6 things cruising passengers need to know


The Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships is The Reference for serious cruisers and every year a new edition is published – it is now in its 26th year. Cruise travel agents use it because it is an independent guide. Here is some advice from author and cruising doyen, Douglas Ward.

  • Tipping twice! This happens when passengers are already charged a tip in their booking but when signing a receipt onboard they are asked for a gratuity. Ward suggests you check your bills carefully and be aware that this can happen.
  • Currency conversion is another element that is hard to control. Your credit card may not be debited on the day a transaction is made but at a later date when the rate is different.
  • Airport transfers in Europe are another area where people can be over-charged.
  • Bottled water is frequently overpriced. This can happen anywhere of course – on some cruise ships you may even find a tip added to the cost!
  • Bingo cards are hugely overpriced on some ships.
  • Paying for a bridge tour – on some ships this is a high price raffle.

To get the best value out of a cruise Ward recommends cruisers book during the off-season, book an inside cabin – and sail on the older pre-1980 ships. But here we beg to differ. Yes, you will cruise cheaply if you go for the older ships but frankly we don’t believe you will cruise as well. Inhabiting inside cabins on unstabilized ships in rough weather – and perhaps when you are most likely to be feeling queasy! – is no way to have a great holiday. We always suggest ocean-view or balcony cabins and sometimes we can get these for clients at very little price difference.