Skip to main content

Your really dumb cruise ship cabin questions answered

When you’re new to cruising, you’re bound to have a ton of questions about the basics of a cruise vacation, especially regarding accommodations. You might think your cabin questions are dumb, but only stupid people don’t ask for the information they need and end up booking the wrong room or being surprised about what is and isn’t included. 

Consider this FAQ your personal “Cruise Ship Cabins for Dummies.” We swear you’ll feel smarter and more confident about booking a cruise cabin after you’ve read it.

Can you go on a cruise without a passport?

First time cruisers often ask if they need a passport to go on a cruise. The answer is that you generally need a passport to travel to a foreign country, but select itineraries sailing roundtrip from U.S. homeports do not require passports as travel documents.

Here, we answer the most common questions about passports for cruises. Remember: It’s always the traveler’s responsibility to make sure they have the correct identification and documentation for your cruise. Otherwise, you could get turned away at the cruise port.

Inside cabin vs. oceanview on a cruise ship

Should you book an inside cabin or an ocean view if you’re trying to save money on your next cruise? These are typically the cheapest cruise cabins, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t perfect for your next sailing. Learn what inside and ocean view (aka outside) rooms are on a cruise ship, their similarities and differences, and why you might want to pick one style of cabin over the other.

Why it’s more important than ever to cruise with a passport

Cruise travelers who sail roundtrip from a U.S. homeport to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Canada have a choice many international travelers do not: They can travel with or without a passport.

The passport exemption is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) that allows cruisers on a “closed-loop” sailing (one that begins and ends at the same U.S. port) to substitute alternative forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and birth certificate, for a pricey passport. 

Top 7 things people that cruise a lot debate all the time

If you have spent some time on a message board, Facebook group, or chat room dedicated to going on a cruise ship, very likely you have run across a heated exchange between people about some nuance of cruising.

We all love to go on cruises, but our opinions on how to do it best can vary widely, especially when there is a certain level of ambiguity to protocols or rules.

Most of the discussions tend to be tame, but there are a few hot button topics that really get people fired up and it can often lead to page after page of responses, counter responses, and memes inbetween.

Cruise Planning on a Budget? Here are 7 Surefire Ways to Save Money

Expenses on a cruise can add up quickly, from when and how you book to the moment you step foot onboard and start swiping that key card. (Hint: The more poolside pina coladas you order, the easier it is to lose count.)

What’s included in my cruise fare?

Some people refer to cruises as an all-inclusive vacation, and that’s not entirely true. Your cruise fare includes lodging, food, transportation, and entertainment, but you’ll find extra-fee exceptions in many of those categories. What’s included in your cruise fare can be confusing to first-timers, especially since the rules are not the same on every cruise line.

You can read the fine print of your cruise contract, but to make it easier, we’ve listed out by category what generally is and isn’t included in your cruise fare.

Can a cruise ship leave without you?

You’re having such a good time at Senor Frog’s with your new friends and that third margarita that you lose track of time. Or your tour bus gets stuck in traffic on the way back to the ship. If you show up at the cruise pier after boarding time, will your ship be waiting for you? Or, can your cruise ship leave for its next port without you onboard?

Missing the literal boat and getting stranded in a foreign port is one of the top concerns of first-time cruisers. The chances of the ship leaving you behind are low, but it does happen.

Do I Need Travel Insurance for a Cruise?

Although it will likely be a long time before cruising returns to normal, several sailings have resumed for American passengers; now, more than ever, they are left wondering whether it's necessary to purchase cruise travel insurance.

Can You Cruise by Yourself? A Guide to Solo Cruising

Solo cruises can be relaxing or stressful, depending on your circumstances and how prepared you are for your sailing. Here, with our singles cruises FAQ, we'll help you navigate the nuances, from solo cabins and single supplements to the best ways to meet people onboard.

Subscribe to First time cruisers