Top Tips for Kosher Cruise Vacations
Kosher cruises offer an ideal way to travel if you don’t want to deal with the intricacies of planning out your meals, excursions or activities. Kosher cruise travel packages come in all shapes and size, catering to all Jewish travelers’ tastes and desires. Whether you’re planning a kosher summer cruise or one next winter, a kosher cruise vacation will provide you with the amazing opportunity to connect with your ancestry while relaxing and seeing the world one port at a time. Here are some useful tips to help ensure that you have the best experience possible.
The Best Tips for Kosher Cruises
Online Check-In and Documentation
It’s important to complete the online registration and check-in. This should be done 45-5 days prior to sailing on the kosher cruise line’s website. Failure to do so could see you facing a long delay at the pier. Also, you must have all the travel documents, including passport and necessary visas, which are required to enter each of the countries that you intend to visit while on your kosher cruise vacation.
Most kosher cruise ships start boarding at around 12PM (noon). But staterooms might not be available until after 1PM. For many kosher cruises, the deadline time for checking-in at the pier can be anywhere from one hour to two hours prior to sailing.
On the last day of kosher cruise vacation, disembarkation is usually staggered over several hours to help avoid congestion at the pier. It’s therefore advisable to give yourself adequate time for disembarking a kosher cruise ship in a U.S. port due to the recent cutbacks in U.S. border security. Prior disembarking is often available if you can carry your luggage off the cruise ship yourself.
Kosher Cruises Dress Code and Dining
Evening gowns for ladies and dark suits for gentlemen are typically required for formal nights, while smart casual attire, including sun dresses for ladies and long pants and collared shirts for gentlemen, is often enforced in dining rooms. However, the choice of how dressed-up you are is entirely yours since buffet restaurants always allow regular shorts and t-shirt.
Kosher Cruise Ship Dining Seating
Most kosher cruises offer both open and fixed seating options for dinner. With fixed seating, you’re assured of being served by the same staff at a reserved table each evening for a more personalized service. But you’ll have to book early in order to secure your desired seating. Open seating, on the other hand, allows you the flexibility to go to dinner whatever time you choose and wine and dine with whoever you choose every evening.
Special Dietary Needs and Beverages
Kosher cruises can accommodate special dietary requirements, including vegetarian, sugar-free, gluten-free, and others. But you should ensure that your unique dietary requirements are noted on your file during booking and communicated to the wait staff or restaurant servers once on board. Of course, it can be helpful to have fixed seating with the same wait staff each evening.
All-Inclusive Beverage Packages
Most kosher cruises offer all-inclusive beverage packages, providing unlimited kosher beverages throughout your trip. So you don’t have to worry about any bar tab at the end of the cruise.
Gratuities and Shore Excursions
Like in conventional cruises, it’s customary to tip your wait staff and stateroom attendant in kosher cruises. You can do this by either paying gratuities on board or prepaying gratuities with your cruise fare. Many kosher cruises automatically charge gratuities to your on-board account, which can be quite convenient; and you’re also allowed to alter this amount at your discretion.
Many kosher cruise vacation packages often include shore excursions and kosher land tours as a way for Jewish travelers to explore each port of call. These excursions can be a great way to experience the culture and history of the various ports of call, and you should consider taking advantage of shuttle tours so you don’t experience any delays returning to the ship.
Telephone and Internet
Kosher cruises provide ship-to-shore telephone and internet services 24 hours a day while the cruise ship is at sea or in port from your stateroom. You can also have your loved ones call or fax the ship directly; or they can contact you via email through your own Internet Service Provider. If you have any communication issues that you’d like to sort out, the staffs at the cruise ship’s internet cafe are always more than willing to help.