We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to hopefully ease some of your cruising worries and help you better prepare for your trip.
Do I need a passport?
U.S. Citizens need passports to depart or enter the United States and to enter or depart foreign countries. There are exceptions, which include short term travel to Mexico, Canada, and certain Caribbean countries, where a U.S. birth certificate or other proof of citizenship will do. For specific information on the country you plan to visit, contact your cruise line or travel agent. You can also find out about entry requirements by visiting www.pueblo.gsa.gov.
How much spending money do I need?
Depending on how economical you want your vacation to be, it can vary. You will need to plan to tip the staff (room attendant and service staff at the restaurants) on the last night. The average is about $10 per person (including children) per day. This covers all of the service staff. The cruise lines will include this information in your ticket packet and most will charge the tips to your shipboard account, unless you prefer to tip in cash. It's not recommended to carry large amounts of cash. We recommend only enough cash to pay for parking at the dock and tips for the porters - it's safer to use a credit card while traveling. In fact, most cruise lines do not take cash on board. Overall, for a 7-day cruise, you should plan for $100 in parking, $2 per bag for porters and $250 in tips. Other than these extras, most everything is included in your cruise.
What helpful tips should I know in advance?
There are several things you can do ahead of time to make your vacation more enjoyable:
What should I plan to pack?
Plan to pack the types of cloths you would wear at a nice resort. A cruise ship is like a floating hotel (only better). You'll need casual clothes during the day, swim suits and cover ups, nice slacks at dinner and formal wear (a nice suit and tie or cocktail dress) for 1-2 nights. It can get chilly at night, so a light sweater is a good idea. Plus, don't forget the sunscreen and any medication you need. Otherwise, bring the basic essentials - the cruise lines don't have a limit on luggage, but most of the cabins are small and there's not a lot of storage space. For families with small children, make sure to bring an umbrella stroller for the days at port. Most cruise lines, in fact, all of the new ships, have hair dryers and provide soap, shampoo and lotion.
How is the food and what is okay to wear to dinner?
The food is outstanding and it's available around the clock. Most cruise lines have similar dress policies - dressy resort wear, which means khaki's and collared shirts for men, nice slacks or skirts for women. Without exception, shorts and jeans are not permitted in the dining room although Disney is more tolerant than most lines. And, there is 1-2 nights that are formal - a nice suit and tie for men and cocktail dresses for women. Tuxedos are not mandatory.