Common Cruising Questions Answered By Experts

16 January 2015

You've got your ship and cabin sorted and you know where you are going. A few more key details and it's sailing time! When it comes to holiday queries, let our experts show the way. We've answered some common questions to help get you on your way...

"Would you recommend booking one night’s accommodation either before or after a cruise?"

There’s no harm in starting your holiday early by booking a night’s accommodation before your cruise. Cruises are not really that forgiving if your travel plans are delayed, so should the worst happen, you will have extra time up your sleeve. It will also give you the chance to adapt to the time zone you’re in.

The option to stay in a hotel after your cruise is a personal choice. If time and budget permit, why not explore the city you’ve disembarked in?

KAREN HALE, SENIOR TRAVEL CONSULTANT, FLIGHT CENTRE BROOKSIDE, MITCHELTON, QLD

"Is cruising suitable for families?"

Absolutely! Cruising offers families the chance to spend quality time together in an environment that caters to all age groups.

There are many options to keep both adults and children entertained, and they’re generally all included in the fare. Some of my favourites include a dedicated in-line skating track, a nine-hole miniature golf course, the largest rock-climbing wall at sea, the FlowRider wave-making machine, a huge ice-skating rink, outdoor water parks, zip-line rides, comedy clubs and a wide range of stage shows and performances.

Many cruises offer kids’ clubs, so parents can relax knowing their little ones will be well looked after, and some ships even have designated adults-only areas for some true R&R.

– MICHELLE FLAZI, TRAVEL CONSULTANT, FLIGHT CENTRE MIAMI ONE, MIAMI, QLD

 Cruising can still be all about relaxation even when travelling with children

"I’m new to cruising. Could you suggest a good cruise to start with?"

I’d recommend starting with a five- or seven-night voyage. The two- and three-night cruises are also a great starting point, but a few extra nights will give you the chance to disembark at a variety of ports and experience different cultures.

I’d suggest P&O’s Pacific Island Hopper journey. Visiting New Caledonia and Vanuatu, it is close to home and excellent value for money.

– KIMBERLY ST CLAIR, TEAM LEADER, FLIGHT CENTRE JESMOND, JESMOND, NSW

"Is cruising expensive?"

Not at all! It can sometimes seem more expensive when you first see the total price but once you break it down to a cost per day and take into account that the fare includes accommodation, entertainment, most activities and fantastic food, not only does it make for a very affordable holiday, it can sometimes be cheaper than your day-to-day living at home!

– JAMIE MEAKIN, SENIOR CONSULTANT, FLIGHT CENTRE BURLEIGH HEADS, BURLEIGH HEADS, QLD

"How often do you get off the ship?"

Cruising is not only about the ship you are travelling on but also the fascinating destinations you visit. From city tours and island visits to shopping and cuisine, there is so much to choose from, and you’d be surprised to know how often you do get off the ship.

For ideas about the types of onshore experiences on offer, just ask us – we’re always here to help!

– MICHA VESCIO, INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL CONSULTANT, FLIGHT CENTRE CREMORNE, CREMORNE, NSW

 You'll see so much more than just the inside of your cabin

For more tips on travelling by sea, check out our Guide To Cruising

Get in the know on How To Score A Cabin Upgrade


Need To Know More?

Here are some answers to common questions to help put your mind at ease.

"How do I get to the port to join my ship?"

In most instances, the cruise line will offer seat-in-vehicle transfers from the airport to join your ship if your flights arrive and depart on the same day as the cruise. It’s best to book this in advance, as some ports have traffic restrictions, and taxis may not have access to the shipside.

"Do I need a passport?"

Yes. Most cruises dock in foreign countries, so in order to explore these fascinating places, you will require a passport. Make sure it is valid for at least six months from the date you board, or you may miss the boat ... literally.

"Are there medical facilities on the ship?"

Most ships travel with a doctor and registered nurse on board. They will also have reasonable medical facilities to handle emergency situations, though these may be limited on smaller ships.

"How do I get ashore?"

Usually the ship will dock at the port and you will leave by the gangway (as you do when you embark). At some ports, however, you will anchor a little way out from the shore and be taken in by tender.

"Can I get my laundry done on a cruise?"

Most cruise ships offer full laundry and dry cleaning services, which can be billed to your onboard account. Some cruise liners also provide facilities, such as self-service washers, dryers and irons, either complimentary or for a nominal fee, for guests to use.

"What are the onboard dress codes?"

There are three distinct types of dress codes: casual, smart casual and formal. As a guide, casual means sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women; smart casual means jackets for men and dresses and/or dress pants for women; and formal means suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses or evening gowns for women.

 Stay classy, casual or formal on the cruise, whatever the situation calls for

"Do I need to tip people on my cruise?"

It is customary to tip staff members on the majority of ships. If tips are not included in your cruise price, you will receive an envelope in your cabin on the last day of the cruise or, as a convenience, some cruise lines will automatically charge it to your cabin. On the other hand, some cruise lines have a no-tipping policy. Ask your travel consultant for guidance.

What Else To Ask

Chat to your consultant to find out everything you need to know. Some of the key queries include:

  • Which cruise ship will best suit my needs and why?
  • What are the most popular destinations and why?
  • What is included in the price?
  • How much should I budget?
  • Can I make date changes to my itinerary?
  • Is there a cancellation policy?
  • What facilities and activities does the ship have?
  • What type of cabin do you recommend for my tastes and budget?
  • Is there an ideal season to travel to my destination of choice?
  • Will I need a visa to enter the country I’ll be visiting?
  • Do I need to get any vaccinations?
  • Can you tell me more about what I can do on the port days?
  • What kind of food, service and entertainment can I expect on board?

Flight Centre's Consultants

At Flight Centre, our consultants have travelled far and wide to offer you informed assistance when it comes to booking your next trip. These blog posts showcase just some of the experiences our consultants have had on recent adventures. We hope you enjoy reading these blog articles.