Most first time cruisers are curious about how much a cruise will cost. Compared to a traditional vacation cruising is an amazing value and can be adjusted to fit any budget! In most cases, your fare includes your accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment. This is a great option for budgeting because you will know the cost of your vacation well in advance. The only extra expenses are optional such as dining, drinks, shore excursions, services and purchases made on the ship or ashore.


Cruise vs. Traditional Vacation


Traditional Vacation




Transportation (port to port/city to city)


















Night clubs






Tips can be added to your fare or you may tip at the end of your cruise. On average it is customary to tip $10-$15 per day to your stateroom attendant, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter. There are some cruise lines that include your tip in your fare and have a “no tipping” policy on-board. While others, allow you to charge your standard gratuity to your

It is highly recommended that passengers travel with a passport. There are occasions where the U.S. government may not require a passport to a particular port by sea travel and other documentation may be acceptable. For specific U.S. government passport and visa requirements please visit

BEFORE YOU GO – it is advised that you:

    • Consider purchasing travel insurance. Among other things, this may help if you are unable to take your cruise, lose your luggage or you get hurt or sick onboard.
    • Make two copies of your passport and ID. One to keep with you and one to keep with someone at home.
    • Have a plan in case of an emergency with all of your fellow travelers.
    • Book your vacation with a travel agent. They will not only be able to help you with the planning process but also with any unexpected issues that may arise during your cruise.

Want to discover the world? A cruise is the why to see it all and only unpack your suitcase once.!! The most common cruise destination is the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico, St. Martin/Marten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica, Aruba and more). Other popular cruising destinations include Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda and Canada. Want something more exotic? A cruise can take you to Australia, England, Italy, Greece and many more!!

The beauty of cruising is you can do whatever you like at each destination. Some enjoy staying on the ship (it’s usually quiet and shorter lines, however some activities are closed while at port), plan your own adventure or book a pre-planned excursion on your own or through the cruise line. Excursions offered will vary port to port. Some of the most popular excursions include: site seeing tours, beach get-away, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and scuba diving, water adventures/toys, ect. With shore excursions, your adventure awaits!

Pack as though you are going to a resort. The ships tend to be casual during the day. For the evening, check your ships itinerary. Evening attire can vary from casual to formal. Most cruises have a laid back dress code. They will not allow swimsuits, cover-ups or beach attire in the dining rooms, but if you prefer not to change there is usually another dining location option (such as a buffet) for you to choose.

It is best to check the local weather the week of departure. A rookie mistake is to assume that the weather will be warm in the Caribbean or cold in Alaska. If you aren’t prepared, an unseasonable day can routine a wonderful vacation. Check the weather and pack accordingly.

Celebrating a special occasion during your cruise? From birthdays, anniversaries and family reunions to anything in between, cruise lines are happy to make your special day a even more enjoyable. Most cruise lines will offer a special dessert during dinner for no charge. Or you can order something extra special – flowers, champagne, gift baskets, a cake, photo packages, a spa treatment and more.

Most ships are able to accommodate special dietary needs/requests. It is vital that you alert your travel agent/cruise line PRIOR to departure. The ship may need to bring special foods onto the ship to honor your need/request. However, never be afraid to ask while you are on the ship, you would be surprised at what they are able to do for you and the worst they can say is no.

You are permitted to smoke in designated areas on the ship. Smoking is generally allowable in smoking lounges, select decks and the casino (if you are gambling). Please keep in mind, you are not able to smoke in your cabin or on your balcony or in most food service areas (with the exception of select bars)

Staying in touch (and lets be real… posting your fabulous pictures) is a priority on a cruise. Staying connected on a cruise is simple. You are able to connect while in port (check with your provider to signal and fees). Select ships offer free WiFi and most ships offer free WiFi for use of their app during the cruise. WiFi can be purchased for a fee. If you choose to have Wifi, It is worth looking into a third party messaging app and WiFi calling.

Motion sickness is rarely an issue on cruise ships. Two major factors help to reduce the chance of motion sickness. First, ships are equipped with stabilizers to keep the ship from rocking excessively. Secondly, most itinerates sail in calm waters. In addition ship have up-to-date weather technology and are receiving advanced weather notifications. Don’t worry, if you do become sea sick there is a medical station on board that can offer comfort and pharmaceutical services (please be advised these are NOT free services and you are NOT able to use your health insurance). If you are concerned with having motion sickness, it is recommended to bring your own OTC medication or motion sickness aids with you on board.

Need more R&R time? You can easily extend your cruise vacation with pre and post (also known as embarkation and disembarkation) cruise excursion/stay. It is recommended that you arrive at the post city the day before embarkation (this helps eliminate the chance of missing the ship due to delays in travel). Arriving a day early also gives you the opportunity to discover the port city. After spending time relaxing on a wonderful cruise vacation, why rush home right away? Extend your vacation by booking a post-cruise excursion or hotel. Take some extra time to make memories, you’ll be glad you did!!


In general, Royal Caribbean offers the lowest cruise fare will be when the sailing first goes on sale, this is 12-24 months in advance of the sail date. Another tip to getting the best bang for your buck is to book with a travel agent (they can find you the best deal out there).

No buyers remorse here. Royal Caribbean allows you to re-book with NO FEE—you heard that right if you find a lower rate or better promotion you can cancel your reservation and re-book under the lower fare with NO PENALTY!! PLEASE NOTE: THIS APPLIES TO NORTH AMERICAN RESIDENTS ONLY. Another great reason to book through a travel agent – let them keep an eye out for a better deal, you get to relax.

