If you are new to cruise, you are likely to have lots of questions. Here, we've listed the most popular cruise answers but if you have a specific query, you can ask a CLIA UK & Ireland who will be happy to provide more cruise tips and advice.
Cruises are popular with every generation - singles, families, couples and groups of friends. There really is a cruise to suit every age and a ship to meet all expectations whether you want to be active or just sit and watch the world go by. There are no 'typical' passengers as the different types of cruises appeal to a wide range of people. There are family friendly and adult only ships, together with river cruising and expedition sailing - all of which bring a mix of ages and varying interests.
There are lots of things to do on a cruise. Whilst each ship is unique in its style, size and the facilities it offers, there's plenty to do both on board and ashore. There's bowling or ice skating, the opportunity to learn circus skills, keep fit in the gym, relax in the spa, take a dip in the pool, listen to guest lecturers, watch a movie or a stage show, begin a new hobby, visit the casino - the list of on board activities is almost endless and then there are plenty of things to do ashore.
Cruising offers exceptional value when compared to a land-based holiday. An all inclusive cruise takes in accommodation, food, activities and entertainment plus visiting great destinations. With a wide range of itineraries and many different cruise lines, there is a cruise holiday to suit all budgets.
There are thousands of worldwide cruise destinations from which to choose and a cruise can take you to places virtually inaccessible by other means - Antarctica perhaps, or the Northern Lights or an African river. Cruise ships sail to the four corners of the globe and along the world's waterways with new destination being constantly introduced.
The choice is yours! Some people love the formality of a cruise with its set dining times and evening dress, and there are plenty of ships that provide this traditional style of cruising. Alternatively you may want an informal atmosphere - dine at a time of your choosing and dress casually and there are cruises just for you. Visit an ACE accredited cruise agent who will have the expert knowledge to ensure you choose the right itinerary and cruise to match your requirements and meet your expectations.
Nearly every cruise line offers family friendly options although these vary between cruise companies and ships. For those with very young children, babysitting services are available on a number of ships with children's activities generally divided into distinct age groups. More large resort style ships offer extensive facilities including such activities as rock climbing, bowling, cookery lessons and of course the ever popular computer games such as Play Stations and Wiis.
Cruise ships are well stabilized and it's often hard to tell that you're actually moving, so sea sickness if pretty rare. Technology assists the ship's captain in avoiding bad weather where possible and there are certain regions that are renowned for their calm waters such as the Caribbean, the Adriatic and of course the many rivers around the world including European, Russian and Asian waterways. Generally, the larger the ship the less likely you are to feel the motion and also consider the time of year you may travel. Should you feel the need, medication for sea sickness is available on board.
Tips, or gratuities, are often the source of confusion, with many people unaware of when service charges apply and how much to leave. Depending on the cruise line, there are various ways gratuities may be applied. Some will automatically apply a charge to your room bill on a per person per day basis. Others allow guests to pay gratuities when booking their cruise whilst the ultra luxury operators include all tips. It's best to check how tips are applied and how much they are when booking your cruise.
Several cruise lines have adult-only ships while some of the smaller luxury lines do not have facilities specifically for children so you could look at these as an alternative.
There are many companies which offer cruises for disabled people. A number of ships have listening device kits, some can cater for dialysis patients, most are able to accommodate special dietary requirements and the larger, newer vessels offer the space required for wheelchair users. Some cruise lines have special lifts designed to assist passengers in and out of the on board pools. Visit a CLIA accredited cruise agent to discuss your requirements in detail and who will have the knowledge to ensure you choose the right ship and itinerary. You may also wish to contact the cruise line directly to talk about your needs.
Some cruise lines have dedicated cabins for single occupancy with no additional charge while others you will be required to pay a single person supplement like most hotels. A cruise is a great option when travelling alone - easy to meet other people but you also have the ability to do your own thing.
Most family-friendly cruise lines have extensive kids' clubs that are divided into various age groups with some taking children from 6 months upwards (some even take infants as young as 3 months). More often than not, these cruise lines offer crèches or baby-sitting services although these may be offered at an additional cost. A number of cruise lines organise junior shore excursions, have early dining times for children and designated pools, restaurants and discos just for kids.
This is now the norm and it means that passengers settle their bill in one payment before disembarkation on the last day.
Individual lines may vary so please check at time of booking. Generally speaking extras include drinks, treatments in the beauty salon and spa, shore excursions, on board purchases, gratuities and dry-cleaning services.
The earlier you book the greater the choice of cruise and more often than not you will benefit from an early booking discount. You will also have a choice of cabin and its location on the ship.
Smoking policies vary between cruise line so it's best to check at the time of booking. Some ships allow smoking in designated areas such as a bar, on the outer deck, in your cabin or on your private balcony. Restaurants on almost all ships are totally non-smoking and there are a couple of cruise ships afloat that are non-smoking throughout.
Yes - and what can be more romantic than getting married at sea! A number of cruise lines offer wedding packages with a dedicated wedding planner to take care of everything from the ceremony to the cake and flowers. Some cruise lines arrange for the ceremony to take place on board with the Captain while others organise for the marriage to take place ashore. You can also renew vows on board and of course, cruising is an ideal romantic experience for honeymooners.
Most ships provide televisions and many have DVDs, ipod docking stations, mini-bars and a safe. Ships within the ultra luxury collection may also offer a Jacuzzi within a suite along with full entertainment centres and laptop computers.
Most ships have internet facilities either within internet cafés, at hotspots throughout the ship or in the bedroom.
Yes - some cruise companies have contracts with land-based phone companies while others have connect services in place and as a result rates vary. The connect services are switched off when the ship is in port so you will pay the local rate.
Most ships offer a laundry service for which there will normally be a charge.
This can vary depending on the cruise line and where the ship is sailing but as a general rule it's either 18 or 21 so check the details with your travel agent.
You can cruise up to your 28th week (on the day you return). You may also require a doctor's certificate to say you are fit to travel and let the cruise line know at the time of booking.
Many cruise lines provide options for disabled and reduced mobility guests. However, there are regulations to be aware of and further answers on these issues can be found here. It is also always best to confirm any important information like this with your Cruise Line when booking.