Whether you are a first-time cruiser or a veteran of the seas, planning a cruise is an exciting experience that lets you pick from thousands of incredible itineraries and hundreds of extraordinary ports of call.
- Utilise your ownership week or points towards the price of a cruise.
- One deposit of a week or points provides a discount on up to four cabins.
- Did you know that you can book up to two years in advance?!
- There are NO advance booking requirements or blackout dates.
- Cruise fares include onboard dining, activities and entertainment.
- Friends and family can utilise your member savings as well.
- NO exchange fees.
- Book your cruise as early as possible for the best value. Or ask your cruise consultant to notify you when great deals come up.
- Be flexible. You may just nab a bargain cruise during a destination's off season!
- Longer voyages are great value for money. Transpacific, Trans-Atlantic, World Cruises and Repositioning voyages are perfect examples.
- Be aware if you are sailing solo a "single's supplement" can range from 10-100% of the pp cruise price. If you are happy to share ask if you cruiseline has a "guaranteed share rate" which will provide a same-sex roommate to share the cabin.
- A three or four day cruise is a quick, inexpensive way to rejuvenate your spirit.
- Accommodation onboard varies widely and depends on the cruiseline. It is best to check out your style of cabin online, or speak to your cruise consultant for advice. However, generally, the following cabins are recognised as standard throughout the industry:
- Inside cabins - an interior cabin has no windows, yet is still cosy and comfortable. This is the most budget conscious way to cruise and comes in quad or twin share. Recent innovation on Royal Caribbean Cruises offer a "virtual" balcony giving you the feel of an oceanview cabin.
- Oceanview cabins typically have a fixed porthole or window to give you a view of the outside. They are comfortable rooms with twin beds, or doubles, in quad or twin share.
- Balcony cabins have access to a private balcony area, and provide a higher level of comfort and larger floorplans.
- Suites simply have more space, usually with a separate bedroom, living area, larger bathroom (sometimes with a spa bath) for a higher price point. Many have a private balcony and access to additional amenities such as a butler, in-room afternoon tea, suite-only areas etc.
- Should you need assistance or special needs, ensure the ship can accommodate your needs before you book.
- Cabins with the least amount of movement are located in the middle of the ship, both vertically and horizontally. These are the one's to ask for if you have a concern about seasickness.
- ONLINE ONBOARD: Stay wired onboard via Internet cafe or in-cabin data ports or wifi. If you need to stay in touch with loved ones and the world, check the online services, and charges of your ship when booking.
- SPECIAL EVENT? If you have something to celebrate - birthday, wedding or anniversary, family reunion, or business meetings and other special events - there may be special event packages available.
- An excellent way to extend your vacation is with a pre- and post-cruise package - they may include accommodation, extensions, tours, excursions, transfers, and make your holiday that much more enjoyable.
- Speak to your cruise & travel consultant about your needs and desires for the perfect cruise. Honeymoon couples, families with kids and older travellers have vastly different expectations from a cruise and holiday.
- Most cruiselines have Kids Clubs offering special children's programs and activities. Your consultant will have further details.
- Whilst shorter cruises tend to attract novice and younger passengers, and longer cruises tend to attract the more experienced cruiser, most cruiselines cater for everyone - whether you want to relax and take in the sea air or dance the night away!
- Smaller ships (500 passengers or less) are geared towards an intimate environment featuring highly personalised service and, often, unique itineraries.
- Medium-size ships (between 500 and 1000 passengers) offer many onboard activities and entertainment, while still maintaining a comfortable, personalised ambience.
- Large ships (over 1,000 passengers) caters to a variety of entertainment options, high-tech facilities and plenty of new friends.
- Discuss with your cruise & travel agent about the details of your holiday. They will be able to assist with advise on ports, destinations, the rich cultural experiences, activities and the cruiselines that will meet you needs.
- When you receive your cruise documents in the mail, take the time to go over them in detail and verify that all the information is correct.
- Notify the cruise ship of any special dietary restrictions or requests at least 60 days prior to departure.
- Make sure you have the correct identification requirements for boarding, as they may vary with every trip.
- Always call to confirm any connecting flights 24 hours prior to departure. Remember, if you book "cruise only", you are responsible for arriving at the port in time for check-in, security and departure.
- Check-in and security procedures may be involved when boarding. Be sure to arrive at the embarkation area at least two hours prior to sailing. If you board early, there are plenty of activities that begin before the ship leaves port.
