Starshine Travel, Inc.

941 McLean Avenue Suite 341 Yonkers NY 10704 (800) 731-9040 

FAQ

Pricing & Payments

  1. When should I book my trip?

    For the best rates and stateroom selection, we recommend that you make your reservation six months to a year in advance.  Prices generally increase as the sailing date approcahes. Once your deposit has been received by the cruise line, your rate will be protected against cruise fare price increases.  Although it is rare, sometimes port charges, government taxes and/or fuel prices do increase after deposit or final payment, and these price components are not protected.

    It is occasionally possible to get a good deal by booking a few weeks prior to sailing, as cruise lines sometimes lower prices at the last minute to fill up their ships, however, stateroom and dining selection are usually quite limited.  It is less likely to find these last minute sale prices in the summer or on popular ships and itineraries.

    If the price drops after you have booked, cruise lines will sometimes honor the new lower price.  If you see a lower price advertised after you have booked, please let us know and we will contact the cruise line to see if you are elligible for a price reduction.

  2. Do I need to shop around to get a good rate?

    The same cabin, on the same ship, for the same sailing, booked on the same date, should cost the same price no matter which travel agent you book with, whether you book with a traditional travel agency or online agency, or directly with the cruise line. In fact, you may even get a lower price from a travel agent than a cruise line.

    Cruise prices include several components, such as the cruise fare, airfare, port charges, taxes, insurance, etc.  When comparing prices, make sure that they include the same components.

    Prices generally increase as the sailing date approaches, so the same cabin, on the same ship, for the same sailing may cost more today than it did last month or even yesterday. In general, you will get the best price by booking early. We recommend booking six months to a year in advance.

    In rare cases, a particular travel agency may have contracted for group space on a particular sailing and therefore may be able to sell below the current rate of another agency.

    Finally, some less than ethical travel agents choose to violate their agreements with the cruise lines and rebate part of their commissions to their clients. Rebating is not allowed by cruise lines, and if an agency is caught rebating, they will have sanctions imposed upon them. 

  3. Does it cost more to book a cruise with a travel agent?

    No.  Travel agents are paid by the cruise line, not the client.  There are no savings by booking direct.  Travel agents can even save you money because they have access to many promotions that are not available directly from the cruise lines.

  4. How do I pay for my cruise vacation?

    We strongly recommend that all payments be made via credit card.  Payment is received by the cruise line immediately and gives you the most protection, as all credit cards are processed by the cruise line, not the travel agency. 

    If you prefer paying by check or money order, please bear in mind that these items take time to arrive in the mail and to clear our bank once deposited.  We must then issue our own check to the cruise line and mail it to them.  Deposit and final payment dates are firm, and if paying by check or money order, you may have to pay an overnight delivery fee in order for them to arrive at the cruise line offices on time.

  5. When do I have to pay for my cruise?

    Each cruise line has its own payment policy, but in general, a deposit is due at the time of booking and the balance is due between 90 and 70 days prior to sailing.

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Travel Documents

  1. Do I need a passport?

    We strongly recommend that all passengers travel with a valid U.S. passport.

    Although U.S. citizens whose cruise begins and ends in the same U.S. port ("closed loop" cruises) can technically travel with an original or certfied copy (with a raised seal) of a birth certificate and a driver's license or other government issued photo ID, a passport is required to fly into the United States from most cruise ship ports of call. We therefore strongly recommend traveling with a passport in case you need to interupt your trip and fly home in an emergency. For the the full details regarding passport requirements, please click here to visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

  2. If a child (under the age of 18) is traveling with only one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian, what paperwork should the adult have to indicate permission or legal authority to have that child in their care?

    Due to the increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a notarized letter from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends, or in groups*, a note signed by both parents) granting permission for the trip. In addition, several countries and cruise lines require this document in order to permit travel. Please visit the CBP website  for more detailed information.

  3. Can I cruise if I am pregnant?

    Most cruise lines prohibit pregnant passengers from sailing past a certain stage of pregnancy.  Even if permitted to sail, most cruise lines will require a doctor's letter stating that both mother and child are medically fit for travel.  These policies are in place to protect the health of both the expectant mother and child.  If you are pregnant, or think you may become pregnant prior to your cruise, please let us know so that we can advise you regarding the pregnancy policy of your cruise line.

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Insurance

  1. Do I need travel insurance?

    Absolutely! Travel insurance is extremely important, as it covers you not only for many unforseen events which could cause you to cancel your vacation, but for emergency medical treatment and evacuation as well.

    Cruise lines charge significant cancellation penalties, up to the entire cost of your cruise. An illness or accident the week before your cruise could cause you to cancel your trip and lose your entire vacation investment. What if a family member became ill and you had to cancel your cruise to be with them in a hospital - would you be prepared to lose thousands of dollars?

    Although losing your vacation investment would be unfortunate, it is nothing compared to the expense of emergency medical care or evacuation. Soon after your ship sails, you will enter international waters and will no longer be in the United States. Most health insurance policies do not cover you outside the U.S.

    If you became ill aboard the ship or slipped on deck and broke your leg and had to go to the hospital at the next port, how would you pay the hospital bill or extra plane fare back home? What about the expenses for your traveling companions - they would probably want to disembark with you.

    What if you were at sea and you fell down a flight of steps and broke your neck? What if your appendix burst? An emergency medical evacuation by helicopter can cost more than $30,000.

    The right travel insurance policy would cover all of these situations and more. Insurance is a very important component of your vacation, and it's more affordable than most people think.

    For more information about travel insurance, please check out the "Information About Travel Insurance" section of our Links page.

  2. Is there a difference between policies?

    Yes, there can be a big difference in price and coverage. Some policies are sold by the cruise line and others are sold by third party insurance companies. Some include pre-existing medical conditions and some don't. Some only allow you to cancel for unforseen medical reasons and some allow you to cancel for any reason.

    We work with several insurance providers, and can help you choose the right policy to meet your needs.

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