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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to all of your cruise-related questions
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Planning Your Cruise Back to Top
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Services Onboard Back to Top
Although many cruise lines do provide cell phone service while at sea, please keep in mind that such services require additional fees, often at rates much more expensive than your normal roaming charges.
Many cruise lines now feature Internet Cafes onboard, where you can surf the Web and send and receive emails. There is a charge for this service, and the per-minute rates vary by cruise line.
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle medical emergencies.
Many cruise lines offer one or both of these services, sometimes for an additional fee. Click here for a highlight of programs offered.
Both laundry and dry cleaning services are offered by most major cruise lines. Specific instructions and information about fees can be found in your cabin.
Typically, yes. However, most charge considerably high fees for use (in addition to any bank charges).
Medical Concerns Back to Top
The cruise lines require all guests with special medical needs to submit a "special needs" form to them prior to travel. This is to ensure that they have the necessary information to give you the proper care in the event of an emergency. Passengers who carry syringes for medical use must also carry a letter from their physicians indicating this. Please call and speak with our Customer Service Team to obtain the correct forms for submission to the cruise line.
Pregnancy is regarded as a medical condition, and some cruise lines require a medical certificate establishing the passenger's due date and fitness to travel. Additionally, each cruise line has specific policies with regard to how far along in a pregnancy a passenger can be at time of embarkation. Click here for further details.
Accessibility varies from ship to ship, however the newer, larger cruise ships are often a better bet for wheelchair-bound travelers than are older ships. Please contact us for questions regarding wheelchair accessibility by ship.
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle medical emergencies.
Yes. Today, virtually all ships have non-smoking and smoking designated areas. Dining rooms on many of the major cruise lines today are totally smoke-free.
Although seasickness is rare on larger cruise ships because they are equipped with stabilizers, if you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consult your physician prior to travel. If you should feel queasy onboard ship, medicine is available from your stateroom steward or the ship's doctor.
Many types of medication may not be readily available either aboard ship or in ports of call. Commonly used medication may be purchased at the office of the ship's doctor.
Please carry any medication in its original bottle. It is recommended that medication be carried on your person or in your carry-on bag so that it will be available when needed, as checked luggage may not be accessible at all times. If you take any prescription drugs, vitamins or other medication on a regular basis, you should bring an adequate supply with you.
Ship Security Back to Top
Yes. To ensure the safety of all cruise ship passengers, pre-cruise security measures have been strengthened in recent years. Passengers can expect to encounter screening measures similar to those used in airports, including metal detectors and examination of photo IDs. In addition, their luggage and carry-on bags may be inspected.
These are commonly referred to as lifeboat drills (or "muster"). Everyone on board the ship is required to be in attendance for a safety drill before departure, to comply with Coast Guard and international safety regulations.
For safety and security reasons, no visitors are allowed onboard.
What to Bring Back to Top
Consider your ship's itinerary when deciding what to pack.
For a typical Caribbean cruise, you'll want to take shorts, skirts or sundresses, pants, blouses, t-shirts, knit tops or polo shirts, and a bathing suit. For cooler days or evenings, pack a sweater or lightweight windbreaker.
For Alaska cruises, sweaters, raincoats, and fleece are also suggested. Bring a pair of sneakers or rubber-soled shoes for deck sports and a swimsuit cover-up for cool areas on the ship.
Keep in mind that when visiting some countries or participating in shore excursions to shrines or religious sites, a more conservative dress code may be in order.
Most cruises will have at least one formal night for dinner. Women generally wear cocktail dresses or gowns, while men can wear a dark suit and tie. Many ships also offer tuxedo rentals.
For casual or semi-formal nights, sport shirts and slacks or button-down shirts and sport coats work for men, while women can wear a dress, pantsuit, or slacks and top.
Generally speaking, there are three types of evening attire: Casual, Smart-Casual or Business-Casual, and Formal.
Casual attire would be dresses or slacks and blouses for women, sport shirts and trousers for men
Smart- or Business-Casual would be dresses or pantsuits for women, jackets for men; and Formal would be long or short cocktail dresses, dark suits or tuxedos for men. That being said, some cruise lines have loosened their dress codes and sometimes allow much more casual dress in the main dining rooms.
On most cruises, a tuxedo is not required, although gentleman should plan on bringing a dark suit in order to attend the formal night(s). If you prefer to dress to the nines, many cruise lines offer tuxedo rentals.
