Answering Your Questions

| July 7, 2003

Q. If I book early wanting a cabin in a particular area and the price goes down later, I can rebook -- but what happens to the cabin I wanted? Would I still be able to get it?

A. One of the major advantages of booking early is securing the cabin you want. If you rebook later on to take advantage of a lower price, you may have to sacrifice that cabin selection. If you do rebook, make sure your travel agent tells the cruise line about the room you already reserved (assuming you're rebooking for the same category). They may be able to give you that room.

Q. I recently heard about a huge ship called Voyager At Sea. Do you have any information concerning this ship?

A. Voyager of the Seas is a wonderful, trend-setting ship from Royal Caribbean International. Go to the main page of CruiseMates.Com and look for it under Royal Caribbean. You'll find lots of information including reviews and booking information.

Q. We have been spoiled by Holland America's liberal policy about bringing your own alcohol onboard. Are they an exception, or do any of the other cruise lines also allow this practice? I'm not talking about a huge amount -- just a little 'happy hour' supply. We are cruising Norwegian later this year and Royal Caribbean in Europe next year.

A. Thanks for the compliment about Holland America. They are becoming the exception these days, as most cruise lines are really tightening up their policies in this area. It's really understandable in this day and age of very low fares.

Q. My husband and I are taking our granddaughter on a cruise to the Mediterranean. We live in Southern California and will be in Greece for a couple of weeks before flying to Venice to pick up our Silversea cruise. We don't want to carry all our cruise wear to Greece, and the airline we'll fly from Athens to Venice has a small baggage allowance. Can you advise us on the safest way to send our luggage to Venice prior to our arrival? Since we aren't taking the land portion of the cruise, we plan only to stay there overnight. Also, we haven't yet made hotel reservations. We have been to Venice a number of times, but do not feel comfortable about shipping the luggage to a hotel.

A. Silversea Cruises has a program that allows you to ship your luggage in advance from your home to your Silversea ship via Federal Express. So contact them directly and make arrangements with them.

Q. Other than Carnival, do any other cruise lines offer a non-smoking ship?

A. Carnival is the only cruise line with a completely non-smoking ship, the Paradise. At a recent conference, Carnival officials said they have no plans to add another one in the near future. On the other hand, virtually all of the major cruise lines are increasing the amount of non-smoking areas on their ships.

Q. I need a refrigerator in my cabin for my son's medicine. If this life-sustaining medicine gets warm it loses its potency. The refrigerator has to be installed and properly working in the cabin ahead of time so it can be immediately used at the required temperature. I called every cruise line, and none of them will put a refrigerator in a room ahead of time -- or at all, for that matter. The only way I can get a refrigerator in my room is if I go into a suite, which I just can't afford. Do you know about any special discount tickets or complimentary upgrades to a suite that my family can use for my son's very special circumstance?

A. I don't know of any special discounts that would help you out. Usually, it's only the suites that have those refrigerators, and cruise lines discount them only as needed. Keep checking with the lines for seasonal rates, especially on repositioning cruises, and hope they run discounts when you can travel.

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