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All You Need to Know for Your Cruise is on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ Page

What do I need to pack for my Alaska cruise? Do I need visas for my trip? Can I bring my own wine on board? These are questions you might have before embarking on your Holland America Line cruise. Did you know that on there is a “Frequently Asked Questions” page that has the answers to our most commonly asked questions?

At the bottom of our homepage, you’ll find the “Frequently Asked Questions” link that will allow you to search for these answers and more in the categories of “New to Cruising,” “Transportation,” “Safety and Security,” “Cruise Preparation” and “Shipboard Life.” Just type a keyword for your search, such as “wine,” into the bar and all of the questions and answers about wine will come up. Here are some of our most popular questions in each category to get you ready for your cruise:

Q: What should I pack?
A: Pack as you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you’re on the ship or ashore. The suggested attire for most evenings is resort casual; slacks and collared shirts for men, and casual dresses, slacks and informal evening-wear for women. On gala nights women usually wear a suit, cocktail dress or gown and men wear a jacket and tie, dark suit, or tuxedo. Please take note if there is required attire for any shore excursions you might take, such as religious or very active.

As for an Alaska cruise or Land+Sea Journey, we have a separate answer on packing just for this cruise experience. By entering “Alaska” you can find exactly what you need to bring.

The varied climates in Alaska require more specialized packing.

The varied climates in Alaska require more specialized packing.

Q: What are the boarding procedures?
A: Embarkation times are printed on the Boarding Pass page on Express Docs. Generally, however, early embarkation will commence at 12 p.m. There may be certain exceptions due to local governmental procedures. Keep in mind that you must be on the ship at least one hour before departure, and the gangway will be pulled 30 minutes before sailing.

Prior to boarding, you will pass through a security checkpoint. Next, you will be required to complete ship check-in formalities. Please note: Except for wine and champagne, alcoholic beverages may not be brought on board during embarkation or in ports of call. Bottles and other containers will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the voyage.

Upon completion of check-in, you will receive a guest identification card equipped with a bar code. This card serves as your identification for security procedures when embarking and disembarking the ship and for making purchases on board. It is also your room key.

Read more about boarding procedures.

Q: What are passenger emergency drills?
A: Passenger Emergency Drills take place in the port of embarkation before the ship leaves the dock so that guests know where to go and what to do if an alarm is sounded. During this drill, passengers will be provided clear instructions to be followed in the event of an emergency, including how to find their muster station, the essential actions they must take in an emergency, and the method of donning lifejackets.

lifeboat drill

These drills are mandatory for all passengers and non-compliance may result in disembarkation. A passenger safety video is available for viewing on the guest channel from start of embarkation and continuing until 24 hours after departure.

Q: Do I need a passport?
Each country has its own entry requirements, and guests assume personal responsibility for having the necessary documents when boarding. Holland America Line highly recommends that all guests carry a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the completion date of your travel. Having a passport will enable you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port in the event you miss your scheduled embarkation or to fly back to the U.S. if you need to disembark the ship mid-cruise due to an emergency.


Passports are normally surrendered to and held by the pursers on board to facilitate clearances in ports of call. It is prudent to photocopy the identification page of your passport and pack it separately, in case of loss or damage to the original.

Your name on your travel documents (passport, Alien Resident card, birth certificate, etc.) must be identical to those on your cruise documents. Otherwise, proof of name change (e.g. a marriage license) with a valid driver’s license (or other government issued photo ID) must be presented. Any discrepancies may prevent travel…

Read the full entry about passport requirements.

Q: What are my Beverage Package options?
A: Try one of our drink packages which offer great value and a convenient way to enhance your cruise experience.

Elite Package
Only $59.95 per guest/per day
Enjoy all the benefits from our Quench and Signature Packages and more! With the Elite Beverage Package you can enjoy all drinks menu priced $15 and under including Dale DeGroff’s Original Cocktails!

