Vacation at Sea FAQ

Your questions, our answers!

Most cruise lines require minors or passengers under the age of 21 to be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Please refer to the relevant Terms & Conditions of each individual operator.

Our listed rates constitute the cheapest possible price per person of the lowest category of a particular cruise incl. portcharges. Prices applicable for higher categories are available on request and can be booked at a surcharge. EUR rates include taxes & fees / USD rates do usually not include taxes & fees. Rates and taxes are subject to change.

You are expected to arrive at the pier at least 2 hours prior to scheduled time of departure. It is your personal responsibility to board the vessel on time, so it is essential you verify the official time of departure as stated in your confirmed travel documentation. Should you fail to board at the required time, your booking will be cancelled leaving you liable to settle all associated costs.

Disembarkation commences approx. 2 hours after arrival at your destination port. Should you desire to terminate your cruise at a port other than your originally scheduled destination, special authorization by the relevant authorities must be requested as commercial cruise line traffic is subject to very specific legal guidelines and international transport legislation (Jones Act).

Forfeited days on board will not be refunded and additional costs and fees might be charged.

Because of the low cruise costs for the customer and the higher handling effort for our special rates, Vacation at Sea charges a booking fee of 15€ per full-paying guest. This booking fee is waived, if booking premium or luxury cruises, as well as for bookings completed online.

Most cruise operators stipulate a minimum age of 6 months. Transatlantic, Hawaii, South-American and some other Cruises might require a minimum age of 1 year prior to travelling. On some cruises other age limits might be set at the discretion of the cruise line.

An adult or guardian accompanying a minor, whether or not the same family-name is shared, must provide written and certified authorization by the relevant authorities. Requirements vary from operator to operator.

During days at sea most cruise operators offer Kid's and Teen's Clubs and other child care services for children 3 years and older. During days at port opening hours of such services are usually restricted. Babysitting services are available at a charge on almost all cruises and should be requested 24 hours in advance.

If you need to cancel your confirmed booking, cancellation fees apply as per the cruise lines terms and conditions. Some cruises and some rates may be non-refundable. All cancellations or re-bookings must be requested in writing.

Most cruise companies will allow you to travel as long as your cruise is completed prior to the commencement of the 24th week of your pregnancy. An official medical certificate stating your due-date and ability to travel must be provided. Please refer to the relevant Terms & Conditions of each individual operator.

For evenings onboard the cruise lines recommend three styles of clothing:

  • Casual: (to be worn at the pool and recreation areas) Summer/Beach dress or trousers/shorts for ladies, a combination of T-Shirt, collared sport-shirt/shirt and casual trousers/shorts for gentlemen
  • Smart Casual: dress or suit for ladies, tailored shirt without tie and jacket for gentlemen
  • Formal: Cocktail Dress or elegant dress for ladies, Formal suit and tie/bow tie for gentlemen.
  • As a guideline:
    cruises of up to 4 nights: 1 formal, 2 smart casual nights
    cruises of up to 7 nights: 1 formal, 2-3 smart casual nights
    cruises of 10-12 nights: 3 formal, 3 smart casual nights
    cruises of 14 nights and more: 3 formal and 4 smart casual nights

Should you have booked your cruise at a discounted fare, you are required to produce proof of your entitlement, such as your own Airline ID / copy of your spouses ID or parents' Airline ID, Letter of Employment, Pensioner Pass etc. at the time of booking and at check-in.

Please ensure you are familiar and compliant with all relevant passport and visa requirements. You are personally responsible for the validity and completeness of your documentation. Even cruises within Europe usually require you to carry a passport and a secondary photo ID such as e.g. identification card or drivers license to be presented with your boarding pass.

Effective January 12, 2009, all citizens of countries eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are legally required to electronically obtain permission to enter the USA via the Électronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). You must visit to be issued your personal permit number. Please print and bring along with your documents.

Due to recently introduced legislation, cruise lines are required to provide government authorities with the final passenger list 60 minutes prior to the vessel's departure.
As a result, your Online Check-In must be completed 4 days prior to commencement of the cruise. In case this deadline is not met, any missing information must be provided at the pier not later than 2 hours prior to departure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All passengers must be registered and in possession of a valid boarding pass 90 minutes prior to departure, otherwise boarding and participation in the cruise may be refused.

Most cruise ships offer a variety of cabins suitable for disabled passengers. Please provide a certificate detailing the nature and degree of your disability at the time of booking. Every disabled passenger is expected to either be self-sufficient or to travel with a suitable escort/assistant.

Should you require a wheelchair you are requested to provide your own equipment. Assistance during the embarkation/disembarkation process can be arranged, please advise the cruise operator in advance.

Doctors and nurses are on duty on every vessel. Consultations are charged according to the current schedule of fees. Medical equipment onboard is limited and only provides a basic level of care. Serious illness or injury might require emergency transport at your own expenses.

The purchase of an international travel/medical insurance is strongly recommended. Please note that most cruise ships do not have Dialysis facilities.

A guaranteed booking gives you the freedom to choose a specific cabin category (e.g. inside, outside, balcony, suite) at the time of booking. The exact location / cabin number will be allocated by the cruise line at any given time prior to actual check-in and is binding. No special cabin location requests can be considered. The cabin number may be changed by the cruiseline even after confirmation. The advantage of a guaranteed booking is that, subject to availability and operational requirements, upgrades to higher cabin categories may occur.

