CRUISE WITH CONFIDENCE
A cruise holiday can be a big financial committment, so it’s natural if you have a few questions before deciding to book. Our team of expert Cruise Travel Advisors has compiled a comprehensive FAQ list to address any questions you may have so that you can book with confidence. And if you need personalised guidance, we are just a call away. Reach out to the team on 1300 052 966 today.
New to Cruising FAQs
Why should I go on a cruise?
Cruising offers incredible value as so much is included in the price. From your accommodations to delicious meals, impeccable service, thrilling activities, and captivating entertainment, everything is taken care of. While exploring exciting ports and discovering new destinations, you can relax by the pool, indulge in spa treatments, stay active at the fitness center, let your kids enjoy supervised play in the kid’s center, attend lectures or classes, and partake in a multitude of other activities. And the best part? You only have to unpack once!
Need some more reasons why you should choose a cruise for your next holiday? Read our blog post “Ready to Relax? 10 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Cruise.”
Are there different types of cruise ships?
There most definitely are! Cruising is so flexible that there is literally something for everyone. There is an impressive range of types of cruises and cruise ships that you can choose from, including:
⚓ Large, modern ships with a wide variety of recreational facilities and entertainment (mega-ships)
⚓ Boutique, luxury cruise ships that are more intimate and ostentatious
⚓ Classic cruise liners that evoke the time-honoured traditions of cruising
⚓ Special interest or expedition ships that specialise in unique destinations and exploration
⚓ River vessels that take you right into the heart of your chosen destination along the world’s waterways
Even within each of these types of cruise ships you will find vast differences, from the number of passengers to the onboard atmosphere. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your choices, our Cruise Travel Advisors are here to help you find the perfect cruise ship to match your interests, preferences and even budget.
Where can I cruise to?
Pretty much, anywhere you want to!
With more than 50 cruise lines operating over 300 cruise ships and visiting more than 2,000 cruise ports across the world, you have the freedom to explore practically every destination accessible by water. Whether you prefer the comfort of a port close to home or a thrilling and exotic location around the globe, the choice is entirely yours. Explore our popular cruise destination guides or ask your Cruise Travel Advisor for some recommendations today.
How do I decide which cruise is best for me?
This is a question we get asked a lot, and the answer is that there is no right answer. Sorry! It’s comparable to asking what car you should buy. Everyone has different priorities, interests and budgets, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is only the one that fits YOU! Finding the right cruise for you might require a little homework, but since you’re investing a significant amount of money in a cruise holiday, it’s worth doing your research. To make an informed decision you’ll want to consider things like your budget, the cruise ship (how old it is, how many passengers it carries, what activities it offers etc), what itinerary or destination you’re interested in, and what kind of atmosphere you want on board (family friendly, ultra-luxe, adventurous etc).
The good news is, there is a wealth of information available online to help you answer these questions. And your Cruise Travel Advisor can assist too! We are passionate about sharing our wealth of experience and knowledge to help you find the best cruise line, ship and itinerary for you so that you have the best cruise holiday ever! Because that’s what we’re all about. Sharing our passion for cruising with the rest of Australia.
How do I choose my stateroom?
There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing your stateroom (or cabin, the terms can be used interchangeably), but at the end of the day, it will always be a personal preference as to which option you go with.
There are typically four main types of staterooms available: inside, oceanview, balcony and suites. It’s important to note that not all types are available on every ship. Inside staterooms are typically your budget-friendly options, as they have no windows and are usually located on interior hallways. They are popular among budget-conscious cruisers as they offer all the same amenities as standard oceanview staterooms, but at a cheaper price point. Oceanview staterooms provide a view of the outside world, usually with the inclusion of a porthole or picture window. Keep in mind that some of these staterooms might have obstructed views, such as lifeboats outside the window.
Balcony staterooms are one of the most popular types, as they are usually the same as a standard oceanview stateroom, but with the addition of an outdoor balcony. Though not as spacious and luxe as a suite, they are a great option if you want to enjoy the surrounding scenery from the privacy of your own space. If spaciousness is your priority, then suites are the ultimate choice. Ranging in size from less than 30m² through to massive two-story “townhouses” with separate living and dining areas, guest bedrooms and bathrooms, and large balconies (sometimes with a private plunge pool). These luxurious accommodations do come with a higher price tag and tend to sell out quickly, so advance reservations are highly recommended.
Other options worth mentioning are triple and quad-share accommodations. Most stateroom are designed for two people (twin share), but if you’re cruising as a family, or with a third or fourth passenger, these accommodations are good budget-friendly options, with upper berths that fold down from the wall or drop from the ceiling above the other beds. On the flip side, if you’re travelling solo, many cruise lines now also have studio staterooms that are designed and priced for single travellers.
