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Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

Can I afford a cruise?
If you can afford to take a hotel-based vacation, you can afford to take a cruise vacation. There are cruises available at all price ranges -- from budget to luxury -- and all represent perhaps the best value for your vacation dollar. [top]

What do I get for my money?
Your cruise price includes your cabin, all meals (including afternoon tea and the midnight buffet!), entertainment, parties and, of course, all transportation between all the ports on your itinerary. On most ships, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, spa treatments, optional shore excursions and meals in specialty restaurants will incur additional cost. [top]

How long do cruises last?
Vacations To Go sells cruises that range from 3-night weekend escapes to 180-night, around-the-world voyages. [top]

Is a cruise suitable for families with kids?
Not just suitable, they're perfect! Large cruise ships are now designed with kids-only facilities, counselors, daytime activities and nighttime baby-sitting. Children of all ages are welcome on most ships. Your cruise counselor can advise you of the dwindling number of ships that are not kid-friendly. Please click here to visit our Family Cruises page for more information. [top]

Are cruises suitable for single travelers?
Cruising is very popular with single travelers, and cruise lines go out of their way to make it easy for singles to meet and mingle with one another. Some cruise ships offer single cabins, and most offer a single supplement rate for double staterooms. On select sailings, we send our own onboard host to organize exclusive singles cocktail parties, mixers, games, group excursions, single-mingle dining and more! You'll never have to feel alone on a cruise... unless that's what you're looking for! Click here to read more about cruises for singles. [top]

Are cruises really that popular?
You better believe it! More than 20 million people are expected to cruise in the next year, and cruising routinely earns the highest ratings in customer satisfaction among all vacation categories. Once you try it, you'll be hooked. [top]

What is a cruise tour?
A cruise tour is the combination of a cruise vacation with additional days on land to further explore a destination. Always escorted, a cruise tour will include transportation, hotel accommodations, tours and food where indicated in the itinerary. Cruise tours are usually offered in Alaska, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America. To see more information on cruise tours, click here. [top]

Booking a cruise

How do I book a cruise?
Booking a cruise with us is easy! If you're looking for a cruise departing within the next 90-days, check out our world-famous 90-Day Ticker, our exclusive list of cruise bargains. Or, if you are looking further out, use our Find A Bargain tool to search by your preferred region, ship, sail date or departure city. Once you've narrowed it down, give us a call and one of our cruise counselors will arrange everything for you, verify availability and answer all of your questions. [top]

Is airfare included in my cruise price?
Cruise lines usually offer both a cruise-only price and an Air/Sea price that includes connecting airfare. The prices shown on our site are almost always cruise-only, but our cruise counselors will gladly provide an air-inclusive price if requested. In some instances, the discounted prices on our site are not available with an Air/Sea package. [top]

How do I pay for my cruise?
You may pay for your cruise via credit card -- Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. We act as an agent for the cruise lines, and your credit card statement will reflect direct billing from the cruise line you have selected. [top]

Can I put down a deposit?
Sure! Depending on the cruise line, the deposit may be a flat rate, anywhere from $100 to $1,000, or a percentage of the total cost of your cruise, anywhere from 10% to 25%. After you have placed a deposit to secure your reservation, you will be asked to pay the remaining balance of your fare at the final payment due date. Depending on the cruise line, this final payment date can be from 45 to 120 days before sailing. If you book your cruise within the final payment period, you will be required to pay in full at time of booking in order to secure your reservation. [top]

When will I receive my cruise tickets?
Cruise lines finalize cruise tickets after all cabins have been booked so you can expect to receive them approximately one week before departure. Please note that most cruise lines now send tickets as electronic documents, or edocs, which will be accessible online or through email. In this case, luggage tags are available at the pier. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor will discuss ticket delivery options with you at the time of booking. [top]

Are there age requirements?
Yes, most cruise lines impose a minimum age requirement for all guests, in addition to a minimum age requirement for guests in each cabin. These vary by line and can be verified with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor or on our site by clicking here. [top]

