FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to all of your cruise-related questions
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Cruise Awards Back to Top
Any program active MileagePlus member with a MileagePlus account address in the fifty United States. Eligibility is at the discretion of MileagePlus and may change at any time without notice. Each member must have sufficient MileagePlus miles in his or her account to complete the miles portion of his or her transaction.
Redemptions must be made through the "MileagePlus Cruise Awards" program by visiting: http://cruises.mileageplus.com or by calling 1-800-474-2052.
Miles & Money is a payment option available to select members. If you do not have enough MileagePlus miles in your account or prefer to use a combination of miles and money, you may be able to pay using a combination of miles and major credit card.
If available to you, the amount of Miles & Money required for redemption will be displayed on the billing information page (last page in the process with your cruise summary and ability to pay) once you determine how many miles you would like to use to purchase your cruise.
Any charges related to your cruise purchase price (port charges, taxes, travel protection, etc...) can be paid in all miles or, if available, with Miles & Money. Any charge that is incurred after the purchase of the cruise will need to be paid with a major credit card.
You can contact MileagePlus Cruise Awards anytime at 800-474-2052. The hours of operation are 24 / 7 and we're open 365 days a year.
There are no such blackout dates. However, all cruises are subject to availability.
Your cruise may be booked as far in advance as cruise line inventory is available. Since different cruise lines release inventory at different times, please check the website for availability.
Miles are deducted immediately from your MileagePlus account once you click "Buy now" on the Billing Information page. Please allow up to 24 hours for the transaction to show in your mileage summary.
Your cruise reservation may be cancelled or changed, subject to the policies of 800-474-2052 and the individual cruise line you booked. The cancellation and change policies that relate to your specific cruise itinerary will be provided to you online when you select the sailing you want to purchase and will also be provided in the documentation you receive upon booking your cruise. To cancel or change your reservation, you must call Customer Service at 800-474-2052. In some instances, cancellations and changes will not be available or permitted. Changes made by calling Customer Service will be subject to the change policies and fees of the cruise line. Cancellations made by calling Customer Service will be subject to the cancellation policies and fees of the cruise line and a 800-474-2052 cancellation fee. The 800-474-2052 cancellation fee is $100 per MileagePlus Cruise Awards reservation. All fees are subject to change at any time without notice. All fees must be paid with money by using a major credit card. In the case of a Miles & Money booking, the money portion paid will be applied to the fee amounts and any remaining balance must be promptly paid using a major credit card. If you previously paid the money portion of your booking with a credit card, that card will be charged for any outstanding fee amount. Refunds, when available, will be made in the original form of payment less any fees and charges where applicable.
Cancellation policies and fees can be found in the Terms & Conditions on the billing information page (last page in the process with your cruise summary and ability to pay) and the invoice page once purchase is confirmed.
If you are due a refund of miles after you cancel your cruise it could take up to 48 hours for all the miles to re-credit to the account and they could be re-credited in multiple transactions, so for example if you paid 40,000 miles and you are due a refund of all your miles, it could show in your account as a debit of 40,000 miles but then a re-credit of 25,000 and 15,000. The total amount you will receive as a refund will be the same as what you paid, less any penalties that would have been assessed by the cruise line per the cruise line’s cancellation penalties as detailed on your invoice.
Please be advised that if you cancel or change your reservation that was paid for in Miles & Money, and a penalty is assessed by the cruise line, then the miles used at time of purchase will be applied first to cover the cost of this penalty followed by any money payment you made if the amount exceeds what you paid for in miles.
For Miles & Money, the money portion must be paid in US Dollars via a major credit card.
Taxes and fees are included in the Miles & Money price displayed. Incidentals and optional items are not included in the prices displayed, and are not eligible for mileage redemption or Miles & Money redemption.
The miles deduction will appear on your MileagePlus account summary or statement as "MileagePlus Cruise Redemption".
Yes, you will receive a confirmation email that contains your reservation details from MileagePlus Cruise Awards (email@example.com)
Can I call United reservations or the MileagePlus Customer Service Center to redeem my miles for a Cruise?
No. MileagePlus members must contact the MileagePlus Cruise Awards customer service center at 800-474-2052 to book a cruise.
You can book a cruise for someone else as long as you are also traveling with them in the same cabin or in a separate cabin on the same sailing. If you will not be traveling then the departure of the cruise must be greater than 30 days from the time you make your reservation. You will be unable to redeem your miles towards the purchase of a cruise for someone else if the selected cruise departs within 30 days of when you make your cruise reservation.
No, each redemption must be made from a single account.
No. Neither the mileage portion or money portion of the MileagePlus Cruise Awards is eligible to earn miles.
