With so much emphasis on booking a cruise, many blogs often overlook the importance of what happens after the booking has been made. It’s a wonderful feeling booking a holiday; you’ve finally got something to look forward to, something that makes getting up and going to work that little bit easier because there’s now a goal in sight. The feelings of happiness, freedom and relief you get the moment you say “yes” to the right holiday is something that should stay with you throughout the whole build up to the day you depart. Nothing should get in its way and this is again where we step in to ensure that nothing does.
Post booking services are just as important as pre booking. You’re undoubtedly going to have questions, especially if it’s your first cruise. You may be trying a new cruise line for the first time, travelling in a different grade of cabin to usual,
sampling a new dining option, no matter the circumstances, it’s all important and it’s just as important that you have somewhere to go or someone to speak to that
can answer these questions. We’ve talked about it before on our blog and here goes again…Bolsover Cruise Club provide a One2One service, something completely unique in the cruising industry. From the moment you step into our Cruise Bureau, The Cruise Holiday Shop at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield or pick up the phone to us, you will be looked after by your own, dedicated cruise consultant. This consultant will then stay with you throughout the entire booking journey, right up until the day you depart for your holiday, maybe even longer than that, as we do like to hear about your cruise and whether you’ve had a good time!
Having a dedicated One2One cruise consultant means that every time you call in or phone us, you will be speaking to the same person. That means no explaining yourselves time and time again to different departments who have no idea what you’re talking about, that’s not what we’re about.
Once your booking is complete, you will then receive your pre-cruise documentation from us either in the post or via email if you have selected our ‘Go Green’ option. The pre-cruise documentation will include the appropriate invoices, visa requirement information, confirmations of dining and cabin selection if applicable and the date of the final balance due date. We are always looking to improve our customer service, take our take our booking confirmations as an example, not so long ago if you booked a cruise through us you would receive an enveloped crammed full of paper, yes everything you needed to know was included but there was no cohesion. The answer was to re-design all of documentation and include it in our new booking confirmation booklet; this has everything you need all in one place.
No question is too small, no question is daft, no question is too much trouble; these are the things you NEED to remember when you’ve booked a cruise with us. Cruising is our lives, it’s what we deal with day in day out, we know all there is to know about it and if by some chance you can come up with a question that we don’t instantly know the answer to then we will find the answer out in no time and get straight back to you. That by the way is a promise, not a challenge!
You may have questions about anything to do with your cruise, it could be dining arrangements, travelling with friends, accommodation queries, packing concerns, luggage allowances, anything. We are currently revamping our FAQ pages to make sure that we have a solid foundation for all anticipated questions to be answered by the click of a button on our website but we also want you to phone us. We’d much rather you call and be reassured than be at home worrying over nothing. That’s one of the reasons we’ve added a new tool to our website; if you can’t find the answer to your question on our FAQ pages, as well as giving us a call or coming in to visit us, click the ‘ask us a cruise question’ button on the site, put in your question, name and email address and we’ll get back to you.
What questions might you need to ask? Here’s a few example of topics that may come up:
Certain cruise itineraries will require you to purchase a visa but this depends on where you are travelling to and the type of passport you have. Bolsover Cruise Club provides information for all British Citizens and will also highlight all the necessary details you need to know in your pre-cruise documentation we send out to you but we do know that everyone has questions. Contact your dedicated cruise consultant and we will be more than happy to help. We’ll answer your questions and even have a dedicated Visa Administration Team in the office who can speak with you direct if you prefer. You may be looking for advice on specific visa requirements, for example when cruising to China, other immigration requirements, passport queries and more. There’s no question we haven’t heard so ask away!
The only important thing you need to know is that we are unable to provide specific advice on passport and visa requirements for passengers that hold any other type of passport, for example British Subjects. We will however point you in the right direction, making sure that you are fully taken care of by a professional team whom which we worked alongside for many years. This issue will also have been spoken about with you at the time of booking, so there will be no surprises for you to worry about.
Tip: Ask us anything! We are able to advise and facilitate access to all matters of visa requirements for British Citizens and we are also partnered with CIBT, the leading travel visa company in the world. CIBT make it easier for you to get the right travel documents for your cruise without hassle and without worry. Visit our dedicated CIBT page here.
A classic post booking query is travel insurance. We’re all guilty of it aren’t we? No doubt all of us at some point in time have got so ravelled up in the excitement of booking a holiday that we forget about the less exciting matters such as insurance. If you have it sorted then great, if not, give us a call and we can advise you on the best insurance cover for you. We’ll immediately direct you to Holiday Extras where you can purchase excellent cover at fantastic rates for both single trip and annual policies.
If you’re thinking do I need insurance, then the answer is a resounding yes. All cruise lines now require passengers to have the necessary insurance in place as a condition of booking with them. If you do not have insurance, you will not be allowed on board when you come to check in. Insurance is now an obligation and a key condition of booking a cruise holiday.
