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Life On Board


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Do I need to bring passport or visa?

All cruise lines require proof of citizenship and photo identification and will deny boarding to passengers who do not have the proper identification and documentation. If you are a Canadian or U.S. citizen travelling to the Caribbean, Alaska or Mexico, an original birth certificate and photo ID are generally acceptable. However, we strongly recommend you carry your passport. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with our Customer Care Department regarding visa requirements.
Some foreign ports may require a visa but the cruise line will inform you on proper documentation in plenty of time prior to final payment. Depending on where you live, it may take several weeks or months to obtain a passport if you do not already have one. Be sure to investigate what documentation you will require long before your holiday begins. Discuss this with your Cruise Connections agent, and contact the appropriate Consulate for the countries you are visiting if you require more information.
For more information regarding visa requirements, contact us at air@cruise-connections.com.

What is the appropriate dress code on board the ship?

During the day, dress on board is casual. There are generally two formal nights for seven-day cruises, one formal night for shorter cruises, and three formal nights for ten-day cruises. Some ships feature resort casual nights every evening of your cruise. Some ships offer special theme nights such as Country and Western Night or Caribbean Night. For details, refer to your cruise line brochure or the Daily Activity Newsletter while on board.
On Formal nights you can get as dressed up as you like. Gentlemen, if you have a tuxedo, now is the time to wear it. However, if you do not have one, don't worry a suit is fine. Ladies, cocktail or evening wear is appropriate.
On Informal nights gentlemen will be asked to wear a jacket, and ladies a dress or pantsuit.

Collared shirts and slacks for men are acceptable for Casual nights, and women can wear almost anything except shorts or jeans.
Most cruise ships have fitness centers on board so you may want to pack your gym clothes if you plan on working out. Good walking shoes are always a must for any cruise, especially if you plan on taking shore excursions that involve a lot of walking.

Don't forget to pack a good pair of sunglasses; the glare of the sun on the water is tiring to your eyes, your camera and plenty of film and a good book or some magazines if you plan to relax by the pool. And don't forget the sunscreen if you are travelling to a sunny destination.

If you forget something most ships have shops on board with a limited selection of toiletries and personal items.

Do I need to pack formalwear such as a tuxedo?

On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. However, you don't have to go out and buy a tuxedo just for this trip. Some ships offer tuxedo rental services right on board and will deliver it right to your cabin. Ask your Cruise Connections agent for more information. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are completely acceptable.

Are there any cruise ships that are completely smoke-free?

Presently, the only "Smoke Free" cruise ship is Carnival's Funship Paradise. She sails weekly from Miami to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. When Carnival says that the Paradise is "Smoke Free" they mean "Smoke Free." All passengers must sign a waiver before boarding that they will not smoke while on board. Violators of this waiver will be removed at the very next port of call and expected to return home at their own expense. Many ships have "Non-smoking" dining rooms and public areas, but only the Paradise is truly "Smoke Free." Please ask your Cruise Connections agent about your cruise ship's smoking policy.

Are wheelchairs available or do I have to bring my own?

Wheelchairs are generally available for passengers who are injured after they get on board. Most cruise lines recommend that you bring your own collapsible one if you will need it throughout the cruise. Holland America Line has in the past provided a wheelchair throughout the cruise if one is requested in writing 30 days prior to departure. Check with your Cruise Connections agent when booking regarding your ship's policy on providing wheelchairs to passengers.

Will my hairdryer or shaver fit in the outlets on board?

Most ships are equipped with 110-volt outlets in the staterooms so this shouldn't be a problem. Many new ships include hair dryers in the room, however they can be lacking in drying power, so you may want to bring your own.

Where can I keep my valuables?

Almost all cruise ships offer you somewhere to store your valuable, personal belongings. In fact, most new ships have safes right in the cabin. If you would like a safety deposit box, inquire at the Purser's desk.

Are there medical services on board?

Each ship is equipped with an infirmary staffed by a qualified physician and registered nurse(s). Should you require medical attention during your voyage, the doctor is available to render services at a customary charge. Your RBC Insurance policy will cover these and any other health-care related costs you may encounter during your journey. If you are on medication, please bring an adequate supply and keep them in your carry-on luggage.

How can we stay in touch with the outside?

Most cruise ships have a daily newsletter with news headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores that is delivered to your cabin. Staterooms on many ships are equipped with televisions and periodically will pick up news broadcasts. While many ships now have telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone on shore through the ship's radio operator while at sea. Be aware that direct dialed calls from the ship are extremely expensive, so you may want to wait until you are in port. In addition, many ships have fax capabilities.
You can be contacted on board the ship using the satellite services set up by the cruise line. Complete information about this service is found in your cruise documents.

The newer ships are being designed with the high-tech traveller in mind. They have separate computer rooms where you can get on the Internet and send email, and some are even equipping staterooms with data ports so you can connect from the comfort of your cabin.