Planning Your Cruise Back to Top
When to Go
Travel Requirements Back to Top
Passports & Visas
Getting to the Ship Back to Top
Pre and Post Cruise Flights
At the Port
Booking Your Cruise Back to Top
Payment Back to Top
Making a Payment
Services Onboard Back to Top
Although many cruise lines do provide cell phone service while at sea, please keep in mind that such services require additional fees, often at rates much more expensive than your normal roaming charges.
Many cruise lines now feature Internet Cafes onboard, where you can surf the Web and send and receive emails. There is a charge for this service, and the per-minute rates vary by cruise line.
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle medical emergencies.
Many cruise lines offer one or both of these services, sometimes for an additional fee. Click here for a highlight of programs offered.
Both laundry and dry cleaning services are offered by most major cruise lines. Specific instructions and information about fees can be found in your cabin.
Typically, yes. However, most charge considerably high fees for use (in addition to any bank charges).
Medical Concerns Back to Top
The cruise lines require all guests with special medical needs to submit a "special needs" form to them prior to travel. This is to ensure that they have the necessary information to give you the proper care in the event of an emergency. Passengers who carry syringes for medical use must also carry a letter from their physicians indicating this. Please call and speak with our Customer Service Team to obtain the correct forms for submission to the cruise line.
Pregnancy is regarded as a medical condition, and some cruise lines require a medical certificate establishing the passenger's due date and fitness to travel. Additionally, each cruise line has specific policies with regard to how far along in a pregnancy a passenger can be at time of embarkation. Click here for further details.
Accessibility varies from ship to ship, however the newer, larger cruise ships are often a better bet for wheelchair-bound travelers than are older ships. Please contact us for questions regarding wheelchair accessibility by ship.
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels operating in coastal waters) has a fully equipped medical facility and staff to handle medical emergencies.
Yes. Today, virtually all ships have non-smoking and smoking designated areas. Dining rooms on many of the major cruise lines today are totally smoke-free.
Although seasickness is rare on larger cruise ships because they are equipped with stabilizers, if you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consult your physician prior to travel. If you should feel queasy onboard ship, medicine is available from your stateroom steward or the ship's doctor.
Many types of medication may not be readily available either aboard ship or in ports of call. Commonly used medication may be purchased at the office of the ship's doctor.
Please carry any medication in its original bottle. It is recommended that medication be carried on your person or in your carry-on bag so that it will be available when needed, as checked luggage may not be accessible at all times. If you take any prescription drugs, vitamins or other medication on a regular basis, you should bring an adequate supply with you.
Ship Security Back to Top
Yes. To ensure the safety of all cruise ship passengers, pre-cruise security measures have been strengthened in recent years. Passengers can expect to encounter screening measures similar to those used in airports, including metal detectors and examination of photo IDs. In addition, their luggage and carry-on bags may be inspected.
These are commonly referred to as lifeboat drills (or "muster"). Everyone on board the ship is required to be in attendance for a safety drill before departure, to comply with Coast Guard and international safety regulations.
For safety and security reasons, no visitors are allowed onboard.
What to Bring Back to Top
Consider your ship's itinerary when deciding what to pack.
For a typical Caribbean cruise, you'll want to take shorts, skirts or sundresses, pants, blouses, t-shirts, knit tops or polo shirts, and a bathing suit. For cooler days or evenings, pack a sweater or lightweight windbreaker.
For Alaska cruises, sweaters, raincoats, and fleece are also suggested. Bring a pair of sneakers or rubber-soled shoes for deck sports and a swimsuit cover-up for cool areas on the ship.
Keep in mind that when visiting some countries or participating in shore excursions to shrines or religious sites, a more conservative dress code may be in order.
Most cruises will have at least one formal night for dinner. Women generally wear cocktail dresses or gowns, while men can wear a dark suit and tie. Many ships also offer tuxedo rentals.
For casual or semi-formal nights, sport shirts and slacks or button-down shirts and sport coats work for men, while women can wear a dress, pantsuit, or slacks and top.
Generally speaking, there are three types of evening attire: Casual, Smart-Casual or Business-Casual, and Formal.
Casual attire would be dresses or slacks and blouses for women, sport shirts and trousers for men
Smart- or Business-Casual would be dresses or pantsuits for women, jackets for men; and Formal would be long or short cocktail dresses, dark suits or tuxedos for men. That being said, some cruise lines have loosened their dress codes and sometimes allow much more casual dress in the main dining rooms.
On most cruises, a tuxedo is not required, although gentleman should plan on bringing a dark suit in order to attend the formal night(s). If you prefer to dress to the nines, many cruise lines offer tuxedo rentals.