In port and on the ship, you will have many opportunities to enjoy duty free shopping. Depending on your itinerary, there may be a limit to the amount of duty-free merchandise allowed per guest. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, so you will not have to bring much cash (except for some shore side purchases). In fact, it is strongly recommended that you bring a credit card, since it will make your onboard registration very quick and easy. For non-credit card purchases, we encourage you to bring traveler's checks.
Electric razors and hair dryers can be brought with you. Staterooms for most cruise lines are equipped with 110 volts AC and are capable of handling all normal appliances. Some appliances may require the use of an adapter. Keep in mind, cruise lines do not provide irons in your stateroom and they prefer that you do not bring one along, due to the fire hazard. There is often laundry service on board should you need a special outfit ironed.
Dining, Activities & Purchases Back to Top
Beverages & Dining
Non-bottled water, coffee, tea, and juice are generally included in your cruise fare. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are not included in the cruise fare, and in most cases, a 15% gratuity will be added to your bill when ordering these beverages.
Although most ships travel in International waters, the rule of thumb is that the drinking age aboard ship is contingent upon the drinking age at the Port of Departure. Always check with your Vacation Consultant or Customer Service before sailing if you have any concerns regarding the drinking age.
Yes, many cruise lines offer beverage packages to offset the expense. Click here for further details.
Most cruise lines offer two seatings for the main dining room(s): Main Seating and Late Seating. Dining preferences may be requested at the time of the booking, however no requests are guaranteed. In addition to the traditional seatings, some cruise lines now offer "freestyle" dining. This provides guests with the flexibility to dine when and with whom they wish. Your seating and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. For additional details regarding dining options for the various cruise lines, click here.
Yes. For your convenience, in addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night buffets in the main dining room(s), many ships also offer complimentary room service and several additional restaurants. If you choose to dine in one of the specialty restaurants onboard, be prepared to pay an extra charge for the meal.
Low-fat and vegetarian entrees are often offered at lunch and dinner. Low-sodium meals, kosher meals, and certain other diet-restricted meals can be made available. Dietary requests should be made at the time of booking to ensure that you are appropriately accommodated.
Suggested gratuities vary between cruise lines as well as stateroom type, and generally range from $10 to $15 per person, per day. Many cruise lines now automatically add gratuities to your shipboard account. With most cruise lines, you will have the option to remove the automatically added gratuities if you are dissatisfied with the level of service provided, or in the event that you wish to tip the staff personally. This is done by visiting the Purser's desk prior to debarkation.
In cases where the gratuities are not automatically added to the shipboard account, the following guidelines are generally suggested by the cruise lines:
Stateroom attendant - $3.50 per person, per day
Head Waiter - $3.50 per person, per day
Assistant waiters - $1.75 per person, per day.
Gratuities for the Headwaiter/Maitre'D and other service personnel are at your discretion.
For your convenience aboard the ship, a 15% gratuity is automatically included on all beverage tabs.
For additional details regarding onboard gratuities specific to your cruise, click here.
Cruising is so much more than just shuffleboard and all-you-can-eat buffets. Today's ships offer activities and entertainment for vacationers of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. Family-friendly ships may feature everything from kids' clubs to teen coffeehouses. Want to unwind? Activities are as diverse as spa treatments, basketball, and casino gambling. At night, you might catch a comedy show, relax in a piano bar, or feast on five-star cuisine. From luxury to adventure, there's a ship to suit your vacation needs.
Cruise lines publish a daily newsletter that lists all of the activities being offered aboard the ship each day. In some cases your cabin steward will leave a copy in your stateroom the night before, and a copy of the bulletin is also always available at the Purser's desk.
Yes. Most cruise lines offer a variety of organized activities for children, as part of the cruise package. These programs are directed and supervised by specially trained staff, and different activities are offered depending upon age group. Age requirements vary between cruise lines, but a child must be toilet trained in order to participate, particularly in pool-related activities. Many cruise lines also offer babysitting services, at an additional cost. For additional details, please click here.
Most cruise lines offer a variety of evening activities, from Las Vegas-style shows to gambling at the casino. You can also choose to dance the night away at the disco, or spend a more quiet evening enjoying a drink and sharing the day's experiences at one of the many lounges on board. These activities will be listed on your onboard newsletter.
Most cruise lines allow you to establish an onboard credit account that permits you to charge purchases to your stateroom. You will need to present a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks to open this account. This can be done at the designated sign-up area onboard the ship, or during the check-in process.
Each cruise ship has its own guidelines regarding hours of operation of the casino and on-board shops. The basic rule of thumb is that shops and the casino are open while you are at sea, however they will be closed while the ship is in port.
