Cruise Information - NEW TO CRUISING
Or perhaps you should be asking yourself why not! A cruise holiday really does 'tick all the boxes' and there is a cruise holiday out there for everyone whatever your needs. A cruise is an ideal way to visit a variety of different destinations and only have to unpack your suitcase once. Each day you can wake up in a new destination and enjoy what each port has to offer. Read our simple guide.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHIP
This is the most important factor when booking your cruise holiday. Ships range in all different sizes and all offer a different experience. Choosing the right ship can make or break your holiday so make sure you do your research and don't just be tempted by a great price. There are a whole host of vessels available from those that carry 200 passengers to Superliners that carry up to 5000 passengers. Some ships are packed with fun activities to attract families, others are more sedate and appeal to older passengers. On some ships there will be a dress code on certain evenings, whilst others offer a more casual approach. We recommend you book through a Cruise Specialist who can give you the best advise you on what each cruise-line and vessel offers - Sussex Cruise Club staff undergo regular training and visits in order to give you the best possible advice.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
A cruise holiday offers great value for money when compared to a package holiday. Once on board, your accommodation, entertainment and meals are included and on some ships, even your drinks, excursions and gratuities.
When booking through Sussex Cruise Club we also offer a variety of extra benefits which can include; onboard spending money, transfers to and from the Port/Airport from your home*, escorted cruises and exclusive drinks partys onboard ship.
There are many different options for dining onboard, from the traditional fixed dining times, where you choose your dining time or Freedom Dining or even dine whenever you choose to. Alternatively some evenings why not take advantage of some of the exquisite restaurants available, endorsed by award winning chefs, including Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes, offering superb cuisine.
There are 4 types of accommodation available on a cruise ship; inside with no window, ocean view with a window that doesn't open, rooms with balconies and suites. The inside accommodation is the cheapest and suites the most expensive. Prices can also vary depending on location, and also whether your cabin has a restricted view, due to lifeboats. This is another advantage of booking with a trained cruise consultant as they can best advise you at the time of booking.
Enjoy the convenience of sailing from Southampton or Dover and start your cruise from the moment you arrive at the Port. On arrival at the port your luggage is taken straight from your vehicle to your cabin and you are free to check-in and then board the ship which means your holiday starts from the moment you step onboard. If you book with the Sussex Cruise Club we can always offer transfers from your home to the port/airport of your choice, which ensures your cruise starts in the best possible way. We offer this service complimentary where possible, this would be confirmed to you at the time of booking.
HOW TO BOOK
We recommend you book your cruise through a cruise specialist like the Sussex Cruise Club. This will ensure you get the best possible impartial advice from a trained cruise specialist. Sussex Cruise Club staff are able to answer any questions you may have in relation to dress codes, dining options, currency and general day to day queries and also probably the most important question which ship is right for you.
Sussex Cruise Club work with all cruise lines are able to offer competitive prices with each and most of the time offer a price match service. We can also offer onboard credits, taxi transfers, escort services and welcome aboard packages - just ask at the time of booking what is available to you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What information will I receive from the Sussex Cruise Club and when?
You will receive your Confirmation Invoice within 14 days of making your booking. At this time you must check all through the information on the confirmation is correct, including names and spellings. If there are any errors you must contact us immediately. Then 2-3 weeks prior to departure you will receive your tickets, luggage labels and final documentation including taxi vouchers if applicable.
What do I pay at the time of booking and when is my balance due?
If booking more than 12 weeks prior to departure a deposit will be required to secure your cruise booking, this is generally 10% of the cruise booking before discounting but this will be confirmed to you at the time of booking, as will your balance due date. If you are booking less than 12 weeks before departure the full payment will be due. You can pay the Sussex Cruise Club with cash, cheque, debit or credit card. But please note we do charge an additional 2% for credit card payments.
If you do not make your full payment by the due date stated on your confirmation letter the cruise line reserves the right to cancel your cruise or charge amendment fees as per its terms and conditions.
What if I need to amend or cancel my cruise?
If you need to amend your cruise holiday there is a possibility you can transfer your booking to an alternative sailing, with the same cruise line. However there may be an administrative charge and there are also restrictions depending on what date you wish to amend from. If you call the Sussex Cruise Club they can advise you what options are available to you.
