Cruising offers an excellent value for money holiday. As one of the fastest growing
segments of the travel industry, cruises appeal to a wide range of tastes, lifestyles
budgets and interests. They offer a sense of safety, comfort and excitement that
is hard to beat.
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See how the cost of a cruise vacation compares to a traditional hotel/resort experience.
We have chosen a typical Mediterranean cruise as an example to help you see the
Cruise selected for the sake of comparison: Navigator of the seas: 5 Night Short
Western Med Cruise
- Royal Caribbean
- Time of travel
- May 2013
- 5 nights
- Ports of call
- Barcelona, Spain; Cannes (Monte Carlo), France; Livorno (Florence/Pisa),
Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Barcelona, Spain
Accommodation (4 star city centre hotels & Outside cabin for the cruise)
Meals - Lunch & Dinner (Breakfast in the hotels included in the price)
US $ 999
All prices are approximate and include all estimated taxes. Sightseeing cost in most cases will be approximately the same.
Accommodation on board ships are called cabins or staterooms. Similar to hotels, all ships have different types of accommodation, which could be:
- Inside stateroom :- base category room with no windows
- Ocean view stateroom :- These cabins will have either a window or a porthole enabling a sea view
- Statement with Balcony or Verandah :- A room with large French windows which lead to a small balcony where you can stand/sit out and enjoy the vistas
- Suites :- These can be a Junior or Mini Suite or even as large as a One or Two Bedroom suite. Suites have windows and often balconies; they're generally the largest cabins onboard and offer the most amenities.
Many ships have window or balcony accommodation with limited or partial sea view i.e. the view is partially blocked by a feeder boat or pillar. This is advised to you at the time of booking and in most cases, a lower price is offered for such cabins.
Also, each stateroom is on a different deck (floor) of the ship and in most cases, the higher the deck, the higher the price.
Occupancy varies by cabin category and cruise line. Most cabins comfortably accommodate two guests; however, some cabins may sleep up to three or four guests. The amenities offered in a cabin are much like those in a hotel room. While amenities vary by cruise line, most cabins offer beds, storage space, televisions, telephones, and private bathrooms. Most cabins also have personal safes.
On most cruise lines, the onboard currency is the US Dollar. At the time of boarding the ship, cruise lines take a deposit from their guests, which can be paid in cash or by credit card. Most cruise lines, give each guest a "cruise credit card" at embarkation. This card is both identification and a credit card and can be used for any on-board expenses for example, shore excursions, spa treatments, room service etc. At the end of the cruise, you will check out of your cabin and if there is an amount due back to you, it will be refunded on the spot. Any excess amount can be paid in cash or credit card. The system is fairly similar to the one used by modern hotels.
The immense variety of cruise ships to choose from is mind-boggling. You can choose a large, popular, family - friendly ship, a top of the line luxury ship, a small-intimate sailing yacht or a river cruise - cruise liners today cater to every need.
Our Cruise Line section offers you information on each type of cruise company, the type of passengers that sail on their ships and even some information on the kind of ships they have.
Shore Excursions are the various sightseeing options offered by cruise lines at each port of call. Should you wish, you can pre-book (and in some cases even pre-pay) your shore excursions prior to sailing once you have paid the cruise cost in full. This gives you the flexibility to plan your entire vacation before leaving the country. Moreover, we actually recommend you pre-book it especially during peak season. Our cruise consultants would be happy to advise you regarding these excursions.
Passengers are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on to the ship. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased in the ship's gift shops or in foreign ports, but may be retained by the cruise line until the end of the voyage. If you are celebrating a special occasion, fine wines and champagne can be brought on board. If you choose to consume the wine in the dining room, a $10 per bottle corkage fee may be charged.
You’ll find a cruise going to most areas of the world. You could sail around Europe, where you can visit a dozen beautiful, historical cities and only unpack your bags once. You could enjoy nature in all its beauty when you journey north to Alaska from imposing mountains to spectacular fjords to awe-inspiring glaciers. You could hop on a South America-bound ship and spend one day exploring ancient Mayan ruins, another scuba diving off the coast of a remote Caribbean island, and yet another traversing the Panama Canal. You could soak up some Caribbean sun and visit some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches and dive sites. Or travel down under, stopping at some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most fascinating cities, where you can visit the Great Barrier Reef and the world's oldest rain forest on the same day. A trip to the Orient will take you to exotic locations like Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and much more.