In port and on the ship, you will have many opportunities to enjoy duty free shopping. Depending on your itinerary, there may be a limit to the amount of duty-free merchandise allowed per guest. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, so you will not have to bring much cash (except for some shore side purchases). In fact, it is strongly recommended that you bring a credit card, since it will make your onboard registration very quick and easy. For non-credit card purchases, we encourage you to bring traveler's checks.
Electric razors and hair dryers can be brought with you. Staterooms for most cruise lines are equipped with 110 volts AC and are capable of handling all normal appliances. Some appliances may require the use of an adapter. Keep in mind, cruise lines do not provide irons in your stateroom and they prefer that you do not bring one along, due to the fire hazard. There is often laundry service on board should you need a special outfit ironed.
Dining, Activities & Purchases Back to Top
Beverages & Dining
Non-bottled water, coffee, tea, and juice are generally included in your cruise fare. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are not included in the cruise fare, and in most cases, a 15% gratuity will be added to your bill when ordering these beverages.
Although most ships travel in International waters, the rule of thumb is that the drinking age aboard ship is contingent upon the drinking age at the Port of Departure. Always check with your Vacation Consultant or Customer Service before sailing if you have any concerns regarding the drinking age.
Yes, many cruise lines offer beverage packages to offset the expense. Click here for further details.
Most cruise lines offer two seatings for the main dining room(s): Main Seating and Late Seating. Dining preferences may be requested at the time of the booking, however no requests are guaranteed. In addition to the traditional seatings, some cruise lines now offer "freestyle" dining. This provides guests with the flexibility to dine when and with whom they wish. Your seating and table assignment will be confirmed at embarkation. For additional details regarding dining options for the various cruise lines, click here.
Yes. For your convenience, in addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night buffets in the main dining room(s), many ships also offer complimentary room service and several additional restaurants. If you choose to dine in one of the specialty restaurants onboard, be prepared to pay an extra charge for the meal.
Low-fat and vegetarian entrees are often offered at lunch and dinner. Low-sodium meals, kosher meals, and certain other diet-restricted meals can be made available. Dietary requests should be made at the time of booking to ensure that you are appropriately accommodated.
Suggested gratuities vary between cruise lines as well as stateroom type, and generally range from $10 to $15 per person, per day. Many cruise lines now automatically add gratuities to your shipboard account. With most cruise lines, you will have the option to remove the automatically added gratuities if you are dissatisfied with the level of service provided, or in the event that you wish to tip the staff personally. This is done by visiting the Purser's desk prior to debarkation.
In cases where the gratuities are not automatically added to the shipboard account, the following guidelines are generally suggested by the cruise lines:
Stateroom attendant - $3.50 per person, per day
Head Waiter - $3.50 per person, per day
Assistant waiters - $1.75 per person, per day.
Gratuities for the Headwaiter/Maitre'D and other service personnel are at your discretion.
For your convenience aboard the ship, a 15% gratuity is automatically included on all beverage tabs.
For additional details regarding onboard gratuities specific to your cruise, click here.
Cruising is so much more than just shuffleboard and all-you-can-eat buffets. Today's ships offer activities and entertainment for vacationers of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. Family-friendly ships may feature everything from kids' clubs to teen coffeehouses. Want to unwind? Activities are as diverse as spa treatments, basketball, and casino gambling. At night, you might catch a comedy show, relax in a piano bar, or feast on five-star cuisine. From luxury to adventure, there's a ship to suit your vacation needs.
Cruise lines publish a daily newsletter that lists all of the activities being offered aboard the ship each day. In some cases your cabin steward will leave a copy in your stateroom the night before, and a copy of the bulletin is also always available at the Purser's desk.
Yes. Most cruise lines offer a variety of organized activities for children, as part of the cruise package. These programs are directed and supervised by specially trained staff, and different activities are offered depending upon age group. Age requirements vary between cruise lines, but a child must be toilet trained in order to participate, particularly in pool-related activities. Many cruise lines also offer babysitting services, at an additional cost. For additional details, please click here.
Most cruise lines offer a variety of evening activities, from Las Vegas-style shows to gambling at the casino. You can also choose to dance the night away at the disco, or spend a more quiet evening enjoying a drink and sharing the day's experiences at one of the many lounges on board. These activities will be listed on your onboard newsletter.
Most cruise lines allow you to establish an onboard credit account that permits you to charge purchases to your stateroom. You will need to present a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks to open this account. This can be done at the designated sign-up area onboard the ship, or during the check-in process.
Each cruise ship has its own guidelines regarding hours of operation of the casino and on-board shops. The basic rule of thumb is that shops and the casino are open while you are at sea, however they will be closed while the ship is in port.
Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.