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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


 Which cruise lines are the best choices for “seniors?”
    
 I don’t want to pick a cruise with a lot of party-hearty singles. What should I try to avoid?
    
 Is there such a thing as a “Senior Discount?”
    
 I’m a senior traveling alone. Do I get my cruise at half price?
    
 What’s this “Single Share” arrangement all about?
    
 What if I go with the "single share" arrangement and I'm unhappy with my cabin mate after I get on the cruise?
    
 Do cruise ships offer "heart-healthy" menus or options for passengers on special diets?
    
 How much are gratuities and how can I pay for them?
    


 Which cruise lines are the best choices for “seniors?”
    
      This is a tough question! Given the wide range of age groups aboard most sailings and the overall ease of the cruise experience, seniors will have the time of their lives no matter which cruise they choose. Besides, who’s to say “seniors” – a slippery category to define by any measure – prefer traveling on cruises with lots of other seniors? But at the risk of over-generalizing, we’ll offer some factors that most – but not all – seniors consider heavily when choosing their cruise:
  • Compelling itinerary. A Caribbean beach has its appeal, but so do historical cities and towns in Europe, South America and Asia. The cool weather and scenic splendor of Alaska holds strong favor among seniors as does the thrill of a Panama Canal transit or cruise around South America’s Cape Horn or deep into the Amazon rainforests.
  • Easy-going pace. Most seniors have been around the block a few times and recognize the value of the words “at sea” in their itineraries. A port-a-day mentality won’t cut it with most seniors. Longer port stays and overnights in port are preferable to an aggressive itinerary.
  • Tradition. There, we’ve said it. Most seniors don’t like the label, but when applied to the cruise experience, “tradition” is a good thing. Consistency of service, time-honored onboard customs, rich décor, excellence of cuisine – all are cruising traditions appreciated by all age groups but recognized most keenly by seniors.
  • Value. Though their kids may be grown and the house paid for, many seniors remain understandably cautious with their funds. So, while they won’t spend capriciously, they're willing to dig deep for a product they believe holds solid value.
With these factors in mind here’s our list of recommended cruise lines:
  • Holland America: Their very tag line reads, “A Tradition of Excellence.” Now into their third century of shipboard service, their white-gloved staff, easy-going pace and handsome ships with richly-appointed interiors continue to appeal to seniors. Average ages are dropping somewhat but that’s a trend realized across the board by all lines; Holland America still holds a strong appeal to seniors.
  • Crystal: Their longer, more exotic, more port-focused – and generally more expensive – cruise itineraries attract seniors in heavy numbers. Crystal’s large ships provide all the traditional amenities (Broadway-style shows, 2-seating restaurants, sophisticated décor) yet provide award-winning, luxury-level service from a dedicated staff. Prices are high but so is the value!
  • Oceania: Though relatively new to the cruise industry (their ships all come from now-defunct Renaissance Cruises) Oceania has quickly secured itself as the strong leader in the “upper premium” niche market. Their relatively small ships, “country-club casual” ambiance, port-focused worldwide itineraries and cuisine excellence puts them squarely in the sites of seniors!
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 I don’t want to pick a cruise with a lot of party-hearty singles. What should I try to avoid?
    
      
  • Fun! Fun! Fun! Be wary of the flashy “fun in the sun!” hype. These cruises are targeted at singles, young couples and young families.
  • Price! Price! Price! Be equally wary of undue emphasis on price. Again, these cruises are usually aimed squarely at young, first-time cruisers.
  • Port! Port! Port! All things being equal, a 7-night cruise with 6 ports of call (a port every day) is more likely to appeal to parents who believe (wrongly) that their kids need lots of ports to keep them occupied. It also appeals (perhaps wrongly) to first-time cruisers who equate more ports to more value.
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 Is there such a thing as a “Senior Discount?”
    
      Yes. There are special senior prices on selected sailings for guests 55 and over. Carnival recently expanded its senior discount program for members of the American Association of Retired Persons. Carnival's senior discounts can be combined with Carnival's early-booking discounts (some restrictions apply.) Carnival's sister line, Holland America, also offers similar AARP-member discounts. However, to obtain these you must book through an AARP-affiliated travel agent. Royal Caribbean's senior discounts, while not available on all cruises, can nevertheless be substantial.
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 I’m a senior traveling alone. Do I get my cruise at half price?
    
