While we are talking pre-cruise homework, taking out cruise-specific travel insurance is advisable; even if you are not leaving Australian waters, Medicare and private-health policies do not cover medical expenses, which can be enormous on cruises. A good policy will also cover your expenses for cruises that are cancelled, unforeseen flight delays that mean you miss the ships departure and pre-paid port excursions that might have to be missed because of weather or sea conditions.
All deck plan pages include basic statistical information, such as:
- year built, vessel class and sister ships (among the fleets of all lines).
- total number of cabins, plus number per type (Inside, OceanView/RiverView, Balcony, Suite).
- capacity - passengers (normal and max/double occupancy) and crew capacity.
- number of passenger accessible decks, number (in any) of swimming pools and whirlpools (hot tubs), passenger elevators, water-slides.
- On some ships is additionally provided information regarding name origin/meaning, service history, fun facts.
Like all things in life, cruise ship deck plans do change in time. Often, cruise lines change facilities and public venues - their location, type (services and amenities) or names. Other changes may relate to new cabin categories. Often, after a major refurbishment, cruise lines add to the ship:
- new passenger cabins.
- new dining venues - specialty restaurants, bars, lounges, etc.
- new facilities - aqua park, water-slide(s), Spa, pool(s) / whirlpool(s), outdoor movie theater, etc or - simply change the names of the existing ones.
Many lines, especially river cruise companies, offer bonuses such as free flights, pre-paid gratuities and on-board credits when you book and pay several months in advance. You also have the benefit of booking your preferred deck plan and cabin and if you are planning a family cruise during school holidays, always the busiest times, booking at least six months ahead is almost essential.