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Your Guide to Cruising

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The Best Value in Travel

With meals, activities, transportation, entertainment and room service charges included*, cruises can be much more cost-effective and inclusive than many land-based holidays. You can also visit multiple destinations without extra transportation costs, with the added benefit of having to unpack only once!

Included in Rate*:

  • Onboard accommodations
  • Standard meals
  • Most non-alcoholic drinks (including coffee and tea)
  • Room service**
  • Onboard activities (waterslides, rock climbing, miniature golf, trivia games and more)
  • Entertainment (onboard stage shows, comedy acts, live bands, lounge acts and more)
  • Children's activities and clubs (organised by age group for kids to meet and bond)
  • Fitness centre and fitness programs

Not Included:

  • Specialty coffees, sodas and alcoholic beverages*
  • Meals in alternative restaurants
  • Organised shore excursions
  • Spa or salon services
  • Specialty exercise classes
  • Casino gaming
  • Gratuities

*Inclusions vary by cruise line.

**Fees may apply on some cruise lines.

Onboard Activities and Entertainment

Swimming Pools, Waterslides and More

Hit the pool with exciting water activities for kids and the young at heart. If you're looking to relax – don't worry – you can get away from it all in areas reserved exclusively for adults.

Shows and Live Music

The larger cruise lines feature nightly Broadway-style musical revues, comedy shows or magic acts. Live music is also featured throughout the ship.

Spa and Fitness

Relax and rejuvenate with a full-service spa and fitness centre. (Remember, there is a charge for spa treatments and special fitness classes.)


Take a load off at the theatre. Many cruise lines offer indoor or outdoor screenings, and you can always enjoy a movie in your cabin.

Casino Fun

Once a ship hits international waters, try your luck at poker, blackjack, roulette and more.

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Cruise Dining

Onboard dining options are plentiful. There's often a grill on the pool deck, and pastries, pizza and other goodies are available for snacking all day. The price of the cruise includes standard onboard meals; however, some alternative and specialty restaurants have an extra charge.

Main Dining Room

Savour a meal in a more formal setting, with specified dinner times at designated tables. Or, many lines offer the opportunity to dine when and with whom you choose.

Alternative and Specialty Restaurants

From tasty Asian fusion to steakhouses and Italian, you'll find excellent cuisine anywhere from $5 to $75 per person. Specialty restaurants offer a luxurious setting with exceptional service and are great for celebrations.

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Youth Programs

From pool parties to rock climbing, there's fun for all ages.

  • Programs for designated age groups (most have programs for ages 2 to 17).
  • Tween and teen activities (such as Xbox gaming, Wii tournaments, pizza parties and sports).
  • Kids' pools on select ships.
  • Fun for the whole family (basketball tournaments, karaoke and more).
  • Themed activities (scavenger hunts, game shows and character experiences on cruise lines such as Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International).
  • Most ships offer babysitting services (for an additional fee), either in a group setting or privately, with a sitter in your cabin.
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Cruise Destinations

From tropical South Pacific islands to majestic fjords in Alaska, there's a cruise destination to suit every taste. Enjoy the view from the ship and, once in port, take a closer look with special tours and activities arranged by the cruise lines.


See whales, bald eagles, seals and occasionally even bears right off the deck! Add gorgeous glacier fields and a fascinating culture and history, and you've got a truly unique Alaskan cruise experience. If you want to extend your visit, look for land tours (pre- or post-sailing) available through our cruise specialists. These fascinating tours give an in-depth look at treasures like Denali National Park and Preserve (a highly recommended pre- and post-tour from Anchorage, Alaska).

Australia and New Zealand

Cosmopolitan cities, charming towns and natural landscapes that are as remarkable as they are diverse, Australia and New Zealand have it all. From beaches, bays and bushland to desert, mountains and rivers, there’s plenty to see and do when you head to shore in our scenic corner of the world. Whether you explore the city, head to the beach or get back to nature, you know the locals are friendly and the mood laid-back.


Exotic, exciting and all-encompassing, Asia is a feast for the senses. From buzzing cities to blissful beaches and calm countryside villages, Asia has something for every type of holidaymaker. Relax by the beach, visit a temple, take in some world-class shopping, eat out and explore your surrounds during your time on shore. With cruise destinations including China, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Cambodia, Burma and Indonesia, you won’t be disappointed.

South Pacific

Stunning, palm-fringed beaches and turquoise seas are very much part of the South Pacific cruise experience. Tahiti and French Polynesia, Fiji, Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia, Tonga and Rapa Nui are among the many idyllic islands that make up this vast and diverse region. Each island offers its own unique experience, but they all boast a relaxing beachside culture and share a reputation for making travellers feel welcome.


