Crusing 101 - A handy Guide

Posted February 9th, 2012

If you are a first-time Cruiser, you might find the process a bit daunting. To help make your Cruise Holiday stress-free, Debbie Christian and the specialists at Cruiseabout have compiled a Cruising 101 guide to give you a hand.


Holland America - Volendam show lounge


Which Cruise should I book?

In a time where there are more options than ever for cruising, there isn't one hard and fast answer for this question.  Research is the key! Ask friends and family to share their experiences of a Cruise holiday, read Cruise Blogs and join the Cruiseabout Facebook forum to chat to other cruisers. Remember you can always drop in at any Cruiseabout store and talk to a dedicated Cruising Specialist. Cruiseabout has lots of information on different Destinations, Cruise Lines and their Cruise Ships (these can be vastly different within the cruise line), and different Styles of Cruising. Consider a Cruise that is Close to Home or purchasing a Fly Cruise package if you are going further abroad.


How do I book?

We definitely recommend using a travel agent or a cruising specialist. It won't cost you a thing, and they'll be able to find discounts that you may have not been aware of.  Cruiseabout's specialist consultants have all cruised extensively, and carry out regular cruise ship inspections, giving them recent and first hand knowledge of the ships. Also, a good travel consultant will learn your travel patterns, your likes and dislikes, which will make any future bookings much easier.


When do I book?

This depends on how flexible you are. If you know what you want, we recommend that you book as far as in advance as possible - about 1 year to 6 months out, this will enable you to get the best deals. If you just want a cruise and you want it on the cheap, you could book a last minute cruise and grab yourself a bargain. Though, you should be aware that not all cruise ships will lower their prices.


What cabin should I book?

Inside or Balcony Cabins? Different cruise lines have different sized rooms, but they are big enough for your needs.  If you think that you might find an inside room with no windows a little claustrophobic, then definitely look at booking an outside room. Bathrooms are generally pretty small on most cruise ships. So, don't be surprised when you get on board.


Tipping ? Do I have to ?

Most cruise lines include this in the cruise fare so its pre-paid and hassle free. For the few lines that don't you can get this adjusted on-board by request, be aware as some cruise lines have tipping guidelines you need to follow.


Do I need my Passport?

Yes, you'll definitely need a valid passport. Not only will it allow you to leave & board the ship at offshore excursions, it will also get you home in case of an emergency.


How can I pay my account on-board ?

You can use a Credit Card, NZ Debit card or make a cash deposits at the pursers desk when you board the ship. Any unused credit will be refunded at the end of your cruise.


What should I wear ?

Depending on the cruise line you choose this can vary. A good rule of thumb is to take layers. Light cotton clothing for days on shore and wraps or light jackets for the evening when you're on-deck ( wind can pick up at times ). Formal nights and certain main dining rooms have a black tie dress code.


Will I get sea-sick ?
You never know until you's cruise ships have very advanced stabiliser technology and the ships are often so enormous that you can barely feel any movement. If you think you might be prone to sea-sickness we suggest you take some sea-sickness remedy with you (your doctor or chemist can recommend a suitable one for you ). In the event of serious sea-sickness the medical staff on-board can assist you. We recommend purchasing travel insurance so you can claim back any charges on-board for medical assistance.


Do I have to pay for the entertainment?

Entertainment is included in your cruise fare.  There are also a lot of organised activities such as mini-golf, basketball, rock climbing walls, comedy shows, cabaret acts, cooking demonstrations, pool games, dance lessons and game shows. Things like bingo, gambling, alcohol tasting and certain fitness classes do cost extra though. The included entertainment is fantastic, so you may find you don't need to pay for the extras.


Is food included?

Your cruise fare is inclusive of all main meals. Most cruise ships have speciality restaurants these days, but they do generally cost extra and you may need to book in order to get a table.


What about drinks?

Alcohol and sodas are generally not included in your cruise fare, except on some luxury lines. Some cruise lines allow you to buy a drinks package which makes the cost per drink cheaper.


Can I take alcohol on-board ?

Generally the answer is No. However, there are exceptions which your Cruiseabout Cruise Specialist will be able to advise you of. Alcohol restrictions are due to liquor licence regulations, safety issues and concern for other passengers comfort.


Do my kids have to go to Kids club ?
No, this is optional. These clubs are there for enjoyment of the passengers. They offer care facilities so children can enjoy themselves, whilst the parents can relax and rejuvenate. Most kids love these clubs as they get to meet other children and take part in group activities. These kids clubs are safe, however parents can get pagers so staff can contact them in case of an emergency.


We hope that you have found this “Cruising 101” guide handy, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Looking for more information on Cruises or Cruise Holidays? Contact Debbie Christian from Cruiseabout Parnell on 0800 867 276. Or call a Cruise holiday expert at a Cruiseabout store nationwide on 0800 22 11 14

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