Cruise Recommendations

luxury cruise
Sarah Martin asked:

Preparing to embark on a cruise vacation is an exciting time, particularly for first time cruisers. With so many details coming together however, it can also be overwhelming. There are definitely a few key elements to keep in mind when planning the cruise. Once these elements have been addressed, it’s time to kick back and relax!


Having a passport is an absolute necessity on a world cruise. If you travel to a country requiring one, you have to present it before getting onboard the flight or the cruise ship. As of June 1, 2009 a passport is going to be required for all travel into or out of the United States of America.

Dining Aboard

On the larger upscale world cruises and even those that do not travel the farthest of distances, you’ll most likely have three or more dining location options. Usually there is a main dining room, an alternative such as a fancy restaurant, a cafeteria, a buffet or two for breakfast and lunch, and room service. Typically an extra charge applies when you use the alternate restaurant, however. There are normally two different times available for dinner in the main dining area. The earlier sitting takes place at about six o’clock p.m. and the later one is around eight o’clock p.m. When you are in port and traveling off of the boat it may be best to request the later time to allow more time to dress and get ready for dinner. Also, there are special diet requests you can put in but it is best to double-check to see if they can be accommodated. More often than not these types of requests can be, but ample time is needed to prepare for them.

Deciding What to Wear and What to Pack

As obvious as it may seem, it’s important to pack clothes that match the weather. Vacations in the northern region of the globe, such as Alaska, will require a sweater and a windbreaker. It is probably best to bring a heavy jacket as well. Shorts or skirts and light weight shirts are good for tropical excursions. There are typically at least two formal nights aboard a seven day luxury cruise. You could wear something like a cocktail dress or suit, or if you prefer, you can go super fancy and wear a gown or tuxedo. It’s fun to dress up and mingle with the other guests onboard.

United States Currency Overseas

Generally, U.S. money is acceptable almost everywhere in the western hemisphere. It’s a good idea to take small amounts of cash to tip cab drivers, baggage staff, and tour guides. Cruisers may want to consider bringing traveler’s checks instead of cash just to be on the safe side.

Shipboard Tipping Procedures

There are now policies in place that allow for a ten to twelve dollar addition to each person’s billing in lieu of each one’s voluntary gratuities. This helps those staff members who often find themselves in a not so tip-lucrative position. On the other hand, since this dollar amount is added it doesn’t even seem like a tip anymore. It could simply be seen as a fare increase minus the cruise establishments upping their advertised prices.

Additional Costs

Unfortunately certain charges exist that you are not previously informed of when you embark on a luxury world cruise, even a four day excursion. Some examples include fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees. Examine the fine print at all times in the brochures. In determining an appropriate budget for your vacation cruise, make sure to include gratuities, tours and outings off of the ship, salon and spa treatments, beauty store purchases, the mini-bar in your room, and your bar expenses. It’s all of the little things that people tend to forget to include. They certainly can sneak up on you if you fail to plan ahead for them.

All in all, a cruise is an unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to sail the high seas and enjoy luxurious onboard amenities that five star world cruises have to offer. Even if you think something as extravagant as one of these cruises is not within your reach, cheaper, more reasonable options exist as well. So long as you are aware of all of your options, you can plan for the appropriate cruise vacation for yourself as well as anyone else who may want to join you on your exciting journey. Cruises offer a wide variety of activities and choices for all kinds of people, which make them such a fantastic vacation decision.

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