Why am I charged for gratuities?
First time cruisers may be surprised when they get their shipboard final statement the last evening of their cruise. Along with charges for specialty restaurants, onboard purchases, and cocktails, they'll discover a few hundred dollar charge for "gratuities" (some cruise lines are now calling it a "service charge" or "hotel service charge"). While gratuity charges are technically optional on most cruise lines, they are automatically added to your bill, and if you want to have them adjusted or removed, that will take some extra effort on your part. Usually the reception or guest services desk can take care of it for you.
Accidents and other unforeseen incidents can happen on any trip. But when you are out of the United States, getting back home afterwards can be a problem if you don't have your passport with you.
When pricing luxury cruises it is important that you compare apples-to-apples (actually this is true for all cruises). Some cruise lines have several additional costs that will increase your total cruise cost above the base fare. In addition to ‘mandatory’ extra fees (like gratuities), most people pay extra for such things as Wi-Fi, shore excursions, soda (no soda isn't free on most ships), alcoholic drinks, specialty coffees, specialty restaurants, and more. Plus, you have to add the cost of flights to and from the cruise ports, and the cost of at least one day for a hotel before the cruise to minimize airline delays which could cause you to miss your cruise.
What to Expect on Cruise Ship Dining
If food plays a big part on your vacation decision, read up the 9 points below to manage your expectations and get the best out of the experience.
1.When planning is not your thing – cruises got your covered
Nowadays, cruise vacation packages are almost all-in. You don’t need to bother with hotel searching, hours spent online organizing, or the transport in between the destination anymore. For a cruise, all you need to do is (1) talk to your travel agent (Sophisticated Travel), (2) tell us how long you want to go for and what type of climate and off you go! It's that easy - everything else is handled for you!
2.Never feel like you left land
Cruise ships are designed to look and feel like a floating hotel or city so you don’t have to worry that you might get panic attacks by being stranded in the middle of the sea. Along with the fun onboard activities you can get busy with like gym, spas, pools, theaters, bars and restaurants, there are also shopping places you can enjoy and other facilities you can avail of such as medical centers and laundry shops.
What is a guaranteed cabin?
Most people booking a cruise choose to select their specific stateroom (cabin) when they make their reservation and pay the initial deposit. There is another option. You can book a “guaranteed stateroom” which guarantees you a stateroom in the category that you purchased. The room is not assigned until some future date (which varies by cruise line).
Today Celebrity’s newest ship, the Celebrity Edge, sails out of its shipyard in Nazaire, France, and begins its transatlantic voyage to its homeport of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades). The ship which as been four years in the making. It is Celebrity’s newest class of ship and holds 2,900 passengers. Three additional Edge-class ships are already on order, and start arriving 2020 – 2022. The Edge’s maiden voyage will set sail on December 9, 2018.
AVOID A $1,106 BILL
Smartphones have become such a critical part of our lives that it seems second nature to want to take your phone along with you on vacation. Smartphones have all of your important contact information (friends, doctors, banks, family members, etc.), and once you find a free WiFi hotspot, using Google Maps in a foreign city can be a life and time saver. However, there is a dark-side to smartphones that many people find out about the hard way. I was reminded of this in an LA Times article where the writer had received a $1,106 Sprint bill for international roaming even though she had data roaming turned off.
This happens virtually every day around the world. Smartphones keep looking for a way to connect to the network even when you don’t want them to or when you think you have told them not to, and this is the problem.
It shouldn’t really be a surprise, but as Baby Boomers & Gen Xers have watched their kids move out, have become proficient cruisers, are seeking new experiences, have more free time and money, and desire a more sophisticated cruise experience, they are increasingly wanting to up their cruise game.
Fortunately Europe is very safe for tourists. Violent crime is extremely rare there. However, you do have to take precautions to prevent being a victim of pickpockets. My husband and I were in Madrid a while back, and in an extremely crowded subway (Metro), as we pulled into the station, he felt a slight tug on his back pants pocket. He reached back and grabbed the hand of a woman, who immediately pulled free and jumped out just as the doors opened. Then she vanished. Fortunately, he had his wallet in a front zipped pocket. He was prepared and you need to be too.