FAQs about Ocean Cruise Trips
Helpful answers to frequently asked questions about our new Ocean Cruise Trips including: lodging, meals, itineraries and activities, support and more.
Please refer to the Lodging tab on your trip's Backroads webpage for more details about your floating hotel. You may also contact your Trip Consultant for details.
Please refer to the Dates & Prices tab for each itinerary or contact your Trip Consultant to see which ship is going to be used on a particular departure. On the Dates & Prices tab you'll also find information about stateroom category availability, floor plans and more.
Please click the following links for information on amenities, dress code, food, dietary restrictions, internet, etc.:
When selecting a stateroom, you may wonder whether you should pick port or starboard for better views. During cruising time, both sides have equal appeal.
Just like any hotel, we'll be sharing the ship with other guests on most sailings. Depending on the ship being used on your trip, there may be 70 to 220 other guests on board. Backroads breaks away from the group through our exclusive shore excursions, and there is also ample common space on ship.
Stateroom bedding options are typically one large bed or two twin beds.
Most staterooms are not set up to provide a third or rollaway bed. On select Ponant ships there is an option to join two adjacent staterooms into a suite with a capacity for four persons. On Lindblad, UnCruise and KleinTours ships, triple occupancy staterooms may be possible upon request.
Backroads has a minimum age requirement of at least 4 years old for Family Trips, though age minimum may be older depending on itinerary. On Backroads Classic Trips, we're unable to accept reservations for children under the age of 14, and we allow only one family per departure traveling with a child or children 14 to 17 years old. Guests 18 and over are considered adults and are welcome on all Backroads trips.
Internet availability and cellular service varies depending on itinerary, ship and access to coverage. While some ships include complimentary wireless internet, Backroads may provide a certain amount of internet access, after which you can purchase additional wi-fi directly from the ship. Wireless connections may be slower than ideal or temporarily unavailable depending on the ship's location. Please note that there's no internet access on UnCruise departures.
On trips using Ponant and Lindblad ships, you will find 220 Volt AC (European standard) and 110 Volt AC (North American standard) outlets in your staterooms. On our ships in Alaska, Costa Rica & Panama, and the Galápagos Islands you will find 110 Volt (North American standard) outlets. For further details on electrical outlets and standards, please refer to the Travel Planner of the particular itinerary.
Throughout the trip, there will be a combination of on-ship dining at Backroads group tables and at-your-leisure dining on board the ship. Your itinerary may also include on-your-own meals where we provide recommendations to explore off-ship, if overnighting at port. The on-ship dining experience may also be complemented by some off-ship lunches and picnics that more fully immerse you in the local culture and cuisine.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary on board Ponant and Lindblad ships, and available for purchase on all other cruises.
The leaders will dine with guests most nights, and there will be dinners and lunches when you may eat at your leisure.
Backroads Activities & Itineraries
Weather and sea conditions may impact cruising schedules and shore activities. Should any unforeseen change happen during your cruise, we will work closely with the ship's captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow.
Our daily itinerary is based on scheduled sailing and port arrival times and, as a result, some days have more opportunities for exploring on land while other days have more cruising time. Backroads values time exploring on land and has chosen itineraries that optimize land time while still allowing for sailing to a region's most desirable destinations.
Backroads strives to offer our typical variety of routes and options on cruise trips, just as we do on land-based trips. Understandably, some more remote destinations may occasionally offer limited route options. And, as with all Backroads trips, you're welcome to opt out of the planned activities and choose your own adventure as long as you're back on ship on time.
Yes. You're welcome to skip activities and join one of the ship's excursions that day. Note that while some excursions are included in your trip price, most Ponant shore excursions carry a fee ranging from $50 to $300 per excursion. Advance on-ship registration may also be required, so be sure to connect with the onboard Excursion Desk or Cruise Director for more details. You may also contact your Trip Consultant for more information about excursions offered on your cruise itinerary.
The number of Backroads leaders needed to maintain a high level of support during biking, hiking and other activities depends on the group size. Typically, there will be three leaders on trips up to 20 guests; four leaders on trips up to 30 guests; and correspondingly more leaders and vans on larger departures. Due to the unique nature of our active Ocean Cruise trips, we welcome more guests on each departure than on our land-based trips, which are limited to 20 guests for Walking & Hiking and 26 guests for Biking and Multi-Adventure trips. This allows us to create our own robust active community with that special Backroads camaraderie during our week-long journey. Sometimes walkers and bikers—and occasionally families—will travel aboard the same ship, but participate in separate activities with their own dedicated leaders. With our usual choice of fantastic route options each day, rest assured that you'll have plenty of like-minded travelers with whom to ride, hike or enjoy cultural interests. Our unique logistics model—which includes both onboard and onshore Backroads staff, plus additional leaders and vans—allows for meals and shore activities to be organized into smaller groups, ensuring the same unparalleled support and service as on any other Backroads trip.
One or two leaders will typically stay on the ship overnight and during daytime cruising while off-ship leaders or support staff deal with equipment and activity logistics so that everything is set for your arrival at each new destination.
The ship departs promptly from each port in accordance with its sailing schedule, barring unforeseen issues. The ship is unable to delay departure for guests who may not be on board. If you miss the ship while participating in a Backroads activity, your leaders will assist you with rejoining the ship at the next port. If you miss the ship for any other reason, your leaders can assist you in finding transportation or lodging, but neither Backroads nor our ships is liable for any costs incurred if you miss the ship's departure.
Ponant and Lindblad ships are fitted with stabilizers that adapt to the movements of the ship. This system compensates for the pitching and rolling to provide stability. Passengers who suffer from seasickness usually have greatly reduced symptoms and are often surprised to find that the ship's motion does not bother them. Ships also have certified responders on board and first-aid kits with options to alleviate seasickness. On Ponant and Lindblad ships you will find an onboard clinic staffed by a physician or nurse practitioner.
Yes, for most itineraries. For trip-specific information about arriving late and leaving early, speak to a Backroads Trip Consultant or refer to the Travel Planner. You may join or leave the trip at most scheduled ports and would be responsible for the costs of land transportation. Your Backroads Trip Leaders and the Cruise Director will be able to help make arrangements.
Booking an Ocean Cruise Trip
Possibly. If you plan on sharing a stateroom, you would both have to book a Backroads Ocean Cruise Trip, regardless of the amount of activity you plan to do. However, if you're going to use separate staterooms, your non-Backroads travel companion(s) may book their cruise directly with the cruise company. Note that these bookings exclude the guest from all Backroads activities.
Each trip departure has one or more stateroom options. Availability of suites is limited so we suggest booking early if that's important to you.
If you must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the policy outlined in our Reservations FAQs. Note that Ocean Cruise Trips are considered Special Departures with terms that differ from hotel-based trips.
Backroads covers all gratuities for ship staff and local guides. Suggested gratuities for Backroads leaders are listed in the Travel Planner and will be shared among the leader team.