It takes a lot of planning and preparation to book a cruise. From choosing which one is right for you, to what to pack and which documents are required to board. Here at Well Travelled, we have all the answers to your cruise frequently asked questions.
Also check our Guide to Cruising section for further information.
Q – How do I find the cruise that’s right for me?
A – A cruise can be as individual as the person embarking upon the journey. From family and kid friendly cruises, to luxury, boutique, small ship and adventure, or a themed cruise centred around hobbies and special interests, finding that perfect cruise starts with a simple search on the Well Travelled cruise line page.
RELATED STORY: How to choose your cruise.
Q – Why have cruises become so popular?
A – Not only do cruises provide tremendous value, but they encompass a wide range of holiday opportunities – both on land, and on board. Relax poolside or in the day spa, or party all night long in a lounge or club. And with the smorgasbord of dining options to choose from, you won’t go hungry either.
On shore, stroll through an exotic port destination at your leisure, or book an adventure tour. Included in the price of the cruise, guests already have their accommodation, entertainment and meals covered. Now that’s value! Another welcome benefit is the convenience. Your cabin is your home. Unpack once as the ship takes you from port to port. Easy!
Q – Where can a cruise take me?
A – There’s no limit to where a cruise can take you. If there’s a navigable waterway, chances are, there’s a cruise to get you there. From Mexico and the Mediterranean, to the Caribbean and South Pacific Islands, or Australia to Asia or North America, the possibilities are endless.
For the adventure seekers, there are cruise itineraries to take you to remote ports such as Antarctica, cruises around Iceland and Greenland or the remote fjords of New Zealand and Norway or the natural gorges of the Kimberleys.
Some cruise goers enjoy the variety of a different port each day, while others enjoy days spent at sea where they can take full advantage of the ship’s entertainment and amenities. Finding the balance that’s right for you is what makes a cruise most enjoyable.
RELATED STORY: When is the best time to cruise.
Q – What travel documents do I need?
A – Every guest (including children) requires a passport for international travel. Most countries require a passport validity date of between 6 and 9 months. Some countries also require a visa for entry, and it’s incumbent upon each guest to obtain these documents before travel.
Travellers should check with their cruiseline and/or the embassy of each country included on the cruise itinerary for up-to-date travel documentation requirements.
Q – Do I require vaccinations or inoculations?
A – It’s always a good idea to check with your health professional if inoculations are necessary when travelling internationally, especially when travelling to third world or tropical destinations.
Q – Do ships have doctors or medical facilities?
A – If concerned about the medical facilities onboard, check in advance with your cruise line. Most large ships however have a doctor or small medical team onboard. Cruise lines may also require that guests provide information on their health condition in the event of a medical emergency.
Medical staff on board may not always be equipped to deal with severe or life threatening conditions in which case, evacuation by helicopter could be necessary. For this reason, all passengers should have adequate travel insurance.
Q – Should I have travel insurance?
A – Whether you’re on a cruise, travelling by air, or on land, everyone should have ample travel insurance for instances of property loss or damage, trip disruption or cancellation, or personal illness or injury in the event of an accident or medical problem. Ask your Well Travelled cruise consultant for more information.
Q – Do I have to pay gratuity during the cruise?
A – When it comes to tipping and gratuities, each cruise line operates differently. Some cruise lines offer fully inclusive pricing where all drinks, tours and tips are included in the price of your fare. Operators that offer fully inclusive pricing include Scenic, APT, Crystal, Seabourn, and Uniworld. Just recently, Royal Caribbean has begun including gratuity in the fare on cruises out of Australia.
For cruises that are not fully inclusive, a gratuity payment is recommended for the dining and cabin staff. This can be added as a charge to your cabin at the end of the cruise.
Some cruise lines provide separate envelopes for cash payment which can be handed directly to the wait staff or cabin attendants. Your cruise line can assist with questions on the recommended daily amount per staff member, typically around $5 per day or at your discretion.
Q – What preparations should I make before the cruise?
A – Typically, cruise lines require each guest to check-in online before the day of departure. This is the time to provide information regarding any special needs or dietary requirements that you might have.
You can also request or receive information regarding your seating time for dinner. The online check-in portal will also allow you to print out the required bag tags for your luggage.
To check-in online, go to the home page of your cruise operator’s website and look for the cruise personalisation or check-in tab, or check with your Well Travelled cruise consultant who may be able to help.
Q – Do I need evening wear or formal attire for dinner?
A – Each cruise line or ship will have different guidelines when it comes to dress in the evenings. On some ships, guests are required to dress in formal wear or a jacket and tie for dinner. Other ships are less formal, where smart or business casual dress is suitable.
Other ships may be even less formal, suggesting only that swimwear, flip-flops and shorts not be worn in the main dining rooms for dinner. You can confirm these details during the online check-in process or check with your Well Travelled cruise consultant at time of booking for confirmation.
Some cruise lines have themed parties onboard, such as P&O Australia’s White Party and Great Gatsby party where passengers are encouraged to dress up, although not mandatory.