Frequently Asked Questions About Cruising
Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value?
Cruising is the best vacation value! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget. Your cruise fare includes your accommodations, on board activities and entertainment, most meals, plus transportation from port to port. You’ll know what your vacation will cost you before you go. (Typically, your only extra expenses will be drinks, specialty restaurants, optional shore excursions and personal services such as massages or hairstyling.)
How long are cruises?
As long or short as you want. Most cruise lines offer itineraries from three days to three months.
Where can I go?
Wherever you want! Cruises visit over 500 ports worldwide and practically every destination accessible by water. You can embark on your cruise vacation from a wide variety of over 30 North American ports close to home or exciting and exotic locations around the globe.
How do I book a cruise?
Couple of options: Call Davinder at Luchanik Travel & Cruises (doing business via CruiseOne) at 858-427-4972 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to do it yourself, go on Davinder’s website at http://www.likecruises.com, and research cruises, you may even book and pay for a cruise, hotel, or all-inclusive resort yourself! If you have any problems whatsoever, please give me a call, and I would love to help you.
Are all ships fairly similar?
Far from it. They range from intimate and yacht-like to vessels stretching longer than three football fields. You can sail with fewer than 100 fellow guests or with more than 5,000.
Enjoy atmospheres ranging from casual to formal, contemporary to classic. Enjoy the endless activities offered on a contemporary resort-style cruise, or immerse yourself in the culture of a destination on a special interest cruise.
Are there different types of cruises?
There are cruises designed to suit virtually every interest and personal preference.
The choices include: boutique, luxury cruises with globetrotting itineraries; large, contemporary ships with a fantastic array of recreational facilities; classic vessels evoking the time-honored traditions of cruising; special interest, or exploration cruises specializing in unique destinations with an accent on cultural enrichment; river voyages into the heart of a destination.
There are cruise lines that feature soft adventure expeditions to such unique frontiers as Antarctica, the Amazon Rain Forest or the African Serengeti. Or, discover historical legacies closer to home with enlightening itineraries to New England, French Canada, Colonial America, and America’s Rivers.
For experienced travelers, destination-focused cruises specialize in culturally-rich ports of call with itineraries dedicated to illuminating such historic, world-class treasures as the antiquities of classical Greece, the Polynesian paradise of Hawaii, the fabled splendor of Norwegian fjords or the castles and museums of Europe’s rivers.
For many, the perfect vacation includes the non-stop fun and sun of a tropical resort-style cruise to the Caribbean, where you can sample a variety of island cultures and cuisines while relaxing your cares away. Plus, many cruise lines create special “themes” on board, with entertainment ranging from jazz festivals and classical music concerts to golf clinics and murder mysteries at sea!
Are there any special educational programs on-board?
To complement the spirit of discovery that travel evokes, many cruise lines feature an extensive program of on board enrichment programs hosted by distinguished guest experts. In addition to lectures highlighting the history and sights of the ports you will be visiting, there may also be special in-depth presentations ranging from Renaissance art to strategic financial planning to epicurean secrets of classic French cuisine.
What’s an air/sea cruise?
A fly/cruise or an air/sea vacation package includes, along with your cruise fare, free or reduced-cost airfare to and from the ship’s port of embarkation. These convenient money-saving options are available from most major North American cities and include ground transfers between the airport and ship as well as baggage handling.
Do I need a passport?
Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. (CLIA) recommends passports on all cruises. While the U.S. Government may not require a Passport for Sea travel on certain “closed loop cruises” originating in the U.S. and for travel only within the Western Hemisphere, other specified documentation is required. For specific U.S. governmental Passport and Visa regulations visit: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.
Be sure to ask your travel agent what passport requirements apply to your cruise vacation. CLIA strongly recommends that all travelers apply for or renew their passports as soon as possible. Government regulations are continually being modified and it is best to be prepared. Besides, a passport grants you unlimited cruise vacation options around the world!
Further Information on Do I need a passport?
