Information Fun FAQs for Cruises
Here are our most frequently asked Cruise questions!
- Who qualifies for the discounted rates? In most cases, it’s active airline and military personnel, parents of active personnel, and retirees. From there, most cruise lines have varying rules regarding spouses traveling without the qualifier, friends and family, etc and for additional cabins.
- What’s included? When you have paid us, you have paid for your cruise fare, meals (except in some specialty restaurants and venues), on-board entertainment, taxes and service fees. NOT included on the major cruise lines are tips and most beverages including alcoholic. Many cruise lines offer “soda cards” that offer unlimited sodas for the duration of the cruise, which you purchase on board. The higher-end cruise lines such as Silversea, Seabourn, Seadream and Regent include all beverages including alcoholic and tips.
- What’s the booking process? Some pretty simple steps! Email (or call us) and choose your cruise. We will hold it for you, there’s no payment at that time. The hold time varies for an hour or so to several days, depending on when the cruise is and for how long. We will then email you information that will allow you to view your exact booking, including itinerary, pricing breakdown, cabin number if assigned, insurance information and all other info necessary. You will be asked to approve this information, and the approval will be sent back to us. We will then immediately process payment. We then email you a confirmation along with pre-registration information where you can supply additional information to the cruise line and allow them to process through Homeland Security. We will then arrange for you to receive your electronic documents!
- Why are there no paper documents mailed out anymore? We have quite a few answers to that: Save a tree, save a stamp, offer immediate documentation. They don’t get lost in the mail and they can find you anyplace on earth! We were among the very first agencies to test e-docs years ago, recognizing that our clientele would be receptive. Now we provide them exclusively (with a few exceptions for some of the luxury lines!).
- Can airfare be added on? Generally, no. The discounted rates offered are “cruise-only” and don’t allow the cruise lines’ air to be included. However, some special promotions and some military rates DO allow it and we will quote you when we can if asked. We do usually find that airfare on your own, even if booked positive space, is generally less expensive than the cruise lines, and you are able to pick your own flights. We can always add on the round trip airport transfers if you’d like.
- Do children pay? With a very few exceptions children, no matter their age, are charged just as if they were adults in the same cabin. So the first two pay the double occupancy price, no matter age, and the second two pay the third and fourth (usually discounted price) no matter what their age. Norwegian cruise lines does usually only charge port and taxes for children under 2 years of age, and sometimes MSC will have a “kids-free” promotion, but be aware that free means only the cruise price, not the port charges and taxes.
- What’s the best place to be on the ship? This is a tough one, because it depends on preference! The rule of thumb is mid-ship, but that’s really based on the older idea that the ship might rock and it’s more stable there. If you are really concerned about motion, you want to be as low as possible, so book the bottom deck. The idea of mid-ship is still so prevalent that Carnival even recently re-categorized its ships to reflect a higher-pricing for mid ship. Our personal opinion is that higher is better, so any cruise line that charges more for mid-ship actually allows you to get a better bargain for what we think is a better cabin. The advantages of being more forward or aft are that you have fewer people tromping back and forth past your cabin. And if you look at some deckplans, you’ll see the highest category suites often in the very bow or the very stern! Bottom line for us: Best cabin is really any balcony. They are always on the higher decks.
- What’s the different between cabin types? There are basically four types of cabins on most ships: Inside, Oceanview (or outside), Balcony and Suites. Until you get to suites, the actual sizes of the cabins don’t vary much on each ship, maybe by a few square feet or so, or perhaps not at all. The difference is this: The Inside cabin has absolutely no outside light. So if you are okay in a pitch-black closet when the lights are out, you can consider this cabin since the cost will be the least. The Oceanview cabin will offer portholes or a window that allows in outside light, and through which you can view some of your surroundings, although it’s not so much for a view as it is for the light. The Balcony cabin is terrific for several reasons: You immediately have more square footage by adding the balcony; you have fresh air, even at night if you leave the door open to hear the water; you have a wonderful view at any time. Most clients who book balconies never go back to insides or oceanviews. But often our families traveling together might mix and match, putting the kids in an inside cabin across from the parents’ balcony. Suites offer the best possible experience. They are larger (usually wider, since most cabins, even balcony cabins, are more long and narrow), generally have expansive balconies, and usually come with additional amenities like butler service. Book a top suite and you might find yourself with a Jacuzzi on your private balcony!
- Are there any age or other restrictions? For younger people or large families needing additional cabins there are some considerations. Policies vary slightly cruise line to cruise line, and one of the reasons we need ages and birthdates when we book you is so that we catch anything that conflicts with these policies right away. But the general rule is that children under 6 months may not travel. Pregnant women who will have entered their second trimester before the cruise ends may not travel. If a family has, for example, a mom traveling with five kids and they need two cabins, we MUST find cabins next to each other, since the one adult is responsible. If we cannot find these cabins, we cannot book you. Generally if there is anyone under the age of 21 in a cabin, one of the people in the cabin MUST be over 25 years of age (unless they are married to each other).
- Can we bring alcohol on board? As a rule, no. The only exception still sometimes recognized is one bottle of champagne or wine for personal consumption in your cabin. As restrictions have increased, some cruise lines are not even allowing this. It does vary sailing to sailing (a three-night Bahamas cruise will be much more strict, as they are trying to avoid too much of a party atmosphere, while a longer cruise with older adults might look the other way if you bring a bottle of wine or two). The best advice we can give is go ahead and take that bottle of champagne (we love to drink it on our balcony as the ship sails away, and we like the good stuff so it’s nice to bring one bottle from home!) and if for some reason they will not allow it with you, they will simply “keep” it until the end of the sailing and return it to you then. Hard alcohol is never allowed. If you purchase some to take home during your cruise in a foreign port, it will be “kept” as well until the end of your cruise.
- What is interline? Interline Travel is a privilege for an Airline employee. Many Airline employees will admit that it is one of the reasons they work for an airline. An Airline employee is defined as an active airline employee of an IATA/ARC appointed airline. Eligibility can vary depending on the individual supplier but the definition of an Interliner typically includes:
-Active Airline Employee
-Airline Employee's Spouse
-Airline Employee's Dependent Children (21 or younger)
-Retired Airline Employee
-Airline Employees Parents and In-laws - they can travel without the Airline Employee.
-Courier Company Employees such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, Airborne Express, Purolator
-Non-airline friends and companions are eligible for the interline rate when sharing accommodations with an airline employee.
- Interline Discounts Some interline discounts can be up to 80% off rack retail rates. Interline rates are offered to airline employees and their immediate families as they can often travel with little notice and fly on passes with either their own airline, or other carriers with which their airline has an interline travel pass agreement. A copy of the Airline ID or Letter on office letterhead, signed by a supervisor, will be needed within 48 hours to qualify for these rates.