Why choose Hays travel for your cruise holiday?
Hays Travel can offer you the widest variety of cruise holidays visiting destinations across the globe, always at the best possible prices. We can also book you hotels, insurance, transfers, car hire and airport parking. Our cruise advisers are specialists in their field and offer a personal, friendly service ' ensuring that you get the right kind of cruise holiday for you.
How do I make a booking?
You can book your cruise holiday by either calling one of our cruise consultants on 0800 408 4229 or booking on our website.
When is the best time to book a cruise?
We recommend you book your cruise as early as possible. This means you receive the widest choice and the best rate available.
When's the best time of year for a cruise holiday?
Cruise holidays are enjoyable all year round. Most cruise lines operate when and where the weather is good. Enjoy European and Mediterranean cruises in the summer months and in the winter cruise around the Caribbean. Most cruise ships transfer destinations in order to take advantage of the good weather.
Who do I contact if I have an enquiry about my booking?
Please call our customer services team on 0333 033 9985
Do I need my passport?
Yes, you will need your passport with you. Even if you are travelling from a UK port the cruise line will want to view your passport at check in for safety and security reasons.
Does a cruise cater for singles?
Cruising is ideal for people travelling alone because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties for singles early on in the cruise so you can get to know people straight away. Many ships even offer 'social hosts' who can be dance partners or dinner companions. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double cabins. If you ask them, many cruise lines will even find you a roommate to share a cabin so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more.
Before I go
Can I book pre cruise accommodation in the UK?
Yes, we can arrange hotel accommodation for you at your UK port or airport.
Are the cruise itineraries subject to change?
Yes, all cruise itineraries are subject to change. With guest safety as the number one priority for the cruise lines, on the rare occasions that weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances may occur, it may cause a change in the original itinerary. In these circumstances, the cruise line staff will do everything possible to visit an alternate port of call.
When can I board the ship?
Embarkation normally begins about four hours prior to departure. Passengers must be on board no later than one hour prior to sailing.
Is there parking available at the port?
There is parking at all major ports. The rates vary depending on the duration of your stay. Please ask your cruise consultant at the time of booking.
How do I get to the ship?
If you have flights booked through the cruise line as part of a package, a representative from the cruise line will meet you by the baggage claim on arrival. They will escort you to the transfer shuttle that goes from the airport to the pre cruise hotel or port and back again after the cruise. If you are travelling on a tailor made cruise, Hays Travel can offer you these transfer services for an additional cost, just ask us at the time of booking.
How much luggage am I allowed to take with me?
The amount of luggage you can take will depend on the type of cruise you have booked. There is usually no restriction on the number of bags you can take when your cruise is sailing from the UK, but you may be asked to restrict the weight to a maximum of 30kgs per item for handling purposes (but remember you will have to fit it all into your cabin!) If you are flying to join your cruise, your luggage allowance is imposed by your airline, but it is usually between 20 to 25kgs plus hand luggage, depending on the airline you are travelling with.
What clothing should I pack for my cruise?
Information on the dress code on your cruise will be included in your travel documents and also on the cruise line's website.
During the day, casual shirts, shorts, trousers, sundresses and beachwear are ideal. You may also need a lightweight jacket or wrap for cooler evenings on deck or for the occasional shower. The sun is much stronger at sea so don't forget to take sunscreen, sunglasses and a sunhat. If you're heading ashore or walking on deck you'll also need flat, comfortable footwear.
During the evening many ships adopt a set dress code for restaurants and bars around the ship, which is usually mentioned in the ship's daily newspaper.
The following definitions will help with your packing
Formal ' Your chance to dress up! For ladies, long gowns, smart trouser suits or cocktail dresses. For the men, a dinner jacket, tuxedo or a dark lounge/business suit and tie.
Semi Formal ' ladies can wear anything from tailored trousers to smart separates or a cocktail dress, for the men a smart shirt and trousers with a jacket or blazer.
Smart Casual ' Casual separates or dresses for the ladies and open neck shirts or polo shirts with casual trousers for the men.
