Rather than leaving tipping up to the individual, many cruise lines now will add a set fee per person to the guest's shipboard account. This amount covers tipping to most of the staff on board, ranging from dining staff and cabin stewards to deck hands and kitchen staff (generally the amounts do not cover bar staff (see below), staff in the casino and the spa area). The money is pooled and shared by all staff. The amount charged varies by cruise line but it allows the traveller to ensure that the staff serving them is well rewarded. As a guest you can adjust or refuse to approve this charge. Craig Travel includes this gratuity amount in our cruise prices (allowing you to know up front more clearly the true cost of your cruise) and pays it on your behalf - as a result, you will not see these fees added to you shipboard account. On most cruise lines, bar services are not included in the above amount - instead a 15% service charge will be added to drink charges in lieu of gratuities. As a result on most cruises, you should not feel obligated to provide any additional gratuities to ship board staff during your cruise.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't find the information you are looking for below please email us.
Most of the hotels that we use are first class and the room features will change from destination to destination. All hotel rooms should have twin beds and a private bathroom. In most cases you will find a colour TV, a radio, a system for wakeup calls, a hairdryer and some other features in your room. Most hotels will have a swimming pool and health facility which you can use. In some destinations, hotels may provide coin operated laundry facilities that you can use.
On our tours, our escorts (often a husband and wife team) will generally travel with most of the group from Canada. Once there, the group will often be joined by a professional tour manager/national guide/driver/guide (TM) who will stay with the group until the departure for home. On most cruises, only our escorts accompany the group.
We use a variety of cruise lines, depending on the destination and style of cruising. On many of our ocean cruises, we use Holland America Line, the highest rated Premium Cruise Line in the world. Holland America has repeatedly been voted the World's Best Cruise Value by the readers of Travel Holiday magazine and one of the World's Best Cruise Lines by the readers of Conde Naste magazine. Holland America operates a fleet of exceptionally spacious mid-size ships that circle the globe visiting all seven continents, offering comfortable surroundings, warm friendly service, exciting ports and some of the most extensive menus at sea. In addition, we use a variety of similar cruise lines that offer small to mid-size ships that explore interesting and exotic lands. Our river cruises will take you to the heart of several continents on a variety of ships, each designed and suited to its locale and each offering a comfortable setting, fine food and inclusive sightseeing for your traveling enjoyment.
We always provide comfortable, clean and safe accommodations - this usually means high quality first class (4 star) hotels, carefully chosen for their pleasant locations and special amenities. In some destinations we will use deluxe, superior tourist class or best available hotels, but we always select hotels that meet our criteria to provide a safe, clean, comfortable place to stay.
This answer will depend both on the individual traveler and the actual tour. Our programs do not require members to take long treks or to climb mountains, but people who live in condominiums and drive everywhere will be affected by the physical activity on a tour more than a person who lives in their own multi-storey house and walks two miles every day. Similarly some tours will require more physical activity than others - we do try to make this clear in our Activity Ratings for Tours and Cruises. If in doubt please discuss your questions with our staff members.
On tours members are generally limited to one checked suitcase, with further limitations based on airline restrictions. The sum of the dimensions (height x width x depth) of a suitcase can not exceed 60 inches. For international flights, bags must not exceed 22 kilograms (50 pounds). On tours that include additional local flights, weight limitations may be even stricter (sometimes as low as 15 kilograms (33 lbs). When packing your bags be sure to allow room and weight for the inevitable shopping that you will do en route. Detailed information will be provided with your final documents. The Golden Rule of Packing - Always take one third the clothes and three times the money that you think that you need. Inevitably most people bring more clothes than they need.
Members should bring clothes keeping the "C" words in mind - casual and comfortable. Your adventure is designed for your enjoyment and you should always travel with that in mind. On tours, men will seldom (if ever) need a jacket and tie and women will seldom (if ever) have to dress up, even if we do have an evening out! Remember that luggage restrictions limit the amount that you can bring and you have to save some space for your purchases. It is helpful to bring clothes that wash and dry easily (hotel laundry facilities can be very expensive). We will provide some helpful clothing suggestions with your booking confirmation.
