Shipboard Questions

By Miss Julie | December 22nd, 2006

  • Q: Do I need a passport?

  • A: 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.
    Every cruise requires some proof of US Citizenship before they allow boarding. While a passport is not required for the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mexico, or Canada, a notarized copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal and picture identification is. No, you may not use military ids, voter registration cards, or a library card. You must have a notarized photo copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal if you do not already have a passport.

    If you are travelling to anywhere other than than these destinations, a passport is required. This includes Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, the Orient, India, etc. Some ports even require a visa but the cruise line will inform you on proper documentation in plenty of trim prior to travel or even final payment.

    Non US Citizens must show proof of temporary or permanent residency of the US. This includes a valid green card, passport from their country with multiple reentry visas, picture id’s and in some cases visas from the countries they are visiting. Non-US Citizens should contact these consulates or embassies with regards to documentation prior to making your final payments. If you have any doubt, call us with questions.

    Make sure you have your documentation well in advance. Don’t assume it’s in your safe the night before your cruise. Look for it by the time you make your final payment.
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  • Q: What should I pack?

  • A: 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; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.
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  • Q: Will I need a tuxedo?

  • A: 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.
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  • Q: Are there safes and safety deposit boxes on board a ship?

  • A: Yes, there are. Most new ships have safes right in the cabin with instructions on how to use them. If you would like a safety deposit box, the purser’s desk will get one for you.
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  • Q: Do they take cash on board?

  • A: Today’s cruise ships have made the transition to a “cashless society.” All passengers are given an onboard charge card that typically doubles as their boarding pass. You would use this card for all purchases including drinks, souvenirs, shore excursions, boutique services, spa services, and etc. Cash is accepted in the casino, for gratuities to the staff that served you, and at the purser’s desk to settle you onboard account.
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  • Q: Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?

  • A: Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms. But do check with your booking agent to be sure. Most ships even feature hair-dryers in your cabin.
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  • Q: Can we stay in touch with the outside world?

  • A: 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.
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  • Q: Are there medical services onboard?

  • A: 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.
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  • Q: Do I need to bring my own wheelchair?

  • A: Wheel chairs are available for passengers who are injured after they get on board. Most cruise lines suggest that you bring your own collapsible one if you will need it throughout the cruise. Holland America Line has in the past provided a wheel chair throughout the cruise if it is requested in writing 30 days prior to departure.
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  • Q: Is there Baby Sitting on board?

  • A: Most Budget and Contemporary Cruise lines encourage families with children and almost always offer sitting services; however, availability can vary on the destination and time of year. Cruise lines with limited facilities for children may not provide a children’s program or sitting services unless a certain number of children are on board. Then there are those cruise lines who do not cater to children at all and may not offer any babysitting services.

    Most contemporary cruise lines offer baby sitting in a group-style format in the children’s room. These are conducted by the Childrens’ Program Counselors. Toddlers and older children often have playtime before retiring to individual, sheet-covered mats while watching videos with the other kids. Infants are rocked and placed in individual cribs. Some cruise lines offer this for free while others may charge a small fee. Babysitting services are offered during certain evening hours when the children’s program is not in operation, but generally not on the first or the last night of the cruise. Babysitting during daytime hours is usually offered only while at sea, but a few may have more flexible hours.

    Due to liability reasons, few cruise lines still offer “In-Room” babysitting services. Those that do require that you make reservations with the purser’s desk at least 24 – 48 hours in advance. This “In-Room” service is usually done by female cabin stewards on their own free time. The fees are set with the cruise line and typically handled with a cash transaction directly with the In-Room Baby Sitter.

    Here are some of the Cruise Line Baby Sitting Policies from 2000.

    Royal Caribbean: 8 am – 2 am
    $8 per hr-2 hr min. for 2 children. $10 per hr-2 hr min. for 3 children. Sign up at the pursers desk and cash transactions only.

    Norwegian: 12 Noon – 2 am
    $8 per hr-2 hr min. Sign up at the pursers desk and pay sitter directly.

    Carnival: No In-Room service but Group Sitting in playroom. 10pm-3am
    12 yrs. and younger

    Holland America-Staff Volunteers
    $8 per hour per child. No specific time either-depends on staff member

    Princess Group sitting available on Crown, Regal, Sun, Dawn, Sea, Ocean and Grand
    Port Days 9 am – 5 pm. Evenings 10 pm – 1 am. Reservations must be made by 10 am for that day Group charge: $4 per hr per child ages 2-12 Royal and Pacific offers if there are 15 or more children sailing.
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  • Q: Are there laundry services aboard ship?

  • A: 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.
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