First Time Cruiser Tips


Traveling with Children and Young Adults (18-21)

If your child has a different last name or you are traveling with another person’s child, you may need additional documentation when traveling with them.  Please check with your cruiseline or tour operator before you go.  Don’t leave this until the last minute, because it may require a notary or birth certificates, in addition to the child’s passport.

If your children are between the ages of 18 and 21, they will not be permitted to consume alcohol on cruise ships, unless you sign a parental permission form, permitting them to drink beer/wine.

If your children are between the ages of 18 and 21 and you have not signed a permission form for them to consume alcohol, they will also NOT be permitted to get off the ship without a parent present.  This could be a problem if you have signed them up for shore excursions (without a parent going).  If you have signed them up for an excursion, check with the shore excursion desk as soon as you get on the ship to get assistance.

If your child (age 3-18) has a designated developmental disability, and is not potty trained, most of the cruise lines will allow them to attend the children’s program.  Be sure to have your travel agent contact the accessibility department and get a confirmation of this to take with you when you go to enroll them on board.


Special Needs

Be sure to make your travel advisor aware of any special needs you have before you make a reservation.  This includes, dietary as well as mobility and other medical needs.   A good travel advisor will make sure that all of these needs are addressed before you go.


Tipping Protocol

If you are touring, you can usually find tipping protocols in your travel document package.  You may find other general tipping information at popular websites like Lonely Planet or Frommers.

If you are cruising, here are some things to know:

When you order a drink, a 15% gratuity is already included on the bill.  The optional tip line is just that.

If you have chosen not to eat at a set dining time, you most likely paid all of your gratuities when you made final payment for your cruise.  Be sure to know if this is the case–and check you bill before the last night of the cruise to be sure that gratuities were not added to your shipboard account.  If they were, you need to go to the Guest Relations Desk and have them removed.  (Do not wait until the last day, or worse yet, until after you get home)

Most of the major cruise lines are going to a system where your gratuities are automatically added to your shipboard account.  They will be charged to your account with your final bill.  Some lines are still using a system where they leave a form in your room on day two of the cruise asking if you want your gratuities added to your shipboard account.  If you complete that form and drop it off at the guest relations desk, you won’t have to scramble for cash on the last day of the cruise.

Liability Waivers need to be signed by all persons participating in potentially dangerous activities on the ships  (ziplining, rock climbing, ice skating, etc).  These waivers are available to be electronically signed.  You can find them on your cruise line’s website under Already Booked, or On-lne check in.  If you have not electronically signed them, be sure to sign them for you older children, or they will not be able to participate in these activities unless they find you to sign the waiver.  One waiver per child, per cruise, per activity is all that is required.