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Choosing a Cabin
Packing Tips
Shore Excursions
Cruise Attire
Tipping Guidelines
Physical Fitness
Kids Programs
Internet and email
Dining Options
Shipboard Entertainment
Special Occasions
Medical Services
Currency $$$ Issues
SPA Facilities
Calling Home
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Choosing a Cabin

CABIN TYPES

For most cruises you'll have a choice of 4 basic cabin configurations or "categories". Within each category will be slight variations which, for the most part, are based on cabin location. Every cabin will have a minimum of 2 beds with private bathroom. All cabins will have at least a TV and phone and many, certainly the higher category cabins, will have a small refrigerator and a VCR/CD player. The price you pay for the cruise, with very few exceptions , is dependent on the category cabin you choose. The type cabin you book has no other effect on what services are available to you (i.e. passengers in the lowest category cabins eat dinner in the same dining room with passengers in the highest category cabins and have access to the same services as anyone else aboard.). Lets start with the lowest priced and work our way up!
INSIDE or INTERIOR CABINS. These cabins are located in the interior of the ship and will not have a window. They are usually between 150 - 180 square feet in size (size differs depending on the ship). They also tend to be smaller then the higher category cabins. The bathroom will be "smallish" with a toilet/single sink and shower. Many people are perfectly content with an inside cabin since they only use it to sleep. Other people feel that since this is a vacation and the cabin will be their "home away from home" for 7 nights, something a bit more deluxe is warranted. Also, if you plan on bringing a 3rd or 4th person to share the cabin, it will be a challenge considering the smaller space you'll be sharing with 2 or 3 other people plus their belongings and luggage. Inside cabins will be priced at different levels depending on the location of the cabin.
OCEANVIEW or OUTSIDE CABINS. These cabins will be at least the same size as the INSIDE CABINS, and oftentimes larger. Plus the addition of a window definitely creates a "roomier" and more "open" feeling to the cabin. The bathroom will be "smallish" with a toilet/single sink and shower. Oceanview cabins will be priced at different levels depending on the location of the cabin.
BALCONY or VERANDAH CABINS. Standard Balcony cabins will be very close in size and configuration to an Oceanview cabin with the addition of a private balcony. The balcony will be anywhere between 35 and 50 square feet in size and will include a small table and chairs. The bathroom may be a bit larger then the standard inside/oceanview cabins and may have a tub in addition to the shower. Having your own balcony aboard a cruise ship adds a definite level of sophistication and luxury. Imagine the feeling of truly being pampered when you order breakfast or lunch from room service (always complimentary) and enjoy it from your private vista as you soak in the magnificent views of whichever port you happen to be in at the time. Balcony Cabins are becoming more and more popular with experienced cruisers and the cruise lines are adding more and more to meet the demand.
SUITES. These luxurious cabins add incredible value to your cruise experience. Most ships will offer at least 2 distinctly different type of suites to choose from. The newer, larger ships will have as many as 5 types to choose from and they will range in size from 275 to over 1000 square feet in size. Smaller suites, oftentimes referred to as "mini-suites" will be enlarged versions of the standard Balcony cabins. They will have larger bathrooms with 2 sinks and tub/shower combinations and sometimes "whirl-pool" tubs! VCR's and CD sound systems are included in many high-end suites as well as stocked "mini-bars". The balconies will be larger then those found with the standard balcony cabins. The "mini-suites" will have a sofa that converts to a single bed to accommodate a 3rd person. Larger suites may have a bedroom separated from the sitting area and can easily accommodate 4 persons. Some will include a hot tub on the verandah. The bathrooms and amenities will be significantly upgraded over lesser category cabins. On newer and larger ships the highest level of suites may come with the services of a private butler! No question about it, booking a "suite" for your cruise vacation significantly enhances the overall experience.