We feel that we offer the best quality and the best value travel opportunities of any similar company operating in Canada or elsewhere. All of our tours are carefully planned to offer a comfortable pace, quality accommodations, in depth sightseeing and fully inclusive pricing. We encourage you to compare our product with other tours available but be very careful to compare apples to apples - check to see exactly what is included and what extras you may be required to pay.
Our goal is to provide an insightful travel adventure that encourages members to a better understanding of the world in which we live, through in depth sightseeing and interaction with the people and cultural sites that we are visiting. We do everything possible to look after the material well being of our members (good hotels and food, comfortable transportation, etc) while allowing them to delve into local customs and situations.
While we use ministers to escort many of our groups and most of our past clients have come to us either through religious publications (e.g. Anglican Journal, United Church Observer and Presbyterian Record) or through referrals from many of our past clients, our tours are generally not religiously oriented. The exception will be those tours that are themed on religious destinations (such as the Holy land). Where schedules allow, our minister/escorts will arrange for church services at appropriate times, for interested members of the group.
The selling prices of virtually all Craig Tours and Cruises include virtually all your prepaid costs - the airfare plus all related taxes, hotel accommodations and/or cruise costs including all taxes and service fees, most meals (as described for each departure), sightseeing as described including entrance fees, gratuities for included services (i.e. guides, drivers, hotel staff, porters and more), fully comprehensive insurance coverage, even airport transfers (we provide transfers between your home and the airport, in most areas if you live in southern Ontario - other passengers are provided with a special credit or an overnight at an airport hotel, depending on the situation). Not included in the published prices are services and items of a personal nature (laundry, telephone calls, room service), beverages with meals and otherwise, as per local custom (for instance, beverages (water/tea/coffee) are usually not included in Europe other than for breakfast), shore excursions on ocean cruises unless otherwise specified (we find that people take ocean cruises for many reasons and prefer to make their own decisions regarding the many excursions offered through the cruise line), cost of entry visas unless specified (the costs for visas have a way of changing very quickly). While we do include all taxes and fees when preparing our brochures, recently there have been frequent increases & changes in taxes/fuel surcharges - we must normally collect supplements to cover these changes.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. We suggest that you confirm your reservations as soon as possible, once you have decided on your chosen tour or cruise and are satisfied that this is what you want to do. Some departures will fill very quickly (in a matter of weeks) and once a departure sells out you can waitlist or wait for another year!!! Booking early assures your place on your chosen departure and on cruises will give you the best choice of cabin location. See also questions relating to single travellers.
You can make your reservation by telephone (followed by a written request), by mail using our handy enrolment form (the form is available on line or from our office) or online, using the registration form on our website. We will confirm your reservation in writing on receipt of your deposit.
Once we receive your booking, we will confirm your reservation and issue your invoice. The date for final payment will be indicated on the invoice but will usually be 60 to 90 days prior to your departure date. After receiving your final payment, which also will be acknowledged, we will forward your flight bag and any related information to reach you about 4 - 6 weeks prior to departure. Final documents (including air tickets, cruise tickets, final itinerary, hotel lists, baggage tags, etc., as applicable) should normally reach you about two to three weeks prior to your departure date.
A number of factors will determine the final group size, not least of which is demand and the destination. We plan many of our tours and river cruises to operate with 38-40 members, to make best use of coach equipment (very small groups often must use smaller coaches that are noisy and uncomfortable). In certain more exotic destinations, we travel in smaller groups which are better suited to those regions. Group sizes on ocean cruises are generally not confined by transportation limitations and may be substantially larger, depending on the destination and ship.