- If you are prone to motion sickness, consult your doctor prior to departure. Motion sickness medications (such as Dramamine and patches), "seabands" (affecting wrist pressure points) may curb nausea.
- Research your ship, destinations and ports of call to greatly enrich your journey. In addition, most ships have onboard lectures and presentations, internet access and a library.
- Life aboard a cruise ship is generally laid-back and casual, so pack for comfort. There may be an occasional night for which smart casual attire is advisable. Sometimes the dress code may be formal where a cocktail dress or tuxedo is the expected dress code - your cruise or travel agent can advise of your ship dress code.
- There is a gym or exercise facilities onboard most ships, so if you plan on working out, don't forget gym clothes and shoes.
- Include comfortable walking/running shoes and if you're headed some place warm, sandals or thongs.
- Some cruises travel through multiple climates, so take this into account. Most ships also have powerful air conditioning. A sweater or sweatshirt may come in handy.
- Almost every ship has laundry service (including dry cleaning) for an extra charge. Ask if your ship has a guest laundry where you may wash your own clothes.
- Bring a jumper, sweater or jacket - most ships have powerful air conditioning and temperatures onboard may vary.
- Don't forget a camera - extra film, memory cards, batteries, charger, etc.
- Always keep your passport, visa, license, medications, cruise documents or airline tickets handy. Do not pack them in checked luggage as you may need easy access to them.
- If you bring prescription medication onboard with you, be sure to have enough for your entire voyage as ports and onboard medical facilities may not be able to supply your medication. A doctors notation or list of all medications is also handy.
- A carry-on bag is ideal for cash, credit/debit cards, jewellery, business documents, travel and health insurance information, laptops, phones, cameras, binoculars, film, etc.
- It may be easier to bring credit cards and travellers cheques instead of large amounts of cash.
- It's wise to use hard-sided luggage. Garment bags with hanger hooks protruding from the top may snag and do damage.
- Put a card with your name and address inside your luggage as well as on the outside.
- Your luggage will be brought to your cabin, so start exploring the ship and get a feel for your holiday. Sometimes it can take a while for your suitcase to arrive, depending on the number of people aboard.
- The staff onboard your ship are an invaluable source of information. Most have visited your ports dozens of times. Ask your cabin stewards, waiters, etc., any questions you may have.
- On average, budget $10 USD to $15 USD a day for onboard tips - many cruiselines add a 15% gratuity automatically to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs. Of course you can always give personal gratuities to waiters, headwaiters, shore guides, spa and salon experts, cabin stewards and other staff who display exceptional service.
- Many ships will offer beverage packages or "unlimited soft drinks". This can be a great way to stay within a set budget, especially if you are travelling with kids.
- To make the most of onboard facilities, make appointments for spa services, sporting events, salon appointments and other activities as early as possible.
- If you have any issues with your cabin, report them immediately.
- Learn the exit route from your cabin to the open decks, in case of emergency.
- DINING ONBOARD TIP: Simply ask the Maître d' for a table for two, if this is your preference. While some ships may not be able to accommodate this request, many will - but get in early!.
- SHOPPING ONBAORD TIP: Resist the urge to buy that something special onboard until the last days of you cruise when many items go on sale!
- Pre-booking shore excursions is highly recommended, as they can fill up fast. Book them before you leave, or as soon as possible once onboard.
- Shore excursions vary in price, depending on your port of call, cruise line and activity, so its always a good idea to factor them into your budget.
- Keep an eye on the time should you "go it alone" in a port or destination. If you miss the ship it will not wait for you - and you will have make it to the next port of call at your own expense. On a cruiseline organised shore excursion, if it is running late, the ship will wait until all passengers are aboard.
- For those of you who need assistance, check with the cruiseline to ensure a port or shore excursion accommodates your to needs.
- Ask your cruise director or physician, should you have any concerns, in regard to local foods, drinking water, activities etc for any visited destinations.
- Always carry identification, the name of your ship and its docked location when ashore. A photocopy of your passport is always handy to have just in case. It is best to leave any valuables, excess cash and unneeded credit cards onboard.
- At the end of your cruise holiday, before leaving the ship, you will receive an account for any onboard purchases. If needed you can clarify any purchases with the onboard staff.
- Should you have any issues, or for whatever reason you feel your cruise has not met your expectations, please advise a cruiseline representative as soon as possible.
- At ICE Vacations we love to hear about your experiences and holiday fun. Why not give us a call or send an email to your cruise consultant - chat soon!