Desk on board.
2. Pre-Paid Gratuity Policy - Gratuities are pre-arranged and paid at the time of booking or any time up to two weeks prior to the sail date.
All guests on each booking must prepay the gratuities, with the exception of children under two. The pre-paid gratuities can not be removed once the booking has been ticketed. The guest will not have the option to adjust the gratuities (up or down) based on the level of service received during the cruise.
The dollar amount of the gratuities will appear in the Miscellaneous Charge field on the booking. The guest copy on the cruise ticket will indicate if gratuities have been paid.
The total amount will be $10 per guest, per day, which breaks down as follows:
$5.50 pp/pd for Dining Team Service (Headwaiter and Waiter)
$1 pp/pd for Bistro Service (Waiter/Cooks)
$3.50 pp/pd for Cabin Services (Cabin Steward)
Tipping the Maitre D' is strictly at guest's discretion, based upon services rendered. For guests who wish to extend this gratuity in cash, an envelope will be available on the last evening of the cruise.
Tipping still applies regardless of the dining options selected, such as eating at the casual dining restaurant or utilizing room service.
Bar Waiters, Deck Stewards and Bell Boys - Certain personnel, as noted above, may be tipped as service is rendered. A 15% gratuity is automatically added to beverage purchases which the guest may adjust appropriate to the service received.
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