Frequently Asked Questions
Independent Cruises

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Which cruise lines can I book?

We work with over a dozen of the world's biggest and best cruise lines, with scheduled departures from ports in the U.S. and all over the world.

Which cruise line and ship should I choose?

Cruise lines and cruise ships differ as greatly as do hotel chains and individual hotels. We offer lines with a faster-paced, more adventurous atmosphere, and others with a more laid-back and luxurious environment. Take a look at the individual cruise line pages to get a quick overview on each. Once you've selected a cruise line that fits your personality, than you can look at their ships for size and amenities offered.

What is included in my cruise reservation?

Your stateroom, all meals, 24-hour room service, supervised children's activities and kids meals, onboard entertainment and free use of the ships facilities. Certain lines include gratuities in your cruise fare.

What is not included in my cruise reservation?
  • Casino gambling and alcoholic beverages
  • Spa services (massages, facials, manicures etc)
  • Tips
  • Purchases of a personal nature (Souvenirs, shore excursions etc)
  • Babysitting
  • Any transportation or parking costs prior to boarding the ship
What about motion sickness?

Modern cruise ships are designed with stabilizers to ensure passenger comfort. The instances of motion sickness are very rare. Many over-the-counter medications are available to assist passengers if they should experience motion sickness.

What is there to do onboard?

Facilities vary depending upon the cruise ship selected. Most modern ships offer a selection of entertainment including: Casinos, nightclubs, lounges, Las Vegas style shows, recent Hollywood releases, dancing and swimming. Some of the newer ships have bowling alleys, ice skating, rock climbing walls and even zip lining.

Will my kids have enough to do?

More and more, cruises have become family vacations and the cruise lines have responded to the special needs of families. Most lines have specially designed children's programs with sports, swimming, movies, computers and games. These programs are staffed by trained counselors who insure the safety and happiness of the children. Many ships offer multiple programs based on the child's age.

What is the minimum age to reserve a cruise?

You must be at least 21 years of age to reserve a cruise vacation. If a guest in the cabin is under the age of 21, they must be accompanied by a guest 25 years of age or older. (Children staying in an adjacent cabin to their parents are exempt from this requirement)

How will I know what is happening in the rest of the world?

All of the ships we represent have televisions in each stateroom as well as cellular/satellite telephones. Many of the newer ships also have internet cafes. Most ships provide a daily newsletter that provides headlines and daily activity listing as well as a few select sports scores and stock quotes.

Is dining on board a cruise ship as good as I have heard?

From morning until night, breakfast until midnight buffet, dining aboard ship is an experience that most travelers remember for a lifetime. The cruise lines provide a wide variety of excellent culinary choices from there dining rooms to specialty restaurants found aboard an increasing number of ships. You can even order 24-hour room service!

Can I have laundry cleaned onboard?

Most ships offer both laundry and dry cleaning services onboard for a nominal fee.

What are the differences in cabins?

When considering what type of cabin to book, the factors to consider are cost, size and location of the cabin. A rule of thumb is that the cost of the cabin will increase if it is on a higher deck or closer to the center of the ship. To assist you in your decision, you will have access to photos of cabins as well as deck plans for cabin category location during the booking process.

How many passengers can I put into one cabin?

Most cabins allow a maximum of four passengers. Third and fourth passengers typically have either upper Pullman beds or a convertible sofa. Some cruise lines may allow a fifth passenger if the cabin is large enough to accommodate a rollaway bed.

How do I book my cruise?

You can reserve your cruise online or you can call our reservations team at 1-800-555-5765.

How does a "Category Guarantee" differ from a "Cabin Assignment"?

A cabin assignment means that a particular cabin number has been assigned to you by the cruise line. Once assigned, you have the advantage of knowing where your cabin is located and the type of bedding which exists.

A category guarantee means that there is the possibility that you may be upgraded to a higher category cabin at no additional charge. Even though you are guaranteed to get at minimum the category that you paid for, you have no guarantee that you will be upgraded. Your final cabin category and location, forward/aft etc, is completely at the discretion of the cruise line. You also may not know what cabin has been assigned to you until you board the ship.

What is the deposit requirement?

