Top 10 Frequently Ask Cruise Questions
We often get asked a number of questions from new-to-cruise clients - here is our Top 10 frequently asked cruise questions. If you have others simply add them to the comments box and we will get back to you.
1.When is the right time to book a cruise?
If you want a specific cabin/suite on a specific ship, sailing on your chosen itinerary I would suggest you book as soon as possible. Most of the cruise lines offer their keenest fares early on and as the ships fill up, their prices increase - this is called fluid pricing and is becoming increasingly common. HOWEVER if you can cruise at short notice, not too fussy about cabin location or destination then you can still get some good late cruise offers.
2.With so many cruise lines out there how do I know which are the best ones?
The best ones will depend on what you like to do or want to do on holiday - cruise ships come in different sizes and star ratings, just like hotels. There are small boutique style ships taking just 49 guests right up to huge resort-style ships that can accommodate 6,000 passengers. To help you find the cruise ship that is right for you - speak to a knowledgeable cruise consultant who can guide you through the differences. Some cruise ships are great for families, others are better for couples; some are formal and all-inclusive, others offer a relaxed, fun atmosphere onboard. The best way to decided is to prepare list of what you like to do and what you don’t like to do and this will help your consultant narrow down your choices. You can also view a cruise line guide online that will help.
3.Is there enough to do on the ship or will I get bored?
Some cruise ships these days are like floating resorts - did you know that you can ice skate, play 10-pin bowling, play croquet (on a real lawn), go rock climbing, play basketball, go surfing, learn a language, learn to play piano, drive an F1 car, and so much more all onboard a cruise ship? Of course if you just want a relaxing break, lying around the pool and indulging in spa treatments then you can do this too - there really is a ship for everyone and with one of the highest satisfaction ratings in the holiday industry - most people who take a cruise will take a second one, and then a third, and then a fourth...
4.What about seasickness?
One of the most common questions we get asked - of course we cannot guarantee that you won’t experience rough seas, but the cruise lines tend to position their ships where the good weather is to try to avoid this. One very good way to minimise the movement of the ship is to select a cabin or suite in the centre of the ship, as this is where you will feel least movement. Of course the perfect cruise to avoid any chance of sea sickness is a river cruise.
5.What is the difference in an inside cabin, outside cabin, balcony cabin and suite? Why are they sometimes called staterooms?
An inside cabin will have no windows in it, so when you turn out the lights it will be dark. These cabins are usually priced cheaper than the others and are often on the lower decks (although not always) Outside cabins will have a window looking out to the sea. These windows are fixed and will not open, however you will of course have a view and daylight filling the room.
Balcony cabins will have a veranda or balcony on them accessed by a sliding glass floor-to ceiling door. Often there is space for a table and chairs and on some they are deep enough to have a sun lounger on them. These are the most popular cabins with experienced cruises as you get loads of natural light, you can sit out on the veranda /balcony and even have meals out there or enjoy a cocktail as the ship leaves port. These are more expensive than outside cabins, however its worth asking for a price quote as sometimes the cost to upgrade to a balcony cabin is not always very high.
The difference between the terms cabin, suite and stateroom is just down the how the cruise line wants to market itself. Suites do tend to be larger and more luxurious than cabins or staterooms. The more upmarket lines like to call their cabins staterooms, and may have more square footage than competitors cabins. Check the brochures for sizes or ask your consultant
6.If I take my children/grand children is there enough for them to do?
Certain cruise lines cater very well for families with children, with many operating kids clubs and activities everyday of the cruise. The clubs are usually spilt in to 3 or 4 age bands with designated, specially designed parts of the ship especially for them. This way the kids are out of the way of the adults, and can enjoy themselves making new friends from around the world. You could drop your kids of at the club in the morning and not see them all day! Some family friendly cruiselines even offer children’s shore excursions and buffets. A cruise also offers great security and is a very safe environment for families.
7.Isn’t cruising just for older retired people?
Cruising has come a long way from the traditional idea that cruising is just for old people - there are new and innovative cruise ships coming out all the time specifically aimed at the younger market, from honeymooners, young couples and large family groups there is a ship for everyone - its not all bingo and shuffle board any more. Again it’s important to put the right person on the right ship. Some upscale boutique luxury cruise ships attract quite a young cosmopolitan crowd whilst others are designed specifically for families.
8.How long do I get in port?
Cruise line websites and brochures are very informative and will show you exactly how long you get in each port. On a typical 7 day Mediterranean cruise you could have 6 ports of call. The ship would usually arrive at about 8am, with passengers being allowed ashore from 9am once the vessel has been cleared by the local authorities. They usually stay there until about 6pm, so you would have a good nine hours to explore. More and more cruise lines are arranging for their ships to stay in port overnight or even for a few days, so the ship acts like a floating hotel. Ports like St Petersburg in Russia lend themselves well for a three day visit as there is so much to do - other popular overnight stays include Venice, Barcelona, Istanbul, New York, and Hong Kong. Some ships also leave late at night, allowing you to explore the destination both by day and well into the evening too.
9.Do I have to take the cruise lines organised excursions?
Not at all. Once in port you are free to get off the ship and do as you please at the destination. Many cruise lines will provide a shuttle bus for their guests that will drop them at the town/city centre - but not all - check with your consultant if this is important to you. Alternatively speak to your cruise consultant about arranging a private tour - the benefit of this is that they can tailor the tour to suit exactly what you want to see, you can get more into your time ashore and having a private guide allows you to easily ask any questions, or even change the tour en-route. By tailoring your cruise you can create the perfect holiday.
10.I have already been to the Med and Caribbean on other holidays - where else do cruises go?
Most people will choose the Mediterranean as a first cruise then move on to the Caribbean - however with more cruise ships coming into the market every year, cruise itinerary planners are always looking for new and exciting ports of call to send their ships to. The Black Sea is very popular as is the Baltic region including the Baltic capital cities or Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg and Helsinki. Cruise from the UK, the Norwegian Fjords are easily accessible and only a day or two sailing time away, as are the Canary Islands. South America is growing in popularity with cruises from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso a popular route. Antarctica can be visited on a cruise ship or a smaller expedition style ship too. Then there are the rivers of Europe and the Nile, the Mekong and even the Mississippi in the USA. In fact if a country has a coast a cruise ship will probably make a visit there! See our cruise destination guide for more information.
If you are new-to-cruise but want to know more about it - then the best thing to do is contact a specialist cruise travel agent such as The Luxury Cruise Company who can help you make the right decision and book your perfect cruise holiday.
Do you have any other questions? Is there anything else you would like to know? Fill in the comments box below and we will get back to you.