LOCATION. Once you have determined the cabin category the next step is to determine cabin location. A "mid-ship" location is desirable to many people for the following reasons: Being in a central location provides easier access to the various public rooms aboard the ship. Also its important to realize that in heavy sea conditions the ship will tend to oscillate slightly about its center of gravity. Most modern cruise ships have sophisticated stabilization systems that keep the motion to a minimum, but they are not 100% effective. This means that sea-induced motion will be more noticed in the front (fore) or back (aft) section of the ship. For an OCEANVIEW cabin the higher up you are the more expansive your view becomes. The cruise lines, in many cases, insert a cost premium for location within the same category. In other words an OCEANVIEW CABIN on deck 9 may cost $40 more per person then the same cabin on deck 6 and an INSIDE CABIN midship on deck 4 may be $20 more person then the same cabin in the forward section of the same deck.

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Packing Tips.

GENERAL HINTS.Whenever you travel by plane it's a good idea to have a carry-on bag that contains items essential for your well being or items you'd find difficult to replace. Included would be your cruise documents, airline tickets, proof of citizenship papers, jewelry, camera, keys (home & luggage), money and medicines. Take enough medicine for an extra day away from home in the remote chance of a travel delay. DO NOT CARRY KNIVES, SCISSORS, KNITTING NEEDLES OR OTHER OBJECTS THAT COULD BE INTERPRETED AS A WEAPON IN YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE. IF YOU CARRY SYRINGES FOR MEDICAL REASONS, YOU WILL NEED A LETTER FROM A MEDICAL AUTHORITY EXPLAINING THEIR NEED.
DO NOT PACK UNEXPOSED FILM IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE AS THE NEW SCANNING EQUIPMENT IN PLACE AT MOST AIRPORTS WILL DAMAGE THE FILM. Carry all film in your carry-on luggage.

New airport security procedures require more stringent check of your carry-on luggage. Your carry-on luggage will be electronically screened and possibly searched as you go through airport security. Placing small, personal items in plastic "baggies" will allow the security personal to view the items without touching them. Do not lock your checked baggage. If your checked bags are identified for screening, the security personal are authorized to break the lock. We recommend using inexpensive "cable ties" available at any hardware store. As an alternative, there are a number of new baggage locks that are "Approved & Recogzined" by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration).

The current rules can be found here .

Accepted and Recognized Locks

The list below identifies locks that are “accepted and recognized” by TSA, which means that TSA screeners can open and re-lock these bags for security screening instead of cutting the lock.  TSA screeners have tools for all TSA accepted and recognized locks that enable them to open the lock without damaging it if a physical inspection is required.  

Some of the locks listed below are specific brands.  Other names on the lists are manufacturers that produce a wide variety of locks, only some of which are accepted and recognized by TSA.  We recommend that you check the packaging to ensure that it has language similar to "accepted and recognized" by TSA if you plan on using the lock for air travel.   Most locks on the market are not TSA-recognized. This list will be updated periodically to provide the latest list of brands that are TSA accepted and recognized.  

Brand Name:

  • Aegis Brands Travel Sentry locks
  • American Tourister Accessories
  • Atlantic Luggage
  • Austin House Travel Essentials
  • Briggs & Riley Luggage
  • Brinks Travel Sentry locks
  • Brookstone Easy Check
  • Delsey Luggage
  • Eagle Creek Travel Safe
  • EasyGo
  • eBags Travel Sentry locks
  • Franzus Travel Smart
  • Kenneth Cole Luggage
  • Lewis N Clark Travel Sentry locks
  • Magellan's Travel Sentry locks
  • Master Lock Travel Sentry locks
  • Pacsafe by Outpac Travel Sentry locks
  • Prestolock SearchAlert
  • Restoration Hardware Travel Sentry locks
  • Royal Traveller by Samsonite Accessories
  • Samsonite Accessories
  • Samsonite Luggage
  • Sharper Image Travel Sentry locks
  • Sunco Luggage
  • Target Embark Travel Sentry locks
  • Tumi Luggage
  • Voltage Valet Travel Sentry locks

TSA also has the ability to open luggage from some other luggage and/or lock manufacturers not listed above, although time pressures may require screeners to cut these locks rather than open them because there are many manufacturers, each using multiple master keys.  It is very important to TSA that your baggage makes it onto your plane, and we will do everything possible to balance that need with security and customer service considerations.  Screeners will always strive to open a bag, if required, without breaking the lock.

