Common Cruise Questions
Before heading out on your cruise take a look at these frequently asked questions to make sure that you know what to expect while on-board:
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- What if I have to cancel?
Sometimes things go wrong and you need to cancel your trip. If so, you should notify the cruise line immediately. The refund and cancellations they offer you are different depending on the cruise line you use. Some cruise lines even have penalties if you book really close to the sail date. You could get a full refund if you cancel within the designated cancellation period. Most cruises will not make exceptions no matter the reason you have to cancel, so make sure you get insurance in case you have an emergency and always review the cancellation policy before you book your cruise.
- What if the rate drops after I book?
If you have booked your cruise, you can set a price alert on our website (for more details click here). We will send you an alert if the prices drop after you book. Then you can contact the cruise line to try to get the difference back or to get an onboard credit to use while on your trip.
- Is my cruise really all-inclusive?
Most of the time, cruise lines are not truly all-inclusive even if they say they are. The reason for this exception is that alcohol and soft drinks are usually extra, specialty restaurants cost extra, and they offer paid entertainment options. But you can easily find more about the true cost of a cruise in our How much does a cruise cost? guide.
- Will I get seasick?
If you book your cruise when there is mild weather and seas are steady, chances are you won't feel a lot of rocking on the ship. The larger the ship, the less likely it is that you will actually get seasick. However, if you are seriously prone to motion sickness there are things you can do to prevent it, including selecting cabins far away from the majority of the motion. Cabins located on lower decks and in the middle of the ship usually have the least movement. Choosing a large cruise ship size and a cruise ship cabin in the middle of the ship will thus help you to enjoy your cruise without worries.
- Is the food good?
Just the same as purchasing food at a restaurant in town, you will get what you pay for. If you're in the main dining room on a budget cruise line, do not be disappointed when your dinner doesn’t feature special delicacies or isn’t served with a flourish. On the other hand, certain luxury cruise lines have top rated restaurants which rival those you would find in a big city. If food is of great importance to you, then there are some cruises for real gourmets and certain destinations for foodies as well.
- Will it be crowded?
The number of passengers on your ship, when you are traveling, and where you are going will directly influence how crowded the ship is. Larger vessels will obviously be much more crowded. Weekend cruises which depart on Friday nights are much more crowded because they are full of often younger crowds squeezing a weekend getaway into packed work or school schedules.
- Will I feel claustrophobic?
Of course it depends on the ship, but probably not. Some ships are large enough to house shopping malls and thousands of people. They are so big that you will literally be inside a floating city. Even small ships can feel comfortable thanks to well-designed layouts and programming schedules.
- Are there age restrictions?
Yes, most cruises have a minimum age requirement but these vary based on cruise line.
- Will there be enough entertainment for kids if they are all different ages?
This depends on the cruise line you book, but generally speaking the answer is yes. Family cruises are a great option to get a vacation for every family member no matter what age. Larger cruises in particular are more appealing to families with multiple children because they offer different age-appropriate entertainment and activities, and they typically have babysitting services.
- Can I bring my baby?
Many cruises have a minimum age of six months from the date of sale for babies. Check to see which amenities are provided for different ages before you book.
- Will I have to pay full price for a baby?
The age at which you pay full price for a cruise varies based on cruise line. There are many kid-friendly cruises which let a baby sail for free or at a heavily-discounted rate. MSC Cruises is a great line for families because all kids under the age of 11 sail for free.
- Can I travel if I am pregnant?
This depends on the cruise line. Most of them allow you to travel when pregnant up to your third trimester. Most of the cruise lines might not be able to accommodate you if you go into early delivery or if you have an emergency which is why their policies might not allow it during the third trimester.
- What are transfers?
Transfers are the mode of transportation provided between an airport and a cruise pier. These can be set up ahead of time, usually for a small fee, although some provide you with complimentary transfers if you book the air and sea packages.
- What are air and sea packages?
Air and sea packages are when you book your flight and your cruise at the same time. The biggest advantage to this is that you can book everything at once and you can add extra protection in case you have a flight delay or cancellation. Therefore it is a stress-free possibility to travel to your cruise ship. Transfers may also be included in air and sea packages.
- How much luggage can I bring?
Understand that many cruise lines have limited space for luggage so you might be able to bring more on your airline when flying to the port then you will on the actual ship. Check with the storage limits for the cabin you have booked. With little preparation and a good packing list you can be sure that you don't forget anything important and don't pack anything unnecessary - especially for short cruises.
- How do I pay for things on board?
There is no universal payment policy across all cruise lines. It is becoming increasingly common, especially on larger cruise lines, to use your cruise ID card for all on-board purchases. Your cruise ID card is linked to your onboard account. You can choose to deposit cash into this account when you start your cruise or you can simply connect to your debit or credit card. However, not all cruise lines have adopted this policy, so it is best to check with your individual cruise line ahead of time.
- How early do I have to arrive for boarding?
Every cruise requires you to arrive at least one hour before departure. It is best that you arrive the recommended two hours before departure so you have adequate time to park your car, especially if the parking at the pier is crowded, and you will have time to properly check in and board the ship.
- Will there be Internet on the ship and can I use my phone?
On almost all ships there is new technology so that you can make cell phone calls no matter where you are but sometimes you will face international roaming charges. As for Internet you can often stay connected 24 hours a day on almost every ship. There is a wireless network offered in many state rooms and public areas throughout the ship. Please check if there are extra fees to use the Internet.
- What is traditional dining?
Traditional dining means that you have a set schedule for the time you eat and you are seated with the same guests every time. Many passengers like traditional dining because it offers personalized service from waiters.
- What is the dress code for dining?
There are typically three dress codes for ships: casual, informal, and formal. You can look at the dining information and dress code policies for each cruise to figure out what you need to wear based on where you are dining that evening. If you just want to be casual about your dining options the entire time you are on the ship, you can choose buffet style restaurants or use room service.