Enjoy crystal-clear water and pristine beaches year-round. A variety of cruise lines and itineraries (from 3-night to 7-night sailings or longer), fun water sports, and world-class diving and snorkelling make the Caribbean a great option for first-timers and seasoned cruisers alike. Almost every island is a different country and a unique experience!


From Athens to Venice, Barcelona and Rome, take in rich culture and traditions, the finest local cuisine, centuries-old monuments and architecture, and world-renowned art and museums.


Hawaii's world-renowned beaches, beautiful golf courses and friendly, easy-going Aloha attitude will charm travellers of all ages. Plus, a Hawaii cruise is a convenient and cost-efficient way to visit all the islands in one trip.

Northern Europe

Majestic fjords and lakes are only the beginning. From London to Copenhagen, from Hamburg to Saint Petersburg and beyond, a Northern European cruise allows you to explore multiple countries in one itinerary – a great way to experience each country's historical landmarks, cuisine and more.

River Cruising

River cruising offers a different but highly enjoyable and intimate cruising experience. Such cruises provide a smooth, scenic journey that gives passengers a unique view and easy access to the cities and places through which they are travelling. There are river cruises of various durations and routes, ranging from a few days to a few weeks, with popular destinations spanning from Europe, Russia and Egypt to South America, Asia and Australia’s Murray River.

Destination by Season

Not sure what time of year is best for a cruise? Here are some helpful tips to get you started.


If you enjoy the warm hues of autumn foliage, consider a Northern Hemisphere September or October cruise to the east coasts of the United States and Canada. This is also a great time to sail to Europe, when you can beat the crowds and enjoy more moderate temperatures than in the warmer summer months. You'll also find less expensive sailings this time of year.


Exchange cold weather for some sun! Winter is a popular time to cruise to the South Pacific, Hawaii or even the Bahamas, Mexico and other Caribbean destinations. Remember, our winter is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, so Alaska attracts a high concentration of travellers in the summer months, but it's also a popular time to enjoy Europe's sights. And don't forget the kids! European summer is a great time to get the whole family together.


Spring is a great time to visit the Mediterranean. For Alaska, try late spring – an affordable time to go, as it's right before high season, when prices can go up.


Our Christmas/summer holidays are a great time to get the whole family together. Beach destinations, such as the South Pacific and Hawaii, are always a hit with the kids, too. Or, for something different, experience a traditional European Christmas-market river cruise.

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Booking Your Cruise

  • All passenger cabins are located above sea level* and are classified as one of four categories:

    • Inside cabins are generally the smallest cabins onboard and have no views, but are a good option if you are on a tight budget.
    • Oceanview cabins include windows or portholes and provide a view of ports visited.
    • Balcony cabins feature an ocean-facing balcony that offers a space to relax that is all your own.
    • Suites are the largest cabins on board. They have windows and usually balconies, and offer the most amenities and space, often including exclusive butler or concierge service, and other special amenities.

  • Booking a Guaranteed Cabin quickly and easily secures a cabin in your selected category, but your exact room will not be assigned until the time of ship check-in. (Final cabin location, including deck, is at the total discretion of the cruise line.)

    Booking a Guaranteed Cabin, in many instances, means a greater chance of receiving a complimentary upgrade to a higher cabin category close to sail date.

Changing or Cancelling Your Cruise

  • Most cruise lines allow you to cancel your cruise without a fee when done at least 91 days before departure. However, giving shorter notice will likely result in extra fees. Cruise cancellation fees increase the closer to the departure date that a cancellation is made. Consult the cruise line's rules and regulations during booking for their specific cancellation fees and policies. You may also want to consider Cruise Travel Protection, specific travel insurances which can reimburse you for cancellation penalties in case of medical emergencies.

  • Whether or not to purchase comprehensive travel insurance is an individual decision. However, it is highly recommended in case illness or injury keeps you from traveling. If you need to cancel your trip because you, your immediate family, or your travel companion is too sick to travel, you will be reimbursed for your original trip cost. Some cruise insurers can also help you find a doctor or hospital in case of medical emergencies and can reimburse you for eligible medical expenses.

    If you purchase comprehensive travel insurance and must cancel your cruise for a covered reason, you will be reimbursed for the cancellation penalty. The cost of the plan is non-refundable. Please be sure to read the summary of coverage for terms, conditions and plan sponsors.

    Some Adventure Cruise operator’s require the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance as a requirement before boarding. Please check with your cruise consultant.

  • You may be able to add another passenger, depending on the cabin's passenger capacity and the point at which you decide to add the passenger; however, there is no guarantee that an extra person can be added, or that the price will stay the same. If you would like to add another passenger, please call your Expedia Cruise Specialist.

