First Time Cruiser Guide

Questions the 1st time cruiser might have on their mind:

Is a cruise vacation affordable?
If you can afford to take a hotel-based vacation, you can afford to take a cruise vacation. There are cruises available at all price ranges – from budget to luxury – and all represent perhaps the best value for your vacation dollar, because a cruise is far more inclusive than a hotel based vacation.

What does a cruise vacation purchase include?
Your cruise purchase includes your accommodations, all meals …in fact as much food as you want, 24 hours per day, including room service at no additional charge. It also includes wonderful nightly entertainment which may one night be big Las Vegas type shows and then then next night be a more cabaret type of show, parties on deck or in one of the nightclubs nightly and, of course, all transportation between all the ports on your itinerary.

What does a cruise vacation purchase not include?
Most cruise purchases do not include bottled water, soda, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, cancellation insurance and optional shore excursions in the basic price. Any beauty or spa treatments that you reserve on board are also not included in your initial purchase…unless you are on one of our special sailing dates… and there are many… where we offer shipboard credit that you may use to make these and other purchases on board.

Will I feel bored or confined on board?
Never! Think of a cruise ship as a floating resort on par with any Las Vegas mega hotel…only it’s better. On-board activities begin at dawn and go into the wee hours of the night. There are a wide range of activities available for your participation…at no charge. Many cruise lines offer courses in photography, computer and internet techniques, and seminars in cooking, finance or health and wellness are very popular on the cruises of today. Most itineraries are planned with almost daily port stops in mind…to provide you the widest experience possible during your stay on board.

What can I do on a ship?
That depends on the ship, but generally the larger ships will have the most activities. You may wish to lounge on deck by the pool with a good book, sign up for exercise or cooking classes, swim, play bingo or bridge, gamble in the casino, take in a Broadway-style floor show or a magician’s act, enter a talent show or a putting contest, take a dance class, get a massage or attend a lecture. The shopping can be great on board the ship….everyday there will be new items offered at duty free and/or special savings. These are a sample of the wide range of activities available for your participation while on board your ship…at no charge… approximately every 30 minutes while on a cruise vacation.

How long do cruises last?
Cruise vacations can be as short as 3 nights or as long as a 110 night around the world voyage. 4 and 5 night cruises have become very popular, but the length of trip that you will find most often when you start looking at a cruise vacation is one lasting 7 nights.

Is airfare included in my cruise purchase?
Cruise lines usually offer both a cruise-only price and an AIR/SEA price that includes connecting airfare, transfers between the airport and ship and baggage handling. In some instances, only the cruise-only fare is available. The prices shown on our site are typically cruise-only, but our cruise counselors will gladly provide an air-inclusive price if requested.

What’s a shore excursion?
This is a term that refers to anything you do off the ship, in port. At every stop, you’ll have the option of exploring the area on your own or as part of a group with a planned itinerary. You might hike a tropical rain forest in the Caribbean, fish for king salmon in Alaska, tour Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, or take a sightseeing tour. The cruise lines search exhaustively to find the activities in port and very importantly, professional and responsible local tour companies to take you there. They take your security and enrichment while in port very

Are all cruise ships the same?
Absolutely not. They range from yacht-like vessels with 100 passengers to towering megaships with huge atriums, 18 floors, and a maximum capacity of over 3,000 people. There are new ships, and old ships and everything in between. There are cruises that are casual in dress code and those that are more traditional, calling for formal attire on a number of nights aboard. Now more than ever one should deal with a professional who knows the differences and can match the right cruise line and ship to the client seeking to cruise. You have found that in Westside Int’l Travel Inc.

Will I need a passport?
All cruises now require proof of citizenship. On some itineraries, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a driver’s license or government-issued photo I.D. are sufficient, on others a passport is required. Visas may also be required on the more exotic itineraries. Your cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.

Is a cruise vacation suitable for families with kids?
Not just suitable, they’re perfect! A cruise offers one of the best family vacation values that there is. Large cruise ships are designed with fabulous kids-only facilities, counselors, daytime activities and nighttime baby-sitting. Depending on the ship, your teens may have their own …non alcohol…nightclub…and on some ships their own swimming pool. Younger children have their own age appropriate activities as there are facilities provided for each age group of youngster. These areas are staffed by trained counselors. Children of all ages are welcome on most ships…however there are a few cruise lines and ships that are not appropriate for family travel. Westside Int’l Travel Inc. can distinguish those for you, so your cruise vacation purchase will be the best ever.

Are cruise vacations suitable for single travelers?
Cruising is very popular with single travelers, and cruise lines go out of their way to make it easy for singles to meet and mingle with other passengers. Usually the first night of the cruise there will be a single’s cocktail party scheduled, so the singles on board can immediately identify one another and make new acquaintances. A cruise is a great way to meet new people. Some cruise ships offer single cabins, and most offer a single supplement rate for double staterooms.

What does a cruise vacation offer that a hotel based vacation doesn’t for the single traveler?
A cruise is a great way to feel secure visiting new places…especially if you are a single woman. Everything is made so easy for you…you have choices but you have no worries about where will you dine or what will you do during the day…the restaurants are almost all included…the activities are all planned. And the entertainment staff on board all the ships work very hard to have passengers single or not interact with one another…they will help you make new friends…there’s an infectious ‘friendly’ atmosphere on board all cruise ships that make meeting new people so much easier than in a hotel based vacation. Cruise vacations earn the highest ratings in customer satisfaction among all vacation categories. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked and Westside Int’l Travel Inc. would like to introduce you to this outstanding style of vacation travel.