When it comes to deciding on your stateroom location, personal preference and availability play a significant role. Generally, staterooms closer to the water line and situated mid-ship experience less motion. Some guests prefer to be higher up and nearer to the ship’s public areas, similar to those desiring higher floors in a hotel. It’s worth noting that advancements in technology have greatly reduced the issue of motion on most modern ships, making location less of a concern.
Will I get bored on a cruise?
A cruise is all about flexibility – you can do as much or as little as you please. But if you’re keen on doing more rather than less, then you definitely won’t find yourself bored. You will find a vast array of activities and entertainment on offer both day and night. A cruise – especially on a mega-ship – is a literal smorgasbord of activities. Each night you’ll receive an itinerary for the next day (or some ships now have a handy app you can use) so you can plan ahead. You will find heaps to do outside, from lounging by the pool to thrilling waterslides; deck games and sporting competitions; rock climbing; rope courses; and so much more. Inside you’ll find trivia competitions, Broadway-style entertainment; comedy nights; dance clubs; bars and lounges with live music; and the list goes on. And of course, on port days there is the thrill of exploring the destination itself. With a cruise, the choice is yours, but there is always heaps to choose from!
Is cruising good for families?
Absolutely! While not all cruise lines and ships are geared for cruising with children, a cruise in general is a fantastic option for a family holiday. Many cruise lines now offer a wide range of supervised activities specifically designed for kids, as well as many options for families to do together. It’s the perfect balance for mum and dad to have a bit of kid-free time, as well as family connection. Our team of Cruise Travel Advisors is here to guide you and help you find the perfect cruise line for your family. Otherwise, head over to our in-depth family cruise guide and start planning your dream family cruise today.
Is a cruise good for people with disabilities and/or limited mobility?
The convenience of visiting multiple destinations on one trip, only needing to unpack once, and enjoying accessible accommodation and entertainment options makes cruising a very popular option for those with a disability or limited mobility. If you’re new to cruising, we recommend doing some research to ensure that the cruise can accommodate your specific needs. Many cruise lines have a dedicated team who will be able to tell you how wide the doorways are, if there are pool lifts, and whether you can bring your assistance dog on board. Not all cruise lines and itineraries will be able to cater to disabilities, but many will, just perhaps in different ways. We have a handy guide about accessible cruising which can give you a starting point for your research.
If you’d prefer someone else to handle the details, we’re here to help. Our Cruise Travel Advisors can assist you with finding the cruise options tailored to your requirements, arranging transportation, wheelchair hire and any other specific needs.
Can I go on a cruise on my own?
Cruising is an incredibly popular holiday option for those who wish to travel solo. It’s an incredibly easy environment in which to meet new people onboard, and with a wide range of popular amenities and entertainment, as well as many quiet and relaxing spots, you can be as social (or not social) as you like. Some ships offer events and entertainment specifically for solo travellers so that they can meet other like-minded cruisers, and some even offer gentlemen hosts who can be your dinner companion or dance partner.
Something to keep in mind as a solo cruiser is the single occupancy rate. Most cruise lines price their staterooms on being shared by two people – double occupancy. So if a solo traveller books a stateroom that would otherwise have two full-paying customers in it, they often charge a single supplement to cover the cost of the unsold berth in your stateroom. However, some ships have introduced specially designed staterooms exclusively for solo occupancy, making solo travel more budget-friendly. Examples include Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. Check out our guide to solo cruising for more information on cruise lines that cater to the independent traveller.
What should I pack?
All cruise lines have their own dress code requirements, so to answer this question, it’s best to check what the specifics are for the cruise line you’re travelling with. Some – like Norwegian Cruise Line – are very casual with a “freestyle cruising” ethos. Others are casual during the day and more formal at night. Some may require evening gowns and tuxedos. Finding out the dress code on board your specific ship is a good place to start when it comes to creating your packing list.
Other items we suggest bringing include a separate carry-on bag (for swimmers and other essentials while you’re waiting for your luggage to reach your room); sunscreen; walking shoes for shore excursions; an outlet adapter and a power board for all of your electronics; a lanyard for your room card; motion sickness remedies and any medications you may need.
We have lots of other top packing tips for you, which you can read on our blog post “The Ultimate Cruise Packing List”.
When is the best time to book a cruise?
The cruise industry is no different to any other, with prices fluctuating based on supply and demand, the time of year you travel, the type of cruise you’re considering and more. But the best time to book a cruise depends heavily on you – when you want to travel, what you want out of the experience, and how comfortable you are with waiting until the last minute. If you’re keen for a high-demand sailing, say on a new ship or over the Christmas holidays, it’s best to book as soon as the fares are released as this is the only way to guarantee a spot. If you’re not interested in high-season, then you can play the waiting game and wait for a sale to come out or for the fare to drop for a last minute booking. Just keep in mind that you may need to be more flexible with your stateroom class and location if you do.
In Australia, often the best time of the year to book is January through March in what is known as “wave season”. Usually, industry-wide sales will occur and you may be able to find your cruise at a reduced fare, or with bonus extras.
