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Frequently Asked Questions

No question is a silly question - it’s now even easier to find the answer you’re looking for.

Our Frequently Ask Questions are continually updated to provide you with the answers you need when planning your Scenic journey. If the answer you need isn’t here, please contact your travel agent or get in touch with us directly.

Please click here to view Scenic Eclipse FAQs

River Cruising
Q. Will there be a Cruise Director on my cruise?

Yes, an experienced English speaking Cruise Director accompanies every Tour.

Q. What is the language on the Space-ships?

The language on board is English. All staff, crew and tour guides speak English and all announcements and lectures will be made in English.

Q. What is the electricity on the ships?

On Board Electricity on board all ships is 220V. A power plug adaptor will be required to use small appliances such as electric shavers, clocks, mobile phone chargers etc. We do not provide the required adaptors.

Q. Are there hairdryers in the cabins?

Hairdryers are available in all cabins on river cruise ships.

Q. Are there laundry facilities on the ships?

Laundry services are available on river cruise ships at an additional charge. There is no dry cleaning on river cruise ships.

Q. What are the seating arrangements in the Crystal Dining Room?

The Crystal Dining rooms are single dining sessions with open, unreserved seating. The restaurant manager is responsible for the seating arrangements.

Q. When is the Sun Deck open for use?

Due to the number of low bridges on the waterways, there are times where the Sun Deck is not accessible which limits access to the vitality pool. Otherwise, the Sun Deck is available for guests to enjoy at all other times.

Q. What clothing do I need to pack?

We recommend casual and comfortable clothing. Please bring comfortable walking shoes as you will need these daily whilst sightseeing, which includes walking over rough and uneven ground. Closed-in shoes are recommended to keep out the dust and sand. Dinner attire is casual-open-neck shirts, slacks and dresses. Coats and ties may be worn but are not required. For winter months we recommend a warm coat, gloves, water-resistant footwear and an umbrella.

Q. How do I make telephone calls back to Australia?

Phoning home from hotels is expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room which can be very high. Ship-to-shore telephone calls can also be extremely expensive. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones. If you decide to make a direct call to Australia – always remember to dial the international access code 00 followed by the country code 61 (Australia), the area code (without the 0) and your phone number. Local phone cards are available at tobacco stores, kiosks and post offices.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

The international telephone services are generally of excellent standard but it is important to remember that telephone calls from hotels are surcharged. Ship-to-shore telephone calls can also be extremely expensive.

Phone cards like Bravo, Chit Chat and Mega are the most efficient and economical way to call home. They can be purchased in Victoria and Vancouver at convenience stores and tourist information centres in $5, $10 or $20 options.

To make reverse charges or collect phone calls to Australia while in Canada or the United States, please dial the relevant phone number listed below. The operator will assist you with your preferred charge type. In Canada: 1800 663 0683 (Teleglobe) In the United States: 1800 682 2878 (AT&T) or 1800 676 0061 (Sprint)

South America & Antarctica:

The international telephone services in South America have traditionally been government operated and have delivered poor systems and service. Many countries have now privatised their phone systems, choosing high charges over poor service, but sometimes getting both. It is also important to remember that telephone calls from hotels are surcharged and it is sometimes cheaper to make a reverse charges call. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones.


International telephone services are generally of excellent standard in Africa but please be aware that telephone calls from hotels are surcharged. Public telephones are available throughout Africa and 'International Call Cards' may be purchased at newsstands or tobacco shops.

International calls are cheaper after 20.00 and before 8.00 from Monday to Friday, and between 20.00 on Friday and 8.00 on Monday. Please Note: the majority of your East African hotels will not have telephone services.

Asia & India:

China - The international telephone services from China have improved over the years but are still not of our standard. Phone cards like China Call Back II Phone Card and Two-Way Phone card are the most efficient and economical way to call home.

India - There are many ISD booths all over India and the call rate to make international calls is relatively inexpensive.

Vietnam and Cambodia - The international telephone services have improved over the years but are still not of our standard.


Public telephones are available throughout New Zealand. Most public phones take cards purchased from bookstalls and newsagents, with a minimum value of NZ$2. Some public phones also accept credit cards, but very few accept coins. Please note: mobile phone coverage in some parts of New Zealand is limited due to the remote areas we will be travelling.

Q. What are the timezone differences:

The following are guidelines only, as daylight saving changes will alter variances:

Canada, Alaska & USA:

Alaska (Anchorage) = 18 hours behind Australian Eastern time

Pacific (Vancouver) = 17 hours behind Australian Eastern time

Mountain (i.e. Banff) = 16 hours behind Australian Eastern time

Atlantic (Toronto/New York) = 14 hours behind Australian Eastern time

South America & Antarctica:

The South American mainland is between three and five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Chile, Argentina and Brazil adopt ‘summer time’ from about October to March when they are one hour closer to GMT.

Argentina and Brazil = 13 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time

Chile = 14 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time

Peru = 15 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time

Ecuador = 16 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time


South Africa = 8 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time

Asia & India:

China = 2 hours behind Standard Australian Eastern time.

India = 5.5 hours behind Standard Australian Eastern time.

Vietnam and Cambodia = 3 hours behind Standard Australian Eastern time.


New Zealand = 2 hours ahead Standard Australian Eastern time.