All passengers must provide proof of citizenship when boarding the ship, even if your cruise includes only domestic destinations. If your cruise is an international sailing, the countries you visit will also require proof of citizenship. The cruise lines strongly recommend bringing a valid passport as this is the only form of identification accepted by most countries as required by the US Department of State for reentry into the Unites States.
Additionally, some countries require visas. You will need both a visa and a passport if your cruise departs from or visits a port of call that requires a visa. You are responsible for acquiring the necessary visas. If your cruise departs from or visits a port of call that requires a visa you must have a valid passport for your trip. Non US citizens must present a valid passport and any visas or travel documents required for re-entry into the US. Contact your consulate for specific requirements.
Are there different classes of service?
The vast majority of today’s cruise ships are “one-class.” Everyone can use all of the ship’s facilities. The price of your cabin is based primarily on its size and location. Regardless of the category you book, you’ll enjoy the same courteous service, menus, activities, and entertainment as everyone else on board.
Will I get bored? Feel confined?
Hardly! Being at sea gives you a feeling of total freedom that no land-based resort can offer. There’s plenty of room and it will probably take you two or three days just to discover everything that’s on board. Plus, you get the added adventure of exploring many exciting ports of call, often a new one every day of the trip!
Cruise ships are floating resorts with all the choices fine resorts have to offer. You can lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sun, read good books, or watch the ever-changing seascape. Smaller ships focus on the treasures and delights of myriad destinations.
If you’re more active, join in exercise or dance classes, or sports contests. Practice your tennis stroke or golf swing, or take in some fresh air on the jogging deck. Or you can swim, stretch out in the sauna or work out in the gym. You can also watch a feature film, attend an enrichment lecture by experts, or play backgammon and bridge. And that’s just when you’re on board!
What can I do in port?
So much that you’ll have a hard time choosing! You can explore on your own or take a guided tour (referred to as shore excursions). Search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids or a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a waterskiing boat. If there’s still time, play golf or tennis. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world’s best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel or Scuba dive. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs.
In short, cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of new destinations and try all the things you’ve ever dreamed of doing, while never having to pack and unpack!
Do I have to participate in the activities?
On a cruise, you do what you want, when you want. You can do everything or do absolutely nothing. It’s your vacation!
Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?
More and more cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Twenty-five percent of cruisers sail with children and a majority of cruise lines provide plenty of supervised activities for kids, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, sports, games, movies and the adventure of new places, they’ll love a family cruise. You’ll find that children adapt to shipboard life with ease, and you won’t have to wonder what they’re up to every minute. Trained youth counselors will help keep them safe, busy and entertained. Ships even offer different types of age-appropriate activities, suitable for toddlers to teens.
What’s there to do at night?
When the stars come out, a cruise ship turns on. There’s dancing, live entertainment, nightclubs and lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends. Most ships also have casinos. What’s more, there are many special events like the Captain’s Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, Broadway-style shows and Las Vegas-type revues.
Is there a charge for entertainment?
On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There’s no cover, minimum or charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live, films first-rate and all included in your cruise fare.
Will there be people like me?
There’s no such thing as a typical cruise passenger! All kinds of people take cruises now… all ages… from all walks of life… singles, couples and families. Just ask your CLIA-affiliated travel agency for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.
What should I pack?
Pack like you would for any resort. Cruise vacations are casual by day, whether you’re on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. At the Captain’s Gala, for example, you’ll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit, or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.
Will I need a tuxedo?
Reflecting today’s lifestyle trends, many cruise lines now feature a more relaxed and casual approach to dress throughout the cruise – while on others, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don’t buy a tuxedo just for the trip. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions. Plus, many ships offer tuxedo rental services.
Can singles have fun on a cruise?
Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone because it’s so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties for singles early in the cruise, so you can get to know other guests right away. Some ships even offer gentlemen hosts to be dance partners, dinner companions or a fourth at cards.