Can I travel when I'm pregnant?
It depends. Cruise lines typically allow guests to travel up until their third trimester of pregnancy. This is when most cruise lines feel they can no longer accommodate the mom-to-be if she should deliver early or need emergency medical treatment. Typically a letter from your physician is required for boarding. Policies vary slightly from line to line. To view each cruise line's policy, click here. [top]

Can the cruise lines change my itinerary after booking?
Although a change in itinerary is rare, it can happen for a variety of reasons, including weather and safety concerns. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor will notify you if an itinerary change occurs after booking. [top]

What if the rate drops after I book?
Cruise prices fluctuate up and down all the time at the cruise line's discretion, depending on how well the cruise is selling and the number of days remaining until departure. The decision of whether to allow the customer to re-ticket at a lower rate is made by the cruise line. Some cruise lines will adjust rates if the price drops, but most do not. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor will be able to advise you on each cruise line's policy. [top]

What if I have to cancel?
Unfortunately, things do happen and sometimes cancellation cannot be avoided. Please notify your Vacations To Go cruise counselor immediately of any cancellations or changes. Please note that refund and cancellation policies vary by cruise line and penalties generally increase as the sail date approaches. You may be eligible for a full refund after cancellation only if you cancel within the cruise line's designated time period. To view each cruise line's payment and refund policy, click here.

Cruise lines do not make exceptions regarding cancellation charges, so we strongly recommend that passengers secure appropriate cancellation/ trip insurance. Click here for more information on insurance. [top]

Can I use air miles to pay for the air portion of my reservation?
You can use air miles only if you book your own air. Cruise lines do not accept air miles as payment for the air portion of an Air/Sea booking. [top]

Will my infant be charged the full cruise fare?
Cruise fare is not based on age so infants are typically charged the same cruise fare as an adult. Disney is currently the only line that does not charge a cruise fare for children under the age of 2, although you still have to pay port charges and taxes. Keep in mind that generally cruise lines offer reduced pricing for third and fourth guests in a cabin. [top]

What is a cabin category?
A cabin category is the ranking a cruise line has given a group of cabins based on their size, amenities, deck level and location. These factors also help to determine price. [top]

What is a cabin guarantee?
A cabin guarantee is an option available by the cruise line that guarantees you a specific category but does not allow you to choose a specific cabin. Guarantees are usually less expensive but do not allow any control over cabin location, so your cabin could be on any deck of the ship. Typically, you will receive your cabin location when you check in for your cruise. [top]

What is an upgrade?
An upgrade is when you pay for one category but receive a higher category from the cruise line at no additional cost. Upgrades may also be purchased as long as the category you are requesting is available. [top]

What is a shipboard credit?
A shipboard credit is a monetary credit applied to your shipboard account. It can be used for onboard purchases like shore excursions, spa treatments, beverages and souvenirs, although some cruise lines do occasionally put additional restrictions on their usage. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor can provide you with the terms of any shipboard credits you may qualify for. [top]

What are transfers?
Transfers are motorcoach transportation provided by the cruise line between the airport and the cruise pier. Transfers are most often arranged prior to your cruise, although sometimes they can be purchased in the airport with the help of a cruise line representative. There is generally a fee for this service, which varies depending on the cruise line and the cruise departure city. Some cruise lines do include complimentary transfers when you purchase an Air/Sea package. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor will verify the cost of transfers at the time of booking. [top]

What is an Air/Sea package?
Air/Sea package is the term used when your cruise and your flights have been arranged by your Vacations To Go cruise counselor through the cruise line as one package. Some advantages of booking an Air/Sea package are the convenience of booking with one call and added protection in the event of a flight or sailing delay or cancellation. [top]

What is an air deviation?
An air deviation, or custom air as it is sometimes called, is an option available when you've booked airfare through the cruise line. For an additional fee, the cruise line's Air/Sea department will allow you to request your own flight schedule, including dates, times and air carrier. Please note that fees for this service range anywhere from $35 to $50 per person, plus any additional airfare costs. [top]

