Office (800) 698-3901 email: ats@atstoursandtravel.com
Fax (512) 847-6249 Office Hours 9am-5pm
 

Cruise Information and Policies

GENERAL CRUISE TRAVEL TIPS

Travel Documents: United States and Canadian guests need proof of citizenship and photo I.D. (Passport, Birth Certificate or Certified copy of Birth Certificate with raised seal). Resident Aliens need an Alien Resident Card. Aliens need a valid Passport and valid U.S. Multiple RE-Entry Visa. IMPORTANT! If you have anyone in your group that is a foreign exchange student or not a citizen of the United States, they must contact their Local Immigration office or US Immigration at 800-375-5283 to find out what paperwork they will need to enter various ports of call. Any person not having the necessary travel documents will not be allowed to board the ship and will not receive a refund for their cruise.

Luggage: All travel documents must be filled out and all luggage and equipment tagged with the provided cruise line’s luggage tags prior to arrival at the port. Each passenger must have in their own possession travel documents including Birth Certificate/Passport, Photo I.D. if over 16 years of age, and his or her own tickets when checking in at Embarkation. These items must be passed out to each individual prior to arrival at the port.

Check-In: Upon your arrival at the port, a “Festivals at Sea” representative, who will assist with your check-in, will meet you in the baggage area. (Groups of 40 or more only).

Sail & Sign: No cash is accepted for purchases onboard ship. All passengers must use a “Sail & Sign” card for all ship purchases. Your “Sail & Sign” account must be set up with a valid credit card, cash, or travelers check. No business or personal checks of any kind will be accepted. A $100.00 minimum is required to set up an onboard account. 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.

Spending Money: You will need money for baggage handling, souvenirs, shore excursions, cab fare in port, and any beverages onboard ship not included with meals. Iced tea, water, milk, and coffee/tea are included with meals. Juices are offered at breakfast. Soft drinks onboard ships are approximately $2.50 per 20 oz bottle, which does not include a gratuity. An Unlimited Soft Drink Card can be purchased on board ship. Cost varies depending on the cruise line and length of the voyage.

Gratuities: Your prepaid cruise gratuities cover Dining Room Head Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and Cabin Steward. The Maitre’ D is not included in your pre-paid gratuities. Tips are not included for curbside stevedores, with a $1.00 per person gratuity being customary, and an additional $1.00 if equipment is involved. Tips are not included for room service, $1.00 per person is customary. Beverage purchases onboard ship includes a 15% gratuity.

Clothing: Casual attire is in order during the day. For one or two nights, formal dress or a dark suit is strongly suggested. A Tuxedo is also appropriate but not required. The dress codes for the other evenings range from sport coat and tie to casual resort wear. Shorts, T-shirts, and jeans are not permitted in the dining room during dinner.

Main Dining Room Sitting: All student groups are assigned early seating (times vary per ship). Table assignments are pre-assigned by group and do not require any additional steps by the group to complete. Should anyone require a seating change to sit with their friends, please see your tour representative or the Maitre’ D, and they will be able to accommodate you.

Medical Services: The ships’ infirmaries are equipped to treat minor non-emergency matters. A doctor is available to render services at a customary charge. Doctors are independent contractors. Groups are encouraged to bring their own health/medical forms for each person in the group.

Special Needs: All cruise lines seek, to the extent feasible; to accommodate guests with special needs so they are able to enjoy their ships and other facilities. For example, service animals are permitted onboard ship if prior arrangements have been made at time of booking. In situations where a guest with special needs, such as a guest in a wheel chair, would be unable to be comfortably accommodated due to vessel barriers and other criteria, they may find it necessary to ask the guest to bring along a companion to assist or make alternative arrangements.

Special Diets: Special diet requirements may be requested at least two weeks prior to sailing. You should discuss the method of preparation of menu items with your waiter or headwaiter. There may be limitations in our ability to accommodate special orders. Kosher meals are not available.