Many ships also have single staterooms and others offer single rates for double staterooms. If you ask, many cruise lines will even find you a roommate so you can obtain the per person/double occupancy rate, saving you even more on a great vacation..
Can I use my hair dryer or shaver?
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in the staterooms but do check with Davinder at Luchanik Travel & Cruises to be sure. Most ships feature hair-dryers in your stateroom.
What about meal times?
Choices, choices and more choices. During the day, there are many different dining options – in the formal dining room, on deck, in a pizzeria and at an espresso bar, to name just a few. At night, most ships offer several venues. Some ships’ dining rooms can accommodate all guests at one time, called a “seating.” Many ships offer you a choice of several seating times, and others offer multiple restaurants for “anytime” dining. More traditional ships have two seatings in their formal dining rooms, which differ only by time: typically 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
To choose, just decide whether you prefer to dine early or late – then have Davinder at Luchanik Travel & Cruises request your preference when you book your cruise. Frequently, you can choose to enjoy dinner someplace other than the formal dining room, such as in an intimate restaurant that features Italian or Asian cuisine. More and more cruise lines are opening up their informal lido areas to evening dining, where the dress and dishes always are casual, and sometimes, you can even eat out under the stars. And a large number of ships offer romantic in-cabin dinners. The choice is yours!
Is cruise ship dining as good as I’ve been told?
Everything you’ve heard about cruise ship dining is true. At each meal, you’ll find a varied selection of entrees (appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and desserts, too), and each day the selection will be different. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a cuisine or try a dish, you can feel free to order more than one entrée or appetizer (or dessert!). But, just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food, doesn’t mean you’ll come home out of shape. You can choose low-cal, spa, vegetarian or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as the regular menu. Best of all, the one thing you’ll never see on a cruise ship menu is a price. Because your meals are included!
Can I get a special diet?
Most ships can accommodate salt-free, low-carbohydrate, low cholesterol, diabetic, or other diet preferences. This request should be made in advance, so be sure to advise Davinder at Luchanik Travel & Cruises when you book your cruise.
What about dining companions – can I sit with my spouse and friends only, or will I have table-mates?
Experienced cruisers say they prefer sitting at a table with several other diners; some lifelong friendships have been made this way. But the cruise lines are geared to accommodate each guest’s wishes, and it is possible to request a table for two or four. In the unlikely event that you do wish to change tablemates, speak with the maitre d’, who will make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions…discretely and politely.
Are there non-smoking areas?
Virtually all dining rooms are smoke free as are designated areas in other public rooms onboard the ship. Check with Davinder regarding the individual cruise line’s policies.
Can we celebrate a special occasion?
Absolutely! Most cruise lines will even treat you to a complimentary cake and a chorus of “Happy Whatever” to honor the occasion. Your birthday or anniversary can be more festive with champagne, flowers or canapes. You can even arrange for a special private party. All you have to do is advise your Davinder in advance.
Is cruising right for honeymooners?
Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere that’s just right for romance…cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars). Most lines provide special services – from Sunday or Monday departures to champagne and breakfast in bed.
Also, some ships offer special packages for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing marriage vows.
Can we stay in touch with the outside world?
Maybe too easily! Most staterooms are equipped with televisions and have satellite or cellular telephones. You can even use your own cell phone on some ships, where cellular service is available. Many cruise ships are now Wi- Fi enabled, so you can check your e-mail on your laptop in your stateroom or go to the on board computer café for Internet access. You can also call someone on shore through the ship’s radio officer while at sea. In addition, most ships have a daily newsletter with news, headlines, selected stock quotes and sports scores.
What about tipping?
Tipping is a matter of individual preference. A general rule of thumb is $3.50 – $5.00 per person per day for your cabin steward and dining room waiter and about half that for the dining room assistant. Other shipboard personnel can be tipped for special services or at your discretion. Some lines include an automatic gratuity in the price of your cruise and will advise you of that as well as the amount while other lines maintain a no tipping policy. Check with your Luchanik Travel & Cruises regarding the individual cruise line’s policies.
