Expand the sections below to read FAQs for General information and specific cruise line information.
Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value?
Yes! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget, from the cost-conscious to the most luxurious. Even more important, a cruise offers the best travel value for your money. Your fare includes all meals, your cabin, onboard daytime activities, nighttime parties and entertainment. So for once, you'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, gratuities, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling.) You'll be amazed at the value.
How long are cruises?
As long or as short as you want. Itineraries can range from as little as three days to as long as three months!
What options should I consider when booking a cruise?
When do you want to go? For how long? What do you want to see? Which is more important? Beaches? Shopping? High Adventure? Relaxation? History? Folklore? Sports? What's your cruise experience? What's your other vacation experience? Which cruise line is best for you? What type of accommodations? How are you getting to the ship? Do you need transfers? Using frequent flier miles? Are you taking kids? How old are they? How many cabins do you need? Do you need cabins near one another? Do you want to sit together at dinner? Are you celebrating a big anniversary? Does everyone need the same type of cabin? Do you qualify for a group rate? Do you have special needs? Crib? Wheelchair? Special diet?
Are all ships and cruises fairly similar?
Far from it. Cruise ships can range from under 200 feet to over 1,000 feet. You can sail with anywhere from 40 passengers to over 3,000. Experience atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, classically simple to ultra-deluxe. You can even choose between traditional propeller-driven craft or sail-assisted cruise ships.
Can I book on short notice?
Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. But, to get exactly the ship, cabin and sailing date you want, you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. Then, just sit back and anticipate all the fun you're going to have!
Do I need a passport?
Passports are required for all passengers. Some countries on your itinerary may also require a visa for entry. Please note that it is the responsibility of each passenger to check with the various embassies or consulates of those countries to be visited on their particular cruise to ensure that they have the necessary visas/documentation to enter all countries to be visited. Any passengers arriving at the departure port/airport without a passport or correct visas (if required) will be refused permission to board the ship/aircraft. Failure in this respect is not covered by insurance and no refund can be made.
Can I extend my cruise vacation?
We can arrange pre- or post-cruise land packages at the same time you book your cruise. And, in many cases, your airline ticket will include helpful options, such as free stop-overs, that enable you to make your own special arrangements.
Is motion discomfort a problem?
Today's modern cruise ships are quite large and 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. Please consult with your physician or pharmacist before taking any medication.
Can we stay in touch with the outside?
Quite easily. Most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores. Staterooms on all of today's modern cruise 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. And, you can make phone calls from most ports. In addition, many ships have fax capabilities and newer ships offer Internet access and e-mail capabilities to passengers.
Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms. But do check with us to be sure. Most ships even feature hair dryers in your cabin.
Can we celebrate a "special" day?
Absolutely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and a chorus of Happy Whatever to honor the occasion. Your birthday or anniversary can be more festive with champagne, flowers, canapés, wine or cheese. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise us in advance.
Celestyal Cruises FAQ
What to wear?
Some people travel with what seems like an entire wardrobe, while others are content to pack nothing but the necessities. Whether you’re accustomed to traveling light, or heavy, the following simple guidelines will make sure you have the right clothing and accessories with you on and off the ship. Your comfort is our chief concern. Day and Evening Wear If you cruise with us during the hotter part of the year, from May through September, light-colored cotton clothes that “breathe” will help keep you cool. You should also bring swimsuits, if you plan to swim in our pool or at one of the incredible beaches we’ll visit, as well as sunglasses and a hat which, combined with a good sunscreen, will help protect you from the brilliant Mediterranean sun. If you intend to use one of the excellently-equipped gyms on our ships, make sure to bring proper clothes and shoes (but don’t worry about a towel, we’ll provide it). Afternoons We do not permit bathing suits or shorts in the restaurants, but we serve a sumptuous lunch buffet on our pool deck every day, so you can remain poolside without having to change out of your swimwear. Evening Wear In our restaurants, casinos, lounges and nightclubs, and in the other open spaces on our ships, your attire should be “country club casual”– relaxed, yet elegant – after 18:00. Footwear For your safety and comfort on board we suggest sports or flat deck shoes with low heels. These types of footwear will make it easier for you to navigate the cruise ship decks and stairwells. Accessories You’ll need a hat, sunglasses, a bathing suit, sandals and perhaps a small umbrella. We also recommend you bring a camera (for photos, for video, or for both), and make sure you charge your batteries before you sail – you won’t believe the number of opportunities you’ll have to shoot incredible photos and videos. Shore Excursions Light-colored cotton or sports clothes that “breathe” will help keep you cool on our excursions. If you will visit the beach you’ll need a swimsuit, as well as sunglasses and a hat which, combined with a good sunscreen, will help protect you from the brilliant Mediterranean sun. If you will be visiting a religious or pilgrimage site, please dress respectfully in long trousers or a skirt that falls below the knee, and please remember to cover your shoulders. Dress Up On each Celestyalcruise ship calendar you’ll find special evening events, including Gala Night, the Captain’s Cocktail (both during our seven-day cruises) and our legendary Greek Night. For Gala Night and the Captain’s Cocktail, please attend in formal dress: a cocktail dress or something smart for the ladies, jacket and tie for the men; for Greek Night we hope you’ll wear blue and white, the colors of the Greek flag. Check your daily program for a schedule of all evening events.
