Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page!We will try our best here to provide answers to some common questions. But, of course, we cannot possibly answer everything here. So, please call us or send an email if your specific question is not addressed here or if one of our answers needs further clarification. Don’t be shy! We might even add your question to this FAQ list!
Q. Why should I use CruiseOne – Karber and Associates as my travel agency?
A. Of course there are a multitude of companies from which to purchase your next vacation. You might even be tempted to go with one of the huge internet travel sites. At CruiseOne, we try to stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, we strongly believe that our clients should be treated with respect, dignity and with the kind of personalized service that we all deserve. Unfortunately, those qualities can sometimes be difficult to find among the numerous internet travel sites! Remember, we were once in your shoes! We had searched and searched for a travel agency that had our best interests at heart and one that would not treat us as just a number. We were often disappointed! You are not just a number to us and we will always work hard to earn your trust and your business. In fact, ourMission Statement says it all; To provide vacation and leisure travel services to the public, with fairness, integrity, honesty, and with client satisfaction as our total focus.” If we can be of service to you, please call us at (800) 580-3992 or send an email with your questions, concerns, or suggestions. We would love to hear from you!
Q. Do you just book cruises?
A. While our primary focus is on Cruises we can also assist with other leisure travel as well. Disney vacations, Escorted Tours, Resort Accommodations such as Sandals and Club Med, and Air/Hotel/Car Vacation Packages are examples of other areas in which we can help.
Q. What kind of cruises do you offer or specialize in?
A. Cruising has several sub-specialties. We work most frequently on ocean cruises all over the world; Galveston is currently our biggest selling departure port due to our franchise being close to that area. We’ve also seen an uptick in vacationers interested in river cruises, especially those in Europe and we can help with River cruises world-wide. River cruising is actually the fastest growing cruising segment. It allows a traveler to see sights they could never see during an ocean cruise. It’s an exciting alternative travel idea that many folks are now discovering.
Q. I didn’t find anywhere on your website that would allow me to search for flights, car rentals, or hotels. Do you offer these services?
A. Yes we do, but with a caveat. While we do offer international and domestic airline tickets, rental car reservations, and hotel reservations, we generally do so as part of a complete vacation package, or as part of a cruise vacation. If a client simply wants to purchase airline tickets for a domestic flight alone, we would advise him/her to work with the airlines own reservations system or book the flight through one of the large travel websites. Because of certain airline rules, we must charge a $15 ticket fee for each airline ticket purchased through us unless it is part of a land-based pre-packaged vacation. Therefore, it would be in our client’s best interest to have them purchase their own air tickets if that is all he or she is looking for.
Q. Do you offer vacations to Hawaii? Las Vegas? Disney World? I didn’t see these places mentioned anywhere on your website.
A. Absolutely! Although we focus on cruises all over the world, we also work with vacationers who have a variety of interests and travel preferences. At times, you may see us highlight some of these (and other) destinations on our website. Look under ‘Resorts and tours’at the top of our website to see what some of our current land offers are. In any case, we can put together anexciting vacation package for you to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Branson MO, Disney World, or just about anywhere else on Earth you can think of!
Q. I am part of a group of people that would love to take a Cruise or Tour. Can you help?
A. We definitely can! We work with groups of all sizes and strive to produce the perfect itinerary to assure the best experience possible. We work with church groups, senior groups, dance clubs, family reunions, company groups, and many more. We will ensure that you and your group enjoy a vacation full of Magical and Memorable Moments!
Q. If I a purchase a vacation package and wish to see an event, show, sporting event, etc., can you get tickets for me as part of my package?
A. For the most part, absolutely. We can generally help you get advance tickets to just about any event under the sun! Our services allow you to avoid the hassle and trouble of getting the tickets yourself, or taking the chance of them not being available at your destination.