General Cruising Questions
What’s included in my cruise fare?
A base cruise fare includes everything you need for a stress-free holiday: comfortable accommodation, fantastic dining options, a plethora of exciting daytime activities and nightime entertainment, and of course your transportation from destination to destination. It’s exceptional value for money.
Generally, you can expect to pay extra for any airfares you may need, alcoholic beverages, shore excursions, specialty dining options and personal services like spa treatments. However, some cruise lines are “all-inclusive” and include these in their cruise fares too. If you’re not sure what’s included just ask your Cruise Travel Advisor and we’ll give you the full list specific to the cruise ship you’re booking.
Do I need a passport for my cruise?
To ensure smooth sailing on an international cruise – even if it only visits one foreign port – all passengers will be required to have a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of your cruise return. If you are an Australian resident embarking on a coastal cruise within Australia, where foreign ports are not part of the itinerary, then there is no need to carry your passport. However, you will need to bring a government-issued photo ID for embarkation purposes. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions policy for more details.
Do I need a visa for my cruise?
That really depends on where you’re going, and what passport you hold. It’s best to check with your local embassy for details of the visa requirements for your specific citizenship. It is important to have a valid visa for all ports of call that require them, even if you don’t plan to disembark. Should there be an emergency situation, it could make a visa unexpectedly necessary. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions policy for more details.
What kind of activities and entertainment is available onboard?
The beauty of a cruise holiday is that you have the freedom to enjoy your holiday just the way you want to. Whether you prefer to dive into every activity you can fit into your day, or simply relax by the pool with a cocktail and a book, the choice is entirely yours.
Cruise lines go above and beyond to ensure there is always something for every passenger to do, if they want to. They offer a plethora of activities during the day, from onboard facilities like the pool deck, waterslides, and sports decks, to pre-arranged activities like bingo, trivia, exercise classes and more. Each night, you can take in some form of entertainment (all included in your cruise fare), including Broadway-style musicals, Vegas-style nightclub revues, live performances in the piano bar, deck parties, jazz performances, and comedy shows.
Beyond onboard activities and entertainment, some cruises also offer remarkable guest lectures and onboard learning experiences, from inhouse cooking lessons to destination-focused presentations. It’s a fantastic way to expand your horizons and go even more in-depth with the destinations you visit.
To find out more about what is offered by different cruise lines, check out our guides to some of the world’s top cruise lines.
Is there Wi-fi?
These days Wi-Fi is one of the most essential services of everyday life, and while it might be nice to unplug and not use your phone for the duration of your cruise, that may not be realistic. Luckily, most cruise ships now offer internet service onboard. It just may not be what you’re used to at home!
Internet services on cruise ships have come a long way in the past decade. Gone are the days you have to rely on sluggish and overpriced onboard internet cafes. Now, on most ships, you can conveniently purchase Wi-Fi access for one or multiple devices. Newer cruise ships tend to boast more advanced technology, enabling them to provide better internet speeds compared to older ships. However, it will probably still be slower than what you’re used to on land because onboard internet relies on satellites while at sea. You may also still need to pay for Wi-Fi access on most ships (although some are now offering it as part of your cruise fare). Some cruise lines offer you the choice to pre-purchase Wi-Fi access at a lower rate, or you can buy day passes or different speed tiers.
So, while the answer is yes, there is Wi-Fi on a cruise, it’s important to adjust your expectations regarding reliability, speed and pricing.
Is there a dress code onboard a cruise?
These days most cruise lines have relaxed their dress codes compared to what it used to be like when formal evening attire was a must-have. Policies vary by cruise line, but there are some commonalities across brands. During the day, the basics include wearing a top, bottoms (or sundress) and footwear while walking around the ship, with swimwear only accessible at the pool or pool bar. In the evenings, particularly in the main and specialty restaurants, bars, nightclubs and theatre, most cruise lines prefer a more smart-casual look, with no singlets, things or hats to be worn in these areas.
Many cruise lines host a formal night at least once on a 7-night cruise, and while this used to mean black tie, it’s now more “evening chic”. However, some cruise lines still stipulate a more formal evening wear for these occasions, and often, that’s part of the allure of the more traditional and luxurious cruise lines. It’s best to check directly with the cruise line you’re travelling with as to what their specific policy is and whether or not you have a formal night on your itinerary, or even another “themed” night such as Azamara’s White Night Party where you can wear all white for the evening’s festivities.
Can I get a special diet meal on my cruise?
Most cruise ships are able to cater to various dietary requirements, including vegetarian, gluten-free, salt-free, low-carbohydrate, low-cholesterol, diabetic, and more. When booking your cruise online, simply check for the dietary options available. In case your preferred choice is not listed, once you’ve completed your booking, just reach out to us and we’ll assist with getting this noted with the cruise line.
Are there smoking areas on the ship?
