Professional Development Information
Professionals engaged in many occupations are required to maintain a portfolio of continuing professional development (often abbreviated to ‘CPD’ or ‘PD’). All Cruise Seminars events are certificate-based courses and conferences that help professionals achieve their ongoing education goals each year.
You can view information relating to professional development requirements for various industries here:
Nurses and Midwives
What To Know Before You Go!
Please note: The following information has been written and compiled by Cruise Seminars. Cruise lines may have changed their policies and we encourage you to check their websites for the most current information.
This cruising guide offers general advice and information which you may find useful, especially if you haven’t cruised before. Whilst we endeavour to update this page as new information becomes available, policies and rules vary between cruise lines and may change without notice. You’re advised to check with the relevant cruise line if you require definitive answers to your questions. You may also like to check out our Packing Guide for hints and tips on what to bring and what to leave at home.
During your cruise there are some things you may wish to purchase that may not be included in your fare. These include beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), snacks in between the complimentary main meals, souvenirs and shore excursions. Cruise lines incorporate a cashless system on board their ships. During check-in on embarkation day, you’ll be issued with a plastic card (similar in look and size to a credit card) and this is linked to your own credit card (or you can top it up with cash if you prefer). Everything that is purchased on board is done so with this card and every passenger receives one, including children. The card also doubles as your room key and as your security identification when embarking and disembarking the ship. If you lose your card, report it to the customer service desk immediately, so they can cancel it and reissue you a new one.
Ships cruising from Australia use either Australian currency or USD currency for purchases on board. Below is a guide (subject to change) indicating the currency used on various cruise lines and ships:
Australian Currency (AUD):
P&O Cruises Australia: All ships
Carnival Cruise Line Australia: All ships
Princess: Coral Princess, Majestic Princess, and Grand Princess cruises departing from and returning to Australia, one way Sydney to Auckland and vice versa and repositioning voyages from Asia to Australia and vice versa are in Australian Dollars.
US Currency (USD):
Celebrity Cruises: All ships
Holland America Line: All ships
Norwegian Cruise Line: All ships
Princess Cruises: All other Princess ships not listed above
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line: All ships
Beverage packages are often promoted by cruise lines and they may be a cost-effective way of buying beverages during your cruise. There are a few things to consider as drinks packages differ between cruise lines. Packages may specify only soft-drinks or coffee, or alcoholic beverages (sometimes with different tier levels such as ‘standard’ or ‘premium’). Prices also vary between the cruise lines and some are in Australian dollars and others in US dollars.
When considering a drinks package, calculate how many drinks you’ll need to consume during the entire cruise to make it worthwhile. You’ll probably use the drinks package less often during port days as you’ll most likely be ashore for a good part of the day. Drinks packages are also only to be used by the person who has purchased it; the cruise line may cancel your drinks package with no refund if you’re found to be using it to buy beverages for other passengers. When deciding on a drinks package, the cruise lines often mandate that if one person in your cabin purchases one, every other person in your cabin must also do so.
Unless you’re on a ‘cruise to nowhere’, you’ll be visiting at least one port during your cruise and it may be the first time you’ve been there. Ships offer shore excursions at almost all ports and sometimes the list of excursions on offer can be quite long and varied. Typical shore excursions offered may include: panorama-style bus tours that take you to the main highlights of the area, walking or bicycling tours, snorkelling trips and city tours. Tour descriptions are often labelled with icons or numbers that indicate the degree of activity anticipated on the tour (such ‘low’, ‘moderate’ or ‘high’). On some trips, a snack or lunch may be included and this will be indicated in the description of the tour.
Some guests prefer to arrange their own shore excursions with private companies ashore either prior to the cruise or after disembarking. There are a few advantages and disadvantages of doing so. If you book a shore excursion from the cruise line, the ship is guaranteed to wait for you in case the group is late on the way back (for example if the bus breaks down, or there’s unexpected traffic). Guests who book independent tours aren’t afforded this guarantee and there’s a risk the ship will leave without you if you’re not back on board in time. You’ll pay a premium when booking a ship-arranged shore excursion but if the ship misses the port for any reason, your tour costs will be refunded. You may not be entitled to a refund by independent operators if the ship misses the port.
Ship-organised tours sometimes do sell out prior to the cruise departure date, so it’s a good idea to have a look at the cruise line’s website and pre-book your preferred tours prior to sailing. If you prefer to book your tours on board, there is a dedicated shore excursion desk and, on some ships, you can also book them from your stateroom using your TV.
Ships have comprehensive 24-hour medical services that consist of doctors and nurses. Please note that your Australian Medicare card is not valid on board a cruise ship (including Australian coastal cruises) and fees for medical services are higher than ashore. For this reason, you are strongly advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance in case you require the ship’s medical services. This can be for something as simple as requiring sea-sickness medication, however accidents can happen and extensive medical treatment and services onboard can be expensive.
