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TRVL3080: Dynamics of the Cruise Industry (Parish): Cruise Experience

Cruise Prep

  • Anticipate the extra costs

                 >Such as beverages (alcoholic or not), shore excursions, specialty

                   restaurants, spa treatments, onboard video games, laundry and

                   dry cleaning, and Internet-use

  • Budget for tips

                 >Most ships these days automatically add a gratuities surcharge of $10

                   to $15 per person per day to your account at the end of the cruise. 

  • Don't overpack

                 >The average cruise-ship cabin is about 170 to 200 square feet, about

                    half the size of the average hotel room. You'll be much more

                    comfortable in a cabin this size if you pack as lightly as possible,

                    with just enough clothing—and variety of clothing—to get by.

  • Consider ship dress code

                 >Not all ships require you to dress up for dinner anymore. On Norwegian

                   Cruise Line ships you can now even wear jeans to the main dining room

                   at night. Other ships, such as Celebrity and Holland America, have more

                   formal nights. During the day, all ships are universally casual.

  • Know the ship's electrical specifications

                 >Most of the large cruise lines provide U.S.-style current and plugs,

                   but some international ships, particularly those sailing in Europe

                   and Asia, may have other electrical standards. Be sure to verify that

                   before you cruise.

  • Find out what amenities and and toiletries are in cabins

                 >Almost all cruise ships provide shampoo and soap (though it may

                   be liquid shower gel), beach towels, and hair dryers; some provide

                   conditioner and other toiletries, but if you need something specific,

                   always ask.

  • Make a list of important items to pack

                 > It can be expensive or difficult to buy seemingly common household

                    products at sea. Some often-forgotten, useful items include: an alarm

                    clock (few cabins have them), batteries, insect repellent, sunscreen,

                    over-the-counter cold remedies, sandals, sports gear, sunglasses, and

                    a light windbreaker. 

  • Bring along some cash

                 >There are circumstances that will warrant it, even on an all-inclusive

                    trip. And although some ships have ATMs, they often have huge

                    surcharges. You'll need cash for the casino on board, and you will

                    also need some cash on shore. Though ATMs are common in most

                    ports, they can still be hard to find in some places.

  • Look into details about your cabin's beds

                >Bed configuration is key. On most newer ships cabins come with two

                  twin-size beds that are usually pushed together to create a king

                  (though your cabin steward can separate them). On some older ships

                  the beds are nailed to the floor and may be laid out in an

                  L-shape configuration. 

  • Get a passport

             >If your cruise calls in a foreign port (even Canada or a

               Caribbean destination other than the U.S. Virgin Islands

               or Puerto Rico), you must have proof of citizenship

               (either a passport, a passport card, or in some cases a so-

               called "enhanced" driver's license). Taking a passport is

               always a good idea—even if you're cruising to Alaska.

               Many people don't consider what might happen if they

               had to leave the ship and come home early. If you are in

               a foreign destination (even Canada), you'll need your

               passport (not a passport card) to fly back home.

  • Check your documents

               >When your tickets arrive, make sure to check them immediately

                  and carefully. Usually they're perfect. But mistakes do occur.

                  If you've bought an air-and-sea package, check your airline

                  tickets. Make sure you're ticketed for the right dates, from the

                  right airport, and to the right destination.

Life Aboard a Cruise Ship (Passengers)

Life Aboard a Cruise Ship (Crew)