Q. I heard it’s best to wait until the last minute to buy a cruise because prices drop. Is that true?
A. In general the answer is no, prices do not drop. In fact, in many cases, you will end up paying more. Cruise fares work a lot like Airline fares. A computer generates the fare based on supply and demand. The theory is that if a cruise has lower demand the price will drop in the last weeks or days – and that is possible in rare instances. However, most cruises depart at or near full capacity each and every sailing. As stateroom supply constricts, the price tends to rise. Therefore, we recommend purchasing as early as possible. And in some cases, if the price does drop after you book we can get some type of credit with the cruise line. Other reasons to book early are to make it easier to budget for your vacation, better stateroom selection, availability of both early and late dining times, and the ability in many cases to cancel early on without penalty. If you are extremely flexible on your travel date, ship, and itinerary, occasionally last minute bargains can be had, but those are rarer than you might think and require extreme patience and flexibility!
Q. If I purchase a cruise, do I have to pay up front in full?
A. If your cruise departs within 75-90 days, you will be asked to pay for your cruise in full at the time of your reservation. If you are booking the cruise outside of that window, you can reserve your cruise with a deposit. Deposit amounts will vary some by cruise line and itinerary. You should plan for a deposit requirement of approximately $100 to $250 per person for a 3-5-night cruise, and around $200 to $400 per person for a 6-8 night cruise. Longer duration cruises or luxury cruises may require a larger deposit. Of course, once you have selected the cruise you would like to experience, we will inform you about required deposits.
Q. If I book a cruise, when will my final payment be due?
A. For suite reservations on a cruise ship, final payment is usually due 90-100 days prior to departure. Final payment for a non-suite stateroom reservation is usually due 75-90 days prior to departure. You will be reminded of the due dates via e-mail and by invoice. For your convenience, unless you provide other instructions, your final payment can be processed on the credit card you authorized for your initial deposit.
Q. What if I have to cancel my cruise after I place my deposit or make full payment?
A. The answer to this question is another one that can vary greatly. Each cruise line has its own specific cancellation rules and penalties. And the penalties can vary depending on exactly when you cancel your cruise. Penalty amounts range from the cost of your deposit to the full amount of your cruise. As mentioned earlier, if you have purchased our travel protection policy , you may be reimbursed for part or all of the cost of the cancellation penalty depending on the specific reason you must cancel. With most cruise lines, cancellation penalties begin if you cancel within 90-120 days of sailing. When you choose CruiseOne as your travel partner,you will receive all the details regarding your particular cruise.
Q. Do the same rules apply for Tours, Resorts, or a Vacation Package?
A. Each Escorted Tour company has their own payment and cancellation rules - and there is even more variety than with the cruise lines. However, the rules are typically similar to those of cruise lines. Full payment for an Escorted Tour is generally due 45-75 days prior to your departure date. Independent Tour Companies, Resorts, and other Vacation Providers each has its own policy in place. Because of the wide variety of Vacation Providers that we work with, it is impossible to go over all scenarios here. Again, once you select the vacation you wish to take, we will inform you about required deposits, when full payment is due, and when cancellation penalties apply.
Q. Do I need a Passport to take a Cruise?
A. This is one of the most common questions we get, and is not an easy one to answer. The short answer is “It depends”. The multitude of possible travel scenarios makes a complete answer rather lengthy. So, we will briefly cover the most common situations here.
First and foremost, it depends on where you are going. For example, if you will be traveling by sea, and your ship stops only at U.S. ports, a passport is not necessary. If you are cruising outside of the Western Hemisphere, you definitely will need a passport. The in-between is where it becomes rather complicated!
On June 1, 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative became law. It requires American citizens traveling to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, or the Caribbean by land or by sea to present either a U.S. passport book or a U.S. passport card. However, the one major exception to this requirement isif you are on a cruise that begins and ends at the same U.S. port (known as a closed-loop cruise), you can use a driver’s license or State ID card, along with a copy of your state certified birth certificate instead of a passport.
At CruiseOne, we highly recommend that you use a passport even if you are on a closed-loop cruise? Why? Because sometimes the unexpected happens! For example, imagine you are on a cruise but need to fly home because of an unexpected emergency. Without a passport, you would be likely to have a difficult time gaining re-entry into the United States. Also, with a passport, you will only need to carry one form of identification, instead of several.