When I'm onboard
What is the difference between an inside, outside and balcony cabin?
Inside cabin - no windows or portholes
Outside cabin - with a picture window or porthole to view the ocean
Balcony cabin - with doors which open out onto your own private balcony to view the ocean
What will my cabin be like?
All cruise cabins have en-suite bathrooms (bath and/or shower), television, telephones, hairdryers and many have sea views or even a balcony. The higher grade cabins are more spacious and often have lounge areas to sit and relax in.
Will I feel confined?
Most ships are a good size and it usually takes a couple of days to fully explore the different areas onboard. You can relax by the poolside, join a dance class or sports activity, see a movie, or try your luck in a casino - the options are endless! In addition to the activities onboard, you also have the opportunity to explore new and exciting ports of call almost every day.
Will I be bored?
There's so much to do on a cruise holiday that you'll never get bored. Cruise ships have a diverse range of activities including sports facilities, childrens' activity programmes, internet cafes, lectures, quizzes, competitions, bars, restaurants, cinemas, discos, dancing and shows. Also, don't forget that cruise holidays will allow you the opportunity to explore a whole variety of different cities and countries. Or, if you prefer you can simply relax and do nothing at all!
Are there laundry services aboard ship?
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is usually an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Many ships also have self-service launderettes available for a small charge.
Will I get sea sick?
Sea sickness is not common on larger cruise ships. Larger ships are fully stabilised to minimise the feeling of movement. If you should feel queasy, medicine is available from your cabin steward or the ship's doctor. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider consulting your doctor prior to your cruise.
Will I need a tuxedo?
Many cruise lines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise, while on others, formal dinners or parties are part of the cruise experience. But you don't need to buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. Plus, many offer tuxedo rental services.
How do I pay for onboard purchases?
All ships are cash free for your convenience. On embarkation an account will be set up for you and purchases will be billed automatically to your credit card. If you don't have a credit card you may use a cash deposit. Traveller's checks may be cashed at the Purser's Desk to cover gratuities and can be used to pay off your onboard account if you do not wish to have the charges applied to your credit card.
What about tipping?
On many cruises gratuities are included, please check when you make your booking. If they are not included, the following are suggestions only. Waiters and cabin stewards - £2.00 per passenger per day. Assistant Waiters - £1.00 per passenger per day. Head Waiters - £1.50 per passenger per day. A 15% gratuity is added to most bar and wine bills.
How do I find my way round the ship?
On your first day onboard why not take advantage of one of the ship tours to help you get your bearings and find your way around. On large ships maps are also conveniently located around the ship and you will usually find a pocket size map in your cabin, or be able to obtain one from the Purser's Desk.
Do ships accommodate disabled cruisers?
Most cruise lines are happy to accommodate disabled or mobility-impaired passengers and are well equipped with lifts and access to public areas. Each ship has a limited number of cabins which have been adapted for disabled passengers.
If you are not fully mobile the cruise line usually request that you are accompanied by an able bodied companion. You would also need to inform the cruise company at the time of booking of any requirements you may have and also if you will be using a scooter or wheelchair during your cruise, as there may be a limit to the number of vehicles allowed on board for health and safety reasons.
What is and what is not included in my cruise
Are prices shown per cabin or per person?
The prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a cabin. Single supplements will apply.
What is included in the cruise price?
Your cruise will include cabin accommodation aboard your selected ship, meals and most of the entertainment while aboard the ship. Please note that some cruise line's offer select dining options for which there will be a small cover fee.
What is not included in my cruise price?
The price will not include any organised shore excursions, carbonated soft drinks or alcoholic beverages (unless an 'All Inclusive Cruise' is purchased), photographs, gratuities (included in the cost of some cruise lines featured, please check at time of booking), medical services, casino expenditures, gifts, spa and beauty treatments or other miscellaneous items you may purchase on board.
Health and Safety
Are there medical facilities onboard?
The majority of cruise lines have medical facilities onboard, however we recommend you check with the cruise line before you travel. Please advise us at the time of booking if you have any medical conditions.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Yes, we can provide travel insurance, please just ask us at the time of booking or ring our customer services team on 0333 033 9985.
