Answers to Frequently asked Questions about Cruising...

 

1. Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value?

Yes! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget, from the cost-conscious to the most luxurious. Even more important, a cruise offers the best travel value for your money. Your fare includes all meals, your cabin, onboard daytime activities, nighttime parties and entertainment. So for once, you'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling.)

2. How long are cruises?

As long or short as you want. There are cruise lines that offer itineraries from
three days to three months. Whatever your schedule, we'll do our best to find
the cruise for you. The most common cruises are 3, 4, 5 or 7 nights.

3. What's the best time to take a cruise?

Anytime is the best time to take a cruise, but it also depends on where you'd
like to go. The Caribbean is fantastic year round; however, some of the more
exotic destinations are seasonal. For example, you can only cruise to
Alaska between May and September; to Europe between April and
November; to Bermuda, between April and October; the Panama Canal,
between September and April. So you see, no matter what time of year it is,
it's a perfect time to cruise.

4. When is Hurricane Season?

If we could only predict the future. Officially, the National Hurricane Service
states that hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends November 31st.
That's 6 months of the year. However, history has shown us the the greatest
concentration of hurricane and tropical storm activity tends to be between
late August and mid-October. Since we've been in business, we've only seen
one sailing date was cancelled due to hurricane activity.
Does this mean you shouldn't cruise during September? Not at all. Some of
your best rates are during this period and your Captain would never
jeopardize your safety. Cruise ships are certainly safer than land-locked
Caribbean Islands during a hurricane. With speeds of 20 - 22 knots, cruise
ships can outrun a 14 knot hurricane. Today's ships are equipped with state
of the art weather equipment that keeps the Captain and his crew fully aware
of a storm's position and if he feels that there is any danger to his
passengers, crew, or his vessel he can simply "move" this floating resort to
safer waters.

5. When is the most affordable time to take a cruise?

If you are looking for the very, least expensive time to take a cruise, then
consider sailing between the end of August and the sailing before Christmas,
but not over Christmas or Thanksgiving. Most families have children that are
back to school, folks begin saving vacation time for holiday travel, and
everyone's saving money for the holiday season. Considering all of these
factors, expect to cruise prices that are better than 2-for-1 with reduced rates
for 3rd and 4th passengers. A 7 night cruise that normally sells for $899 per
person in the summer could be $499 pp during this period with the 3rd and
4th sailing for $99. That's a potential average of $300 pp for
a one week cruise. If you're looking for a senior citizen rate, a regional
promotion, a past passenger promotion, or a last minute deal, you'll likely
find it during this period. Not the Winter, Spring, or Summer.

6. Where can I go?

Where do you want to go? Cruises visit practically any destination
accessible by water -- the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Bermuda, Europe,
Hawaii, the Greek Isles, the Orient, Australia, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands,
South America, India, the Panama Canal and more. If you can name it, we
can probably get you there by ship.

7. Are all ships and cruises fairly similar?

Far from it. Ships range from under 200 feet to over 1,000 feet. You can sail
with anywhere from fewer than 100 fellow passengers to over 3,000.
Experience atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, classically simple to
ultra-deluxe. You can even choose between traditional propeller-driven craft,
sail-assisted cruise ships, or even a paddle-wheel river boat.

8. I have never been on a cruise. Which is the best cruise line for me?

This is a common question, and the answer is - it depends. It's like asking
what is the best car? The best cruise line for you might not be the best line
for someone else because everyone has different priorities, interests, etc.
This may be bad news - but you'll probably have to do a little homework.
You'll be spending quite a bit of money so it will be worth it. The good news
is that you probably will enjoy the cruise on any line - they all do a good job.
But if you can zero in on one which may be best for you, you may even have
a better time.

Some of the things you need to consider are:
  Price

  Ships (age, size, accommodations)

  Itineraries

  Passengers (interests, ages, etc.)