Making a Reservation Back to Top
Last-Minute and Cancellation Policies
Payment Back to Top
Making a Payment
Getting to Your Hotel/Vacation Rental Back to Top
Pre and Post-Stay Flights
Hotel Transfers, Shuttles, and Directions
At Your Hotel Back to Top
Features and Amenities
Beverages, Dining & Activities
Booking a Flight Back to Top
Because we take extra time to verify passenger information to help protect your credit card from fraudulent activity, we require that all reservations must be made at least 48 hours prior to departure (Central Daylight Time).
You may pay using either a credit card or debit card. Please keep in mind that debit cards often have daily spending limits. We recommend checking with your bank prior to making a payment with your debit card.
An e-ticket, or electronic ticket, represents your reservation for a flight, but is not in a paper format. You will be supplied a confirmation number as your proof of purchase. You will not receive a paper ticket. With an e-ticket, your name and flight details will be in the airline's computer. An e-ticket is NOT a boarding pass. You will still have to check in to receive your boarding pass. Please remember that you must present a printed receipt of your e-ticket purchase in order to receive a boarding pass. Please be certain to print your confirmation details page or your confirmation email and bring it with you to the airport. Failure to do so will result in your inability to board your flight.
Airlines charge fees for paper tickets issued when electronic ticketing is available. Therefore, we issue all tickets electronically unless a paper ticket is required by the airline. When required, paper tickets do not have additional fees other than shipping charges.
Yes. If you have reserved a seat assignment, you must still check in and receive your boarding pass. Reserved seats are subject to cancellation if not claimed at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure time (45 minutes for non-US and overseas flights).
Changes/Restrictions/Cancellations Back to Top
Luggage requirements can vary by airline and may change due to security or other regulations. Airlines reserve the right to assess an additional charge for checked luggage and/or for non-standard (over-sized/overweight) luggage. We encourage you to contact your scheduled airline directly for their current luggage fee schedule.
Standby availability is at the discretion of the airline. Additionally, some airlines may charge fees for flying standby on the same day as your departure.
Unfortunately, tickets are NOT refundable or transferable.
Some major airline carriers have changed their exchange policies for non-refundable tickets. Changes to tickets prior to departure date may result in large change fees, plus additional applicable charges. On your departure date, the airline may charge additional fees for stand-by passengers. After departure, your ticket may have no residual value.
If you have purchased a ticket on a US airline that ceases operations, you may be able to stand-by for a flight on another US airline. Section 145 of the US Aviation and Transportation Security Act "requires, at a minimum, that passengers holding valid confirmed tickets, whether paper or electronic, of the insolvent or bankrupt carrier must be transported by other carriers who operate on the route for which the passenger is ticketed on a space-available basis on the date of travel shown on the ticket or other documentation demonstrating e-ticketing, without significant additional charges." The amount of additional charges are at the discretion of the accommodating airline. This provision applies only on US airlines if you make "alternative arrangement within 60 days after the date on which that passenger's air transportation was suspended, interrupted, or discontinued (without regard to the originally scheduled travel date on the ticket)." Non-US airlines are not required to comply with the above.
Depending on when you purchase your package in relation to the date of departure, you may receive a tentative schedule at the time of booking or you may have to wait until several weeks prior to departure. Keep in mind that, as with any flight itinerary, charter flight schedules are always subject to change.
If we have received notification of the schedule change, we will make every effort to contact you with that information. However, there are many instances in which we are not apprised of changes in flight schedules. As a result, we highly recommend that you contact the airline prior to departure to reconfirm your flights.
Reserving a Rental Car Back to Top
Your total rental rate is calculated based on the information provided at time of reservation. The rate you are quoted will include any additional options or services you select while reserving your car. Any BJ's Member savings or coupons you use will be applied to your rate as well.
Rental car companies do most of their business during the Monday-Friday workweek through business travel. This means that non-business travelers might get better deals and higher availability on weekends when the demand for some car types decreases. Demand increases during holiday seasons, so make sure you reserve early.
Typically, rentals picked up beginning Noon on Thursday through Noon Sunday qualify for the weekend rate, provided the rental is kept over a Saturday night. There are, however, some exceptions to the Saturday night keep rule and extra day charges do apply for any rental not returned by end of day Monday.
