Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Modern ships have hydraulic stabilisers, which regulate the movement of the ship at sea to create more balance and less motion. However, the sea is one of the greatest forces in nature, and during rough seas, even the largest cruise ships can be subject to motion. There are many over-the-counter, non-prescription medications available to help avoid or eliminate seasickness. Dramamine, Marazine, and Bonine, to name a few, have all been time tested and are effective for most people.
Scopaloniine, also known as "the patch," is a prescription medication that is applied behind the ear and time releases small amounts of medicine through the skin. Many people have found this to be effective against motion sickness. All medication should, of course, be carefully considered and your physician should be consulted if necessary.
One of the most recent developments in avoiding the discomfort of motion sickness is a product called the "Sea Band." The Sea Band is not a medication and, therefore, one may avoid the side effects that are common with some products, such as drowsiness, dryness of the mouth, etc.
In the event of seasickness, most ships are equipped with modem medical facilities and a ship's physician. Lest we emphasise the negative, let us say that for most passengers aboard cruise ships, seasickness is very rare, especially on the new generation of superliners. One is barely aware of movement on the larger ships.
People are generally aware whether or not they are susceptible to motion sickness. If you do not experience motion sickness on a small powerboat or larger motor yacht, chances are that you won't on a large cruise ship. If you experience motion sickness on an hour and a half drive in the country, you may be more susceptible to seasickness. In this case, we suggest taking some precautions and/or consulting your physician.
Cruising is all-inclusive
This means that almost everything is included at a fixed price that you know in advance. Here is what's typically included in the cost of your cruise at a price that is generally lower than a comparable land-based holiday:
Round-trip airfare.
Transfers from airport to ship and ship to airport.
Three main meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Special children's menus are available.
Three buffet meals per day (breakfast, lunch and midnight). Some ships add a fourth buffet for late-nighters at around 1:30 a.m. Many ships also have afternoon snacks or traditional high teas.
24-hour room service on many ships. Some new ships are adding 24-hour pizzerias.
All shipboard facilities, including casino, pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, on-board lectures, card rooms, an unending variety of organised games and contests and more...
Supervised children's activities offered on a daily basis. Good to know if you are bringing along a child.
All entertainment, including: Broadway and Las Vegas-style shows, lounges, nightclubs, movies, dancing and more...
Visits to more ports of call (depending on length of cruise).
There are a number of expenses that are not generally included in the cost of your cruise, which you also need to be aware of. These include gratuities (a suggested amount is $7.50-$9 USD per day per person, or $52.50-$63 USD per passenger per week for a 7-day cruise, paid at the end of the cruise); port charges and government fees (approximately $125 USD per person for a typical 7-day Caribbean cruise, but varying in price depending on destination); shore excursions (discussed below); items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, casino, boutiques, etc.
More on value
From a financial perspective, cruising makes good sense. But it isn't just the consideration of how to spend one's holiday dollar that is important. Cruising stretches the holiday dollar because of what you get for what you spend.
Take the dining experience, for example. Dining on a cruise ship is the equivalent of going to the best-rated restaurant in town. At every meal you will find fine China, crystal, and silver, impeccable service, and excellent cuisine. If the food is not gourmet, it will most certainly be presented and served as if it were. And there are no limits on quantity - you can have as many servings of whatever you like as often as you like. There is simply no comparison to the value one finds in the dining experience aboard a cruise ship, especially when compared to taking the family out to a typical family restaurant, or even to a restaurant at a land-based resort.
Intimacy, relaxation and fun
Although modem telecommunications never really isolates a ship at sea, there is the perception among cruise passengers that they are truly "away from it all," with no outside responsibilities to intrude on their vacation. This lends itself to an almost immediate tension-free environment.
Cruise passengers "wind down" more quickly, further encouraging an easygoing approach to new acquaintances and new situations. The abundance of fresh air, unending expanses of sea, and an infinite canopy of stars overhead each night surely helps to enhance the cruise experience.
While space on a cruise ship is ample, providing solitude and privacy to those who seek it, one tends to become more familiar more quickly with fellow passengers. The reality of "being in the same boat" means that one is likely to keep running into the same people again and again, or at least feel that they look familiar. No other form of vacation can make this claim.
The cheerful attitudes of cruise personnel are another factor in putting passengers at ease as they step on board a ship. Most cruise ships have developed guest services to a high art. Friendliness is virtually institutional aboard most vessels, giving passengers the sense that they are truly valued as welcome guests. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the modern day Cruise Director - a bundle of happiness and energy whose sole mission is to bring people together for a good time.
Exotic Destinations
Destinations are another reason for the renaissance in cruise travel. Chances are that wherever you want to go in the world, there's a cruise to take you there. Whether for escape, adventure or a thirst for knowledge, visiting exotic destinations is a collective fantasy that appeals to everyone.