Cabin Block: All cabins are blocked as close together as possible at the cruise line’s discretion. Groups are guaranteed at least Category 4A. Some double, triple and quad cabins may be accommodated with a roll a-way bed at the sole discretion of the cruise line. Prices are based on quad occupancy. Please be advised that all cabin assignments are made at the discretion of the cruise line and not your agents. Due to increased national security, it is imperative that we receive the legal first and last names of each passenger as well as their birth date. This information is required by the cruise line as well as U.S. Customs and Immigration.

Ship Rules: We want your cruise to be a pleasant experience for everyone. The following rules will be enforced. Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in the offender(s) being removed from the ship to make his or her own way home at his or her own expense.
1. No noise in cabin areas after 11:00pm
2. Abuse of physical property will not be tolerated
3. No abusive or offensive language
4. No drinking of alcoholic beverages for those under the age of 21
5. Purchase, possession and consumption of illegal drugs will not be tolerated
6. Large radios (“boom boxes”) are not permitted onboard. Headphones must be used with radios on deck

Emergency Telephone Number: The telephone number varies by cruise line. You may find the information inside your ticket booklet, or you may ask your representative. You must know the name of the ship, sailing date (date of departure) and passenger name. Approximate cost is $25.00 - $30.00 for the first minute and $8.00 - $10.00 for each additional minute. The cost will vary per ship. This telephone number should only be used in the event of an emergency. Rates are the same for calling ship to shore. Calling cards may not be used on board.

Ship Photos: The ship photographers will be taking candid and posed pictures of the passengers on the ship throughout the cruise. Group photos are usually taken after the performance; however, group photo times and locations are at the discretion of the cruise line photography staff.

Limitations: No food or beverages of any kind may be brought on ship. This includes bottled water. Fruits and vegetables are not permitted from a foreign country into the United States. There is a costly fine.

Luggage: Upon arrival at the port, stevedores will take bags directly from the bus/car and deliver them to your cabin. Please be prepared prior to arrival to pay a gratuity of $1.00 per person for this service and an additional $1.00 if equipment is involved. Also, make sure all bags and equipment have the appropriate luggage tags and are clearly marked with your cabin number. Luggage tags will be provided for your trip. Please keep your travel documents with you and not in your suitcase. No cruise line will be held responsible for lost, stolen or damaged suitcases/bags or equipment. Please refer to your individual ticket booklet for more information.

Stage: Instrumental performances usually take place on the main stage, and choral performances in a smaller lounge. The stage on Fantasy, Ecstasy, Fascination, Inspiration, Sensation, Elation, and Imagination is 35’ deep x 50’ wide. The Celebration has a 22’ deep x 40’ wide stage. All have wood floors and a professional sound system. NO TAP DANCING OR CLOGGING IS ALLOWED ON CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE. No one is allowed backstage, however costume changes may be made in between curtains.

Date and Time: The cruise line dictates the date and time of all performances. Festivals at Sea makes every effort to set the times for afternoons at sea. Warm ups are set for the same performance day just prior to performance.

Festival Requirements: Sound and light equipment is provided by the cruise line and can play from either a cassette or CD. A sound and light technician will be provided to assist with your production. Only the technician is permitted to operate the sound and light equipment. NOTE: Technicians are not available for warm ups. It is suggested that you bring a tape and boom box for the rehearsal as needed. It is also suggested that a member from your group sit in the booth with the technician during the performance.

Dressing Facilities: Students should arrive to the performance in uniform. There are three curtains behind the main curtain in which costume changes can be made during the performance if necessary, however students are not allowed backstage.

Instrument Storage/Loading: It is necessary, as mandated by U.S. Customs, to provide a list including serial numbers of how many and what kind of large instruments your group will need to store on board. In addition, there could be a possibility that groups traveling with equipment will have to pre register their equipment with their local customs office.

The stevedores provide assistance with instruments and luggage. They are employed by the port authority and will expect a gratuity that is not covered by your pre-paid gratuities. It is recommended that performers equipment be stored in their cabin, however, large instruments may be stored in the ships holding area. A general release form (provided in the Director’s Manual) must be filled out in order for equipment to be stored. The cruise line and Festivals at Sea are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage or instruments loaded by the stevedores.