Fortunately there is a lot of information. We will be glad to help you. There
are also cruising guides (library, book store); magazines (Cruise Travel);
recommendations from friends; and one of the most important - the cruise brochure.

9. Are there different classes of service?

Today's cruise ships are one-class. Everyone onboard can use all of the
ship's facilities. The price of a stateroom is based primarily on its size and
location. Regardless of the category you book, you'll enjoy the same
courteous service, menus, activities, and entertainment as everyone else
onboard.

10. Will I get bored? Feel confined?

Hardly. Being at sea gives you a feeling of freedom few places can offer.
There's plenty of room. And it'll probably take you two or three days just to
discover what's onboard. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring new
and exciting ports of call. Cruise ships are like floating resorts with all the
things fine resorts have to offer. You can be by yourself and lie back in a
lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or
watch the ever-changing view. Or, you can join in exercise classes, dance
classes, sports contests and other organized deck activities. Perhaps you
can practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or shoot some baskets. You
can go for a swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can
see a feature movie, attend a lecture by renowned experts, play
backgammon or bridge. And that's just when you're onboard!

11. Is motion-discomfort a problem?

Not really. The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters
in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, advance availability of
accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative
medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion
discomfort.

12. What's there to do in port?

So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own. Or
take a guided tour. You can search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping
bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, a bicycle down the side of a 10,000
foot volcano, or ride a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a
waterfall or pyramid. See the birthplace of civilization or listen to steel drum
bands. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a water-skiing boat. If
there's still time (and you aren't ready to rest yet), enjoy a folkloric show.
Play golf or tennis. Eat native foods. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at
some of the world's best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel, or go
scuba diving. Go to a nightclub or glittering casino. Take a cable car to the
top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs. In short, a cruise is the easiest
way to see new places and do all the things you dream of. Cruising is the
perfect way to sample a number of destinations that you may want to return
to for another vacation...and you never have to pack and unpack the
destinations come to you!

13. But what if I don't want to take a tour?

Well, then don't - although if everybody felt that way I think they would run
out of transportation real fast. You can do what you want in port. You will
either tender (small boat to shore) or dock. It depends on the port and how
many ships are there. But if you tender it will usually be done efficiently.
You can take tours arranged by the ship, take your own tours (rent a car,
cab, etc.), just walk into town, or stay on the ship. You can have lunch on
the ship - you can always come back, even with tender, they run all the time.
If it's an all-day tour, and they will usually include lunch. The half-day tours
are timed to get you back for lunch (or leave after lunch).
They will review all the tours for you on the ship and you should go if you're
interested. Even if you want to do it on your own, you may pick up some
ideas. In the Caribbean and Alaska you certainly don't have to take tours -
but many people do and are quite happy with them. If you are cruising in
Europe and some other parts of the world it may be different. Unless you just
want to go into the city. They usually run shuttle buses which will take you
'downtown'. But this is only to the port city. For example, the port for Paris
might be Le Havre. If you want to get to Paris, you're on your own.
Sometimes you're close to a train station - all depends. Ship tours are usually
well organized and usually well worth the money. We know sometimes you
can do it cheaper on your own, but remember that you are also paying
for a guide, admissions, etc. Not to mention peace of mind - the ship won't
leave until all the tours are back. If you go on your own you may have to build
in extra time to be sure you won't miss the ship. If you're highly independent
we're sure you can always do things on your own. But for the rest of us -
the tours are just fine. And if you're worried about waiting for stragglers, this
rarely happens in our experience, especially if you are on a cruise in Europe,
Asia, etc. Experienced cruisers know how to behave. And if they don't they are
brought in line very quickly - believe me!

14. Do I have to participate in the activities?

On a cruise, you do what you want to. You can do everything. Or lie back
and do absolutely nothing. It's your vacation.

15. Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?

32% of cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise
lines make a special point of providing supervised activities for youngsters,
especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports,
games, movies, and the adventure of new places, they'll love a family cruise.
You'll find the kids adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won't have to
wonder what they're up to every minute. The cruise staff will help keep them
busy and entertained. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially
reduced rate.