If appropriate, cross-pack your luggage with your travel companion. Although we trust our bags will arrive with us at our destination we all know that delivery can be delayed; having a change of clothes in your companions luggage will ease the trauma.

Undergarments and knits take only a third of the suitcase space they normally occupy when they're compressed. Simply fill the largest size zipper top kitchen storage bags with these articles and force all the air out before zipping them shut.

Ensure that a card or piece of paper is tucked inside your bags with your name/address/phone and destination (Carnival Victory, Port of Miami for example) prominently listed. Exterior bag tags can become "unattached" on "lost baggage"; if the contact info is inside the bag it may make it easier for it to be delivered to you in a timely manner.

Most bags look the same coming down the conveyer belt! Make your bags stand out with a colorful bow on the handle or brightly colored tape affixed in unique patterns along the side panels and top.

Try to coordinate outfits around a central color so you can mix and match items and consider taking items you can use to layer outfits instead of taking heavy limited use items. Create different looks with accessories.

For wrinkle free garments, leave them on their hangers, cover them with dry cleaning bags, and fold over once before placing them in the suitcase. Unpacking is a snap and there's no need to bring along a travel iron.

Use every bit of luggage space. Women's shoes will fit inside men's. Stuff socks and other small items inside larger space wasters. A tote bag that folds into its own zippered pocket is handy as a shopping or beach bag and invaluable when it's time to pack the souvenirs that are preventing your suitcase from closing.

There is no shipboard limit to the amount of luggage you can bring, however the airlines will restrict you to 2 pieces of checked luggage and one carry-on. If you follow the guidelines above, you will find sufficient closet and drawer space for your belongings once you arrive in your cabin. If there are more then 2 of you sharing the cabin then you should think about packing light! You will have to store your luggage in the cabin. In most cases your bags will fit under the beds. Collapsible luggage works well aboard ship for that reason.

We always include a suggested packing list when we send your cruise documents to you.

DON'T FORGET TO BRING A......
Although you'll have a standard 110v electrical outlet in the bathroom, you may find only one additional outlet in the cabin. If you plan on using several electrical devices at the same time you might consider packing a small extension cord or 3-way extension plug found at any hardware store.
We don't know what it is about duct tape, but we have taken a bit of it along on most of our cruises and have found a use for it almost every time.
Just because you are going on a Caribbean Cruise in July doesn't mean you should leave the sweater at home! You'll probably need it on the airplane; and there will be times aboard ship where you'll probably want to wear one Oftentimes, the air conditioning in some of the public rooms (especially the show lounges) will be set to levels which can be uncomfortable to some.

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SHORE EXCURSIONS

Every cruise line offers an organized shore excursion program which provides the opportunity to sample the colorful culture and see the most dramatic scenery in each port of call. Prearranged sightseeing saves valuable time in port and ensures the best services available. Theses tours and excursions are not included in the cost of the cruise. They are, however, reasonably priced and provide great value in our view. For example: for Caribbean destinations there will be a large selection of "water-related" activities: snorkeling and scuba diving trips, river rafting, sailboats, swim with the dolphins (there is even a tour in the Cayman Islands where you can swim with sting-rays!). For Alaska itineraries there will be excursions to the glaciers (some by small plane or helicopter), salmon fishing, nature trail hiking, narrow-gauge maintain railroad trips, dog-sled rides, etc. For all itineraries you will always find city/county sightseeing & shopping tours by comfortable motor coach with local and knowledgeable tour guides. Some of the more popular excursions will sell-out during the cruise so its a good idea to determine which tours you want prior to boarding the ship. Once aboard you should make it your first priority to stop by the Excursions Desk to ensure you get your first choice. Many cruise lines will now allow you to pre-register for shore excursions on-line through their web-sites. You will need a unique booking identification number which differs from the Booking ID provided you by Special Event Cruises in order to pre-book shore excursions through the applicable web sites. See the chart that follows.
We will forward complete shore excursion information to you prior to your departure. Alternatively, you can log onto the cruise line web sites listed below to review the material and/or pre-order specific tours:
CRUISE LINEVIEW SHORE EXCURSIONS ON-LINEPRE-ORDER ON-LINE
Carnival Cruise Line yesyes
Norwegian Cruise Line yesyes
Princess Cruises yesyes
Celebrity Cruise Line yesyes
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines yesyes
Holland America Cruise Line yesyes
note: In order to reserve shore excursions ahead of time via the internet, you will need to know your cruise line reservation number (which is not the same as your 4 digit Booking ID number with Special Event Cruises). This number can be found on your invoice under the name of the ship. If you are holding a confirmed reservation with Special Event Cruises you can use the following form to access this confirmation number:

Get Your Cruise Confirmation Number

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CRUISE ATTIRE

The cruise lines want you to be as comfortable as possible while aboard their ships; after all, this is YOUR vacation and for most of us its an opportunity to "kick-back" and relax. However, our most often asked question is "what do we wear aboard the ship?". Our answer will always include the term: "resort casual".
RESORT CASUAL. So what does that mean? Think of the clothing you might take with you on a trip to Las Vegas or Hawaii. For tropical itineraries (Caribbean/Mexican Riviera/Hawaiian) shorts/sandals/bright & colorful tops are appropriate for daytime aboard the ship. You'll typically need swim wear, a cover-up, and sandals for pool and beach. Going ashore you'll want to have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a wide-brimmed hat to protect you from the tropical sun! Tee shirts or polo-style shirts work well while exploring ashore. In the evening you will want to switch into pants or a casual dress for dinner and the evenings activities. For Alaskan itineraries you'll want to add slightly heavier clothes to include a medium weight jacket and sweater/nice sweat shirt and a hat or ball-cap. Also, its not uncommon to encounter occasional rain showers on any sailing...so a small umbrella or poncho is suggested
RESORT INFORMAL This applies to European itineraries where you will feel "out-of-place" when ashore in an aloha shirt, flip flops and shorts. Casual day-time dress in southern France and Italy leans more towards "stylish" and less of the "Caribbean/Aloha" look! Casual pants, solid color shirts with comfortable walking shoes is recommended for most European itineraries when ashore. Keep in mind that much of the touring in that part of the world will involve churches/cathedrals/basilicas where your shoulders/upper arms and knees must be covered.
EVENING CASUAL does not mean shorts. For men it's Dockers-type slacks and nice polo or sport shirts. Ladies' outfits will be sporty dresses, skirts and tops, or pants outfits. By sticking to two colors and a few accessories, you can mix up tops and bottoms for a different look every night.
EVENING ELEGANT. Carnival has changed their Formal nights to "Evening Elegant". This has essentially widened the choice for what to wear. Smart cocktail dresses or pant suits work well. Many ladies will prefer more elaborate outfits, perhaps with sequin tops. Some men enjoy wearing a tuxedo, but it is not necessary. In fact, under Carnival's latest guidelines, a tie is suggested, but no longer mandatory. Most men will wear a sport coat and dress shirt at a minimum.
FORMAL WEAR. Expect one formal evening on a 3 or 4 day cruise, 2 formal evenings on the 7 day cruises and 3 on 10+ day cruises. The Formal Evening is part of the cruise experience on most ships and provides the opportunity to escape the "shorts/flip-flops and tank-top" mode of dress for several evenings. Smart cocktail dresses or pant suits work well. Many ladies will prefer more elaborate gowns and outfits with sequin tops. A good number of the men will wear a tuxedo, however most will be in a dark suit (a sport coat and tie is acceptable). However, it is by no means a requirement that you participate in these formal nights. Although they will request formal attire for the main dining rooms at dinner, there are other options for dining and on every cruise there will be a few folks who choose not to "dress-up"!
hint: On designated formal evenings, the ship's photographer will be happy to take your "formal" portrait... and, if you like the results you can purchase the portrait for significantly less then what your local portrait photographer will charge! !