Whether you’re a smoker or not, it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of the smoking policies of the specific cruise line you’ll be travelling on. While all cruise lines provide designated areas for smoking, each cruise line may have different policies in place. In general, indoor smoking is prohibited, as is smoking in your stateroom due to the fire risk it poses. Some cruise lines may allow smoking on your private balcony, but this is becoming less common. And it’s worth mentioning that most cruise lines treat e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes and cigars, so their smoking policies will apply to vaping too. If in doubt, check on the policy regarding your specific cruise line so that you know where the designated smoking areas are on your ship.
Is there a doctor on a cruise ship?
Most cruise lines offer around-the-clock medical services with trained staff on duty, however, these onboard medical centres are usually only equipped to deal with minor health ailments, rather than ongoing medical needs or emergencies. Cruise lines will often prioritise providing immediate response and emergency care by transferring guests to a shoreside medical facility, as opposed to offering those services onboard. That is why our Cruise Travel Advisors strongly recommend investing in travel insurance that includes a cruise-specific policy, as well as to ensure you pack an ample supply of any prescribed medications and medical devices you may need.
Are there laundry services onboard ships?
Almost all cruise ships offer onboard laundry facilities for guest convenience, and some even offer dry-cleaning services. These may be self-serve, or they may incur an additional cost. It is best to check what your specific cruise ship offers so you’re prepared before you cruise.
What currency is used onboard my cruise?
That depends on the cruise ship you are on and where their home port is. Ships that are based in Australia year-round will have AUD onboard, while others may have USD or Euro. It’s important to note that cruise ships have made the transition to being cashless, so you won’t need foreign currency or cash to pay for anything onboard, only onshore. All passengers are given an onboard charge card (which also services as your boarding pass and stateroom key), and you use this card for all purchases. Before you disembark you will be required to settle your onboard account.
What will I need to pay for on my cruise?
Also see “What’s included in my cruise fare?”
This also differs by cruise line so it’s best to check what is included versus what incurs an additional fee on the ship you are cruising on. But in general, you can expect to pay an additional fee for specialty restaurants; premium drinks such as bottled or sparkling water, specialty coffees and teas, smoothies and specialty fruit drinks, and alcoholic beverages; late-night room service; the casino; some onboard activities such as golf simulators, escape rooms, thrill slides etc; spa treatments and salon services; exercise classes; private sundeck cabanas or loungers; in-stateroom babysitting; shore excursions; and gratuities.
What is onboard credit?
If you’ve spent any time shopping online for a cruise deal, then you’ve almost certainly come across the term “onboard credit” or “OBC” before. Cruise lines and travel agencies (like us) love to highlight it as a bonus booking perk, which could range from $25 for booking an inside stateroom on a short cruise, through to hundreds of dollars for booking a suite on a longer voyage.
If the term has you confused, not to worry. Onboard credit is essentially a financial credit that you can use to splurge on your cruise. It’s free money. It will be added to your shipboard account and will offset your final bill for any purchases made during your cruise. If you’re new to cruising, it’s important to note that cruise ships operate on a cashless system. Each passenger is set up with an onboard account, which can be linked to your credit or debit card, or pre-loaded with a cash payment. The cruise key card that you’re given to unlock your stateroom door also doubles as your shipboard “credit card”. You simply hand it over to the bartender or salesperson and they add the charge to your onboard account.
Most cruise lines allow you to use your onboard credit without limitations. As long as you can charge it to your account, your cruise onboard credit can cover the expense. A handful of cruise lines do have certain restrictions though, so it’s always best to check. For example, some may not permit the use of OBC in the casino or for settling crew gratuities. Take a moment to check the fine print of any promotional offer or chat with your Cruise Travel Advisor for confirmation of any restrictions. However, in general, here are some of the things you can spend your onboard credit on:
⚓ Shore excursions
⚓ Specialty restaurant fees
⚓ Spa treatments
⚓ Private islands
⚓ Drink packages or individual drink purchases
⚓ Internet packages
⚓ Spending money at the casino
In most cases, onboard credit is nonrefundable. So, if you don’t use it during your current cruise, you won’t receive cash back, nor can you carry it over to your next voyage. Make the most of this perk while you’re onboard, and treat yourself to unforgettable experiences.
Is there a kids club on the cruise? If yes, at what times are they available? Are babies allowed?
On most cruises, yes, you will find dedicated kids clubs, including rooms for babies and toddlers. However, some cruise lines are specifically for adults-only (such as Viking and Virgin Voyages), and some don’t cater for children with specific activities even though they allow kids onboard. So it’s always best to check with your Cruise Specialist to see what your specific cruise ship offers. They will also be able to tell you what ages the kids clubs are broken up into, what times they’re open, whether babysitting is offered onboard, and what age-specific activities and entertainment is offered.
For your convenience, we also have a guide to some of the most popular family-friendly cruise lines available right now.