Signature Package
Only $54.95 per guest/per day
Our Signature package includes everything from our Quench Package along with your favorite premium beers, spirits, cocktails, and wines by the glass priced $11 and under.

three glasses of wine

Evian Water Package
12 liter bottles of Evian natural spring water delivered to your stateroom for only $42 per guest* 6 liter bottles only $24 per guest*

Quench Package (NON-ALCOHOLIC)
Only $17.95 per guest/per day* Quench your thirst with our nonalcoholic package which includes an unlimited variety of premium coffees such as espresso and cappuccino, juices, Coca-Cola™ products, our signature mocktails, Red Bull, and bottled waters 500ml and under.

Coca-Cola Package
Only $8.00 per guest/per day
The Coca-Cola™ Package includes unlimited fountain sodas for $8.00 per person, per day. On Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam this package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program with more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors available.

Read all about the Beverage Packages to get more detailed information on what they include and how much drinks can cost.

This is a small sample of questions and answers that you can find on our “Frequently Asked Questions” page. Visit to get all the answers for your next Holland America Line cruise.

  • Tobie Pfeiffer

    Since we booked our cruise early I understand we are entitled to free Tundra tours out of Denali and White Pass tours out of Skagwat. Do I need to sign up for these tours now to reserve seats? If so, how do I do that without having to pay for these excursions? What are the exact name of these included tours? Thank you for your assistance.

  • Julie

    Hi Tobie, please call reservations to ensure you get the most accurate answer: 1–877–932–4259 or 206-286-3900

  • Nancy Zenisky

    I will be needing a scooter off the ship. How do I make arrangements? Our cruise is scheduled June 17 to Alaska.

  • Julie

    Please call our special needs desk: 800–547–8493 or 206–281–3535 (ext. 4514)

  • John Martin

    Nice article. All designs are good and very creative.

    I was entertained by this list. Thanks for sharing though

  • High Yield Consultant

    Congratulations of initiating the “Savor the Journey” cruises!

    I did not see bottled water mentioned for the Signature and Elite packages … is bottled water not included? … Where can I find a list of specifically what brands are included?

    Thank you for your help with this matter … Daniel

  • Julie

    Hi! Yes, bottled water is included. You can use it for anything under the drink price limit.

  • Swarna Perera

    Good day,

    I recently put a deposit on 2 back to back cruises.

    Questions please;

    1. About the Signature Beverage Package, what happen if we want an alcohol drink that cost more than the 11$ allowed for the drink credit. Do we have to pay the different between 11$ an a higher price, or that 11$ credit just can’t apply at all for a beverage costing more than 11$?

    2. What’s the price range of alcool beverage by the glass (wine, cocktails)?

    Thank you for your reply,
    S. Perera.

  • Vaz, Filipe

    We (me and my wife) have a 21 night cruise on HAL (Nieuw Statendam) next August 1st, 2021, from Amsterdam.
    We have a signature beverage package.
    Does anyone know if we can use it during dinner? I mean, can we order 1 or 2 glasses of wine (each) during dinner?

    Thank you for any help

  • Julie

    Hi there, yes, you can use your Signature Beverage Package at any time on board. Enjoy!

  • Julie

    Apologies for the delay. At this time, the beverage package only covers drinks $11 and under. Should you order a beverage over, it will not be covered in the package. As for wine, there is a wide range of pricing options. We don’t have all the menus, but ship services can assist: 1–800–541–1576

  • Wayne

    If I book my cruise though Premier Do we get the perks offer by holland cruise like SAVE NOW CRUISE LATER up to $2300. In extras. Drinks prepaid gratuities speciality dining and more. I booked before I seen the special

  • Julie

    Hi Wayne, if you book through Premier, you get the premier perks, not the Holland America Line perks.