Are there medical services onboard?
While cruise ships are not comprehensive medical facilities, cruise lines understand that some people may have health needs during a cruise. Thus they are committed to providing first response and emergency care to guests until they can be transferred to a shoreside medical facility. Most cruise lines have 24-hour medical services and staff operating under guidelines developed in conjunction with the American College of Emergency Physicians (AECP). Cruise lines and travel agents encourage vacationers to obtain medical insurance, travel with adequate supplies of medical prescriptions and devices and to disclose pre-existing medical conditions before sailing.
Are there laundry services aboard ship?
Almost all cruise ships have laundry facilities and many provide dry-cleaning services. There is, however, an additional charge for professional laundry and dry-cleaning services. Many ships also have self-service launderettes.
Do cruise lines accept group bookings?
Most lines welcome groups – often at special rates, depending on how large the group. Policies vary from company to company and sometimes seasonally. Davinder would love to book your group, and can offer you the very best service for your group by booking you a conference room if needed, meeting space, organizing refreshments, and helping with special requests.
Are there meeting rooms onboard?
Nearly every full-size ship has public rooms or a conference center to offer as meeting space for private or corporate groups. Many feature dedicated meeting facilities. If you’d like to make meeting or incentive travel arrangements, ask Davinder at Luchanik Travel & Cruises to contact the cruise line’s group sales department to coordinate schedules and arrange for any special requirements. Your ship may also be able to offer audio-visual equipment, communications, meeting coordinators, secretarial and printing services and more.
Can I extend my cruise vacation?
Cruise lines feature special pre-or post-hotel packages that allow you to extend your vacation in either your port of embarkation or debarkation.
Is motion discomfort a problem?
Rarely. Popular cruise itineraries ply some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, availability of advance weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.
How can I stay healthy on board?
Follow your mom’s advice and wash your hands! Cruise ships work very closely with public health agencies such as the CDC to make sure they provide the healthiest shipboard environment for guests. The last thing you want is to be ill while you’re on vacation, so take the simple precaution of washing your hands often with soap and warm water thoroughly. Wash your hands after using the restroom, before eating and avoid touching your face.
It sounds too good to be true! Is it?
The one complaint we hear time and again is that cruises end far too soon! Beyond that, it’s hard to find any negatives. All you have to do is relax and enjoy your vacation. Most importantly, every crew and staff member on board is dedicated to making your cruise the best vacation of your life (until you top it with your next cruise!)
Should I get travel insurance?
Travelers purchasing a cruise also can protect themselves by paying with a major credit card, and/or obtaining low-cost travelers’ insurance that covers trip cancellation for any reason, including supplier default. The latter is available through Davinder, who through CruiseOne – will insure you with one of the best trip protection plan carriers.
Who should I talk to if I have questions that haven’t been answered?
Ask your travel agent Davinder or email her at email@example.com. We look forward to helping you.
Reprinted onto this page, with some modifications, on January 9, 2011 from Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. (CLIA) http://www.cruising.org/vacation
It is now Day 6 of the cruise. I will be taking excursion no. 3 today, and it leaves at 8am. Who said cruising was all about relaxing? I have had to wake up early every single day, and one of the days when there wasn’t a port visit, I had a CruiseOne seminar from 9 am to 4:30 pm or so, and still had to wake up early. Today’s excursion is called Skagway City and White Pass Summit. By the way, the three excursions that I booked through my own website (http://www.likecruises.com) with our Shore Excursions provider were only $141 in total for all three – that’s a very good deal, and as you can see from yesterday’s excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, it’s worth getting on a bus and exploring.
The instructions on the ticket said to be just outside the cruise pier, and to check in by 7:40 am. It was a good job that I brought my passport with me, as we were supposed to go into Canada, just past the border. I managed to make it to the bus in time, and we set off promptly at 8am. Here are some pictures that were taken at some of the stops, and this time I am going to use bigger pictures instead of thumbnails, please feel free to let me know if this is a better choice or not.
