Cruise holiday fans were treated to a spectacle in New York recently as pop superstar Mariah Carey christened the new Disney Fantasy. The Grammy Award winners appearance came as part of an impressive ceremony in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal aimed at celebrating the arrival of the new vessel.
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Every year, more and more people are venturing on board a cruise ship for the first time in their lives, and - as with any new activity - the prospect of a cruise can be a little intimidating until you get to know the ropes. Well here's your short cut. We answer the most frequently raised questions about cruising.The Experience
Some of the world's seas are rougher than others: the Caribbean, for example, is generally plain sailing, while the Bay of Biscay ? en route to the Mediterranean ? famed for its unpredictability. One the new generation of big ships, you'll feel very little movement ? these vessels are so large and stable you'll be surprised to see the scenery go by. Older ships are fitted with stabilisers to minimise their movement through the waves.
With a different port on offer virtually every day of the cruise, you'd be hard pressed to feel hemmed in! In fact, most passengers look forward to days at sea so they can relax and revel in ship's facilities.
Overall, the age of the average cruise passenger is falling every year, and though some ships do attract an older clientele, many now have a mix of children, young singles and couples of every age. If you really like to party, the Caribbean ships are your best bet.
The short answer is no ? you don't need a Joan Collins-size wardrobe to make the most of a cruise. Though luxury ship passengers do like to put on the style a bit, most cruises have only two formal evenings ? the Captain's welcome cocktails at the start of the cruise, and his farewell dinner at the end.
During port calls, smart-casual is the order of the day, and on most evenings informal wear ? a pretty dress or trouser suit for ladies, casual trousers for gentlemen ? will be fine. If you really hate dressing up, you'll find Caribbean and Far East cruises more casual than those in the Med and Baltic. But for mist people, dressing for dinner is part of the whole experience.
A credit card is your best friend on a cruise ship ? you sign for everything and get an itemised bill at the end. Take travellers cheques for ships which don't include tips ? a typical tipping level is $5 per passenger per day of the cruise.
Most ships offer a childres programme of supervised activities ensuring that children are entertained in five different age groups from 6 month to 17 years. Check with our cruise experts for details.
There are designated areas for smoking and non-smoking on all ships. Generally,all theatres and dining rooms are non-smoking.
Guests 18 years of age are welcome to enjoy beer or wine but some cruise lines insist that parents must sign a waiver. Alcoholic beverages purchased ashore or on board at duty free prices will be stored and delivered to your stateroom on the last night of your cruise.
To get the most enjoyment out of your visit to a port of call we recommend you select one of our shore excursions that have been planned by our travel experts.
You can make ship-to-shore calls from you stateroom, 24 hours a day. However,keep in mind that most Cruise Lines charge approx. $15.50 per minute (new cheaper services are being introduced; check with the specific cruise line for details) that will be,automatically charged to your onboard account. Don't forget when you are in port you can call and receive calls on your mobile. Contact your service provider for details.