86% of cruisers plan to take another cruise in the next year

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CRUISING

Frequently asked questions and cruise tips

CRUISING GUIDES

Will I get seasick?

Everyone feels the effects sea sickness differently. Some clients report no sea sickness at all, and others are not so lucky. Where and when you cruise can play a role in sea sickness. Modern cruise ships are quite large and contain hi-tech stabilizing devices and advance weather notification systems, so if you’re really concerned then we recommend you consider such ships.

If you don’t want to rely on technology alone then choosing your cabin location can be a consideration that may help in some way. Mid-ship cabins on a lower deck are generally the most stable and best for travellers predisposed to sea sickness.  Some passengers find an oceanview cabin with a window and natural light better so they can see the horizon. And then of course a balcony cabin lets you step outside and also lets fresh air in.

If you do become ill we recommend that you visit the on board infirmary (see medical centre notes) sooner rather than later. Sea sickness medication is generally available for free, and anti nausea medications are offered in some cases. Apple and ginger are a popular natural remedy for sea sickness, and many of our clients swear by simple motion sickness bands that you can find at your local chemist.

What is included in my cruise cost?

Your accommodation, transport, entertainment and all main meals are included in the cost, as well as access to most of the ship facilities.  Occasionally tipping is included but not always.

River cruises may also include shipboard gratuities, some shore excursions and alcoholic drinks. Expedition cruises will include shore visits and equipment. 

Cruise lines may offer a number of optional extras for a small cost including dining at speciality restaurants, spa treatments and shore excursions. Please be sure to ask us for full details of what is included in your cruise fare.

Cabin types and what they mean

There are generally four main cabin types, inside, outside, balcony and suite and depending on the ship they may be called something different. 

  • An inside cabin is found in the interior of the ship and has no windows
  • An outside cabin has a window or port hole
  • A balcony cabin you have a private balcony to enjoy the view
  • A suite generally has a separate living and bedroom area

Please know that the windows in oceanview cabins are fixed and cannot be opened. So, if you want to let fresh air into your room then you will need to book a balcony cabin.

Why book with an agent?

Choosing the right cruise can be overwhelming. We can help you to save time researching and book a cruise that suits your desires and budget. More importantly, we can make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

We’re proud members of CLIA Australasia – the official body of the cruise industry, so we’re part of an association that is dedicated to training and service excellence when it comes to cruising.

Will I need a passport?

Australian passport holders taking a domestic cruise that does not stop in an overseas port will not need to bring a passport, you will need however a valid government-issued photo ID.  All travellers cruising from Australia to New Zealand, the South Pacific or Asia will require a passport with six months validity, as will all other overseas cruises.

What is included in my cruise cost?

Your accommodation, transport, entertainment and all main meals are included in the cost, as well as access to most of the ship facilities.  Occasionally tipping is included but not always.

River cruises may also include shipboard gratuities, some shore excursions and alcoholic drinks. Expedition cruises will include shore visits and equipment. 

Cruise lines may offer a number of optional extras for a small cost including dining at speciality restaurants, spa treatments and shore excursions. Please be sure to ask us for full details of what is included in your cruise fare.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must for cruising – even if the ship doesn’t leave Australian waters.  From lost property to illness, Travel Insurance offers peace of mind for every traveller. Whilst modern ships provide a high standard of medical care, the medical clinics on board are privately run and not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.  Keep in mind, you may be a long way from land if anything goes wrong, and you require expensive emergency evacuation.

What should I pack?

We generally advise to pack light to ease the load and to make room for purchases! When packing please keep the following in mind:

Pack these items into your suitcase

  • Travel insurance documents
  • Wallet with necessities
  • Camera and charger
  • Daypack or beach bag
  • Casual wear that is comfortable – you’re on holidays after all!
  • Shoes that are good for exploring
  • Clothing appropriate for theme nights, if any (eg. Hawaiian shirt)
  • One cocktail outfit plus clothing appropriate for visiting religious sites (eg. long sleeves)
  • Toiletries – but remember that you can top on essentials on board with larger ships
  • Swimwear and sun protection including sunscreen, rashie, hat & sunglasses
  • A jacket or warmer clothing for cooler nights
  • Plastic bags for wet clothes and dirty shoes

Keep these items in your hand luggage 

These items may need to be checked during embarkation, so its a good idea to keep them close.

