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Frequently Asked Questions

When you plan for a cruise vacation, you can rest assured that just about everything is taken care of. Our list of Frequently Asked Questions should help you address any aspects of your cruise vacation. If not, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

For your convenience our list of Frequently Asked Questions has been grouped in various categories. Please click on a category that most accurately relates to your enquiry:

Do I have to participate in scheduled activities or can I just relax?

There are plenty of activities going on all over the ship every day. And the best ones can be "doing nothing at all". Relaxation is what attracts many people to cruise. Every ship has one or more pools that you can lay around with a good book, most have a library and several lounges where you can sit and relax by yourself or with friends.

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 now...all ages...from all walks of life...singles, couples and families. Just ask your travel agent about what the best ship is for you based on your tastes and lifestyle.

Are there activities for children on a cruise?

Most cruise lines offer programs for children. Friendly and professional children's counselors will keep your kids on the go from morning to night. Action-packed children's programs are available on most ships, but facilities vary. Many offer special teen and pre-teen scheduled activities. The larger ships almost always include a video arcade, kids disco or other designated "kids area". Cruises are a great way for families to travel and see a variety of countries and ports. Some ships also offer babysitting services and daycare centers at a nominal charge.

Age Requirements

Minimum age for most cruise lines is twenty-one (21). Exceptions are minor children sailing with the parents or guardians in adjacent staterooms. Under-age married couple will require proof of marriage at the time of check-in.

What are my Luggage Allowance?

There is no limit on how much luggage can be taken on the ship, though careful consideration should be given to cabin space available for storing. All luggage has to be kept in guests cabin(s).

Bon Voyage Gifts and Gift Packages

If you would like to send a bon voyage gift to one of your fellow guests or set up your own private bon voyage toasting, you may certainly do so. Your travel agent has information about gift order items, which include a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, gift baskets, clothing, gifts for children, casino chips and flowers at very reasonable prices.

Will I get bored?

That is very unlikely! However, if you are concerned about having enough to do, choose one of the larger ships (40,000 tons and above), they will typically have more activities due to the sheer numbers of people on board.

Most ships have dozens of planned and spontaneous activities going from sunrise to way past midnight. Pool activities, sports, bingo, casino, wine tastings, dance lessons, dancing, karaoke, live entertainment, movies, television, fitness centers, shore excursions, talent contests, masquerade parties, Captain's party, country western night, just to name a few!

Changing Fee

Changing your itinerary after reservations have been made can result in loss of advantages gained by early planning. In addition, the results of last-minute changes may be disappointing. To cover administrative costs, a charge of up to US $50 per person will be made if you request a change in your travel arrangements after the final payment due date. This charge is in addition to any charges levied by the cruise line. Change charges are not assessed for stateroom upgrades or for the addition of services.

Cruise lines and families with kids?

More and more families with children are taking a cruise vacations. Most cruise lines provide plenty of 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 that children adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won't have to wonder what they're up to every minute. The youth counselors will help keep them busy and entertained. Ships even offer youth camps that cater to all ages, from toddlers to teens. Best of all, children generally travel at a reduced rate.

How much will it cost?

One of the most attractive features of a cruise vacation is the price. Even most expensive cruises are a good value for the money. You can spend anywhere from $400 for a 3-night Bahamas cruise to $30,000 for a suite on a 30-day cruise to Africa!

No matter how much you spend, you pay one price that covers virtually everything: meals, accommodations, taxes, on-board entertainment. The only extras are shore excursions, spa treatment, liquor, tips, photos etc.

What is included in the price?

Just about everything! Cruise Price includes:

  • Selected accommodation on board - all cabins have en-suite facilities.
  • All meals on board.
  • Applicable taxes.
  • Most on board activities, themed lectures and culinary demonstrations.
  • Most cruise lines have children's club at no extra cost.
  • Cabin attendant and room service available 24 hours a day.
  • Entertainment including shows, live bands and nightclub.
  • Fitness centre, fitness classes, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room.
  • Captain's cocktail party and gala buffet.
How do I pay for on board purchases?

Most cruise lines operate on a 'cashless' system. Simply validate your boarding card account card with an acceptable credit or charge card (Most major credits are accepted) or sign for payment if paying by cash or traveller's cheques. You can then sign your on board services and purchases with this card.

At the end of your cruise you will receive an itemised statement. Personal cheques are not accepted on board.

When and where can I dine on board?

Although Cruise Lines offer open seating for breakfast and lunch, there are two seating for Dinner - approximately at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. You may request either sitting, as well as table size and with whom you wish to sit. All such requests should be made in advance of sailing through the travel agent. Requests for early or late sitting preference will be confirmed or waitlisted at the time of booking. Table numbers and table size are on request only and will be assigned by the Maitre d' on board. Most major cruise lines now offer meals in alternative locations. A room service menu is also available 24 hours a day.

PLEASE NOTE: These preferences are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis.

Special Dining Requests

The cruise lines are happy to meet your requests with low sodium, low fat, low sugar, vegetarian and kosher meals if they are notified at least 60 days before sailing. While we shall do our utmost to fulfill all requests, agricultural and perishability restrictions may apply. Kosher meals are prepared off the ship in a Kosher kitchen, frozen and brought to the table sealed in their original containers.

Boarding the Ship - Embarkation

On the day of the cruise, you may board around midday according to the cruise line. Simply present your cruise documents at the cruise terminal. You will be required to complete necessary forms for boarding. This can be completed online on cruise line's website.

Upon check-in, you will be given your boarding card which is generally like the size of a credit card - this is your identification card for re-boarding the ship, your cabin key, your charge credit card for on board purchases as well as has information on your seating and table number for meals. Your luggage will be delivered to our cabin usually within two hours after boarding. This also depends on the size of ship as well.

Reminder: You should board the ship at least two hours prior to ship's scheduled sailing time failing which your booking may be cancelled and 100% cancellation penalty applied.

The Last Day - Disembarkation

On the last day of the cruise, the ship will arrive in the port between 7:00 & 8:00 am. Disembarkation starts after the ship has been cleared by customs. This is usually between 8:30 & 9:00 am. Guests are disembarked at different times and schedules as per the colour of luggage tags provided by ship. Early disembarkation needs should be discussed at the time of booking and reconfirmed on-board the ship. Guests who have purchased tours or transfer from cruise lines are given 1st priority on disembarkation.

What documents do I need?

You will require a valid passport with necessary visa for destinations in your cruise itinerary. Requirements may vary for different nationality and we recommend you should contact the nearest representative embassies or consulates for proper information and guidance. It is YOUR to provide failing which you may be denied boarding and 100% penalty will be applied by the cruise line. Cruise Master Middle East will not be held responsible for any passengers who are denied boarding due to lack of proper documents.

Electric Appliances

Most staterooms on all cruise lines are equipped with standard 110 AC outlets. Additionally, most staterooms are equipped with 220 AC outlets. If your shaver operates on standard 110 AC, by all means bring it. You may wish to bring a clock and an extension cord. Hairdryers are available on some cruise lines in certain staterooms.

Can I call home from the ship?

Many of the newer or recently refurbished ships provide Ship to Shore telephone service via satellite. On some ships you can call from your stateroom. Ship to Shore rates apply so you may want to limit your conversations.

Can I get/send e-mail while onboard the ship?

Many of the newer ships do have a business center or an internet centre for guests to send and receive e-mail. You must have your own web based email account to use this service.

Is there a charge for entertainment?

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.

Stateroom Facilities

All staterooms have twin beds which can be converted into one queen-size bed, private bathroom, vanity area, television, radio and phone.

  • Electricity Voltage is 110/220 volts on all ships.
  • Hair Dryers are available in all cabins on all ships.
  • Safes are available in staterooms on most ships and
  • Safety deposit boxes are available at the Purser's Desk.
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.

Hurricane Season

Officially, the National Hurricane Service states that hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 31. This makes up 6 months of the year. The greatest amount of hurricane and tropical storm activity in the Caribbean is between late August and mid-October.

Ships are equipped with state of the art weather equipment that keep the Captain and his crew aware of storm position and the latest changes in weather conditions. If the storm poses any danger to the ship, the Captain will reroute the ship to a destination in order to avoid the storm. The passenger's safety is of the utmost importance to the Captain & his crew.

Laundry & Dry Cleaning

Take a vacation from the washing and ironing and let the professional laundry service do all the work for you. Just put everything in the capable hands of your stateroom steward or stewardess who will have everything returned within 48 hours, or even the same day with the express service offered by all cruise lines.

