BY PETER GREENBERG
CRUISING IS ONE of
the most popular forms
of vacation travel. Yet a
majority of Canadians
have yet to take a cruise.
Here are some tips and
secrets to help travellers make the most out
of their ;rst cruise.
Begin with an appetizer, not the main
meal. Try a short cruise ;rst to see if you
like the overall experience. There are
numerous three- and four-day cruises
along the Atlantic and Paci;c coasts. The
price is right, and you get to sample just
about everything most cruise ships o;er
in a short amount of time.
There are now many more “drive-to”
ports in Canada, where you don’t have
to ;y long distances to get to your ship,
including Quebec City, Halifax, Montreal
and Vancouver. But if you do have to ;y to
get to your ship, don’t ;y there on the same
day the ship departs. Give yourself at least
one day in your departure port city. If your
plane is late and you miss your cruise, it’s
an expensive lesson, as you then need to
chase the ship by air. Or, if your baggage is
delayed or lost, you may make the cruise,
but your luggage then needs to play a los-
ing game of catch-up. Getting to the depar-
ture port a day early lets you adjust better
to jet lag, and the stress factor is reduced.
Are you prone to, or worried about,
getting seasick? It comes down to centre of gravity. Certain areas on the ship
are better than others for seasickness.
Booking a midship cabin on a lower deck
can help, as it’s less prone to the pitch and
roll of the ship, even if the seas get rough.
Budget accordingly. You paid for
your cabin, but there are many extras
you might want to pay for, such as shore
excursions, premium dining experiences,
gift shops and the bar. Many cruise lines
o;er special drink packages: For one total
price, you get unlimited drinks through-
out your voyage. If the cruise line o;ers a
package for soft drinks and you are trav-
elling with children, you
might consider that as well.
Cruise ships offer a
variety of shore excursions.
While you don’t have to go
on every one, it’s a good
idea to research in advance,
decide which ones you are
interested in and book
them ahead of time so you
don’t miss out.
Cruise lines have come
a long way in regard to the
internet. Investigate their internet packages. Sometimes they o;er a discounted
rate if you prebook your internet package.
Before you take the cruise, get a good
international calling plan from your cellphone service provider. Keep your phone
in airplane mode when not in use to avoid
roaming charges. If you want to use your
cellphone, wait until you get o; the ship
and you’re at least four or five blocks
away from the dock. Cellphones look for
the nearest signal, and if you’re near the
ship, the nearest signal could be the ship’s
marine satellite. You could be hit with
excessive roaming charges.
Cruise lines typically are not forgiving if you cancel your cruise, and most
won’t refund your money if you want or
need to cancel close to the departure date.
Regardless of the length of the cruise, you
should have medical evacuation and repa-triation coverage—if you need to leave the
cruise due to illness or some other emergency, the costs can be astronomical. And,
if it’s a longer cruise and your investment
is more than ;;,;;;, buying trip cancellation and interruption insurance is also a
good and recommended option. C
Peter Greenberg is the multiple–Emmy
Award–winning travel editor for CBS News
and host of The Travel Detective on public
television ( petergreenberg.com).
Cruise tips for ;rst-time travellers
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Costco offers a wide variety of cruises,
from one or two nights to 15 days or more,
with more than a dozen cruise lines and
destinations around the world. Members
can pre-book shore excursions through
Costco Travel’s co-branded site with Shore
Excursion for a better price. Look for Kirkland Signature™ and Buyer’s Choice sailings for extra value and amenities. Travel
purchases now qualify for the Executive
Membership annual 2% Reward. For more
information or to book, go to Costco.ca
and click “Travel” or call 1-855-863-0357.
A view from Santorini
Island, in the southern