Before you sail:

Q: What travel documentation do I need to cruise?

A: United States citizens need proof of citizenship, which can be a Passport (recommended) OR your original or certified copy of your state-issued birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license or similar).  For the most current and accurate travel information, please visit the Department of Homeland Security website at

Q: What if I’m not a US Citizen?

A: Resident Aliens need an Alien Resident Card. Non-US citizens need a valid Passport and valid U.S. Multiple RE-Entry Visa. Foreign Exchange Students need their I-20 form as well.

Q: What is your chaperon policy?

A: Your group is required to have 1 chaperon for every 10 students.  (Example; if your group has a group of 35 students, you would be required to have a minimum of 4 Chaperons) A Chaperon must be over the age of 25, and should be affiliated with the group in some meaningful way, i.e. teachers, parents or other school staff.

Q: What is included in my cruise rate?

A: All taxes, cruise fees and pre-paid gratuities as well as all meals and 24-hour room service.

Q: What is your deposit policy?

A: Deposits are non-refundable, but can be credited to the group’s invoice up to 120 days prior to sailing.

Q: When is everything due?


Initial Deposit Due within 3 weeks of booking $100.00-$300.00 per person based on the length of the cruise.
Second Deposit 120 days prior to sailing $200.00 per person
Cabin List & Group Arrival Form 120 days prior to sailing (Carnival) Emailed cabin list with Legal first/last names & birthdates, and group arrival form.
Forms 90 days prior to sailing Emergency Contact List, Plaque Request, T-shirt Order Form.**Performance forms due with signed contract.
Final Payment 90 days prior to sailing Reminder of balance


Q: Can I trade people or move people around in cabins?

A: Any name change, for any reason, made after the submission of your cabin list to our office, will incur a name change fee of $50.00 per change.  Be certain that the cabin list you submit to us includes the Legal first and last names (as seen on Passport or Birth Certificate) and birth dates of each guest traveling. At least one original person must stay in the cabin or it will be considered a complete cabin cancellation

Q: What’s your cancellation policy?


Days Prior to Sailing Cost Per Cancellation
Up to 120 Days $50 per person (if entire groups cancels)
120-91 Days $75
90-61 Days $200
60-31 Days 50% total fare per person
 30-Day of Cruise  100% total fare per person

*****All name changes or cancellations MUST be made IN WRITING (via e-mail) to your Festivals at Sea representative.  Written confirmation must be received by 3pm Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday in order to take effect the same day)*****

Q: Are the transfers from the airport to the port of departure?

A: Transfers are usually available, though at an extra cost.


Getting ready to sail:

Q: How much cash should I bring?

A: You will need money for baggage handling ($1.00 tip per bag and per checked instrument is customary for the longshoremen), souvenirs, shore excursions, cab fare in port, and any beverages onboard ship not included with meals. Iced tea, lemonade, water, milk, and coffee/tea are included at no cost. Juices are offered at breakfast. An Unlimited Soft Drink Card can be pre-purchased or purchased on board the ship.

Q: What should I pack?

A: Casual and pool attire is appropriate during the day. Formal attire is strongly suggested for formal night(s) – a tuxedo or suit is appropriate for men on formal night(s), and formal dress for women can be short or long dresses/gowns or formal pantsuits. Otherwise, dinner attire is casual resort wear.  Shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits, and jeans are not permitted in the dining room during dinner. A sweater/light jacket is also recommended as the ship’s deck can get chilly on windy nights.

Q: What about dinner?

A: All student groups are assigned late seating on most Carnival sailings (times vary by ship). Table assignments are pre-assigned by group. If the group has specific seating requests, the group leader should advise their travel consultant as early as possible, or the Maitre’ D once on board the ship.  Student groups should sit at the table to which they have been assigned (found on the Sail & Sign (CCL) or SetSail (RCI) card) so they can see which tables in the dining room have been assigned to their group.  It is permissible to move around within the group’s allotted seats, but not to utilize a table that was assigned to another group.

Q: Where will our cabins be?

A: All cabins are blocked as close together as possible. Groups are guaranteed at least Category 4B with Carnival Cruise Lines. Some cabins (especially triples) may be accommodated with a roll-a-way or trundle bed (or similar). All cabin assignments are made at the discretion of the cruise line and not your agents.

Q: How do I check-in for my cruise?

A: Instructions on how to access each person’s e-ticket will be provided approximately 30 days prior to the cruise departure date. Passengers must carry their booking confirmation and/or printed FunPass (Carnival) and proof of citizenship, including a Passport or birth certificate & photo ID, at embarkation. These items must be passed out to each individual prior to arrival at the port.  Check-in at the pier will be done by cabin groups; not individually.

Q: Is there a luggage limit?

A: No, however, please keep in mind the size of your cabin and the number of people who will be in your cabin with you.

Q: How do I get my luggage on the ship?

A: Upon arrival to the port, longshoremen will take the group’s luggage and instruments, if applicable, directly from your bus/car and load them onto the ship, where they will be delivered to your cabins by members of the Housekeeping staff. Please be prepared to pay a gratuity of $1.00 per checked bag and instrument for this serviceAll luggage and equipment should be appropriately tagged with mandated cruise line tags. Do not pack travel documents in the checked luggage; please keep them in hand or easily accessible in a carry-on bag.