Performance Equipment: Music stands and risers are provided on the Fantasy and Ecstasy. On any other ship, you must provide your own. Chairs can be provided by the cruise line, but must be pre-arranged with your Festivals at Sea representative. A keyboard or acoustic piano are available is certain lounges, but may not be moved for any reason.

FESTIVAL PROGRAMS FOR 2008 (WITH ADJUDICATION)

FESTIVAL ADJUDICATORS
Festivals at Sea will provide two judges, one for instrumental and the other for choral performances. Each of these adjudicators will provide a master clinic/workshop for each participating school. The adjudicators will also provide written and taped evaluation, based on a national standard, for rating purposes. Due to the nature of these festivals, we will provide ratings only; no First, Second, or Third place trophies will be awarded. Although performing groups will have the opportunity to perform in various ports of call, the formal festival events will take place on board our ships. Please note that all marching units will not be adjudicated on board our ships, but can be adjudicated in our various ports of call.

COMPETITION AND WARM-UP TIMES
Competition schedules will be sent approximately three weeks prior to your sailing date. Your group must be prepared to enter the performance area at your specified time. Please note, due to time and space restraints onboard ship, there are no formal warm-up opportunities available.

TROPHIES AND AWARDS
All instrumental and choral groups will receive a trophy for each event entered and will be presented at the festival awards program. Trophy rating is as follows:

Superior rating 90 - 100 points
Excellent rating 80 – 89 points
Good rating 70 – 79 points
Participation rating 69 – 0 points

VOCAL SOLO
Soloists will perform one composition. Soloists may choose from any style of music literature from classical to musical theater. There is no required music list. Total on-stage performance time is not to exceed five minutes. Names of soloists and selection titles are needed prior to the festival date.

MUSIC
All music must be recorded on a high quality cassette tape and compact disk; both must be brought to the performance. All music must be taped to speed. If a speed adjustment must be made, it will be done prior to your performance. Please have all music at the sound table at least 20 minutes ahead of schedule. One representative must be present with a back-up tape on hand. All tapes will need to be cued.

MUSICAL EQUIPMENT
All ships will have an acoustic piano or keyboard. These are only available in certain lounges. Use of cruise line’s equipment must be pre-arranged, and the equipment cannot be moved under any circumstances. Timpani, concert bass drum, and music stands are only available on Carnival Cruise Lines’ M/S Fantasy. Use of chairs must be pre-arranged with your Festivals at Sea representative. Please note that chimes and xylophones will not be supplied. However, Straight A Tours will try to coordinate a plan whereby each band will supply some of the needed percussion equipment. Choral risers are provided on board Carnival Cruises Lines’ M/S Fantasy and M/S Ecstasy.

U.S. CUSTOMS
It is important to note that any musical instrument that is taken on board ship sailing into a foreign country must be filed with United States Customs. Simply fill out our “Equipment List Form” for United States Customs and Airlines (found in your director’s manual) and send it back to Festivals at Sea, the form is due 90 days prior to your sailing date. If all forms are not received by 70 days prior to sailing you may forfeit your opportunity to perform. The final deadline for all performance forms is 45 days prior to the sailing. If you have not submitted your forms by this deadline, you have forfeited your performance onboard the ship.

PERFORMANCE PROGRAMS FOR 2008
(THESE PERFORMANCES ARE NOT ADJUDICATED.)

PERFORMANCE AND WARM-UP TIMES
Performance schedules will be sent approximately three weeks prior to your sailing date. Your group must be prepared to enter the performance area at your specified time. Please note, due to time and space restraints onboard ship, there are no formal warm-up opportunities available. Please ask your representative to schedule a rehearsal time if you believe you need one.

PERFORMANCE LENGTH
The type of group that is performing determines the length of each performance. In general, each group is initially limited to one 30-minute performance. This time includes stage set-up and strike time. Additional performances may be scheduled if time permits. Please check with your Festival at Sea representative to determine availability of additional performance opportunities.

