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Win a cruise aboard the MSC Magnifica

This month we're giving you the chance to win a Cruise Nation Smart Package for two aboard the spectacular MSC Magnifica in a balcony cabin. Simply enter your details below for a chance to win!

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CRUISE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

At Cruise Nation we pride ourselves on giving you as much information as possible before you book your cruise, we've put together a list of questions that people commonly ask us before they travel.

The answers provided are for guidance only, should you wish to ask a specific question in relation to a cruise line or ship then give us a call and we'll be happy to help!

FREQUENTLY ASKED CRUISE QUESTIONS

What is included in the cruise price?
Your cruise will include cabin accommodation aboard your selected ship, meals, and most of the entertainment while onboard. Please note some cruise line's offer select dinning options for which there is a small cover fee applicable.

What is not included in my cruise price?
The price will not include any organised shore excursions, carbonated soft drinks or alcoholic beverages (unless an 'All Inclusive Cruise' is purchased), photographs, gratuities (Included in the cost of some cruise lines featured on Cruise Nation.com – Please check at time of booking), medical services, casino expenditures, gifts, spa and beauty treatments or other miscellaneous items you may have purchase onboard.

What is the difference between an inside and outside stateroom?
An outside cabin will have a window or a porthole and is classed as an "Ocean View Stateroom" room. An inside cabin may have artwork or a mirrored window on the walls and is considered a "No View" room.

Is a cruise right for honeymooners?
Cruising offers just the right atmosphere for any honeymooners, romance... sumptuous meals for two and dancing the night away. Most cruise lines provide special honeymoon touches like champagne and breakfast in bed. For more details just check with a member of Cruise Nation.com at the time of booking. Thinking of getting married? Some cruise lines offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony at sea or renewing your marriage vows.

Are there different classes of service onboard?
Today's cruise ships are mainly "one class" however Cunard still operates a two class service as such with different dinning options available exclusively to selected cabins. The ships facilities are available to everyone onboard.

Are there non-smoking areas?
Virtually all ships are non-smoking in the public rooms inside the ship, reflecting passenger requests, but they do provide dedicated smoking areas outside on deck and in allocated cabins.

Will feel confined?
Most ships are a good size and it usually takes a couple of days to fully explore the different areas onboard. You can relax by the poolside, join a dance class or sports activity, see a movie, even try your luck in a casino - the options are endless! In addition to the activities onboard, you also have the opportunity to explore new and exciting ports of call almost everyday.

Are the cruise itineraries subject to change?
Yes, all cruise itineraries are subject to change. With guest safety as the number one priority for the cruise lines, on the rare occasions that weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances may occur, it may cause a change in the original itinerary. In these circumstances, the cruise line staff will do everything to visit an alternate port of call.

When can I board the ship?
Embarkation normally begins approximately 4 hours prior to departure. Passengers must be onboard no later than 1 hour prior to sailing.

What if I have medication?
Please carry any medication in its original bottle. It is recommended that medications be carried in your pocket or purse so they will be available when needed because checked luggage may not be accessible at all times. If you are using any prescription drugs, vitamins, or other medication on a regular basis, you should bring an adequate supply since they may not be available aboard the ship or in ports of call. Commonly used medications may be purchased at the office of the ship's doctor.

Are there laundry services aboard ship?
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Many ships also have self-service launderettes available for a small charge.

Is there parking available at the port?
There is parking at all major ports. The rates vary depending on the duration of your stay. Please ask a member of Cruise Nation.com for details at the time of booking.

How do I get to the ship?
If you have flights booked through the cruise line as part of a package, a representative from the cruise line will meet you by the baggage claim on arrival. They will escort you to the transfer shuttle that goes from the airport to the pre cruise hotel or port and back again after the cruise. If you are traveling on a tailor made cruise, Cruise Nation.com can offer you these transfer services for an additional charge if requested at the time of booking.

What do I need to know regarding the embarkation and disembarkation processes?
Your cruise essentially begins as soon as you step aboard the ship. Boarding for the cruise usually begins around 1 PM. Cruise Nation.com recommends that you arrive at the port around an hour before the specified boarding time to bypass any queues. It takes about an hour to have your documents checked and processed, get your onboard account card, and line up for boarding. On the final night of the cruise, you should be packed and have your luggage in the hallway by 2 AM. Make sure to leave out your clothes for the next day, as well as your sleepwear. In the morning, breakfast is served early; then guests go to public rooms to begin the disembarkation process. This allows the cabin stewards time to clean the cabin for the next guest. Please not that you may disembark in groups. Wait in the public room until your group is called. Be sure to bring a carry-on for your sleepwear and toiletries. Once off the ship, you may pick up your luggage from the specified area.

Can I bring visitors on the ship?
For safety and security reasons, no visitors will be allowed onboard the ship at anytime.