A deposit of $100–$500 per person is required to guarantee your cruise reservation. High demand sailings and/or special price offerings may require a higher deposit. Your deposit amount will be displayed during the booking process.

When can I specify my dining times?

During the booking process you will be prompted to select which dining seating you would prefer. Most cruise lines have a choice between Early/Main (approx 6:30PM) and Second/Late (approx 8:45PM).

Are special meal requests accepted?

Yes, most ships can accommodate a number of special dietary requirements. (Example: kosher, low cholesterol, etc.) All special meals are on a request basis only and are only requests and not guaranteed.

What is the cancellation penalty?

Any cancellation of a cruise reservation will incur a $50 per person processing fee from Friendly Planet Travel in addition to any penalties/fees assessed by the cruise line. View the cruise lines' cancellation penalties. Cruise lines reserve the right to modify their cancellation policies at any time without notice.

When is my final payment due?

Final payments are typically due by 80 days prior to travel. High demand sailings and/or holiday sailings may require full payment at 95 days prior to travel. Your final payment date and amount will be displayed on your email confirmation.

What about travel insurance?

Cruises of 5 nights or longer on all cruise lines except Carnival receive travel insurance at no additional charge. This coverage may be upgraded for $24 per person for passengers 64 years or younger or $48 per person for passengers 65 years or older.

If your cruise is less than 5 nights, or on Carnival cruise lines, you may purchase the standard insurance for 2.1% of the cruise fare (excluding taxes and fees) and then upgrade your coverage if you choose. Insurance details.

What type of identification do I need?

Passports are required for all U.S. citizens traveling abroad and should be valid for at least 6 months after your date of return. Many countries will not allow you to enter their borders if you do not have at least 6 months of remaining validity on your present passport. Friendly Planet Travel recommends that all passengers traveling outside of the U.S. be in possession of a valid U.S. passport.

When do I register for my cruise and receive my cruise tickets?

Your cruise documents are typically available approximately 30 days prior to travel. All of our cruise lines require that an online pre-registration process be completed before documents may be accessed and at least 7 days prior to departure. The instructions for pre-registration as well as document delivery will be sent you in our Welcome Aboard instructions once your reservation is complete.

How early or late can I board the ship?

Boarding times vary depending upon the cruise line and the specific itinerary. You will receive detailed boarding information with your cruise documents. All passengers are required to be on board at least 2 hours prior to sailing.

Can a friend or family member come aboard to see the ship?

No visitors are permitted aboard ship due to security reasons.

Where can I find port information?
What clothes should I pack?

Sport clothes and comfortable shoes for deck activities are necessities during the day. Also bring at least 2 swimsuits. The evenings need three types of clothing:

  1. Casual: dresses or slacks and blouses for women; sport shirts and trousers for men
  2. Smart casual: dresses or pantsuits for women; jackets for men
  3. Formal: cocktail dresses for women; suits and ties, or tuxedos for men
What else should I pack?

Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel.

What about tipping my cabin steward and waiter?

Tipping amounts vary between cruise lines and, in some cases, depending upon the grade of cabin you have confirmed. As a rule of thumb, tipping is a total of $10-$12 per person per day. Some cruise lines automatically add this to your ship board account. You will receive additional information on tipping with your confirmation email.

Can I celebrate a special day on my cruise?

Most cruise lines do provide a cake for birthdays or anniversaries. We can notify the cruise line of your special day, but it is best that you follow up with the cruise line shortly before departure (7-10 days).

Can I book a group?

We would be thrilled to help you arrange your cruise group. Typically, with a minimum of 8 staterooms, the group leader receives 1 free berth (1/2 of a double cabin). We may be able to offer even more amenities to the group and the group leader depending on the size of the group. To begin, please call us at 800-555-5765 or email us at or

Can I take a honeymoon cruise?

Absolutely! Cruising offers honeymooners the perfect combination of romance and adventure.

Can I cruise if I am pregnant?

Women who are less than 6 months pregnant are typically permitted to cruise. Please bring along a doctors note providing permission to travel. This is required during the boarding process.

Do you offer senior citizen discounts on cruises?

Cruise lines sometimes offer senior rates provided at least one occupant of the cabin is at least 55 years of age. These rates are not offered on all sailings.