Cruising Guide

The Cruise Q & A


Here’s everything you’ve ever wondered about cruise vacations.


Is cruising an affordable vacation option?

Given that your cruise fare includes your stateroom accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, most meals, plus transportation from port to port, it’s one of the best vacation values around. There are cruises to suit every personality and budget, and there’s a lot to be said for knowing what your vacation will cost you up front. Typically, your only extra expenses will be drinks, specialty restaurants, shore excursions and personal services such as spa treatments. These days, frequent cruise line promotions sometimes include things like drinks (beverage packages) and  specialty restaurant dining. Your Maritime Travel counsellor has the scoop on all these promotions, so you won't miss out. 

How long are cruise vacations?

As long or as short as you want. Our friendly and knowledgeable travel counsellors have the skinny on top cruise line itineraries that range from three-day Caribbean getaways to three-month-around-the-world extravaganzas. 

Where can I go?

Wherever you want! Cruise ships visit some 500 ports worldwide and there are very few destinations on the planet that are not accessible by water. Just check the Recommended Cruise Itineraries in this brochure for a sampling of some of the exciting choices available to you. 

Are all cruise ships alike?

Far from it. The top cruise lines ply the waterways with ships ranging from intimate and elegant yacht-style vessels, to mammoth ships stretching more than three football fields in length. 

What about different kinds of cruises? 

From small-ship river cruising and barging experiences to globetrotting expeditions aboard massive floating hotels, there are cruises to suit your every whim. And with choices ranging from boutique, luxury cruises with exotic itineraries, to classic vessels evoking the elegant traditions of a time gone by, to huge, contemporary ships with a mind-boggling array of recreational facilities, the sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing your cruise style.

What’s an air/sea cruise package?

Air/sea vacation packages are an excellent value because they include, along with your cruise fare, free or reduced-cost airfare to and from the ship’s port of embarkation. These convenient money-saving options are available from most major cities in North America and include ground transport between the airport and the ship, as well as baggage handling. 

Is there a charge for entertainment?

On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. The shows are live, the films first-rate and there’s dancing, live entertainment and special events like Captain’s Cocktail Parties and talent shows.

Is motion sickness a problem?

Rarely. Popular cruise ship itineraries ply the calmest waters on the planet. As well, stabilizers on modern ships and availability of advance weather information, have for the most part, reduced or eliminated motion discomfort. 

Will I get bored or feel confined?

Impossible! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no land-based resort can offer. There’s loads of room on today’s modern cruise ships. In fact you’ll need a couple of days just to discover every-thing that’s on board – from the high-tech casino and broadway theatre venues to the fabulous haute cuisine eateries, to the sports courts and sports  bars – never mind the pool, sauna and full-service European spa. Plus, you get the added excitement of exploring different ports of call, often a new one every day of the cruise.

What can I do in port?

How much time do you have? You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (known as a shore excursion). Search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids or climb a waterfall or pyramid. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a waterskiing boat. Sail, snorkel, or scuba dive … You get the picture. In short, cruising is the ultimate way to experience new adventures and try all the things you’ve dreamed of doing, while never having to pack or unpack!

Is cruising for families?

Some 25 per cent of cruisers sail with children and a majority of cruise lines offer supervised, age appropriate activities for toddlers, kids, ‘tweens and teens. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games,  movies and the adventure of discovering new places, then they’ll love cruising. You’ll find that they adapt to life on board with ease and that you won’t have to worry about what they’re up to every minute.

I’m single. Is cruising for me?

Cruising is ideal for people travelling alone because it’s so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties for singles early in the cruise so you can get to know other guests right away. 

Is the food really as good as I’ve heard?

Everything you’ve heard about cruise ship  dining is true. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a professionally prepared gourmet dish, you’re in the right place. Go ahead and order two entrees if you dare! But just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food, doesn’t mean you’ll come home out of shape. You can choose vegetarian or health-conscious selections that are  just as tasty as the regular menu. Best of all, you’ll never get a bill because your meals are all included!

Can I get a special diet? 

Most ships can accommodate diet preferences or needs. You should make your request in advance, however, so be sure to let your Maritime Travel counsellor know of your needs.
What about dining companions – can I sit with my spouse or friends only? Experienced cruisers are likely to say they prefer sitting at a table with several other diners – lifelong friendships have been formed that way. However, cruise lines are geared to accommodate each guest’s wishes and it’s possible to request a table for two or four.

Are there non-smoking areas?

Onboard smoking policies are changing. These can vary by cruise line. All dining rooms and designated public areas are smoke free, however restrictions for smoking on balconies and in other areas are being implemented. Check with your Maritime Travel counsellor regarding the individual cruise line’s policies.

What about tipping? 

Tipping is a matter of individual preference. A general rule of thumb is $3.50 to $5.00 per person per day for your cabin steward and dining room waiter and about half that for the dining room assistant. Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion. Many cruise lines offer pre-paid tipping. As well, some cruise lines include tipping in the cruise fare. Some cruise lines also charge the gratuity at the end of the cruise directly to the shipboard account. Be sure to check with your travel counsellor about the options.

Wifi Onboard?

Generally, cruise lines are moving toward having wireless Internet access available in all staterooms. However, this availability varies depending on the cruise line and the individual ship. Some cruise lines offer wireless internet for a fee, but in common areas only. Others provide it complimentary in all staterooms and common areas. Please check with your travel counsellor in advance.

Who should I see if I have questions that haven’t been answered? 

Your friendly, knowledgeable Maritime Travel counsellor! In fact, you’ll find that many of our counsellors have actually been on the cruises they recommend, so they can advise you from personal experience. Bon Voyage!