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TIPPING GUIDELINES

Every cruise line will tell you that tipping is a "personal decision" and the amount to tip and who to tip is left to your discretion. However, its an understood rule that there are 3 individuals who deserve a gratuity (and actually depend on it for their livelihood). Your Cabin Steward , your Dinner Waiter and, your Busboy at dinner. Some cruise lines suggest a gratuity for the dining room Table Captain, Maitre D' and even the head of the Housecleaning Department! However, unless these folks provide a specific service at your request, we do not feel a gratuity is necessary.
A good rule-of-thumb is $3.50 per person per day ($2.00 for children) for the Cabin Steward and Dinner Waiter, and $2.00 - $3.00 per person per day (including children) for the Busboy.
The tradition of handing out the tips at the end of the voyage to the personnel mentioned above is changing throughout the industry. All ships under the Carnival umbrella simply add the tip to your on-board account. Of course, you are free to adjust the amount at any time by visiting the front desk. Other cruise ships (those under the Royal Caribbean umbrella) still follow the old method of handing out the tips in an envelope at the end of the cruise. In this case the tips are handed-out on the final evening of the cruise to the three individuals (final morning for the Cabin Steward since you are more apt to see him/her at that time) . The cruise line makes this process very easy for you by delivering to your cabin appropriate "tipping" envelopes!
(Additionally, its customary to tip a buck or two for any room service order.)

Items purchased from the bar (alcoholic or not) have an automatic gratuity added of 15%. Therefore, its not necessary to tip in those situations.
A few of the very upscale cruise lines do not require tipping and actually discourage it.

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PHYSICAL FITNESS

OK, so you had 2 entrees at dinner last night along with 3 desserts and still found time (and room) for the midnight buffet! Now its time to work-off those pounds and calories!. All ships today have fully equipped exercise centers with a full array of state-of-the-art equipment including free weights, treadmills, stair-steppers, exercise bikes, nautilus gear, etc. There is never a charge to use the exercise facilities! In addition you'll find complimentary aerobics classes and even jogging areas! All ships have swimming pools; some include lap pools! Qualified fitness instructors offer a comprehensive selection of classes from aerobics to aquacise, ensuring that your fitness needs are met. And, of course, one of the best ways to get in a little exercise is to spend 45 minutes walking the "Promenade Deck".
Or, if you're like Vivian from the Special Event Cruises staff, you'll simply be content to "boogie-the-night-away" in the ship's disco!

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KIDS PROGRAMS

With a greater emphasis on family reunions, summer vacation cruises, grandparents travelling with their grandchildren, etc,, there is a major effort on the part of most cruise lines to provide supervised activities for the kids. Most cruise lines offer cribs, kids menus and baby-sitting services (there is a charge for baby-sitting, usually between $7 - $15 per hour depending on the time of day and number of children).
Carnival Cruise Lines. amp Carnival is featured year round on all ships and itineraries. The kids are divided into different sections based on age: (toddlers 2-5), (juniors 6-8), (intermediate 9-12), (teens 13-15).
Celebrity Cruise Lines. similar to Carnivals program with the kids being separated according to age beginning at age 3. Baby sitting available. (shipmates 3-6), (cadets 7-9), (ensigns 10-12), (admirals 13-15 and 16-17). Highlights of Celebrity's youth program include Summer Stock Theater ands a program which introduces kids to vessel navigation and operations.
Holland America Cruise Lines. HAL categorizes the kids into three groups: children, pre-teens and teens.
NCL. Norwegian Cruise Lines groups the kids into four sections (2-5), (6-8), (9-12) and (13-17).
Princess Cruise Lines. Princess has two groups, pre-teens and teens (3-17). If you are a teen then one of the newer Princess ships is for you! The Sun, Dawn, Sea, Ocean, Grand, Golden and Star all have "Teen Discos" featuring disco, karoke and lip sync shows and are "off-limits" for anyone not between the ages of 13-17 (including Mom & Dad!).
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. RCCL's "Adventure Ocean" program splits the kids into 5 different categories (3-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, and 15-17). One unique feature is that the kids can opt to dine with their counselors in an alternative youth dining venue. The newer ships have a teen nightclub/food outlet serving "mocktails".
For complete details on any of the above programs please call us at 1-800-326-0373

BABYSITTING: Most cruise lines offer individual or group babysitting services. Expect to pay $6-8 per hour for the first child and $4-$6 for each additional.

