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FAQs : Now That You're Booked Questions
The United States Border Security Act is legislation signed by President George Bush in May 2002 that requires all airlines and cruise lines to collect immigration information from each passenger prior to their cruise to or from the United States.

On March 1, 2003, all cruise lines must electronically report a manifest of all passengers on each cruise prior to their arriving at the port on embarkation day. This manifest includes personal information about each passenger including name, gender, birthday, residence, citizenship, and passport data (if applicable). Any passengers who have not submitted all the needed information before they get to their ship can expect very long delays at the pier. If a passenger does not supply any piece of required data, he may be denied boarding without a refund.

The Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) will be standard for all airlines and cruise reservations. Your cruise line will include additional information about APIS with your cruise documents. You'll be asked to send or fax this information prior to your cruise. Or you can learn more about APIS and your cruise line's online and offline embarkation requirements, by clicking here
We recommend the purchase of travel protection, as some things cannot be anticipated. Travel protection can cover you if you have to cancel due to an injury, sickness or death to you, a traveling companion or a family member or other covered reason. It can also pay for covered expenses should a medical emergency occur on your trip. Please see below for an overview of the plans and please refer to the Description of Coverage for full terms and conditions, including plan exclusions.

Travel Protection Terms and Conditions
If you booked your cruise as a "Guarantee," you are not assigned a cabin number at the time of booking.  You are simply guaranteed that category or better. Since most people who cruise simply want to get the best price, "Guarantees" are a great way to fill the ship with people looking for a good rate.

Cabin assignments on Category Guarantees are often made the week of sailing or even the day of sailing. When you receive your cruise documents, your cabin number will be listed as "TBA" (To be Assigned)  or "GTY" (guarantee).  When you check in at the cruise terminal they will give you your cabin number. It can be anywhere on the ship, but not in a category lower than you paid for. You may even get a free upgrade.

This practice is very similar to booking a hotel room. Hotels promise standard or ocean view rooms, but they do not give you the actual room number until you check-in.

Don't worry about the baggage tags the cruise line gives you. The ship's staff and porters receive a passenger manifest on your departure date and will know your cabin number to deliver your bags to the cabin in a timely manner.
Cruise and airline documents from the cruise line are received and forwarded no later than two weeks prior to sailing. For those cruise line that offer electronic documents, we will send an email 30 day prior to sailing with instructions on how to submit the essential information required for immigration. And accessing your electronic tickets for printing.

Cruise lines that provide paper tickets will forward directly to our office. We will review for accuracy and forward to you immediately. If your cruise includes an airline ticket provided by the cruise line (an Air/Sea package), these documents are sent to you via Federal Express. Cruise Only documents that are received by us more than three weeks prior to sailing will be shipped via the US Postal Service.

If you are traveling at the last minute and booked your cruise just a few days prior to your scheduled departure, you may be required to do a "Pier Pickup," which means your documents will be waiting for you at the cruise terminal. You must show proper proof of citizenship and identification before boarding.
A Cruise Line's air/sea package works very well for most passengers. (With some cruise line packages you may receive ground transfers to and from the ship). A representative from the cruise line will be available as you leave the plane or in the baggage claim area to lead you to the motor coaches.  They generally carry a sign with the name of the cruise line.

For answers to more questions about booking airfare for your cruise, please visit our FAQ's About Airline Arrangements for Your Cruise page.
If you booked your airfare through the cruise line, you may receive your flight schedule 29 days prior to travel. It can be on any airline on any flight schedule that will affordably get you to your port of embarkation before the ship sails. 

You can actually choose a specific airline and routing, as well as non-stop flights by requesting an Air Deviation. An air deviation allows you to pick your airline and flights prior to making your final payment. There is usually non-refundable fee (per passenger) for this service. Please contact our Passenger Support Desk if you would like to request an air deviation.

You must make your air deviation request in writing at least 70 days before your cruise. Deviations give you a lot of flexibility. You can arrive early, stay extra days at the end of a cruise, or maybe build in a stop-over. You can also fly business class or first class. And you can get your seat assignments when you get the air deviations - assuming the airline assigns seats at that time. This alone is worth it at times, especially on long flights.

Air Deviations are on a request basis only.  We cannot guarantee that the cruise line will carry out all requests.  You can also choose to make your flight arrangements separately.
The cruise lines do not obtain seat assignments for the passengers.  Because Passenger Services works with the cruise line in obtaining your flight schedule, it is recommended that you deal directly with the airline to obtain your seat assignments.  Frequent Flyer upgrades to first class are usually not allowed with the cruise line air/sea packages.

If you are particular about your seat assignments, you might want to consider an air deviation just to secure decent seats on your plane.

