Things to Know Before You Cruise

TRAVEL DOCUMENTSProper documentation is your responsibility. The following information gives current requirements for United States citizens, effective at time of printing (February, 2013): Passengers of all ages returning to the U.S. by air from any international destination require a valid passport. A state- issued birth certificate with government issued photo I.D., or a passport “card”, is NOT acceptable. If your name on your passport (or for non-U.S. citizens, valid travel documents) does not match your name on your travel vouchers/tickets, you will not be allowed to travel.  We recommend that all passports be valid at least 6 months after the date of your departure.  For example, if you depart on June 1, 2024, your passport cannot expire prior to Dec. 1, 2024.  For details on how to obtain or renew a passport, contact your local courthouse or post office. For information on obtaining expedited passports visit  If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact the embassy of the country to which you are traveling to determine required entry documents.

Certain cruises that sail in and out of US Territories may not require a passport, but instead allow a Certified Copy of your Birth Certificate and a Government Issues Photo ID to be presented. This policy varies per cruise line, so make sure you check with the cruise line’s website or with your Travel Agent.

COVID-19 CRUISE RESTRICTIONSThere are currently not any travel restrictions due to Covid-19, but please be aware that could change at any time should either the cruise lines or other countries decide to institute new requirements. Please note that should new requirements become published before your cruise and you choose to cancel based on your resistance to adhere to those guidelines, cruise cancellation penalties will be enforced by the cruise line. This could include, but is not limited to masking requirements, testing requirements, vaccination requirements, etc.

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE – Airlines have different baggage allowances and fees. Please check with your airline for specifics. Carry-on luggage is limited to one bag per person and must be small enough to fit beneath the seat in front of you; some airlines have a carry-on bag fee. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EXCESS/OVERSIZED BAGGAGE MAY BE DENIED AT CHECK-IN and if accepted, there will be additional charges. Anyone attempting to check-in excess baggage should arrive at the ticket counter a minimum of 2 hours prior to departure, or risk being denied boarding. Lap children under age two do not receive a separate baggage allowance.  The Travel Gals accepts no liability for loss or damage to luggage, although maximum care will be taken to ensure safe handling. All lost or damaged luggage must be reported to an airport representative at the destination before leaving the airport terminal. For details on baggage insurance, see your travel agent.


SPECIAL REQUESTSThe Travel Gals will provide the services and facilities of your vacation package as described in your quote and confirmed on your invoice. If you would prefer special arrangements other than those described, such as adjoining rooms, specific assistance needed or special meals, we will be glad to pass on your special request to the appropriate vendor on your behalf. However, since these requests lie outside our contracts with our suppliers, The Travel Gals cannot guarantee special requests unless otherwise stated.


PRE-CRUISE RESERVATIONS – Most cruise lines allow you to make reservations for dining (even if you have Open or My Time Dining) shore excursions, spa treatments, etc. before you board. You can also reserve drink packages, purchase WIFI plans and much more before it’s even time to set sail. Some of these events and items will book up, so make sure to visit your cruise line’s website after booking to verify dates of availability to make these reservations. Most sites will also have a FAQ’s section that offers great information on everything from dining, shore excursions, packing tips, etc. We also recommend you download the cruise line’s app to take full advantage of planning and preparing for your cruise. This app will serve as your information source for all things dining, entertainment and activities once you set sail as well.


AIR TRAVEL – Your travel agent is happy to assist you in booking your airfare for your cruise and most cruise lines have an air department to work with to select the best options for your trip. You can also use miles or points to book your air, but be sure to follow guidelines set out by the cruise line and your agent for times of travel. We highly recommend that you go in at least a day early (sometimes 2 for Europe, Asia or other Exotic cruise destinations) so that you have no concerns with missing your ship’s sail date. We can also assist you with booking pre or post stay hotels, transportation to hotels and the pier and much more to make your trip a truly seamless experience. When booking your return flights for the same day, make sure not to book any travel before 12pm or 1pm that same day to ensure you get from the pier to the airport on time for your return flight. Return transfers can be arranged with the cruise line to get you back to the airport, and sometimes your luggage can be checked in directly from your stateroom to the airline to save you time and hassle on disembarkation day!


CREDIT CARDS AND CURRENCY – Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are accepted in most destinations, but the cruise ships are a “cashless” entity. You will be able to charge any items purchased on the ship to your shipboard account, but be sure to have cash or credit cards for stops at your ports of call. It is not necessary to exchange currency in every destination, so if you have questions about that, consult your Agent.  If you are traveling to Europe, Asia or other more exotic destinations which require local currency, we recommend you check with your bank to order some foreign currency ahead of your trip.


VALUABLES AND PERSONAL ITEMS – VALUABLES AND OTHER PERSONAL ITEMS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Most cruise lines offer safes in the cabins. You may want to deposit cash, traveler’s checks, passports, jewelry and other valuables for security. Do not pack cash, medication, jewelry, cameras, film, important documents or fragile items in your checked luggage.


TIPPING ONBOARD – Most crew appreciation fees or “tips” are collected ahead of time and are sometimes included in your cruise package. These tips will cover not only the dining room staff and others who make your stay enjoyable, but also your cabin steward and many crew that work behind the scenes. This tipping is a designated amount per day per person that can either be prepaid or will be added to your shipboard account at the end of your cruise. If you feel that you have received exceptional service, you are always welcome to leave additional cash at the end of your cruise for specific crew members.


DINING DRESS CODE – Although casual dress is the standard by day, many cruise lines have formal nights that require a dress code for dinner. For other nights in the dining room, “casual yet elegant” dress is suggested for women. Men may be required to wear long pants (excluding jeans), proper footwear and shirts with collars. Gourmet restaurants may require men to wear a jacket. Before you pack, be sure to check with your travel agent or visit your cruise line’s website for detailed dress code information for your cruise.


NEXT CRUISE OPPORTUNITIES – There is always a department onboard that wants to help you book that next great cruise onboard a new ship or to a new destination. These staff will work with you to help you select your next cruise, or to put a deposit down on another cruise to be determined at a later time. Usually they offer onboard credits and low deposits to book these next cruises, but if you want to work with your current Travel Agent again, make sure that they put it under your name and agency so that all the details are sent to your agent. We will then have access to the cruise to help you plan your airfare, shore excursions, etc. And if it’s an “open” cruise to be booked at a later date, we are happy to help you choose and determine what ship and sail date to apply that credit toward. This is a great way to get perks and discounts if you book while onboard.


HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS FOR TRAVELERS – As you are about to embark on a foreign vacation, there are certain things of which you need to be aware. The Travel Gals strongly recommends that you visit the portion of United States Department of States’ website , which deals with foreign travel. Specifically, you should read tips on foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries you plan to visit. Although foreign travel is exciting and rewarding, you must keep in mind that you are not traveling in the United States and extra caution is required to make your trip happy and successful. Just a few of the issues you need to be aware of are: medical standards and training of emergency responders and resort medical facilities vary greatly. If you have medical issues or concerns about medical services, we urge you to contact the particular cruise line, as health care aboard may not be the same as you might expect at home. Sports and aquatic equipment, especially scuba gear, may not meet U.S. safety standards and many pools and beaches may lack lifeguards.