KNOW BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR VACATION!!!!
A vacation, whether it is a cruise or all-inclusive, is something to look forward to and remember fondly after it's over. However, like any travel experience, it is a good idea to make sure that you give some thought and consideration to protecting yourself in the unlikely event that a problem does occur while you are away. PLEASE take a few moments to read the information shown below and anticipate your own needs. Of course, you can always call us if you need any additional information. Being prepared can save you time and money.
TRAVELING TO YOUR DESTINATION BY AIR: With all the heightened security these days, it is important for you to allow at least two hours for airport check-in. Before you leave home, call (or go on-line) and make sure your flight is still scheduled to leave on time. Airlines only allow two checked bags with specific size proportions and weight restrictions so be sure you check with them to understand their requirements. You can carryon one bag and one personal item. Only ticketed passengers are allowed through security checkpoints and you may be subject to a search of your personal items. Be prepared by allowing extra time. If you have an e-ticket, bring paper documentation of your reservation to the airline ticket counter in order to get your boarding pass. Remember that passengers are prohibited from bringing any type of cutting instruments aboard aircraft.
INSURANCE COVERAGE: Insurance coverage is highly recommended and can be purchased from an independent company or from your vacation vendor. It will include trip cancellation/trip interruption, baggage loss or damage, and accident or illness. Remember that if you are out of the country, YOUR OWN HOSPITALIZATION MAY NOT APPLY. Check on it now so you can arrange the proper coverage. It is your responsibility to read the insurance coverage information from the carrier of your choice and to call the numbers provided for any concerns or questions.
MEDICARE: Take the time to read "the small print" on your passport. You will find that Medicare and similar government sponsored programs do not apply while traveling out of the country. Therefore, do not count on this coverage to protect you while on a foreign ship (and most are) or in a foreign port or city. This also applies to supplemental coverage. The insurance program most vendors offer will provide medical coverage of some kind.
CONTRACT OF PASSAGE: Your travel documents usually describe exactly what the limits of liability are for each vendor. Please read them carefully and consider this when arranging baggage insurance or coverage for trip interruption/cancellation. Vendors quite regularly charge cancellation penalties EVEN WITH A MEDICAL EXCUSE. If you need to be flown home from a distant port or city in the case of a medical or family emergency, most vendors will only assist you in making arrangements. They may not incur any financial liability. It is your responsibility to understand what is covered and what is not.
CUSTOMS: All baggage is subject to inspection by U.S. Customs upon return to the United States. Passengers originating or terminating a cruise in any foreign port will also be subject to Customs inspection when embarking or disembarking. Under most circumstances upon return to the United States or Canada, passengers are allowed a specific duty-free exemption. Specific information can be obtained from any Customs office.
CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS: All U.S. and Canadian citizens need proof of citizenship when traveling to Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, or Canada. Passports are the recommended form of documentation. However, in the event one cannot be obtained prior to travel, a birth certificate or notarized copy of your birth certificate and a government issued picture ID will usually suffice. If you plan to prematurely disembark from a cruise, or are traveling to a foreign country, a passport is required. For persons other than U.S. or Canadian citizens, a passport is required. If you are a legal resident, your Alien Registration Card ("Green Card") is required for you to re-enter the U.S and you may need a re-entry Visa. Please notify Treat Yourself Travel at 407-251-4741 immediately if you are a non-U.S. or Canadian citizen as Visas may be required. Married women using birth certificates as a form of ID should bring their marriage license with them for proof of name change.
SAFETY: Whether you are on an airline, cruise ship, or any conveyance, please attend and heed all safety sessions. Please take special care to avoid slips and falls and injuring yourself on doors or windows. When on a cruise ship, it is sometimes necessary to have raised doorsills so use special caution around these areas.
TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN: It is imperative for all parents or guardians traveling with minors bearing a different last name to bring proper notarized proof from the parent with the same last name indicating that the minor has a right to be with you. By arranging for this documentation ahead of time, it will save you a lot of potential hassle and grief.
HONEYMOONERS: Newly married women should make sure their honeymoon travel arrangements are made in their maiden names so that their proof of citizenship matches. In most cases there is not time to get valid documentation in the new name after the wedding before leaving for the honeymoon.