Q: Is there a way to reach the ship in the event of an emergency?

A: If needing to contact a Carnival ship, call 1-877-CCL-SHIP (1-877-225-7447). You will need the name of the ship, sail date (date of departure), passenger name, and a major credit card. This telephone number should only be used in the event of an emergency, as a costly satellite fee will be assessed to all calls. Calling cards do not offset the satellite charges.



Q: Can I use my cell phone to make calls on-board?

A: Carnival offers satellite cellular service on board most ships, which allows cell phone users to make and receive calls while at sea through the ship’s satellite signal. Calls can be made on open decks and in some upper deck lounges / public areas. Charges vary by cell phone provider; most providers charge whatever your typical international roaming fees would be. We recommend that you check with your provider prior to sailing.

Q: Is there wifi access on-board?

A: There is wifi access on-board, however it is not free. You can purchase access on a minute-by-minute or day-by-day, or for the entire cruise. 

Q: What about tips?

A: Your prepaid cruise gratuities cover the Maitre’d, Dining Room Head Water, Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and your Cabin Stewards. Gratuity for individual beverage purchases (unless with pre-purchased unlimited soft drink card), room service, or any spa services received is not included.

Q: Can I get room service?

A: Basic room service is included in your cruise rate. Some items on the menu may come at an extra charge, but they will be clearly notated.

Q: How do I buy things on-board?

A: No cash is accepted for purchases on-board ship.  All passengers will use their “Sail & Sign” (Carnival) card for all ship purchases. Your account must be set up with a valid credit card (in the passenger’s name only), cash, debit cards (in passenger’s name with VISA or MasterCard logo), or traveler’s checks.  No checks of any kind will be accepted.

Q: Is there a minimum amount I have to put on my account?

A: A minimum amount is required to set up your on-board account; it is usually a minimum of $50 for cash accounts, but may be more, depending upon the length of the cruise. Please check with your travel consultant for more information. You can replenish your account with additional cash at anytime, and if there is a balance left on the card, you will receive the balance the day before you disembark the ship (when you close out your account).

Q: What if I lose my card?A: If you lose your Sail & Sign card, there is no fee for replacement, but any student under age 21 must take an adult chaperon with them to the Purser’s Information Desk in order to have the card replaced.

Q: What is the legal drinking age on-board?

A: 21 is the legal drinking age on-board and is firmly enforced. The birth date of the cardholder is entered into the master computer on the ship and anyone under the age of 21 will not be permitted to purchase alcohol. Neither the cruise line nor Festivals at Sea will be held responsible if a person under the age of 21 is caught with an alcoholic beverage.  This shall be the sole responsibility of the group’s director and chaperons.

Q: Who can use the casino?

A: Any passengers 18 years or older may enter and use the casino. Passengers under 18 will not be allowed in the casino.



Q: Am I guaranteed a performance on-board?

A: Each school is guaranteed ONE performance regardless of the number of ensembles.

Q: What about additional performances?

A: Additional performances are at the discretion of the cruise line, and will incur additional fees.

Q: Will my performance be adjudicated?

A: Your performing group has the exciting opportunity to enhance their experience with an adjudicated performance for an additional cost of $35 per person (minimum of 50 paid persons).

Q: Can we do a workshop?

A: Your group may participate in an educational performance workshop on board ship for an additional cost of $35 per person (minimum of 50 paid persons).  This one hour workshop will be hosted by a highly experienced professional in the genre of your group including onboard and off board musicians, dancers, and/or other professionals.

Q: When will my performance be?

A: The cruise line dictates the date and time of all performances. Festivals at Sea make every effort to set the times for afternoons at sea. Rehearsals are usually set for the same day as the performance, either just prior to the performance or earlier in the day. Performance times are always at the discretion of the cruise line, according to the availability of the venue being used.

Q: What about sound and lights?

A: A sound technician will be provided for your half hour rehearsal and half hour performance to assist with your production (if needed on main show lounge). Only the technician is permitted to operate the sound equipment. A light technician will be provided for your half hour rehearsal and half hour performance to assist with your production, if you have specific lighting needs on main show lounge. If your group does not have any specific stage lighting needs, a plain wash will be set for the stage, and the house lights will be dimmed during your performance. Only the technician is permitted to operate the lighting equipment.

Q: Is any equipment provided?

A: No, the Group must provide its own equipment.  Depending on the ship and size of your performing group, this may include chairs and music stands.

Q: Do we need to register our equipment?

A: It is necessary, as mandated by U.S. Customs, to provide an equipment list of all the instruments that are brought on the ship. This includes the amount, type, and serial numbers of large instruments the group will need to store on the ship. In addition, groups traveling with equipment will need to pre-register their equipment with their local customs office before their trip. Please contact your travel consultant for additional information on how to accomplish this instrument registration.  This is the group’s responsibility and should be completed prior to boarding.  Boarding may be denied for the entire group if this is not completed.

Need more details? Contact us or check out our Reference Guide.