Q. Are internet cafés readily available?


There are internet cafés are throughout Europe and are a much more cost-effective way of communicating with friends and family than by telephone. There is limited Wi-Fi available on Scenic Space-Ships and Wi-Fi is available in most hotels for a fee.

Q. What languages are spoken?


  • The Netherlands - Dutch
  • Germany - German
  • Hungary - Hungarian
  • France – French
  • Norway – Norwegian
  • Greece – Greek
  • Turkey – Turkish and English
  • Spain – Spanish
  • Morocco – Arabic, French and English

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Canada - English and French (English is primarily spoken in the Western Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. French is the primary language spoken in Quebec.)
  • USA - English

South America & Antarctica:

  • South America - Spanish
  • Brazil - Portuguese
  • In capital cities and popular tourist areas, some English is spoken.


  • South Africa is a multi-lingual country with 11 officially-recognised languages.
  • Zambia - English (with over 73 ethnic dialects spoken)
  • Kenya - English. (Swahili is the national language, with 42 ethnic languages spoken.)

Asia & India:

  • English is spoken by some in Asia & India,, but please remember when communicating to slow down your speech.
  • China - Mandarin (About 70% of the population speak Mandarin. There also are various dialects such as Cantonese)
  • India - Hindi (there are a total of 15 major languages and 544 dialects spoken in India. English is also widely spoken.) Please note: In India, good non-verbal communication is essential. It is important to understand that Indians have different nods for yes, ok and no. If they are shaking their head back and forth, they mean yes. If they are nodding their head in a tilting motion from right to left, they mean ok, indicating acceptance. The movement is in a figure eight, and looks identical to the western nod for ‘sort of’. If they shake their head from left to right twisting it about the vertical axis, they mean no.
  • Vietnam - Vietnamese
  • Cambodia - Cambodian or Khmer


  • New Zealand - English and Maori (An attempt by a visitor to use Maori greetings will almost certainly elicit a delighted response from Maori New Zealanders.)
Q. Are there any restrictions on photography?

It may not be possible to use your camera or video camera at some sites of interest, or there may be a fee; please ask your Tour Director for further details. Not everyone might appreciate being on your souvenir home video or holiday photo, so please respect the privacy of local people and cruise directors/local guides by asking permission before filming or taking a photograph. This is especially important in holy places and when visiting indigenous people.

If someone is giving a public performance then permission is not usually necessary – but if in doubt, ask or refrain.

Please Note: Photography is prohibited in 'restricted' areas such as bridges, dams, ports and airports as well as military installations or security-sensitive places such as police stations.

Q. Can I photograph or film in museums?

Museums and attractions have differing rules regarding cameras and videos. While some do not allow cameras to be taken in at all, at others a fee or a permit may be required. Your guide will advise of the rules at each particular site and what is required. Please tell your guide if you will require a permit at the time and he/she will purchase a special ticket and advise you accordingly. In many museums, tombs and temples the use of a flash is strictly prohibited.

Q. Can I easily obtain batteries and memory cards?

Generally, yes unless stated otherwise.


  • Batteries and memory cards are expensive and difficult to obtain in much of Africa so it’s best to bring extras with you.
Q. How should I photograph wildlife in Africa?

When taking close-up pictures of Africa’s wildlife, focus on the animal's eyes. This guarantees that most of the animal's face will be in focus. Be prepared and ready with your camera at all times, as animals may suddenly appear and disappear just as quickly. Never interfere with the natural behaviour of the animals in order to take a better photo. For keen photographers it is recommended that a polarising lens and a UV filter be taken for your lenses as the intense bright sunlight can wash out photos.

Food & Drink
Q. Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?

Yes. If you have not already advised your travel agent at the time of booking please let your Tour Director know at the start of the tour any special needs or dietary requirements so they can be best accommodated. Remember your favourite food items will not always be available as different cultures may eat very different food to us, especially at breakfast.

Please note: the selection of foods in China, Vietnam and Cambodia for vegetarians and other dietary requirements can lack variety and flavour. Your Tour Director will do their best to make sure your requirements are met however it is recommended that you bring a small supply of energy bars, nuts or dried fruit from home to supplement your diet.

Q. What type of food can I expect?

Your tours cover an amazing range of cultures and landscapes and the food available en route reflects this diversity, which may be different to what you are normally accustomed to. Your dining experiences are certain to enhance your tour and introduce you to the local region and culture.

Asia & India:

  • China - Your meals are mainly Chinese dishes served banquet style. Local Chinese beer will be available, however some restaurants do offer Chinese wine, and imported wines are available in the hotel lounges. Breakfast will be a wide range of fruits or a cooked breakfast.
  • India - Your meals are mainly Asian-style dishes. A traditional meal is usually served in a large metal plate called a ‘thali’ with a number of small bowls used to hold the gravy dishes. The meal is normally accompanied with Indian bread (which varies from region to region) and rice. Imported wines and liquors are also available. The quality of Indian wines are improving steadily and are almost of international standards. Indian beer and rum are considered excellent, and while gins and vodkas are good, the Indian whisky is an acquired taste.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Your meals are mainly Asian style dishes served banquet style. Local beers will be the favoured beverage, however some restaurants do offer imported wines. Breakfast in the morning includes a wide range of fruits and a cooked breakfast.
Q. Are there any foods that I should avoid?