Will I get sea sick?
Sea sickness is not common on larger cruise ships. Larger ships are fully stabilized to minimize the feeling of movement. If you should feel queasy, medicine is available from your cabin steward or the ship's doctor. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider consulting your doctor prior to your cruise.

Will I need a tuxedo? 
Many cruise lines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise -- while on others, formal dinners or parties are part of the cruise experience. But you don't need to buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. Plus, many offer tuxedo rental services.

How do I pay for onboard purchases?
All ships are cash free for your convenience, on embarkation an account will be set up for you and purchases will be billed automatically to your credit card. If you don't have a credit card you may use a cash deposit. Traveler's checks may be cashed at the Purser's Desk to cover gratuities and can be used to pay off your onboard account if you do not wish to have the charges applied to your credit card.

What about tipping?
On many cruises with Cruise Nation.com gratuities are included, please check if these are included when you make your booking; if this is not the case you should reward great service. The following are suggestions only. Waiters and cabin stewards - £2.00 per passenger per day, Assistant Waiters - £1.00 per passenger per day, Head Waiters - £1.50 per passenger per day, and a 15% gratuity is added to most bar and wine bills.

What are my dining options?
Most cruise lines offer both a Main or Early Sitting and Late Sitting in the main dining room. Dining preferences may be requested at the time of the booking, however no requests are guaranteed. Your sitting and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. Either sittings will allow you to see all shows and experience everything your cruise has to offer as cruise lines offer early and late performances to accommodate this. As an alternative to traditional sittings in the main restaurants, some cruise lines now offer "freestyle or casual" dining. This option provides guests with the flexibility to dine when and where they wish. You may also choose your dinner companions and request specific tables rather than being assigned to a particular time and table for the duration of the cruise. For your convenience, in addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets, many ships also offer complimentary room service. Low-fat and vegetarian options are also widely.

Does a cruise cater for singles? 
Cruising is ideal for people travelling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties for singles -- early on, so you can get to know people right away. Many ships even offer social hosts who can be dance partners or dinner companions. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double cabins. If you ask them, many cruise lines will even find you a roommate to share a cabin so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more.

What if I'm on a special diet?
Special meals are available to accommodate different dietary needs. Requests should be made at the time of booking with a member of Cruise Nation.com. What if I am celebrating a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday? Cruise lines love to celebrate with you, if you are celebrating a special occasion on the ship, we can add this information to your reservation in advance or you can let the maitre'd or onboard assistance representatives know.

What is an assembly drill? Do I have to go?
These are generally known as lifeboat drills. Everybody onboard the ship is required to attend a compulsory safety drill to comply with Coast Guard and international maritime safety regulations prior to the ship setting sale from the port on the day of departure.

Do I have to participate in the cruise line's organized activities?
You can do as little or as much as you want whilst onboard you’r chosen activities are all up to you. The cruise line wants to make this you perfect holiday so if sitting by the pool 24/7 floats your boat you can do just that while your cocktail waiter brings you daiquiris to cool you down!

Do cruise lines have activities for kids?
As more and more families begin to cruise, most cruise lines have developed specialised supervised programs for kids. These programs are designed to give your kids a chance to go swimming, play sports, watch movies and get to know other kids on the ship, while giving you an opportunity for some worry free relaxation. Some children may be too young to participate in certain children's programs please check with the relevant cruise line at the time of booking.

What's available to do in the evenings?
Nightly activities are just as exciting as during the day. Try your luck in the casinos, put on you dancing shoes and hit the nightclub, take in a Broadway style show, or enjoy one of the many entertainment bars and venues on offer.

Can we stay in touch with the outside?
Most ships have televisions in the rooms plus a daily newsletter with headlines. There are usually phones in the rooms or you can have the ship's radio operator contact the mainland for you. Also, many ships have fax capabilities or internet lounges. There are charges to contact the mainland in any form. Please check with the purser to find out exact amounts.

Are the casinos and duty free shops open all day?
They are open while you are at sea, however international maritime law states that they must remain closed whilst the ship is in port.

How will I know what activities are happening on the ship?
Your cabin steward will leave you a daily copy of the cruise news in your room every evening, which will provide a schedule of events for the following day. This will provide you with details of events and their locations and times.

How do I pay for purchases in port/ onshore?
Most shops accept major credit cards and traveler's checks. Some ships and ports of call have ATMs; however, they may not always be in service and fees are involved.

What is there to do in port?
There is something ashore for everyone. Each port offers a unique experience where you can explore on your own, book an organized shore excursion from the cruise line, go shopping, relax on the beach or take in some historical sites.

Do I have to get off the ship at every port of call?
Not if you don't want to. You are more than welcome to stay on the ship and relax by the pool or participate in some of the organized activities onboard.