Talk cruises with Richard Cross
Talk cruises with Richard Cross.
Richard is a television presenter with Vision Cruise and the Holiday and Cruise Channel. His knowledge of cruises is expansive and as such is an ideal person to interview for those considering taking the plunge and booking a cruise.
Hi Richard, please introduce yourself.
- I currently work as a TV Presenter for Vision Cruise and also Producer & Director for the Holiday & Cruise Channel. I have worked in the travel industry for over 8 years, mainly specialising in cruises. I have cruised or visited in excess of 35 different ships. Ranging from small ships to floating resorts in my job as Presenter & Producer.
You represent many companies whilst presenting for Vision Cruise, what makes every cruise a little bit different?
- Every single cruise is different, it all depends what you want from your holiday. This year I traveled with Hurtigruten to Norway. This was a small ship with just 600 passengers on board, mainly focusing on the destination and not the ship itself. I had the privilege of fresh mussels that had been caught that day on board!
I Believe you saw the Northern lights, an experience like that just has be mentioned.
- There are mega ships that carry 6000 passengers which focus on facilities on board from rock climbing to surfing and from dodgems to waterparks!. When I only get to pop on board for a few hours whilst a ship is in port for filming, I usually get taken on a whistle stop tour of all the facilities and I’m always discovering new places and hideaways around the ship. Cruises are great for meeting new people. I meet people on my trips all the time and keep in touch with them and swap stories about our adventures at sea.
I understand you also like to talk cruises over social media also!
Why would you recommend a cruise over other styles of holiday?
- A cruise holiday offers so much more than a land based holiday and offers great value for money! For starters a cruise is full board, and when it comes to dining, this is when a cruise holiday really shows the value. You may choose waiter or buffet service every evening with 5 or 7 course meals all included in the price. Not forgetting of course breakfast, lunch and snacks are included also.
Entertainment is included, if you go to a theatre in a town or resort, how much does this usually cost? Waterparks are included in the price of your holiday.
Plus at the end of the evening, there is no waiting, or paying, for taxis, simply return to your cabin.
Of course these floating cruise ships take you to different destinations and countries, taking in different cultures and adventures, all this and you have only unpacked once. If you are choosing to cruise from the UK, then there is no luggage restrictions. You can take as many cases with you and once you have arrived at the terminal, all porterage is taken care of, you can step on board with no stresses of airport queues and your holiday can begin.
When you put it that way, its an odds on favourite.
What has been your best personal experience of a cruise? and shore excursion?
- It’s hard for me to single out the best personal experience, there are so many of them!. I would have to say it is the treatment from the staff on board though. They are always there for you, no matter what your problem or query is, they are on hand 24 hours a day. The restaurant staff remember how I like my steak cooked, the bar staff remember what drink I like, it’s this sort of personal service that you just want get anywhere else.
An organised shore excursion is a great way to see the destination you are visiting. Everything is taken care of so you need not worry about a thing. I have done so many excursions in ports, I do love Norway and the funicular railway up Mount Floyen up to the top. Where it offered breath-taking views, I can’t wait to head back!
Sounds lovely, so cameras always at the ready?
Seasickness is a common thought that puts people off a cruise, is it really such an issue?
- People have the misconception that the ship will be rocking. Modern cruise ships have stabilisers so often its hard to believe you are actually at sea!. There are some occasions when there maybe inclement weather, the crew will do their hardest to miss this but sometimes its unavoidable.
There are tablets you can take from reception or from high street chemists before you go.
Whats your best advice for a first time cruiser to prepare for the cruise?
- For a first time cruiser I would say be prepared. Make sure you have all of your documentation including tickets and passports ready before setting off. Prior to that make sure you have check the countries you are visiting and have the correct currency, check the on board current to see if you need any adapters to take with you. Plan the clothes you are going to take, are you dressing up on formal night and how many formal nights are there?. Check the weather forecast, do you need swimsuits and sun cream or a light jacket?. Research your destinations so you know how far the ship docks from the centre of town, even look at excursions, you can save money by pre-booking them sometimes.
What is one place you dream of visiting still?
- The Caribbean! I can’t think of anywhere better than hopping from island to island on a Caribbean cruise and spending a day on the beach relaxing and chilling!
The TNC team agree with you on that Richard
What is the etiquette for tipping even if gratuities are included in the price?
- The majority of cruise lines do not include tips or gratuities, therefore these will be added to your on board account. Cruise lines have a usual set amount for tips. This can be £5 per person per day for a British cruise line and $8-$12 dollars per person per day for an America cruise line, your travel agent can advise at the time of booking. The amount is divided equally between your cabin steward and waiter. They will prepare your cabin twice daily, your waiter who will look after you for the whole of your cruise.
Looking at the price for a British cruise, would you say that £2.50 for each of them per day is a far price. I would say it’s too cheap!. You can choose to have tips removed and you can pay what you want for the service you feel you have received. There are some luxury cruise lines that offer all inclusive, this means all tips are taken care of in the cruise fare. This allows you to budget for your holiday.
Are the hidden extras as bad as they seem? would buying into a drinks packages for example be better than paying separately on board?
- Things not included in the price of your holiday. Drinks, excursions, personal shopping and spa treatments, so you can budget with this in mind. Drinks packages are available to buy on the majority of cruise lines so no nasty bills at the end of the cruise.
Some cruise lines include drinks in the price.
On board a British cruise line, you can expect to pay the price you would in South West England pub prices.
I personally don’t like sitting around, the thought is wonderful but in reality I would want to be doing something. When on a sea day what can people expect to keep busy?
- Sea days are some of the best days!. Every person is different, many people will be happy sat around the pool. Enjoying a book or a tablet device all day. Others like to be active, you can do things like surfing at sea, rock-climbing, ice-skating, bumper cars or 10-pin bowling!.
Facilities vary depending on cruise lines. All cruise lines have a daily programme so you can be as active as you want.
If you wish to go to port talks and learn about the destination, or dance/gym classes these are all available. Most of the activities on a sea day are all included in the price of the cruise. If you are cruising with the family, Many of the cruise lines offer kids clubs, most are included in the price. Kids clubs are great whilst you enjoy your time!
Finally Shore excursions, any tips for reducing these costs? would you recommend going on shore and just exploring?
- Firstly you can reduce cost of your excursion by pre-booking them with a travel agent before you get on board. Booking them with a cruise line before you go, or whilst you are on board will be the same price. Booking them in advance also means you can guarantee you are on them.
Some excursions have limited places and waiting to book them until on board could have you disappointed!. Going on a cruise holiday is all about seeing new places and learning about the destination. I would recommend going on excursions to maximise your time in the destination and to learn about its history.
There are all types of excursions from walking tours, open top bus tours, to helicopter rides and zip lining!. Taking a cruise line excursion, if you are late back the ship will wait for you before departing.
You are free to explore the port on your own.
We will eventually get you on that Zip Line. You could combine your Caribbean cruise with Zip-lining in St Lucia.