      If only it worked that way! Actually solo travelers, unless they decide to buddy up with a friend (or make use of the “single share” arrangements), pay anywhere from 125-200% of the regular fares which are otherwise based on double occupancy. Here’s a reference chart to help. Please keep in mind this is for reference only – prices and policies may quickly change.

Feature:
Cruise Line
Single Supplement
(subject to availability)
Single Berth Cabins Available?
Single Shares Available?
Gentlemen Host Program Available?
Carnival
Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
No
No
No
Celebrity
Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
No
No
No
Costa
Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Yes -On certain ships only*. Call to verify availability.
No
No
Crystal
125-200%
No
No
Yes - Ambassador Hosts. Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Cunard
175-200%
Yes - on QE2: categories QG, PG, CA, MO and MI
No
Yes -Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Disney
175-200%
No
No
No
Holland America
150-200%
Yes - On Prinsendam: category Q
Single Partner Program
Yes - Social Hosts available on Cruises 14 days and longer.Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Norwegian
150-200%
No
No
Yes- Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Oceania
200%
No
No
No
Princess
160-200%
No
No
No
Radisson
130-200%
No
No
Yes - Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Royal Caribbean
Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
No
No
No
Seabourn
Two programs:
Single Savings and "Run of Ship" with limited availability
No
No
No
Silversea
110-200%
No
No
Yes - Call Cruise Specialist to verify availablity
Windstar
175-200%
No
No
No
* Single Berth Cabins on Costa available on the Costa Allegra,Costa Classica, Costa Europa, costa Fortuna, Costa Magica and Costa Romantica
Note: All information noted above s subject to change at any time.


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 What’s this “Single Share” arrangement all about?
    
      Here’s how it works. Basically, you book the cruise as a single traveler and the cruise line matches you up with another single traveler. You both share a cabin during your cruise, hence, the “single share” name. Your cost is no more than had you booked the same cabin with a spouse, friend, or adult relative. Single shares are always matched by sex and smoking preference, and sometimes by age. Other “match qualifiers” may be accepted by the cruise line on a request-only basis. The cruise line reserves the right to limit the cabin inventory available to “single share” passengers.

Cruise Note: If the cruise line accepts your booking under the single share program but is later unable to find you a roommate, the cabin is all yours for no additional cost.

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 What if I go with the "single share" arrangement and I'm unhappy with my cabin mate after I get on the cruise?
    
      This doesn’t happen often, but if you’re unhappy with your cabin mate, inform the appropriate staff at the Front Desk. There are no guarantees, of course, but they’ll certainly review your position and do all possible to accommodate your preferences.
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 Do cruise ships offer "heart-healthy" menus or options for passengers on special diets?
    
      Yes. "Heart-healthy" options are usually noted on restaurant menus. Additionally, Kosher, vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant and other special dietary needs can often be provided. In most cases, advance notification (at least 30 days) is required by the cruise line and reconfirmation of those requests are recommended prior to sailing.
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 How much are gratuities and how can I pay for them?
    
      
CruiseLine
Pre-Paid Gratuity Program
Available?
Automatic Gratuity Program
Available?
Suggested Gratuities Per Person Per Day
Link to Cruise Line Policy
Carnival
Yes
Yes
$10.00
Celebrity
Yes
$10.50*
Costa
No
Yes
$8.50
Crystal
Yes
Yes
$11.00*
Cunard
No
Yes
$11.00 *
N/A
Disney
Yes
Yes
(if requested)
$11.00
Holland America
Yes
Yes
$10.00
Norwegian
Yes
Yes
$10.00
Oceania
Yes
Yes
$11.50*
Princess
Yes
Yes
$10.00
Radisson
No
No
Included in
Cruise Fare
Royal Caribbean
Yes
Yes
$9.75*
Seabourn
No
No
"Neither required
nor expected"
Silversea
No
No
Included in
Cruise Fare
N/A
Windstar
No
No
Tipping not required
*gratuities may be more for upper categories such as Suites and "Concierge Classes"
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