What can we do while in port?
There is always something to do when your cruise is docked in port. Whether you prefer to explore on your own, or join a pre-organised tour (known as a shore excursions), the options are endless. You can even choose to stay onboard the ship while it is in port – lots of cruisers like how quiet the ship is on port days and take the opportunity to try out some of the popular activities that usually have long queues.
These days, most cruise lines let you pre-book shore excursions before and during your cruise through their website or app. So once you’ve booked you can take some time to peruse all of the options and pick and choose what you’d like to do on port days.
What helps with seasickness?
There are lots of “remedies” for sea or motion sickness and some may work for you, and some may not. It can be a bit of trial and error to find the best option for you. Here are some of our top tips:
⚓ Face the direction you’re going – head to the front (bow) of the ship and look out to the horizon
⚓ Change positions – if you’re standing up, try lying down and vice versa
⚓ Get some air – open your balcony door or head out on to an open deck
⚓ Eat a light, bland snack like saltine crackers
⚓ Avoid heavy, greasy or acidic foods
⚓ Sip on cold water or a carbonated drink like seltzer or ginger ale. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages as they can make nausea worse
⚓ Stimulate an acupressure point along your wrist by placing the index, middle and ring fingers of your right hand on the inside of your left wrist, starting under the crease. Apply firm pressure for a few seconds or until the symptoms pass. You can also try acupressure bracelets to achieve the same result
⚓ Peppermint essential oil – take sniffs of it directly from the bottle
⚓ Natural remedies like ginger and chamomile – you can find supplements at your local pharmacy
⚓ Over-the-counter and prescription remedies like antihistamines or Scopolamine
Note, this is not to be taken as medical advice. Before starting any new medication or supplement, you should check with a doctor. Some may interact with your current medication or underlying conditions.
What type of power outlets are on my cruise?
The different types of plug sockets in a cruise ship stateroom will vary by cruise line, so it’s worth doing your homework to find out what you can expect on your specific ship. Generally, you’ll find that most cruise ships provide at least one US or European outlet for guests, and some may even have USB ports available. Ships that are based year-round in Australia will have a standard Australian 3-point plug or adaptor.
One of our top packing tips is to include a short multi-outlet power strip in your luggage. Most of us will have more than one device we need to use or charge at any one time, so while extension cords are a no-no, a power strip can be incredibly handy.
How can I stay healthy onboard?
A cruise does not have to be a one-way ticket to norovirus, despite what some people may tell you. With the right preparation, you can protect your health and actually spend your trip enjoying the sights, not worrying about getting sick.
These are our top tips for staying healthy onboard a cruise ship:
⚓ Get vaccinated before you go. Check Smartraveller for information on your destination and whether any vaccinations are recommended for that specific country. You can also ensure you’re up to date with any routine vaccinations like flu, measles, mumps and rubella
⚓ Check in with your doctor before you depart. If you manage a chronic condition or take regular medication, talk to your doctor before you depart and make sure you pack enough supplies before you go
⚓ Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or hand sanitiser. It’s the best way to get rid of germs before they have the chance to make you sick
⚓ Be mindful of the limitless food and drink options by watching how much you consume, as well as ensuring food is still at the right temperature if it’s been out for a while. You don’t want to risk upsetting your stomach with food that’s been out in the buffet for too long
⚓ Get some exercise when you can. This doesn’t mean fitting in a 2-hour long gym session each day. It could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, swimming laps in the pool, or taking an evening walk on the promenade deck
⚓ Protect your skin! Especially if you’re in a hot destination during summer. Slip, slap, slop every two hours or after swimming. And maybe pack some aloe vera gel just in case
⚓ Choose adventurous activities on land! Shore excursions are the easiest way to get active and keep your body moving
⚓ Drink plenty of water! Carry a refillable water bottle with you and keep it topped up. But be wary of drinking water and ice cubes when you get off the ship. It may not be safe to consume, so take some water from the ship with you
⚓ Get some rest! It’s a holiday after all. It may be tempting to play all day and party all night – after all, there is always something to do on a cruise – but make sure you’re getting enough sleep too. And maybe pamper your body a bit with a massage or a facial. It can only help
⚓ Get a good probiotic and start taking it before your cruise. This will help your stomach handle whatever you may throw at it while in holiday mode!
Can I join the cruise in a later port?
There is no straight forward answer to this question, as it depends on a number of factors:
⚓ The cruise line policies
⚓ Where the ship is sailing and the laws of that particular country
⚓ Whether you’ve missed embarkation or were late returning from a shore excursion
⚓ Whether you’re merely wanting to join the cruise late or leave early
The short answer is that it is not usually possible to board a cruise ship at a port of call other than your embarkation port. In some circumstances, the cruise line may give you pre-approved permission to do so, but it isn’t common. One exception may be if you’ve missed the ship due to travel delays, in which case you may be permitted to board at the next port of call, at your own expense. That’s why our Cruise Travel Advisors will always recommend that you have a good travel insurance policy, and that if you need to travel to meet your ship, that you try to arrive the day before embarkation so that you reduce this risk.
