FAQ's: While Travelling

Answers to common questions you may have while travelling

Guided touring questions
What time will I usually start the day?

On most guided tours you are up early most days. There are exceptions to this rule, and all Operators make it clear in their itineraries and inclusions if the itinerary is designed to be more leisurely with later departures. But in general, most depart soon after breakfast to get the best vantage spots or to get into your destination earlier for more free time.

Can I have laundry done?

Most hotels offer laundry services, however, it is a good idea to try and pack enough clothing without having to do laundry. It can be costly - but if do, then wait until you have a two night stopover during your journey.

Am I going to have issues with electrical appliances?

Electrical currents vary in Britain, on the continent of Europe and also in different countries throughout the world. Some newer appliances have dual voltage, but if not, we suggest you carry a converter for your electric shaver, travelling iron and other small appliances to prevent damage. Additionally, plugs/outlets differ everywhere, so you'll need a universal electrical travel adaptor before you go in order to use your appliance. Australia and NZ have the same voltage and plug designs.

How do I change my currency while on a multi-country itinerary?

Currency can be exchanged at airports or banks. Most bank machines (ATM's) throughout Europe and many parts of the world accept debit cards. Or better yet, bring along a travel money card.

How do I keep in touch with family and friends?

Almost all hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be high, especially for international calls. Set-up your mobile for roaming before you leave, or buy a sim when you arrive and swap out (but keep safe) your existing sim. This is iften the cheapest method and short term (pay as you go) plans are not very expensive.

Will there be seat rotation?

Almost always. Your Tour Director/Guide will implement a seat rotation system, whereby passengers rotate seats on the coach daily. This allows for all passengers to experience the different views from various seats and to maximise interaction.

What if I arrive late and miss a feature on the tour?

Your Operator will not refund for missed experiences, meals or sightseeing on tour.

Can I drink the water in the countries I will visit on my tour?

In Australasia, the UK, Western Europe and Scandinavia, the answer is 'yes'. For other countries your Tour Guide will keep you informed during your journey.

Is smoking allowed on the coach?

No Operators allow smoking onboard the coach. However, there are plenty of comfort stops, allowing you ample opportunity to smoke if you wish, stretch your legs, take a scenic snapshot or enjoy a cup of coffee.

River cruising questions
Are we organised onboard or are we free to do what we wish?

A professional, experienced, English-speaking Cruise Director accompanies every departure. He or She is there to help you plan & get the best out of your tour. You are under no obligation to participate in organised trips ashore or any events onboard if you prefer to just relax & enjoy the scenery.

Do I get to choose the table I dine at onboard?

Meals are served in the dining room in a single sitting. There is open seating so you may sit at different tables for each meal if you wish to meet other fellow passengers. All meals onboard the ship are included.

I will be bringing some electrical appliances with me, what do I need know about the electricity supply so that I can use them?

Electricity on board is 220v. Most cruise Operators bathrooms have dual 220v/110-120v plug for shavers and small appliances. You will need an adapter or converter to use in other outlets in the stateroom for any small personal items such as a razor, curling iron or alarm clock. In the Galapagos, electrical outlets are 110v with American-type outlets. Each stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer.

What about tipping on the cruise?

Gratuities policies differ slightly depending on the Operator, however generally onboard European river cruises gratuities are included for the Tour Director & Crew. Generally they are not included in Egypt, China & South America.

Will I have access to laundry facilities on the cruise?

Laundry service is available onboard most ships either for free or for a modest fee. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned onboard. Laundry facilities are not available on Galapagos cruises.

What happens if I need medical attention?

Should you fall ill, please contact your ships reception, at once. Due to the proximity to land, medical services can be called from shore when necessary. There is a resident physician onboard some expedition ships and river cruise ships. You will be responsible for all charges that result from visiting a Medical facility, or for a Medical Practitioner visiting you. It is important that your Travel Insurance covers these eventualities.

Do I have to have cash for payments on board?

A cashless system operates on the vessels. For convenience, all purchases and paid services on board (after your authorisation) are billed to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a total which can be paid with cash or charged to a major credit card or paid in traveller's cheques (there is a processing fee). Travellers cheques are not accepted on the Royal Lotus. Personal cheques are not accepted.

I am a smoker, are there facilities for my habit?

All ships have dedicated smoking areas onboard - but they are always outside.

I am celebrating my birthday on this voyage, can I arrange something special?

Passengers celebrating special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, should alert ship personnel upon boarding the ship.

Ocean cruising questions
When is embarkation?

Your travel documents will indicate the details for your embarkation day, that include when you should be at the port and the documents you need for boarding the ship. You may be provided a time for embarkation or offered to select a time for embarkation, depending on the cruise Operator.

What happens on embarkation day?