Smoking is not allowed on any of our tour coaches - the same holds true for all airlines while most cruise lines severely limit the areas in which you may smoke. We always request our hotels to provide non-smoking rooms but we cannot guarantee that such rooms will be available - hotels will only be able to confirm non-smoking rooms on the day of arrival and subject to rooms being available at the time. If you must have a non-smoking room, for medical reasons, please advise our office in advance and discuss the matter with your tour leader when you join the group.
You will require a passport for any trips that take outside of Canada. In today’s era of heightened security, passengers on domestic flights are being asked for proof of identity. For travel to the United States, it appears that all passengers will shortly be required to carry a valid passport. A passport is your best form of identification and proof of citizenship. In addition some countries will require that visitors obtain a VISA (this is their permission for you to enter their country and is usually a stamp in or paper attached to your passport). Our travel consultants will advise you of any visa requirements and in most cases we will provide application forms and/or assist members in obtaining any required visas. If you do not have a valid Canadian Passport, please advise our consultants at the time of booking.
Absolutely - simply contact our staff and let us know what you are planning.
Entry requirements vary by destination for Canadian Passport holders. Please discuss your entry requirements for your chosen destination(s) with your dedicated Tour or Cruise Specialist or visit travel.gc.ca/ for the most updated information.
Payment, Pricing and Cancellation Questions
From the time that a booking is confirmed (under deposit), there will be an Administrative Fee charged for any cancellations (this amount will help us cover the high costs associated with booking and cancelling a reservation). This fee is not covered by our insurance (since it is much less than the cost of the insurance). Each of our brochures indicates the date when higher penalties will begin and when our insurance will be issued. From that date forward, the insurance premium is non refundable. Your confirmation letter will contain information defining the cancellation penalties if you are forced to cancel your reservation after that date. Generally the closer you get to the departure date, the higher the cancellation penalty. The penalty represents the money that we have paid to our suppliers (airlines, hotels, coach lines, cruise lines etc.) which they will withhold if you are forced to cancel. If you do cancel for a covered reason, you will be able to recover those funds by making a claim through the insurance noted above. If you decline our insurance, you will have to claim any penalty through your own insurance coverage.
If Craig Travel is forced to cancel your travel arrangements, we will ensure that you receive a full refund of all money that you have paid to us, including your insurance premium. Note: if the cancellation is due to a reason beyond our control that is covered by our insurance coverage (eg a Travel Advisory issued by the government of Canada) and if we are unable to obtain a full refund of your monies, we may require that you make use of your insurance coverage to claim against those penalties.
As soon as we confirm your travel arrangements, we will send you a confirmation that outlines the balance due and the due date (usually 60 - 90 days prior to departure or immediately if booking within that time). You can pay by personal cheque, VISA or MasterCard or by bank transfer.
Our prices are guaranteed once we acknowledge your final payment. While we do all possible to hold our advertised prices, we have recently been faced with numerous changes in fuel surcharges and taxes. We can not protect against these increases and sometimes have to pass these increases on to travellers.
If we are able to lower our prices due to special offers from our suppliers, we will extend the savings to all members including those who are already booked.
Members booking a tour on their own can request single rooms and pay the defined single supplement OR they can book on a Request-to-Share basis, in which case we will do all possible to find a suitable room-mate. We urge you to book early so that we have ample time to find a partner. Prior to final payment, if we are unable to find a suitable partner, you will have the option of paying the single supplement (& still wait-listing for a room-mate, if space is available) OR canceling with a full refund of your money. On some ocean cruise lines (e.g. Holland America Line), single travellers can book on a "Guarantee Share" basis. Under this arrangement, singles book into a specified category (inside or outside cabin) with a small supplement. Either Craig Travel or the cruise line will find a suitable room-mate (if no partner is found, the cruise line will provide a single room at no additional cost). This arrangement does not extend to hotels booked in conjunction with the cruise.