Age requirements vary by car rental company, but renters over the age of 25 are typically able to rent without car class restriction and/or an additional charge, while drivers from ages 21-24 will often encounter an "underage" surcharge and a more limited selection of vehicles. If you are a government employee, however, you may be able to rent at age 18 or age 21 without any charges or restrictions.
You will need a valid driver's license and a valid form of payment (typically a credit card, though cash may be accepted). On occasion, a traffic citation or summons is accepted in lieu of a driver's license, provided that you have another form of personal identification with your signature on it.
Depending on the rental company, a traffic citation or summons may be able to be accepted in lieu of a driver's license, provided that you have another form of personal identification with your signature on it.
Not always. Your deposit type, amount and method of payment will vary by company and location.
In order to receive these savings, you must reserve your car in advance. Simply call the toll-free number on the coupon and use the coupon codes provided, or book your car rental online through BJ's and your Member savings will be automatically applied to your reservation.
Not always. This will vary by company and location.
Making a Payment
You may pay using either a credit/debit card or at most car rental companies, cash. Please keep in mind that debit cards often have daily spending limits. We recommend checking with your bank prior to making a payment with your debit card.
Yes, usually. Your deposit type, amount and method of payment will vary by company and location.
Please check with your chosen car rental company for specific card requirements. However, most accept all major credit card types, including American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
No. At the time of rental, the renter is required to present a valid driver's license and credit card with his/her name imprinted on it. The name/address on the credit/debit card MUST match the name/address on the driver's license.
Additional Drivers/Special Requests
Yes. There are different requirements for each car rental company, but any additional driver must have a valid driver's license and must typically be age 25 or older. In some cases, drivers ages 21-24 can rent with a limited car selection and an underage surcharge. There also may be a required form for the additional driver to fill out, with some exceptions (coworker, spouse, employer).
Sometimes. The typical charge is $11 per day per additional driver (with a maximum of $55 per rental per driver). This can vary by state, though: in New York, the additional driver fee is $3 per day per driver; in Nevada it is $5 per day per driver; in California, there is no additional driver fee. In some cases, there may be no charge if the additional driver is a coworker, spouse, or employer.
Larger cars are subject to availability at the counter. Additional charges may apply and will be quoted in the currency of the renting country and may be at a higher rate than those previously quoted.
Almost every rental company provides a full range of vehicles and/or equipment free of charge to drivers with disabilities, including transfer boards, hand controls, swivel seats, and panoramic mirrors.
Yes. Almost every rental company offers the ability to reserve a specific make/model online, guaranteed.
Yes, you may rent a child, infant, or toddler car seat, though there will likely be an extra charge that varies by car rental company.
Not usually. However, you may incur charges if upon return, the rental car shows signs of pet damage or shedding.
This depends on the rental company as well as the particular rate and vehicle type. There is usually not a penalty fee if the rental has not been paid for; however, you may incur a fee when cancelling a prepaid rental reservation less than 48 hours in advance.
In Your Rental Car Back to Top
Taking a car across a state border is generally not a problem. However, it's always best to inquire about any restrictions or fees that may apply if dropping the car at a different location. Inquire either at the location or simply contact us.
In the unlikely event of an accident, contact the police immediately, then call your rental car company's emergency assistance line:
An accident involving bodily injury must be reported to police department in the community in which it occurred. The driver is required to complete and file an accident report with the rental company, as well as any accident reports required by local or state authorities.
You are responsible for any and all loss of or damage to the car resulting from any cause including and not limited to collision, rollover, theft, vandalism, seizure, fire, flood, hail or other acts of Nature. Please call your rental car company's emergency assistance line:
That depends on your chosen rental company. Some companies, like Budget, maintain a completely smoke-free fleet, while others, like Hertz, provide both "smoking" and "nonsmoking" cars. However, these cars are often subject to availability and not guaranteed.
No. Rental vehicles may be operated only on paved roads. Off-roading is prohibited.
Returning Your Rental Car Back to Top
In most cases, yes, though the fees and penalties vary by rental company. Typically, returns of less than 30 minutes late will not be charged extra hours. Returns 30 minutes late or later will be charged extra. A late return of 1 hour 30 minutes or more will usually result in charge of another day. After 7 hours late, if you didn't call to extend your rental, an additional $10/day late fee will usually apply.
Yes, though your rental rate will likely be impacted. Please contact your chosen rental company if you wish to extend the length of your rental.
Please contact the renting location and then mail the keys to the location where you dropped off your rental car.
If you plan to return your car prior to or after business hours, please make specific arrangements by calling the location where are you are to pick up or drop off your car.
Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.