Can I take money out on board my cruise and will I be charged fees?
Most cruise ships will have ATMs on board and limited currency conversion services so that you can get cash to use onshore. There will be a withdrawal fee to use these services, as well as a currency conversion fee. On the ship itself, you won’t need cash (except for possibly in the casino).
Can I bring non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverages in my luggage on board?
The policies regarding bringing your own drinks on a cruise can vary depending on the specific cruise line you choose. Some cruise lines permit you to bring your own alcohol, soft drinks, and water on board, while others have strict regulations against it. Those that do allow alcohol usually limit it to just one bottle per person, or may charge a corkage fee if you do. There are exceptions to this though, so it’s always best to check the policy of your specific cruise line.
Most cruise lines do not impose set limits on the quantity of soft drinks or water each passenger can bring, but it is common for them to require that these items are carried as hand luggage rather than checked in with your suitcases. Again though, it’s always best to check with your Cruise Travel Advisor for the information relevant to your specific cruise line and ship. You can also check out the cruise line drink policies for the most popular ocean cruise lines on our blog.
What is the visitor policy onboard?
For safety and security reasons, visitors are not allowed on board a cruise ship, and all major cruise lines have a “No Visitor” policy that applies to all ports of embarkation and ports of call. Guests sailing are not permitted to have visitors on board to see them off, or visit them onboard while the ship is docked in port.
The only exception to this policy is when there is a wedding onboard. Guests attending a wedding ceremony or reception, or visitors attending any type of party or reception onboard that has been previously arranged by the cruise line wedding planner can obtain approval to board the ship.
Is tipping expected?
Gratuities (or tips) can often be a source of confusion for new cruisers. On most ships, gratuities are customary and serve as an additional source of income for the service crew. Typically, each cruise line has a guide of around $20 per day, with the tips being divided equally among housekeeping, food and beverage staff, and other behind-the-scenes teams.
Some cruise lines offer an “all-inclusive” fare where this daily gratuity is already included in the fare you paid when you booked your cruise. Others allow you to pay it upfront, or add it to your onboard account to pay before disembarkation. In Australian waters, certain cruise lines such as P&O Australia and Carnival Australia do not require or factor in tips as part of the overall price, as they operate their ships in line with the Australian market where there is no culture of tipping. If you’re unsure about the tipping policy of your specific cruise line or ship, it’s best to ask your Cruise Travel Advisor for clarification so that you’re prepared before your cruise and don’t get a nasty shock on your onboard account at the end of your holiday.
Is the tap water safe to drink on a ship?
In most cases, it is perfectly safe to drink tap water on a cruise ship. Cruise lines adhere to strict regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of their passengers, and the water onboard is treated, filtered and frequently tested to meet the standards of the World Health Organization. You may want to avoid drinking the water from the bathroom tap (as you would anywhere you travel), but there are water dispensers throughout the ship’s public areas (buffet, spa, most bars etc), so drinking water is readily available.
How can I make a booking?
The Cruiseabout website offers an extensive range of information, along with convenient access to the latest prices, and special package offers for cruises all over the world! When you discover your desired sailing, simply click on “View deal” to see all the information you need on the itinerary, the ship, and pricing. You can then choose to call your Cruiseabout Travel Advisor or click on the “Enquire Now” button to send an email to our team, who will then get back in touch with you to help you find the best deal available.
I want to book multiple staterooms, how can I do this on your site?
If you need to book multiple staterooms, please call one of our dedicated Cruise Travel Advisors on 1300 052 966 for more assistance.
What are the deposit and final payment requirements?
You will be required to pay a deposit or deposits when booking. Your consultant will be able to advise you of how much your deposit will be at the time of booking. Final payment is required no later than 6 weeks prior to departure unless otherwise stated on your cruise documentation.
How do I know what inclusions are in the special promotion I booked?
Some promotional offers can include bonus perks, such as drink or Wi-Fi packages, onboard credit or gratuities. If you’re unsure what is included in your booking, please call your Cruiseabout Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966 for assistance.
What is and how do I find my cruise line reference number?
Once your cruise booking is confirmed, an email will be sent to you containing a unique confirmation number. This number serves as the cruise line’s reference number, which you will need to log in to their website for online check-in.
I can see the price is cheaper today than when I made my booking, would I be able to get my booking re-fared to this price?
In the cruise industry, pricing and availability can fluctuate daily based on supply and demand, with prices typically increasing as you get closer to the sailing date and fewer staterooms are available. These fluctuations, as well as ad hoc promotional offers, can lead to changes in booking conditions and inclusions.
