Booking Online Questions

First Time Cruiser Questions

General Questions

Booking Online Questions

Q:  What Kind of cabin will I get?
A:  Refer to the description where all cabin information will be provided. We normally book guarantee cabins:

A category guarantee means you have purchased a cabin category, but a specific cabin has not been assigned. Sometimes the cabin number is provided in advance, sometimes it is provided at the pier. Your cabin number falls anywhere within the category you purchased, so there is the possibility, but not a guarantee, of an upgrade.

NOTE: Cabin upgrade fees will be IN ADDITION to your cruise certificate price.

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Q:  On Cruises do you offer a choice of meal seatings?
A:  Typically, most large cruise ships offer two dinner times. Early or "Main" dining occurs at 6:30, while late dining occurs at 8:30. Carnival offers four dining times: if you request early dining it will be 6:15pm, late dining will be 8:00pm. Some cruise lines offer "Freestyle" or open seating for dining. On smaller ships, you'll usually have only one dining time

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Q:  How will I receive my cruise documents?
A:  Please be advised that documents are shipped out 1-2 weeks prior to sailing via Federal Express, because we have to await them from the cruise line.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines are now issuing "E-documents". You will receive an email 2-3 weeks prior to sailing stating "Your cruise documents are now ready", this is a direct link from the cruise line to download your "E-documents".

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Q:  Do I need to contact the cruise line to make my reservation?
A:  No, all reservations are made by SkyAuction.com. The cruise line will not give out information regarding your booking, as this is their policy. All requests, additions and any changes to your cruise reservation must be made through SkyAcution.com

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Q:  Do the cruise lines have an age requirement?
A:  All cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin meet a minimum age requirement. The lowest minimum age requirement for any cruise line is 18. The following cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin is 18 or older: Clipper, Cruise West, Cunard, Orient Lines, Peter Deilmann, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Uniworld, and Windjammer.

The following cruise lines require that either 1) All passengers in a cabin must be 18 or older, or 2) If anyone in the cabin is younger than 18 years old, someone in the cabin must be 21 or older: Clipper, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Silversea and Viking River Cruises.

The following cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin is 21 or older: Costa (25 for March and April sailings), Crystal Cruises, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, First European Cruises, MSC Italian Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Seabourn Cruise Line.

The following cruise lines require that either 1) All passengers in a cabin must be 21 or older, or 2) If anyone in the cabin is younger than 21 years old, someone in the cabin must be 25 or older: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Windstar Cruises.

One cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, always requires that someone in every cabin must be at least 25 years old. Costa has this requirement for their March and April sailings only.

One exception to these age requirements is made for underage married couples, which as long as they are both 18 are allowed to board unaccompanied. These couples may be asked to show proof of their marriage.

Your age on the date of sailing is generally considered your age for the length of the cruise.

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Q:  Do you offer transfers to and from the Ship?
A:  Yes. Your complete flight information must be emailed to
cruises@skyauction.com and must be done no less than 45 days prior to sailing.

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First Time Cruiser Questions

Q:  What does my cruise price include?
A:  Your cruise includes shipboard accommodations, meals, and most entertainment aboard the vessel.

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Q:  What does my cruise price not include?
A:  Your cruise price does not include organized shore excursions, alcoholic beverages or carbonated soft drinks, photographs, gratuities, spa and beauty treatments, medical services, casino expenditures or other miscellaneous items you may purchase on board.

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Q:  What is the difference between an outside and an inside cabin?
A:  An outside cabin or "Oceanview" will have a window or porthole. An inside or "No View" cabin will have artwork or draperies on the walls.

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Q:  Should I buy travel insurance?
A:  We recommend the purchase of travel insurance. In life we never know what is going to happen. Trip insurance will cover you if you have to cancel due to injury, sickness, or death to you, a traveling companion, or family member. It does not cover unstable, pre-existing medical conditions. It will also cover you should something happen to you medically on your trip. If you cancel your vacation for a covered reason, or incur medical expenses while on your trip, you would need to pay these fees in advance and then file a claim for reimbursement.

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Q:  Are cruise itineraries subject to change?
A:  Yes, all cruise itineraries are subject to change. Guest safety is the number one priority for the cruise lines. On rare occasions, weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances require a change in itinerary. In these situations, the cruise line staff will do everything in their power to visit an alternate port of call.

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Q:  Are there different classes of service?
A:  Today's cruise ships are "one class." Everyone on board can use all of the ship's facilities.