This supplement is the charge levied by our suppliers (hotels and /or cruise line) to cover the extra cost for sole occupancy of the accommodation. It does not relate to the cost of food, transportation or any other services. For instance, single passengers do not have the right to occupy two seats while on a coach tour. Single supplements can vary widely, ranging from 15% to 50% of the full twin price. When the single supplement is relatively low, it generally means that the accommodation being used (eg hotel) can provide rooms that were designed for sole occupancy. When the supplement is high, it means that single passengers are using accommodations that are designed for two people. Single supplements are defined by our suppliers and are not controlled by us.
If you opt to purchase our travel insurance, it is arranged through a major insurance company and provides protection against cancellation penalties prior to departure and during your journey, provides coverage for emergency medical services while traveling and also provides baggage and accident insurance - for more information, click here.
If you already have adequate insurance to provide against cancellation penalties and to cover emergency medical benefits while you are traveling, you are free to refuse our insurance coverage. Please note that it's best to advise as early as possible. (i.e. before penalties come into effect) if you do not require our insurance and must complete a cancellation waiver form for our records. Before doing so, please ensure that you do have complete coverage from alternate sources (frequently we have clients who refuse our coverage only to find later that their coverage is inadequate).
Escorted Journey Questions
Our leaders are responsible for the well being of the group and all its members. They act as our representative when dealing with our many suppliers along the way and they are responsible to ensure that those suppliers fulfill their obligations as per our agreements with them. They are also responsible for the spiritual and material well being of all members of the group - they are to ensure that you have a good time. Please appreciate that while our leaders are NOT guides, they will do all possible to obtain answers to any of your questions. Similarly, our leaders can not assist to the physical needs of individual group members when this inhibits them from looking after the needs of the group. For instance, our leaders are not responsible for pushing wheelchairs as this will distract them from their other group responsibilities.
On most ocean cruises, we will proceed with all planned arrangements while group members will be assisted by local representatives. For tours, we will normally have to cancel the group unless we have sufficient interest to operate the itinerary with a local guide/escort in the destination. Decisions regarding escorts are usually made about 60 days prior to the departure date.
Your documents will be shipped via Canada Post Expedited Parcel or Express Post approximately 21 days prior to your departure date. Your documents will not be dropped at your door. If the package does not fit through your mail slot or in your mail box you should receive a notice from Canada Post with the address you can pick it up from. If you are departing early, moving or will not be at your main address when your documents are expected to arrive, please let your Sales Specialist know and we will work with you to ensure your documents are received.
This will depend greatly on the tour in question and your personal spending habits. You will need to allow funds for the following: any meals that you must purchase drinks which are often not included at meals "snack" money for morning and afternoon breaks souvenir purchases plus other personal expenditures Credit cards can be used in most destinations and are often the best way to make larger purchases. In many destinations, ATMs (banking machines) will allow you to access your own bank account back home and provide excellent exchange rates, even after their service fee has been charged. However, you should remember that it is not always possible to use an ATM. You should have alternate forms of money (traveller's cheques, cash or credit cards) on hand. In the recent past we have found that Traveller’s cheques are becoming one of the least attractive ways to carry funds - most hotels and even banks are refusing to cash them, they are charging high fees and giving poor exchange rates. Most travellers are using other forms of currency to carry their money needs.
While some travelers like the convenience of carrying local currency, others will find it confusing and not necessary. Arriving in a foreign land with a group, you will find that your leader and local representative look after any expenses until you are able to secure some local currency.
Prior to departure we will supply you with a list of hotel addresses and contact information, which you can leave with friends or a family member. While on tour you can easily call home. In many countries, you will find easy and inexpensive access to the internet through internet cafes which charge a small fee for using their computers. If you have a hotmail address, it is a very simple matter for you to collect your emails and to respond to them, although you will have some problems using keyboards on most computers outside Canada. Obtain and carry an International Calling Card for telephone calls from overseas.
Depending on where you travel, you will find different power levels (i.e. 110 or 220 volts) and a variety of power outlets. We suggest that purchase an universal power adapter kit that will allow you to use different voltages and outlets. Many new hotels provide outlets that provide both voltages and accept a number of different plugs. If you are not able to find a suitable plug, contact the front desk.