It’s important to note that many promotions have specific booking validity dates that should be considered when determining if a booking is eligible for re-pricing. If your booking is not eligible, the only option would be to cancel and rebook. However, please be aware that any cancellation fees applicable at the time of change will need to be borne by you. Our team is here to assist you with any queries or further information regarding your booking.
What does it mean when it says “Guarantee” when selecting my stateroom?
When you choose a “guarantee” stateroom category, you are reserving a specific stateroom class rather than a particular stateroom itself. Rest assured, the cruise line guarantees that you will receive the category you’ve reserved, or even an upgrade to a higher category if available, without any additional cost. It’s important to keep in mind that stateroom allocation is solely at the discretion of the cruise line and can be assigned at any time leading up to your departure. We strongly advise against relying on guaranteed status when travelling with your family or a group. In this case, if you book a guaranteed stateroom it’s unlikely that your staterooms will be allocated close to one another, or even on the same deck. Another point to be aware of is that for oceanview and balcony staterooms, there is a possibility that your assigned stateroom may have a partially obstructed view due to lifeboats.
Where can I get information about drinks packages, dining packages and shore excursions?
Once your booking has been confirmed and your deposit has been paid, you will gain access to the cruise line’s website, allowing you to log in and manage your booking. Here, you will have the opportunity to explore and pre-book an array of onboard packages and shore excursions for your upcoming sailing, ensuring that you can effortlessly plan your perfect cruise experience.
Why is it so expensive for one person to travel alone?
Cruise lines determine – and advertise – their rates based on double occupancy of a stateroom. This means that if you’re travelling alone, you may be charged a supplementary fee to cover the cost of the unoccupied berth in your room. This fee only applies to the stateroom rate, and taxes and airfare costs remain unaffected. However, the single supplement surcharge can make solo travel out of reach for some.
Fortunately, certain ships like Norwegian Epic and Radiance of the Seas have introduced specially designed staterooms for solo cruisers, making solo travel more affordable and enjoyable as they are also priced for one person. And some cruise lines, especially river cruises, will offer special promotions whereby they waive their single supplement fee. Just ask your Cruise Travel Advisor for details on any current promotions or which ships offer solo staterooms.
Can I book a special occasion on board?
Many cruise lines provide special occasion packages for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more. Feel free to enquire with us for further information, as we are here to assist you in adding that special touch to create unforgettable memories onboard.
Do cruise lines accept group bookings?
A cruise is a great option if you’re travelling with a large group of friends or family, and it can even be a great way to get extra perks and group discounts. In order to ensure you’re getting the best group cruise rates, we highly recommend consulting with your Cruise Travel Advisor. There can be quite a lot of admin involved with a group booking, such as coordinating amenities with the cruise line, ensuring your staterooms are located together, and following up payments, and our experts are here to help make this all easier for you. Just call your Cruise Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966 and let’s get your group booking started today.
How do I pay for my cruise?
We recommend using a credit or debit card for your initial payment, as it’s secure, quick, and convenient. Due to strict timelines for paying a deposit, we will ask for a credit or debit card at the time of booking. Final payments can be made by credit/debit card (a surcharge will apply) or you can take advantage of our fee-free Direct Transfer option with Pay by Bank (PayID).
What are the credit card fees?
Credit card surcharges of 0.80% for Visa, 0.50% for MasterCard, 0.80% for American Express, and 2.5% for Diner’s Club will apply when paying by credit card. Debit card surcharges of 0.39% for debit card Visa and 0.27% for debit card MasterCard will apply when paying by debit card. A 1% surcharge will apply when paying by PayPal. Payments by Poli or BPAY will not incur any additional fees.
How long do I have to pay?
We will send a Pay by Bank (PayID) link in the final payment reminder, as a free-fee option to pay your balance through internet banking. This email will be received 10 days prior to the final payment date indicated on your Cruiseabout documents. All Pay by Bank (PayID) payments must be made at least three days prior to the due date shown on your invoice, to allow for any delays in the bank transfer process due to security checks.
If you prefer to pay by credit card, then simply do not use the Pay by Bank (PayID) link, instead, your credit card will be charged automatically on the due date as shown on your invoice if there is any outstanding balance due. Please ensure your account has enough available credit. Please note that credit card fees are applicable of 1.3% for Visa and MasterCard and 2% for American Express.
If you do not wish for us to make this charge, please contact your Cruise Travel Advisor as early as possible to arrange alternative fee-free options or to update the credit card on file.
What if I want to use a different card or multiple cards?
To make any changes regarding payment for your cruise, we ask that you contact your Cruise Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966 to provide updated card details or to make payment on multiple cards.
When and how can I book shore excursions and specialty dining?
Your Cruiseabout booking confirmation email contains the cruise line booking reference needed to create your account and to manage your booking on the cruise line’s website. Shore excursions and specialty restaurants can be viewed and booked online through your account. They are typically available to be booked around 90 days before the sailing date. Please make sure to regularly check your booking for updates and refer to your cruise account or the cruise line’s FAQ page for the most up to date information.
