Our FAQs Please click on a subject below to learn more.
Never been on a ship before? Our Cruise appreciates the first time cruiser may have many questions, and we hope to answer common questions below. You are of course encouraged to ask our Cruise Specialists any question you may have.
There are so many ships these days, how do I pick what is right for me?
We totally agree. There are over 50 different cruise lines to choose from, which can be daunting. From intimate small ships, carrying only 50 odd passengers, to the mega liners carrying 5400 passengers, through to 6 star luxury vessels, first thing is to think about what type of holiday you are after. Are you after a small ship which will get into you many smaller ports to explore, or perhaps a holiday that offers a lot of activities, dining options and entertainment onboard? Our Cruise has chosen to work with our cruise lines we know will deliver you the onboard and shoreside holiday you are seeking, so have a chat to one of our Cruise Specialists to help navigate you through the choices.
I heard a cruise is expensive, is that true?
The short answer is no. When you take into account that your cruise fare will include of course your accommodation, your transportation between cities, meals in main dining venues, a wealth of activities onboard, nighttime entertainment, comparing to a land based holiday often they are very similar.. if not cheaper. Many cruise lines these days also offer further savings – such as drink and shore excursion packages, and onboard some cruise lines will offer complimentary bottled water and soft drinks, all of which can add up.
Isnt cruising just for seniors?
Not any more. Cruise ships now are for families, couples, honeymooners, groups.. really just about any type of traveller are now enjoying a cruise holiday.
Will I get bored, or feel confined?
Not possible! Even on small ships, there is plenty to do, and on larger vessels, the options are extraordinary. Take for example some ships have everything from gyms, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, dodgem cars, F1 simulators, paddle tennis, mini golf through to interactive cooking schools and art classes at sea, guest lecturers, games on sea days, movies playing, boutiques for shopping. Each evening a guide to the next days port of call and onboard activities is placed in your cabin, so you can easily plan your day from early morning to late evening.
Some people feel nervous about being ‘stuck at sea’ with so many people in one area. Today ships are cleverly designed that you don’t get that feeling. Bars and restaurants are spread around the ship, intimate areas are created for those seeking solitude, activities are held in various areas, and so you will never feel like you are lost amongst the crowds. Even on those 5400 passenger ships this is the case.
How about seasickness?
Of course each individual is difference, however most ships are well stabilised that you can hardly tell you are moving, especially in calm waters, such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Alaska’s Inside Passage. Ships technology today helps ships detect foul weather approaching, and unlike a land based resort, they can alter course to avoid rough seas and weather, how perfect is that! However if you do suffer, most passengers find over the counter remedies you can purchase before you leave enough to counteract any queasiness. Alternative remedies such as ginger capsules and acupressure bands can also assist. If you feel unwell onboard, the pursers desk usually can provide you with a complimentary dose, or you can visit the ships medical centre (charges may apply).
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. All cruise lines expect passengers to have a fully comprehensive policy, and may ask for proof of this.
What Visa requirements do I need to sort?
This will depend on your itinerary. Our Cruise specialists will assist you with any Visa requirements and any passport restrictions that may apply to you
When I do need to check in for my cruise?
Speaking generally, most cruise lines will require you to be onboard at least 1 hour prior to sailing, however please check your cruise documentation. Depending on your ship and type of stateroom, you may have staggered arrival times. Be sure to have your luggage labelled with the ships tags, and passport and cruise documentation handy. Our Cruise recommendation: Get to your city of departure the night prior – eliminate any concerns about a late flight, and relax. On day of embarkation, allow plenty of time to get to the port as traffic is likely to be busy. Your luggage will be collected at the pier, and you can carry on your hand luggage. Cabins are not likely to be available immediately, but the buffet restaurant is normally open from 11am through to 4pm to enjoy a meal and drink, and you can explore the ship. An announcement will be made over the loud speaker to advise you that your cabin is ready. Luggage will be at the door, or arrive shortly after.
Shall I pre book Shore Excursions or do my own arrangements?
Cruise lines offer a comprehensive list of Shore Excursions. Most are charged for, and give passengers the peace of mind they are with a crew member as host for most of the journey, and using reputable ground operators who will return you to the ship on time (and note, if the tour runs late, the ship will wait for your bus to return, unlike if you are on your own). If you choose to enjoy the cruise line tours, then we do recommend pre booking to avoid disappointment. If you need to cancel or change your tour, simply check your guest documentation for any cancellation fees.
Kiwis are an intrepid bunch, and many prefer to book their own tour or do their own arrangements at each port, which of course you may do, especially if you are familiar with the port. Just bear in mind things like national holidays may disrupt local transport and it is your own responsibility to ensure you get back to the ship by the specified time. In a few ports, such as St Petersburg, Russia, the ship covers your visa requirements if you do a ship tour – doing your own arrangements means you have to secure your own visa.