For answers to more questions about booking airfare for your cruise, please visit our FAQ's About Airline Arrangements for Your Cruise page
If you can find better airfare rates on your own or have frequent flyer points, then you can certainly purchase your airfare separately. However, if you have any flight delays on flights arranged apart from the cruise line, then you're on your own to catch the ship in the next port of call if necessary. Note: Travel Protection can cover a missed connection or travel delay claim. You are also responsible for your transportation from the airport to the ship and back. Most cruise lines do offer airport transfers at an additional cost for those passengers who elect to provide their own air.

If you are making your own flight reservations, please contact our Passenger Support Desk prior to booking your flights.  There are required arrival and departure times to ensure that you do not miss the ship's departure or your flight home. 

If you wish to purchase airport ship transfers from the cruise line, they will require your flight schedule.  Please understand, the cruise lines neither control nor are they responsible for late flight arrivals.  You are responsible for arriving at the respective ports on time for embarkation and for joining the ship at its next port of call if, for any reason, you miss a scheduled sailing.  The cruise lines are not responsible for any financial loss to passengers who are delayed and miss the sailing.
Most Cruise Terminals offer convenient parking for cruise passengers right at the pier.  Many are security-patrolled and designed to accommodate both RV's and buses, as well as offering handicapped parking. 

Rates vary by Cruise Terminal. For a complete listing of North America's most active Cruise Terminals with contact information and approximate daily parking rates, please visit our Parking Rates at the Pier page in our Cruise Resources Section.
Yes, there are porters are available for your convenience at the airport and the cruise terminal. They will make sure your bags arrive at your embarkation port and your cabin.  However, their tips are not included in the price of your cruise package. It is customary to extend a gratuity of at least $1.00 per bag.

When you board the ship, a staff member will escort you to your cabin and carry any carry on bags you have with you.  Your other luggage will arrive in your cabin later. You may also want to extend a small gratuity for this service.
We strongly recommend using a passport - it is your best proof of identity and citizenship when traveling.  The US State Department and United States Immigration determine the correct documents that passengers must have in their possession in order to leave and return to the U.S. It is the passenger's responsibility to check with his/her local immigration offices and/or respective embassies or consulates to determine document requirements. The cruise line will not be responsible if a passenger is denied boarding by local immigration officials for lack of proper documents.

United States and Canadian Citizens:

  • Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable.
  • As early as January 1, 2008, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.

The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory.  U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the United States and do not need to present a passport.  U.S. territories include the following: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Travel Documents for U.S. Citizens Under WHTI

Under the proposed implementation plan, the following documents will be acceptable to fulfill document requirements:

  • U.S. Passport:   U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport when traveling via air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, and may also use a U.S. passport when traveling via sea and land borders (including ferry crossings).

    The Passport Card (also referred to as the PASS Card):   This limited-use passport in card format is currently under development and will be available for use for travel only via land or sea (including ferries) between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.  Similar in size to a credit card, it will fit easily into a wallet.

    DOS and DHS also anticipate that the following documents will continue to be acceptable for their current travel uses under WHTI:  SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, and the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document.  As proposed, members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty traveling on orders will continue to be exempt from the passport requirement. 

For travel in any other part of the world, including Fanning Island via Hawaii, a valid passport is required.

In some countries like Russia, Turkey and Brazil, a visa may be required. A Cruise Specialist will notify you of this prior to your cruise.

Resident Aliens:

  • Resident Aliens who are permanent residents of the U.S. must have their passport and Alien Registration card (Form-1551.) In some instances resident aliens may be required to have sailing permits and or visas to enter some countries.

Foreign Passengers:

  • Foreign passengers must be in possession of a valid passport and multiple entry visa for the United States (B-2 Visitor.s Visa.)

Regulations with regard to vaccination certificates and other health requirements for the various embarkation ports may vary by destination and change from time to time. It is the sole responsibility of the passenger to obtain the necessary and appropriate documents as well as to have them available.
The cruise line allows you to bring as much luggage as you like. However, the airlines have limitations on both checked and carry-on baggage. Your luggage will have to be stowed in your cabin during your cruise. Once you board the ship, your luggage will be brought to your cabin. This normally takes a few hours. Items such as jewelry, cameras, medication and documents should never be packed in your luggage. Please pack these items in your carry-on luggage.

For more information about Packing for Your Cruise, please visit our Cruise Resource Section.
Most meals are included in the price of your cruise package. Special diet requirements may be requested at least 30 days prior to sailing. Please notify our Passenger Service Department with your request. There may be limitations in the cruise lines ability to accommodate special orders. Certain cruise lines do not offer Kosher meals. If you are celebrating a special event such as an anniversary or birthday, please be sure to let the Passenger Service Department know. We will notify the cruise line and they will provide you with a special treat, free of charge. Please reconfirm this request directly with your maitre d'. Most ships offer free room service with a limited menu 24-hours a day. Some cruise ships offer a la carte dinning for additional fees.