Do I need vaccinations for my cruise?
For comprehensive health guidance you should consult with your healthcare provider or trusted sources like the World Health Organisation, as well as your country’s travel advice websites like Smartraveller. These resources offer insights on the required vaccinations and health precautions at each port of call on your cruise. Regarding COVID vaccinations, please check your cruise account or the cruise line’s FAQ page for specific rules as policies may differ between cruise lines. Additionally, health authorities recommend getting an influenza vaccine at least two weeks before your cruise.
I have booked a guaranteed stateroom but I want to know my stateroom details, how do I do that?
Also see: “What does it mean when it says “Guarantee” when selecting my stateroom?”
If you have chosen a guaranteed stateroom, the cruise line will assign your specific stateroom number closer to the sailing date. For more information, please contact your Cruiseabout consultant using the contact details provided in your cruise booking confirmation email.
Do I need travel insurance for my cruise?
We always recommend travel insurance to all of our customers. Australia’s public health care and private insurance don’t extend coverage to medical expenses on cruise ships, and while Australia does have agreements with some countries where we can can get publicly funded medically necessary care (Medicare reciprocal health care agreements), it is still advised to get your own travel insurance in case of an emergency that is not covered or if you are not in a country where such an agreement is in place.
Can you add insurance to my booking?
I want to fly on the same day as the cruise departing – are there any risks?
This can be very risky. You can easily find yourself in a nightmare travel situation if you choose to fly on the same day as your cruise departs. If you have any sort of travel delay or cancellation, you risk missing the cruise entirely, or having to foot the bill of meeting up with your cruise at the next port of call. We recommend booking flights that will get you to your destination at least one day before your cruise departure.
How do I link my back-to-back cruises?
One of our Cruise Travel Advisors can help you with this. Just call us on 1300 052 966 for assistance.
What documents do I need to provide on the day of embarkation?
If you’re travelling to an international destination, you will need to have a valid passport, and it will need to be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your cruise’s return. However, if you’re an Australian resident and your itinerary only includes ports within Australia, without visiting any foreign ports, you don’t need to bring your passport. Instead, please make sure to carry government-issued photo identification. It’s worth noting that Queensland Proof of Age cards won’t be accepted, but passengers under the age of 18 can use a current Medicare card.
Please refer to our Terms and Conditions policy for more details.
Is parking available at the cruise terminal?
Parking is usually available at most major cruise terminals, usually for a minimal per day fee. Please note, at some piers, only cash is accepted.
Can I extend my holiday by flying early or returning home later?
Absolutely. Our Cruise Travel Advisors are here to help you craft the holiday of your dreams, and this can include pre- and post-cruise tours, hotel stays, and anything else you want to include in your holiday itinerary. We will help you source flights that match your ideal dates and we can create a custom package to suit your needs.
Cancellations and Refunds
What is the cancellation policy for my cruise?
Should you need to cancel your cruise, it is important to note that fees may apply from both the cruise line and from Cruiseabout.
Cancellations of any and all bookings will incur a fee from Cruiseabout of $550 per person, in addition to any travel service provider fees, which may differ depending on the cruise line’s policy, the length of your itinerary and the timing of your cancellation. It’s important to note that not all cruise lines offer a credit option in their standard policies, and the refund amount and time it takes to process your refund may vary. For accurate and specific details, we recommend referring to your cruise line’s FAQ page. To initiate a cancellation, please call your Cruise Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966. You can se the full details of our Cancellation Policy here.
When will I get my refund?
Refunds may take between 12 and 16 weeks to process from the time your request is submitted. This duration is necessary to allow us to collect all funds from the cruise line and/or other suppliers and to process your refund on your behalf.
Can I get a credit instead?
Refund options and policies vary by cruise line, so it is best to check with your specific cruise line or ask your Cruise Travel Advisor by calling 1300 052 966.
Where can I find the terms and conditions for my booking?
The Cruiseabout booking terms and conditions for your reservation were sent to you via email shortly after we received your initial payment. You can also access them here. It is important that you carefully review these T&Cs. Please note that there may be additional supplier conditions applicable to certain aspects of your package, including cancellation penalties or non-refundable deposits. These supplier terms are beyond the control of Cruiseabout, who acts as your booking agent. Our team members are unable to waive these conditions. Please read through these terms and conditions thoroughly to ensure you are fully informed and aware of all relevant information.
Can I make a name change on my booking if I am unable to travel?
You can change the name on your booking as long as there is at least one original passenger still travelling. Please note changes to bookings will incur a fee of $75 per person, per change in addition to any travel service provider fees.
How do I cancel or make changes to my booking?
Please call your Cruise Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966 with your booking number and the request you wish to make.
I can no longer travel on my selected travel date. Can I move my booking to an alternative departure?
Please call your Cruise Travel Advisor on 1300 052 966 with your booking number and the request you wish to make.