16. What's there to do at night?

At night, life aboard a cruise ship really turns on. There's dancing; live
entertainment in nightclubs, discos and lounges; feature films; and parties
with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos. There are also many
special events like the Captain's Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, the
Masquerade Parade, the Late Night Buffet (just for one last bite to tide you
over until breakfast). And the night can go on as long as you want. Even until
the spectacle of sunrise at sea.

17. Is there a charge for entertainment?

Never. On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There's no
cover. No minimum. No charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live.
The movies are first-rate. The variety is limitless.

18. Is it easy to meet people?

A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends, because everyone's so
friendly. The atmosphere is cordial, relaxed. And you'll have all kinds of
things in common to talk about. At dinner. At cocktails. Around the pool. Or
along the promenade rail. And don't be surprised if you find yourself making
arrangements to meet them aboard ship again next year.

19. Will there be people like me?

No matter what you've heard to the contrary, there's no such thing as a
typical cruise passenger! All kinds of people take cruises...of all ages...from
all walks of life...singles, couples and families. Passengers can vary from
ship to ship and cruise to cruise. Just ask your Travel Company agent for
advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.

20. Can singles have fun on a cruise?

Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet
other people. In fact, most ships have parties just for singles early on, so you
can start to be involved right away. Most ships also have single cabins as
well as single rates for double staterooms. In many cases, a cruise line will
even find you a roommate to share a double if you ask them.

21. Is cruising right for honeymooners?

Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere that's just right for
romance...cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the
night away (even under the stars) and so much more to remember forever.
Most lines provide special services from Sunday or Monday departures to
welcome champagne and breakfast in bed. (And, speaking of beds, most
ships have them in double, queen, or king sizes!) Also, some ships offer
special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your
marriage vows in port. By the way, honeymooners should email us for our
Honeymoon Planning Guide with special rates for our passengers tying the
knot.

22. What Is The Secret To Having A Great Cruise?

Believe it or not- there is a secret. It's called attitude.I believe that if you go
in with a positive attitude - you will have a good time. This may be put to the
test when the ship starts to sink - but even then you can get pictures and get
rich selling them to CNN. (Just Kidding!!) We have found that a cruise is what you make
of it. The cruise line provides the resources, and it is up to you how to use them.
And recognize that everything can't be just the way you want it. With 1,000
to 3,000 people on board they have to keep everyone happy - more or less.
Get to know the crew members - dining room staff, cruise director and staff,
your cabin steward, etc. I think it makes a difference it you show some
interest and you might even learn something. I always find out where the
people are from, etc. Of course there are people who will never be happy -
we've run into a few on cruises. Just remember, these people are HAPPY -
being unhappy is their goal. I think some of these people may have a computer :-).

23. Where Can I Learn More About Cruising?

A good source might be your library - they may have guidebooks on cruising
(Fodor's, Frommer's, Berlitz, etc.). There are magazines for the consumer.
The most popular one is Cruise Travel. It comes out every other month and costs
about $12/year. If you want to get just one, this is the one we would recommend.

 24. It all sounds too good to be true! Is it?

The one major complaint we hear over and over again is that cruises end far
too soon! Beyond that, it's hard to find any negatives. After all, you don't have
to run to make plane connections to get from one port to the next. You don't
have the hassles of making dinner or nightclub reservations. You don't have
the bother of packing and unpacking as you move from place to place. You
don't get unexpected, expensive surprises at restaurants or nightclubs. You
have a wealth of options for shopping, adventure, sightseeing, exploring,
entertaining and sports activities. All you have to worry about is relaxing and
enjoying your vacation. Most importantly, every crew and staff member
onboard is dedicated to making your cruise vacation the best vacation of your
life (until you top it next year with your next cruise!)

 


Call The Cruiseman 1-800-889-7683