Which meals are included?
Cruise prices include three complete and wholly delicious square meals every day, both a la carte and buffet. Breakfast is American or Continental, with a Greek touch, and includes fresh-baked rolls, muffins and Danish pastries. At lunch and dinner, choose from a mouthwatering selection of appetizers, salads and soups, and traditional Greek, American and Continental dishes, all prepared for your delight, followed by a variety of decadent cakes, rich ice creams and fresh fruits. Our meals are filling and celebratory. We want to take you on a journey deep into the heart of Greek gastronomy, with healthy Mediterranean meals cooked to please even the most demanding palate, with friends at your table.
What entertainment is available onboard?
Pools Our pool decks are a fantastic place for a refreshing swim, or if you just want to collapse into a comfortable chaise longue and order a delicious cocktail. Just grab a pool towel in your cabin and come on up – you might even catch sight of a school of dolphins if you decide to stroll over to the railing and gaze out upon the deep blue waters of the Aegean. We also have a smaller, shallower pool for younger cruisers (the size and number of pools varies from ship to ship). Gyms and Jacuzzis If you want to keep in shape while you cruise with us, feel free to visit our fully-equipped gym (towels provided). We also have a Jacuzzi available for a post-workout soak or if you just want to relax and enjoy some hydrotherapy (the size of each gym and the available amenities vary from ship to ship). Nightlife We bring the magic of a night at a crowded taverna onboard – you will be unable to resist the call of the bouzouki, and you’ll soon find yourself on one of our dance floors performing the “sirtaki” from Zorba the Greek with 100 of your closest friends! If you’re a bit shy about your “moves,” we offer Greek dancing classes during the day. You’ll also find classical concerts, disco, karaoke, line dancing and talent shows – there’s music everywhere onboard our ships! On each of our cruise ships we’ve built a complete nightclub with a high quality sound system and professional club lighting.Come have a drink while professional DJs spin the best contemporary sounds, both Greek and international. Celestyal Cruises is known for its fantastic onboard entertainment: bingo, cooking classes, dancing, exercise programs, games, handicrafts, lectures about history and archaeology, music performances, sporting events and trivia contests – there’s always something to do for everyone on board, from kids to seniors. We pack every day with fun. It never stops. Our activities are a great way to spend time with the people you love and to meet your fellow passengers. We get started with our activities bright and early, first thing in the morning, and we continue all day and throughout the evening. There’s always something to do onboard, even if all you want to do is sit down with someone you love and a backgammon set (we also have checkers, chess and other board games).
What's included in a Hebridean cruise?