  • Carol

    We have a 24 day Mediterranean cruise booked next summer and the signature beverage package was included in the promo when we booked. I have some questions:
    1. Does the package cover glasses of wine in the dining room? Is there wine available for under the $11 cap?
    2. Can we order drinks from the bar and take them back to our room?
    3. Can we order beer and take it to our mini fridge if we were having happy hour on our balcony?
    4. Does the package include specialty coffees from the crows nest?
    Thank you!

  • Julie

    Hi Carol!

    1. Does the package cover glasses of wine in the dining room? Is there wine available for under the $11 cap? YES
    2. Can we order drinks from the bar and take them back to our room? YES
    3. Can we order beer and take it to our mini fridge if we were having happy hour on our balcony? Yes, but they typically open the beer and pour it into a glass or it’s on tap. So it would be open.
    4. Does the package include specialty coffees from the crows nest? YES

    Enjoy your cruise.

  • Ted Wilson

    I am a non-drinker, but the cabin I’m in includes the premium beverage package. I am still dinged for the gratuities? I may decline the “complimentary” package if that is the case.

  • Julie

    You can use the package for specialty coffees, soda and non-alcoholic cocktails if you want. You don’t pay beverage gratuities for drinks you don’t order. You will still have stateroom gratuities that are for your cabin stewards and other staff, but that is separate from the beverage package.

  • Ted Wilson

    Thanks, Julie. I ask regarding gratuities because another cruise line had a “free/complimentary
    beverage package” that still charged $140/pp automatically in gratuities. I am all for paying gratuities, but only for drinks that are actually ordered.

  • Barbara Wood

    On Zaandam Jan.3,2022 from Ft. L…world cruise. No computer.. can I get a printed copy of shore excursions. Thank you.

  • Julie

    Hi Barbara, are you looking for printed now or when you are on board?

  • lisa

    I would like to see what drinks are included in the Signature Package of $11 and under. Can you please post drinks & pricing?

  • Julie

    Hi Lisa, we don’t have beverage menus for each venue (there are quite a few) at the blog. If you call ship services they might be able to assist: 1–800–541–1576.

  • Sara

    I booked the Have it All deal – wondering whether I can upgrade the Signature drink package to the Elite drink package, and if so, how much the upgrade would be?

  • Julie

    Not at this time, but we are working on implementing this in the near future. Please check back before you cruise.

  • Kristen

    If our drink package is included as part of the Have It All promotion, will we be charged beverage gratuities on top of the daily crew incentives? If so, what is that charge?

  • Julie

    Drink grats are included with Have It All.

  • Brandon

    With respect to upgrading Have it All Signature to Elite, I am told on board upgrade only, and despite the pre-cruise package price difference of $41 per person ($412 vs $371 for 7 nights), the charge will be $17 per person per day…$119, or nearly 3x the pre-cruise difference. Is this correct, and shouldn’t it be more clearly disclosed if so?

  • Margie

    We have booked a cruise around New Zealand and it includes the Have it All package.

    Does this package include the service gratuities on all drinks – wine, bottled water, specialty coffees?

  • Julie

    Hi Brandon, we will look into the Elite upgrade pricing as you have stated, as Have It All is still very new. The reservations team will be able to more accurately assist.

  • Julie

    Hi Margie, yes drink gratuities are included.

  • Debbie

    We have c pap machines and require distilled water. How do we go about getting distilled water to our room? What is the charge? Can we bring our own on board?

  • Julie

    Please call 1–877–932–4259 to ask them about getting the water delivered to your stateroom or bringing your own. They can provide the most accurate information.

  • Dennis

    Going on the LRBC in January.
    Where do I find the info to preorder a bottle of alcohol for stateroom consumption?

  • Julie

    Have fun!

  • Lynn Swango

    My husband makes his protein drinks with 3 oz of heavy cream and 3 oz of MCT oil. Can he get those two items on board? If not, can he can least bring a bottle of MCToil?

  • Julie

    Hi Lynn, we do not have MCT oil on board so he is welcome to bring it. Each stateroom has a fridge, so you can ask your steward to bring heavy cream or get some and bring it back to your stateroom.

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