PERFORMANCE LOCATION
In most cases, each group will perform in the main show room on each ship. However, this is done solely at the cruise lines’ discretion and smaller groups may have their performances scheduled in a secondary lounge.

ADVERTISING YOUR PERFORMANCE
In most cases, each group’s performance time will be listed in each ship’s daily onboard itinerary. However, this is done solely at the cruise lines’ discretion. Each group may make a flyer to advertise their performance. The cruise line prior to your sailing date must approve these flyers. Flyers must state “Not Affiliated with (cruise line) Entertainment”. In most cases, these flyers can be left onboard at the Purser’s Desk. Please check with your Festival at Sea representative for further details.

MUSIC
All music must be recorded on a high quality cassette tape and compact disk; both must be brought to the performance. All music must be taped to speed. If a speed adjustment must be made, it will be done prior to your performance. Please have all music at the sound table at least 20 minutes ahead of schedule. One representative must be present with a back-up tape on hand. All tapes will need to be cued.

MUSICAL EQUIPMENT
All ships will have an acoustic piano or keyboard. These are only available in certain lounges. Use of the cruise lines’ equipment must be pre-arranged, and the equipment cannot be moved under any circumstances. Timpani, concert bass drum, and music stands are only available on Carnival Cruise Line’s M/S Fantasy. Use of chairs must be pre-arranged with your Festivals at Sea representative. Please note that chimes and xylophones will not be supplied. However, Straight A Tours will try to coordinate a plan whereby each band will supply some of the needed percussion equipment. Choral risers are provided on board Carnival Cruise Lines’ M/S Fantasy and M/S Ecstasy.

U.S. CUSTOMS
It is important to note that any musical instrument that is taken on board ship sailing into a foreign country must be filed with United States Customs. Simply fill out our “Equipment List Form” for United States Customs and Airlines (found in your director’s manual) and send it back to Festivals at Sea, the form is due 90 days prior to your sailing date. If all forms are not received by 70 days prior to sailing you may forfeit your opportunity to perform. The final deadline for all performance forms is 45 days prior to the sailing, if you have not submitted your forms by this deadline you have forfeited your performance onboard the ship.

Deposit, Name Change and Cancellation Policies

DEPOSIT POLICY: Deposits are non-refundable, but can be credited to a new person’s account up to 120 days prior to sailing.  ATS Tours & Travel and the cruise line reserve the right to make changes in the itinerary, accommodations, and services, provided the situation warrants such action.  Tour rates are based on the number of persons stated in the contract.  Please carefully review payment due dates, name change and cancellation policies.  This contains very important information and we adhere strictly to our policies, with no exceptions.

 

Final payment to the cruise lines must be made 70 days prior to sailing date.  If you miss this deadline, your group’s trip may become jeopardized and they may have to pick up their cruise tickets at the port.  This will make embarkation difficult.

 

Deposits are non-refundable.  NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!

      NAME CHANGE POLICY - See contract for dates

      CANCELLATION POLICY— See contract for details

 Sample

After booking

$100.00 per person

120 – 71 days

$200.00 per person

70 – 31 days

$300.00 per person

30 – 5 days

Full penalty / No Refund

 

 

Payment Schedule

 

PRICE INCREASES

Cruise prices are not subject to change during 2008 season.  However, if the US Government or local port authority raises port charges/taxes and/or a fuel surcharge, it will become necessary that the increase be passed on to the group.

 

Please refer to your contract or ask your Sales Representative for payment due dates.

 

120 days - $300 per person is due

 

90 days prior to sailing

  • Cabin list

  • All forms (Performance, Equipment List, etc.)

  • If the performance forms are not received by 70 days prior to sailing you will forfeit your opportunity to perform.

70 days prior to sailing

  • Final balance

 

All checks must be made payable to:  ATS Tours & Travel

All payments and prices listed are United States currency

Late payments must be in the format of a wire transfer.

 

Further Assistance

 

If you need assistance, and your sales representative is unavailable or with a group, anyone from the cruise department will be able to help you.

 

Judy Fountain          Sales Director

 

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