About US Brochure Request For Booked Passengers FAQ FAQ

Cancellation and Refunds
Cruise Protection Plans
Getting to the Ship
Pre and Post Cruise Hotel Packages
Passengers with Special Needs
Hints to make the boarding process quick and easy!
Pre-Reserve Shore Excursions.
European Currrency Guide

Cancellations and Refunds.

Deposits you make towards your cruise event are normally refundable up until a point between 60-80 days prior to the ship's departure (this time will vary slightly depending on the individual cruise line based on the length of the cruise). Inside of this time frame the cruise line will assess penalties for cancellations. The penalties usually start with forefeiture of your original deposit, however get more severe the closer it gets to the date of sailing. Worse case scenario would be for a cancellation within a few days prior to sailing where a 100% penalty would be assessed by virtually all the cruise lines. For each of our cruise events we provide you with a copy of the applicable cruise line's cancellation and refund policy along with a waiver that must be signed and returned to us within 7 days. Its very important that you comply with this request. Keep in mind that these policies pertain to cancellations for ANY reason!

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Cruise Protection Insurance.

We highly recommend that you purchase a 3rd party cruise protection plan. For a modest premium you can protect your cruise investment and be confident in the fact that should you have to cancel your trip for a covered reason, you will be protected. Trip protection coverage may also cover you for travel delays getting to the port of embarkation, baggage loss, and certain medical expenses. It may also provide full coverage for "pre-existing" medical conditions.
We recommend CSA TRAVEL PROTECTION and will forward complete information to you once you have made your deposit. We are also happy to provide this information upon request at any time.

Order Travel Insurance

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Getting to the Ship!

The price for your cruise event may not include transportaion to the ship. The cruise line usually offers an "air-inclusive" add-on package with service from most major US and Canadian airports. The obvious advantages to letting the cruise line arrange for your air transportation is that they know the best routes and times to use to get you to the port of embarkation in a timely manner. Plus, the cost of the air transportation will usually include the airport-to-ship transfers. In cases where its necessary to fly to the port of embarkation a day early (i.e. west coast passengers travelling to Florida for a Caribbean cruise), the cruise line may include a complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay at the port of embarkation prior to boarding the ship with their air package.
The cruise lines issue tickets relatively close to the date of travel and make the decision on the airline and itinerary used. Although every effort is made to arrange for daytime flights there will be occasions where evening flights are required. The cruise line or Special Event Cruises assumes no liability for any acts or omissions of any airline, including, without limitation, those involving cancellation of flights, schedule changes, reroutings, damage to or delay or loss of baggage, flight delays, equipment failures, accidents, pilot or other staff shortages, overbooking or computer errors.
Customizing Your Flight Arrangements. Most cruise lines offer a service that gives you much more control over the flight itinerary made on your behalf. The cruise line will customize your flight arrangements on the airline of your choice. Or you can simply dictate a certain time frame in which you are either willing or unwilling to travel. You can also request an upgrade to first class. There is a small service fee (usally $35-$50 per person) for this service, plus any additional airline charges. For more information speak with one of our agents at 1-800-326-0373. note: Requests for customized air services can usually be made up until 60 days prior to sailing.
Cruise-Only Tranfers. For our guests who have arranged their own transportation to the port of embarkation, it's important to allow sufficient time to get from the airport to the ship. Its also important to ensure that you choose a departure flight that allows for sufficient time to dis-embark the ship, clear customs and transfer to the airport. Call us at 1-800-326-0373 for recommended times depending on your cruise event.
Transfers from the arrival airport to the Cruise ship terminal are easy to arrange. We can provide bus transfers at a nominal fee, or you can take public transportation in most cases. If you are driving to the port of embarkation, you will be able to park your car at, or or in the vicinity of the cruise ship terminal (fees vary on location - call us at 1-800-326-0373 for details).

