Cruising Basics

Basic Cruise Ship Terms for Novices

Being on a cruise ship for the first time can be extremely exciting…and confusing all at the same time. Talks of port or starboard sides, tenders and much more can make your head spin quickly if you aren't familiar with basic nautical terms.
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What are the differences between a river cruise and ocean cruise?

If you're thinking of taking a European vacation, two of the best travel options are river and ocean cruises. However, you should know river and ocean cruises are two completely different experiences. Three big differences are:
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What is a Cruise Tour?

A Cruise Tour often called a Cruisetour is a cruise combined with a land tour (Holland America Line calls them Land + Sea Journey) . They are most often thought of as a great way to see Alaska but they are available in destinations all over the world. When on a Cruise Tour you enjoy all of the features of an Ocean or River cruise while onboard the ship plus on the land tour portion, all transportation, accommodations, guided tours with priority entrance to attractions and some meals are included as well.

What is the difference between a Balcony and a Veranda?

The short answer is "nothing", they are the same. Cruise Lines sometimes use different terms for the same thing. The stateroom with a private open air sitting area has traditionally been referred to as a "Balcony" stateroom but some cruise lines have started calling them a "Veranda" stateroom; you may also occasionally hear them referred to as a "Lanai" stateroom.

Why should I use a travel agent?

Let's face it, we're biases but we really do believe there are 10 really good reasons you should use a travel agent.
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Should I buy Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is optional, but for all of our CruiseExperts.com clients we highly recommend it for a variety of reasons you may not have thought of. Most people know it will reimburse you for the cost of you trip if you have to cancel for covered reasons; however, let's face it, the loss of the cost of your trip, while a significant investment, is usually not life changing. There are however other potential liabilities that if not covered by travel insurance can significantly alter your life. That's why we offer our clients affordable Travel Insurance plans.
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What can I expect to be included in the cruise fare?

If you are thinking about taking a cruise, you're probably wondering what is included in the cost. The good news is that you get a lot for your money!
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What is Freestyle Cruising?

Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) offers a unique twist on cruising, they call it Freestyle Cruising. It's the most flexible way to cruise.
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Do I need a passport for a cruise to Mexico or Alaska?

We always recommend that every traveler have a passport because it opens up the world of travel. However American citizens don't always need one to cruise to Alaska or Mexico. We'll first discuss those situations when a passport is not required.
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How Do I get a U.S. Passport?

If traveling is on your bucket list, then you are definitely going to eventually need a passport. Passports are required when traveling outside of the United States. It can take awhile to get your passport, sometimes up to 6 weeks, so it is best to plan ahead and get your passport in advance to save on expedite fees. You are required to apply in person if it's your first passport or if you fall under some other exceptions. If you are simply renewing your passport, you can do it by mail if you meet certain requirements.
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Tips for selecting your room on a cruise

One of the decisions that you'll have to make when booking a cruise is what type of room you want—and where it will be located. It may seem overwhelming, but at CruiseExperts.com, we're here to help you. Our agents understand that selecting a cabin can be hard if you're not familiar with the ship, and especially for first-time passengers. Hopefully, we can give you some information that may help you choose the right cabin in the right location for your vacation.
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What is a "Guarantee" (GTY) Stateroom or Cabin on a Cruise?

A Guarantee Stateroom or Cabin is an unassigned room on a ship. It can be the perfect choice for some people, but you need to know the difference between an unassigned room and an assigned room. Being informed means there are no surprises when you board the ship.
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What is a single supplement?

It's a fact– the price that you see for a cruise ship cabin is typically based on double occupancy. That means the price you are seeing is ½ the total cost of the stateroom. It is the cost paid by each person assuming that two people will be staying in a room, each paying the stated price. Essentially, if you want to travel alone, and have your own room…you pay double. More specifically you pay the Cruise/Port costs times 2, but the taxes and gratuities times 1.
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What is a repositioning cruise?

Usually during the fall and the spring, cruise lines move their ships from one destination to another, and basically, migrate by following the sun to the warm destination. In order to travel between these popular destinations, the ships must cross the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean thus calling them a Transatlantic or Transpacific cruise. Panama Canal cruises are typically a repositioning cruise as well.
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What are cruise line smoking policies?

If you're a smoker, you might not be so thrilled with the recent changes in the smoking policies of many of the cruise lines. More and more cruise lines are prohibiting smoking on cabin balconies. However, if you're a non-smoker, this is good news. You will now be able to enjoy the fresh ocean air from your cabin and balcony without the worry of a neighboring smoker.
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