Mediterranean Cruise & Paris, Barcelona, Lourdes
General Travel information for Paris, Lourdes and Barcelona
Paris is the capital city of France. It is situated on the River Seine in northern France. It is a city rich in history, great works of art, romance and gastronomic delights. Paris has an estimated population of over 2 million people. The metropolitan area of Paris has a population of 12 million which makes it one of the most heavily populated areas in Europe.
Lourdes is a town situated in the Southwest of France in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Lourdes, originally a small market town, has developed into a major place of Christian pilgrimage since it became famous in 1858 for the Apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous(now St. Bernadette). Today Lourdes has a population of approximately 15,000 but is able to take in some 5 million pilgrims and tourists every year.
Spain is located in the southwestern part of the European continent, southwest of France. It is the third largest nation in Europe. Barcelona lies at the very north of the Spanish coast, alongside the Mediterranean Sea. The population of Barcelona is 1.6 million people. After a makeover lasting more than two decades, Barcelona has transformed itself into one of the most dynamic and stylish cities in the world.
Time France and Spain are both on Central European Time which is one hour ahead of Greenwhich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
Currency The currency in France and Spain is the Euro. Seven types of euro notes: 5,10,20,50, 100, 200 and 500 Eight types of euro coins: 1 euro cent, 2 euro cents, 5 euro cents, 10 euro cents, 20 euro cents, 50 euro cents, 1 euro and 2 euro.
Language The official language of France is French. The official language of Spain is Spanish.
Electricity in France and Spain is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second. An adaptor is needed. Most hotels will supply hair dryers and irons.
Weather The weather in September and October is still pleasant but starting to get a little cooler. Average temperatures 43-61 degrees F in Paris and 59-69 degrees F in Barcelona. Be prepared for days when it could be overcast with a little rain.
Valid passports are required by Canadian & U.S. citizens traveling to France and Spain. Remember to bring your passport with you and keep it safely on your person - not in your suitcase. You will need it at the airports on departure and arrival and when changing travelers checks. We recommend that you keep a separate note of your passport details (number, expiration date, place and date of issue) in a separate place in case of loss or theft.
What to Pack
Travel light, dress comfortably, and pack easy care items. It's best to dress in layers so you can shed items if you get warm during the day. An all-weather coat with a removable liner is excellent for traveling. Make sure you have strong, comfortable shoes. Casual clothes are appropriate but something dressy for dinner in hotels. Bring a bathing suit as some hotels have indoor swimming pools. It may be advisable to bring a washcloth as not all hotels provide these.
Baggage and Porterage
The cost of porterage for one large suitcase per person is included on coach tours (size should not exceed 30x20x10 inches). Additional luggage may have to be left in storage for the duration of the tour and a storage fee will apply. Please ensure that all baggage is clearly labelled and that baggage tags are completed correctly and attached securely to each piece of luggage. We suggest that you also put identification inside each suitcase, in case the outside tag becomes detached. Hand baggage (including purses, coats, umbrellas etc.) is entirely in your own care. All baggage is carried at owner’s risk. Luggage carts are available at most airports.
Tips to Driver and Guide
Tips to the Tour Director and Driver are not included in your tour cost and are left to your discretion. A gratuity to your coach crew is an individual expression of your appreciation and is usually presented in a sealed envelope at the end of your tour.
Suggested tip guidelines are as follows:
Driver/Guide(one man) $6.00 per day
Guide $5.00 per day
Driver $4.00 per day
There is, of course, no obligation whatsoever on you to tip-it is a matter left totally to your own discretion.
Smoking is not allowed on motorcoach tours. However, frequent rest and sightseeing stops are made when there are opportunities to smoke.
Frequently Asked Questions for Cruises:
Norwegian Cruise Lines(NCL)
What does my cruise fare include?
Your cruise fare entitles you to accommodations, meals and entertainment aboard ship. Certain specialty restaurants are available with either nominal cover charges or fixed price menus and à la carte pricing in addition to the standard dining program. Items of a personal nature are not included, such as alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, spa treatments, indoor pool relaxation areas, certain specialty exercise classes, laundry, photographs, casino, ship-to-shore phone, email, Internet, fax and Shore Excursions.
How do I pay for onboard expenses?
