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10 Most Common Cruise Questions


Ambassador Cruise Line


Iglu Cruise receives millions of queries every year, by phone, via chat and on social media. With demand for cruises booming, and many cruisers researching their very first sailing, Iglu Cruise shares their top ten most common questions from customers. 



  1. Are drinks included?

  2. Must I pay tips/gratuities?

  3. Where is the best cabin?

  4. Do I need special insurance?

  5. What happens if I get left behind on a shore excursion?

  6. How much luggage can I take on board?

  7. What is the parking like at Southampton?

  8. Can I start eating as soon as I’m on board? 

  9. Shall I accept the offer of the chance of a free upgrade if available?

  10. When is a good time to book? 



Q&A


  1. Are drinks included?


If you travel on an all-inclusive cruise line, then yes, most or all drinks are included. Top cruise lines for all-inclusive cruises include Silversea, Marella, Celebrity (All Included fares), Azamara, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Explora Journeys. Otherwise you will have the option to purchase a Drinks Package, effectively giving you a free range of drinks within certain parameters. These can come at different prices, depending on how much you think you’ll drink, so it’s worth seriously considering your probable daily consumption before making your choice.   


2. Must I pay tips/gratuities?


It depends on the cruise you choose. Helpfully, all cruise lines have a clear policy about tipping, so you are sure about what is expected before you set off.  Many fares have tips included in the fare to keep things simple. Some lines have ‘no tipping required’ as their policy. On board of course you can tip personally, if you have particularly enjoyed a treatment in the spa for example or service at dinner. On some lines, but not all, if tips have been included and you’d prefer not to pay, then you can request an adjustment on board.


3. Where is the best cabin?


It very much depends on your individual preferences. The first question to ask yourself is how you want to spend your cruise, and then pick a cabin accordingly. Good examples of this are cabins located closest to kids’ areas; the spa; dining; the pool; the theatre and so on. Some travellers will want to be near lifts and stairs. Midship is deemed to be best for those concerned about the swells, the aft of the ship is wonderful for sailaways from ports, when you can watch the foamy ship’s wake leaving a trail behind you. Be careful what is above, beneath, and, if you choose an outside or balcony cabin, what’s immediately outside such as a promenade deck. Take a very close look at deck plans to be sure what could be surrounding you.  


4. Do I need special insurance?


Yes indeed. A special ‘cruise’ option is mandatory as extra to an insurance policy. Cruise cover gives you peace of mind if you fall ill on your cruise, or miss ports due to changes in the weather. 


5. What happens if I get left behind on a shore excursion?


Shore excursions are a major lure of a cruise, but it’s easy to be concerned about being late back and watching the ship sail away without you. The very best way to avoid any anxiety is to join the line’s official excursions which you can pre-book and pay for. You are then in the care of the line and you will be shepherded in complete security. If you venture off alone, then ensure your watches are set at the local time and set alarms to ensure you leave plenty of time to return. If the worst happens, then, yes, it is your responsibility to get yourself to the next port for pick up. 


6. How much luggage can I take on board?


The beauty of cruising is that you can take as much luggage on board as you wish. After all, there are sometimes nightly dress themes to prepare for, and sometimes varied climates to work with. This freedom is especially appealing for UK departures, say from Southampton or London Tilbury where there is virtually no distance to carry luggage anywhere, as you can park so close to the ship. Don’t forget though, your suitcases will need a home in your cabin for the duration of your cruise. Note that some lines have limits and if you are on a fly-cruise, your airline will have a fixed luggage allowance.  


7. What is the parking like at Southampton?


Despite the thousands who park in Southampton before a cruise, it’s nothing like the chaos and scale you would find at large airports. In fact, because the cruise terminals are spread along the shoreline, so is the parking. As you approach Southampton, you’ll spot the ships in port. Port parking should be pre-booked (when booking the cruise), and once parked, it’s a short walk to board your ship. In and around Southampton hotels offer stay-and-park deals, you can rent a private drive, and there are multi-story 24 hour car parks where it is possible to leave your car.


8. Can I start eating as soon as I’m on board?


Yes! As soon as you have boarded, you will own a cruise card which opens the way to eateries on board. A good tip is to take a few hours on your first day to look at all the bars and restaurants and make a shortlist of possible places to eat and relax in. Most speciality restaurants will require pre-booking once on board, so make that a priority on boarding if you have a particular venue you are keen on. 


9. Shall I accept the offer of the chance of a free upgrade if available?


Whilst this sounds like a tempting offer at the time of booking, it does mean that you may relinquish the specific cabin you have chosen. Consider the pros and cons carefully before agreeing to a free upgrade, in case it places you in a location you would not have chosen. 


10. When is a good time to book? 


If you book at least 12 months in advance, you are likely to have an excellent choice of dates and cabins. Family cabins and child places do get booked up even up to 18 months ahead of departure. Those after a solo cabin for example should be looking to snap one up 12-18 months in advance. Many new itineraries and early booking offers appear in December or January each year and this is a good time to keep an eye out for your preferred cruise. Waiting to book will reduce all options and choices. If you leave things to the last minute, destination, cruise line, cabin and dining time options will all be vastly reduced. 


 

Iglu Cruise’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dave Mills said, ‘Cruising has particular facets which often give rise to the same questions. Mostly, as soon as people have cruised once, they lose all their concerns and questions, and confidence rises considerably. There are many online forums and groups for the curious, and of course, independent agents such as Iglu Cruise can answer all questions via our 100-strong expert team, or via chat. There’s nothing like the thrill and excitement of your very first cruise, and we want to make it easy for everyone to get to that place.’ 


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