Avoid eating:

  • Icecreams sold by roadside vendors
  • Undercooked meat
  • Unpeelable fruit or vegetable
  • Reheated food

Remember to make sure fresh fruit has been washed and wash your hands before and after eating.

Q. Is the water safe to drink?

The tap water is safe to drink in the following travel destinations:

  • Canada
  • Alaska
  • USA
  • Australia
  • Norfolk Island
  • New Zealand

DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER in the following travel destinations:

  • South America
  • Antarctica
  • Africa
  • China
  • India
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia

It is best to not even allow your mouth near tap water, which includes brushing your teeth. Have bottled mineral waters opened in your presence and regard all ice as unsafe. Scenic Tours include bottled water for all touring days, with meals, at your hotel and on board cruises.

Because your travel destination may have high temperatures, humidity and/or altitudes it is essential each day to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee or strong tea, which are diuretics and cause increased water loss. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe. Tap water in hotels, restaurants and aboard the Lake Nasser and Nile Cruise Ships is not potable.

Please Note: It is important in all countries that you stay well hydrated and drink plenty of bottled water. If you are not feeling well at any time please speak to your Scenic Tour Director who may be able to assist with advice.

Q. When do I advise my choice for Scenic Freechoice Dining?

Scenic Freechoice Dining is subject to availability and is restricted to limited numbers and dining times. Pre-selection of your preferred dining choice will be required prior to your arrival into each applicable destination. Your Tour Director will do all possible to accommodate your choice; unfortunately this may not always be achievable. Scenic Free Choice dining is not available in Eastern Canada.

Q. Do I need to be aware of anything else when dining?

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Entrées are actually main courses and appetisers are what we would refer to as an entrée.

East Africa, South America & Antarctica:

  • Use caution when eating salad items that may have been washed in tap water.
Health & Fitness
Q. Should I provide Scenic with my health and fitness details prior to travelling?

We will supply a Health and Fitness form in your travel wallet. These forms are designed to provide us with instant information if an emergency should arise. These forms will be returned unopened at the completion of the tour. It is not compulsory to fill out these forms but is strongly recommended.

We strongly recommend a visit to your doctor and dentist prior to your tour. If you are aged 70 or over at the Tour Departure date you must provide us with a doctor’s letter confirming you are fit and healthy enough to take part in the specified tour including reference to the itinerary, destinations and tour departure date. You must advise us of any pre-existing medical conditions that might reasonably be expected to increase your risk of requiring medical attention, affect the normal conduct of the tour and/or the enjoyment of other tour members. You will be required to fill in our Health and Fitness form and hand it to your Tour Director on the tour departure date.

Q. Can I take prescription medication?

Yes and its advisable to pack an ample supply of any medicine you are taking, copies of prescriptions and the telephone/fax number of your doctor. Because of strict drug laws in some countries, drugs you take on doctor’s orders should be carried in their original container showing the prescription label. Always keep your medication in your hand luggage.

Q. Are there any health risks that I should be aware of?

Viral gastroenteritis is a very common virus that can be found almost anywhere, but its opportunity to spread is greater in contained environments. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. It may also include fever, stomach issues and headache. The symptoms usually start 12 to 48 hours after viral infection and can last from 1 to 10 days. Most people who become sick with viral gastroenteritis recover quickly with no further problems. However if the illness is more severe, further medical care may be required to treat dehydration. The most effective protection from personal contamination is ensuring strict attention to personal hygiene and in particular, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and refraining from hand-to-mouth contact.

Colds and other viruses can spread quickly in an enclosed area such as a ship. Continue to practice common-sense hygiene and respiratory courtesy. Wash your hands often and cover your coughs and sneeze. It is recommended that passengers carry an anti-bacterial hand sanitiser, which does not require rinsing with water. Use a sanitiser frequently i.e. after shore excursions, prior to meals and throughout the day. If you have any questions regarding your health or safety while on tour, please do not hesitate to ask your Tour Director.

Motion sickness can be a problem for some people when cruising, flying or travelling on coaches and trains and it is a good idea to take precautionary measures. Drugs for treating motion sickness can be purchased at most pharmacies in Australia, however a side effect can by drowsiness. Alternatives such as ginger tablets and acupressure wristbands are also available and work well for some people.

South America & Antarctica:

  • Altitude sickness can also be a common concern for travellers in some parts of South America. Medication is available, speak with your medical practitioner before departure.


  • Malaria tablets are advisable for all non-African visitors. We strongly advise that you cover up by wearing long sleeves and long pants and use mosquito repellent. Seasonal outbreaks of cholera in Zambia and Kenya are common. Please consult your GP or travel clinic on precautionary measures.
Q. What health precautions should I take?

South America & Antarctica:

  • Be careful about the water you drink and only drink bottled water that has not had the seal broken.
  • In the tropics or at high altitude you can get sunburned surprisingly quickly, even through cloud. Use a sunscreen, hat and barrier cream for your nose and lips.
  • Calamine location and aloe vera gel are good for mild sunburn. Eyes should be protected with good quality sunglasses.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water and drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles.
  • Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself and don't eat food purchased from street vendors.
  • Don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurised.
  • If you will be visiting an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed (see your doctor for a prescription).
  • Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied liberally at 4-hour intervals) and permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot; and don't handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague).


  • Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed (see your doctor for a prescription).
  • Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied liberally at 4-hour intervals) and permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
  • Seasonal outbreaks of cholera in Zambia and Kenya are common. Please consult your GP or travel clinic on precautionary measures.
  • Please ensure you only drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw or undercooked foods.
Q. What vaccinations do I require?

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary and are subject to change. You must consult your doctor on current vaccinations needed for your destination. Also please refer to the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for additional information.

South America & Antarctica:

  • Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are recommended.
  • Malaria tablets may be recommended by your GP.
  • A Yellow Fever Vaccination Card is required for entry to and exit from many parts of South America including Peru.


  • A Yellow Fever Vaccination Card is required for entry into Kenya.
  • Malaria tablets are advisable for all non-African visitors.
  • Seasonal outbreaks of cholera in Zambia and Kenya are common. Please consult your GP or travel clinic on precautionary measures.

Asia & India:

  • If you are entering India from an infected area such as Africa, then you must be vaccinated against Yellow Fever.
  • Hepatitis (both A and B, depending on your individual circumstances), meningitis and typhoid shots are also recommended, as is a booster shot for tetanus.
Q. What sort of fitness level do I require to travel?

We welcome you if you have a disability or other special need, provided you are able to care for yourself or are accompanied by a companion capable of providing all the assistance you require. Please note that although we will use reasonable endeavours to provide you with all the activities on your Itinerary, depending on your disability, you may not be able to participate in every activity and the Tour Director will have the right to refuse your participation if the Tour Director believes your health and safety or the health and safety of other passengers may be impacted by your participation. You must advise us (or your travel agent) of any disability, medical condition or dietary requirement at the time of booking.

It is not possible for large coaches to be used for some city sightseeing therefore many towns and cities will be visited by way of walking tours and accordingly, a reasonable level of fitness is required.


  • Much of Europe is based on a myriad of old buildings and there are split-levels, steps and uneven surfaces everywhere. High-heeled shoes are not suitable for cobblestone streets and steep inclines in medieval towns and cities. It is essential to have comfortable, rubber-soled walking shoes.
  • Due to the amount of walking on your cruise shore excursions, which typically run for up to 3 hours, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

South America:

  • South American tours require clients to have a good level of health and fitness. Please ensure you have selected a suitable holiday for your level of fitness as walking and getting on/off transport is required in many areas and good mobility is needed, especially due to some of the sightseeing and attractions, locations and format.
  • Clients should be aware that the tour could be demanding in places. Clients not wishing to do these portions of the tour are able (in some instances) to stay with the coach.
  • We strongly recommend that clients attain a letter from their doctor clearing them for the tour and for travel insurance purposes.
  • Please Note: Scenic Tours reserves the right, at its discretion to cancel your booking and refund the money paid by you, less any unrecoverable costs, if it is deemed you are not suitable for the trip booked. It is your responsibility to advise Scenic Tours of any pre-existing medical conditions that might reasonably be expected to increase the risk of you requiring medical attention, or that might affect the normal conduct of a trip and the enjoyment of other trip participants.


  • Our African tours require clients to have a good level of health and fitness and we recommend a visit to both your doctor and dentist before your trip.
  • In Kenya, Namibia and Botswana you can expect dusty and/or unsealed road conditions and you will walk on undulating surfaces in Namibia, therefore good physical condition is necessary.
  • Travel in Kenya is by 4WD safari vehicle and it is highly recommended. Clients with back conditions and/or mobility difficulties should consult their doctor before participation.
  • In the winter months, the big game areas can be dusty. Wrap-around sunglasses provide the best protection from dust and other eye irritants, and guests with contact lenses should bring glasses and eye drops.
  • Proximity to the equator makes the African sun particularly strong so ensure you use the proper level of sun protection. Sun protective chapstick, sunscreens, moisturising creams and insect repellents are recommended.

China, Vietnam and Cambodia:

  • The pace of touring in China can be tiring due to factors such as change of diet, change of environment, high and low temperatures, distances travelled and busy days.
  • Passengers must be able to climb ramps and steep stairs for embarkation and disembarkation on the Yangtze Cruise portion of the tour.

The land touring program requires passengers to be able to walk for up to 1-2 kilometres over steps and uneven ground.

For your safety and enjoyment, you should be in good physical condition to participate in all tours.

Q. Can I travel in a wheelchair?

We regret that we are unable to accept wheelchair bound guests. Guests who travel with a collapsible wheelchair may also encounter some difficulties due to the structure of old buildings with access to some establishments not being convenient for wheelchair use. Facilities for the disabled in general may be limited with many areas being pedestrian only. For example: Marksburg Castle has a number of stairs which may impact guests with limited mobility accessing all touring areas, however this will not impede participation of the medieval banquet.

Q. What sort of first aid and medical items should I bring with me?

It may be useful to bring a supply of basic items with you. A first aid kit may include band-aids, antiseptic, aspirin, cough medicine, throat lozenges, cold and flu medication, diarrhoea medication, mild laxative, eye ointments/drops for minor infections, a general antibiotic and any special medications you may need personally. Please remember to bring a letter from your doctor or a copy of the prescription for any medication that you are carrying with you.