As demand for cruising continues to rise, new destinations and itineraries are constantly being added.
Yes! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget, from the cost-conscious to the most luxurious. Even more important, a cruise offers the best travel value for your money. Your fare includes all meals, your cabin, onboard daytime activities, night-time parties and entertainment.
So for once, you'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling.)
As long or short as you want. There are cruise lines that offer itineraries from three days to three months. Whatever your schedule, we'll do our best to find the cruise for you.
Anytime is the best time to take a cruise, but it also depends on where you'd like to go. The Caribbean is fantastic year round; however, some of the more exotic destinations are seasonal. For example, you can only cruise to Alaska between May and September; to Europe between April and November; to Bermuda, between April and October; the Panama Canal, between September and April.
So you see, no matter what time of year it is, it's a perfect time to cruise.
If only we could predict the future. There are no fixed calendar months that one can clearly assign as hurricane/typhoon season. As with spring, summer, autumn and winter, such conventions should be interpreted as probabilistic rather than absolute. Since we've been in business, we've only seen one sailing date was cancelled due to hurricane activity.
Does this mean you shouldn't cruise during high probability months? Not at all. Some of your best rates are during such periods and your Captain would never jeopardise your safety. Cruise ships are certainly safer than land-locked Caribbean Islands during violent weather.
Today's ships are equipped with state of the art weather equipment that keeps the Captain and his crew fully aware of a storm's position and if he feels that there is any danger to his passengers, crew, or his vessel he can simply "move" this floating resort to safer waters.
If you are looking for the very least expensive time to take a cruise, then consider sailing between the end of August and before Christmas, but not over Christmas. Most families have children that are back to school, folks begin saving holiday time for travel, and everyone's saving money for the holiday season.
Considering all of these factors, expect cruise prices that are better than 2-for-1 with reduced rates for 3rd and 4th passengers. If you're looking for a senior citizen rate, a regional promotion, a past passenger promotion, or a last minute deal, you'll likely find it during this period. Not the Winter, Spring, or Summer.
Where do you want to go? Cruises visit practically any destination accessible by water -- the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Bermuda, Europe, Hawaii, the Greek Isles, the Orient, Australia, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands, South America, India, the Panama Canal and more. If you can name it, we can probably get you there by ship.
Far from it. Ships range from under 200 feet to over 1,000 feet. You can sail with anywhere from fewer than 100 fellow passengers to over 2,600. Experience atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, classically simple to ultra-deluxe. You can even choose between traditional propeller-driven craft, sail-assisted cruise ships, or even a paddle-wheel riverboat.
This is a common question, and the answer is - it depends. It's like asking what is the best car? The best cruise line for you might not be the best line for someone else because everyone has different priorities, interests, etc.
This may be bad news - but you'll probably have to do a little homework. You'll be spending quite a bit of money so it will be worth it. The good news is that you probably will enjoy the cruise on any line - they all do a good job. But if you can zero in on one, which may be best for you, you may even have a better time.Some of the things you need to consider are:
Price
Ships (age, size, accommodations)
Itineraries
Passengers (interests, ages, etc.)
Fortunately there is a lot of information. One of ecruising's agents will be glad to help you. There are also cruising guides, magazines, recommendations from friends and one of the most important - the cruise brochure.
Today's cruise ships are one-class. Everyone on board can use all of the ship's facilities. The price of a stateroom is based primarily on its size and location. Regardless of the category you book, you'll enjoy the same courteous service, menus, activities, and entertainment as everyone else onboard.
Hardly. Being at sea gives you a feeling of freedom few places can offer. There's plenty of room. And it'll probably take you two or three days just to discover what's onboard. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring new and exciting ports of call.
Cruise ships are like floating resorts with all the things fine resorts have to offer. You can be by yourself and lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or watch the ever-changing view. Or, you can join in exercise classes, dance classes, sports contests and other organised deck activities.
Perhaps you can practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or shoot some baskets. You can go for a swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can see a feature movie, attend a lecture by renowned experts, and play backgammon or bridge. And that's just when you're on board!
Not really. The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilisers on modern ships, advance availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.
So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own. Or take a guided tour. You can search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, a bicycle down the side of a 10,000-foot volcano, or ride a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. See the birthplace of civilisation or listen to steel drum bands. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a water-skiing boat.
If there's still time (and you aren't ready to rest yet), enjoy a folkloric show. Play golf or tennis. Eat native foods. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world's best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel, or go scuba diving. Go to a nightclub or glittering casino. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs.
In short, a cruise is the easiest way to see new places and do all the things you dream of. Cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of destinations that you may want to return to for another vacation...and you never have to pack and unpack the destinations come to you!
