First Time Cruiser Information
Common Questions from First Time Cruisers
We use this page to help answer some of the common questions we hear from prospective first time cruisers. Please contact us here at Christopher Travel when you are ready to explore cruise options or if you have additional cruise questions.
Each cabin holds a certain number of guests based on the number of berths (beds) in the cabin. These berths correspond to seats in lifeboats so you can’t just cram extra guests in a room and have them sleep on the floor. Even infants must be assigned a berth.
Cabin pricing varies widely based not only on whether it is Inside, Oceanview, Balcony or Suite, but also based on location on the ship—forward, aft, midship, near elevators, under the theater, partially obstructed view etc. So until you pick your cabin and hold/book it’s impossible to give specific pricing. In order to give you specific pricing on a cabin I must have your names as they appear in your passports and birthdates that way I can actually pick a cabin, get pricing, and hold it for a set number of days.
What is a “Guarantee” Cabin?
Guarantee cabins are cabins where you are “guaranteed” a specific category cabin without picking the actual room number. The cabin will be assigned by the cruise line closer to sail date. If you are flexible on your room location they can be a good deal.
A Note about Seasickness
Seasickness is not usually a problem on cruise ships due to their large size and enormous stabilizers. If you have concerns though you should aim to pick a room on a lower deck and mid ship ideally with a balcony or window.
Additional Costs to Consider
While cruising is considered an all inclusive vacation there are some things that are additional. This, of course, depends on the cruise line, but for most contemporary and premium lines you will need to pay additional for all alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, soft drinks, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, some activities etc. Please ask if you have any questions about what your cruise includes or does not include.
Shore excursions through the cruise line are a great option to see and do things while in port. They do tend to be more expensive than using a third party tour operator or doing activities on your own. I work with many shore excursions operators and can I will assist you in determining the best shore options for your particular trip.
Gratuities on most ships will be automatically charged to your stateroom account. You should consider this cost when determining the cost of your cruise. It is technically optional, but if the service is good—and in most circumstances it will be— they are unlikely to remove the charge from your account. The staff on cruise ships works hard to ensure you have a good time and gratuities are a large part of their compensation. If there is anything that goes wrong during your cruise contact guest services right away and give them the opportunity to make things right.
Arrive by Air AT LEAST One Day Early
We unequivocally recommends flying in at least a day before your cruise departs. Weather is not the only reason we suggest this. Flights are delayed all the time for a wide variety of unpredictable reasons and there is literally nothing we can do to help you if your flight arrives after the last boarding time for the ship. Even with travel insurance there to absorb some of the costs it is simply not the way to begin a vacation.
Always Bring a Passport
You absolutely should have a passport to go on a cruise to the Caribbean. Even if the law doesn’t always require it most cruise lines won’t let you board without one. Even if they do you need to be prepared in case something goes wrong. If you get sick and need to be airlifted; if the itinerary changes due to weather or mechanical problems; if you miss your boarding time and are stuck ashore etc. There are literally a thousand unforeseen events that would make it seriously difficult to return home if you don’t have a passport. It’s just not worth the risk. Get a passport.