Q. Will my special requirements be met throughout the tour?

Your special requirements have been passed onto all suppliers. Special requirements refer to airline seating, special dietary and medical needs. These requirements are on a request basis only and cannot be guaranteed by Scenic. We strongly advise that you reconfirm your meal requests with the Scenic Tour Director upon joining your tour.

Q. How much luggage can I bring on a Scenic tour?

The luggage allowance whilst on tour is one suitcase with a maximum size of 76 x 53 x 28 cms (30 x 21 x 11’’) and weight of 20 kilograms. You may also carry a small backpack or the Scenic issued overnight bag on board the coach for the duration of the tour. Additional bags beyond the luggage allowance may incur additional charges and are to be settled directly to the hotel or as required.It is advised that you check airline luggage requirements directly with your most significant airline carrier.

South America & Antarctica tours:

  • The luggage allowance whilst on tour is one suitcase with a maximum weight of 20 kilograms. You may also carry a small backpack or the Scenic issued overnight bag on board the coach for the duration of the tour. We recommend when travelling to South America that you use hard suitcases that can be securely locked and that your hand luggage is a bag with a shoulder strap that is easy to carry or a robust backpack (flimsy backpacks are vulnerable to a thief with a razor). Additional bags beyond the luggage allowance may incur additional charges and are to be settled directly to the hotel or as required. It is advised that you check airline luggage requirements directly with your most significant airline carrier.
  • Please Note: As your tour visits Machu Picchu, you are required to pack down to hand luggage for one night’s accommodation with a maximum weight for overnight luggage of 5 kilograms. Remaining luggage will be stored in the Sacred Valley. Excess luggage will incur a charge and may not travel on the same train.

Africa tours:

  • When travelling in Kenya you need to take a small soft bag to pack down into, as suitcases are unable to be taken in safari vehicles. Suitcases will be stored in Nairobi whilst touring and returned to you at Nairobi Airport
Q. Is porterage included?

Handling and porterage of your luggage (as per the luggage allowance above) is included in your tour. Additional bags beyond the allowance may be charged or it may be the responsibility of the passenger to forward the baggage to another destination. Luggage handling is not included during any independent or non-escorted touring. In this situation, luggage handling and porterage will need to be organised directly with the hotel porters.

Q. How much luggage can I take on an aircraft?

It is advised that you check airline luggage requirements directly with your most significant airline carrier.

Q. Are there any extra airline baggage fees?

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • Most domestic carriers within the USA and Canada have introduced new baggage fees and charges either for the first piece of luggage and/or additional pieces. Our policy for passengers travelling on our international tours permits one piece of luggage regardless of whether the airlines have any further free luggage allowance. If you are travelling through on a domestic connection as part of your international ticket, they may allow the on carriage of your luggage to your final destination free of charge, but this is not guaranteed. If a separate domestic USA/Canada flight and/or ticket is necessary on your itinerary, the airline may charge you a baggage fee (approx US$15 to US$25 per bag per person) and this may vary for each airline.
Q. Should I attach the Scenic luggage label provided prior to departure?

No, please wait until you have claimed your luggage at your destination airport. This will ensure airline companies will not tear off this tag, as it is required to easily identify your luggage for transfer services and hotels.

Q. Are there restrictions on what I can carry in my luggage?

The Australian and New Zealand governments have enhanced security measures to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols, and gels that can be taken through the screening point for people who are flying to and from Australia. Details of restrictions and requirements can be found on the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s website or the New Zealand Government’s Aviation Security Service website. For information regarding carry on restrictions for other countries,please contact the relevant government agencies.

Q. Will my luggage be secure?

We strongly advise that you do not pack anything of value in your check-in luggage and that you check-in ONLY your own suitcases. Do not carry items packed by other people. Never accept packages or articles from anyone unknown to you to carry on board the aircraft. As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority website.

Q. What happens if my luggage goes missing?

It is highly unlikely for your luggage to be mislaid, however we suggest if travelling as a couple to pack each suitcase with back up clothes and toiletries for each person. We also suggest writing your personal and tour details on a label INSIDE each suitcase (including name, address, telephone number, departure and return flight details). Write only your name and destination address on outside labels.

Please note: For those passengers flying British Airways to Europe via London Heathrow Terminal 5, we suggest that to lessen the chance of your luggage being lost in transit, and connection time permitting, you check-in your luggage to London only. Collect your luggage in London and then re-check it to your final destination.

Q. What clothing should I pack?


  • Casual sportswear for daytime that can be mixed/matched/layered
  • Jumper/warm jacket/gloves/hat/scarf for cooler mornings and nights
  • Swimwear
  • Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles for good grip
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Women require a minimum of one skirt or dress

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • Men require one tie and dinner jacket for formal dining nights on cruise
  • Women require one or more outfits for evenings and formal dining nights on cruise
  • Please Note: Passengers planning to golf in Banff must pack collared shirts, tailored pants or shorts (no cut-offs) and appropriate footwear. These are mandatory. Jeans or sweat pants are not acceptable on the golf course.