Information about embarkation day will be included in your travel documents. This should also cover the services that are available once you board the ship.

What time will the ship get to each port?

The time your ship is expected to arrive in each port will be indicated on the cruise itinerary, however conditions at sea may mean that you arrive later. The ship’s daily news or announcements will advise arrivals and departures once you are cruising.

How much time will there be in the ports?

The arrival and departure time for each port will be indicated on the cruise itinerary. This may change depending on conditions at sea. Most cruise lines plan for about 5 – 9 hours in port. Destination focussed cruise Operators will spend a day and evening in port, departing later in the night, while others might spend multiple nights in one port.

Are ports ever bypassed or missed?

In certain circumstances, ports may be changed or missed. This may be due to weather conditions, conditions in the port or mechanical conditions that may occur, causing the ship to stop in alternative locations. Occasionally ships need to stop in an unscheduled port due to an unforeseen medical emergency. In these circumstances, alternative ports may be arranged or there may be more days at sea.

Will I be reimbursed for port excursions if they are missed because the port wasn’t visited?

Each cruise line decides how they will compensate for ports they did not visit. Please refer to the terms and Conditions of the cruise Operator.

How do I get ashore at the various ports?

Your ship will either dock at the pier or wharf of the port. Where there is no pier or the ship cannot enter the port due to depth, you will get ashore by smaller boats called tenders. These ferry guests in groups into the port and return them back to the ship.

Do I have to go ashore at all ports?

You do not have to go ashore at any of the ports on the cruise itinerary if you choose not to. It is recommended you check on the services that will be available to you on board the ship while in port, as they may be limited on port days.

What sort of excursions can I take?

Your cruise Operator will offer a series of arranged shore excursions ranging from city tours to bus trips to iconic locations, or adventure experiences such as diving, water sports, hiking or cycling. You can generally book the excursions you would like to do through your cruise account once you have paid in full and in a defined period before your cruise commences. Most cruise lines have a Destination Concierge on board to help you book sponsored or private tours – or even help you book a recommended restaurant.

Do I have to go on the organised excursions, can I explore on my own?

It is entirely your choice how you spend time on shore at each port. You may choose to go on an organised tour offered by the cruise Operator, or it may be possible to arrange a private tour through your ship’s Destination Concierge. Alternatively, you may explore the port destination on your own. You just need to be aware of the time by which you must be back on board the ship.

What happens if I am late returning to the ship?

It’s imperative you always get back to the ship on time. The “All Aboard” time is printed in the daily ship newsletter. If you are on an excursion organised by the cruise line with other guests, the ship will be informed if there are any delays and wait.

If you have chosen to explore independently and are delayed getting back to the ship, you should call the ship immediately to inform them that you are running late. It is at their discretion if they wait for you or sail.

What do I do if the ship departs from port without me?

Should the ship depart without you, call the ship immediately to let them know you are not on board. It is incumbent on you to make your own arrangements, at your own cost, to meet the ship at the next port or to return home. If you return home, you will need to liaise with the cruise Operator to have your belongings returned, at your own cost.

Do I need to take my travel documents ashore?

You will need to carry your cruise card with you and a photocopy of the details page of your passport with the photo. Take the ship’s phone number with you, should you run into challenges returning to the ship on time. It is recommended you only carry as little money as you need and a credit card. Leave your passport in the safe in your stateroom.

Can I bring souvenirs on board from the ports I visit?

Yes, you can however you need to be mindful of items that you should not bring on board or bring home – such as plants, unpackaged foods, animal products or seeds for example. Check customs regulations for items you can’t bring home. Also be aware of your ship’s policy on bringing alcohol back onto most ships. Items that shouldn’t be carried back onto the ship will likely be confiscated.

What’s in my stateroom or suite?

Amenities will depend on the cruise line, room type and the size of the vessel you are cruising on, however most onboard accommodation has a queen sized bed that can be separated into twin beds, a fridge or minibar, flat screen TV, wardrobe, safe and en suite bathroom with bath products and hairdryer.

Will I be able to get laundry done?

Most cruise Operators offer laundry services, self-service laundry facilities and dry cleaning services. All services are provided for a fee. Some suite classes offer free or a level of complimentary laundry service.

Will I need an adapter for electrical appliances?

On many cruise lines you will find North American standard 110 volts AC two round pin electrical outlets and the standard European 220/230 volts AC, two flat pin outlets. Although sometimes they are provided, carrying a universal adapter and a converter is recommended.

Will there be Wi-Fi?

Most ships provide free Wi-Fi services in public areas and in your stateroom or suite. There is likely to be limitations to the bandwidth and the number of devices that can use the free service per stateroom. Some cruise Operators offer options to upgrade at an extra cost. On all ships there can be interruptions to service due to location and conditions.