If you’re prone to motion sickness, colds, upset stomach or sore throats, you may wish to bring medications to help with these ailments as it will be cheaper than buying them on board. Ensure you bring enough of any prescribed medications with you and these should not be packed in your main luggage before embarkation. Instead, carry them with you as you board the ship in case you need them.
Some people are more prone to motion sickness than others. If you’ve never cruised before you may wish to bring medications with you to help prevent motion sickness. Your pharmacist may recommend products such as tablets, patches or pressure bands for your wrists. Other options that many people believe helps with motion sickness include ginger-based lollies (often sold on board) and green apples.
It is strongly advised that each guest travelling on a cruise (including Australian coastal cruises) takes out comprehensive travel insurance. The cost of travel insurance is incidental compared to the potential financial losses that could be incurred in case of a serious medical emergency or injury. Be aware that most companies offering travel insurance do not automatically cover some activities such as riding of mopeds, motorbikes, quadbikes and so on. Ensure that you’re familiar with what your policy covers and what it does not cover ('extras' cover may be available for an additional fee).
Disclaimer: Whilst we have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this article, Cruise Events Pty Ltd t/as Cruise Seminars is not responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or policy changes by cruise lines. You are advised to check with the relevant cruise line before booking if you have any questions.
Updated 22 January 2023
What Should I Pack?
Please note: The following information has been written and compiled by Cruise Seminars. Cruise lines may have changed their policies and we encourage you to check their websites for up-to-date information.
One of the advantages of a cruise is that you only need to unpack once! Your luggage is delivered to your cabin soon after boarding the ship. Plus, unlike the airlines, there’s a lot more leniency with baggage size and weight when you go on a cruise. Even the most seasoned cruisers are guilty of over-packing so here are a few guidelines for what you might want to pack (or not pack).
As always, you should double-check with the relevant cruise line if you’re unsure about bringing a particular item, as rules for prohibited items may vary between cruise lines.
You may also like to check out our Cruising Guide for general information about currency, shore excursions, beverage packages and more!
Like any other holiday, you should pack clothes appropriate for the climate of the intended destination. Think of your cruise ship as a floating resort, so during the day you’ll be wearing casual comfortable clothes and at night more appropriate clothing is often required. After checking-in your luggage, bags are delivered to your room a little later however this may not occur for several hours after your board the ship. So, when packing your clothes, you may want to bring a spare change of clothes for the evening and carry them with you onto the ship on embarkation day, just in case your luggage delivery to your cabin is delayed.
On Board the Ship
On cruises that visit warm destinations, most guests prefer to wear shorts and t-shirts or similar attire during the day. Swimwear may be worn around the pool areas but it’s often frowned upon to wear swimwear in the restaurants – including in the casual indoor buffet areas. The sun can be harsh in the tropics, so remember to bring a good hat to protect your face. For cooler destinations, warm casual ‘layered’ clothes are the norm during the day. Remember that the sea air may be a little cooler and possibly windier than on land.
At night, it’s often expected of guests in the dining rooms to wear smart-casual clothes at a minimum (including pants and a collared shirt for the gents). Ripped jeans, shorts and thongs are discouraged and you may be refused entry to the dining room if these are worn. Most cruise ships allow casual gear to be worn in the buffet area if you choose to dine there instead.
Some cruise ships feature theme nights and parties and this may include an ‘island’ night, white night, roaring 20s, country & western and so on. There will also be at least one ‘formal’ or ‘cocktail’ night and almost everyone on board goes to some effort on these nights. You should check with your cruise line if they will be hosting any theme nights for your particular cruise.
During port visits, you should wear comfortable clothes to match the climate and intended activities. If it looks like rain you may like to pack a splash-jacket or umbrella. You can also buy an ‘emergency poncho’ for a few dollars at the “$2 shops” at home before you depart – they’re useful and take up a lot less space than a jacket or umbrella. Sudden rain showers are common and often unpredictable in the tropical climates. If you’re participating in a shore excursion, you should bring clothing for the specific type of activity such as swimwear or walking shoes. Many islands in tropical regions have crushed coral mixed in with the sand on the beach. To prevent coral cuts and scratches, bring a pair of ‘reef walking shoes’ to protect your feet. They’re made of a wetsuit-like material and are invaluable if you’re in/near the water where there is crushed coral.
As you prepare for your port day, it’s important that you wear as little jewellery as possible while you’re ashore. Showing off your ‘bling’ should be reserved for formal night onboard the ship instead. A rule of thumb when in port is the less you look like a tourist, the better.
If you you’ll be visiting the inside of a church, it is often requested that you wear long pants or shorts that extend below the knees.
