>Such as beverages (alcoholic or not), shore excursions, specialty
restaurants, spa treatments, onboard video games, laundry and
dry cleaning, and Internet-use
>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.
>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.
>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.
>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.
>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,
> 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.
>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.
>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
>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.
>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.