For your convenience, all shipboard expenses are charged to a special onboard credit program. Sign up on the first day of your cruise, by establishing your method of payment with Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diners Club®, travelers checks or cash. If you choose to settle your account with cash, a deposit will be required in advance. You may also use your debit card; however, please be advised that the cruise line obtains pre-authorization which some banks may hold for up to 30 days.
What about currency?
You may cash travelers checks at the Reception Desk. Travelers checks and most major credit cards are accepted in the ports we visit. Proper ID is required when cashing travelers checks. We recommend you carry a small amount of local currency when visiting ports, although credit cards are commonly accepted in shops and restaurants.
What is the dress code in dining rooms?
Freestyle Cruising gives our guests the freedom to dress as they please. Resort casual attire is always appropriate morning, noon and night. However, NCL does not allow any blue jeans, t-shirts, shorts, cut-offs, tank tops, bare feet, etc. in any of our fine dining restaurants for dinner, including all main restaurants, alternative restaurants, and cover charge venues.
Guests are allowed to wear blue jeans, shorts and t-shirts, in the evenings at the buffets, outdoor barbeques, and 24-hour venues, such as the Blue Lagoon, the Cadillac diner, etc.
For those who do love to dress to the nines and get that annual formal portrait photography done, there is one optional formal evening in at least one of the main restaurants on every cruise; at least two formal evenings on longer cruises. This means black tie or dark suit for gentlemen and evening gown or cocktail dress for ladies. But remember, on formal evenings you can always choose to dine in one of the other restaurants instead and enjoy some of the other lounges and leave your dressier clothes at home.
Because weather is difficult to predict, in cooler climates dressing in layers is the best approach. Be sure to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes, too.
Important Note: All suitcases are collected the night before we return to our home port, so be sure to bring an overnight bag.
What time is dinner?
What time would you like it to be? NCL's exclusive Freestyle Cruising lets you choose. We offer open-seating dining in a variety of restaurants and cafés with individual menus, so it's your choice. You can have lunch or dinner with friends in one of the elegantly appointed restaurants or reserve a table for two in an intimate bistro.
Order an omelette prepared just the way you like it from the breakfast-buffet chef. Indulge yourself with delectable selections from the Chocoholic Buffet.™. All of our restaurants are non-smoking. Most specialty restaurants require a per person cover charge or offer a` la carte pricing. Reservations are recommended and can be made on board.
What other services are available?
Beauty parlour and spa services include hair styling, manicures, pedicures, facials
and massages in our Mandara Spa Salon. Gift shops feature duty-free shopping, with fine jewellery, perfumes, clothing, cosmetics and limited drug store items. Laundry & dry-cleaning services, Internet Café, Art auctions, Photographs taken throughout the cruise
What about Shore Excursions?
An updated listing of Shore Excursions are available on our website. Once onboard, Shore Excursions can also be purchased at the ship's Shore Excursion Desk.
What if I need to stay in touch while away?
All of our ships have computer terminals you can rent by the hour at the Internet Café. You can also telephone, telex, radiogram or fax to anywhere in the world and be billed* at applicable ship-to-shore rates.
NCL guests can also be contacted on our ships by calling 1.888.627.4477 from the USA. For the rest of the world please dial 1.732.335.3280. When guests are contacted with the ship via satellite, they can be reached directly, if they are in their stateroom. If not, a message about the incoming call will be delivered to their stateroom and then they can call back the shore via satellite.
NCL Ship Telephone & Fax Numbers
When calling from the United States:
Dial 1.888.NC SHIPS (627.4477), select the ship, and enter your credit card information.
When calling from outside the United States:
Dial 1.732.335.3280, select the ship, and enter your credit card information.
Documentation, Visas and Passports
All United States and Canadian citizens must carry a valid passport.
Where can I keep my valuables?
Security envelopes and/or safe deposit boxes are available from the ship's purser at no charge. Most staterooms and suites have mini-safes. Please note, however, that NCL is not responsible for valuables left in staterooms or elsewhere on board.
What can't I bring onboard?
Passengers are not allowed to bring on board the vessel any intoxicating liquors, or beverages, firearms, weapons of any kind, ammunition, explosive substances or any goods of a dangerous nature.