Can I use my mobile phone on the ship?

You can use your mobile phone on your cruise ship, but you will need to contact your own provider to check on International Roaming Services. Your mobile phone provider will need to have a roaming agreement with Maritime Communications Partner (MCP)or Wireless Maritime Services (WMS). Contact your provider for more details on rates and availability. Be aware, once you leave your home port International Roaming Rates will activate.

Can I contact my family from the cruise ship?

Some cruise ships offer direct dial satellite phone services at cost from your stateroom or suite and all offer telephone services from the ship. These calls are charged at a per minute rate and usually in US Dollars or Euro. Rates can start at approximately USD7.50 or EU €6 per minute. If you are not carrying your own device, you will find computers and internet services are available for email contact. Alternatively, your family can contact the ship should they need to contact you in an emergency.

Will I need to have cash for payments on board?

A cashless system operates on cruise ships. For convenience, all purchases and paid services on board (after your authorisation) are billed to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a total which can be paid with cash, charged to a major credit card or paid in traveller's cheques (there is a processing fee). Personal cheques are not accepted.

What happens if I have not spent all the funds in my onboard account?

This will depend on the cruise line. As a general rule, credit you have purchased for your account is refunded. Onboard credit you may have gained from sales promotions may not be refunded if not used. Most accounts will itemise the source of the credit. Check the Terms and Conditions of your cruise Operator to confirm their policy.

Are there ATMs on the ship?

Most large cruise ships have ATMS but be aware there may be large surcharges for using them.

What activities are there on the ship?

All cruise Operators offer amenities and activities on board the ship. Amenities, depending on the size of the ship, may include but are not limited to, swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness centre and spa, library, shopping, casino, theatre, lounges and bars, sports courts and running tracks, and children’s centres.

Activities will depend on the type of cruise you have booked but may include cooking demonstrations, games of skill and chance, destination focussed talks and lectures, language and art classes, sports competitions, nightly entertainment, shows and performances, themed nights and art auctions.

Are there activities for children?

Some cruise lines, such as Viking, do not accept children. Others accept children but don’t offer specific facilities or programs for children. There may be limitations for young children participating in the zodiac excursions on expedition cruises based on age, weight and height. Other cruise Operators are family focussed with award winning programs for children from babies to teens.

Are there babysitting services?

Baby sitting services and evening programs for children are offered (at cost) by some cruise Operators. These are often booked when you board.

Can I smoke on board a cruise ship?

All cruise ships offer designated areas for smoking. Please note, you cannot smoke in your stateroom or on your balcony and smoking is strictly prohibited outside the ships’ designated areas.

What happens if I get sick on my cruise?

Every ship, regardless of the cruise line and ship size, has some level of medical services or a medical centre onboard. If you become sick during the cruise you should report to the medical services for guidance on managing your illness amongst other guests.

You may be quarantined in your stateroom to stop the spread of illness. If you are seriously ill, you may be disembarked at the next port for more comprehensive care and if your illness (or injury) is very serious you may be helicoptered off the ship by a medi-vac service.

It is essetial to have travel medical insurance to cover all these instances, even when cruising in Australian waters. As Medicare is only available to registered providers you will want to avoid large medical bills.

Can I buy medications onboard?

While there will be a range of over the counter drugs available in the medical centre on most ships, it is recommended by all that you carry enough supply of your prescription and non-prescription medicines to cover you for the period of your cruise.

Can I drink the water on the ship?

Yes, you can. The water in restaurants and in your stateroom has been tested and filtered under rigorous conditions set down by health agencies overseeing health and safety on cruise ships. Some luxury cruise Operators have filtered water taps in their suites, but this is not an indicator that the water is not safe otherwise or on other cruise lines that do not offer this amenity.

Do I need to tip onboard the ship?

Gratuity policies vary by cruise line. Most include gratuities in the cruise fare we advertise, while others will add a per person per day amount to your onboard account (which can be amended at your discretion when you settle your bill). Ask your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor if you are unsure what your cruise line includes.

Please note that even if gratuities are included in your cruise fare this does not cover purchases onboard (expect an additional gratuity added to things like spa services and drinks not included in complimentary drinks packages).

Tipping above included gratuities for good service is at your discretion.

Do I need to tip for services on shore in ports?

Shore excursions are generally run by tour operators who run their businesses independently of the cruise Operator. Tipping is always at your discretion, however as general rule, guests may tip up to US $5 for tour guides and give a few dollars to the driver also.

The Small Print
We’ve tried to make this FAQ guide as accurate as possible, but it is general advice and each tour and cruise Operator has their own rules and regulations. We've outlined those in the FAQ section on each Operator page. Please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel. Global Journeys takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of the information provided above.

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