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INTERNET / EMAIL

Most ships have "internet cafes" or "internet centers" where you can access the internet and any web-based email accounts you may have (jbrown@yahoo.com, tsmith@hotmail.com, etc.......typically the free internet based email accounts) If you have an ISP provided email account (jbrown@my_service_provider.com) you need to determine if there is an internet site you can go to to access your email. In most cases, the cruise line can provide you with a temporary email address to use while you are on-board (jbrown@carnival_destiny.com).
There is a fee to access the internet and your email (price varies from ship to ship, but expect to pay about $.75 per minute.)
Most ships ships have WIFI "Hotspots" where you can access the internet using your wireless laptop (usage fee still applies).
Internet access aboard ship is via a 'satellite" connection and not as fast as your broadband Cable/DSL or T1 line back home.... (think "fast dial-up" and you get the picture!). These systems are also limited to some degree by the local geography/topography and you can expect to have intermittent periods of down time.
If you plan on using the interent for considerable periods the costs can escalate rapidly. In these cases it will save you money to simply wait until the next port and use the less-expensive "internet cafes" you'll invaritably find at near most cruise ship terminals.
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DINING

All the cruise lines try very hard to provide memorable, good quality, well presented meals to their passengers...after all, this is "a cruise" were talking here! And considering that the kitchen staff is preparing as many as 3000 meals for dinner, the results can be pretty impressive.
Lets discuss the options: Every cruise ship will have at least one major dining room which serves "sit-down, order-from-a-menu" service for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is never a food or cover charge in the main dining room(s), although you will pay for alcoholic beverages and sodas (coffee, tea, milk, fruit juices are always included). Some people are happy to eat all their meals in the main dining room. The ambiance is a bit more formal (although not "stuffy") and the service is what you'd expect in any fine restaurant. Each ship will have a buffet that, at a minimum, serves breakfast and lunch. The buffet is always located in an area away from the main dining room and will be consistent with the high-class brunch you've seen at nicer hotels and restaurants. On the larger ships the buffet will serve dinner, and some of them (Princess Cruise Lines newer ships) offer a 24/7 buffet line.
You can use room service to have meals delivered to your room 24 hours a day (although the room service menu will not be near as comprehensive as those found in the actual dining areas. There is never a charge for room service.).
On most newer ships you will always find an outdoor grill (usually near a pool) serving hamburgers/hot dogs/pizza. Most ships will have ice-creme bars (standard-issue ice creme which is complimentary), and some ships are in partnership with premium brand ice-creme labels (i.e. Hagen-Daz & Princess) in which case there is a charge at the ice-creme bar!
And don't forget the Midnight Buffet, a definite cruise ship tradition. Top honors go to NCL for their 100% Chocoholic Midnight Buffet..a magnificent, eye-popping extravazanza of chocolate delights. Celebrity gets high marks for their extraordinary complex and high attention-to-detail midnight buffets which is open a few minutes early exclusively for passengers who want to record the gastronomic event on film or video.
There is a trend towards "alternative-style" dining venues on most ships which offers something completely different (i.e. Sushi Bars, Tex-Mex food, Steak Houses as well as high end "french bistros" , "Italian Trattorias" and "pacific-rim-fusion" cafes to name a few). Some of these will assess a cover charge ($8.00-$20.00) depending on the ship and type restaurant. The newer NCL ships have as many as 12 different restaurants, 4 of which involve a cover charge! Check with us (1-800-326-0373) for specifics and recommendations prior to your sailing.
Table Assignments. In the past most cruise lines would give you the option of the 1st seating for dinner (usually around 6:00 - 6:30 PM) or the 2nd (closer to 8:00 - 8:30 PM). You would pick one and stick with it every night of your cruise. The advantage is that you sit at the same table every night with the same people ( a terrific way to meet new friends). You have the same waiter and busboy each evening with the advantage that they determine your likes/dislikes early on and are therefore better equipped to provide top-notch, personalized table service. And, of course, there is never a wait for your table. The disadvantage is that you are locked into that certain time for dinner each evening.
Several years ago a trend was started by Norwegian Cruise Lines (called "Freestyle Cruising") that eliminated the 1st/2nd seating by going to an"open seating" arrangement. The main dining rooms open at 5:30 PM and stay open till 10:30 PM. You go in at any time you wish. The advantage is that you have total control over when you eat and with whom you eat with; the disadvantage is that you lose the advantages addressed above. In addition to NCL, Princess Cruise Lines ("Personal Choice Dining") offers the open seating arrangement in one or two of their main dining rooms, however they do reserve one dining room for those passengers who prefer assigned 1st/2nd seating. On several recent sailings aboard NCL and Princess ships, we have noticed that lines tend to form outside the "open-seating" dining rooms in the 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM time frames. You can call ahead and make a reservation for a specific size table and time (recommended).