Preparing for your cruise

What should I bring?
You'll want to bring comfortable, casual clothing for daytime on board and in port, and swimsuits and workout clothes for pools, Jacuzzis, saunas and health clubs. To be prepared for dinner in the dining room, check out Dress Codes. You'll also want to consider the type of shore excursion you plan to take and pack the appropriate accessories, such as hiking boots, ponchos or rain gear, fleece jackets or snorkel gear. Also remember to pack all medications and prescriptions in your carry-on luggage. And of course, don't forget your hat, sunscreen and sunglasses for sunny days on deck. [top]

How much luggage can I bring?
This depends on whether or not you're flying. The airlines have stricter requirements than any of the cruise lines, so you'll want to check with them first to make sure you travel within their guidelines. However, most cruise lines do not place limits on luggage. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor can verify this information for any cruise line at the time of booking. [top]

Will I need a passport?
All cruises require proof of citizenship. On some cruises departing from U.S. ports, U.S. citizens can get by with a certified copy of a birth certificate and a driver's license or government-issued photo I.D., but on the great majority of departures, a passport is required. Visas may also be required on more exotic itineraries. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.

Legal permanent residents (non-citizens) of the U.S. need a valid passport and a valid Alien Resident Card to re-enter the U.S. For all other travelers, if your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program with the U.S., the following rules apply by country:

Citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are required to have valid, machine-readable passports and to obtain a travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the visa waiver program. ESTA is accessible online at for citizens and eligible nationals of visa waiver program countries.

If your country does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program with the U.S., you must provide a valid passport and a valid U.S. visa to enter the U.S. for cruises departing the U.S., and a valid passport and a valid multiple-entry visa to re-enter the U.S. for roundtrip cruises departing the U.S.

Visas and Documentation requirements for all other countries besides the U.S.

All non-US citizens must verify proof of citizenship and visa requirements with the embassy, consulate or immigration office of the countries in their cruise itinerary. [top]

How long does it take to get a passport?
Usually it takes 4 to 6 weeks to obtain a passport, although processing times can vary. For more information on passport requirements, click here. [top]

Will I need a visa?
Usually not, but all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, are responsible for verifying visa requirements with consular officials, and obtaining visas where required, for every country visited during their trip, including countries visited via connecting flights. Always check with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor at the time of booking to verify the documentation requirements for your vacation. For more information on passport and visa requirements, click here. [top]

Are any inoculations required?
Usually not, but occasionally yellow fever shots are required for cruise passengers visiting certain regions of South America and Africa. Always check with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor at the time of booking to verify if inoculations will be required for your vacation. [top]

Can I bring my own hairdryer?
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in every cabin, which will accommodate U.S.-built hairdryers and electric shavers. Most new ships provide hairdryers as well. [top]

Can I bring an iron onboard?
No, cruise lines do not allow irons in cabins due to the fire hazard they pose onboard. Laundry or dry-cleaning services are usually available and some lines provide irons in self-serve laundromats. [top]

Can I bring alcohol/bottled water/sodas onboard?
Most cruise lines do not allow alcohol, or any other beverages or coolers, to be brought onboard ships. However, some lines do allow individual guests, over their minimum drinking age, to bring one bottle of wine or champagne onboard, which can be opened at dinner by your waiter for a corkage fee. Any bottles of wine or liquor purchased in duty-free shops in port or on board the ship will be stored until the conclusion of your cruise. [top]

Is there parking available at the pier?
Yes, parking is generally available at the pier; however, pricing is set by the port authority in each city and is subject to change. Your Vacations To Go cruise counselor can provide you with driving directions and parking information with your confirmation. [top]

How early should I arrive for boarding?
The cruise line requires passengers to be onboard the ship at least one hour prior to departure. Vacations To Go strongly recommends that you arrive at the pier at least two (2) hours before the scheduled departure of your cruise so you will have ample time to check in and board. [top]