Hebridean Princess cruises are all-inclusive. Not an empty promise, but a Hebridean promise to ensure that you have a carefree holiday both on board and ashore. Each cruise includes... Meals and drinks: All meals on board and ashore, snacks and picnics as shown in the itineraries and fresh fruit from baskets around the ship. Champagne, wines (excluding those from the Premium Wine Library range), plus beers, spirits, soft drinks, tea, coffee and other hot drinks. Guides and guest speakers: Knowledgeable guides accompany all cruises, both on board and on the tours ashore, with three experienced guides on the Footloose walking itineraries. Guest speakers feature on selected cruises. Shore visits: Entrance fees to all castles, gardens and other places of interest on our cruises, as well as transfers between the ship and each destination ashore, as shown in the itineraries. Bicycles: Use of the ship’s bicycles to explore ashore. Internet: Free use of the internet including Wi-Fi access. Transfers and car parking: Travel to and from Glasgow or Inverness airport or railway station to and from Hebridean Princess. For those wishing to drive, secure parking is provided at the port. Flights to and from Norway: Cruises starting and ending in Norway include scheduled return flights from/to the UK to/from Bergen. Extra activities: At no extra charge, your holiday can be made even more enjoyable with fishing trips and speedboat rides, which can be arranged by request. Port taxes: All pier and harbour dues. Gratuities: Hebridean operates a strict ’no tipping’ policy. A celebration: If you plan to mark a special occasion on board, perhaps a wedding anniversary or birthday, we will be only too happy to help you celebrate by arranging for Champagne, a cake or canapés, to enjoy in the privacy of your cabin, or maybe share with family and friends in the Library. To celebrate these happy moments in true Hebridean style, please place a special request through our reservations staff. Travel with family and friends: If you would prefer to holiday with your family and friends, why not invite them to join you on board Hebridean Princess, the ultimate cruising experience? Charters: Alternatively enjoy the ultimate private party afloat and charter Hebridean Princess for up to 50 guests. Not included: Travel to and from Glasgow or Inverness • Wines and spirits from the Premium Wine Library range • Any private shore visits organised by request which are not part of the cruise itinerary • Personal telephone calls • Items purchased from the Hebridean Princess shop • Personal laundry
Is there telephone and internet access?
There is an internet facility in the Library for use by guests. WiFi access is also available. Mobile phones should be switched off in public rooms. The cellular system in the Highlands and Islands is somewhat patchy and reception can be irregular. In an emergency the ship can be reached by satellite phone, full details of which will be forwarded prior to your cruise.
How does dining and restaurant arrangements work?
The Columba Restaurant is sufficiently large for all guests to dine at the same time. The majority of tables are for two, but should guests wish to dine together we will be delighted to reserve a table for a maximum of eight. Guests travelling on their own will be seated at a larger table, usually hosted by an Officer, unless they indicate otherwise.
What if I have special dietary requirements?
We can cater for most dietary preferences, with the exception of strict kosher and one or two other regimes. Special requests should be included in the Pre-Cruise Questionnaire; our reservations staff will be pleased to advise you.
What should I wear?
Daytime: During the day dress is casual. It is advisable to bring suitable clothing for the area in which you will be cruising. Evening: For dinner in the evening, guests prefer to dress more formally, with a jacket and tie for gentlemen and the equivalent for ladies. Gala evenings: The recommended dress code for Gala evenings is black tie for gentlemen and evening wear for ladies, although this is by no means mandatory. On these evenings, the Officers will wear formal dress. The number of Gala evenings depends on the length of the cruise, but as a guideline, two formal Gala Dinners will be held during a seven-night cruise. Footwear: Non-slip shoes should be worn on deck and in the ship's small boats when going ashore. Some cruises visit remote locations where heave-soled shoes or walking boots are recommended for shore visits and serious walking. Footloose cruises: In addition to walking boots, we recommend that guests protect themselves against the unpredictable weather with waterproof clothing; we would stress that jeans are considered unsuitable. A reasonably sized rucksack would also be useful.
What electricity supply is available onboard?
The electricity supply on Hebridean Princess is 240v AC and standard UK 3-pin sockets are provided in the cabins. If guests wish to use 110v equipment, a transformer will be required - a limited supply is available on board for loan. The ship also carries adaptors for European and US style plugs, obtainable from the Housekeeper.
How does it work when going ashore?
Since many of the places on our itineraries are unsuitable for berthing alongside, Hebridean Princess is equipped with sturdy and seaworthy tenders to transport guests ashore. Buoyancy aids are provided and must be worn in all small boat operations. Please note, however, that the use of the ship's tenders does require a certain degree of agility. Our itineraries are planned to allow frequent visits ashore to interesting and unusual places, but participation is by no means compulsory. The emphasis is on pleasing one's self. As alternatives, we can usually suggest an independent stroll or a more serious walk ashore, perhaps a bike ride or, as many guests have discovered, the relaxation of staying on board.
How much are gratuities?
Hebridean operates a strict 'no tipping' policy
What are there to do on board?
Hebridean Princess boasts a well-stocked library, together with a range of board games, jigsaws, chess and backgammon. Gym equipment is available on the Waterfront Deck. There is no organised gambling, apart from the occasional 'frog race' to raise money for charity. Each cabin is equipped with satellite television; should you wish to view a DVD in your cabin, a number of DVD players are available for this purpose and DVDs may be borrowed from the Library.
