Land and Sea Travel
JANUARY 31, 2008
Still to Come
U.S. Passports and Other Documents
Other Accepted Travel Documents: SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST and the U.S. Coast Guard Mariner Document. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty traveling on orders are exempt from the passport requirement. DHS has more information on these travel documents. This information may be seen at www.dhs.gov.
About Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), requiring all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on February 22 its intent to propose, as part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), significant flexibility regarding travel documents required for U.S. and Canadian children as part of WHTI requirements for U.S. land and sea border entry in 2008.
The goal of the initiative is to strengthen U.S. border security while facilitating entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors by providing standardized documentation that enables the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler.
To expedite the embarkation process, every cruise line requires booked passengers to pre-register prior to the sailing date. It is recommended that all passengers pre-register as soon as possible after they have paid their final payment. This can be done by accessing the cruise line's Web site. Please note that in some cases the cruise line may not release tickets if this information has not been supplied.
Preparations needed prior to departure include: cruise pre-registration, required personal identification & travel documents, travel insurance, what to pack and more.
Is a passport or visa required?
If you will require a passport; all that's needed to apply are: two, identical, passport-sized photos; proof of citizenship (birth certificate); and a valid form of identification such as a driver's license. Visa applications are through the government of the country you're requesting entrance; the process varies by country. We can guide you on how and where to apply, and the fees.
Also, if you're traveling to destinations which require a vaccination certificate, it's your responsibility to get the required vaccinations prior to departure.
Will I need to buy travel insurance?
Travel insurance offers numerous levels of coverage ranging from simple plans such as insuring an airline ticket, to comprehensive plans which cover you in the event of baggage loss, damage to personal effects, delays, medical, dental, emergency evacuation or assistance, and trip cancellation. At Cruise Holidays we can help you determine what coverage will be suitable for your vacation.
Will I need cash onboard?
We will advise you of the tipping policies and need of monetary funds based on the cruise line and itinerary.
How do I pre-register for my cruise?
What type of clothing should I pack for a cruise?
Also, you will need to adhere to the cruise line's dress code; some are more formal than others. Many cruise lines maintain the tradition of dressing up for dinner. However, what qualifies as "dressing up" has evolved over time. Many cruise lines now designate some evenings for "casual" dress, some for "informal" dress and some for "formal" dress. What these code words mean varies a bit from one cruise line to another, but in general, here's what to expect (and pack):
Note that some cruise lines require the specified form of evening dress not only in the dining rooms, but everywhere on the ship. If you really want to be flexible with your attire, consider a cruise line that has no dress code.
Cruise Line Pre-Registration
Due to new government regulations requiring cruise lines to submit final departure manifests at least 60 minutes prior to sailing, guests are requested to complete Online Check-in no later than 3 days prior to their cruise. If you have not completed Online Check-in, you may be required to complete this process at the pier two hours prior to the published sailing time.
Luxury Cruise Lines
Premium Cruise Lines
Specialty Cruise Lines
How Luggage Is Handled
Before you depart, fill out and attach the luggage tags that were provided in your cruise documents. At the pier, porters will take your bags and deliver them to your stateroom - the tags note your information and stateroom location.
Boarding The Ship
Once everyone is onboard, a mandatory safety drill will commence.
What To Do If You Miss The Departure
If you are not covered by either example mentioned above, you will have to cover the expenses to catch up to the ship.
Typical Activities and Things to Do
Adding to the appeal is the safety a cruise vacation offers. Couples or families can break off to do their own thing without a worry. Crew members are always watching out for their guests' enjoyment and safety.
As you're enjoying all the ship has to offer, you're being transported to your next destination where the cruise line offers a myriad of shore excursions for you to get the most out of your stay.
Since cruising is international, from the staff to the passengers, the practice of automatically charging your onboard account a daily flat service charge is becoming increasingly popular among cruise lines. This practice alleviates any potential angst for people not accustomed to tipping and is a simple means for the crew (who often heavily rely on tips) to receive a living wage for their services. Charges range from $10 to $13 per day/passenger and in some cases you can adjust the automatic service charge should the service not meet your expectations. You'll find this policy while onboard Windstar Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Cunard.
Other cruise lines believe tipping, while customary, is an individual decision that should be left up to each guest. These cruise lines conveniently offer suggested daily amounts which are either a flat per day amount which can range from $2 to $10, or per person/day amount based on the service rendered ranging from $.75 to $6. Viking River Cruises suggests per day amounts based on the location (China or Europe) of the river cruise where as Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International suggest per person/day amounts.
While on the cruise, a breakdown of the suggested amounts for each service is often announced by the cruise director and/or can be found within the printed daily itinerary.
Finally, for those who'd like to just step aboard and not worry about tipping at all, Regent Seven Seas, The Yachts of Seabourn, and Silversea Cruises all have a strict no tipping policy.
You should note that many cruise lines also automatically include a 15% gratuity on bar drinks or wine purchases. This added gratuity is separate from the cruise line's tipping policy.
*Tipping policies are subject to change so be sure to ask your Cruise Holidays travel expert for the latest tipping policies on any cruise line.
Enjoyed your experience? Then book your next cruise onboard. Most major cruise lines offer significant savings and additional perks for those who book their next cruise onboard. In many cases, you don't even need to choose a particular sailing on-the-spot; a minimal deposit will do the trick to secure your place on a future cruise. So, if you're having fun and foresee yourself sailing again with the cruise line, it's to your advantage to visit the onboard cruise consultant and start making plans for your next cruise.
Onboard cruise consultants (found on most lines/ships, although the exact title may vary) are a good resource to help you plan your next cruise in addition to your Cruise Holidays travel agent. Since you're already aboard the ship and have had the opportunity to recognize your needs and preferences, you can be guided toward a sailing and ship tailored to better accommodate you on your next cruise.
Perks and incentives vary by cruise line, and in some cases, by sailing and stateroom, but you'll most likely be offered the lowest available pricing, a reduced deposit, and onboard credits. Many lines offer additional savings - parlaying past passenger and/or early booking savings - to the already lowest price. Also, since you're booking directly with the cruise line, the cruise consultant can tap into any current promotions to further enhance your booking, if applicable.
As a common practice, cruise lines will price-protect your onboard booking. Therefore, should a lower price come available prior to final payment, your booking will be honored with the lower price.
Here's the additional bonus. Once you've made your booking, you can transfer it to your Cruise Holidays travel agent. We can then offer you the personal service of monitoring the booking, making any changes you might request, applying any additional offers and/or savings to optimize your benefits, and notifying you when final payment is due.
Closing Your Onboard Account