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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your Operator will not refund for missed experiences, meals or sightseeing on 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All ships have dedicated smoking areas onboard - but they are always outside.
Passengers celebrating special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, should alert ship personnel upon boarding the ship.