Cruising Q&A

Is cruising affordable?

Yes! Cruising is the best vacation value! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget. Your cruise fare includes all meals, your stateroom, on-board activities and entertainment, plus transportation from port to port. You'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. Typically, your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling. You'll be amazed on the vacation value!

Cruises are a great way for families to travel and see a variety of countries and ports.

How long are cruises?

As long or short as you desire. J's-R-us Travel and Cruise lines offer itineraries from three days to three months

Do I need a passport?

This depends on the type of cruise and your destination. You will need some proof of citizenship and identification. You'll receive complete information on required documents well in advance of your departure.

Where can I go?

You can go wherever you want. Cruises visit over 1,800 ports worldwide and practically every destination accessible by water. Just check Cruise Guides for Worldwide Destinations! to see all the exciting choices available to you!

How do I book a cruise?

Visit or call a J's-R-us Travel! Our professionals will help you pick the cruise that fits your vacation schedule, tastes and budget. We can make all the arrangements to get you from your doorstep to your ship and back.

Plus, J's-R-us Travel feature CLIA certified cruise counselors on staff. Our cruise specialists have completed an extensive program of training, including sailing on and inspecting a vast number of cruise ships. You can feel confident that a recommendation from a CLIA Certified Cruise Counselor is based on personal knowledge and experience.

Are all ships fairly similar?

No, far from it. Cruise lines' ships range from under 200 feet to over 1,000 feet long. You can sail with fewer than 100 fellow guests or over 2,600. Enjoy atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, contemporary to classic, and old world luxury. You can even choose between traditional propeller-driven vessels or sail-assisted ships. Enjoy the endless activities offered on a contemporary resort-style cruise, or immerse yourself in the culture of a destination via a niche or special interest cruise.

You can view profiles of the world's finest cruise lines and over a hundred ships in our Cruise Line & Cruise Ship Profiles section!

Are there different types of cruises?

There is an incredible diversity of cruise vacations available--all custom designed to suit different interests and personal preferences.

The variety of styles ranges from boutique, luxury cruises with globetrotting itineraries to large, contemporary ships with a fantastic array of recreational facilities; from classic vessels evoking the time-honored traditions of cruising to special-interest, niche lines specializing in unique destinations with an accent on cultural enrichment.

For the explorer, there are cruise lines that feature soft adventure expeditions to such unusual and rustic frontiers as Antarctica, the Amazon rain forest or African Serengeti. Or discover historical legacies closer to home with enlightening itineraries to New England, French Canada and the Colonial America coast.

For experienced travelers, destination-focused cruises specialize in premium, culturally-rich ports of call with itineraries dedicated to illuminating such historic, world-class treasures as the antiquities of classical Greece, the Polynesian paradise of Hawaii or the fabled splendor of Norwegian fjords.

For many, the perfect vacation includes the non-stop fun and sun of a tropical resort-style cruise to the Caribbean, where you can sample a variety of island cultures and cuisines while working on a terrific sun tan.

Plus, many cruise lines feature special-interest themes on-board, with entertainment ranging from jazz festivals and classical music concerts to golf clinics and murder mysteries at sea!

Are there any special educational programs onboard?

To complement the spirit of discovery that travel evokes, many cruise lines feature an extensive program of on-board enrichment seminars hosted by distinguished guests experts. In addition to lectures highlighting the history and sights of ports you will be visiting, there may also be special in-depth presentations ranging from Renaissance works of art and strategic financial planning to epicurean secrets of classic French cuisine.

Are there different classes of service?

Today's cruise ships are "one-class". Everyone onboard can use all of the ship's facilities. The price of a cabin 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.

Will I get bored or feel confined?

Hardly! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no land-based resort can offer. There's plenty of room. And it will probably take you two or three days just to discover everything that's on board. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring many exciting ports of call. Cruise ships are like floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer. You can lie back in a lounge chair and breathe in the sea air while soaking up the sun or read good books, or watch the ever-changing seascape.

If you're more active, join in exercise or dance classes, and sports contests. Practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or take some fresh air on the jogging deck. Swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym.

You can also see a feature film, attend an enrichment lecture by renowned experts, play backgammon or bridge. And that's just when you're on board!


What can I do in port?

So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (often referred to as shore excursions). 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 a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a water-skiing boat. If you still have time play golf or tennis. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world's best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel, or scuba dive. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs.

In short, cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of new destinations and try all the things you've ever dreamed of doing, while never having to pack and unpack!

Do I have to participate in the activities?

On a cruise, you do what you want, when you want. You can do everything or do absolutely nothing. It's your Journey!

Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?

Families with children book more and more cruise vacations today. Most cruise lines provide plenty of 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 that children adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won't have to wonder what they're up to every minute. The youth counselors will help keep them busy and entertained. Ships even offer youth camps that cater to all ages, from toddlers to teens. Best of all, children generally travel at a substantially reduced rate.

What is there to do at night?

At night, life aboard a cruise ship really turns on. There's dancing, live entertainment, nightclubs and lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends. Most ships also have casinos. What's more, there are many special events like the Captain's Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, and the Masquerade Parade.