Day wear on all cruises is best described as casual and comfortable. On most ocean cruises you will find that evening wear is becoming less formal each year. Evening dress is often described as “resort elegantly casual”. The actual dress codes will vary by cruise line and we will provide details well prior to departure. Generally speaking, you will have to dress formally (i.e. black tie (or dark suit) for gentlemen, formal gowns (or cocktail dress) for women on any but the most exclusive or longest cruises). On shorter cruises (7 - 14 days), men will be comfortable with a jacket and tie on a few occasions only. On a river cruise, dress codes are more in line with dress codes on tours - there are no formal evenings nor any need to dress formally.
Luggage restrictions are generally determined by the airline. Generally on ocean cruises we allow members to bring two checked bags, each of which can weigh up to 22 kg. Ongoing changes in airline rules may affect this in the future. Please be aware that with current security restrictions, individuals often must handle their own luggage at airports and for security. It always pays to travel with as little luggage as possible. On river cruises, because of space limitations and other travel restrictions, passengers are generally limited to one suitcase per person (max 22 kg). The Golden Rule of Packing - Always take one third the clothes and three times the money that you think that you need. Most people bring more clothes than they need.
On ocean cruise ships, the list is virtually endless. Your cabin will usually contain twin beds (which may convert to a queen size bed), a colour TV, a telephone, a wakeup service, a private bathroom with hairdryer, a private safe and ample closet space. Many ships now have self serve laundry facilities. They also have numerous lounges, swimming pools, health club, card rooms, library, shops and much more.
This will depend on the cruise and your personal spending habits. For ocean cruises, you should allow funds for Shore Excursions which are generally not included as well as social needs while cruising (drinks, spa, etc.). You may also need to allow for funds for the time that you go ashore. Most cruise lines use the US Dollar as their currency on board. You can charge your ship board expenses to your shipboard account and settle at the end of the cruise with credit card (easiest), travellers cheques or cash (some cruise lines also accept personal cheques). It is wise to have some cash (US Dollars) to look after small purchases off the ship, extra tipping and the like. ATM machines are generally not available or convenient for cruise passengers. On river cruises, most shore excursions are included and you will need funds for extras (e.g. drinks), expenditures on shore, and possibly some optional excursions.
On ocean cruises, the cost of shore excursions will vary considerably from port to port and depending on the length and activity involved. Generally, you should allow about US$40 - 60 per person for a half day tour and US$100 - 150 pp for a full day tour including lunch. For ocean cruises, detailed shore excursion information and booking procedures are available on the cruise line website - if you wish to book your excursions in advance, you can do so online. On river cruises most shore excursions are usually included. Information on optional excursions will normally be provided on the riverboat.
Most cruise ships now operate internet services which are available for passengers although they tend to be relatively expensive. For even more money (about US$10 per minute), you call home via satellite. Many cruise passengers learn from the cruise staff, and either call home while on shore or use land based internet services.
In these days of changing weather patterns, it is virtually impossible to provide a clear and honest forecast of future weather conditions. We select departure dates to visit our chosen destinations when we expect great weather and we provide historical information on temperatures that we hope you will experience. For further information about weather conditions conditions in your destination we suggest that you use the internet just prior to departure.
If you want to arrange your own flights, you are free to do so. If using points, you will need to contact the airline directly as early as possible. We will provide you with a Land or Cruise Only cost (usually this is listed on our brochure). In addition to excluding the airfares and related taxes, this cost excludes the departure and arrival transfers, both in Canada and the destination, all related taxes and insurance coverage. At the start of the tour/cruise, you will be responsible to make your own way to the first hotel or to the pier, unless you arrive on the group flight.
Safety and Security Questions
Increased security is a given in today's world of travel. You need to allow extra time to proceed through airports and you need to bring with you a good deal of extra patience. Information concerning airport security will be included with your final documents.