I wonder what’s nicer – being on the train, or being at a distance and seeing the train?
The landscape is now changing as we are climbing higher up the hills in the bus, this picture was taken from the bus, and shows the trees are now dotted with white.
and it is getting whiter and whiter……..snow! And lots of it!
It’s beginning to look very white out here, and the sun is trying to break through the sky, but it is very cold!
Welcome to Alaska, a must-have photograph – everyone wants their picture taken here.
There was too much snow, that we couldn’t go past the border, what a shame! I would so much have liked to go into Canada again, even if for just a few moments. We were told the roads were not clear enough, and not passable. Now we headed back down to Skagway from the White Pass Summit.
We stopped here because it was another scenic spot to take pictures.
The Norwegian Pearl, side by side with the Radiance Of The Seas.
- We went on a short hike, and saw the Gold Rush Cemetery
Be prepared for a short hike up, about a 5 minute walk to this waterfall, past the Cemetery.
We are done with the excursion, and I’m off the bus and decided to walk around Skagway, instead of heading back to the cruise ship. The excursion lasted about two and a half hours, and it is only 11 am or so. However, we have until 4pm today in Skagway….so might as well see it.
Downtown Skagway, five minutes or so from the cruise ship
Tlingits are an Alaskan Native people who have lived in Southeast Alaska for generations. You can read more about the Tlingits by looking at the picture.
Interesting choice of names for these chocolate-covered concoctions. I chose the fudge instead.
Alaska is famous for its fudge in addition to its natural beauty and wild life, gold panning, Native American history, etc.
I did try their chocolate almond fudge – it was so good!
Found an Indian restaurant – didn’t eat there though, perhaps next time.
Looks like there’s inscriptions on the rocks, or are they signs?
Want to buy gold? There is still a lot of signs of the Gold Rush era.
A golden hotel…..the Golden North Hotel
Really wished I had taken this train to the White Pass Summit
Interesting name for a place
That’s the Norwegian Pearl in the background
Looking back at Skagway for the last few minutes before I head back to the cruise ship.
The trains of Skagway. I think I like trains…..
The walk back to the Radiance Of The Seas rock….I passed interesting rock art, trains, and the Norwegian Pearl…..
Now I see the Radiance Of The Seas
Now, I am back on the ship, and tomorrow is the last full day of the cruise. Will let you know how Day 7 goes. Thank you for reading.
It is now Day 5 of the cruise – Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, and I had to wake up early because my shore excursion meeting time – for the tour titled Juneau City and Mendenhall Glacier Tour – is scheduled for 9:30 am. This will be shore excursion no. 2 for me, even though it is the third port (I didn’t do an excursion when in Icy Strait Point).
I walked past the train which was right outside where the cruise ship docked, and was half hoping that my excursion would involve a train up to Mendenhall Glacier, but I knew from the tour instructions on my ticket that I would be going on a bus again. It was only a two or three minute walk, but I was almost late, so I ran the last half minute to the bus. I was supposed to have been there 15 minutes before the bus set off. Here are some pictures taken during one of the stops prior to getting to Mendenhall Glacier. We stopped so that we could take some pictures of the Radiance Of The Seas, and of course, I just loved to take pictures of that beautiful ship. Here are some of the ship with Juneau in the background:
Here are some pictures taken from the bus, please excuse the reflection of the windows, I just couldn’t stop taking pictures:
I think these pictures were taken on one of the stops when we got out of the bus:
I could keep going on, and inserting more pictures, but I think I should stop at that. I’m sure you can see how beautiful Juneau is, and why Alaska is worth the visit? Then we went to a place called Chapel By The Lake (it was like a Log Church), and took a quick look inside, but I was mainly keen to get outside to take pictures:
We then drove to another stop to take some pictures of Mendenhall Glacier from a distance:
And now we have arrived at the final destination – first some preliminary pictures of the arrival area:
Then, beautiful Mendenhall Glacier, awesome, breathtaking, what can I say?
