FAQ

How much do cruises and land tours cost?

Cruise and land tour prices vary according to your destination, length of travel, and the caliber of the company you are traveling with. Prices can range from $500 to $65,000. We will work with you to find the best travel option within your budget.

Is airfare included in the price?

Cruise and tour operators usually offer quotes on airfare. However, unless specified, airfare is not included in the stated price of a cruise or land tour.

What if the rate drops after I book my cruise?

It is important to know that cruise prices can fluctuate at the cruise line’s discretion, depending on the inventory levels of the cruise and how close the cruise is to departure. The cruise line dictates whether a customer is allowed to re-ticket at a lower rate. While some cruise lines will adjust rates, most do not. Your Bon Voyage Travel advisor can advise you on each cruise line’s policy.

What if I need to cancel my booking?

If you need to cancel your booking, please contact your Bon Voyage Travel advisor as soon as possible. They will guide you through the cancellation procedure and applicable penalties specific to your reservation.

When do I tip and when is gratuity included?

Every cruise line has their individual policies on tipping.  Many include gratuities or recommend what should be given on a daily basis.  Please ask your travel advisor to find the details of your specific cruise line policy.  For land tours, it is customary to tip your tour guides and bus drivers since their gratuity is not included. When on land, follow regional tipping guidelines.

What security measures are there onboard a cruise ship?

Every passenger will be screened prior to embarking their cruise ship. This includes passing through a metal detector, showing identification, along with passport and visa if necessary, and having baggage screened and x-rayed. Most cruise lines take a picture and create an ID to be used throughout your trip. Also, all ships have some form of hired security whether they be former military personnel or other private security force.

What security measures are there at ports of call?

Carry your cruise-issued ID with you at all times. It will be needed each time you embark and disembark at the various ports of call.

What security measures are there at the airport?

Every airline passenger will pass through a security checkpoint, where you will be required to show identification and boarding pass, pass through a metal director, and have carry-on baggage screened. Some passengers will have their checked bagged screened through random selection. Don’t forget that all liquids, creams, and gels in your carry-on must be placed in a clear Ziploc bag. Each liquid item must be less than 3.4 oz or it will be thrown away. Please follow the link to the TSA website.

How can I access the Internet when I’m abroad?

On cruise ships, you can access the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection, either provided in your cabin or other common area. There are also Internet cafes, which charge a fee per minute to go online. When on land, you can access the Internet at Internet cafes as well. If staying at a hotel, there is usually a Wi-Fi connection, which can be free or cost an additional charge.

Can I use my cell phone abroad?

On most cruise ships, you will be able to use your cell phone. Though, international roaming charges will apply. See your carrier for additional information. On land, you will need either an international phone plan or an international cell phone that will be charged roaming fees when making calls. Please note that if you do not have an international cell phone or have not activated an international phone plan, you will not be able to use your cellphone in international cities. For international cell phones, you can avoid roaming charges by purchasing a prepaid SIM card in the country you are visiting. You will be charged the local rate for local calls and a lesser international rate for calls to the U.S. This is ideal if spending more than a few days in one country.  Please have your Bon Voyage Travel advisor recommend a company to get your sim card set up prior to your travel dates.

Should I buy a calling card?

If you do not have an international cell phone or phone plan or do not use the Internet as a regular means of communication, a calling card is a good idea. It allows you to make international calls from a cell phone or landline wherever you are. Be sure to check the calling rates, as they can vary from card to card. Also, cell phone rates are usually higher than the advertised rates.

What alternative ways are there for me to communicate with my friends and family while away?

Other means of communication include good ol’ snail mail. You can still write letters or postcards and send them at each port of call. Although, if you are on a cruise, you won’t be able to receive any mail. With the Internet, you have several alternative options including email, instant messenger, and Skype, a free video conferencing service.To use Skype for free, the person you are contacting needs to have Skype as well. If not, Skype offers inexpensive rates to make calls from your computer to a cell phone or landline. Keep in mind that your computer needs a microphone to make calls to another phone. You can also video-chat if you have a built-in or external camera for your computer.

How long are cruises?

A cruise can be a three-day mini vacation or a 3 month-long tour around the world. You can find a cruise for just about any length of time in between.

Are cruises suitable for families with kids?

Many cruise lines offer amenities tailored to kids.  Cruise lines with kid-specific activities include but are not limited to: Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Crystal, Carnival, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Norwegian, and Regent Seven Seas. Ask your Bon Voyage Travel advisor for more information on how to accommodate a young child on your next cruise.