Medical Facility

On most ships, there is a medical centre on board with well-trained medical staff to handle emergencies. Ship doctors and nurses keep daily office hours and are always available for emergencies. However, there is a charge for all medical services and adequate medical insurance is recommended. If you suffer from a medical condition, check with your travel agent before booking to make sure the ship on which you are cruising can handle your needs.

What should I pack?

Planning what to wear on your cruise holiday is easy if you keep in mind three types of clothing; casual shipboard attire or day wear; resort wear for sightseeing or shopping; and evening wear. On a 7-nights cruise there are two formal nights, one informal night and four casual nights. For evening wear allow for:

Casual Nights - sports shirt and trousers for men, trousers and top or skirt and blouse for women

Informal Nights - dress or trouser suit for women, jacket, shirt and tie are requested for men

Formal Nights - cocktail or evening dress for women, dark suit and tie or tuxedo for men.

Medication Your prescription medication should be kept close at hand in your purse or carry on bag rather than in your checked luggage. Be sure to bring a sufficient supply of medication and transport it in the original container. It is also a good idea to carry a written list of your medications in case they are lost. The list should include the name of the drug, dosage, and times taken.

Pregnancy

Most cruise lines will require a medical certificate establishing your due date and fitness to travel, the cruise lines will make every effort to accommodate you. Please inform your cruise specialist of your condition so that they may make you aware of any other conditions or restrictions that may apply by each individual cruise line.

Guests with Disabilities

A majority of cruise lines offer staterooms accessible for passengers whether physically challenged or able-bodied. In order to accommodate your special needs, please advise one of our cruise specialists with complete details of your requirements.

Ships are now built to be wheelchair accessible and can provide special seating arrangements to avoid stairs and raised areas in the dining rooms.

If you require the use of a wheelchair, please make your own private arrangements prior to your cruise as the limited number of wheelchairs onboard are for emergency use only. For your convenience, we highly recommend collapsible wheelchairs as the width of stateroom doors varies from ship to ship. Should you require further information on stateroom dimensions, please ask one of our cruise specialists who will be happy to assist you.

In some ports of call ships are required to anchor the ship and transport passengers to the pier via ship's tender. Conditions, even when the ship is docked, may also limit pier accessibility for physically challenged passengers. The decision to permit or prohibit passengers from going ashore will be made on each occasion by the ship's Captain, with your safety and comfort in mind, and his decision is final. Since cruise ships are not staffed with specially trained personnel to assist passengers with physical limitations, we recommend that you be accompanied by someone who is able to assist you both ashore and aboard if necessary.

Will I get seasick?

It is unlikely that you will notice any motion on a large cruise ship, even if you are sensitive to motion in automobiles or airplanes. All ships today have stabilizers to smooth the ride. Some cruises sail calmer waters than others. Caribbean and Alaska cruises enjoy smoother sailings than say Bermuda. If seas do get rough, there are many preventative medications available on board.

What about sightseeing when in port?

Your ship will typically arrive in port in the morning at which time you are free to go ashore and return back to ship at least 30minutes before the ship sails. This gives you more than enough time to enjoy one of the cruise lines' shore excursions, or, go off on your own to do some shopping, sightseeing, swimming, scuba diving, etc.

We recommend the cruise ship sponsored tours and excursions. In some ports, when you debark from the ship, local sightseeing companies (in some cases a local with a van) will be waiting to temp you with their own tour. While these tours may be safe and in some cases quite good, it is always a safe bet to stick with your cruise ship's recommendation.

You can pre book and pay your shore excursions in advance via cruise line's web site. In some popular places, space is limited and we recommend pre-ordering to avoid disappointment.

Celebrating a Special Occasion?

If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon during your cruise, some cruise lines will be happy to honor the event with a special cake in the dining room. Please notify your cruise specialist no later than 4 weeks prior to sailing.

What is tipping policy?

Tipping is up to you. However, it is customary to offer gratuities to staff members you feel have given you exceptional service and personal attention. Generally speaking, a daily total of say USD 10 per day per guest should take care of your waiter, bus boy and cabin steward. There are a few cruise lines that have a "no tipping" policy.

On the last night of the cruise an envelope will be left in your cabin in which any gratuities should be placed and passed to the relevant member of staff. Alternatively, you may pre-pay your gratuities during the booking process and vouchers will then be provided in your cabin for you to pass onto the relevant members of staff.

A standard gratuity of 15% is automatically added to the price of drinks from the bar and beauty treatments.