Cruise Tips

What's Included |  Dining |  Gratuities |  Packing |  Proof of Citizenship |  Ship-to-Shore Communication
Motion Sickness |  Safe, Healthy Cruising and Special Needs  |  Travel Insurance |  Changes/Alterations to Itineraries
What's Included

Meals, snacks, room service, onboard activities and entertainment - nearly everything is included with the price of your stateroom. Water, iced tea, coffee and juice are usually complimentary as well, but certain soft drinks and beverages served at the bar (soda, beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc.) will cost extra (but are conveniently charged to your room). Gift shop purchases, babysitting, salon services, spa treatments, casino gambling can also be billed to your room.

Spa appointments should be booked right away. Optional shore excursions can be booked onboard, but we highly recommend booking them ahead of time (most cruise lines have online shore excursion booking capabilities). Activities and availability sell out quickly.


Cruises are popular among travelers who enjoy good food, and offer a variety of dining options. Most ships offer a buffet and a dining room, as well as several specialty restaurants. Snacks and room service are often available 24-hours a day. While cruises are known as a place to indulge, onboard dining also accommodates passengers who follow particular diets. Low sodium, low fat, vegetarian and kosher cuisine are readily available. If you have particular dietary needs, it's a good idea to speak with your Vacation Expert to ensure that the cruise you book can accommodate them.

For dinner in the main dining room, there is typically an early sitting around 6:30 p.m. and a later sitting around 8:30 p.m. You will be able to request your seating and dining time preference in advance.

Gratuities BACK TO TOP

Depending on your cruise line, gratuities may be factored in to your itemized bill at the end of the cruise, or may be left to your discretion. For the latter, the accepted practice is to tip your dining room waiter, busboy, and cabin steward roughly $3 per person, per day. You should pay all gratuities in cash at the end of your cruise. Bar drinks are the exception: They include gratuity on the bill when you are served.


Pack like you would for a typical resort vacation. Cruise vacations are generally casual by day whether you're on the ship or ashore. Dinner attire can vary by ship and occasion, with some evenings being casual and others requiring more formal attire. Appropriate formal attire consists a dark suit for men and a cocktail dress for women, though many passengers opt to dress it up a notch, with a tuxedo or a gown. Casual dining options are available every night, and if you want to dress up, but don't want to pack your formal attire for vacation, you might be able to rent a tux on board.

Casual attire should be appropriate for the climate of your destination. If you have any questions about what to pack, ask your Vacation Expert.

All bags should have the cruise line luggage tags attached before you leave home. If you have a pre-cruise hotel booked, attach the tags before leaving the hotel for the cruise ship. Pre-registering online lets you avoid lines at the pier.

Proof of Citizenship BACK TO TOP

Required travel documentation can vary depending on the type of cruise and the destination. Typically, US citizens are required to present a valid passport accompanied by a government-issued photo ID, though some cruises that depart and return to the same port in the US may only require a certified birth certificate. Your Vacation Expert will be able to explain documentation requirements and answer any questions you have.

It's a good idea to leave a copy of all your travel documents - including your complete itinerary, your passport or birth certificate, and photo ID - with a with a friend or family member.

Ship-to-Shore Communication BACK TO TOP

Modern technology has made ship-to-shore communication easier than ever (so you won't need to know Morse Code to communicate with the mainland - though we'll be thoroughly impressed if you do). Cell phone service can be spotty at times (and may incur roaming fees depending on your carrier and plan), but cruise ships have phone numbers that can be used to reach you if someone back home needs to contact you immediately. In addition, most ships offer wired/wireless internet connection, as well as 24-hour internet cafes/business centers. Some ships even offer laptops for rent.

Motion Sickness BACK TO TOP

All modern ships have state-of-the-art motion stabilizers to reduce movement. In most cases, you will feel no motion at all. The size of the ship can also be a factor. If you want the best location for stability, you should go to a lower deck. The higher you go, the more movement you'll feel. If you are prone to motion sickness, bring along medication or request it from the ship's medical staff onboard.

Safe, Healthy Cruising and Special Needs BACK TO TOP

Cruise lines take every precaution to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers, and work hard to accommodate and assist those with special needs. Every ship is equipped with medical facilities and a fully trained medical staff. If you have any special medical or physical needs, be sure to let your Vacation Expert know beforehand, as they can help arrange any appropriate assistance you require beforehand.

Travel Insurance BACK TO TOP

Because cruises are generally non-refundable after final payment, you may want to inquire about travel insurance. Insurance can protect your vacation investment against cancellation penalties in the event you need to cancel. It also provides important medical and baggage protection. Depending on your itinerary, your Vacation Experts recommend an appropriate form of travel insurance.

Changes/Alterations to Itineraries BACK TO TOP

Please know that cruise lines reserve the right to change or alter itineraries without notice and in most cases, without compensation. Also know that these are rare occurrences, and that decisions are always made with the passenger's best interests in mind.