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Pre or Post-Cruise Hotel Packages

Make the most of your cruise event by adding a Pre or Post Hotel Package at, or in the vicinity of, the port of embarkation. Most embarkation ports have much to offer: waterfront neighborhoods, diamond-bright beaches, trendy ocean drives, multi-ethnic districts, restored historical downtowns, museums, beautiful parks and botanical gardens to name a few. A terrific choice of select hotel and resort properties are available for all of our cruise events. These packages usually include bellman gratuities and transfers. Call us at 1-800-326-0373 for complete details.

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Proof of Citizenship Requirements

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, is part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. It directs the following proof of citizenship requirements for US citizens leaving the country as follows:

CURRENTLY: Legislation enacted in 2009 require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have either a U.S. passport; a U.S. passport card; a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI; a valid Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.

It means that you must have a valid passport to leave the US. You won't be allowed to board a plane or cruise ship without one.

If you don't currently have a passport, the State Department website (http://travel.state.gov/passport) provides information on obtaining one. Current fees are $97 for citizens age 16 and older, $82 under age 16. Additional details on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative can be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html.

To get a passport for the first time (or if you have an expired passport issued more than 15 years ago, or issued while you were under 16), you need to go in person to one of 6,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the country, bringing two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship (an expired passport, certified birth certificate, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship or consular report of birth abroad) and a valid form of photo ID, such as a driver's license. Acceptance facilities include many federal, state and probate courts; post offices; some public libraries; and a number of county and municipal offices. Find the one nearest you using the State Department's search page, at http://iafdb.travel.state.gov.

Citizens who need a new passport for travel within two weeks may visit one of 13 regional passport agencies, listed at http://travel.state.gov/passport/about/agencies/agencies_913.html. Appointments are required, and you'll need to bring a completed passport application (downloadable at http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/forms_847.html), appropriate ID, proof of citizenship (see list above) and two regulation passport-size photos. Expedited service costs $60 plus any mailing fees, above and beyond the regular application fees.

If you don't live near a passport center, you can apply for expedited service at a local passport acceptance facility, located in post offices, courthouses, and so on, and then follow up through overnight mail.

You can renew an expired passport through the mail as long as you were over age 16 when it was issued and still have the same name (or can provide legal documentation of a name change) and your old passport is undamaged and was issued within the past 15 years. Forms are downloadable at http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/forms_847.html. Fees for renewal are currently $67. Expedited renewal services are available for an additional $60 plus mailing costs.

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Passengers with Special Needs.

All of today's major cruise lines are dedicated to offering the finest cruising experience to their guests with disabilities and special needs. Today's modern ships provide a quality of service and a variety of accessible features to make your voyage a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Most ships offer designated staterooms with wider doorways and bathrooms that will accommodate wheelchairs and staterooms with lights and under-pillow vibrating alarms for guests with hearing impairments. Availability is limited, so we recommend you book early. Guide dogs are permitted on all ships. Many staterooms have refrigerators that can be used to store medications that must be kept cold. .
Wheelchairs. Guests must provide their own wheelchairs and they must be stored in the cabin. Collapsible, three-wheel wheelchairs are recommended. Electric powered carts are also acceptable. The chairs must be powered by gel-cell batteries. Due to safety regulations, most cruise lines will not accept any wet-cell or acid battery-powered wheelchairs on board their ships. The wheelchair battery recharger must be adaptable to 110 voltage. Arrangements for on-board wheelchairs can be made by contacting CARE VACATIONS at 1-877-478-7827 (www.carevacations.com)
Pregnancy.Most cruise lines will not accept guests who will have entered a certain point in their pregnancy. For example, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line sets this point at the 27th week of pregnancy, for Norwegian Cruise Line it is the 24th week. (these numbers represent state of pregnancy at the completion of the voyage!). Each cruise line sets it's own policy in this regard. In all cases a statement from the expectant mother's doctor, stating her due date and fitness to travel, must be forwarded to the cruise line. Its important to know that the cruise lines will not be responsible or liable for any complications of pregnancy which arise or occur during the cruise.
Oxygen.Guests who need oxygen or require oxygen therapy are always welcome, however they must supply their own oxygen. Arrangements for on-board oxygen can be made through CARE VACATIONS by calling 1-877-478-7827 (www.carevacations.com).
Shore Tours for Passengers with Disabilities
At certain ports of call, small boats known as tenders are used to transport passengers from the ship to shore. Whenever possible, the cruise line will attempt to permit guests using wheelchairs to proceed. However, certain of these tenders may not be accessible to individuals using wheelchairs, or the status of the tendering process at a particular port or under certain weather conditions may prove difficult for a safe transfer to take place. In each case,it will be the decision of ship officials to determine, based on their evaluation of safety issues for their guests and crew, whether or not a guest using a wheelchair may board a tender. Some ports of call may not be fully accessible to users of wheelchairs or for individuals with mobility impairments. The cruise line will make every effort to work with you to help you identify shore tours to meet your needs.