Health precautions will vary depending on your destination and mode of travel. Today there are very few shots required to travel to most parts of the world but there are many recommendations, ranging from what you drink or eat to the medications that you take to protect you against disease. We will provide you with a sheet of information outlining our suggestions but we also recommend that you contact a Travel Clinic near your home for additional information, especially if you are going a little more off the beaten track.
Yes, you can request this but ask for the cost, first! Upgrading to Business Class can double the entire cost of some tours. On the other hand, for some destinations we are able to offer "Big Seats" (economy class service but with more space) or Business Excursion upgrades, that can be relatively affordable. These often have very limited availability, so early booking is essential.
YES, our travel associates will assist you in making any requested alterations to our planned itineraries. However you should be aware that such changes will generally involve extra costs, related to airfare adjustments, additional services, insurance adjustments, etc. In some cases, the inclusive nature of our programs may result in deviations being not practical. If you wish to make special arrangements in addition to our group program, please allow us as much time as possible - we should be advised in writing, at the time of booking and at least 3 months prior to your scheduled departure.
In most cases we can arrange for you to break your journey but this will often involve an extra charge, which may include an airline fee, additional airfares, additional taxes, the cost to upgrade your insurance and any land arrangements that you may require. If you want to consider this option, please discuss the options with our staff at the time of booking.
Air Miles can not be accumulated in conjunction with our travel arrangements. If you want to use Air Miles to help pay for a tour, you will have to book our tour or cruise without the airfares and then contact Air Miles directly to book those flights. Aeroplan is the most common frequent flyer program in Canada. Depending on the air carrier being used for your flights, you will be able to collect points. We suggest that you submit your plan numbers to our office but that you also ensure that your numbers are correctly applied to your air reservation when you check in for each flight (our air bookings are often done as a group block and sometimes the numbers do not register properly). If you want to use your points in conjunction with one of our trips, you will have to book our tour or cruise without the flights and then book those flights directly with your frequent flyer program (e.g. Aeroplan). Some clients like to use Aeroplan for the domestic portion of an overseas trip, allowing them to break the journey at the gateway. We encourage you to discuss the details with one of our travel associates.
We encourage all travellers to advise us about any special dietary needs that they may have (vegetarian, diabetic, gluten free, etc.). If possible, we will make arrangements with our air carriers for your special diet requests. Please note that we will pass special requests along to other suppliers (hotels, cruise lines, etc.), but the passengers, with the help of the group leader, must remind the suppliers (staff at the restaurant, hotel or cruise ship) and be aware of their own needs in these situations. On tour, you will generally be served buffet style or will have a limited choice of menu - this will usually allow you to meet your dietary needs. On cruise ships, you will often have sufficient choice as well.
This will vary greatly from airline to airline. In most cases, we block a group of seats, obtaining very special discounted rates for the group. In those situations, we pass the savings on to you but at the same time we give up some of the privileges that we might otherwise have, like the ability to select specific seats for our group members. We will always ask you to provide your preferred seating and then we will do all possible to fulfill your requests. However, most airlines do not provide us with actual seat assignments in advance and, in many cases, the airline will simply allocate a block of seats for our group, without regard for individual requests. We suggest that if your seat assignment is important that you do the following: About 24 hours prior to your first flight, you contact the airline directly, asking for your seat assignment and requesting a change if necessary. You arrive at the airport as early as you can and that you request them to change your seats at the check in counter. We do regret this situation and continue our efforts to better obtain seat selection for group members.
Our escorted tours are designed for people who are physically fit - we suggest that all members on tours should be able to walk at a reasonable pace for a couple of city blocks and that they be able to negotiate stairs. Passengers requiring wheel chairs and/or walkers should not join one of our escorted tours or river cruises. Members who only need assistance to get through airports can always request extra assistance. Travellers who have walking limitations can always look to booking an ocean cruise on which the activities/excursions are optional. If you have any doubts about your physical ability to handle and to enjoy any of our trips, we urge you to discuss them with us prior to booking your trip.