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Q:  Will I get bored or feel confined?
A:  Not likely. The ships are a good size and it usually takes a couple of days to fully explore how many options there are on board. In addition, you get the opportunity to explore new and exciting ports of call. Cruise ships are like floating resorts and have just as many options as a fine resort. You can be by yourself lying poolside on a deck chair or you can join a dance class or sports activity. You can see a movie or play backgammon. The options are endless.

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Q:  When can I board the ship?
A:  Embarkation normally begins approximately 4 hours prior to departure. Passengers must be aboard no later than 30 minutes prior to sailing.

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Q:  What about my medication?
A:  Please carry any medication in its original bottle. It is recommended that medications be carried in your pocket or purse so that they will be available when needed. Checked luggage may not be accessible at all times. If you're using any prescription drugs, vitamins, or other medication on a regular basis, you should bring an adequate supply since they may not be readily available either aboard the ship or in ports of call. Commonly used medications may be purchased at the office of the ship's doctor.

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Q:  What about electrical appliances?
A:  Electric razors and hair dryers can be brought with you. Staterooms for most cruise lines are equipped with 110 volts AC and are capable of handling all normal appliances. Some appliances may require the use of an adapter.

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Q:  Can I park at the pier?
A:  There is parking at the major piers. The exact rates and style of lot vary. You may want to check with www.seaportsinfo.com. The web site contains valuable information pertaining to these details as well as much more about the piers.

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Q:  How do I get to the ship?
A:  If you have air through the cruise line you will be met by a representative from the cruise line. They will meet you by the baggage claim and escort you to the transfer shuttle that goes from the airport to the pier and back again after the cruise. Most cruise lines offer these for an additional cost to passengers providing their own air.

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Q:  Can I bring visitors on the ship?
A:  For safety and security reasons, no visitors are allowed on board.

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Q:  Will I get seasick?
A:  Seasickness is very rare on larger cruise ships. These ships are equipped with stabilizers which are designed to minimize the feeling of movement. If you should feel queasy, medicine is available from your cabin steward or the ship's doctor. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider consulting your physician prior to travel.

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Q:  How do I pay for onboard purchases?
A:  For your convenience, you may charge most of your purchases on board. An account will be set up for you when you board the ship and purchases will be billed automatically to your major credit card. If you do not have a credit card you may use a cash deposit ranging from $100 for the week to $100 per day depending on the cruise line you are sailing on. Traveler's checks may be cashed at the Purser's Desk to cover gratuities and can be used to pay off your onboard account if you do not wish to have the charges applied to your credit card.

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Q:  What are the tipping guidelines?
A:  The following guidelines are suggestions only. Please remember to recognize outstanding service. Waiters and cabin stewards $3.00 per passenger per day Assistant Waiters $1.50 per passenger per day Head Waiters $2.50 per passenger per day A 15% gratuity is added to all bar and wine checks.

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Q:  What are my dining options?
A:  Most cruise lines offer two seatings for the main dining room: Main Seating and Late Seating. Dining preferences may be requested at the time of the booking, but no requests are guaranteed. Your seating and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. Either seating will allow you to see all shows and experience everything your cruise has to offer. As an alternative to traditional seatings, some cruise lines now offer "freestyle" dining. This option provides guests with the flexibility to dine when they wish. You may also choose your dinner companions and request specific table sites rather than being assigned to a particular time and table for the duration of the cruise. For your convenience, in addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets, many ships also offer complimentary room service. Low-fat and vegetarian entrees are often available at lunch and dinner.

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Q:  What if I'm on a special diet, can I get special meals on board?
A:  Low-sodium meals, Kosher meals, and certain other diet restricted meals will be available. Dietary requests should be made at the time of booking.

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Q:  What if I am celebrating my birthday/anniversary?
A:  If you wish to celebrate an anniversary or birthday on the ship, we can add that to your reservation in advance or you can let the maitre'd know. The cruise lines love to celebrate with you.

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Q:  What is an assembly drill, and do I have to go?
A:  These are commonly referred to as lifeboat drills. Everyone on board the ship is required to be in attendance for a compulsory safety drill before departure to comply with Coast Guard and international safety regulations.

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Q:  Do I have to participate in the cruise line's organized activities?
A:  On a cruise it is your choice. You do what you want. You can do it all or relax by the pool.

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Q:  Do cruise lines have activities for kids?
A:  More and more cruises are being booked by families. Most cruise lines have supervised activities for kids like swimming, sports, movies, and games. The cruise staff will keep the little ones busy so you can enjoy your cruise worry-free. Some children may be too young to participate in certain programs.