Well, then don't - although if everybody felt that way I think they would run out of transportation real fast. You can do what you want in port. You will either tender (small boat to shore) or dock. It depends on the port and how many ships are there. But if you tender it will usually be done efficiently. You can take tours arranged by the ship, take your own tours (rent a car, cab, etc.), just walk into town, or stay on the ship. You can have lunch on the ship - you can always come back, even with tender, they run all the time. If it's an all-day tour, they will usually include lunch. The half-day tours are timed to get you back for lunch (or leave after lunch).
They will review all the tours for you on the ship and you should go if you're interested. Even if you want to do it on your own, you may pick up some ideas.
In the Caribbean and Alaska you certainly don't have to take tours - but many people do and are quite happy with them. If you are cruising in Europe and some other parts of the world it may be different. Unless you just want to go into the city. They usually run shuttle buses which will take you 'downtown'. But this is only to the port city. For example, the port for Paris might be Le Havre. If you want to get to Paris, you're on your own. Sometimes you're close to a train station - all depends.
Ship tours are usually well organised and usually well worth the money. We know sometimes you can do it cheaper on your own, but remember that you are also paying for a guide, admissions, etc. Not to mention peace of mind - the ship won't leave until all the tours are back. If you go on your own you may have to build in extra time to be sure you won't miss the ship.
If you're highly independent we're sure you can always do things on your own. But for the rest of us - the tours are just fine. And if you're worried about waiting for stragglers, this rarely happens in our experience, especially if you are on a cruise in Europe, Asia, etc. Experienced cruisers know how to behave. And if they don't they are brought in line very quickly - believe me!
On a cruise, you do what you want to. You can do everything. Or lie back and do absolutely nothing. It's your holiday.
32% of cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines make a special point of providing supervised activities for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, they'll love a family cruise.
You'll find the kids adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won't have to wonder what they're up to every minute. The cruise staff will help keep them busy and entertained. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate.
At night, life aboard a cruise ship really turns on. There's dancing; live entertainment in nightclubs, discos and lounges; feature films; and parties with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos.
There are also many special events like the Captain's Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, the Masquerade Parade, the Late Night Buffet (just for one last bite to tide you over until breakfast). And the night can go on as long as you want. Even until the spectacle of sunrise at sea.
Never. On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There's no cover. No minimum. No charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live. The movies are first-rate. The variety is limitless.
A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends, because everyone's so friendly. The atmosphere is cordial, relaxed. And you'll have all kinds of things in common to talk about. At dinner. At cocktails. Around the pool. Or along the promenade rail. And don't be surprised if you find yourself making arrangements to meet them aboard ship again next year.
No matter what you've heard to the contrary, there's no such thing as a typical cruise passenger! All kinds of people take cruises...of all ages...from all walks of life...singles, couples and families. Passengers can vary from ship to ship and cruise to cruise. Just ask your ecruising agent for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.
Cruising is ideal for people travelling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties just for singles early on, so you can start to be involved right away. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. In many cases, a cruise line will even find you a roommate to share a double if you ask them.
Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere that's just right for romance...cosy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars) and so much more to remember forever. Most lines provide special services from Sunday or Monday departures to welcome champagne and breakfast in bed. (And, speaking of beds, most ships have them in double, queen, or king sizes!)
Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your marriage vows in port.
Believe it or not - there is a secret. Its called attitude. I believe that if you go in with a positive attitude - you will have a good time. We have found that a cruise is what you make of it. The cruise line provides the resources, and it is up to you how to use them. And recognise that everything can't be just the way you want it. With 1,000 to 3,000 people on board they have to keep everyone happy - more or less.
Get to know the crew members - dining room staff, cruise director and staff, your cabin steward, etc. I think it makes a difference it you show some interest and you might even learn something. I always find out where the people are from, etc.
Of course there are people who will never be happy - we've run into a few on cruises. Just remember, these people are HAPPY - being unhappy is their goal. I think some of these people may have a computer :-).
The internet is a vast repository of information making it an ideal tool to use in the quest for further information. Browse the various cruising websites and cruise company homepages to familiarise oneself with what to expect and encounter. There is also print media such as magazines, newspapers and journals in addition to audio visual media such as television and radio.
However, there is no substitute for experience and we at ecruising are passionate and eager to provide our customers with answers to any queries they have regarding cruising. The best option would be to call us, whereupon our travel consultants will be delighted to assist you with any queries.
The one major complaint we hear over and over again is that cruises end far too soon! Beyond that, it's hard to find any negatives. After all, you don't have to run to make plane connections to get from one port to the next.
You don't have the hassles of making dinner or nightclub reservations. You don't have the bother of packing and unpacking as you move from place to place. You don't get unexpected, expensive surprises at restaurants or nightclubs. You have a wealth of options for shopping, adventure, sightseeing, exploring, entertaining and sports activities.
All you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying your vacation. Most importantly, every crew and staff member onboard is dedicated to making your cruise vacation the best vacation of your life (until you top it next year with your next cruise!)