Are cruises suitable for single travelers?

Yes! Cruising is a great place for solo travelers. There are several opportunities to meet people on cruises. If you’re willing to participate in cruise activities and sign up for traditional dining, where you eat with a group, you should find yourself among great company in no time! Additionally, some cruise ships offer single cabins and most offer a single supplement rate for double staterooms. If you are planning to travel alone, be sure to check with your Bon Voyage Travel advisor to find select sailings and singles cruises with our own onboard host, who organizes exclusive singles cocktail parties, mixers, games, group excursions, and single-mingle dining.

What is a cruisetour?

A cruisetour is a combination of a cruise and land tour. It consists of a multi-day land tour added on before or after your cruise.

What is a river cruise?

A river cruise is a cruise that travels on inland waterways, mainly rivers. They are typically on smaller boutique ships and stop at multiple ports of call, including ones not usually included on large cruise itineraries.

How do I book a cruise?

Fill out the inquiry form on the contact page to start planning your trip today! Include link to contact page and/or staff bios.

What is a cabin category?

A cabin category is the ranking a cruise line has given a group of cabins based on their size, amenities, deck level and location. Cabin categories typically include: inside cabins (no porthole or window), outside ocean view cabins (with a porthole or window), cabins with balconies or verandas (outside access), and suites (usually a larger room with extra amenities and outside access).

What is a cabin upgrade?

A cabin upgrade is when your cabin category is elevated to a higher category by the cruise line. It can be random or offered as a reward to loyal travelers of the cruise line.

What is shipboard credit?

Shipboard credit is a credit placed on your shipboard account by your travel advisor.  It can be spent however you like, though there may be restrictions including limitations on spending in casinos and/or on shore excursions. It must be used up by midnight on the last night of your cruise and has no actual cash value.

What are transfers?

A transfer is round-trip transportation from the airport to the cruise pier.

What is a Day at Sea?

A Day at Sea is a full day spent sailing between ports. These are the perfect opportunity to enjoy the various amenities available onboard including the spa, pool, movies, restaurants, instructional classes, casino, shows, etc.

What is a shore excursion?

A shore excursion is anything you do at port. Shore excursions can be group travel organized by the cruise line or free time to explore the port/city on your own.

What is traditional dining versus open time dining? Do I need to make reservations?

Traditional dining is an option to eat at a set time everyday with the same group of people, who may be your personal group or a collective group of singles and couples. Traditional dining takes place at the same restaurant each night. You may eat at other venues for an extra charge. Open time dining allows you to eat at whatever time you want at whichever eatery or restaurant you want. Reservations are usually needed for open time diners at ship restaurants.

What if I have special dietary needs?

Most cruise lines will accommodate any specific dietary needs you may have, as long as they are given notice prior to your departure.

What is the dress code?

The cruise ship dress code is casual during the day. Depending on the cruise line, the evening dress code varies from casual to formal. Your Bon Voyage Travel advisor can get you the details that pertain to the cruise line you are sailing with.

Can I smoke on-board?

There are typically designated areas where smoking is permitted on-board. Most cruise lines don’t allow smoking in cabins or on balconies any longer.  If you are a smoker we recommend choosing a cabin close to a smoking deck or area.

Can I bring my own alcohol?

Some cruise lines do not allow guests to bring alcohol on-board, while others do. Be sure to check with your travel advisor prior to attempting to bring alcohol on-board.  If it is not permitted the cruise line will most likely hold it in storage until the end of your sailing.

Will I get seasick?

Cruise ships are equipped with stabilizers to maximize steadiness, so most people should not be affected by seasickness.However, if you are prone to seasickness, it is advised that you reserve a cabin toward the center of the ship, as that is where it is most stable. Also, a cabin with a balcony or veranda can be helpful when needing a breath of fresh air. For medical or alternative remedies, consult with your physician.

How do I disembark?

Disembarkation refers to the process at the end of the cruise to leave the ship. At this time, all guests will be required to meet with immigration, similar to the immigration process when returning to the U.S. from an international flight. Prior to exiting the cruise terminal, passengers will also pick up their luggage, which was checked in the night before.

Can I access my confirmation online?

Yes. You will receive a confirmation code after you’ve booked your trip, which you can then use to access your confirmation online with the company you are traveling with.

When will I receive my ticket and itinerary?

Normally, you can expect to receive your ticket and itinerary 2 to 4 weeks prior to your departure date.

Can my itinerary change after I’ve booked?