Once you check-in online for your cruise, you will be assigned a boarding time. Here’s a secret- the boarding time is more of a suggestion. So what does this mean? You can arrive at the port and begin your boarding process earlier than your scheduled time. Generally, the port is not as busy in the morning. So, arriving before noon will give you the best opportunity to have a minimal wait to begin your amazing adventure. Please note, if you are planning to arrive to the port after your assigned time make sure to check the sail-away time so you don’t miss the ship.

Royal Caribbean does allow you to bring in a limited quantity of non-alcoholic beverages on the ship in carry-on luggage. Checking non-alcoholic beverages is not permitted. As for the quantities, Royal Caribbean permits non-alcoholic beverages not to exceed 12 standard (17 oz) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. For medical or infant use distilled water or specialized beverages such as milk are permitted.

Royal Caribbean does allow passengers to bring wine and champagne on-board (only on boarding day). You are limited to two 750 ml bottles per stateroom. You may consume your wine in a stateroom or in any shipboard dining venue or restaurant. NOTE: THERE MAY BE A CHARGE OR UNCORKING FEE FOR CONSUMING YOUR WINE IN A DINING AREA OR BAR ONBOARD.

In general, Royal Caribbean has three dress codes: Casual – Work Casual – Formal. However, these dress codes are more of a suggestion rather than a rule. During the day the ship is casual, most evening are work casual (in reality, as long as you don’t show up to for dinner in the dining room in pool attire – tank tops, hats, swimsuits, ect. – you will not be denied service). 1-3 nights of your cruise will be a ‘formal night’ where guests are asked to dress the nicest of all of the evenings. For more information on formal night see the tabs below. If you plan to visit any of the specialty restaurants onboard (and I highly recommend you do) their dress code supersedes the main dining room. The Windjammer (a buffet style restaurant) is available with a casual dress code all day and evening. There are also other quick service options available as well – so if you like to eat in your flip flops and tank top you can do that too!!

  • Do not stress over the label ‘formal night’. On Royal Caribbean, on select nights of the cruise, suggests that guests dress their finest on formal night. Please know that this is a suggestion not a rule and only applies to the main dining room. For formal night men are invited to wear a suit and tie or tuxedo and women a cocktail dress or pantsuit. This applies to the main dining room only. If you have specialty dining reservations on formal night their dress code supersedes the main dining room. On the ship, you will notice that guests attire varies greatly on formal night. You will see guests dressed in anything from tuxedoes and ballgowns to those dressing as they do every other night. So here’s the great news- if you absolutely hate the idea of a ‘formal night’ you don’t have to get dressed up, and if want to relive your prom (with some alcohol and a better date) than go for it!! This is your vacation stay, calm and don’t worry about your attire.

There may be 1-3 formal nights during your cruise- please note this is just a general rule – all formal nights are at the ships discretion:



3,4 OR 5



DAY 2 & 5


DAY 2 & 6


DAY 2 & 5



Staying in contact with the people you are traveling with (especially when traveling with children) is important. You do have a couple of options that will allow you to communicate on-board. Each stateroom has a phone. You can call and leave a message to any stateroom on the ship. This is not the best option if you need to get in contact right away and the other person is not in their stateroom. Some opt to use their cell phones, but you need to be very careful not to cause an enormous bill. Most likely your best option is to purchase a WiFi package and use a messaging app. Some prefer to use walkie-talkies (however you may intercept others conversations and on larger ships you may need a larger range). You can always do the old-school method of leaving notes on stateroom doors.

Royal Caribbean cruise are a one-stop-shop for your vacation. You can have an amazing adventure with all of the components that are included in your fare. Here is list of what is included in your fare: Accommodations, Gratuities (If you feel that the staff did an exceptional job an addition gratuity can be given), Meals, snacks and drinks (for more information on food and drinks see the next tab), Child programming and care (for ages 3-17), Activities and shows, Royal Caribbean signature activities and games, Fitness center and spa and Pool and sun decks.

Included in your Royal Caribbean fare are most meals and snacks on-board and on any private island (Labadee and CocoCay). You can eat very well at no additional cost! Restaurants and food foods differ depending on which ship you sail on, but the majority of ships do include: a main dining room, Windjammer buffet, quick service (such as Park Café, Boardwalk Dog House, Sorrento’s) and on the Oasis class ships breakfast at Johnny Rockets is included. As for drinks Royal Caribbean provides tap water, milk, coffee and tea, lemonade, iced tea, flavored waters, juices (not fresh squeezed) and hot chocolate (from packets) included with your fare.

Nothing can ruin a great cruise faster than an unexpected expenses. Royal Caribbean gives you the option of prepaying the gratuity and adding it to your fare or having them added to your stateroom account (SeaPass account) on a daily basis. As of January 2, 2018 the current gratuity rate is as follows: $14.50 per guest per day. If you stay in a Grand Suite or above the gratuity is $17.50 per guest per day.

 Royal Caribbean is happy to accommodate your dietary request, whether for medical reasons or just a special request. All dining room menus do include a vegetarian option, so no special request is needed for these meals. Royal Caribbean offers lactose-free/soy milk, Ensure and Kosher meals at no additional charge. You will want to make any requests when you book or 45 days prior to sailing (90 days prior for European/South American sailings).

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