Unless otherwise specified your fare includes the advertised cruise sector from / to originating / destination port as well as most meals onboard. The use of most recreational facilities and organized activities onboard is free of charge. For dining in selected specialty-restaurants a cover charge of USD 15 - 30 per person will be billed to your onboard account. Drinks consumed onboard (other than coffee, tea, ice-water and ice-tea from beverage stations) will be billed separately, however, you will be able to purchase a broad variety of Drink Packages on the first day of your cruise.

Laundry-services, land-excursions, Wellness and Beauty treatments, use of internet, telephone and fax-services (approximately USD 10 per minute) all incur additional charges.

All cruise ships provide public internet access at a charge. Packages for use throughout your cruise are also provided at additional cost.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing Vacation at Sea as your travel partner. We are certain you will return from your cruise with great memories. Please keep in mind, that your Airline / Travel Agent affiliation has enabled you to travel at a significantly reduced cruise rate. Unfortunately, we are also keenly aware of how abuse of industry privileges can negatively impact non-industry guests. As a result, with your signature on our binding booking request you agree to the following conduct while on board:

  • Please do not contact ship staff regarding complimentary upgrades or additional cabins. Cabins will be assigned on a space available basis latest at check-in. Please keep in mind that you are assigned a cabin according to your choice of rate. Even assigned cabins numbers may change without notice.
  • Please be advised that the discount that you are provided is a privilege. Travel Partners and their guests must NOT discuss their privilege and any discounts with other passengers as it is only offensive to those who paid considerably more then you did.
  • Please be advised that voyages booked at industry rates do not qualify for the membership programs of the different cruiselines.
  • Cruiselines may ask for your Airline/Travel Agent ID at check-in, please be prepared.

Important: Please be aware that in the unlike event of disregarding these guidelines the cruiseline may adjust your reduced rate to the regular cruise fare. Your compliance with these guidelines is necessary to protect your privilege. Failure to comply can result in the revocation of cruise privileges for you and your colleagues.

Apart from cruises clearly indicated to be operated by German owned cruise lines, the language onboard is English.

From time to time land excursions are offered in languages other than English, however, this is an exception rather than the rule and cannot be guaranteed.

Land Excursions can be booked onboard at the Shore Excursion Desk and will be charged to your account. Most excursions can also be booked via the website of your cruise line prior to your departure. Passengers are free to organize their own excursions at any given port.

As you plan your own excursions please keep in mind, additional visas and formalities might be required for some destinations.

Most cruise vessels provide you with a choice of several restaurants. Dinner models vary from cruise line to cruise line:
Flexible models such as Freestyle Cruising, Personal Choice Dining, "My Time" or "As You Wish" dining models allow you to have dinner at the time of your choice within the published opening hours, generally between 1730 hrs and 2230 hrs.
More traditional models would typically offer you 2 separate sessions (seatings) starting approx. at 1815 hrs and 2015 hrs respectively, with pre-allocated tables. Ideally you would advise us of your preferred session and table requirements at the time of booking.

The cruise line will attempt to honour your request, but cannot guarantee or confirm specifics.

Breakfast and Lunch sessions are usually open and options such as Buffet Restaurants, Room Service or reservations in smaller Specialty Restaurants are offered. Surcharges might apply for certain options.

Your personal onboard expenses will automatically be charged (at the last night) of your cruise to the credit card number you authorized at check in. The final account statement will be forwarded to your cabin on the last night of your cruise. Account queries should be settled with the staff at the Purser's Desk/Reception. In case you do not own a credit card you are required to make an appropriate deposit in cash or travellers' cheques at the reception.

Important notice for travel at VaS special rates:

German Version

English Version

Provided you inform us of your special meal requirements such as Diabetic, Kosher, Lactose or Gluten Free meals etc upon booking, special meals can be made available.

Special food for the consumption by babies will not be provided on most cruises and must be purchased and brought onboard by the parents.

All cruise ships have especially marked smoking areas. Cabins are generally non-smoking and restrictions for smoking on your cabin balcony might apply.

Cruise operators reserve the right to penalize disregard of smoking policies.

We recommend travel insurances such as: Cancelation-, Curtailment-, Medical Travel- and Travel Baggage Insurance. For more information see our Travel Insurance page.

Most cruise companies will send you electronic travel documentation and tickets via e-mail, also known as E-Docs / E-Tix.

Luggage tags can be collected at the pier prior to embarkation. In addition, it is highly recommended you clearly mark all your luggage with your name and contact details. You are advised to pack a separate overnight-bag for your last night onboard as the service personnel will collect your luggage on the evening prior to disembarkation.

Plan your transfer well ahead of time. Many cruise lines will be able to book your transfer to the ship in advance, but will only do so if your airline / train booking into the departure port states an arrival date which is exactly the same as the cruise departure date. (For example, the cruise operator will not book your transfer, if your flight arrives 1 calendar day prior to the day of cruise departure.)

Your transfer costs will be added to your cruise fare and has to be paid with your final payment (usually 4 weeks prior to departure).

Transfer from the ship to the next airport can be arranged as explained above or can be booked onboard.

It is common practice to tip your cabin and waiting staff. Most operators recommend an amount of approx. 10 - 13 USD per day, which is usually added to your onboard account.

Due to the current security regulations, visitors are not permitted on any cruise ship.

This additional F&F cabin cannot be guaranteed (depending on availability), unlike booked-through cabins, which are binding.