How do I pay for my shipboard account?
The currency on board is pound sterling. Payment of shipboard accounts may be made in sterling, either debit or credit card (Visa or Mastercard), or cheques; sterling travellers cheques are also accepted.
When do we sail?
Most sailing on Hebridean Princess is schedules to take place over breakfast and lunch, apart from overnight sailings to St Kilda on 2nd and 16th June cruises and from Portland to Oban on 26th August departure. Smaller ships tend to have a certain amount of vibration and some noise is inevitable when the main engines are running. At night, a sound insulated generator supplies domestic power to the vessel.
What is the smoking policy onboard?
Smoking is not allowed inside the vessel at any time and is not permitted in cabins. Smoking is allowed only on the outer decks, and guests occupying balcony cabins are asked to show consideration to other balcony users.
Are there elevators onboard?
Please note that there are no lifts (elevators) onboard Hebridean Princess and, although well equipped with handrails, some of the ship's stairways are steep, particularly those from the Princess Deck to the Waterfront and Hebridean Decks.
Is there a safe in the cabin?
A small safe is provided in your cabin to secure valuables. Hebridean cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage to guests' valuables.
Are children allowed onboard?
We regret that children under the age of nine cannot be accommodated onboard the Hebridean Princess.
Do you have single rooms?
Ten of our cabins are designed and let on a single occupancy basis. Once these cabins have been booked, solo guests requesting a double cabin for single occupancy will be charged a supplement of 85% of the per person fare for that cabin grade.
Are there medical facilities onboard?
Guests are advised to pack all necessary medical supplies, as our ports of call are generally off the beaten track and may lack facilities. If guests intend to bring any electrical or electronic medical equipment, they should first check with our reservations staff that it is compatible with the ship's 240v electricity supply. Hebridean Princess does not routinely carry a doctor as she is never far from land. Guests should ensure that, to their knowledge, they are fit to take a holiday during which immediate medical assistance may not be available. Arrangements to consult a doctor on land can be made at relatively short notice and assistance can be summoned quickly in the event of an emergency. Any medical and repatriation costs will be charged to the guests account. the ship's Officers are trained in first aid and a comprehensive medical supply is kept for emergency use.
Princess Cruises FAQ
What’s included that makes cruising a great value?
Your cruise fare includes accommodations, meals throughout the day including our 4-course dining rooms, 24-hour room service, entertainment, and an endless array of activities (including children’s programs). Plus, you won’t have to pay for costly airfare, trains, or cabs to get you from one city to the next. When you take everything into consideration you'll discover that you can actually save money by going on a cruise, as opposed to a land-based vacation. Additional fees may apply for services such as specialty restaurants, shore excursions, laundry, etc.
Will I get seasick?
Our larger ships are more stable with heavier weight and therefore are less prone to rolling motion. Most ships are so large and well-stabilized that it doesn’t even feel like you’re moving, especially in calmer waters such as Alaska’s Inside Passage and the Caribbean. The middle of the ship tends have less motion, as it is the natural balance point. If you are prone to sea sickness, consider itineraries with fewer sea days. Port intensive cruises will give you the opportunity to spend more time on land. Consult your physician for a drug or alternative remedy if you’re susceptible to motion sickness.
How do gratuities work?
To simplify the tipping process for our passengers, a discretionary gratuity charge will be automatically added to your shipboard account on a daily basis. The daily gratuity amounts are; $12 per person for mini-suites and suites, and $11.50 per passenger in all other staterooms per day (including children). This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who have helped provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet. A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges and dining room wine accounts.
What should I wear?
Casual sportswear, including shorts, lightweight pants and jogging suits, is the order of the day both at sea and ashore in hotter climates. We recommend you bring a sweater, a jacket or an all-weather coat for cool evenings, and for shore excursions, depending on your destination. You'll also want comfortable shoes for strolling on deck. For evening dining, keep with what you would wear to a nice restaurant at home: skirts/dresses, slacks, and sweaters for ladies, pants and open-neck shirts for men. Cruises five days or longer include at least one formal dining night: evening gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies and tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for men.
Are all Princess ships alike?