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Q:  What about the evenings?
A:  The evenings are just as exciting as the days. From the casinos, to the nightclub, to the entertainment, to passenger talent shows, there is always something going on and if you are a real night owl you may even get to see a sunrise at sea.

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Q:  Can we stay in touch with the outside?
A:  Quite easily. Most ships have televisions in the rooms plus a daily newsletter with headlines. There are either phones in the rooms or you can have the ship's radio operator contact the mainland for you. Also many ships even have fax capabilities or internet lounges. There are charges to contact the mainland in any form. Please check with the purser to find out exact amounts.

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Q:  Are the casinos and shops open all day?
A:  They are open while you are at sea, however, shops and the casino will remain closed while the ship is in port.

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Q:  How will I know what activities are happening aboard the ship?
A:  Your cabin steward will leave a news update in your stateroom which will provide a schedule of events for the following day. This update will tell you where and when everything is happening.

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Q:  How do I pay for purchases in port?
A:  Most shops accept major credit cards and traveler's checks. Some ships and ports of call have ATMs; however, they may not always be in service and fees are involved. It is not necessary to convert your money in advance.

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Q:  What's there to do in port?
A:  There's lots to do depending on your preference. Each port of call offers a unique experience. You can explore on your own, book the cruise line's organized shore excursions, go shopping, relax at the beach or take in some historical sites. There is truly something for everyone.

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Q:  Do I have to get off of the ship at each port of call?
A:  Absolutely not! You can relax at the pool or participate in one of the cruise line's organized activities. You can do anything you wish.

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Q:  What do I need to know regarding the embarkation and disembarkation processes?
A:  Your cruise experience begins as soon as you board the ship. Boarding for cruises usually begins about 1 PM. We recommend that you arrive at the pier around noontime. It takes about an hour to have your documents checked and processed, get your onboard account card, and line up for boarding. On the final night of the cruise, you should be packed and have your luggage in the hallway by 2 AM. Make sure to leave out your clothes for the next day, as well as your sleepwear. In the morning, breakfast is served early; then guests go to public rooms to begin the disembarkation process. This allows the cabin stewards to clean the cabin for the next guest. Please note that you may disembark in groups. Wait in the public room until your group is called. Be sure to bring a carry-on for your sleepwear and toiletries. Once off the ship, you may pick up your luggage.

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Q:  Where can I find directions to the pier if I am providing my own transportation?
A:  For pier directions and general information, we have found the following website to be helpful: www.seaportsinfo.com.

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General Questions

Q:  Is there a benefit in purchasing trip insurance?
A:  Absolutely. We recommend the purchase of trip insurance, as some things cannot be anticipated. Trip insurance offers protection if you have to cancel due to injury, sickness, or death to you, a traveling companion, or immediate family member. It does not cover unstable, preexisting conditions. Additionally, trip insurance provides emergency assistance while you are on vacation. In such a case, you would need to pay at the time of treatment and file for reimbursement later. For specific questions about trip insurance and coverage, please contact our Cruise Customer Service Department.

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Q:  How do I get a passport or birth certificate?
A:  You can apply for a passport at your local post office. Many larger cities also have a local passport office. To acquire a copy of your birth certificate, you must contact the city hall from your place of birth. Please keep in mind that your birth certificate should be an original with a raised seal. Costs are associated with acquiring either of these documents. For further information, the following website may be helpful: www.usbirthcertificatebureau.com

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Q:  What is an air deviation? What's the benefit of purchasing an air deviation?
A:  An air deviation, or customizing your flights, allows you to select any combination of dates, times, airlines, departure cities, and other special flight-related requests. An air deviation also allows for requests for nonstop flights. The cruise lines charge $35-50 per person plus any additional cost for the flight incurred by the cruise line. An air deviation guarantees that you and your companions will travel together on the times and airlines of your choice without any connections. In addition, an air deviation usually provides flight information within a week of your request. If you do not choose an air deviation, your flights will be assigned 21-30 days prior to your departure.

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Q:  Can I fly in the night before or stay an additional night after the cruise?
A:  Cruise lines do offer prenight and post cruise packages that you can purchase at an additional cost. However, there is a limited quantity. The sooner you purchase one, the greater you chances of it being available. Should you not be able to purchase one of these, then you can book a room on your own and customize your flights; you may hear this process referred to as air deviation. A fee is involved, but you will be able to choose to fly in a day earlier. In this way, you will most likely make your cruise despite inclement weather.

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Q:  What are the taxes/port charges?
A:  The port charges include taxes and fees assessed by the government and other agencies; costs incidental to entering or leaving ports such as pilotage; and costs incurred while in port such as stevedoring, waste removal, and payroll for port-related functions. Taxes associated with flights also fall into this category.

