Suitcase allowances vary between Operators, so we've detailed their individual baggage policies in our Tour Operator section. Read more: Insight Vacations, Trafalgar & CostSaver, Globus & Cosmos & Albatross.
Transfers will depend on the tour you choose, arrival time and airport. Your designated tour consultant will let you know when you enquire with us. If you go to the 'General Info' tab (found on the top of each itinerary page), airport transfer information is also listed.
Your Tour Director/Local Host will go through the optional excursions for purchase while you are on tour. You may choose and purchase any optional excursions at that time. A list of optional excursions will be included in your documents for review prior to departure.
Currency can be exchanged at airports or banks. Most bank machines (ATMs) throughout Europe and many parts of the world accept debit cards.
Tips & gratuities are optional, but for coach tours are generally not included in the price (unless specified). Portage is included on most tours. Tips are customarily given to your Tour Director, Driver and Local Guides at your discretion. The recommended amounts are: Tour Directors $4 per day, Drivers $2.50 per day. It is also customary to acknowledge a particularly good performance of a Local Guide by leaving a tip, recommended $1 per day. All coach tour operators provide you with the opportunity to prepay your gratuities and you'll be provided with vouchers indicating that you have prepaid. If this is you preference please let your consultant know.
This will depend on your personal preferences, where you are travelling, and on the time of year. It is advisable to bring at least one ‘smart’ outfit for special evenings or highlight dinners. Please note that some churches/places of worship require covered shoulders and in some cases, knee length shorts/skirts. Items that are casual and lightweight, requiring little or no ironing are recommended.
For local average weather conditions go to our 'City Weather Guide' tab located on the right hand side of every tour webpage on our website. This tab provides min and max temperatures and average rainfall for most cities for every month of the year!
Please ask your designated tour consultant or doctor to find out which vaccinations are required. If you are taking medication or suffer from any form of illness, be sure to have an adequate supply of medicines before departing on your tour.
This is obviously a difficult question, since the amount will vary from person to person and from tour to tour. By studying the itinerary pages of the tour you have chosen you will see how many highlight visits and other sightseeing is included, as well as meals and entertainment. Listed below is a guide to extra expenses for which you should budget per person.
Lunches are usually not included and peoples’ requirements vary. We suggest $15 per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, in Europe allow $25-35 per day. Whilst in Britain and Ireland we suggest $25-35 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately $2.50 each.
Experience has shown us that most passengers participate in these excursions and you should therefore budget for these excursions in advance. Please check with your designated tour consultant for more optional information depending on the tour you have booked.
Souvenirs, stamps, postcards, telephone calls, taxi fares, laundry. Allow yourself $10 per day whilst in Europe, and $12 per day in Britain and Ireland, plus extra for any major gifts. You are advised, whatever your personal requirements may be, to bring more money rather than less. Once overseas, it can be complicated and time consuming to transfer additional funds from home, especially when you are on the move. You cannot always draw extra money on credit cards and they are still not accepted everywhere. Personal cheques are not accepted unless you hold a bank account in the host country. Remember, excess travellers cheques can always be refunded at the end of your trip.
Suitcase allowances vary between Operators, so we've detailed their individual baggage policies in our Tour Operator section. Read specific information on Avalon Waterways, APT, Uniworld, Viking, Travelmarvel & Scenic.
You should note that most countries require your passport to be valid for a specified amount of time beyond your departure date (up to 6 months). Be sure to check the expiration date and physical condition of your passport and verify the travel document requirements with the consulates of the countries you are planning to visit during your tour. It is your responsibility to secure required visa(s) before departure. Your passport may be required at border crossings, on board the ship for customs formalities or when you check-in to hotels. We recommend that you make two sets of photocopies of your airline tickets (including e-tickets) and the first page of your passport. Leave one set at home with a friend or relative; bring the other set with you, keeping it separate from the original documents. Spare passport photos can also be useful. For more information visit our section on Passports & Visas.
To prepare for your European cruise don't just consider your clothing and camera. Take your driver's license and passport, and ensure a travel visa is not required.
It is important that you prepare enough money to last you the whole trip. It is recommended that you add around 300 to 500 dollars on top of your budget that would act as a "buffer" for your wallet. Some European Cruises accept dollars or other national currency, but there are some that do not accept any other currency but Euros. It would be frustrating to have all that money, and yet not be able to buy a souvenir or local food. Be sure to check the required currency to avoid this inconvenience.
You should also take whatever medications or prescriptions that you take to counter the usual ailments. A small medicine bottle or container should be enough to bring all that you need for the duration of the trip. In some circumstances, you might also need to get medical clearance from the doctor. Any medical equipment such as reading glasses, hearing aides, pacemakers and such should also be included in the things to bring.
Finally, make sure that you have the gadgets that you will need to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Bring extra batteries or film (or in these times, storage devices) for your camera so that you don't run out of shots. These are generally priced higher in the places where you are touring, so you can save by buying in your local store before going.
All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.
Wine, beer & soft drink are included with all onboard dinners. In Europe, regular coffee, tea & iced tea are available free of charge throughout the day from the self service coffee stations. On the Yangtze and Galapagos - coffee, tea & soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner.
The type of clothing of course depends on the time of year you are travelling, but generally dress aboard and on shore is "casual & comfortable". Shorts should not be worn in the restaurant or lounge in the evenings. Bathing suits are not appropriate in the lounge or restaurant at any time. You may wish to wear something a little dressier for the Captains Dinner. We recommend that for shore excursions you wear comfortable shoes & don't forget a sun hat.
Internet service is available onboard. The service works via satellite and there is an hourly charge. On the Yangtze River Cruises the internet is a flat rate charge. Internet cafes can be found in many towns along the way in Western Europe and charges are generally very reasonable. Faxes can be sent and received via reception; there is a charge for both outgoing and incoming faxes. Stamps and postcards are available for purchase on board. Mail is sent from each major port. Each stateroom has it's own telephone. This may be used to call room to room or to any of the ship's offices, in Europe calls can be made from ship-to-shore. In Egypt & China, ship-to-shore calls must be made from reception. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galapagos, there are two satellite-linked phones available for use in the reception lounge.
If you are travelling in Europe, most of the countries you will be visiting use the Euro. Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia and Switzerland; they all have their own currencies but the euro is accepted in many establishments. Many locations accept major credit cards; however in small towns they are not widely accepted. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency. ATM machines are located on shore at some stops. Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work abroad.
All purchases on board your ship are charged to your room account. The onboard currency is the Euro. Traveller's cheques may be exchanged for Euros. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diner's Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveller's cheques. Personal cheques cannot be cashed on board.
If you are travelling in China, U.S. dollars are widely accepted on shore. The local currency is the Yuan. ATM machines will dispense Yuan or they can be purchased on board the ship using U.S. dollars. The currency on board is the Yuan. Shipboard accounts can be settled in cash, traveller's cheques or most major credit cards.
If you are travelling in Ecuador, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. In smaller towns cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card, cash or travellers cheques.
If you are travelling in Egypt, the official currency is the Egyptian pound, but Euros and U.S. dollars are widely accepted. In small towns it is recommended to carry small amounts of local currency, but vendors in tourist areas are likely to accept U.S. dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. ATMs are available in most larger cities. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card or with cash. Traveller's cheques are not accepted.