Embarkation & Disembarkation
The responsibility of getting from the airport/station to the port and vice versa is that of the guest. Details on how to get to the pier are provided in your cruise document kit, which you will receive prior to sailing. Most taxi drivers will also be familiar enough with the area to easily transport you to the pier. However, in most major ports around the world, cruise liners offer you the option of booking this transfer with them, at an additional cost. Ship boarding usually begins four to five hours before the ship is scheduled to depart, and all passengers must be onboard at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
Ships nowadays are so big and well-stabilized that passengers can barely tell that they are moving. It is unlikely that you will feel sick during your cruise.
A Cruise Tour is a combination of an exciting cruise vacation and land tour that allows you to experience all that your vacation destination has to offer. You'll get a unique vacation package including a cruise voyage, land-based lodging, and rail or luxury motor coach travel all in one itinerary.
A Cruise Tour will allow you to visit the ports of call that are a part of your cruise itinerary AND the towns/cities/sights which are located inland. Cruise lines have streamlined their product so that you pay just one price, which includes both the cruise and the land arrangements (hotel stay, sightseeing and transportation). It is, essentially, the best of both worlds.
Although our website does not cover cruise tours, we can book them for you
Etiquette / Tipping
Most ships recommend that you tip around $10 per person, per day. Some ships automatically charge tips to shipboard accounts, while others ask you to pay cash directly to the staff member. Several cruise lines are offering guests the option of pre-paying for tips at the time of booking. In this case, they are given a confirmation letter that the tips have been pre-paid and this can be handed over at the time of embarkation or settling the bill. Therefore, while cruise lines say that tipping is recommended, it is infect mandatory!
Insurance / Vacation Protection
All cruise lines offer guests the option of purchasing trip insurance. Any vacation is an investment and trip insurance is a sure way to protect that investment in case the unexpected happens -- injury, illness, or death. This insurance protects the traveler against cancellation penalties and travel interruptions. It is valid for the duration of your cruise and we highly recommend that you do opt for it. Please check with our cruise consultant regarding this insurance at the time of booking your cruise.
On Board Experience
Cruise ships are destinations unto themselves! All cruise ships have enough and more activities and experiences on board to keep you occupied 24/7. While every cruise liner has different activities, dining options and entertainment, here is a generic list of what you can expect onboard a cruise line.
Food / Restaurants : Of all the amenities provided on cruises, food remains one of the highlights. Cruise ships often are referred to as "floating smorgasbords" because of the abundance and selection of food onboard. Meals and snacks are available round-the-clock. Start your morning with a wonderful breakfast buffet that will delight you no matter what your breakfast food preference. Lunch and dinner are served in full service dining rooms where you can order right from the menu. In between, there are delectable afternoon and midnight buffets to tempt you. Not only are food offerings endless but many of your meals are prepared by celebrity chefs, so you can count on an all-around pleasurable culinary experience every day, every meal.
Each ship offers a variety of tastes for every palette. There are sidewalk style café’s, fine-dining cigar lounges, child-friendly restaurants - all offering specialty wines and gourmet cuisines. Special dietary requirements such as Indian and vegetarian meals can be catered to on most ships.
Activities : From onboard bowling to open-air cinemas, state of the art fitness centres to basketball courts, rock climbing to yoga, wellness and spa treatments to lounging by the pool, browsing the internet or browsing the library – there is something for EVERYONE on board a cruise.
Entertainment : Broadway-style shows, Karaoke Bars, Night Clubs & Lounges, Casinos
Shopping : Duty-Free shopping is available on board most ships
Besides the fact that cabins have a telephone, most ships have Internet cafés or offer Internet access directly from the cabins, and some even provide ship-wide wireless Internet access. Naturally, a ship-to-shore telephone call can be quite expensive, and it may be wise to use a public phone at the next port stop. A number of cruise lines offer onboard cell phone service, but reception also depends on your cell phone carrier. Please keep in mind any additional roaming or usage fees your cell phone provider may issue.
- Always refer to your vessel as a ship not a boat and is always referred to as a female.
- A ship has decks not floors.
- A ship has staterooms or cabins not rooms.
- Port: When facing forward, the left side of the ship
- Starboard: When facing forward, the right side of the ship
- Fore: The front of the ship
- Aft: The rear or back of the ship.
- Embarkation: Boarding of the ship, on the first day of the cruise
- Disembarkation: Final departure from the ship, on the last day of the cruise
- Bridge: The area from which the captain and his crew navigate the ship
- Muster Drill: Mandatory lifeboat/safety drill; takes place the first day of the cruise, just before the ship sets sail
- Tender: Small boats that transport passengers from the ship to shore and back; generally used in small ports of call