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ENTERTAINMENT

Whether you're looking for non-stop activity or quiet relaxation, you'll discover that cruise ships are the perfect place for both. The seemingly endless array of entertainment options include exciting Broadway-style revues, state-of-the-art theaters, and a variety of live music performances - just to name a few. Most ships also boast unparalleled entertainment facilities with up to three main showrooms, nightclubs, numerous bars and lounges -- more nightlife than virtually any land-based resort hotel.
Nighttime? That's show time. The time when your ship really shines, dazzling you with great, big beautiful shows. Real Las Vegas- and Broadway-style productions in dazzling, state-of-the-art show lounges featuring professional dancers decked out in gorgeous costumes. The production teams behind many of these shows have more Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards than anyone outside of Hollywood..
You'll see at least 3 different production shows on a typical 7 day cruise. In addition, there is always a terrific secondary show which may include an unbelievably talented illusionist, a vocalist, or comedian.
And, of course, the various lounges will have music for your dancing pleasure; everything from disco to country & western.

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SPECIAL OCCASIONS

For many of us, a cruise is the perfect way to celebrate something special: a birthday, an anniversary or even a job promotion. And, of course, don't forget: honeymoon! Any ship is an ideal setting for a honeymoon and many will even offer a wedding package which includes a wedding ceremony aboard the ship (several newer ships have private wedding chapels on-board!). We can help make the occasion all the more special by arranging for special recognition while you are on-board. Just let us know the basic details...we'll take care of the rest!

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MEDICAL SERVICES

Every cruise ship has a fully equipped infirmary with at least one licensed medical doctor. Obviously, they won't be equipped to handle major medical problems,;however, for routine medical care they can be quite good (compare them to any "emergency medical care" facility) you might find in your home town. Medical services are not included in the price of your cruise.