Though uncommon, an itinerary can change after you’ve made your reservation. This is usually due to weather and/or safety concerns as a result of world events. You will be notified if any changes or have been made to your itinerary.

Can I travel while I’m pregnant?

Most cruise lines will allow women to travel up to their third trimester of pregnancy. After this, the policy varies by cruise line. Many will not allow any travel or will require a note from a physician

Are cruises and land tours ADA accessible?

Several cruise lines have ADA accessible cabins and common areas. These include but are not limited to: Holland, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, and Disney. However, ask your Bon Voyage Travel advisor about regulations for each cruise line regarding what equipment is provided to those with disabilities and what needs to be brought. Your advisor can also advise you on limitations regarding tendering and shore excursions. Land tour companies can accommodate disabled passengers as well. Some require that you travel with someone who is willing to help you. Keep in mind, some of the sights you will visit are not ADA accessible, as ADA laws only apply to the United States.

How can I purchase a gift certificate?

To purchase a gift certificate, you must come into the River Road Bon Voyage Travel office and pay with cash. Additional fees apply to credit card purchases. The gift certificate can be applied as credit for an already booked cruise or applied to a future cruise or land tour.

Are land tours suitable for families with kids?

Yes, Escorted Tours can accommodate kids with family-oriented itineraries. Most implement an age minimum of 5 years old for family travel. However, there are some exceptions where an older age minimum is implemented. On the contrary, some allow younger children to travel. Ask your Bon Voyage Travel advisor how to best accommodate your family on your next trip.

Are land tours suitable for single travelers?

Escorted Tours are a good way to meet new families, couples, and other singles. You will also have the option to make single accommodations (with a supplement charge) or to share a room with another single traveler. If booking Foreign Independent Travel, please note that you are creating the itinerary and arranging transportation. This is a good option if you are looking to travel alone or minimize group time.

What is an Escorted Tour?

An Escorted Tour is a land tour with a tour director. The tour director takes care of everything for you including transportation, meals, and sightseeing, as well as airport and hotel transfers. They are usually coach tours with the tour director serving as your guide. You may also have local tour guides at various stops.

What is Foreign Independent Travel (FIT)?

Foreign Independent Travel is a customized land tour itinerary where you choose the exact travel dates and destinations. Your Bon Voyage Travel advisor will organize your lodging, set up transportation between cities, schedule sightseeing and cultural activities, and arrange hotel and airport transfers. Your advisor can also book airfare. FIT can be combined with an Escorted Tour or cruise or can be booked on its own. This is the perfect option for a traveler who values flexibility

How long are land tours?

Land tours generally last between one week and one month. However, with the Foreign Independent Travel option, your land tour can be as long or as short as you want. You can also extend land tours by adding on a cruise.

Is transportation included?

Flights to and from your destination are not included, though transfers are usually provided. In Escorted Tours, transportation among all destinations is included. Flights within your itinerary will be arranged for you, but are usually not included in the stated price. Transportation must be arranged on your own when creating an FIT itinerary. Though, your Bon Voyage Travel advisor can help you organize this with shared or private transfers.

Are accommodations included?

Accommodations are included in Escorted Tours and are individually selected by the client when booking FIT. This gives you the flexibility to manage the cost, quality, and location of each hotel.

How do I book a land tour?

Fill out the inquiry form on the contact page to plan your trip today! Include link to contact page and/or staff bios.

What is travel insurance? Do I need it?

Travel insurance covers medical, financial, and other losses incurred while traveling domestically or internationally. It also covers trip cancellations. Typically, this is a temporary form of insurance that only extends throughout the duration of your trip. It can be purchased through an insurance company or cruise or land tour company. Due to the unpredictability of busy schedules, health issues, and unforeseen events that are inherent to travel, Bon Voyage Travel strongly recommends purchasing travel insurance.

Do I need a passport or visa? How do I get one?

If you are a United States citizen and your travels include one or more destinations outside of the U.S., you will need a passport. To obtain a passport or renew your expired passport, please follow the link for instructions on how to do so. http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for your request to be processed. Expedited services are available but charge a significant fee. Visa requirements vary by country. You can find country specific information at the following website. Once on the site, select the country you are inquiring about and then click on the linkfor entry/exit requirements. http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html

Are any immunizations or vaccines required?

If you are concerned about contracting any disease or infection while on your trip, please follow this link for a destination-specific list of CDC suggested immunizations and vaccines. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx

What should I pack?