Are there restrictions for pregnant women?
Each cruise line has a different policy with regards to pregnancy. If you require further information please contact one of our cruise consultants on 0800 408 4229.
Are there no-smoking areas?
Almost all ships are no-smoking in public areas inside the ship, but they do provide dedicated smoking areas outside on deck and in allocated cabins.
What is an assembly drill? Do I have to go?
These are generally known as lifeboat drills. Everybody on board the ship is required to attend a compulsory safety drill to comply with Coast Guard and international maritime safety regulations prior to the ship setting sail from the port on the day of departure.
Do I have to participate in the cruise line's organised activities?
You can do as little or as much as you want whilst onboard. Your chosen activities are all up to you. Today's ships offer so many facilities and amenities that it will be hard to get bored. But if you prefer to find a quiet corner and be left to your own devices, that is fine too.
Activities and Facilities
What are my dining options?
Most cruise lines offer an early, main and late sitting in the main dining room. Your seating and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. All sittings will allow you to see any shows that are on as cruise lines offer early and late performances to accommodate this. As an alternative to traditional sittings in the main restaurants, most cruise lines now offer more casual dining options. This provides guests with the flexibility to dine when and where they wish. You may also choose your dinner companions and request specific tables rather than being assigned to a particular time and table for the duration of the cruise. In addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets, many ships also offer complimentary room service. Low-fat and vegetarian options are also widely available.
What's available to do in the evenings?
There are plenty of nightly activities to keep you entertained. Try your luck in the casinos, put on your dancing shoes and hit the nightclub, take in a Broadway style show or relax in one of the many bars and venues on offer.
Can we stay in touch with the outside world?
Most ships have televisions in the rooms plus a daily newsletter with headlines. There are usually phones in the rooms or you can have the ship's radio operator contact the mainland for you. Also, many ships have internet and fax facilities. There will be charges to contact the mainland in any form.
Are the casinos and duty free shops open all day?
They are open while you are at sea, however, international maritime law states that they must remain closed whilst the ship is in port.
How will I know what activities are happening on the ship?
Your cabin steward will leave you a daily copy of the cruise news in your room every evening, which will provide a schedule of events for the following day. This will provide you with details of events and their locations and times.
Do cruise lines have activities for kids?
As more and more families begin to cruise, most cruise lines have developed specialised supervised programs for kids. These programs are designed to give your kids a chance to go swimming, play sports, watch movies and get to know other children on the ship, while giving you an opportunity for some worry free relaxation. Some children may be too young to participate in certain childrens' programs so please check with the relevant cruise line at the time of booking.
Are the children's club staff qualified?
You will find dedicated childrens' clubs on most cruise ships, which cater for all age groups, from tots to teens. They are run by fully qualified and trained staff with extensive experience of keeping your children entertained all day long.
Are there currency exchange facilities onboard?
Most cruise lines operate a 'cash-free' system on board, which means you sign for all purchases made onboard and these costs are charged to the onboard account which you set up on boarding the ship. For your trips ashore, you can usually change money into foreign currency at the Purser's / Reception Desk. But please note that they may not carry all currencies on board and it is often better to obtain the more unusual currencies from your travel agent before you travel.
What is there to do in port?
Each port offers a unique experience where you can explore on your own, book an organised shore excursion from the cruise line, go shopping, relax on the beach or take in some historical sites. Full information and prices for the excursions available for your particular cruise will be available on the cruise line's website. It is advisable to book your preferred excursions with the cruise line prior to sailing to give you the widest choice ' you can book them online with up-to-date availability and instant booking confirmation. Depending on which company you travel with, either your credit card will be debited when you book your excursion or the costs will be added to your shipboard account. Your excursion tickets will be delivered to your cabin when you are onboard your cruise.
Do I have to get off the ship at every port of call?
Not if you don't want to. You are more than welcome to stay on the ship and relax by the pool or participate in some of the organised activities onboard.