Princess has everything from large ships carrying over 3,500 passengers to smaller, more intimate vessels accommodating just 680. Every vessel in our fleet is designed to give you plenty of room to yourself with spacious decks, comfortably elegant public spaces and inviting balcony staterooms. Yet each also creates wonderful opportunities to socialize with a variety of sensational activities and entertainment to suit your mood.
Is there phone and Internet access?
Mobile phone service is available for use when the ship is at sea, in international waters, and in other areas where such use is permitted. All charges will be conveniently billed to you directly by your mobile device provider. Your mobile phone provider must have a roaming agreement with Maritime Communications Partner (MCP)or Wireless Maritime Services (WMS). Please contact your provider for more details on rates and availability. Internet access is available on all Princess vessels through our 24-hour onboard Internet Cafe and wireless network -- which is available in staterooms and various public areas including our world famous Piazzas. Please note that Internet access via satellite is significantly slower than high-speed connections on shore. Multiple internet time packages are available to purchase before, or during your cruise to access the internet at sea.
Will I be bored?
Only on Princess can you enjoy evenings spent watching Movies Under the Stars, with complimentary blankets and popcorn. Meet friends for a small bite, wine by the glass and enjoy street performer-style entertainment in the Piazza. Or spend a few hours of tranquility in The Sanctuary – a retreat just for adults where you can enjoy a massage, signature drinks and snacks or the spectacular sea views from your plush lounge chair. Princess offers onboard activities like culinary demonstrations, bingo, wine tasting, and spa services. As well as presentations, where you learn about the culture top sites of the ports you will be visiting, plus live entertainment. Whether you feel like a multi-course meal in a formal dining room or hand-tossed Naples-style pizza by the pool, Princess obliges your every mood.
Is cruising safe?
1.7 million passengers sail with Princess annually. Your safety is our top priority. All of our onboard medical facilities meet or exceed the standards established by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Our onboard medical facilities are staffed by full-time registered doctors and nurses. In addition to twice-daily office hours, they are available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency. All ships must follow rules and regulations to protect passengers' (and crewmembers') safety while onboard. The Coast Guard conducts quarterly inspections of all ships that operate from U.S. ports, making sure they comply with emergency-response requirements. Ships operate under international rules that regulate everything from fire safety to navigation and maritime security. We were the first in our industry to have a virtual training facility for our bridge crew, which we call the SeaSmart program. We also have voluntarily installed fire sprinklers in all cabins and balconies on all our ships.
What are the rooms like and how do I choose?
Standard amenities in all rooms include 100% Egyptian cotton-linen, satellite TV, a refrigerator & complimentary room service. The little extras you find in the best hotels — fresh fruit (by request), evening bed turn-down, chocolates on your pillow, complimentary shampoo, conditioner and body lotion — are provided in every stateroom. For every preference and budget, there is a stateroom to match on each Princess ship. Princess pioneered balcony staterooms on cruise ships and we highly recommend booking a room with a balcony to get the most of your vacation experience. We also offer inside and oceanview staterooms for more budget-conscious travellers.
What is a shore excursion and how do I make reservations?
Exploring ports of call will be one of the highlights of your cruise, and one of the best ways to do this is on a shore excursion. You will find a variety of options available to suit your taste including family friendly options with discounted rates for children. Excursions offered through Princess are carefully selected and provided by reputable tour operators who meet the high standards of Princess. Your security and comfort are of paramount importance. Every effort is made to ensure that each tour operates safely. Princess organizes your tours in advance so your time in port is maximized and worry-free. We closely monitor tour departures and returns and we are able to hold the ship in the event your tour is delayed.
Swan Hellenic FAQ
How do I know what health requirements apply to my cruise?
As health regulations are ever changing, we recommend that you consult your GP or contact MASTA (Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Aboad) www.masta-travel-health.com at least 12 weeks before your intended departure to check the latest requirements for the countries you will be visiting. At the time of confirmation of your booking we will advise you of any mandatory vaccination requirements.
Is there a contact telephone number and fax number for the ship?
The satellite telephone number for Minerva is (00 47) 2367 5678 The Fax number is (00 870) 762 309 138. Incoming calls will be received by Reception and transferred to your cabin. Please note that the ship's time may differ from South African time. Please be aware that the satellite link can be affected by weather and / or geographical location.
What foreign exchange facilities are available on board?
