Cruising FAQs

Is cruising affordable? 

Whether you’re cost-conscious or live in the lap of luxury, there’s a cruise vacation out there to suit every budget. Your cruise fare typically includes your stateroom, meals (including room service), on-board activities and entertainment, plus transportation from one exciting port to the next.  With a cruise vacation, you know how much your vacation cost before you will even set foot on the ship.  On most cruises, your only extra expenses will be for drinks, specialty restaurants, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as those offered by the on-board spa.

How long are cruises?

As long or short as you want.  Cruise lines offer itineraries ranging from two nights to three months and longer.

Do I need a passport?

Government-issued photo identification is required for all guests, crew members, and visitors boarding a cruise ship.  For all cruises that begin and end in U.S. ports, U.S. citizens must have a passport OR a birth certificate (original or certified copy) PLUS a government-issued photo ID card.  If your cruise begins or ends in a non-U.S. port, you MUST have a full passport, valid for 6 months after your return. Children under age 16 do not need to present a photo ID.  Non-U.S. citizens must have a valid passport and visa (when necessary) in addition to an alien registration card (ARC or green card).  The cruise line will send you information about required documentation well in advance of your departure, so you’ll have plenty of time to make arrangements. Of course, Atlas Cruising will make sure you have all your documents in order as well.

Will I get bored?  Feel confined?

Hardly!  Cruising offers freedom and openness that no land-based resort can.  While you’re at sea, the scenery is always changing, so look out a window or peer off a deck to see something new and beautiful.  Because many modern ships are basically floating cities, there’s plenty to discover. You could easily spend a few days doing nothing but exploring your at-sea home.  Plus, your cruise likely will stop at numerous ports where you can get off the ship and create your own adventure.
Cruise ships combine the best features of land-based resorts with the romance and excitement of traveling by sea.  Just like you can at a land-based resort, on a cruise you can lounge poolside, smell the salty sea air, get a tan, catch up on your reading, and see movies–all while the scenery changes around you.
If you live an active lifestyle–or aspire to–there’s plenty for you to do on board. Take dance or exercise classes or participate in sports contests such as basketball and pool volleyball tournaments. Run around the jogging deck or practice your tennis stroke or golf swing. Work out in the gym or take a swim and then relax in the sauna. You don’t have to give up your favorite activities just because you’re at sea!
There’s way too much to do on the ship to list here.  The bottom line is that a cruise vacation is anything but boring and confining…it’s truly liberating.

What’s there to do in port?

Every port offers its own endless array of activities and sights, and you’ll likely have a hard time choosing which amazing experience you want to try.  You can explore on your own or take guided tours (called shore excursions) offered by the ship.  Track down ancient ruins or shopping bargains.  Ride a raft through white water or a horse across lapping waves.  Climb a waterfall or a historic pyramid.  Ski in the wake of a motorboat or down the slopes of the Alps.  Still have time? Play golf or tennis.  Windsurf in the bluest water you’ve ever seen.  Swim in crystal-clear water.  Go fishing.  Explore the ocean’s reefs while you snorkel, drive, or sail.  Take a cable car up to the peak of a mountain.  Descend into dark catacombs.
Every port has an activity or attraction that will appeal to everyone, regardless of age and activity level. Cruises enable you to try everything you’ve ever wanted to try, without having to pack and unpack.

Do I have to participate in the activities?

It’s your cruise: Do it all or do nothing at all. Do what you want, when you want.

Do cruise lines welcome families with young children?

Families with young children are booking more cruises now than ever before. Most cruise lines offer supervised activities for kids, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, watching movies, playing sports and games, and exploring new places, they’ll love a going on a cruise vacation.  Kids adapt to life on a ship quickly and easily, and because the ship’s well-trained youth counselors keep kids busy and safe, you won’t have to worry about keeping them busy all the time. Plus they’ll be having the time of their lives! Cruise lines often offer reduced rates for children, making a vacation aboard a cruise ship a great value.

What’s there to do at night?

