WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF A CRUISE
Each cruise ship is different depending on where you are going. Most cruises include all food, entertainment and use of facilities. Juices, milk, coffee and tea are normally included at no extra charge, but alcohol and soda beverages are not included in the price.
You may need airfare, which will add to the total cost. Tipping is not mandatory, but most people tip the waiter, cabin steward and busboy at an average of 8-9 dollars per day. Port charges and taxes may or may not be included in the cost of the cruise. Make sure you are clear on whether they are or not.
CHOOSING A CABIN
There are two types of cabins.Ocean view and inside.
Here are some facts:
*Oceanview are located on the outside wall of the ship and have a window to view the ocean.
*The view can vary from porthole size to full length picture windows.
*Some newer ships include your own Veranda.
*Not all oceanview are truly that. All ships have lifeboats that hang along the sides of the ship sometimes obscuring the view. Find this out before you book.
*Inside cabins are located inside the corridors of the ship and have no windows.
*Inside cabins are less expensive than oceanview.
*Passengers in inside cabins are afforded the same amenities as passengers in oceanview cabins while taking advantage of price savings.
*Without daylight,you wouldn't know wether it is morning or night or what the weather outside is like.
*Some inside cabins only have upper and lower berths.
*Some older ships have closet spaced inside cabins.
The choice of oceanview or inside depends on your preference and budget.
There is no first class, second class, etc. for passengers. All passengers have access to all facilites onboard ships. You will want to consider the location of your cabin.
Where do you want to be? Some cabins are close to Stairways and Elevators. This may be a convenience if you don't want to walk too far to public areas. Others may find this distracting so close to their cabin. Check the map for the ship layout so you can decide where you want your cabin. Make sure to ask about Guaranteed and Assigned bookings.
BEST TIME TO CRUISE
What is the best time to Book a Cruise? As early as possible. Though some cruise lines have last minute deals, other lines sell out up to a year in advance. It helps if you have some flexibility on when you can leave.
Most meals are included in the price of the cruise. Dining times vary. There is always Room Service 24 hours a day and a midnight buffet you won't want to miss. Some ships have formal nights. Special meals can be made, just ask to request this when booking your cruise.
WHAT TYPE OF SEATING DO YOU PREFER
With so many ships, dining is a big part of your cruise. Normally, you will be assigned a table and will have all your meals at that same table with the same waiter and bus boy throughout the cruise. Some cruise lines offer alternative dining,or freestyle dining,where you can dine anywhere you choose. Norwegian Cruise Line has about 10 different resturants on their ships so you can decide when and what you want to eat.
DON'T FORGET TRAVEL INSURANCE
All cruise lines offer insurance for a fee. It is not part of your cruise cost. Even if you think you won't become ill, you never know. Also, sometimes there are delays on flights or cancellations that you cannot control. It is very important that you understand how this insurance works.
Depending on where you live, you may need to take a flight to your port. Some choices you have are to use the Air/Sea option cruise lines offer. This is reduced airfare for your flights to and from the ship. Or, depending on the price, you can arrange flights independantly from the cruise line.
If you are flying to your port, you may want to think about arriving a day ahead of time, just to give yourself plenty of time before departure. This can be an exciting add on to your trip.
On most ships there is no smoking in the dining area, but smoking lounges and cigar bars are found on most ships. You can smoke in your stateroom.