Limited amounts of Euros, £ Sterling and US$ dollars are available for purchase and exchange at Reception. These currencies are accepted widely in many of the ports of call that we visit. Foreign currency can only be purchased with CASH - Credit / Debit cards will not be accepted to purchase foreign currency. We recommend that you purchase any required foreign currency prior to your cruise. For a list of currencies please follow the link: www.worldatlas.com or alternatively please refer to the Cruise Book sent approximately 8 weeks prior to departure.
Are internet and wireless facilities available?
We are unable to give out the ship's email address as this is used for communication between the ship and our offices. The Internet Lounge offers internet facilities enabling you to access your private email account. In addition, the Library is a WiFi hotspot where you can usually find a good signal if you wish to use your own laptop. Internet vouchers for using the terminal and personal laptops can be purchased at Reception and the charge will be added to your cabin account. Please note that the on board system does not allow access to MS Outlook or Mailbox on Mac and that other types of access including Skype and other VOIP protocols are blocked due to band width restrictions. The Internet service is dependent on a satellite link and can be affected by weather / geographical location.
Am I able to cruise if I am hard of hearing?
As the safety of our passengers is our utmost priority, it is a requirement that any intending passenger who is profoundly hard of hearing, or who uses sign language as their principal means of communication, is accompanied, at their own cost, by a companion who is able to assist the passenger who has impaired hearing with communication or in understanding audible announcements, signals and alarms.
Is the ship fitted with an induction loop system?
The Darwin Lounge is fitted with an induction loop system. If you wear a hearing aid, please select the T position to better hear the Guest Speakers' talks.
Are there any special arrangements for passengers travelling on their own?
The Cruise Director will arrange an exclusive reception early in the cruise for passengers travelling on their own to meet each other.
How do i get ashore if the ship is not berthed alongside?
At some ports Minerva will be at anchor outside the port and passengers will be taken ashore by ship's tenders or by local boats. Tenders run a service between the ship and the shore. Announcements will be made on board advising timings. Our crew is always on hand to help. We respectfully request that you follow their instructions for your safety when embarking / disembarking the tenders. Flat shoes are more suitable when using a tender to go ashore.
Are there art workshops on board?
Art workshops are offered on certain cruises. The Guest Artist will provide a recommended list of materials and these will be sent to you approximately 8 weeks prior to departure to enable you to purchase the necessary equipment. There is no charge for Art classes on board.
Can I have beds made up as a twin / double?
All cabins (except Owners Suites) are available on request in either a twin or double (US queen) configuration. Twin beds are pushed together to form a double. Please advise at the time of booking of if you require a double bed so that arrangements can be made prior to your embarkation.
Can you accommodate my special diet on Swan Hellenic flights?
If you require a special diet (i.e. vegetarian) on the flight please advise our Reservations Department at the time of booking and no later than 2 weeks prior to departure. Your request will be relayed to the airline, however, please note they cannot be guaranteed.
How do I know what visas apply to my cruise?
Passport, visa and health requirements can change at any time. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the entry requirements set by each country that you are visiting.
How much luggage can I take?
Flights: On fly/ cruises, allowances will be subject to the conditions imposed by the airline and will vary from airline to airline. Baggage allowances are 20kgs on most airlines for checked luggage and 5kgs for hand baggage. Specific details of luggage allowances and any restrictions which apply will be provided with your final details, 2 weeks prior to departure.
What facilities does my cabin have?
All cabins have the following: en suite private facilities, Built in wardrobe, Personal safe, Direct telephone, Hand held hair dryer, Television, Binoculars, Toiletries, Shower cap, Bathrobe, Slippers.
I require a Kosher meal.
We regret that Kosher and Halal options are not available on board Minerva.
What shall I pack?
Casual clothing is appropriate during the day, with perhaps a cardigan or jacket for evenings on deck. Gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie in the evening, while smart casual wear is appropriate for ladies. On Excursions casual clothing with flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. It might also be useful to bring an umbrella and/or a raincoat for an unexpected shower. Please remember that, if visiting a church or other holy place, you should cover your shoulders and be prepared to cover your head; shorts are normally not accepted in these places.
I will be celebrating a special occasion during my cruise, what are you able to provide?
There is the facility to organise Wine or Champagne to celebrate your special occasion. To pre arrange this and obtain prices, please contact our Administration Department at least two weeks prior to your departure. If you wish to arrange something once on board please contact Reception.
How do I find out about the shore excursions planned for the cruise?