Is there a charge for entertainment?

Never. On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There's no cover, minimum, or charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live, films first-rate and all included in your cruise fare.

Will there be people like me?

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 now...all ages...from all walks of, couples and families. Just ask your J's-R-us Travel agent for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.

What should I pack?

Pack like you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you're on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. At the Captain's Gala, for example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit, or cocktail dress, or perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.

Will I need a tuxedo?

Many cruise lines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise-while on others; formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don't buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. If you do want to dress to the nines, many ships offer tuxedo rental services.

Can singles have fun on a cruise?

Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties just for singles-early on, so you can get to know people right away. Many ships even offer gentlemen hosts who can be dance partners, dinner companions or a fourth at cards.

Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. If you ask them, many cruise lines will even find you a roommate to share a cabin so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more on a great vacation.

Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?

Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms. But do check with your J's-R-us Travel agent to be sure. Most ships even feature hair-dryers in your cabin.

What are the different meal seatings?

Some ships' dining rooms can accommodate all passengers in one "seating." But most ships have two seatings, which differ only by time, typically 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late-then have your J's-R-us Travel agent request your preference when you book your cruise. Whichever seating you choose, remember that one of the best ways to make new friends is to ask for a large table. In addition, some ships offer alternative dining rooms, such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Southwestern themed restaurants, separate from the main dining room.Most ships now offer Open Dining as an alternative to the Scheduled Dining.

Is cruise ship dining as good as i have been told?

Everything you've heard about cruise ship dining is true. You'll find a varied selection of entrees (appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts too!) every time you sit down. And there's virtually no limit on what or how much you can order. But, just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food, doesn't mean you'll come home out of shape. You can choose low-cal, spa, vegetarian or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. Best of all, the one thing you'll never see on a cruise ship menu is a price. Because all your meals are included!

Can I get a special diet?

Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, Kosher, or other diet preferences. However, this request must be made in advance, so be sure to advise your J's-R-us Travel agent when you book your cruise.

What if I do not like my tablemates?

Rarely is this a problem. However, if you wish to change tables, speak with the maitre d'. He'll make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions...discretely and politely.

Are there non-smoking areas?

Virtually all ships have smoking and non-smoking sections in the public rooms. In fact, many dining rooms, and even some entire ships, are now totally smoke-free, reflecting passenger requests. If you want your dining table in a non-smoking area, just tell your J's-R-us Travel agent. On board, in "open-seating situations," you can advise your waiter or the maitre d'.

Can we celebrate a special occasion?

Absolutely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and a chorus of "Happy Whatever" to honor the occasion. Your birthday or anniversary can be more festive with champagne, flowers, or canapés. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise your J's-R-us Travel agent in advance.

Is cruising right for honeymooners?

Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere that's just right for romance...cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars). Most lines provide special services-from Sunday or Monday departures to champagne and breakfast in bed. Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your marriage vows.

Can we stay in touch with the outside world?

Quite easily. Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines; selected stock quotes and sports scores. Many staterooms are equipped with televisions and have satellite telephones. You can also call someone on shore through the ship's radio officer while at sea. And, you can make phone calls from most ports. In addition, most ships have fax capabilities and many are adding computer cafes with Internet access for e-mail communication.

What about tipping?

Tipping is a matter of individual preference. A general rule of thumb is to plan for about $11 -$12 per person per day for your room steward, and dining room waiter, and your busboy. Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.

Are there medical services onboard?

Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a medical facility and health care professional on staff to handle almost any emergency.

Are there laundry services aboard ship?

Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Many ships also have self-service launderettes.

Do cruise lines accept group bookings?

Most lines welcome groups-often at special rates, depending on how many people are involved. Policies vary from company to company and sometimes during certain times of the year. Just consult your J's-R-us Travel agent for details.

Are there meeting rooms onboard?

Just about every full-size ship has public rooms or a conference center to offer as meeting space for private or corporate groups. If you'd like to make meeting or incentive travel arrangements, ask a J's-R-us Travel agent to contact the cruise line's group sales department to coordinate schedules and arrange for any special needs. Your ship may also be able to offer audio-visual equipment, communications, meeting coordinators, secretarial and printing services, and more.

Can I extend my cruise vacation?

Cruise lines feature special pre- or post-cruise hotel packages that allow you to extend your vacation in either your port of embarkation or debarkation.

Is motion discomfort a problem?

Rarely. Popular cruise itineraries boast some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, advanced availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.

It sounds to good to be True! Is it?

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. All you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying your vacation. Most importantly, every crew and staff member on board is dedicated to making your cruise the best vacation of your life until you top it with your next cruise!

Who should I see if I have questions that have not been answered?

Ask Janice, who is a Master Cruise Counselors. This is an individual who has successfully completed a variety of cruise training programs and has visited or sailed on many of the ships you may be interested in. CLIA-affiliated travel professionals are knowledgeable about all the options available for your cruise experience. In fact, you''ll find that Janice has been on most cruiseslines, so she can advise you from personal experience.
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