What happens if I miss the ship?
If you miss the ship, please contact your Vacations To Go cruise counselor to advise him or her of the situation and whether you plan to meet the ship in the next port-of-call. Keep in mind that purchasing airfare through the cruise line usually provides more protection in the event of flight delays or cancellations that may prevent you from getting to the ship on time. Also, since cruise lines do not make exceptions regarding cancellation charges, we strongly recommend securing appropriate cancellation/trip insurance to protect your investment in the event that you miss the ship. Click here for more information on insurance. [top]

The onboard experience

Will I feel bored or confined onboard?
Never! Think of a cruise ship as a floating resort with activities that begin at dawn and go into the wee hours of the night. The scenery is constantly changing, and every port is filled with new and exciting opportunities for exploration. [top]

What can I do on a ship?
That depends on the ship, but generally the larger ships will have the most activities. You may wish to lounge on deck by the pool with a good book, sign up for exercise or cooking classes, swim, play bingo or bridge, gamble in the casino, take in a Broadway-style floor show or a magician's act, enter a talent show or a putting contest, take a dance class, get a massage or attend a lecture. [top]

What is a Day at Sea?
A Day at Sea is a full day spent sailing between two ports. Most cruises include one or more Days at Sea. Click here to read about the many options you'll have to enjoy this time between port calls. [top]

Where is the best place to stay on a ship?
This is definitely a matter of personal preference, and many cruisers are not particularly concerned with cabin location. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Balcony cabins allow you to experience the outdoors without leaving the comfort of your cabin. This is particularly nice on certain itineraries, like Alaska cruises, where you will spend a great deal of time viewing scenery from the ship.

  • Although oceanview cabins do not allow you access to fresh air they do allow natural light to come in.

  • Inside cabins are the least expensive cabins on the ships that offer them.

Staterooms located on lower decks in the middle of the ship tend to minimize the feel of movement, and cruise lines price cabins according to their location, like real estate. So, for instance, if your cabin is mid-ship or close to main attractions like pools and restaurants, you'll usually pay more for it. [top]

Will I get seasick?
Very unlikely! Ships today are equipped with state-of-the-art stabilizers designed to minimize movement, but unfortunately some guests still become ill. Also, ship motion is more prevalent on certain itineraries, like Trans-Atlantic crossings. There are several over-the-counter and prescription treatments for seasickness on the market now, so if you are prone to motion sickness, we recommend that you discuss preventative measures with your doctor or local pharmacist. [top]

What's a shore excursion?
That's a term that refers to anything you do off the ship, in port. At every stop, you'll have the option of exploring the area on your own or as part of a group with a planned itinerary. You might hike a tropical rain forest in the Caribbean, fish for king salmon in Alaska, tour Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico or take a sightseeing tour. [top]

Is Internet service available?
Yes, absolutely! You can stay connected to friends and family 24 hours a day on most ships, and many have wireless network connections allowing the use of your personal laptop in your stateroom or in various public areas throughout a ship. Most cruise lines provide Internet cafes on board allowing guests continuous access to computers with email and Internet capability for a small fee per minute. [top]

Can I use my cell phone on a ship?
Yes, on most ships. Many cruise lines have installed technology to make the use of cell phones at sea possible. Keep in mind that international roaming charges will apply. Contact your cell phone carrier for more details. [top]

Which dining time should I choose?
Like cabin location, this is a matter of preference. If you're traveling with young kids, it's an easy choice -- early dining is probably better. But if it's a tough decision, consider your itinerary. If you're going to be at port all day, you may want to allow extra time to unwind and relax before dressing for dinner, so late dining may be a better choice. However, if you enjoy a ship's evening entertainment, you may want to dine early enough to get in a show or listen to a great speaker. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that alternative dining venues usually offer more flexibility with your schedule. [top]

