Are you considering taking a cruise from Tampa, or even going on a cruise for the very first time? Then become more than ready to set sail by reading these answers to frequently asked questions about cruising! 

How much does a cruise cost?

Unlike hotel room prices, cruise fares are listed per person, not per cabin, and are based on two people occupying a cabin. The average cruise is a week long, and the average cruise fare breaks down to $79 per day per person, so, based on these figures, the average cruise costs about $553 per person.

The cost to go on a cruise leaving the Port of Tampa ranges from $200-$7,000 per person, depending on the cruise line, cabin, and destination that are booked. Most cruise lines leaving the port offer plenty of fare options that are under $1,000 per person.

Aside from couples, who else cruises?

Everyone cruises! Families, friends, singles, and groups of all kinds enjoy going on cruises. 

People go on cruises for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, honeymoons, reunions, anniversaries, graduations, retirement, and other special occasions. 

Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?

Almost all cruise lines welcome families, but there are certainly some that are more “family-friendly” with their fun atmosphere and diverse amenities.   

Do I need a passport?

Yes, in case of an emergency, you always need to bring a passport on a cruise. Emergencies that require having a passport include medical air evacuations and dockings at alternate ports. 

You should still bring your passport even if your cruise line tells you that you don’t need to bring your passport or you don’t plan on disembarking the cruise ship and visiting other countries. 

Are cruises really all-inclusive?

No, cruises aren’t 100% all-inclusive because cruise lines offer additional amenities such as childcare and specialty restaurants that will cost extra. Some on-board activities, shore excursions, spa and salon services, use of laundry facilities, and photography and other souvenirs are also not included in the price of cruise fare. 

Tipping and fuel supplement charges are also not covered in all-inclusive cruises. Passengers must tip wait staff out-of-pocket, and fuel supplement charges can even be charged indirectly as a clause in the cruise line’s contract could state that they may or may not add a fuel supplement charge if the price of oil rises above a certain point. 

What is included in the price of my cruise?

The price of your cruise includes meals in the ship’s main dining rooms, buffets, and select restaurants as well as beverages (usually tap water, regular coffee and tea, iced tea, juices, and perhaps sparkling wine and/or soda depending on the cruise line). 

Your cruise fare also includes limited room service, a variety of on-board activities, daytime kids’ clubs, main theatre performances, use of the pool, water slides, and splash pads; fitness center access, some fitness classes, and use of steam and sauna rooms.   

What should I pack?

Carnival Cruises has a comprehensive packing list and suggests that you bring activity-appropriate clothing and shoes, bathing suits and cover ups, flip-flops and closed-toe shoes, formal attire, a sweater, a backpack or beach tote, sunscreen and after-sun lotion, toiletries, medications for upset stomach and seasickness, an underwater camera, cash for tipping, and a portable back-up battery charger. That should cover all of the bases! 

How do I book a cruise? 

You can book a cruise through a travel agent in Tampa or book directly on a cruise line’s website.

Will I get seasick?

Not likely. In a blog post by Royal Carribean Cruises titled “The Truth About Seasickness,” their medical consultant Dr. Benjamin Shore says, “Considering the large size of today’s cruise ships, seasickness is rarely a problem.” He adds that the cruise ship’s stabilizers and navigational avoidance of storms reduce side-to-side motion so that most guests never experience any motion sickness.

Will I fall over the side?

No. It’s extremely rare that someone falls overboard while on a cruise ship. The cruise industry says that accidental falls don’t happen when passengers are behaving responsibly.

In fact, the Cruise Lines International Association says that man-overboard incidents are the “result of an intentional or reckless act” and there are “no known cases of someone acting responsibly who has fallen over the railing of a cruise ship.”

How safe are cruises?

Very safe. Cruises are still considered one of the safest forms of recreation and travel, and, statistically, it’s highly unlikely that someone will be injured or killed on a cruise ship. 

Cruises are safer than ever with regular inspections and all of the various precautions they take. Passengers also need to do their part to ensure their safety by behaving responsibly, being aware of their surroundings, and following the safety drills that are conducted before departure. 

Do I need to pay for drinkable water?

You won’t need to pay for tap water, but you’ll need to pay for bottled water if you want it.

How do I pay for stuff?

While onboard, you pay for things by using your room key card, which doubles as your “cruise card.” None of the onboard facilities will accept cash, but you may tip in cash. 

What is the minimum age for drinking and gambling?

For cruise lines departing from the Port of Tampa, the minimum drinking age is 21, and the minimum gambling age is 18.

How much should I tip?

Most American cruise lines add gratuities of about $12 daily to your onboard bill. Be sure to check your cruise line’s shipping policies to see whether or not they add gratuities, and, if so, how much. 

Should you have to or decide you also want to give cash tips crew members, you can tip the bellman $1-$2 per bag, cabin stewards $2-$3 per day, room service stewards $2-$3 per visit, head waiters $5, drivers $1-$2, tour guides $1-$5,  and bartenders, wine sommeliers, and waiters $10-$20.

Where do I park my car? 

You never have to stress over parking with Parkway Parking! Just call (888)399-9267, and a parking specialist will help you make a parking reservation. You can also self-book by visiting Parkway Parking online. 

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Cover photo courtesy of Adobe Stock Images