If you cancel your booking before your balance due date you will lose your deposit. If you cancel after the balance due date you are likely to incur further cancellation charges. This will be subject to the terms and conditions of each individual cruise line. Sussex Cruise Club will refer you to the terms and conditions at the time of booking.
Do I need travel insurance?
It is essential that you have travel insurance cover and that the policy is adequate for your needs. Each cruise line insists that each passenger has insurance cover in order to travel. Sussex Cruise Club can offer UK citizens a quotation at the time of booking through Goldcover. Alternatively you can make your own arrangements. Each cruise line will request information about your policy before releasing your travel documents.
What are the passport requirements?
It is the lead passengers responsibility to ensure all guests in the party have the correct passports and visas needed for the cruise. Generally passports should be valid for 6 months from the date of your return journey. Passengers who do not have the correct documentation may be refused carriage or entry into any country.
What are the visa requirements?
At the time of booking we will offer advice for all British passport holders about visa requirements. This can generally be arranged through the cruise line or we can assist you. If you are a non UK passport holder then we recommend you contact each embassy of the country you are visiting.
Do I need any vaccinations for my cruise?
At the time of booking or with your confirmation we will confirm any compulsory vaccinations required. For some countries there are also recommended immunisations. We recommend you contact your local doctors surgery/practice nurse at least 3 months prior to your departure or an up to date guide.We are not allowed to advise as precautions must be given by a qualified medical professional and every individual may vary.
Can I pre-book or upgrade my flight seats?
Most airlines offer a premium service depending on which airline you are flying with, this will enable you to travel in more comfort. Please ask your cruise specialist at the time of booking for the benefits available to you and increased cost.
How do I pay for drinks and purchases on board ship?
A credit account system operates onboard, whereby you register your credit/debit for your cruise and you are given a card which you use to charge any purchases to your cabin. You then settle your bill at the end of the cruise. Please note some cruise lines are now charging an additional credit card charge when settling your account, so check if a debit card is accepted.
Do I have to dress up on board?
This will depend on the cruise company you sail with, some are very formal and some have no dress code. The more traditional ships still require a dress code. On a ten night cruise for example, its likely you will have 3 formal evenings and the other evenings will be informal or casual. Your cruise specialist can give you an idea of what to expect at the time of booking and full details will be given to you closer to departure.
Am I able to upgrade my cabin?
Yes subject to availability. Some cruise lines offer an automatic upgrade service and you can choose to opt for this at the time of booking. There are certain restrictions with this upgrade service so please check these with your cruise advisor.
How do I book shore excursions?
All cruise lines offer a full range of excursions that are bookable in advance or on board. You will be sent a list of prices and excursions approx 10 weeks prior to travel and will be able to book direct with the cruise line. Excursions range from transfers to and from the main city you are visiting, guided tours, jeep rides or full day island tours.
How does your door to door taxi/coach service work?
If we are providing you with transfers for your cruise you will be provided with a taxi voucher with your tickets. On the vouchers it will advise you of the name of the taxi company and their telephone number and what time you will be collected. Your transfer will be by taxi from your home either to the port/airport or to join our coach which will then take you to the ship.
What is on board credit/onboard spending money?
When you book your cruise or see it advertised it may be offer you onboard spending money/credit. This amount is credited to your on board account and deducted from your final bill.
What about gratuities?
Gratuities, otherwise known as tipping, can be paid in two ways. Some ships still allow the traditional method whereby you tip your waiter and cabin steward at the end of the holiday and they usually receommend approx £4-6 per person per day. Alternatively you can pay your gratuities in advance of your holiday at the time of booking. Our cruise specialists will explain which option is available to you at the time of booking. Some ships have gratuities included in the cost of the fare - so when you book your cruise fare everything is included.
Most cruise lines will know if you have a birthday on board and you can advise them if you are celebrating a special anniversary. You will usually then be presented with a cake in the evening of your Birthday/Anniversary. If you do not want this attention please advise your cruise specialist at time of booking. There are also many Celebration packages available to you which can be booked in advance.
Do you offer financial protection when I make my booking though the Sussex Cruise Club?
The Sussex Cruise Club and its parent company Woods Holidays Ltd are members of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), ATOL (Air Travel Organisers License) and ACE (Association of Cruise Experts) for your financial protection.
If you have any further questions please call us on 01243 871664 and one of our cruise specialists will be happy to assist you.