For answers to more questions about dining, please visit our Dining FAQ's section in our Cruise Resources section.
As a rule of thumb, Early Dining means you'll have dinner between 6 pm and 6:30 pm. Late Dining means you'll have dinner between 8:15 and 8:45 pm. There are many reasons why one dining time may be better for you than another.

You may want Early Dining if:

  • You are traveling with small children who need to stick to a set meal and bedtime schedule.
  • You generally go to bed between 10 pm and Midnight.
  • You are taking a very "At Sea" intensive itinerary.
  • You are an early riser.

You may want Late Dining if:

  • You are a night owl and catch a "second wind" later in the evening.
  • You don't want to feel rushed for dinner after a day in port.
  • It takes you or your spouse a long time to get ready for dinner.
  • You don't mind finishing your meal around 10:15 or 10:30 pm.

We will be happy to notify the cruise line of your dining request and normally they are able to comply. However, it is not guaranteed. If for any reason you are not pleased with either the time or the table assignment, please see the maitre.d once you are on-board the ship and request a change. On certain cruise lines you will be required to verify dining arrangements on the day you board the ship.

For answers to more questions about dining, please visit our Dining FAQ's in our Cruise Resources Section.
Tipping is a personal matter. The "suggested" tipping guidelines may vary by cruise line.  But as a rule of thumb, you should budget about $10 per person per day total for all waiters, busboys, cabin stewards, and head waiters. On a seven day cruise, a couple may spend $140 on total gratuities.

Some cruise lines conveniently include the customary gratuities on your shipboard account during your cruise.  However, you are free to adjust the amount of the gratuities according to the level of service you received.  Others maintain the traditional process of presenting tips to your servers on the last night of the cruise. 

Your Cruise Director will explain tipping procedures during the disembarkation talk.  Envelopes for gratuities will be left in your cabin on the last night of the cruise. 

You may charge all of your beverages, services or on board purchases to your cabin. Most ships do not accept personal checks and some ships have a no-cash policy during the cruise. Passengers paying by credit card will be required to provide their credit card upon embarkation.  Cash is accepted in the casino.

If you do not have a credit card, you may leave a cash deposit with the purser's desk to cover your incidental, onboard purchases.  If your balance is getting low, the purser's desk will notify you and ask that you replenish your balance. If you have a balance remaining at the end of your cruise, it will be refunded.
Meals and limited activities are offered on the ship while in port, however, the casino and shops will (in most cases) not be open.
The cruise line will provide you with a daily information sheet that will be placed in your cabin each evening. This lists all the activities that will take place the following day. Most cruise lines have separate sheets for children.s activities that may be obtained from your cabin steward or the Purser.s Office.
Most of the "family-oriented" cruise lines offer children and teens. programs. If available, babysitting services may be arranged on the ship at the Purser.s Office. The Purser will advise you of the charge for a private babysitter.
Most Budget and Contemporary Cruise lines encourage families with children and almost always offer sitting services; however, availability can vary on the destination and time of year. Cruise lines with limited facilities for children may not provide a children's program or sitting services unless a certain number of children are on board. Then there are those cruise lines who do not cater to children at all and may not offer any babysitting services. Ask your cruise counselor to check with the cruise line about the policy in place for the specific cruise you are considering.

Most contemporary cruise lines offer baby sitting in a group-style format in the children's room. These are conducted by the Children's' Program Counselors. Toddlers and older children often have playtime before retiring to individual, sheet-covered mats while watching videos with the other kids. Infants are rocked and placed in individual cribs. Some cruise lines offer this for free while others may charge a small fee. Babysitting services are offered during certain evening hours when the children.s program is not in operation, but generally not on the first or the last night of the cruise. Babysitting during daytime hours is usually offered only while at sea, but a few may have more flexible hours.

Due to liability reasons, few cruise lines still offer "In-Room" babysitting services. Those that do require that you make reservations with the purser's desk at least 24 - 48 hours in advance. This "In-Room" service is usually done by female cabin stewards on their own free time. The fees are set with the cruise line and typically handled with a cash transaction directly with the In-Room Baby Sitter.

For specific information about your cruise line's baby sitting program and pricing, please see the Youth Counselor on your ship.
During the day, dress on-board a cruise ship is casual. There is usually one formal night on a 3 and 4- day cruise, two formal nights on 7-day cruises, and three or more formal nights on 10-day or longer cruises. Some ships offer special theme nights. Please refer to your cruise line brochure you will receive with your documents for specifics or the Daily Information Sheet while on-board.

Formal: Depending on the cruise line, gentlemen may be required to wear a tuxedo. A dark suit is acceptable on some cruise lines. Please refer to your brochure for this information. For the ladies, a long or short cocktail dress or a cocktail pants outfit is appropriate.