Pack light and check the weather at your destination. Generally speaking, you will want comfortable clothing during your cruise or land tour. It’s a good idea to bring layers to easily adjust to fluctuations in warm and cool temperatures. If you are taking a cruise, check your cruise line’s dress code for evening wear guidelines. Don’t forget to bring workout clothes and swimwear to take advantage of ship amenities including the gym, pool, sauna, etc. Also, pack any necessary medications in your carry-on, as well as prescription eyewear.

How much luggage can I bring?

Most cruise lines have no restrictions on the amount of luggage you bring or allow up to 200 lbs per person. That being said, almost all advise you to follow airline standards, since you will likely be flying into your port. For airline policies regarding luggage capacity and fees on domestic and international flights, check the airline’s website. Land tours tend to have more restrictions since they must fit all luggage into a motor coach. Most allow one suitcase up to 50 lbs, as well as a carry on. However, if doing FIT travel, you can bring as much luggage as the airline allows, provided you are willing to transport it yourself.

Do I need an outlet converter or adapter?

On American based cruise ships, outlets are the same as standard American outlets. Converters and adapters are needed for international cruise tours and land tours, where you will be spending one or more nights at a land destination. Canada and Mexico are exceptions since they both use the same voltage as the U.S. If your appliance runs on 110 – 130 volts, you will need to use a converter (most countries use 220-240 volts). Converters are mostly needed for non-electronic heating appliances (i.e. hair dryer) and are not designed for continuous use. Combination converters can be used to convert low wattage electronics, as well as high wattage heat appliances with the flip of a switch. However, if your appliance is dual voltage you will not need a converter. Dual voltage appliances only require a plug adapter specific to the foreign outlet being used.

Can I bring my own hair dryer or appliance onboard a cruise ship?

You may bring your own bathroom appliance onboard including but not limited to: hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, and hair straighteners. Please note that many ships now have hair dryers in the cabins. You may not bring your own kitchen appliances (i.e. coffee makers). For land travel, you may bring any appliance you would like and that can fit into your suitcase. Be sure you have the appropriate converters or adapters to use your appliances.

Is parking available at the pier and/or airport?

Parking is generally available at the pier; however, pricing is set by the port authority in each city and is subject to change. Your Bon Voyage Travel advisor will provide you with driving directions and parking information with your confirmation packet. If you can’t get dropped off at the airport, most have short-term and long-term parking options. Follow the link for parking directions at major North American ports.

How early should I arrive to the airport?

You should arrive at least one hour early for domestic flights and at least two hours early for international flights. Give yourself even more time if flying out of larger airports.  Have your travel advisor research the recommended arrival time for the airports you are traveling out of.  Many have a 2 hour recommendation even if you are flying domestically.

What happens if I miss my flight?

If the missed flight was your fault (i.e., arriving late to the airport, missing identification), your current ticket will not be refunded and you will need to purchase a new one. If you miss your connection due to a delay by the airline, contact an airline agent at the airport to accommodate you on the next available flight to your destination. If you are covered by travel insurance, contact your insurance provider. Lastly, if you purchased your airfare through a cruise line or need any further assistance, please contact your Bon Voyage Travel advisor.

What happens if I miss the ship?

If you miss your ship, you will need to contact your Bon Voyage Travel advisor immediately to review your options. You may be able to meet the ship at the next port of call.  If you can’t reach your travel advisor contact the cruise line directly to inform them that you plan to get on in the next port.

What can I do with my free time?

On an Escorted Tour, your free time is an opportunity to explore the sights of a city not already included in your itinerary. Check out museums, try new restaurants, shop at local stores, or simply sit back and relax. If you’re an FIT traveler, all of your time is essentially free time because you are determining your itinerary.  Your Bon Voyage Travel advisor has contacts in most cities that will organize day tours, sightseeing and private car and driver if you desire.

What is an excursion?

An excursion is usually an activity off the motor coach. This includes local sightseeing and activity opportunities. Excursions are part of your itinerary on Escorted Tours. Though, some excursions are optional and may require an extra fee. With FIT, you select each excursion you want to participate in.

Are tour guides available?

On an Escorted Tour, your tour director will serve as your tour guide. Oftentimes, you will also meet up with local guides as part of your itinerary. Tour guides are not included in FIT, but can be arranged if requested while planning your trip. Any on-your-own excursions do not include tour guides and you will be responsible for finding your own if desired.

Are meals included?

Typically, breakfast is included at many of the hotel stays. Lunch is not usually provided, regardless of whether you are doing an Escorted Tour or FIT travel. Some dinners, but not all, will be included on an Escorted Tour. Dinner is not provided with FIT.