What do I pack?
One thing to remember that while cruise ships don’t have a baggage restriction as such like the airlines, you do have to remember that your airline will stick to their rules, so pack accordingly to your airline (and smaller commuter airline) and you will be fine. In terms of clothing, cruise line wear during the day is fairly standard – casual is fine, but general rules like no bare feet in the restaurants. During the evenings, generally a " smart casual" is fine ie: pants/dress shirt for the men, or a dress/pants & blouse for the ladies. Some lines offer formal night, where people are encouraged to dress accordingly – a dark suit and tie for men is fine (but feel free to whip out your tuxedo!) and a cocktail dress for ladies. Some lines offer tuxedo hire too, to save you packing that and carrying it for the duration of your holiday.
How to I pay for services onboard and what currency?
Currency onboard your ship will depend on which cruise line you are sailing with – the majority are in US Dollars, but some may be in Euro, or sometimes the ships may change their regular currency when they sail in particular regions – just check with Our Cruise specialists at time of booking.
Onboard its very simple. Upon embarkation, you will be asked for a credit card. This is logged against your cabin key (similar size to a credit card) and each time you wish to purchase a drink, utilise a spa service, or purchase something at the boutique, you only need present you cabin key and all charges are billed to your onboard account. You are easily able to keep an eye on your spend, with some ships offering this service via your TV in your cabin, or you can simply request a copy of your statement from reception at any time you like.
How about tipping onboard?
Check with Our Cruise at the time of booking – many lines include gratuities now, or you may have the option to pre pay these. If you feel you would like to leave an extra tip onboard for exceptional service, this is at your discretion. Please note that drink purchases usually carry a " service charge" which is different than a gratuity, and may be approx. 15 – 18% of your purchase (example on a US$9 glass of wine, that’s only an additional US$1.62)
Can I stay in touch?
You certainly can.. or you can avoid as much as you wish! Major newspapers are usually available each day, news is broadcast on your TV channels keeping you informed, and many ships now are Wifi capable, and you can call home from your cell phone. Just bear in mind that charges for these services do apply, and we recommend you check carefully before using. Internet packages can often be bought.. or simply wait until you are ashore, step into a bar or café that offers free Wifi, and enjoy the local ambience while checking your mail or making your friends back home jealous.
What are the dining times and options?
Dining options will vary between cruise lines but generally fall into 2 camps for the main dining room: "Traditional dining" where you will find that there are 2 times for dinner service, approx. 6.30 and 8.30pm. You will be assigned a table for the duration of your cruise, however you may pick your preferred table size (2 up to 10 at a table) . Alternatively there is " open dining", where you may choose to dine when, and with whom you choose. Larger ships may offer both, so discuss your preferences with your Cruise Specialist.
In speciality restaurants, reservations are normally required, but you may pick your preferred dining time and number of table companions. Our Cruise Recommendation: Pre book your speciality dining as its incredibly popular and you don’t want to miss out. You can always amend your reservation once onboard.
I am on a long Europe holiday, what laundry facilities are onboard?
Just like a hotel or resort, you will have the ability to send your laundry for cleaning or pressing, charges apply for this service. Some cruise lines do offer guest laundry (either complimentary or a small charge) which is great for those on long journeys. Our Cruise recommendation: If your ship does have self service, pop this on when the laundry opens in the morning, enjoy breakfast, and by the time you are finished, the load is done. Pop it in the dryer, have a stroll or enjoy another coffee, and by the time its done you are ready to go ashore.
Are there medical services onboard?
Virtually every ship has a medical centre and staff to handle most emergencies. Charges do apply and they can be hefty, so its important you have a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy. Our Cruise recommends QBE Insurance, ask us for details.
What is the voltage onboard ships?
The majority of ships use US outlets, but some may also have a European socket. Local ships may have Australian/NZ sockets, so to cover all bases, we recommend you carry a multi adaptor plug and you are all set. Please note on the subject of appliances, you are welcome to bring your hairdryer (although some ships will have one), other hair styling devices, electric shaver etc, but irons and any other heating or cooking device are strictly forbidden, for safety reasons.
Can I BYO?
While most cruise lines do not permit any BYO of alcohol or other beverages onboard, some may make a small allowance for you to bring a small quantity onboard to enjoy in your stateroom. Please check with Our Cruise Specialists. With most cruise lines offering drinks packages, Happy Hours etc, these represent fair costs to any bar price you may pay ashore.
I am a smoker, am I allowed to do this onboard?
You may, however areas are severely restricted. The majority of cruise lines ban any type of smoking in your cabin, or on your balcony, and you will find only certain areas of the ship will allow you to smoke. Pipe and cigar smoking is generally banned in all areas, apart from 1 or 2 designated areas. Heavy fines are in place for those who choose to ignore this rule, or even disembarkation for serious misconduct.