When the stars come out, a cruise ship really turns on.  There’s dancing, live entertainment, nightclubs, lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends.  Most ships also have casinos.  If that’s not enough, there’s special events, the Captain’s Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, guest lecturers, Broadway-style shows, Las Vegas-type revues, and much more.

Is there a charge for entertainment?

Not usually.  On a cruise vacation, most entertainment is on the house.  There’s typically no cover, no minimum, and no charge for admission.  The shows are live, the films are first-rate, and it’s nearly all included in the cost of the cruise.

Will there be people like me?

There’s no such thing as a typical cruise passenger!  All kinds of people take cruises now.  All ages.  All walks of life.  Singles.  Couples.  Families.  Just ask us which ship is best for you based on your tastes and lifestyle. Let Atlas Cruising help you choose the best cruise line, itinerary, and ship for your needs.

What should I pack?

Pack like you would for any resort.  Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you’re on the ship or ashore.  In the evening, ships dress codes vary.  On ship and onshore, attire is dictated by occasion.  During formal nights, for example, you’ll probably want to wear something dressy, such as a dark suit or a cocktail dress or perhaps even a dinner jacket or tuxedo or gown. Men can always rent formal wear from the ship in order to save a little luggage space.

Can we celebrate a special day?

Absolutely!  Most cruise lines will give your clients a tasty treat and sing a chorus of “Happy Whatever” to honor the occasion.  For an additional fee, your birthday or anniversary can be made even more festive with champagne, flowers, or canapés.  You can even arrange for a special private party.  All you have to do is advise the cruise line (or Atlas Cruising) at the time of booking.

Is cruising right for honeymooners?

Without a doubt.  Cruising offers an atmosphere that’s just right for romance…cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, and dancing the night away under the stars.  Most cruise lines provide special services ranging from romantic dinners on your veranda to champagne and breakfast in bed.  Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing marriage vows.

Can I stay in touch with the rest of the world?

You bet.  Today’s ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes, and sports scores.  Most ships have high-speed internet cafes.  Almost all staterooms are equipped with televisions and have satellite or cellular telephones.

What about tipping?

Tipping is a matter of individual preference.  A general rule of thumb is to plan for about $2.50 to $3.00 per day, per person, for your room steward and waiter plus about half that for your busboy.  Plan on upwards of $10.00 per person, per day, as recommended by the cruise line.  Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.  Most cruise lines now allow you to automatically charge your tips to your onboard account.

How do onboard accounts work?

Most cruise lines do not deal in cash or credit but rather allow you to charge any and all incidentals on board to your shipboard account. Buy your drinks, visit a specialty restaurant, tip a little extra to your favorite bartender, or even purchase merchandise from an onboard store, and you can charge it all to your account. At the end of the cruise, you’ll receive a full statement to review, which will then be charged to the credit card you registered during embarkation. Of course, cash is still king in ports for shopping and dining.

Will my credit card charge a foreign convenience fee if I use it on board or in port?

Check with your card’s bank. Generally all charges purchased from your onboard account charged to your card are subject to whatever terms your card has for use within the United States. Some credit cards are designed to be used internationally, so if you use such a card in port, you are not charged the foreign convenience fee. Most cards, though, carry up to a 3% surcharge when used internationally, especially if you are purchasing in currency other than U.S. dollars.

Do cruise lines accept group bookings?

Most cruise lines will work with groups, often at reduced rates depending on how many people are involved.  Policies vary from company to company and sometimes during certain times of the year

Is motion discomfort a problem?

Almost never.  The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters in the world.  In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, advanced availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.

Can pregnant women cruise?

Yes.  Pregnant women can sail up until the end of the 24th week.

Are wheelchairs and strollers available on the cruise ship?

Wheelchairs are available only to help passengers on and off the cruise ship during embarkation and disembarkation. All cruise lines will allow strollers. At this time only Carnival Cruise Lines has stroller rentals on select ships. If a stroller is required during a cruise, clients should plan to bring their own.

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