Informal: Gentlemen may be required to wear a jacket on these evenings. Ladies may wear a dress or pants outfit.

Casual: Gentlemen may wear an open shirt and slacks. No shorts are allowed in the dining room for dinner.

For more information on What to Pack for Your Cruise, please visit our Cruise Resource Section.
You may be contacted on-board the ship through the High Seas Operator on their toll free number, 1-800-732-2255. The caller must know the name and call letters of your ship and the approximate location of the ship. Please refer to your cruise brochure you receive with your documents for these call letters.

The cost of this service can be from $9.50 to $15.00 per minute, so you will want to instruct your family to contact you accordingly. 

Additionally, most modern cruise ships Internet Cafes.  These services are much more affordable than using the High Seas Operator.
Yes, you can bring your laptop computer, but most cruise lines do not have internet connections in the cabin. 

If you must check your email while you're on your cruise, you will find an Internet Cafe on most modern cruise ships.  The cost to use the Internet on board is approximately 50 - 75 cents per minute, or higher depending on the cruise line . . . much cheaper than a direct dial phone call from your cabin.  

If your ship does not have an Internet Cafe, you can often find one in many of the ports you'll visit while you're on your cruise. 

By the way, why would you bring a computer on a cruise? It's a vacation!
If you are sailing to or from a US port your cell phone should work while your ship is docked in port.  However, unless you have a special satellite phone, the typical cell phone will not work when you are at sea. There isn't the signal to support it.

When in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Bermuda, your ability to make and receive calls from your mobile phone depends on the cellular plan you have with your carrier. To ensure that your phone works in these areas, check with your carrier two weeks prior to your cruise to make sure you have access.  

When making calls from foreign countries to the USA, you may need to use their long distance calling procedures to make an international call back to the states. Check with your cellular carrier about these codes and procedures.

If you are traveling outside of North America to Europe or Asia, you may need a special telephone that can operate on a foreign signal. Again, please check with your cellular carrier.
Cruise ships offer the ability to make direct telephone  calls to anywhere in the world from your stateroom.  Because this is a satellite connection, it is very expensive to make a call, ranging from $9.50 per minute to $15.00 per minute, depending on the cruise line.  Unless contacting someone back home is urgent or an emergency, you may want to consider other alternatives. 

Most new ships today have internet access, so you could send an email for a fraction of the cost.  Or wait until you're in port and use your cell phone or a calling card to make that call home.
Time never stops on a cruise ship.  When one cruise ends, another one begins so it is very important for the staff of the ship to clear all passengers as soon as possible to prepare for the next sailing and to make sure guests holding airline tickets depart in plenty of time to catch their flights.

A cruise ship usually arrives at its disembarkation port by 7:00 am on the last day of the cruise.  Local Customs Officials then come aboard to inspect the ship and process immigration information for US and foreign passengers.   If all goes smoothly, the ship is usually cleared for disembarkation between 8:30 am and 9:30 am.  There can be delays; therefore, if you are making your own flight arrangements, you should not book return flights home before noon if you are flying from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles or New York. For other cruise ports, please ask your Passenger Support Agent.
When the ship arrives back in port on the last day of your cruise, breakfast will be served earlier than usual. Please keep in mind that there is an average of 700 to 2,000 people (depending on the size of the ship) all leaving at the same time. Each cruise line has its own disembarkation procedures. The cruise staff will provide full details on-board. Variances may occur with certain ships.
Cancellation policies vary between cruise lines. When you book your cruise, you will be advised of the cancellation policy applicable to your cruise. Our Passenger Service Department is always available to answer any questions regarding these policies.  It is the sole responsibility of the passenger to be familiar with the penalties assessed for cancellation. An administrative fee for cancellation per cabin applies from the time of deposit.

To cover yourself against penalties for canceling due to medical reasons to yourself or family members, we highly advise that you purchase Travel Protection.  You can read more about Travel Protection on our Cruise Resources page.

Overview of Protection plans offered through LeisureCare
Yes. Through a special relationship with Shore Excursions Group, we offer an extensive selection of the most popular Shore Excursions to the Mediterranean, Europe, the Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, and Alaska.

To learn more about these Excursions, please click Shore Excursions under the Before You Go section on our website.
After departing on your cruise, if you are not satisfied, call us immediately from the ship. If we or the cruise line are unable to resolve your concern, we will REFUND the unused portion of your cruise and the cost to fly you back to your port of origin.Guaranteed!!

To qualify for Refund, client must call the satisfaction guarantee desk within 24 hours of sailing and MUST disembark the ship at the first non U.S. port. This program is not available on all sailings.

For more details about our Satisfaction Guarantee, click here.
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