If you are planning a cruise holiday, there are bound to be the obvious questions such as which part of the world you fancy cruising around and what itinerary appeals.
Although all of the major cruise operators such as P&O Cruises, normally offer outstanding facilities and sail to an almost endless list of destinations, there are also some other smart questions that you might want to consider asking, in order to get the best deal and a holiday experience you are going to love.
Here are some of the questions you might want to ask your travel agent before you confirm your booking.
What are the Dining Options?
It helps to know whether the cruise ship offers traditional or freestyle dining options.
Traditional dining means you have to request a time slot when you book your cruise and this will be the time and table that you will be allocated for the duration of your cruise. Freestyle is less formal and often means the dress code is a bit more relaxed within reason, so be sure to ask as you may have a preference for one or the other.
Which Ship is the Best Fit for My Requirements?
If you are going as a couple or travelling as a family, this can make a difference to the cruise ship that you end up choosing.
Ask the travel agent for guidance and if you are looking for an elegant ambiance or child-orientated daily activities on board, different ships are designed to appeal to certain groups of customer in particular so make sure the one you want ticks all the right boxes.
What Shore Excursions are Available?
Most ships offer passengers a good range of shore excursions and these can range from relaxing bus tours to more physically challenging pursuits such as climbing.
Check what excursions are being offered for your cruise before you confirm your booking. You can then pre-book the excursions you like the look of and relax knowing that your holiday plans are sorted.
What Official IDs do I Need to Bring on Board a Cruise Ship?
You will need to bring your passport and some destinations require a visa, but the cruise operator will normally make you aware of this in plenty of time.
When you come aboard, the ship operator will create a passenger card for you which you will need in order to pay for items on the ship like beverages and it will also be needed each time you leave the ship.
Don’t Forget to Ask About the Restaurant Options?
Cruise ships like to offer a great dining experience and with this in mind, specialty restaurants are becoming an increasingly popular addition to many cruise liners.
Ask about the restaurant options on your chosen ship and make an advance booking if you prefer, once your holiday has been confirmed.
Ask About the Location of Your Stateroom?
Once you have decided on the grade of cabin that you want, it often pays to ask the travel agent to suggest where on the cruise ship you should book your cabin.
The deck level you are on and what views you can see can make quite a difference to your enjoyment of the cruise.
What is Included in a Drinks Package?
It often works out cheaper to buy a drinks package especially if you have kids who drink a bunch of soda. Check what is included in the price and what is all-inclusive in the price of your cruise.
You can often choose to buy an alcoholic drinks package and a separate one for soft drinks, depending on what you expect to be drinking.
Gratuities are a part of the cruising package and these are either added to your final bill at the end of the holiday or can be paid in advance as part of the total cost of your cruise holiday.
It can often work out cheaper to pre-pay your gratuities so that it is a fixed amount, so check with your travel agent what options are available to you.
Once you have the answers to these questions and any more that you have, you should be able to relax, safe in the knowledge that you have booked a cruise holiday that is just right for you.
About the Author
Michael Wilson is the Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club, a company his parents formed in the late 1960’s. Michael continues to work passionate in the business, taking interest in all aspects. Outside of work, Michael enjoys holidays with his family, gardening and watching rugby.
Photo Credit: Flickr