Most people have questions to ask about cruising at one point or another. Here we have brought together some of the most commonly asked questions – and their answers – to assist you.
Is cruising ideal for me?
Cruising is perfect for most people, regardless of their outlook. There are plenty of cruise ships aimed at different groups of people nowadays. For example, families will love Allure of the Seas and selected other ships by Royal Caribbean. Alternatively, Carnival Cruises tend to be preferred by many younger couples. Fred Olsen tends to be a popular choice for older retired people. In short, everyone can find a cruise they will enjoy and that will suit them.
Are cruises expensive?
Some cruises can cost several thousand pounds, but in contrast it is perfectly possible to book a spot on a cruise for just a few hundred pounds. Different cruise lines are known for offering budget, mid-range and expensive cruises in turn. It largely depends on the quality of the ship you travel on, the cruise line you choose and the length of the cruise itself.
What does a cruise include?
There are a number of basics that your cruise price will cover. These include your accommodation for the duration of the trip, all meals and also the facilities and entertainment as provided on your ship. Many cruises require you to pay for drinks, although some have schemes whereby you can pay for a beverage package in advance, to include all the drinks you consume on your trip. This is ideal if you do like to drink alcohol; you can opt out of the scheme or simply pay for soft drinks on top of the cruise cost in other situations.
Will I need a passport?
Yes, you’ll need a passport if your cruise goes to any other country other than your own. This should be a ten year passport and you are normally advised to ensure the passport will be valid for a minimum of six months after your return.
Do I need one or more visas before boarding my cruise ship?
You may do; it depends on the countries your cruise ship will visit. Some countries require a visa while others do not. If you arrive to board your ship without the correct paperwork you won’t be permitted to board. When you know which cruise you would like to book, find out whether visas are required and where you need to apply for them. Many cruise lines will provide this information on their website. It will vary depending on the countries you require a visa for.
Which cruise line is best to book with?
It depends on what type of cruise you are looking for. Cunard and Seabourn are both known as luxury cruise lines, so you can expect to pay more for a better experience. Carnival and NCL cruise lines tend to offer much cheaper prices at the other end of the scale. Consider your budget and the type of cruise you require; this is the best way to find the most suitable cruise line for your needs.
What is the best type of cruise to book?
There are many types to choose from – cruises designed for first time cruisers, themed cruises, family cruises, no-fly cruises, singles cruises, world cruises, mini cruises and much more. The best type of cruise for you will depend on who you are travelling with, where you want to go and the experience you expect on board. The best type of cruise for a family may be very different from the best type for someone who doesn’t like to fly, or who wants to see the world. What would apply in your case? Once you know the answer to that question you can narrow down your choices.
Do I need to tip while on my cruise ship?
There is no firm answer here. The trick is to look for details on tipping from your chosen cruise line. You may see a service charge added per person on a daily basis that takes away the need to provide tips on board. Alternatively it may be left to you to provide cash tips while cruising. The per person service charge is becoming more common on board cruises however, which can make life easier as you don’t have to worry about whether or not to tip. It also means you don’t have to fret over how much to tip.
Do I have to fly to meet the cruise ship?
Not necessarily. Some cruises leave UK ports and return to the same place at the end of the holiday. These no fly cruises are ideal if you hate flying and want to start your cruise from the moment you step on board at your chosen port. With ports in the UK including Southampton, Portsmouth, Bristol and Tilbury, you may be closer to one than you think.
How long does a cruise last for?
There are many different lengths of cruises available today. These can span from short cruises lasting for three or four days to world cruises lasting for several months. The length of your trip will depend on two things – how far the cruise ship travels from your embarkation port and how many countries and foreign ports it is destined to visit. All cruises will spend time at sea and time docked in ports to give those on board the opportunity to visit foreign destinations. Consider how long you want to spend on your chosen cruise, where you want to go and whether your budget will stretch that far.