South America & Antarctica tours:


  • Jumper/fleece/warm jacket for cooler mornings, nights and cruising
  • Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles for good grip, long socks and rubber boots
  • Raincoat, rain poncho or light, water-resistant jacket
  • Casual shirts, t-shirts, shorts and long pants for the day - fast drying clothes that can be layered work best.
  • Plenty of underwear and socks
  • Sandals or shoes that are suitable for getting wet. Teva-style sandals are the most useful footwear as they can be worn during dry or wet landings, protect your feet from the hot, harsh volcanic landscape and keep them cool. You might want the protection and support of tennis shoes or sneakers, but we would recommend that you bring older broken-in shoes as they will suffer the damage of saltwater, volcanic rock, and sand.

Galapagos Islands:

  • Shorts and a loose comfortable t-shirt or tank top for day clothings
  • A wide-brimmed or long-billed hat and a pair of sunglasses
  • Men require a dress shirt and 1-2 pairs of light pants for formal dining nights on cruise
  • Women require 1-2 outfits for evenings and formal dining nights on cruise. A simple sundress would be suitable.
  • Light jumper for magnificent nightly stargazing.
  • Teva-style sandals or older broken-in shoes
  • Please note: you must pass through Quito, which is also on the equator, but high in the mountains with a cool climate. Arriving at the airport dressed for cold weather is wise, so pack a jacket, preferably a waterproof one that can double as a raincoat in the Galapagos Islands.

Africa tours:

  • Lightweight clothing in neutral colours is suitable. We recommend packing clothes that can be layered.
  • Long-sleeved shirt for protection from the sun
  • Long pants for protection from mosquitoes in the evenings
  • Warm clothing for cooler evenings and early morning game drives.
  • Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles for good grip
  • A wide-brimmed or long-billed hat and a pair of sunglasses
  • Please note: The dress code for dinner on the Blue Train is jacket and tie for men and elegant eveningwear for ladies.

Asia & India:

Yangtze River cruise in China

  • Dining on the cruise is casual and the Captain's dinners are dressy but not formal. Jacket and tie are not required for men, however some men do choose to wear a jacket to dinner.


  • Indians generally dress conservatively and expect that travellers should do the same.
  • Shorts, short skirts (knee-length or above) and sleeveless shirts are not appropriate off the beach.
  • Cover as much skin as possible.
  • Both men and women should keep their shoulders covered.
  • Women should wear baggy clothes that do not emphasise their contours.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are also recommended for daily sightseeing, which includes climbing through ruins and crossing rough ground. Closed-in shoes are recommended for protection against dust and sand.
  • It is customary to take off your footwear while entering into homes and holy places - follow other people's lead. Due to this, it is a good idea to have sufficient socks if you are not comfortable being barefoot.



  • Swimwear is required if the Spa Indulgence package is chosen in Cradle Mountain
  • Passengers visiting The Cadbury Chocolate Factory MUST WEAR closed-in footwear.
  • Passengers choosing to do the full day South West Wilderness tour in Hobart will also require closed-in shoes and warm clothing.
Q. What is the appropriate dress for visiting holy places?

When visiting churches and monasteries, modest dress is required i.e. no shorts, miniskirts or sleeveless tops.

Turkey and Morocco:

  • As these are Muslim countries and you need to dress conservatively. To visit mosques, clean and modest dress is appreciated and often required. Thighs, shoulders and tops of upper arms should not be shown. Men also need to cover their bare legs and cannot enter mosques wearing shorts. Some holy places will supply scarves for tourists to borrow.

Egypt and Dubai:

  • Being conservative Muslim nations, modesty in dress is expected. In religious buildings, both men and women need to cover their shoulders and legs. Some holy places will supply scarves for tourists to borrow.


  • Conservative and modest dress is expected - it is recommended you cover as much skin as possible. In religious buildings, both men and women need to cover their shoulders and legs. Women should also wear baggy clothes that do not emphasise their contours. In mosques, churches and temples it is obligatory to take off your shoes.
Q. What else do I need to pack?

The following list may be useful when packing for your trip:

  • Airline tickets and passport (plus a photocopy and extra passport photos)
  • Travel and travel insurance documentation, and itinerary (make a copy for your emergency contact)
  • Travellers cheques/cash/debit or credit card and emergency contact numbers if lost or stolen, plus local currency for first day and a money belt
  • Spare memory card for your digital camera or film in clear plastic containers
  • Only those keys needed on return
  • Personal medication and prescriptions, extra glasses/contacts and prescriptions
  • Sunscreen, lip balm and insect repellent
  • Pocket calculator, address book, journal and pens
  • Tissues and anti-bacterial hand wipes or hand sanitiser
  • Raincoat or umbrella
  • Plastic bags for dirty laundry, washing powder and elastic clothesline
  • Travel alarm clock, earplugs and sleep mask
  • Adaptor plugs, mobile phone charger, battery charger
  • Face cloth / flannel
  • Small torch and batteries (there is minimal lighting at remote locations)
  • Please note: All hotels on tour provide towels, irons, hair dryers, soap and shampoo within the room.
  • Canada, Alaska & USA tours:
  • Red Leaf passengers travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer require a small overnight bag that can be packed down into.
  • South America & Antarctica tours:
  • SPF 45 waterproof sunscreen
  • Snorkelling equipment and short wet suit (optional).
  • Egypt & Middle East tours:
  • First aid kit including anti-itch cream for insect bites, antibiotics and medication for motion sickness, diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Binoculars
  • Multiple photocopies of your passport to assist with Hotel check in

Africa tours:

  • Sunscreen, lip balm and tropical strength insect repellent containing DEET
  • Good quality binoculars is essential for effective game viewing. A 7 or 8 power binocular works well for most people.
  • Please note: In your hand luggage we suggest you carry a good supply of any medication, extra film or memory cards and spare batteries for your camera, sunscreen and sun hat, a pen and a spare pair of prescription glasses, plus a change of clothes and your toiletries in case of mislaid luggage.