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Q:  What does a category guarantee mean?
A:  This means that you have purchased a specific cabin category on the ship but a cabin has not been assigned yet. Usually you will find out the cabin number at the pier. Occasionally the cabin number will be provided in advance. Your cabin can fall anywhere within the category you have purchased. There is a possibility of an upgrade.

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Q:  What does run of ship mean?
A:  Run of ship means that you could end up anywhere on the ship. You could be placed on the lowest deck to the highest deck, in inside or outside cabins, or front, back, or mid ship.

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Q:  What kind of things are there to do when we get there?
A:  Activities vary depending on your particular cruise or resort. For Caribbean visitors, snorkeling and other watersports are popular pastimes. Many resorts and cruise ships offer live entertainment. You may also purchase tours at several resorts and on the ships. We are presently working on a feature that will aim to provide specific highlights of your destination. Until then, please feel free to contact us regarding ideas for things to do on your vacation.

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Q:  What happens if my flight is delayed for the cruise? What should I do?
A:  The cruise line and the airlines work together very closely to assist you in getting to your cruise. Speak to the airline first and find out what time your plane will leave. Then contact us, as we will advise the cruise line and the transfer can meet you as planned. Should you arrive at the point of embarkation, but still miss the ship, the cruise line will place you in a hotel for the evening and the airline will fly you to your first port of call. If you have not purchased your flights through the cruise line, then you will need to work directly with the airline for assistance. In either situation, you want to advise the airline that you are on your way to meet a cruise ship. In some cases, they will prioritize you above other passengers if they have to cancel your flight and reschedule you for a later flight.

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Q:  What if another person wants to come along later. . . can I add a person after making payment?
A:  All rates are based on the present occupancy and availability. While in most cases it is possible to add an extra person -- providing the room allows for this -- your present rate will not be protected and could possibly change. The additional person could pay a different rate as well and change fees may be charged. It is also possible that the availability might not be there at the time you wish to add the other person. In some cases, changes will not be permitted at all.

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Q:  Why is it so expensive for one person to travel alone?
A:  Cruise lines base their rates on double occupancy. Therefore, when traveling alone, you will be charged a supplemental fee. Please note that this fee only applies to the cabin rate. Taxes and airfare costs do not increase for this reason.

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Q:  What type of clothes should I pack?
A:  For cold weather destinations, we recommend layers because at points during the day it may be warmer than others. For warm weather destinations, shorts are fine. Some restaurants at resorts do require a tie and jacket. On cruise ships, there is usually at least one formal night. Use your own definition of formal. For men, formal wear can range from tie and jacket to suit to tux. Most cruise ships request no shorts or jeans in the dining room. Some resorts require a collared shirt be worn in their dining rooms.

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Q:  How much are gratuities on a cruise?
A:  A 15% gratuity is automatically added to your bar bill. Cruise lines will provide a suggested tipping guide. The average tends to be $3.50 per guest per day for your cabin steward and your waiter, $2.00 per guest per day for assistant waiters, and other staff such as head waiters or the maitre d' can be tipped at your discretion depending on services rendered.

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Q:  How do I get to the ship?
A:  If you have air through the cruise line you will be met by a representative from the cruise line. They will meet you by the baggage claim and escort you to the transfer shuttle that goes from the airport to the pier and back again after the cruise. Most cruise lines offer these for an additional cost to passengers providing their own air.

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Q:  Can I park at the pier?
A:  There is parking at the major piers. The exact rates and style of lot vary. You may want to check with www.seaportsinfo.com. The web site contains valuable information pertaining to these details as well as much more about the piers.

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Q:  Where can I find directions to the pier if I am providing my own transportation?
A:  For pier directions and general information, we have found the following website to be helpful: www.seaportsinfo.com.

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Q:  What should I wear?
A:  Day wear includes slacks, shorts, or pants, blouses or shirts, knit tops or polo shirts. For cooler days or evenings, pack a sweater and a lightweight windbreaker. For Alaska cruises, sweaters and raincoats are also suggested. Bring a pair of sneakers or rubber soled shoes for deck sports and a swimsuit cover up from cool areas on the ship. Your cruise will include 1 or more formal nights during which gentleman should wear a dark suit and tie or a tuxedo. Ladies may wear cocktail dresses or a dressy pant suit. The remaining evenings will be somewhat casual. However, no shorts, T-shirts or jeans are permitted in the dining room. If you have reserved a land package, keep in mind that many hotels observe an evening dress code. This would mean that gentlemen should wear a collared shirt and in some cases, a jacket and tie to dinner.