What is traditional cruise ship dining?
Traditional dining means that you have a set dining schedule and are seated with the same guests and attended to by the same wait staff every evening. Many passengers prefer traditional dining due to the level of personalized service each guest receives from their waiter and assistant waiters. [top]

What is open dining?
This is a relatively new concept for most lines allowing guests the ability to choose their own evening dining time. Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and most luxury lines now allow their passengers to dine whenever and with whomever they choose. Breakfast and lunch are almost always open seating. [top]

What is the dress code for dinner?
There are three typical dress codes aboard ships -- casual, informal and formal. Most of the mainstream lines like Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean and a few premium lines like Celebrity and Holland America incorporate a combination of these into their evening schedules. Many of the more upscale, luxury lines have adopted an elegant casual, or country-club casual dress code on their ships. Here's how we've defined each below. For more information on each line's dining policies and dress code, click here.

Casual: Slacks and sport shirt for men (no jeans); slacks and blouse, sundress or pantsuit for women.

Informal: Jacket with or without tie for men; dress or pantsuit for women.

Formal: Dark suit or tuxedo for men; evening gown or cocktail dress for women. [top]

Do I have to participate in formal night?
Absolutely not! If you don't feel like bringing formal clothes when you cruise, rest assured you'll still eat! Just about every ship offers a variety of alternative dining options, including grills, buffet-style restaurants and room service, all of which you can opt for any night of your cruise. [top]

Do I need to make reservations for the specialty restaurants?
Yes, usually reservations are required, and it is recommended that you make them on the first day of your cruise to ensure you get the day and time you want. Of course, you can still try to make reservations the same day and some lines, like Disney, take the liberty of arranging these reservations for you as part of their overall dining experience. Keep in mind that although some lines offer complimentary specialty dining, most do not so a small surcharge will apply. [top]

What if I have special dietary needs?
It's important to discuss any special dietary or medical needs you may have with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor -- before booking -- to ensure you can be properly accommodated by the line you're considering. In most cases, cruise lines require additional documentation in writing, but usually they can easily accommodate requests for menu items that are low-sodium, low-cholesterol, low-fat or sugar-free. [top]

How much should I tip?
There are set standards for tipping and some lines automatically add a set gratuity to your bill. There are a few cruise lines that include tips in your upfront price and do not encourage additional tipping once you are on board. For more information on tipping guidelines, click here. [top]

What happens during embarkation?
This is the boarding process all guests must go through at the beginning of the cruise. Each passenger's cruise ticket and passports and visas (if necessary) will be verified for travel at this time. [top]

What happens during disembarkation?
This is the process at the end of the cruise to leave the ship. All guests will be required to meet with immigration, similar to the immigration process on the return of an international flight. This is also when passengers who checked their luggage the night prior will pick it up before exiting the cruise terminal. [top]

What are the smoking policies onboard?
This varies depending on the cruise line but all allow smoking in designated areas. At this time, Oceania has the strictest policy in the industry. To view the smoking policies by line, click here. [top]

Questions about our site

Can I access my Vacations To Go confirmation online?
Sure! You can view details on any booking that has not sailed by visiting our My Account page. You will need your email address and the booking number provided by your Vacations To Go cruise counselor to retrieve your confirmation. [top]

How do I update my email address?
Please visit our My Account page to make any changes to your profile, including a change of email of address. [top]

I've moved, how do I update my state or province to view resident specials for where I live?
We use your zip/postal code to search for special deals offered in your region. To update this information, please visit the My Account page of our site. [top]

How do I unsubscribe from or reduce the frequency of the cruise newsletter?
To unsubscribe or reduce the frequency of our newsletter, please visit our My Account page. You will be given several options for reducing the frequency or opting out of our newsletter. [top]

How do I logout of your site?
An option to logout is available under the My Account section of our site. Please note that there is generally no reason to log out of our site unless you are using a publicly-accessible computer. If you do log out, when you return, you will be asked to enter the email address you used to register. [top]