- General Questions
- Travel Documentation
- Luggage and Packing
- Special Needs
Why are your prices higher than I found online at the cruise line website?
These are several reasons. First of all, when we contract a large block of rooms for a group, the cruise line charges us more than the individual "promotional" cabin rates you see on their website. An individual cruise fare doesn't include amenities like onboard credit. Cruise lines feature the lowest rate code as their lead-in website pricing to get your attention. However, these fares are generally non-cancellable and non-refundable or have other restrictions. You can make changes on our cruise up until the final payment and your price is locked in once you've booked your reservation. You also have access to all the special VIP events pertaining to our group that are not available to anyone else on the ship.
There are many additional expenses associated with Specialty Group cruises. There is the cost of accommodations, fees and travel associated with the special guests we have booked for the event. There are promotional and advertising expenses. Additional costs for sound equipment; and expenses for rooms and staff needed to assure the events go smoothly. In short, it's just more expensive to host a large group cruise than an individual cruise. However, the experience and added value you'll receive, more than offsets the price differential.
Why does the pricing sometimes change on your cruises and travel packages?
Pricing for every element of travel, be it airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, resorts or cruises, is based on supply and demand. This is why pricing for an airline ticket can be different from one day to the next. Paradise Tours and Travel usually books our events several months, if not a year in advance. We receive an initial allotment of inventory at a given price. When that inventory is gone, we contact the travel vendor and request more based on availability. When we receive it, the rooms or cabins are given to us at the current market rate which is usually higher that the initial allotment, because there is more demand than supply. We have seen pricing actually increase as much as 45% over the course of a promotion. This is why it is so important to book early, because you'll always lock in the best pricing when you do.
How old do you have to be to travel alone?
Guests are required to be 21 years old (on departure day) to travel. Guest under the age of 21 must be accompanied in the same stateroom by a parent or guardian 25 years of age or older. The one exception Carnival will make for this policy is: married minor couples. The booking must be documented that the couple is married. The couple must have proof of marriage before boarding or they will be denied access to the cruise without benefit of a refund.
What if I have to cancel?
Canceling before the final payment date is not a problem. You are entitled to a full refund of all monies paid minus an administrative fee that is outlined in the General Conditions of your specific cruise. If you cancel your cruise after final payment day, please contact our office immediately. There is a variable cancellation policy for each cruise line. The amount refundable depends on exactly when you cancel. If you have purchased travel protection insurance from us, and your reason for canceling is covered under the terms of the policy you will receive a full refund for the cost of your cruise.
Is Travel Insurance required and what does it cover?
No. Travel Protection Insurance is not required in most circumstances, however, we highly recommend it. In the event you or an immediate family member becomes ill or injured and has to cancel your cruise, you'll receive a full refund. Depending on when you purchase it, it may even cover pre-existing conditions. The plan covers minor inconveniences like lost or delayed baggage. If you become ill at sea and require emergency medical evacuation to your home, there's a benefit for that. If you miss your cruise because your flight was delayed you'll be reimbursed for the cost of the cruise. The price of the plan includes access to a 24 hour traveler's emergency assistance hotline for help with emergency cash assistance, legal assistance or lost travel documents assistance. The Cruise Protection Plan will give you peace of mind because unfortunately, the unexpected sometimes does occur. Check your specific cruise page on our website to download a description of the various coverages we offer.
Is there a specific hotel you would suggest if we wanted to arrive the night before departure?
Everyone has different tastes when it comes to hotels. However, we have access to hotels with a guaranteed lowest internet rate. You'll find a link to this site on the cruise page for your specific cruise. We also provide a link with very competitive rates for flights, if you're flying to the departure port.
If we're flying to the departure port what time do we need to arrive?
Make sure your flight does not arrive later than noon on the day your cruise departs. The cruise departs at 4:00 pm and you need to allow enough time to board. Conversely, make sure your flight does not leave before noon on the day you arrive back into port. The ships arrive back into port at 8:00 am and you will need time to disembark, arrive at the airport and get checked in.
Where do we park?
Parking is available at the port. Parking for cruise passengers is adjacent to the terminal. Cost for parking is normally $15 per day. Cash or credit cards are accepted. RV parking is also available. The cost for this is normally $30 per day. If you're staying at a hotel the night before, you might check with them about leaving your car at the hotel and taking a taxi or shuttle to the port. For information call 1-888-744-7662.
How do I get to port?
We would recommend either using your GPS or Mapquest for directions to the port. Simply go to www.mapquest.com, input your address, city and state and click directions to port. If you're flying into the departure city you might consider transfers (motorcoach transportation) from the airport to the cruise terminal or a taxi.
Do I need a passport?
If your cruise originates and end in the same U.S. port, chances are a passport is not mandatory, however, we strongly recommend one. There is a link on each specific cruise page that will give you travel document information for your particular cruise. For a complete list of accepted travel documents go to www.travel.state.gov.
What documents must I have with me to board the ship?
All guests must show proof of citizenship (such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, passport or passcard) and a government-issued photo ID (ie. a driver's license) to board a ship.
What if I do not have my birth certificate?
You may purchase a certified copy of your birth certificate at www.vitalchek.com.
Will my child need a photo ID?
No. Children under the age of 16 are not required to have a photo ID. However, Paradise Tours and Travel recommend obtaining a photo ID if at all possible.
When will I receive my Cruise and Travel documents?
Paradise Tours and Travel will send you all the information you need within 30 days of your cruise departure. The information will detail how to register all your information with the cruise line, setup your onboard account and how to download and print your boarding pass and luggage tags. If you are unable to do this yourself we will be happy to assist you. The charge for processing and certified mailing of your documents is $14.95 per passenger.