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Hints to make the Boarding Process Quick and Easy:.

Many cruise lines (Carnival, Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean to name some) allow you to complete much of the required immigration and manifest forms before you arrive at the cruise ship terminal. This can be done on-line via the internet or by filling out various forms that we will send to you at some point prior to your embarkation. By doing this ahead of time your check-in process at the cruise ship terminal will be expedited. We will provide you with the necessary information to accomplish this pre-registration process after you make your reservation.
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Pre-Reserve your 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:
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 5 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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European Currency Issues
Countries in the European Union using the Euro include:

Other European countries using their own unique currency include:
Switzerland and most of the Scandinavian countries.

You will need "euros" to take care of things like taxi's / tips / food purchased ashore / souvenirs / etc. We recommend that you exchange perhaps $100 into euros at a currency exchange booth at the airport when you depart the US. Although you'll find that the exchange or conversion rate charged at any exchange facility in the US will be anywhere from 5-10%, which is high, at least you'll have some local currency when you arrive.

Then, after arriving, stop at the first ATM you come across for additional euros. When you withdraw money from a European ATM (usually referred to as a "Bankomat") you'll typically pay a service fee of 1-2% of the transaction and a one time "currency conversion fee" of $3-5. You will not be charged a fee by the European Bank to use their ATM, only your bank's fee. You should check with your bank on fees they may charge for each withdrawal. TIP: Withdraw the largest amount you are comfortable with considering that each time you use a "bankomat", you will be paying your bank that extra $3-5 conversion fee, regardless of the amount of money withdrawn! ATM's in Europe are found everywhere. They work the same in Europe as they do at home with several exceptions. The first, or sometimes the second screen, will ask what language. You can only withdraw from your primary account; usually this is your checking account. You cannot transfer funds between accounts. The keypad does not have letters, only numbers. They only accept 4 digit PINS (if your PIN has more digits, change it now). When it asks how much you want to withdraw it usually gives six choices, five set amounts and "other".

Exchanging dollars at a European Bank will involve a fee (buried in the exchange rate). Service fees for exchanging dollars for euros at a local "Money Exchange Kiosk" will be in excess of 6%. Exchanging traveler's checks will also involve an additional fee. Banks are not very convenient place to exchange money; opening hours are short, lines can be long, and paper work takes time. You can exchange dollars for euros aboard the ship, but their exchange rate will be considerably higher then the ATM.

Use your credit card for any major purchases. Credit cards can get you an exchange rate within 1-2% of the international rate, but be aware that most banks add a "conversion" fee of 1 or 2%. VISA and MasterCard charge a 1% conversion fee, which is reasonable. Credit cards have some advantages over cash. They provide a receipt and some recourse if there is a dispute. If lost they can be cancelled and anything charged by someone else can be disputed. They are safer than carrying large amounts of cash. Notify your credit card/debit-ATM company that you will be in Europe and the dates (the phone number is on the back of the card). If you don't notify them they may flag your overseas purchases as suspicious activity and freeze your account.

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