Can I do my laundry on board, or is there a laundry service?

Most ships offer laundry and dry cleaning services on board for an additional fee. Some ships are also equipped with self-service laundry facilities. Check the ship description in the cruise line's brochure or consult your Cruise Connections counsellor.

Can I pay for things on the ship with cash?

Most ships operate on a "cashless" system. Each guest is issued an identity card so you can charge any on board services such as bar beverages, health and beauty services, duty-free purchases etc. to your room account. Remember, the currency on board is US dollars. At the end of your voyage you may settle your account with cash, traveller's cheque or major credit card. Most ships do not accept personal cheques.

Cash is accepted in the casino and for gratuities to the staff that served you.

Are babysitting services available?

Most mass-market cruise lines that encourage families with children offer babysitting services; however, availability can vary by destination and time of year. Cruise lines with limited facilities for children may not provide a children's program or sitting services unless a certain number of children are on board. There are some cruise lines that do not cater to children at all and may not offer any services or facilities that cater to children. Talk to your Cruise Connections cruise expert about what policy is in place for the specific cruise you are considering. Most contemporary cruise lines offer baby-sitting in a group-style format in the children's area. These are conducted by the Youth Counsellors. Toddlers and older children often have playtime before retiring to individual, sheet-covered mats while watching videos with the other kids. Infants are rocked and placed in individual cribs. Some cruise lines offer this for free while others may charge a small fee. Babysitting services are offered during certain evening hours when the children's program is not in operation, but generally not on the first or the last night of the cruise. Babysitting during daytime hours is usually offered only while at sea, but a few may have more flexible policies. For liability reasons, few cruise lines still offer "In-Room" babysitting services. Those that do, require that you make reservations with the Purser's desk at least 24 - 48 hours in advance. Female cabin stewards usually do this "In-Room" service on their own free time. The fees are set with the cruise line and typically handled by a cash transaction directly with the In-Room Baby Sitter.
Here are some of the Cruise Line Baby Sitting Policies from 2000 (this information is subject to change and should be used as a guide only)

Royal Caribbean International: 8 am - 2 am $8 USD per hr-2 hr min. for 2 children. $10 USD per hr-2 hr min. for 3 children. Sign up at the Purser's desk and cash transactions only.

Norwegian Cruise Line: 12 noon - 2 am; $8 USD per hr-2 hr min. Sign up at the Purser's desk and pay sitter directly.

Carnival Cruise Lines: No In-Room service but Group Sitting in playroom. 10pm-3am; 12 yrs. and younger

Holland America Line: Staff Volunteers $8 USD per hour per child. No specific times - depends on staff member.

Princess Cruises: Group sitting available (may vary by ship - please check your documents) Port days: 9 am - 5 pm. Evenings 10 pm - 1 am. Reservations must be made by 10 am for that day. Group charge: $4 USD per hr per child, ages 2-12. Royal and Pacific offers if there are 15 or more children sailing.
For updated information about a specific cruise line's baby-sitting program, please ask your cruise counsellor.

Is there a minimum drinking age on board?

You must be at least 21 years old to legally consume beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages on a cruise ship. You may be asked to present identification to the bartender, so be sure to have this handy.

Is there a beauty salon on board?

Most ships offer a salon, and many have full spa facilities available. Renowned companies such as Steiner of London and Mandara Spa manage shipboard spas and offer an extensive array of treatments. These services must be reserved once on board and are at additional expense. Some services may not be available at all times on board so it is recommended that you check with the spa as soon as possible if you are interested in using these facilities.

Can I access the Internet on board?

The newer ships are being designed with the high-tech traveller in mind. Many have separate computer rooms - Internet Cafés, where you can get on the Internet and send email, and some are even equipping staterooms with data ports so you can connect from the comfort of your cabin. Guests have the ability to send and receive e-mail, access Internet sites and, on some cruise lines, transmit a 20-second video postcard to friends and family back home. Guests can either use their own "web-based" e-mail address or obtain a temporary account while on board. If you plan on using email while on vacation you may want to set up an account with "hotmail" to save money and make sending and receiving messages easier.
Charges for this internet access vary by cruise line and are normally billed to your shipboard account.


Are there any special on board activities for children?


Most of the major "family-oriented" cruise lines offer extensive on board programs for ages 2 - 17. Some of the newer cruise ships even have special kids-only areas. Some programs are offered year-round while others may only be available on select itineraries or sailing dates.
Children's programs typically offer a variety of activities for children of all ages with daily activities planned for specific age categories. While onboard facilities are not daycares, they are staffed by experienced and qualified professionals who are trained to provide a safe and fun-filled environment for younger cruisers.
If available, baby-sitting services may be arranged on board for an additional fee through the Purser's Office.