  • Cruise lines may not let you change a passenger's name, or sometimes even that name's spelling, after you complete your reservation, without charging a fee. Changes like these can be costly, so please be absolutely certain that all passengers' names/details (i.e. date-of-birth, nationality etc.) are listed exactly as they appear on their proof of citizenship (passports or government-issued photo IDs and birth certificates). Particular attention needs to be paid by honeymooners who may wish to travel on their new married name but still only have a passport in their previous family name.


  • If your cruise departs more than 100 days in the future, you can usually choose to book with only a deposit. If you choose to make a deposit, your confirmation email will provide your final payment due date.

  • After you book your cruise, you will receive a confirmation email that will let you know when your final payment is due and how to pay. You may also call a Cruise Specialist to make your final payment. Keep in mind that if you are not paid in full by the final due date, the cruise line can cancel your reservation and will not refund you for any payments you've already made.

  • If your payment card is not accepted, verify that you entered the card number, expiration date, and billing address correctly. If you are still having trouble, call your credit card company to make sure you haven't exceeded any daily credit limits. If your card is still not accepted, please call a Cruise Specialist for assistance.

Registration and Documents

  • After booking, you will receive a confirmation email from Expedia. If you only made a deposit while booking, the confirmation email will provide the final payment due date. Once you receive your confirmation, be sure to register online with the cruise line to view your itinerary, book shore excursions, and complete important paperwork that will speed up the embarkation process. You will receive your cruise documents and information (usually in email form) from Expedia prior to your sail date.

    If you have booked a last-minute cruise, we recommend that you call a Cruise Specialist for specific details.

  • With Expedia, you can book a cruise up to 24 months in advance. By booking this early, you can find great cruise deals and get the cabin and sailing date of your choice.

Life Onboard

    • Documents: Be sure to pack your passport and travel documents.
    • Electronics: For items requiring electrical-outlet usage, such as hair dryers or mobile phone chargers, note that some ships/cabins are equipped with US standard 110-volt outlets only, while other ships/cabins are equipped with European standard 220-volt outlets. Many Australian based ships will be equipped with Australian standard 240-volt outlets. We recommend you bring a multi-adapter.
    • Everyday Clothing: Pack with both your destination's climate and the cruise ship's dress code in mind. For Alaska, bring protective rain coverings. For the Caribbean or Pacific Islands, bring plenty of light, airy clothing and sunscreen.
    • Formal Clothing: If your ship has formal nights, men should bring a dark suit or tuxedo, and women should bring cocktail attire. If you don't own these items, that's still OK; most ships have casual dining venues, and some ships also have formal wear rental shops.
    • Forbidden Items: The following items are not permitted on board: firearms, weapons of any kind, irons, candles, explosives and animals (except service animals with permission from the cruise line).

  • Many ships recommend tipping (gratuities) around $10 to $15 per person, per day, and many cruise lines automatically include the amount in the fare when booking. Other cruise lines automatically charge tips to your shipboard account (guests have the option to adjust this charge at the front desk). You may also have the option to pay cash directly to the staff member. Check with your cruise specialist for details on your cruise’s tipping/gratuity options.

    • Internet: Most ships have internet access (for a fee), including internet cafés, access from your cabin, or ship-wide wireless (wi-fi). Remember, internet access at sea is not going to be as fast or reliable as land connections, and therefore may not be available at all times. For a faster connection, use the internet at night or in port when other guests are ashore. For more details, check out the ship features on your cruise line's website.
    • Telephone: Most cabins offer telephones. If your cabin does not have a telephone (which is rare), the ship's radio operator can connect you to a mainland number in case of an emergency. Please keep in mind that making a ship-to-shore telephone call can be quite expensive, and it may be worth waiting to use a pay phone at the next port stop.
    • Mobile Devices: Some cruise lines offer onboard service, but reception may depend on your phone carrier. Watch out for expensive additional roaming or usage fees your mobile phone provider may issue. To be safe, keep your mobile phone off, or on airplane mode, to prevent charges from incoming text messages or roaming.

    To check email or use social media, your best bet is to pay for access to the ship's computer stations. Another option is to find a free wi-fi location ashore, and download all your emails at no charge.

  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services are offered by most major cruise lines. Information about the service fees and procedures can be found in your cabin. Some ships even have self-service laundromats.

  • Smoking is usually allowed in limited designated areas, but not in most of the cabins, including your balcony, in the main dining rooms, or in most public areas. Cruise lines are strict about this policy and there can be cleaning fees or other penalties if you violate this. Consult the cruise line's general conditions, rules, and regulations for additional details about the cruise line's specific smoking policies.

  • Most cruise ships maintain a minimum drinking age of 21, however, a few may lower the drinking age to 18 when sailing from non-US ports.

