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A: A tour guide or escort throughout the entire itinerary, sightseeing tours as listed in each itinerary, hotels, transportation between each destination, daily breakfast, some lunch and dinner as listed in each itinerary, arrival and departure transfers if international airfare is purchased together with the escorted tour.
A: While ocean cruise ships carry thousands of passengers, river cruise ships carry hundreds, as river cruise ships are much smaller in size. On river cruises, motion sickness is not an issue, as there are no waves. All the cabins have a view, whether through a window or French/ full balcony, and hotel-style bedding.
Due to the size, river cruise ships don’t have casino or swimming pools, and entertainment onboard is more limited, but river cruises offer onboard fine dining with complimentary drinks (wine, beer, soda, juice) in one sitting (no assigned tables and no formal nights), specialty coffees, complimentary daily shore excursions, night time entertainment, fitness center and library.
A: Included: your private cabin with bathroom, all onboard meals (main dining, buffet and room service), drinking water, regular coffee and tea (from the drink fountain), onboard daytime activities (games, trivia, dance classes, karaoke, etc), night time shows, comedies and nightclubs, library books and table games, fitness center, swimming pools, hot tubs, kids’ programs, casino access and bingo games (at your own expense). Activities vary by ship.
Not included: gratuities, bar services (alcoholic beverages, soda, cocktails, premium coffee), shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants, and internet access. Airfare and transfers are not included, but can be added to your cruise booking upon request.
A: From $14.00 to $17.00 per person, per night, depending on the cruise line. The gratuity is mandatory, regardless of the age of the passenger, and it will be automatically added to your onboard account. The gratuities cover the services of your cabin steward and the servers in the main dining room and buffet restaurant.
A:Passports valid for 6 months or more beyond the return date of the cruise and valid visas (where applicable).
US residents holding non-US passports must also bring a valid Temporary Residency card or Alien Registration Card (Green Card).
Visas: it is your responsibility to obtain visas, where required, from the appropriate embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are planning to visit. Allow sufficient time for processing your visa application, especially if you are applying by mail. Most foreign consular representatives are located in major cities, and you may be required to obtain the visa from the consular office in the area of your residency. Upon receiving your visa, check it to make sure no there are no mistakes. Processing and visa fees vary, and most fees are not refundable.
A: Day time, casual clothing: jeans or slacks, sweaters, jackets, raincoats, shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, low-heeled and walking shoes, and slippers.
Evening time, 3 types of attire:
Here is the guideline to help you plan for the dress code:
For cruise tours/ land & sea vacations, while on land, the dress code will be casual during both daytime and evening.
When visiting the museums and cathedrals in Europe, it is always wise to dress conservatively.
Remember to also bring your camera, binoculars, hat, umbrella and sunscreen.
A: After final payment of your cruise, you must perform the cruise line’s mandatory Online Check-In, where you provide your travel document’s information, emergency contact person and a credit/ debit card for your onboard account. After complete the Online Check-In, you can print out your Boarding Passes, Luggage Tags and/ or E-Docs. This must be completed at least 2 weeks prior to the sailing date.
Cruise lines reserve the right to deny boarding if passenger fails to perform the Online Check-In.
A: Cruise lines have a “cashless” system, so at your check-in at the pier, the cruise line will create an onboard account based on the credit/ debit card that you provided during the Online Check-In and link it to your cabin. For any onboard purchase, you just sign a receipt and then settle your onboard account at the end of the cruise. You will receive your onboard account statement a night prior or in the early morning of the day of disembarkation, and upon your disembarkation, your card will be billed automatically. If you do not agree with any of the charges, you must settle it onboard the ship, prior to disembarkation.
A: Yes, and the price is average $18 per day, set by the port authority and subject to change. At some piers only cash is accepted.
A: Boarding starts around 1:00 pm, but may vary depending on the itinerary. The embarkation time will be listed in your boarding pass or cruise documents. All passengers must be onboard no later than 2 hours prior to sailing.
A: At the pier, hand over your checked baggage to the porters, with luggage tags securely attached (make sure your name and your cabin number are on the luggage tags). Your luggage will be delivered to the ship (in front of your cabin) later in the day. Hand-carry all your valuables, travel documents and medication.
At the check-in counter, you will present your cruise documentation (boarding pass or E-docs), your passport, and any necessary visas and inoculations. Cruise lines have the right to deny boarding to those passengers without the proper travel documents.
After the travel documents are verified, you will receive your cabin key, which is also your identification when embarking/ disembarking the ship, and the charge card for purchases on board.
Once on board, you will be directed to the buffet for lunch, and afterwards you are free to explore the ship while waiting for your cabin to be ready.
Inside your cabin you will find your dining location, time and table. You will also find the first day’s program, providing you with a schedule of events of where and when everything is happening, including children’s program. It will also list the attire for the dinner (casual, smart casual or formal). Later in the evening (and every night after), the next day’s program will be delivered to your cabin.
A: Only if you would like to take the photos home! Whether on board or at the ports of call, photographers will be taking your pictures to capture your memorable vacation moments. You can even have your portrait taken at several of the studio-type settings. Later the photos will be displayed at the ship’s Photo Gallery, where you can purchase them.
A: Yes, for the most part. But your mobile service may be switched to the ship’s satellite system, which charges extra fee per minute, so it’s best to check with the purser’s desk onboard for mobile phone usage. International roaming charges from your mobile phone carrier will still apply, so contact your carrier for more details.
Internet is available at a fee. Most ships have Wi-Fi that allows you to use your laptop in your cabin or in various public areas in the ship. There are also Internet cafes onboard. Check for internet packages (minutes packages) if you plan to use internet for an extensive time.
A: Follow the disembarkation instructions listed in the daily program. Passengers will be divided into groups or zones for different disembarkation times.
On the night prior to your disembarkation, pack your checked luggage and put the luggage tag on it. Make sure that your luggage tag contains your name, phone number, and address. Leave the luggage outside of your cabin before the recommended time (usually between 10:00pm and 12:00pm). The crew will come to collect your luggage and bring it to the port of disembarkation on the next morning.
Prepare a small carry-on bag to put personal belongings, valuables, travel documents, medication and a change of cloth for the next day (disembarkation day).
On the disembarkation day, you can have an early breakfast and listen to the disembarkation instructions, which usually announces the disembarkation time per each group/ zone.
Have your travel documents ready, as you will pass through customs and immigration, and afterwards, collect your checked luggage at the port.