A Cruise Book detailing the shore excursion programme together with an Excursion Booking Form will be sent to you approximately 8 weeks prior to departure. Shore excursion information is also available to view on our website approximately 8 weeks prior to your departure. ALL Shore Excursions must be pre-booked and any supplementary excursions paid for prior to your departure. To book your excursions, please complete the Excursion Booking Form and return to the Administration Department at Swan Hellenic together with any payment by the date stated on the booking form. Excursion booking forms are numbered on receipt and processed in strict order. Bookings received after the closing date will be sent to the ship for processing, subject to availability.
I am diabetic, what happens with my medication?
Please advise at time of booking if you are Diabetic and if you require a Sharps box for the disposal of needles. Insulin can be given to Reception who will make arrangements for it to be kept in a refrigerator. Cabins on Sun Deck and Bridge Deck have their own refrigerators.
What electrical current is used on board?
The voltage is 220AC in the cabins with sockets designed to fit a British 3-pin plug. There is one razor/toothbrush 2-pin socket in the bathroom. There are a limited number of adaptors on board.
Variety Cruises FAQ
What will the weather be like?
For the comfort and pleasure of our guests, our itineraries generally follow warm rather than hot weather patterns. The world's climate being at times unpredictable, our small ships are seldom far from a sheltered bay or port. Our Greece and Turkey cruise programs operate from April to October, however we also offer an off-season themed cruise program in Greece, the Antiquity to Byzantium, operating in March, April, October and November. Our cruise programs in West Africa, Cape Verde, Cuba, Costa Rica and the Panama operate from November to April. In the Seychelles we are offering 3-night, 4-night and 7-night cruise programs all year round.
What amenities will I find in my cabin?
All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and fitted with central music and with telephone for intra ship communication. All ships have in lounges TV's with satellite channels with at least English speaking channels. There are hairdryers in each cabin. Also, almost all of our ships have TV's or flat-screen TV's, safe boxes, mini-fridges, DVD players in cabins. For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.
What services are available onboard?
Aboard our small ships you will find elegant dining rooms, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are offered as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach secluded beaches by tender. Your cruise program is either with breakfast plus lunch or dinner or with all meals. Meals are served at set times and there is flexible seating. Limited laundry service is available at a cost on our small ships. The shore excursions are offered at a supplemental cost. The M/Y Pegasus, the M/Y Harmony V and the M/Y Variety Voyager offers a small wellness suite with massage and other beauty treatments. Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkelling, kayaking and canoeing. In some destinations it is possible to organize diving excursions.
What languages are spoken onboard?
Language on board is English but German, French, Spanish or Russian can be spoken by our Cruise Coordinators and Hotel Crew on scheduled cruise sailings. In general there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are usually in English. English and sometimes German and French are widely spoken on all ports of call visited by our small ships.
What is not included in my cruise cost?
Unless a specific package has been purchased, transfers to and from the vessel, shore excursions, wine, alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, gratuities, laundry service and items of a personal nature are not included and may be bought en-route or are at a supplemental cost. There is a boutique on board some of our vessels. All onboard charges are in Euros. Gratuities are at our guests’ discretion. As a rule, satisfied customers are expected to leave between Euro 10-14 or USD 13-16 per person per day. These tips are distributed to all crew members. Guests have the choice to adjust the amount of gratuities reflecting the level of satisfaction.
What should I pack?
Please travel as lightly as possible so as not to restrict space in your cabin. Soft bags are more practical than hard suitcases. Sports or casual clothes are more useful. Plenty of swimwear is required and a pullover or cardigan is recommended for cool evenings. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested when ashore.
What travel documents are required?
Participants must be in possession of a valid passport (expiring not earlier than one month after cruise ends) and should obtain visas and health certificates where required. All requirements should be confirmed with appropriate government consulate or information office prior to departure.
What is the electric current provided on your ships?
Our ship generators provide an electric current of 220v. Cabins are equipped with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.
Should I mention any health problems or special needs?
Due to safety reasons it is requested that physical disabilities of any kind should be advised at time of reservation. It is understood that passengers requiring special attention or treatment will be travelling with their personal escorts. The company retains the right to deny embarkation to any pregnant woman beyond the 6th month of pregnancy. Variety Cruises ships are not suitable for passengers with special needs. Embarkation gang ways do not fit all types of wheel chairs. Cabin bathrooms and stair cases are unsuitable for disabled passengers.
Should I mention any special dietary requirements?