  • While doing your online registration with the cruise line, they will provide you with information about shore excursions (including photos, video clips, excursion difficulty, duration and cost).

    If the cruise line does not allow you to book an excursion online ahead of time, or if you choose not to, you can book on board at the ship's shore excursion desk. Book early for the best selection, as some excursions sell out quickly.

    Why not begin or end your trip with an excursion? Check our Activities page for some great options.

  • Embarkation begins when you start to board the ship. You can usually board the ship 3 to 4 hours before departure.

    All passengers must be on board at least 60 to 90 minutes prior to departure. Check the individual cruise line's policies for final boarding times.

    Check in at the pier with your proof of citizenship (passport or government-issued photo ID and birth certificate). Some itineraries may include countries requiring travel visas. Check the individual cruise line's policies for required documentation. At this time, you'll also set up your onboard account for services and items purchased on board.

    Upon boarding, you'll be able to have a snack or a full lunch, explore the ship, or simply spend time in your cabin. Due to security reasons, passengers may not bring visitors on board.

    On the final night of the cruise, you'll have the option of placing your luggage outside your cabin door. If you don't set your luggage out, you'll be required to take it off the ship yourself. If you do leave your luggage out, be sure to keep any necessities in a carry-on bag, as your luggage will not be accessible until after you depart the ship.

    If you want breakfast, you'll generally need to get up extra early. Passengers depart in groups. Your group information, along with any necessary customs forms, will be left in your cabin the night before you disembark. You'll be required to pass through customs as you depart the ship.

    Disembarkation can take 2 to 3 hours. Please allow plenty of time to disembark the ship, go through customs, and get to the airport in time for check-in. We suggest you schedule your return flight to depart a minimum of 6 hours after you're scheduled to arrive in port.

First-Time Cruise Tips

Best Time to Book a Cruise: Wave Season (January–March) and during Cruise Week – usually in early September – are when you'll score the year's top deals, including free perks (like upgrades and onboard credits) and discounted fares.

Avoid the Queasy Stomach: Sensitive to motion sickness? Choose a cabin on a lower deck, mid-ship, or try a short-duration cruise first. There are a variety of 2- to 4- night cruise options from Sydney and Brisbane. Alternatively, choose an Alaskan Inside passage itinerary, as these do not cross open ocean. Or maybe you’d prefer a river cruise itinerary for the smoothest cruise of all!

Arrive Early at the Cruise Port: Plan to arrive at least two hours before your ship's departure time. If possible, fly to your embarkation city the night before in case of flight delays, especially when starting a cruise on another continent.

Get Onboard Spa Specials: If you're a spa seeker, look for specials on days the ship is in port. You can save up to 25 per cent – a great way to kick-start a holiday.

Ask for a wakeup call: Most cabins don't have alarm clocks, so plan to bring your own, or request a phone wakeup call.

Celebrate Special Occasions: Celebrating a birthday or anniversary onboard? Pre-order flowers, cakes, champagne and more.

Check the Daily Onboard Schedule: The ship newsletter is delivered nightly to your cabin. Here, you'll find the next day's entertainment schedule, special events, dinner themes and attire, and other helpful tips.

Pose for Pictures: If you don't like lugging your camera around, don't worry. A professional photographer will be onboard to capture special moments, and the photos will be available for purchase at the end of your cruise.

Before You Leave

From booking your shore excursions to packing your bags, there's a lot to remember when preparing to leave for your cruise. Refer to this information to ensure a smooth departure. Things to Do Cruise Packing List Don't Forget:

Print Checklist (PDF) 

Getting to Your Ship

Upon arrival at the pier, you'll proceed through the embarkation process, making your way through customs and cruise ship check-in. Arriving at the Pier Embarkation Don't Forget:

Print Checklist (PDF) 

Onboard Health & Safety

Although many may not think about it when planning a trip, basic ship safety is an important part of a successful cruise vacation. Please take a moment to look over our cruise safety information for helpful tips on what to expect. What to Know Health and Wellness Don't Forget:

Print Checklist (PDF) 

Shore Excursions

Venture to awesome sights far from the pier, skip the hassle of planning your own onshore activities, and learn more about an area from a local guide. Here are some great excursion tips to get you started. How to Book a Shore Excursion Cruise Excursion Tips Don't Forget:

Print Checklist (PDF) 

Disembarkation & Returning Home

Concluding your cruise vacation begins with the disembarkation process: the act of getting off the cruise ship. The following tips will help you prepare for the last day of your cruise. Before Disembarkation Begins Disembarkation Tips Don't Forget:

Print Checklist (PDF) 

Posts from the Blog

Check out the Expedia travel blog for insider tips and expert cruise advice.

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