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Q:  What do I do about money?
A:  Most cruise lines will allow you to establish an onboard credit account which permits you to charge onboard purchases to your stateroom. In most destinations, American currency may be accepted or easily exchanged. It is best to bring cash in small denominations since it is easier to get change for these bills. It is also advisable to carry a limited amount of cash since it is irreplaceable if lost. Traveler's checks are recommended and you may also want to carry a credit card. Conversion rates fluctuate on a daily basis. The following website will give you the latest figures: www.convertit.com

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Q:  If I don't purchase airfare through the cruise line, how can I get to the ship from the airport?
A:  Many cruise lines offer transportation from the airport to the pier for their guests. The cost for this service varies and in most cases, may be paid in advance. Reservations for this service are typically accepted up until approximately 3 weeks prior to your departure, and you may often choose a one way or round trip service. The cruise line will need to know your flight itinerary at the time of purchase so that they may coordinate the transfer service. If purchasing the transfers in advance is not an option, you may typically purchase them at the airport on the day of the cruise's departure. To do this, proceed to the baggage claim area and see the cruise line's representative to inquire about being added to their transfer manifest. Guests who do not purchase the transfer service through the cruise line are responsible for their own transportation to and from the pier.

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Q:  If I'm on the bottom deck, am I below the water?
A:  All passenger cabins are located above sea level.

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Q:  What is a fuel surcharge? How much is it?
A:  Due to the increased cost of fuel, many airlines are charging a fuel surcharge. We will do everything possible to get your tickets at the lowest price. However, we cannot be responsible for vendor surcharges. These additional charges, which typically range from $20.00 - $60.00 per person, need to be paid in cash at the airport on the day of your departure. In some cases, these may be collected in advance.

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Q:  What is the average age group?
A:  Carnival Cruise Line - 0-35 years of age
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line - 25-54 years of age
Celebrity Cruise Line - 35-64 years of age
Crystal Cruise Line - 60+ years of age
Holland America Line- Mixed, 40-60 generally with some younger guests
Norwegian Cruise Line- 25-54 years of age
Princess Cruise Line- 35-64 years of age
Windstar Cruise Line- 40-50 years of age, some honeymooners as well.

Keep in mind that the above information involves rough averages. Typically on any cruise, you will find a mix of all age groups.

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Q:  When is my final payment due? Will you notify me?
A:  Windstar Cruises requires final payment at 75 days prior to departure. Princess Cruise Line requires final payment at 60 days prior to departure for Caribbean cruises and at 75 days prior to departure for all others. Norwegian Cruise Line requires final payment at 60 days prior to departure. For cruises of 8 nights or longer, final payment is required at 75 days prior to departure. Europe and South America cruises require final payment at 90 days prior to departure. Holland America requires final payment at 75 days prior to departure. For Grand World Voyages, final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises require final payment at 70 days prior to departure. Crystal Cruises requires final payment at 60 days prior to departure. Carnival Cruise Line requires final payment at 70 days prior to departure. For Alaska cruises, cruise tours and cruises of 10 nights or longer, final payment is required at 75 days prior to departure. Land vacation packages require final payment at 60 days prior to departure. All Holiday Reservations Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure. We make every effort to notify our guests via mail prior to their final payment being due. However, paying the balance of a reservation on time is the guest's responsibility.

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Q:  What time does my flight have to land/leave for the cruise?
A:  If you have chosen to purchase airfare independently of the cruise line, there are a few things to take into consideration when selecting your flight times: For your inbound flights prior to your cruise- You should plan on being on board the ship at least 1 1/2 hours prior to it's scheduled departure time. You will need to allow enough time not only to arrive at the airport and collect your luggage, but also to obtain transportation to the ship. Familiarize yourself with the estimated travel time to the pier and plan accordingly. Book flights that are early enough to allow for delays. If you experience flight delays or cancellations, you will want to have time to spare since the ship is not able to wait for delayed guests. For your outbound flights after your cruise- Do not book flights to early! Although the ship may return to port early in the morning, it will have to clear customs prior to passengers being allowed to disembark. It generally takes 2-2 1/2 hours for the ship to clear after it has arrived. You should also leave ample time to get back to the airport with plenty of time to check in for your flight home.

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Q:  Why do I have to submit a medical release form for diabetes, I'm bringing my own insulin, etc.?
A:  The cruise lines require all guests with special medical needs to submit this information to them prior to travel. This is to ensure that they have the necessary information to give you the proper care in the event of an emergency. Passengers who carry syringes for medical use must also carry a letter from their physicians indicating this.

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