Every attempt to meet special dietary requirements should be made provided it is requested in writing at least 4 weeks prior to sailing.
What should I know about safety at sea?
An emergency drill is conducted by our crew before the ship sails and is to be attended by all passengers. The drill will provide passengers information about the alarm system, the master station position, life jackets use and other emergency procedures.
Where can I keep my valuables while onboard?
Jewellery, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge. The company and its personnel bear no responsibility for valuables kept by passengers.
What is the official currency while on board?
The EURO is the official currency while on board. There is an optional credit system for expenses on board that may be paid/settled at the end of the cruise. Most major currencies and traveller’s cheques are accepted/exchanged at their official exchange rate. Credit cards are accepted only on board all Variety Cruises ships.
Voyages of Discovery FAQ
How much are gratuities?
Unlike many other cruise operators, gratuities and service charges are included within the fares shown, however, you may wish to recognise special service at your discretion.
What is the currency onboard and how do I do payments?
Onboard Voyager all prices are in British Pounds. Foreign exchange facilities onboard are very limited, so we would recommend that you purchase any currency requirements before you travel. There is little opportunity to visit banks whilst on holiday, although guides will normally help exchange small amounts if necessary. For purchases ashore, many shops accept most Travellers' Cheques and major credit cards. A cashless system operates on board with passengers settling accounts at the end of the cruise.
Can I bring my own alcohol onboard?
Only alcohol purchased in the ship's bars and restaurants may be consumed on Voyager. The serving of alcohol may be restricted in certain countries.
Is there telephone and internet access onboard?
Our onboard telecommunications systems mean that you are never more than a phone call away from your home or office. All cabins feature direct-dial telephones, whilst fax facilities are available at the Purser's Desk and computer facilities in the Internet Centre. WiFi connections are also available in certain locations onboard (charges apply for internet connectivity), however connection difficulties can occur in some areas of the world. Mobile phones usually get a signal but only via satellite.
What electricity supply is available onboard?
Cabins are fitted with both UK standard three pin plugs (220 Volt) and European two pin (110 Volt). Any questions regarding the use of electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances should be directed to reception. For safety reasons the use of travel irons and any tea/coffee making equipment is definitely not allowed. Each cabins is equipped with a hair dryer.
What to wear?
As a general rule, for days onboard and ashore, summer clothing/sports wear is the order of the day. It should be light, casual and easy to care for. A sweater and jacket for cooler evenings and a light raincoat are also advisable. In certain countries, shorts, short skirts, bare arms and shoulders will not be appreciated locally and you may be prohibited entry to certain sites. Advice will be given onboard. For trips ashore and for getting into and out of the ship's tenders, comfortable, sturdy footwear is recommended. You may also want to bring with your camera, binoculars, umbrella, sun hat and insect repellent. In the evening, there is a recommended dress code. Passengers may wish to dress in 'black tie' and evening dresses for formal nights such as the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party and Dinner, however, a lounge suit or blazer and tie would be fine - the choice is yours. on other evenings the dress code will be smart casual. Details will be given in the daily programme onboard. Gentlemen are not permitted to wear shorts at evening dinner, only long trousers are acceptable. The Veranda Restaurant offers a less formal dining environment and casual clothing including jeans are perfectly acceptable to wear.
What is the smoking policy onboard?
Passengers are not permitted to smoke (including electronic cigarettes) inside Voyager, or where food is being served. Passengers are requested to smoke only in designated areas on open decks, subject to national government laws when in port. Smoking is not permitted on excursion coaches.
How does dining onboard work?
Breakfast and lunch are arranged on an open sitting basis and may be taken in the Discovery Restaurant on the Discovery Deck, inside t8he Veranda Restaurant on the Bridge Deck or álfresco' by the Veranda Restaurant. Continental breakfast is also available in your cabin. In the evening, there are two restaurants to choose from. The Discovery Restaurant on the Discovery Deck and the Veranda Restaurant on the Bridge Deck both offer open seating, with the Veranda being less formal. A limited room service menu is available most days from 07h00 to 22h00.
Are children allowed onboard?
There are no recreational facilities for children on Voyager and reservations for those under the age of 11 are not advised.
Are shore excursions included?
Shore excursions are not included in the price of your cruise. All excursions can be pre-booked although it is also possible (subject to availability and at a higher onboard price) to book your tours onboard. Full excursion details will be sent approximately 18 weeks before departure and can be pre-booked via a booking form.
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