Tip: The insurance you take out should have a minimum limit of £2 million. Most policies do have this these days but if you’re using comparison sites, be careful when doing so to make sure you get the right cover for you and have specific cruise cover.
Two of the most common questions we encounter are to do with the validity of a passport and concerns over married names. The important thing you need to remember is that both are easy to answer and require minimal concern. We’ll advise you at the time of booking too but your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the return date of your holiday, if it isn’t there are now many destinations that will not accept your passport in case of unforeseen circumstances. The 6 month validity to comply with immigration requirement and applies to all cruise lines. Put simply, it’s not worth the risk so check to make sure your passport has this validity left on it and if not, make sure you renew it as soon as possible, it doesn’t take long and is easy to do.
If you’re getting married and have maybe booked a cruise for your honeymoon or at some point afterwards, then you may have concerns over your married name. You won’t need to change your passport if you have made the booking in your maiden name. If you have booked the holiday in your married name then it will need changing, especially for fly cruises as airlines are much stricter when it comes to this issue. If you’re sailing from Southampton or other UK ports then some cruise lines will accept your marriage certificate alongside your passport at check in but best to give us a call and we’ll clear that up for you.
Tip: Check your passport validity; it’s very important and a must when travelling on a cruise holiday.
Always a hot topic with cruise holidays and why shouldn’t it be? You’re probably going to visit some pretty exciting places so it would be a shame not to see them properly. Cruise lines offer a wide variety of fantastic excursion opportunities. Something for everyone is on the menu from activities for adrenaline rushes to more serene, luxurious treats. When you’re cruising to destinations you haven’t been to before or cruising in general for the first time, you’re undoubtedly going to have questions. You may wish to discuss the price of excursions, when you can book them, how you book them, what we might suggest to do in certain places. All of these questions we welcome. We’re in the business of ensuring you have a great time so anything we can do to help or advise we will.
Most cruise lines now offer an online system where passengers can tailor make their holiday to suit them. These systems fall under titles such as ‘Cruise Personaliser’ and ‘My Cruise’. They are brilliant online facilities for browsing excursion options, finding what’s right for you and showing you how to book but they can, especially if you’ve never used them before, be very confusing. We’re here to help guide you through it. We can provide assistance with navigating the facilities or if you prefer the old fashioned pick up the phone approach then we can advise on that to.
Alternatively there is another service we recommend. An excellent company for booking shore excursions is cruiseexcursions.com, click here to see our dedicated partners page.
Tip: Booking flight seats is not always the easiest thing to do, give us a call and we’ll either talk you through how to do it or if you prefer, we can take care of it for you.
It’s such a dreaded issue by so many people, let’s be honest, even saying it sounds awkward but it doesn’t have to be. Each cruise line usually has a different policy and unique way of doing things. For passengers it can be difficult to keep up so let us step in, take the burden from you and give you all the advice you need.
Tip: Some cruise lines offer the option to pre-pay your gratuities. Some passengers prefer this as its then out the way, some don’t but one benefit is that by pre-paying with cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, you’re paying in sterling rather than dollars on board and then the exchange rate charge from your bank, it can therefore often work out cheaper this way. If at any point however you wish to amend the gratuity amount on board, you can do so by speaking to the reception desk guest services.
This is one of the areas that has drastically changed over the past few years. From all the cruise lines issuing traditional tickets and travel documents this has mostly changed now to e-tickets. E-tickets have been implemented by the majority of cruise lines. A “green” and environmentally friendly service has been introduced in order to cut down on the amount of unnecessary paperwork.
Some (but not all) operators require the guest to visit their website and complete the online registration before they will issue the e-tickets, we give more specific information on the processes needed when you make a booking. Depending on your chosen cruise operator your e-tickets could be ready from 40 days to departure right up to 14 days to departure depending on who you are travelling with, the operator will usually email you to advise you when they are ready for you to view. If you have any concerns or problems, we are on the other end of the phone and happy to help with any queries you may have. Although a growing number of people in the country now have access to a computer, we appreciate that not everyone knows how to use one or indeed wants to use one so we will always be able to print your e-documentation for you if you prefer.
Tip: It is also worth noting that you also now have the ability to choose not to take any travel documents with you and instead simply quote your booking reference, showing your e-ticket on a smartphone or tablet device at the check-in desk; however this does not apply to all cruise lines.
These are just a few examples of the questions you may think of once you’ve booked your cruise holiday but we’re here to help no matter what pops into your head, nothing is too much trouble, even if it’s to ask us what you should pack. A lot of companies say that but not all of them mean it, we do, hence why we received a rating of 97% from Travel Weekly’s secret shopper survey, the highest of all agents tested by a big margin.
Aside from questions, queries, worries and concerns, the most important thing you need to think of after you’ve booked your holiday, and this is really really vital so make sure you’re paying attention…ENJOY YOURSELVES!