DAY BAG / BEACH BAG
During your port visit, you’ll find there are a number of things you may want to bring with you. On a typical shore excursion, you may need a towel, camera/phone, medications, snorkelling gear, sunscreen, water bottle and maybe a change of clothing. So, you’re going to need a good backpack or beach bag to carry these in. Write yourself a list of what you think you may need at each port and gather them together the night before the port visit. The morning of a port day is quite busy as everyone is eager to disembark. If you prepare your things the night before, you’ll be ready to go before everyone else! Your ship-reserved shore excursion tickets are usually delivered to your room on embarkation day; don’t forget to bring them during your port visit.
Phones, Computers and Internet
You may bring your phone, laptop or tablet on board. If you’d like to connect to the ship’s wifi service onboard, be aware that it’s not as fast as back home and it’s often relatively expensive (although the internet service on ships is getting cheaper and faster over time). Cruise lines usually offer various internet access packages including the number of devices you wish to connect. You may be able to pre-purchase these packages before departure or you can set it up during your cruise. You can use your phone to make and receive calls/texts at sea but roaming charges may apply not long after you leave Australian waters. Your phone may then automatically connect to the ship’s maritime cellular system which can be very expensive to make or receive calls or text messages.
Power Socket Adapters
With the exception of P&O Cruises Australia and Carnival Australia, you should bring a power plug adapter to charge your electrical items. Some ships also have a European-style socket but it’s usually best to bring a US-AUS adapter. The voltage of the US sockets is 110 volts AC so your electrical items may take longer than usual to obtain a full charge. Multi-socket power boards are banned by most cruise lines and will be confiscated when found in your luggage during the x-ray process on embarkation day.
FOOD & DRINKS
Policies vary between cruise lines with regards to bringing alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on board. Some cruise lines will permit one or two bottles of wine or champagne on embarkation day only but most cruise lines will not allow spirits or beers to be brought on board. If you purchase duty-free alcohol on board the ship, they will hold onto it for you until the end of the cruise. Some cruise lines are now also prohibiting the bringing of softdrinks and water onto the ship – it’s wise to check with them beforehand.
Food / Snacks
Whilst you’ll be quite well fed on board, you’re generally permitted to take a small quantity of food such as pre-packaged non-perishable snacks with you. Most ships also sell snacks including chips, nuts and lollies either at the bars or in the on-board shops.
BATHROOM / PERSONAL ITEMS
You’ll be provided with soap, shampoo, conditioner and body wash in your cabin’s bathroom at a minimum. Some suites may also include additional amenities. You may wish to bring your own personal care items if desired.
Hair & Beauty
Hairdryers may be permitted to be brought on board by some cruise lines however you’ll find one in your cabin, usually in the vanity drawer. Clothes irons and other similar items are usually not permitted to be brought on board as they pose a fire risk (they’ll find them in your luggage when they’re x-rayed!). Some ships have a self-serve laundry or you can request a laundry service which often carries an additional charge. You may also prefer to bring a small amount of washing powder in a zip-lock bag so you can hand-wash items in the bathroom basin if needed. If you’re cruising to a destination with a hot climate, ensure you bring enough sunscreen (most shops on board ships carry sunscreen and many other necessities in case you run out).
Bath towels and beach towels are both provided on board, so you can leave these at home. Be aware that some cruise lines have a towel check-in/out system and may charge a fee if your beach towel is not returned by the end of the cruise.
If you’re bringing prescription medications, ensure you carry them with you during check-in; don’t pack them in your checked luggage as your bags may not be delivered to your room for several hours after embarkation. Additional non-prescription medications you could require may include sea-sickness tablets and analgesics (such as paracetamol, ibuprofen).
With the exception of New Zealand, most shops and stalls at ports visited by cruise ships departing from Australia will accept Australian currency in small denominations. You may receive change in local currency when purchasing goods. On some cruises, local currency may be available to purchase on board.
These are invaluable on a cruise, especially when visiting the ports. Unpredictable rain showers or sand can ruin some electronic items such as a phone, so it’s a good idea to bring a few zip-lock bags with you during your port visit. They also come in handy to hold local currency (which may vary between the ports) or to keep other small loose items.
Seasoned cruisers know that their cabin walls are made from steel, so they often bring magnets (some have hooks) to hold their daily cruise planner, shore excursion information and other bits and pieces on their cabin walls. This frees up the space on your desk and may help organize all the paperwork that is delivered to your room on a daily basis.
CRUISE LINE POLICIES
For your reference we have compiled links to various cruise lines’ websites on their policies and rules regarding what may/may not be brought on board:
P&O Cruises Australia
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Disclaimer: Whilst we have taken great care to ensure accuracy of this article, Cruise Seminars are not responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or policy changes by cruise lines. You are advised to check with the relevant cruise line before booking if you have any questions.
Updated 22 January 2023