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Get-in-the-Know with a Cruise Q&A

Leisure Pursuits

SOW-732-blog post imageWith cruise season going full throttle, fans were given a special treat: the chance to ask cruise related questions to a team from the AARP® Travel Center Powered by Expedia®. With years of experience to pull from, the team answered all of the questions, from packing tips to service pet accommodations. If you’ve ever thought about going on a cruise, but haven’t because you were unsure of one thing or another, you may find the answer to your question below.

Let’s get started!

Linda C. – What are the most needed travel accessories when going on a cruise?

Packing for a cruise is really no different than packing for any other type of vacation.  You’ll want to bring a sweater or light weight jacket for cooler nights on deck.  It’s also a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket in the event of rain.  The cruise line will provide you with soap and shampoo, however any special toiletries should be included in your packing list.  Be sure to pack any medication in your carry-on bag as well as any camera and electronic equipment you wish to bring with you.

Melody C. – Are there any “theme cruises”?

Cruise lines commonly advertise themed outings, but these tend to be regular cruises with some extra special interest activities or guest speakers added to the usual programming.  Occasionally, a third party company will charter a ship and offer special themed programming such as music festivals, jazz cruises etc. but these cruises must be booked by the company promoting these special cruises.

Mary O. – [A cruise] would be really great. But how much to start?

Cruise prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year and destination.  The shorter 3-4 day cruises generally have prices starting at $199.00 per person.  In order to secure the best prices, it’s best to book your cruise as far in advance as possible.  Spring Break, Summer and major holidays will command higher prices, however if your travel dates are flexible and you can travel during the non-peak seasons you can typically secure a cabin for as little as $499 per person on a 7 day cruise.

SOW-732-blog post image 2Katherine S. – We would love to take a cruise to Hawaii. My husband must travel with a service dog. Are service dogs allowed on Cruises? We just celebrated our 45th anniversary & this is our dream vacation.

Congratulations on your Anniversary!  Yes, service dogs are permitted onboard.  The cruise line will require you to complete pre-departure paperwork no less than 30 days prior to boarding.  The cruise line will provide a relief area for the dog to use while onboard. The service dog will be allowed in all public areas of the ship, including dining venues however they must remain on a leash or harness at all times.  Due to health regulations the dogs are not allowed in the swimming pools onboard.

Katherine S. – We also worry these boats aren’t safe with all the weight on top of the water. What do your stabilizers look like?

Cruising is one of the safest forms of travel.  Today’s modern ships are designed and built with the latest technology and with guest comfort and safety in mind.  The stabilizers look like airplane wings and extend out from the side of the hull and when deployed will eliminate about 85% of the roll of the ship.

Nettie M. – Can I bring water on [a cruise I’m taking]?

Each cruise line has their own policies on what beverages you’re allowed to bring onboard.  Most cruise lines do not allow you to bring any type of hard liquor onboard, however most will allow you to bring a small quantity of wine and non-alcoholic beverages. It’s best to check with your Travel Agent or the cruise line to find out what’s allowed.

Peggy E. – How many people can be on a cruise?

Cruise ships vary in size and capacity. Some of the luxury lines carry as few as 70 guests, while the largest ships can carry over 6,000. Ship accommodations can also vary greatly from cabins for single travelers to Family Suites that can accommodate 16 people.

Anne R. – How about a [trip in] May in Alaska?

Weather in Alaska is unpredictable in any month.  May is considered low season and will offer the best prices. Regardless of what month you travel to Alaska you should be prepared for any type of weather and be sure to dress in layers as the day can start out cool and raining and end warm and sunny.

That’s it for this round of questions. Thank you to the team from the AARP® Travel Center Powered by Expedia®.