  • Your travel documents including your passport or photo ID (or domestic cruises only)
  • Prescriptions and/or medications
  • GST tax invoice for the Tourist Refund Scheme
  • Duty and tax-free purchases

Do not pack

  • Explosives or weapons
  • Candles or incense
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol (generally one bottle is allowed)

Special Dietary Requirements

Most cruise lines will accommodation your special dietary requirements. If you have any of the following dietary requirements please let us know at least two weeks before you travel so that we can advise your chosen cruise line and discuss options:

  • Allergies including daily/shellfish/egg/peanut
  • Vegetarian or vegan
  • Dairy or lactose intolerance
  • Celiac or gluten/wheat free
  • No or low salt needs
  • Diabetic
  • Kosher and Halal preference

Of course you must remain vigilant in checking and assessing your food choices, just as you would at home. We will do our best to ensure that the cruise line is aware of your needs and can accommodate them. These days the variety of meals available on ships means that passengers with dietary needs can enjoy a wide variety of food and fun!

Vaccination Information

Wherever you are travelling it is recommended you have a minimum of Influenza (seasonal), Hepatitis A and Tetanus/Diphtheria vaccinations. You are strongly advised to seek medical advice as to what other vaccinations you may need for the specific countries you are travelling to. 

Visa Information

This depends on a number of factors, passenger nationality, intended itinerary and whether or not you are disembarking in a destination or simply transiting through.  If a visa is required, your Cruise Gallery consultant and cruise line will work together to arrange this on your behalf. Cruise lines are granted a blanket visa from the local government to cover days in port for all passengers on most occasions.  If this isn’t the case, your Cruise Gallery consultant will work with you to determine the visa requirements specific to your travel plans and arrange this with you.

USA ePassports 

The United States requires that travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program have an e-Passport if their passport was issued on or after October 26, 2006.

In order to qualify for an ESTA applicants must have a passport containing an integrated chip which displays the universal e-passport symbol on the front cover. You can readily identify an e-Passport by the unique international symbol on the cover.

An e-Passport contains an electronic chip. The chip holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page: the holder’s name, date of birth, and other biographic information. An e-Passport also contains a bio metric identifier. The United States requires that the chip contain a digital photograph of the holder. All e-Passports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and the United States have security features to prevent the unauthorized reading or “skimming” of data stored on the e-Passport chip.

Currency information

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Currency and purchases on the ship

In terms of currency, it depends on the cruise line’s origin. Many of the ocean cruises will be in US dollars.  Overall, river cruises in Europe will be in Euros and most ships visiting Australia will be in US dollars.  Home ported ships in our waters such as Carnival Australia, Princess Cruises’ Sea, Dawn and Sun Princess and the P&O fleet, are in Australian dollars.  There are exceptions to these rules but your Cruise Gallery consulatant will advise you.

When it comes to spending on board, cruises operate on a cashless system.  Instead of paying as you go, purchases are charged to your unique room card that is linked to your credit/debit card.  Itemised accounts are presented to passengers before disembarkation to be settled prior to check out, or automatically debited if there are no discrepancies.

Keeping in touch with home

Don’t rely on your mobile phone while cruising. Making phone calls and surfing the net is usually not smooth sailing. To combat this many ships now have telephones in passenger cabins and you should be able to connect to mobile roaming when you’re stopped at ports across the world. International charges generally apply. In emergencies you can place a call via the ship’s radio operator while at sea.

Most ships offer a daily newsletter with news, headlines and sports updates. Staterooms on all of today’s modern cruise ships are equipped with satellite televisions and in some cases in-cabin WiFi. 

Most cruise lines provide internet facilities at internet cafes and/or dedicated Wi-Fi zones.  These options are at an additional charge and can be expensive, connectivity can be limited depending on how far out of range the ship is so it is best to log-in when in port.

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THE CRUISE GALLERY

The Cruise Gallery is a specialist cruising division of Meridian Travel, an award-winning boutique agency based in Melbourne.

 
P (1300): 1300 227 847
P (Local): 03 9459 1467
E: cruise@thecruisegallery.com.au

© Copyright 2017 by The Cruise Gallery

Cruise Memberships International Air Transport Association (IATA) Australian Federation of Travel Agents Limited (AFTA) Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Cruiseco, the leading Consortium of Cruise Travel Specialists in the Southern Hemisphere Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA)