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See how a cruise vacation would be the perfect, all-inclusive getaway for your whole family.
A: Yes! Children can often travel at substantially lower rates. If your children are active and love adventure, they will most likely enjoy an Alaskan cruise.
Several cruise lines visiting Alaska cater to and provide specialized facilities for families. If your children are very young, we recommend Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean for their excellent programs for children and babysitting services.
Please be advisedthat Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America and Royal Caribbean do not permit guests under the age of 21 unless they are accompanied by an adult 25 years of age or older. Please note that cruise lines do not allow children six months of age or under to travel. Restrictions regarding children vary with each cruise line. Please contact one of our Alaska Cruise Experts agents at 1-800-565-2784 for more details.
A: Many cruise lines offer greatly reduced pricing for children, provided that they are the 3rd or 4th passenger in a stateroom. Please contact one of our Alaska Cruise Experts agents at 1-800-565-2784 for details and pricing.
Specialized programs and entertainment are available for children and teens. Youth programs and entertainment vary with each cruise line that offers them, so please be sure to check with your Alaska Cruise Experts agent for a cruise line that suits your family's needs. Here are just a few highlights of programs offered: Celebrity Cruises offers children's programs for four separate age groups: Ship Mates (ages 3-6), Celebrity Cadets (ages 7-9), Ensigns (ages 10-12) and Admiral T's (ages 13-15 and 16-17). Onboard counselors are always available and activities take place daily. Holland America Line offers Club HAL® for guests aged 3-17. Also featured is a popular Kids & Teens Culinary Arts Center, bringing the joy of cooking to the younger set. Princess Cruises offers supervised activities at its Youth and Teen Centers for travelers aged 3-17. TV programs appropriate for children, including cartoons, movies and award-winning programs may be shown on your stateroom?s television. Royal Caribbean International offers Adventure Ocean® programs for children 3 years of age and older, with age groups categorized similarly to Celebrity Cruises' programs for children.
A: Babysitting services are available only on selected cruise lines. For instance, some of your options include the following:
Princess Cruises offers a group babysitting service at the Youth Center. There is a $5.00 per hour, per child charge from 10pm to 1am.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers two types of babysitting: Port Play is offered from 9am-5pm, accommodating those parents booked on shore excursions; Late Night Party Zone is offered nightly from 10pm-1am. The charges are $5.00 per hour, per child, and $3.00 per hour for each additional sibling in the same immediate family.
A: As an account for passengers' health and safety, no pets are allowed onboard the cruise ship. Special exception will be given to guide dogs for visually impaired passengers.
Find out about the advantages of vacationing onboard a ship, what's included and what to pack on your cruise vacation.
A: Start your cruise early!
Arrive 3-4 hours prior to the scheduled cruise departure time and you will be able to sit back and relax as your baggage is taken from you and delivered to your cabin. Don?t forget to ask about priority embarkation, which is offered by most cruise lines to their past passengers, before you proceed through check-in, immigration, and security. You are now free to unpack, eat lunch in the buffet, and enjoy the start of your cruise vacation.
Please observe departure times carefully to avoid the disappointment of being denied boarding onto the ship.
A cruise ship is like a large floating resort. Oftentimes, it takes passengers several days before they have completely explored their ship, in addition to the time spent while exploring new ports of call. Cruise ships commonly feature a wide variety of activities, including sports, shopping, bars, casinos, night clubs, dance lessons, theater performances and spa services - Just to list several highlights. Onboard your ship, a daily program of exciting shipboard events will be provided. Your biggest concern will most likely be deciding on how to spend your day!
A: Many cruise ships are so large that some passengers even seem to get lost within the ship! Apart from embarkation, disembarkation and while seated in the main dining room, most passengers will not notice the masses.
Other smaller ships restrict the number of passengers to an amount much lower than the ship's maximum capacity. This allows for a larger, more comfortable space ratio combined with an intimate environment.
A: There will most definitely be a temptation to indulge in an abundance of rich and sweet foods, yet for the strong willed there are always health-conscious and light menu items available.
All cruise ships feature fitness facilities, where guests may choose to exercise in the gym, attend an aerobics class, jog, swim, or play a game of basketball. On some ships, there are putting greens, golf simulators or tennis courts.
A: Cruise vacations offer a wide range of dining options on when, where and with whom you'd like to dine.
Generally, cruise lines offer an early seating (typically around 6:00pm) or a late seating (typically around 8:00pm) in the main dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Other lines may offer open seating (your choice of dining whenever and with whomever you wish), flexible dining times and many alternative dining options. With so much variety, it is best to ensure that you identify your preference to your Alaska Cruise Expert agent during booking.
A: On request, guests may opt for a salt-free, low-carbohydrate or kosher diet onboard. Please make this request to your Alaska Cruise Experts agent at the time of booking your cruise vacation.
A: In many ships, there are non-smoking staterooms and public areas of the ship. Most cruise lines have designated their dining rooms and lounges as non-smoking public areas. If this poses any concern to you, please mention this to your Alaska Cruise Expert agent.
A: Most people will not experience motion sickness. The modern ships of today are equipped with stabilizers that greatly reduce the amount of movement at sea. Complimentary sea-sickness pills are usually readily available at your ship's Guest Relations desk.
If you consider yourself sensitive to motion at sea, we suggest booking a mid-ship stateroom (i.e., closer to the center of the ship), where motion is minimized. You may also wish to consider applying a Transderm Scopolamine patch behind the ear, medicated to treat motion sickness. It is available by prescription (except in Canada, where a prescription is not required) and may create side effects, so please consult your doctor for more information. If you do not wish to resort to medicated treatments, consider wearing a Sea-Band wristband the minute you embark. Available at major drug stores, this discrete acupressure device can suppress nausea without any drug side effects.
A: Passengers will have access to a ship-to-shore telephone service in their staterooms, but an additional per-minute charge for this service tends to be very costly. Alternatively, mail, fax and other business services are available. Guests can also stay connected via e-mail. Due to its persistent gain in popularity, Internet services and packages are now offered on most ships visiting Alaska.
A: The North American standard 110-volt outlets are used on all cruise ships sailing Alaska.
Please note that the use of irons is strictly forbidden in cabins, as they are potential fire hazards. As an alternative, all cruise ships offer laundry services for a nominal fee and some ships offer self-service laundry facilities. The use of other self-heating devices may also be restricted; please contact your Alaska Cruise Expert agent for more information.
A: Cruise vacations have become more casual by day, whether on ship or ashore. In the evening, dress codes vary by cruise line. The majority of cruise lines vary their dinner dress codes nightly, from casual to semiformal, to formal. For many cruise lines, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, swimwear and tank tops are not considered appropriate attire for the evening and shoes must be worn at all times.
On casual evenings, open neck shirts, slacks, casual dresses or skirts and sports outfits are acceptable.
On semiformal evenings, ladies may choose to wear dresses or pantsuits and men wear coats and ties.
Formal evenings suggest evening gowns, cocktail dresses for women, and tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for men.
Several lines feature more formal dress codes or can be completely casual. Be sure to speak with your Alaska Cruise Expert agent to find the best ship to suit your preferences.
A: Professionally trained medical staff and facilities are available for your assistance on all cruise ships.
A: The majority of ships offer laundry and dry cleaning services for additional charges. Some ships may offer self-service laundry facilities.
A: Due to security precautions, no visitors are allowed onboard the ships. All guests boarding the ship after a port visit will be required to present valid identification and their ship account card.
A: Tipping is essentially at your discretion. A large fraction of the onboard service staff's income is comprised of tip, and if you feel that you have been well serviced, it is always best to show your appreciation with gratuities. On most ships, all lounge, beauty salon and spa service staff receive an automatic 15% gratuity included in your purchases, and additional gratuities are not expected.
For most cruise lines gratuities or service fees are added daily to your onboard account. These charges vary between $10 and $12 per person depending on category of stateroom and cruise line.
Details about our Alaska Cruise Experts Web site.
A: We most certainly do! Visit our main travel site www.cruiseexpertstravel.com for cruises to destinations around the world!
Find answers regarding required documents, purchasing airfare, insurance, and more.
A: US and Canadian Citizens: Beginning June 1, 2009, US and Canadian citizens travelling to all foreign destinations by land, air, or sea will be required to show passports. Cruise lines require proof of citizenship (e.g. birth certificate) and photo identification. No photocopies will be accepted.
Other Nationals: Most foreign nationals are required to have a passport and Visa to enter the United States and Canada. Please note that it is the passenger's responsibility to provide acceptable proof of citizenship and other required documents.
A: It is highly recommended that passengers purchase trip cancellation coverage. In the event that you are required to cancel your trip due to a medical emergency in your immediate family, you will recover the non-refundable portion of the cruise price. However, please note that this coverage does not include any pre-existing medical conditions.
Additional coverage is also available for baggage protection, emergency evacuation and medical. Call one of our experienced Cruise Experts at 1-800-565-2784 to discuss specific coverage details.
A: Cancellation penalties will vary by each cruise line. As a general rule, the closer the cancellation occurs to its departure date, the greater the penalty.
In order to minimize any concerns, guests are advised to consider purchasing cancellation insurance where, in the event of a cancellation, guests will be able to recover a larger sum of their paid cruise fare.
A: Traveler's checks are not necessary for expenses onboard your ship. You will receive a very convenient ship card that allows you to charge all your onboard expenditures to your personal shipboard account, linked to a credit card of your choice. As a further convenience, your card also acts as your stateroom key.
If you should require cash for other expenses, automated banking machines (ABMs) can be found at all ports of call and on most cruise ships. Major credit cards are generally accepted everywhere.
A: Your Alaska Cruise Expert agent can arrange your airfare either directly through the cruise line, or separately with a specific airline. Please call us at 1-800-565-2784 for more specific details.
A: To expedite the embarkation process, every cruise line requires booked passengers to pre-register in advance, prior to the sailing date. It is recommended that all passengers pre-register as soon as possible and this can be easily done via the individual cruise line's Web site.
For your convenience, we have assembled a list of links and instructions on where to access and complete the pre-registration forms for each specific cruise line.
A: A cruise vacation offers the flexibility of packing more baggage, thanks to the benefit of only having to unpack and repack once. However, guests with flights are reminded to check with their airline for baggage dimension and weight restrictions.
Guests are reminded to pack in preparation for all types of weather conditions. It is always best to bring a pair of walking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat, regardless of your cruise destination.
On the final night of a cruise, passengers will be asked to leave larger luggage items outside of their staterooms for transport. As a result, all guests should bring an overnight bag for toiletries and valuables, in preparation for disembarkation the next morning.
A: Shipboard arrangements can be made to celebrate almost any special occasion. These include weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and birthdays. Specially designed gifts or celebration packages for many of the aforementioned occasions are available through the cruise line. To make arrangements, please ensure that you speak with one of our experienced Alaska Cruise Experts agents.
Also, please be advised that it is extremely important that these packages are pre-arranged at the time of booking with your Alaska Cruise Expert agent.
Facts about the Great Land and details outlining the assortment of cruise and cruisetour options.
The highlights of visiting Alaska change throughout the cruise season. Ultimately, it is personal preference that determines the best time to cruise Alaska. The Alaska cruise season runs between the months of May and September, and guests can often expect cruise prices to be more favorable in early May and mid-September. May is an excellent month for viewing wild flowers and September for autumn colors. A more popular time of travel is during the summer months of July and August, a period when sunnier weather and warmer temperatures are generally expected.
A: All cruise lines that sail to Alaska will offer exceptional service. However, each cruise line varies in the style in which they deliver such service, shipboard amenities and land tour/shore excursion options.
A: Cruisetours consist of pre- and post-cruise land extensions or tours combined with an Alaska cruise. The main advantage in opting for cruisetours is that they offer guests a more in-depth expedition into the mainland of Alaska and Canada. Celebrity, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean offer the most extensive variety of add-on land extensions/tours.
A: A cruise vacation makes the most of how a vacation to Alaska should be: Experienced, and not simply observed. Each Alaskan port of call offers an exceptional opportunity to explore and discover new wildlife and culture - conveniently offered through a variety of adventurous and culturally rich shore excursions.
In addition, an Alaska cruise vacation can be extended either pre- or post-cruise by adding land components that allow you to travel deep within the unspoiled lands of Alaska and Canada. This is known as an Alaska cruisetour vacation.
A: Generally, the best categories of staterooms sell extremely quickly and well before the sailing date, so it is always best to book well in advance (usually at least a few months) to avoid disappointment and to enjoy a larger stateroom selection. As a bonus, cruise lines often offer excellent early booking discounts.
The Alaska cruise season operates between the months of May and September. The number of cruise ships sailing to Alaska is restricted to minimize any possible impact on Alaska's natural environment.
A: There is an assortment of cruise vacations designed to suit every budget. Please refer to "What is included in my cruise price?" for amenities that are typically included in cruise vacations. Compare these features to a typical land-based vacation of similar length and you'll soon discover that cruising is definitely an unbeatable value for the ultimate getaway.
A: Unless otherwise stated, when you purchase a cruise, the following amenities are included:
Your well appointed stateroom or suite
All ocean transportation between ports of call
All meals and snacks (excluding specialty dining)
24-hour room service
Most non-alcoholic beverages
Onboard entertainment, including spectacular shows
Swimming pools, whirlpools and saunas
Fitness facilities & most sports equipment
Lounges, night clubs, library & observation facilities
Children & teen programs at sea
Lectures on featured ports of call
A selection of classes (dance, ice carving, etc.)
Gratuities (only with Regent & Silversea)
A: Unless otherwise stated, when you purchase a cruise, the following amenities are not included:
Airfare to/from your port of arrival and departure
Government fees and local departure taxes
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Spa & salon treatments
Specialty classes (wine tastings, computers, etc.)
Phone, fax, Internet and other business services
Gratuities (except with Regent & Silversea)
All other items of a personal nature
A: Since booking with a "miscellaneous-travel" agency always poses the risk of being placed on a cruise ship that will not match your personal expectations or needs, we highly recommend booking with an agency that specializes in cruise vacations!
Here at Alaska Cruise Experts, we specifically specialize in Alaska and cruising. Our team possesses all the knowledge and expertise to answer any of your questions. We ensure that your Alaska cruise experience is one to which you will most definitely want to return.