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$$$ CURRENCY $$$

In each foreign port visited by any cruise ship making a Caribbean, Alaska or Mexican Riviera cruise, your US dollars are welcome (no need to change money). For any other cruise you will probably want to arrange to have some money in local currency. Most purchases (aside from the usual small, miscellaneous things) can be made with traveler's checks or credit card. The advantage of using a credit card is that you usually are guaranteed a favorable rate of exchange; the disadvantage, in some cases, is that your credit card company may charge a 1-3% surcharge on foreign purchases. Check with your credit card company prior to leaving for their individual policy. Also, you should always advise your credit card company in advance that you may be using the card in a foreign country. If you don't do this then the credit card company may suspect "unauthorized use" and temporarilly suspend the account.
Aboard ship you will find a "cash less" society (exception being the "casino"). You will establish a charge account at the time of check-in by using a major credit card or cash deposit. Then, during the course of the cruise, any purchases you make aboard ship are charged to your account.
Some ships will have ATM machines available (but be prepared to pay a service fee for their use). Others will give you a cash advance with an American Express card. Some will provide a cash advance against your on-board account in the casino, although a service fee may apply depending on the cruise line. Its always a good idea to have some amount of cash or travelers checks to cover miscellaneous expenses. All Celebrity ships will cash up to $200 on your personal checking account and will also allow you a cash advance in the casino which is billed without fee to your on-board account. Most other cruise lines are not so generous.
EUROPE. For most Mediterraean itineraries you will need Euros when shopping ashore. Its probably a good idea to exchange some dollars into euros before you depart the US. This can be done at your departure airport prior to boarding your flight. This way you won't get side-tracked trying to get local currency when you arrive and you'll be prepared for the immediacies of local tranportation, etc. We have found that your best exchange rates will be found at ATM machines that seem to be everywhere in the more popular European locations. The ATM machines in Europe work exactly like they do here; enter your card, your PIN number and amount of money you want. Its probably a good idea to check with your ATM provider just to make sure that your card will work overseas. Its also a good idea to notify your bank before hand that you will be in Europe so that they don't get alarmed when they see activity on your card in a foreign land!!!! Use your credit card for major purchases; the exchange rate is automatically calculated by your bank and is usually better then you'll get at a currency exchange facility.

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SPA FACILITIES

Massages. Loofah treatments. Hairstyling, Sauna, Steam, Pedicures. Soothing masks. Even microfacelifts. Or get really exotic with a Coconut Body Polish, a Javanese honey steam wrap, or a Bali-press massage! Shipboard spa's offer similar levels of services found at any upscale land-resort facility. Virtually all will offer a complete choice of health and beauty treatments for men and women. You don't have to lift a finger - except for your manicure.
Services provided by the licensed Spa staff, although a wonderful luxury, are not complimentary. However, you will find that the fees charged for the various treatments are very reasonably priced.

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CALLING HOME

You will have 2 methods in which to communicate with the folks back on dry land.
Cell Phone.Many cruise ships have installed technologies aboard that allow you to use your cell phone while the ship is at sea. International Roaming fees will be assesed by your provider (check with them before leaving home as these fees can be as much as $5 per minute.) Also, in many cases you must notify yourcellular provider to ensure that your International Roaming feature is turned on. You'll certainly want to think twice before answering that ring while at sea! Don't have a cell phone? You can use the ship's MARSAT service that charges approximately $8 per minute...this can be done from the phone located in your cabin.
Once you have booked your cruise with us we will provide the ship MARSET phone number for you to leave at home should the need arise for someone to contact you.
FAX. You can send/receive FAX's (however, the MARSAT rates would apply in most cases).

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CASINO

Virtually every cruise ship have casinos offering games including Blackjack, Slots, Roulette, Craps and Caribbean Stud Poker. All will have a wide variety of slot machines.
Most ship casinos open on the day of embarkation after the ship sails far enough from the port, and remains open until the "wee" hours. The casinos are open during the day when the ship is at sea but in most cases, must close while in ports of call. They re-open after the ship sails from the port and remain open until normal closing time.
The management, staff and dealers are taught to be hospitable...after all, you are on a cruise...and be as accommodating as possible. Disputes are rare and usually end in the passenger's favor. As in Vegas casinos, the dealers are backed up by "Supervisors", or Pit Bosses, and a casino manager and assistant manager, all of whom are available to answer questions and make your experience in the ship casino a pleasant one.
You are invited to cash traveler's checks at the casino cashier cage, but personal checks will only be honored with prior approval of the casino department prior to sailing. Many cruise lines allow you to charge up to $1,500 per day to your credit card or cabin charge account to use in the casino.
Don't know how to gamble? Don't worry. The ship casino offers lessons to anyone to help you understand the rules and payoffs of the games. The minimum bet at the Blackjack, Crap and Roulette table is usually $5 and there are always an abundance of 25 cent slot machines. .
Higher limit tables and "lines of credit" can be established ahead of time by contacting the cruise line's casino department (call us for details).

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