Asia & India tours:

  • First aid kit including anti-itch cream for insect bites, antibiotics and medication for motion sickness, diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Binoculars
  • Multiple photocopies of your passport to assist with Hotel check in.
Q. How much luggage can I bring on a cruise?

The luggage allowance whilst on tour is one suitcase with a maximum size of 76 x 53 x 28 cms (30 x 21 x 11’’) and weight of 20 kilograms. You may also carry a small backpack or the Scenic issued overnight bag. Additional bags beyond the luggage allowance may incur additional charges and are to be settled directly to the hotel or as required. Please check with your Travel Agent or Scenic is you have any specific requirements.

Q. How much luggage can I take on an aircraft?

It is advised that you check airline luggage requirements directly with your most significant airline carrier.

Money, Tipping & Shopping
Q. What currency will I need to take?

Most countries visited in Europe will use the Euro although some still have their own local currency (eg. Scandinavia, Switzerland, Russia & Baltic States). For small purchases ashore or in small towns, local currency is advantageous. Many locations accept major credit cards. ATM machines are located onshore at some stops. Prior to departure you should confirm your ATM card and PIN will work overseas. All purchases on board are charged to your shipboard account. The on board currency on river cruise ships is the Euro. Shipboard accounts may be paid by Euro or credit card. The on board currency on Russian river cruise ship is the Rouble however shipboard accounts may only be paid by credit card.

Q. What monetary currency is in use?


  • Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain all use the Euro as their currency. One Euro is divided into 100 cents. Euro coins differ according to country, but bank notes are of uniform EU design.
  • Hungary’s currency is the forint, which is divided into 100 fillér (please note that fillér coins are no longer in circulation).
  • The Czech Republic’s currency is the koruna (Kc) or crown divided into 100 haler.
  • Please note: On your way home from Morocco, you cannot use your remaining dirhams to shop in the tax-free zone. The tax-free shops in Moroccan airports only accept Euros, US dollars and credit cards.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Canadian dollars are used throughout Canada.
  • As Alaska is part of the United States, it uses American currency.

South America & Antarctica:

  • Argentina - The monetary currency for Argentina is the peso, which is subdivided into 100 centavos.Notes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 pesos; Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos
  • Brazil - The monetary currency for Brazil is the ‘real’ (pronounced ‘hay-ow’); its plural is ‘reais’ (pronounced ‘hay-ice’) and is made up of 100 centavos. Notes: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 real; Coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos and 1 real
  • Peru - The monetary currency for Peru is the nuevo sol, which is divided into 100 centimos. Notes: 10, 20, 50, 100 nuevo sol; Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 centimos and 1, 2, 5 nuevo sol
  • Cuba - The monetary currency for Cuba is the Cuban peso, which is divided into 100 centavos. Notes: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos and 100 centavos (cents)
  • Chile - The monetary currency for Chile is the peso. Notes: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 pesos; Coins: 5, 10, 50, 100 pesos


There are different monetary currencies in use across Africa as follows:

  • South Africa - The official currency is the 'Rand', which is divided into bank notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. Please note: The Reserve Bank of South Africa has recalled all R200 notes that were printed prior to 2006. We recommend that you do not accept any R200 when exchanging funds prior to departure, as we cannot guarantee that they will be accepted.
  • Zambia - The official currency is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK), which is divided into 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 notes. Please note: Higher denominations are often referred to as 'pin' where 1 pin generally equals ZMK 1000.
  • Kenya - The official currency is the Kenya Shilling (KSh) divided into 100 cents. Please note: We recommend taking US dollars in small notes with you to be used in Kenya. In Kenya they will only accept brand new notes, so you need to ensure that the notes you receive are in mint condition, and recently issued, as often older notes will be refused also.

Asia & India:

  • China - Yuan, also known as Renminbi (RMB) is the official currency of China.
  • India - The unit of currency in India is the rupee, which is divided into 100 paise. Notes: (R) 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5; Coins: (R) 1, 2, 5 and (paise) 50, 25, 20, 10, 5
  • Vietnam - The unit of currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND).
  • Cambodia - The unit of currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR).


  • New Zealand - New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand dollar. Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 ; Coins: 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.
  • Norfolk Island - The Australian Dollar is the official currency of Norfolk Island.
Q. How much foreign money should I bring with me?

Before you leave on your trip, it is a good idea to obtain a small amount of cash in the currency of the country you arrive in. If it is not possible to obtain the currency you require, then it can be purchased at the airport on arrival. Many locations will accept travellers cheques or credit cards. For incidentals and small vendors we recommend getting some local currency.

Canada, America & Alaska:

  • Before you leave on your trip, it is important to try and obtain a small amount of cash in both US and Canadian dollars for on the first day and for use at the airports during transit. Foreign currency can be purchased before you leave at major banks and international airports.