If you do choose to cruise without a passport, be sure that the birth certificate you carry is a State-issued certificate and not a copy or souvenir certificate issued by a hospital. The genuine article has a raised seal stamped onto the paper and is issued by your state of birth. You need to make certain that you have the correct type of birth certificate before you depart on your cruise because if your ID is not acceptable, you are likely to be left off the cruise and unable to obtain a refund!
To be safe, why not plan ahead and obtain a U.S. Passport! Be aware that from the time you submit your paperwork, it sometimes can take as long as eight weeks to receive your new passport from the U.S. State Department. If your trip is within the next eight weeks, we recommend using a passport expediter in order to receive your passport in time. We recommend RushMyPassport.com for their consistently excellent service and quick turnaround times as short as 24 hours if the need arises.
Your new Passport will be valid for ten years. So even if you do not need it at this moment, you will already have it on hand should you choose to travel to a foreign country sometime in the near future. For more information about passport rules and regulations, visit the US Passport Website.
Q. If I go on a cruise, should I bring cash, credit cards, or foreign currency?
A. Foreign currency would rarely, if ever, be needed for cruises. Of course, we will always inform you should an exception to this rule occur. Cruise ships are virtually all “cashless societies”. Before you board, you will provide a credit card for any onboard spending. In ports of call, most merchants will accept credit cards world-wide.If you plan to have an extended stay in a foreign country, then you may need to exchange dollars for local currency.
Q. What should I pack for my cruise?
A. This varies greatly and depends on which cruise line you choose, the time of year, the itinerary, your personal tastes, and how formal the particular cruise is. In general, most cruises have formal nights or they may have a formal restaurant that observes a dress code. When we book your cruise, part of our job is to give you adequate information to assist you with selecting your packing list. If you have a preferred type of travel or dress code, let us know. We will match your tastes and budget with the perfect package to ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable vacation get-away!
Q. Will my cell phone work aboard a cruise ship? How about if I travel internationally?
A. Most cruise lines do now have cell service available via satellite. And for the most part, that service is provided free of charge by the cruise line. However, roaming charges will apply from your carrier, and those can get very expensive. If you are travelling on a cruise around Europe, Africa, Asia or another exotic locale, we suggest calling your carrier to see if your phone hardware is capable of receiving phone calls in that area. Many of the cheaper phones offered by U.S. cell phone stores can only be used domestically.
There are a couple of ways to reduce expenses if you plan to utilize your cell phone. You can contact your carrier and setup an international dialing plan for one month only. This may save you money.
However, an even better alternative in our opinion is to lease an international phone or sim card. CruiseOne - Karber and Associates highly recommends using a service called OneSimCard. OneSimCard offers International loaner cell phones or SIM cards for international travelers who want low-cost, feature-rich prepaid cell phone service. By having the OneSimCard, you will:
1) Avoid paying high international roaming charges (calls with the card can be as low as $0.29 per minute)
2) Have no contract
3) Have no connection fees
4) Not have any surprise international roaming charges of any kind.
5) Get FREE incoming calls in 75 countries
6) Get FREE incoming text messages everywhere!
Q. What is travel protection, and do I need it?
A. One important aspect of vacation planning is looking into purchasing a travel protection policy. Essentially, this policy is designed to protect the traveler in the event of medical emergencies, or other circumstances that create any type of interruption or disturbance in their vacation plans. In general, we recommend insuring most cruises and vacations taken outside of the United States, or any vacation within the United States in which it would create a financial hardship if an unexpected cancellation occurs.
To be more specific, our travel protection policy provides protection from delays and cancellations that can derail a travel itinerary. It is also very helpful in the event of a medical emergency while traveling.
To see the top 10 reasons why we recommend our travel protection policy for our cruise guests, click here to be taken to a page on our website that will tell you much more!
CruiseOne recommends Travel protection for most travelers. This is especially true for cruises. We will always quote your vacation with travel protection. We would not travel outside of the United States without it...and you should not either!
If you don’t see your question posed here, call or e-mail us and we’ll be happy to help!