Will I get seasick?
Everyone feels different affects of sea sickness, decisions regarding your cabin location can be a consideration that may help slightly. Mid-ship cabins on a lower decks are generally the most stable and best for travellers predisposed to sea sickness. Some passengers find an oceanview cabin with a window and natural light better so they can see the horizon, a balcony cabin lets you step outside and let fresh air in.
Is motion discomfort a problem?
Today’s modern ships are quite large, contain hi-tech stabilizing devices and advance weather notification processes. In the unlikely event you experience motion discomfort, there are a number of over-the-counter solutions to ease your concerns. These include Bonine, Mecklizine, Dramamine, Transderm Scope Patches, and Seabands. Please consult with your physician or pharmacist before taking any medication.
Can we stay in contact with the outside?
Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines and sports updates. Staterooms on all of today’s modern ships are equipped with satellite televisions and in some cases in-cabin WiFi. While most ships now have telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone on shore through the ship’s radio operator while at sea. You can make phone calls from most ports. Many ships have fax capabilities and newer ships offer Internet access and e-mail capabilities to passengers.
Is there internet access while at sea?
Most cruise lines provide internet facilities such as an internet cafe and Wi-Fi zone. These options are at an additional charge and can be expensive, connectivity can be limited depending on how far out of range the ship is so it is best to log-in when in port.
Can we celebrate a “special” occasion?
Definitely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake to honor the occasion. Your birthday, anniversary or celebration can be more festive with champagne, flowers, canapes, wine or cheese. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise in advance.
Do I need travel insurance?
Absolutely! Travel insurance is a must for cruising – even if the ship doesn’t leave Australian waters. Ships provide a high standard of medical care, but the medical clinics on board are privately run and not covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Keep in mind, you may be a long way from land if anything goes wrong, and you require expensive emergency evacuation.
Will I need a passport?
Australian passport holders going on a domestic trip that doesn’t stop in an overseas port will not need to bring a passport, you will need however a valid government-issued photo ID. All travellers cruising from Australia to New Zealand, the South Pacific or Asia will require a passport with six months validity, as will all other overseas tours.
What currency is charged onboard?
It depends on the cruise line’s origin. Many of the ocean cruises will be in US dollars. Overall, river cruises in Europe will be in Euros and most ships visiting Australia will be in US dollars. Home ported ships in our waters such as Carnival Australia, Princess Sea, Dawn and Sun Princess and the P&O fleet, are in Australian dollars. There are exceptions to these rules but your Meridian Travel consultant will advise you.
Do I need a visa?
This depends on a number of factors, passenger’s nationality, intended itinerary and whether or not you are disembarking in a destination or simply transiting through. If a visa is required, your Meridian Travel consultant and cruise line will work together to arrange this on your behalf with cruise lines granted a blanket visa from the local government to cover days in port for all passengers on most occasions. If this isn’t the case, your Meridian Travel consultant will work with you to determine the visa requirements specific to your travel plans and arrange this with you.
What is included in my cost?
Your accommodation, transport, entertainment and all main meals are included in the cost, access to most of the ship’s facilities and tipping on occasion. River cruises may also include shipboard gratuities, some shore excursions and alcoholic drinks. Expeditions will include shore visits and equipment. Cruise lines offer a number of optional extras for a small cost including dining at specialty restaurants, spa treatments and shore excursions.
How do I pay for purchases onboard?
Cruises operate on a cashless system. Instead of paying as you go, purchases are charged to your unique room card that is linked to your credit/debit card. Itemised accounts are presented to passengers before disembarkation to be settled prior to check out, or automatically debited if there are no discrepancies.
How do I arrange shore excursions?
Cruise lines continually review their shore excursions and include new tours to ensure there is a good variety for all interests and fitness levels. The selected shore excursions will be available approximately ninety days before departure, they can be booked by passengers through their cruise personaliser on the cruise line’s website. Popular shore excursions may sell out early so it is advisably to book these ahead of time, they can also be arranged while on the ship through the concierge.
Can I get off the ship on my own, or do I need to do a shore tour?
You can get off the ship at each port to explore on your own and this can be a good way to control expenditure on your holiday.
Will I get bored during days at sea?
The ship is a destination in itself, a floating city. There are plenty of activities onboard, both complimentary and some with a small additional charge, to suit all interest groups and fitness levels. A recommended sea day itinerary on an ocean cruise could be early morning jog, followed by breakfast with a view, spot of shopping before a poolside lunch, catch a movie, take centre stage in a pop choir, enjoy some wine tastings, followed by dinner and a show.
Can I open the windows in an oceanview cabin?
No. The windows in oceanview cabins are fixed so for fresh air, you will need to book a balcony cabin.
Will I need vaccinations?
Wherever you are travelling it is recommended you have a minimum of Influenza (seasonal), Hepatitis A and Tetanus/Diphtheria vaccinations. You are strongly advised to seek advice from either your doctor or an approved public health travel advisory service to identify any specific vaccinations or health precautions required for each port of call.