SHORE EXCURSIONS:Before embarking on any shore excursion whether it is run by a cruise line or done on an independent basis, be certain that the operator is using well-maintained equipment and carries proper insurance. The cruise lines and/or hotels usually has no control over independent "tour operators" working in many vacation areas. You are usually in better hands with the vendors selected by your cruise line or hotel.
DAILY PROGRAMS: Every day a program of scheduled events will be placed in your cabin if you are on a cruise, and are usually posted if on land. In order that you fully enjoy your vacation, it is to your advantage to read them. Take a highlighter with you to highlight the programs of your choice for easy reference.
SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO WEAR ON A CRUISE: When you embark on an exciting cruise vacation, whether it is your first or your fiftieth cruise, it's always a good idea to plan carefully for your trip. The following hints are presented to help you enjoy your cruise to the fullest!
Aboard ship, informal dress is the order of the day. For the ladies -- sun dresses, slacks, shorts and blouses -- whatever you would select for a daytime get-together at home. Remember that separates can be used multi-functionally and to have well-fitting, low-heeled non-skid shoes for shore excursions. For the gentlemen -- we suggest slacks, sport shirts and comfortable shoes. For outdoor wear on deck, let comfort set the pace -- slacks, swim suits, beach robes, deck shoes or other footwear with non-skid shoes. NOTE TO SWIMMERS: Pack an extra bathing suit so you will always have a dry one. For evenings, most cruise lines have 2 formal nights for 7-day cruises, and 3 formal nights for longer cruises. Cocktail dresses and/or formal evening dresses are the attire chosen by ladies on the formal nights. Sometimes it is cool in the dining room and public areas so a light wrap is suggested. Men lean towards dark suits or tuxedos on formal nights. For informal nights, women can wear sun dresses, skirts and tops or pantsuits and men can wear slacks and sports shirts. It is a good idea for men to bring along a sport jacket also. In this day and age, you will see a variety of tasteful clothing at all times. Use this guide in choosing your wardrobe. If you forget anything -- sunglasses, extra razor blades and toothpaste, even a camera -- you can probably purchase them at the ship's gift shop.
A costume party is a gala feature on many cruises. If you would like to participate, you may want to bring along some accessories. Most ships carry supplies for "do-it-yourself" costumes. Also, many cruises feature nights dedicated to "country western" and "fifties" so bring appropriate attire if interested in participating.
Remember These Basics:
Medications in original prescription bottles or packages
Plastic bags for damp clothes or laundry
Safety razor in case of power failure
Walkie-Talkies to keep in touch (if you have them)
CRUISE LINE TIPPING: While each ship varies, average guidelines for your cruise are as follows:
Cabin and Dining Room Stewards - $3.50 per passenger per day
Busboy - $2.50 per passenger per day
Wine Steward - 10% - 15% of check
Optional Tipping: - Maitre d' or Head Waiter, as you deem appropriate
NOTE: Gratuities are sometimes included in your beverage bills so read them carefully so that you don’t tip twice! Also, on some cruises you may be afforded the option of paying for tips in advance on your credit card. You always have the option of canceling this if you have not been satisfied with the service for some unknown reason.
CURRENCY WHILE ON A CRUISE SHIP:United States currency will be readily accepted on board and at all ports. There is no need to exchange your currency during a Caribbean, Mexican or Alaskan cruise. For European sailing’s, any required foreign currency is available on-board ship, except for Russia. We highly recommend that you carry traveler's checks. Personal checks are not accepted on board. You will be asked to sign for your purchases during the cruise and "settle" your account on the last day. This will eliminate having to carry any cash on board the ship.
BRIEFINGS: At least two meetings will be held during your cruise. At these meetings you will be informed about the ports and the availability of optional shore excursions and details about debarkation and custom procedures. It is most advantageous to attend these meetings.
*Sometimes, if you are not pleased with your stateroom, and there are cabins available, it may be possible to change to a different cabin. If a more expensive cabin category is requested, you will be required to pay for the difference in price.
**Subject to availability, it is also possible to change your dining room table assignment or seating. Discuss this with the Maitre d' at the earliest possible opportunity. They will try to accommodate your request.
We hope these tips have helped you. If you have any you would like us to add to our list, please let us know. Bon Voyage and have a wonderful vacation! Come back and book your next one with your FAVORITE travel agency……