First Time Cruisers
Most "first-timers" have a lot of questions - so here's a list of questions most commonly asked to help you get ready and ensure "smooth sailing" both before and during your cruise. If your question isn't here, please do not hesitate to call us.
Government-issued photo ID
Passport, if applicable
eDocs (one copy per stateroom)
Luggage labels with bag tags
Credit card for onboard expenses
Small bag with essentials
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO TAKE?
For the most current government requirements, please go to: http://travel.state.gov/
HOW DO I PAY FOR ITEMS ONBOARD AND IN PORT?
The Cruise Lines will open an onboard account for bar purchases, soft drinks, souvenirs, to pay for shore excursions, etc, which you can settle by credit card, travelers checks or cash at the end of the cruise. The purser's office will also cash travelers checks for you. In addition, most of the duty-free shops onboard and most shops in port will also cash travelers checks. Most shops in port will accept major credit cards as well as American dollars or travelers checks. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CASH PERSONAL CHECKS ONBOARD THE SHIP.
WHAT ABOUT TIPPING ONBOARD SHIP?
Tipping with most cruise lines is now included on your onboard account. While this makes tipping the proper people more convenient, you may alter these amounts according to your cruise experience in these areas. Your tips will affect these services on your cruise ship: Your Cabin Steward, Waiter and Assistant Waiter. These amount will range from $11.00 to $12.00 per person per day on most cruise lines(subject to change). On luxury cruise lines these amount may be higher. If you wish to change the amounts either by reducing or adding to your account, you should visit the purser onboard your cruise ship. Note: most cruise lines add gratuities to bar tabs. Always check your bills.
WHAT ABOUT MOTION SICKNESS?
Ships today are so well stabilized that most of the time you won't notice you are even moving! It's a good idea though to take along some Motion Sickness precaution (follow the directions on the box) as well as aspirin and sunscreen. If you do have a problem onboard, all ships have a doctor and a nurse aboard. And be sure not to forget any prescription drugs you are taking. These should be put in your carry-on-luggage. Consult your physician before taking any medication.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY LUGGAGE AFTER I LEAVE IT AT THE AIRPORT (OR PORT)?
If you are using the cruise line's airfare program, you will affix the luggage tags sent with your cruise documents and check your luggage at the airport. The next time you see it will be in your stateroom! There are a few ports where you will need to claim your luggage at the airport--this will be indicated in your cruise documents and, again, call me if you have any questions. If you are flying but NOT using the cruise line's airfare program you still need to affix your cruise line tag but you will need to claim your own luggage at the airport baggage area when you arrive in your port city and take it with you to the port. If you are driving to the port, you will check your luggage when you arrive at the port, and they will take your bags to your stateroom.
Start your first day on board stress-free. Pack a carry-on that includes items so that you can make the most of your first day--even before your luggage arrives in your stateroom. Bring along what you need to lounge by the pool such as change of clothes, sunscreen, swim wear, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, camera, medication, etc.
On the last night of your cruise you will be asked to put your luggage (except your carry-on bags) outside your stateroom so that it can be taken to the holding area, and off loaded early the next morning. You will claim your bags in the customs area, don't worry all this will be explained on the ship. It would be a good idea to pack an overnight bag on your cruise.
HOW CAN I BE REACHED ONBOARD THE SHIP IN AN EMERGENCY?
RCI...888 724 7447
HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON ONBOARD THE SHIP, OR FIND OUT ABOUT SHORE EXCURSIONS?
There will be all kinds of "goodies" about this in your cabin when you arrive and prior to sailing is a good time to explore and get your bearings as to where the dining room, gym, lounges ect. are located. There will be a daily program of activities put in your cabin each night for the next day. For first timers, it's best to work with your Cruise Planners Travel Advisor to seek the best possible options. Through their knowledge and contacts, your Advisor will recommend an excursion perfect for you and your budget. It is recommended that shore excursions be prebooked so once you board the ship, your days are already planned and all you will need to do is relax.