Here are some more pictures of the area surrounding Mendenhall Glacier, isn’t the blue color that’s in the glacier incredible?
Well, after all those breathtaking pictures (even though I do say so myself), it seems like a let-down to add pictures of a different kind, but I must finish up, here are some pictures of downtown Juneau, near the cruise ship where our bus took us after the amazing visit to Mendenhall Glacier.
A little background on Juneau: It was discovered in 1880 due to the discovery of gold, Juneau began its history as a prosperous and unique mining town, you can see some of the recommended sightseeing spots by viewing the picture of the sign post below:
You are probably wondering about the food in Juneau, here’s a picture of a menu:
Here’s some pictures I took near to where the cruise ship was docked
PS: If you are going to be in Juneau on June 7-9, 2012, you should not miss Celebration 2012. This is a major dance and cultural festival held every two years. Read more about the festival right here: http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/celebration/celebration_2012.htm and to view beautiful Alaskan Native art showing fabulous Tsimshian culture, please take a look here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/terrance-h-booth-jr.html?page=2
I really hope that you like my pictures of Juneau, and the Mendenhall Glacier. You just have to visit this amazing place, it was well worth the visit. Gold was discovered here, but there is so much more to discover too.
It is now Day 4 of my trip, but Day 3 of the cruise – it is Sunday, May 13th, 2012, and it is also Mother’s Day. Ketchikan was our first port visit on the cruise, and therefore, my first real glimpse of Alaska. I had a shore excursion that I had pre-booked with our CruiseOne shore excursions provider http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/Ketchikan-Shore-Excursions-s/104.htm. The shore excursion consisted of three excursions in a package, and would allow me to experience Ketchikan, as well as two of the other port stops – Skagway, and Juneau. The price was really good, and I figured that instead of just walking around the pier where the cruise ship docks, I should go further into these destinations, and go to the main attractions. So, today’s Excursion 1 (out of 3) is the Saxman Native Village and Ketchikan City Tour.
I live in San Diego now, so it’s a little like someone coming to San Diego, but not knowing about the beautiful beaches of Del Mar, La Jolla, and Encinitas or about Balboa Park, or the Hotel Del in Coronado. If they just wander around the cruise port area, all they would see is beautiful SeaPort Village, and the harbor area near Anthony’s Fish Grotto Restaurant. There would be so much left of San Diego that would be left undiscovered, and that is why you sometimes just have to take these excursions, so that a professional tour organizer will take you to the best spots.
I only had to walk about two or three minutes away from where the cruise ship docked to check in with the bus – all the information about the meeting point was on my ticket. The bus set off promptly at 8:30 am and altogether this excursion lasted about two and a half hours. We went past the downtown Ketchikan area, which is within walking distance of the cruise terminal, and then made a few stops along the way to our ultimate destination – Saxman Native Village – which is where all the totem poles are. The two stops we made along the way were so we could take pictures of a waterfall, and a lake.
Here are some pictures of these two stops along the way:
I kind of like the picture above, even though it’s not the best since it was taken in the bus, and shows one of the passengers in the way of the view. The waterfall pictures were not that unique, so I didn’t include. Below is a picture of the lake where we stopped, and then I just had to take a picture of a house in Ketchikan. Then there are some pictures of totem poles, and some interesting street signs, as well as a Ketchikan trolley.
After viewing all the totem poles, we headed back to downtown Ketchikan, which is where I took the rest of the pictures below:
Don’t forget to visit Dolly’s House on Creek Street, this is a tourist attraction – with a story behind it that I won’t get into here. Ketchikan is well worth the visit, it is so colorful, I could not stop taking pictures. I hope you enjoyed looking at all of my pictures, and please let me know if you have any comments.
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I flew into Vancouver from San Diego on May 10, 2012, and spent a day there, and then caught a seven day cruise on the next day from Vancouver to Seward on the Radiance Of The Seas. The port visits for the seven day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska include Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, […]