What is Sail & Sign?
Sail & Sign is Carnival's cashless on board credit program which allows guests to charge purchases directly to a personal account for convenience throughout the cruise. All charges will automatically be billed to the guest's account at the end of the voyage. The account can be set up using a credit card, debit card or cash. Every cruise line has their own version of the 'Sail & Sign' card.
What is the tipping policy on board?
The cruise lines automatically charge the gratuities for dining and stateroom staff to your onboard account. However, if you opt to handle the gratuities for staff personally, inform the purser's desk and they will remove this charge from your onboard account. Some cruise lines offer you the option of pre-paying your gratuities. Most of the time you'll come out ahead if you let the cruise lines charge your onboard account the nominal gratuity and divide it up among the staff.
Is there an ATM aboard?
Yes, there are ATM's aboard every ship. Guests are able to withdraw funds and make balance inquiries on their checking and savings accounts while the sea is in port or at sea. Fees may apply.
How much money will I need?
Every person and cruise is different. As a rule of thumb, two people may want to budget a minimum of $100 between them for every day that they are not on the cruise ship just to cover possible incidental charges.
What is included in the cruise price?
Included in your cruise price are your accommodations, all of your food (more than 1500 menu items) for the length of your cruise (which by the way, is available 24/7), endless entertainment and activites, complimentary 24 hour room service and use of the gym and spa facilities. Your 'specialty' cruise fare also covers access to all VIP events not available to the general public and other perks. For a real feel of what to expect on a Carnival cruise, take a few minutes and click on www.funshipisland.com and take a virtual tour of a ship.
Will I get seasick?
Seasickness is uncommon because today's modern cruiseliners use stabilizers for passenger comfort. If you are concerned about this possible discomfort, just ask your physician for suggestions on preventative medications. Also, there are wrist bracelets available at most pharmacies that seem to be effective in preventing seasickness.
Are there medical services and facilities available on the ship?
All cruise ships have well-equipped medical facilities and staff to handle every emergency. These facilities are designed to handle small issues (like seasickness) as well as emergencies. Nurses and doctors are available 24 hour a day. One of the reasons we recommend Travel Insurance, is that this will cover any trip to the medical center since you are considered 'out of network' with most hospitalization plans.
Luggage and Packing
What should I pack?
You're on vacation! Casual attire is totally in order. We suggest sundresses, shorts, tank tops etc. for the ladies and shorts, polo shirts, tropical 'Hawaiian' shirts etc. for the men. We also suggest that you wear rubber-soled, low heeled or flat shoes for extra traction while on the ship. The use of any footwear with wheels (including but not limited to 'Heelys') is prohibited on the ship. For dining you may want to dress up a bit and bring along a light sports coat, cardigan or 'after-five' dress.
How much luggage can I bring on the cruise?
The cruise line itself has no limitation on the amount of luggage you can bring. However, if you're flying to the departure city, the airline may have restrictions. Check with your airlines to review their policies and see what their fee(s) for extra baggage are.
Where do I get luggage tags?
After you complete your sign-in process online you will be able to print out your board pass and luggage tags. Luggage tags will also be available at the port.
Are hair dryers provided in our rooms?
Each cruise line is different. Carnival usually does not provide hairdryers. Princess on the other hand does. It's probably best to check on the website of the particular cruise liner your traveling on and see what the policy is for your specific ship.
Can I bring my curling iron or flat iron on board ship?
Yes, curling irons and flat irons are permitted in your staterooms.
Do I need to bring an electrical adapter?
No. All staterooms are equipped with 110 volts AC.
Can I wash my clothes on board?
Each ship has at least two self-service launderettes on the stateroom decks. There are two or three washers and dryers and one iron and ironing board in each launderette. The cost is $2.00 per washer load and $2.00 per dryer load. Vending machines dispense small boxes of detergent and water softener at $1.00 per box.
Can I access the internet while on board the ship?
All cruise ships offer access to the internet with their on board Internet Cafe and wireless networks using the ship's own satellite connection. The Internet Cafe is open 24 hours a day and features private terminals with the latest flat-panel computer monitors. A fee will apply.
Can I receive phone calls on board the ship?
Friends and family may call guests on board the ship via the Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN) Shore-To-Ship telephone service. The rate is $9.50 per minute from the United States. Additional long distance charges may apply from outside the United States. The caller needs to have the ship name and the guest's name available. The charges will be applied to the caller's credit card. MasterCard, Visa, American Express, The Discover Card and Diner's Club are accepted. The number is: 1-877-CCL-SHIP/1-877-225-7447.
Can I use my cell phone on the ship?
Yes. Most major cruise lines have fleetwide implementation of cellphone service. Please note however, that international roaming charges will apply and can be very costly ($3 - $5 per minute) Our advice is to stay in touch via the internet.
What if I require a special diet?
Be sure to call our office (417-334-9100) and let us know if you have special dietary needs so we can make arrangements for you in advance. Please reference the cruise you are on. However, even if Carnival is not notified in advance, they will prepare meals around your special dietary needs.
Are Cruise Lines handicap accessible?
Yes. All major cruise lines are handicap accessible. They provide a variety of accessible features to make your cruise a relaxing and enjoyable experience. However, you need to make us aware of your needs, because there is special paperwork to fill out and send in after you make your reservation to guarantee a fully modified cabin.
Are the shore excursions handicap accessible?
Some excursions are handicap accessible and some aren't. Once on board, the shore excursion staff will be available to answer any questions you may have.