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.
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.
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. Explore the ships or view our ship comparison chart.
Is there phone and Internet access?
Internet access is available on all Princess vessels through our 24-hour onboard Internet Cafe and wireless network — which is available in all staterooms and public areas. You can access Wi-Fi through wireless-enabled devices, such as laptops, tablets or mobile devices. Or use our Internet Café to access your web-based email account, or browse the internet. Please contact the Internet Café Manager on board for information regarding the charges that apply to internet and wireless services and any other specific requirements. Plus – Platinum and Elite Captain’s Circle members receive a specified number of internet minutes for free as a loyalty benefit. To take advantage of pre-payment, login to Cruise Personalizer to pre-pay online, or simply call 1-855-500-7690. Pre-payment is available up to 3 days prior to departure. MedallionNet™ – The Best Wi-Fi at Sea Select ships have been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology that allows guests to stay connected to the web like never before. With MedallionNet, you can text, post photos, video chat and stream your favorite shows, movies, music and sports with ease. To see if your ship is MedallionNet enabled and learn more, visit the MedallionNet page. Standard internet access via satellite may be significantly slower than high-speed connections on shore. Princess Cruises reserves the right to filter content accessed via the ship's internet services. Please note high bandwidth consuming applications such as voice over IP telephony, peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming media may be restricted on board select Princess vessels. Princess@Sea - Complimentary Onboard Web & Messaging Tool Princess@Sea is our FREE, award-winning mobile friendly tool offering quick and convenient access to valuable information about the ship while you're onboard! Plan your day's events and activities, review the ship's itinerary and port guides, browse restaurant menus, even access your stateroom account! Plus, the Princess@Sea Messenger allows you to send text messages to other guests onboard! Getting started with Princess@Sea is easy. Simply connect to the ship’s WIFI once onboard, open your browser and Princess@Sea will be the default page that appears. It even operates in "Airplane Mode". No cellular or data charges required! Princess@Sea and Princess@Sea Messenger are now available on all ships.
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. Watch a brief video about our staterooms. 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.
Can we celebrate special occasions onboard?
Princess makes your birthday, wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or renewal of vows even more memorable. When you’re onboard a cruise with Princess, you’re surrounded by warm, caring people dedicated to making each day a celebration. And for those times in your life that are special, we’ve created a collection of memorable celebration experiences to help you savour those moments for years and years to come. If you or your travel agent advise us of any occasions of particular importance at least 45 days prior to your departure, we’ll set our “special occasion” staff in motion to spotlight your special event in the dining room or with our special packages and fabulous “extra mile” service. Choose from a selection of our Celebration offerings, with extra touches like flowers, wine and champagne. To order a gift or to plan a special event, review our selections and complete the order form.
What is the alcohol policy?
As provided in the Passage Contract, guests agree not to bring alcoholic beverages of any kind onboard for consumption, except one bottle of wine or champagne per adult of drinking age (no larger than 750 ml) per voyage, which will not be subject to a corkage fee if consumed in the stateroom. Additional wine or champagne bottles are welcome, but will incur a $15 corkage fee each, irrespective of where they are intended to be consumed. Liquor, spirits or beers are not permitted. Please remember that luggage will be scanned and alcohol outside of our policy will be removed and discarded.* Alcoholic beverages that are purchased duty free from the ship's gift shop, or at ports of call, will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to the guest's stateroom on the last day of the cruise. A member of the ship's staff will be at the gangway to assist guests with the storage of their shoreside alcoholic purchases while our Boutiques staff will assist guests with shipboard alcoholic purchases. *Princess Cruises is not responsible for any alcoholic beverages removed and discarded by shoreside security staff. Such items are not eligible for monetary refund or replacement. Age Restrictions on Drinking and Gambling The age for gambling on Princess ships is 18 years old. The age for drinking on Princess ships is 21 years old*. Guests under the age of 18 will not be permitted in the Casino or Night Club after 11:00 p.m. *For cruises between Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe and Singapore ports, the drinking age will be 18 years old. For cruises between Japan ports, the drinking age will be 20 years old.
What is the smoking policy?
Keeping the comfort of our guests a priority, and in consideration of consumer studies which show smokers are a small minority of guests, Princess has implemented the following smoking policy: Designated Smoking Areas Clearly marked “Designated Smoking Areas” are available onboard and include a sufficient number of ashtrays that are emptied regularly. Generally, these areas include cigar lounges, a section of the nightclub, as well as a portion of the open decks. The Casino and Casino Bar are non-smoking areas on board, with the exception of designated slot machines where guests are permitted to smoke only while playing at those machines. All table games are non-smoking. The Casino will also have one or more non-smoking nights (6 pm to closing), depending on length of voyage. Show lounges, dining rooms and all food services areas on board all Princess ships are non-smoking. As a safety precaution, guests are reminded to properly dispose of cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco, which are never to be thrown overboard as this may be sucked back into the ship and cause fires. Stateroom Smoking Policy Princess Cruises prohibits smoking in guest staterooms and balconies. This reflects the preferences of a vast majority of our guests who value having their primary living space (both stateroom and balcony) smoke-free. As balconies are a hallmark of Princess Cruises, we believe it is important to keep this peaceful space clear of smoke. Violations to this policy will result in a $250 fine for each occurrence, which will be charged to the guest’s stateroom account. Keeping with the global trend toward more restrictive smoking policies and honoring the wishes of our guests, we feel this enhances our onboard experience. Electronic Cigarettes The use of electronic cigarettes is allowed within the confines of the guest's stateroom (balcony not included) and within designated smoking areas only.
What is the currency onboard?
Unless noted, onboard currency is in U.S. dollars. However, on select Australian-based itineraries, the onboard currency is in Australian dollars. One of the best things about cruising with Princess is the convenience of being able to sign for all your expenses and have them charged to your stateroom. An itemized statement will be delivered to your stateroom prior to disembarkation. By providing your credit card in advance, you are automatically registered for Express Check-Out. There is no need to visit the Guest Services/Purser's Desk to settle your account. We accept U.S., Canadian, British and Euro currencies, and traveler's checks. American Express/Optima®, Diners Club/Carte Blanche®, Discover® Network, the JCB Card®, MasterCard® and Visa® are also accepted. Those paying by traveler's checks or cash will be required to leave a cash deposit with the Purser's staff at the beginning of the cruise. For your convenience, Automated Teller Machines for the exchange of foreign currencies are available on vessels sailing out of European ports and on selected exotic itineraries. Use of such machines may involve transaction fees that are subject to change without notice. Please visit the Guest Services/Purser's Desk for more information.
What about gratuities?
During your cruise, regardless of which Princess ship you choose, you will meet staff who provide you with excellent service. Crew members often rotate to different vessels within the Princess fleet which helps to maintain our high standards on every ship. These dedicated workers reflect our philosophy that all crew on all ships are but one family who share in our success. To simplify the tipping process for our guests, a discretionary gratuity of $15.50 per guest for suites, $14.50 per guest for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 per guest for interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms. This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet. For your convenience, this gratuity can be pre-paid online via Cruise Personaliser. Pre-payment is available up to 2 days prior to departure. A 18% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, and Lotus Spa® services. This is shared amongst the beverage staff, their support staff and Lotus Spa® personnel. Casino dealers and youth staff do not share in these gratuities. We know you will find these services onboard exemplary. Please note gratuities will be deemed undisputed unless a request to modify is received prior to disembarking the ship.
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