South America & Antarctica:

  • We suggest that you do not pre-purchase any currencies for South America. As you are travelling with Scenic Tours you will only need some US dollars cash to cover your incidental expenses and souvenir shopping. All hotels and cruise boats do accept credit cards. We recommend you carry some US dollars cash in small denominations and that these dollars are in very good condition with no marks or tears. We suggest you take a mixture of cash plus pre-paid money cards credit card and ATM cards. When touring carry on your person, only what you need for the day. Keep the rest in your hotel safe with your passport and air ticket.


  • Before you leave home it is important to obtain a small amount of cash in South African Rand for your use on day one of your tour and at the airports during transit. Foreign currency can be purchased before you leave at major banks, foreign currency exchange offices and at international airports.

Asia & India:

  • Before you leave on your trip, it is important to try and obtain a small amount of foreign cash for your immediate use on day one of your tour and for use at the airports. Foreign currency can be purchased before you leave at major banks and international airports.
  • Please note: At present China is suffering from a rash of counterfeiting. Fake notes are usually produced with colour photocopiers and are easy to tell, as the paper feels different. A few years ago you were only likely to see fake 100 notes, but these days there are even fake 5 notes in circulation.


New Zealand:

  • Before you leave on your trip, it is important to try and obtain a small amount of cash in New Zealand dollars for your immediate use on day one of your tour and for use at the airports during transit. Foreign currency can be purchased before you leave at major banks and international airports.
Q. Are all credit cards accepted on all legs of the tour?

Most credit cards charge a fee (about 3%) for currency exchange, which means that every time you use your credit card, you add this fee to the price of goods and services. Check with your credit card company before you go to see what their policy is. It may be worthwhile to take more than one type of credit card as not all types of credit cards are accepted.

Before travelling ensure your credit cards are valid for at least 30 days after the completion of the tour.

Due to increasing credit card fraud worldwide, be prepared to show identification (i.e. your passport) when making a transaction with your credit card. We recommend that you have a pin number for your credit cards, as many businesses now only accept payment with a pin.

Ask your credit card company for the emergency number (suitable for international access) to report loss.

Some shops and restaurants require a minimum purchase amount when using them.

It is recommended you contact your bank before leaving Australia to advise that you will be using your credit card overseas and to check that you can withdraw cash on your card abroad.


  • EuroCard, MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards are accepted in all countries in major shops, restaurants and hotels as well as to settle your shipboard account.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Most international credit cards are accepted locally and on cruise ships, such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa.

South America & Antarctica:

  • All major credit cards can be used in South America, with Visa and MasterCard most widely accepted. American Express, Diners Club and others are also accepted in many places. In some small towns, you may find you’ll need to use cash.


  • Most international credit cards are accepted in Africa.

Asia & India:

  • China - Most international credit cards (such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa) are accepted in most locations including all hotels, onboard the cruise ship, in major stores and restaurants. However, for incidentals, small vendors and local stores you will need local currency.
  • India - In many cities and towns, credit cards are accepted at retail chain stores and other restaurants and stores. Small businesses and family-run stores almost never accept credit cards, so it is useful to keep a moderate amount of cash on hand.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Most international credit cards (such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa) are accepted in most locations including all hotels, in major stores and restaurants. However, for incidentals, small vendors, markets and local stores you will need local currency.


  • Australia - While Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in mainland Australia and Tasmania, you may find American Express and Diners Club somewhat limited.
  • Major credit cards can be used on Norfolk Island, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying fewer acceptances than MasterCard and Visa.
  • New Zealand - Most international credit cards are accepted locally. Not all debit cards will work in New Zealand so please check with your financial institution before departure.
Q. Is it easy to exchange cash?


  • You can exchange cash or travellers cheques at hotels, banks and exchange bureaus as well as small amounts of currency on board your ship for most local currencies, for a fee.

Asia & India:

  • China - You can exchange cash and travellers cheques for local currency at hotels, banks and exchange bureaus. These establishments will charge a fee to exchange travellers cheques and some establishments may also charge a fee to exchange cash. Once you exchange your money in to Chinese currency, it can be a time consuming process to exchange it back in to Australian or New Zealand currency before you depart China. To do so, you will need all your receipts and the currency declaration form you completed when you arrived in China. To avoid this, it is suggested that you plan your currency exchanges during your trip in order to have as little Chinese currency as possible at the end of your trip.
  • India - Outside airports you can change your currency at any one of the numerous foreign exchange conversion units including banks. Some of the more common foreign exchange merchants are Travelex and Thomas Cook. There are no restrictions on the importation of foreign currency by tourists, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival. The import and export of the Rupee is, however, prohibited and may not be spent in Duty Free Shops or onboard aircraft. Receipts of all currency must be kept, as it may be reconverted on departure.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - You can exchange cash and travellers cheques for local currency at hotels, banks and exchange bureaus. These establishments will charge a fee to exchange travellers cheques; some establishments may also charge a fee to exchange cash. Once you exchange your money in to the local currency, it can be a time consuming process to exchange it back in to Australian or New Zealand currency before you depart. To do so, you will need all your receipts and the currency declaration form you completed when you arrived into the country. To avoid this, it is suggested that you plan your currency exchanges during your trip in order to have as little as possible remaining at the end of your trip.
Q. Are ATMs readily available?

Yes, using a debit or credit card is becoming a popular method of obtaining money whilst travelling. In most cases, you pay only your usual bank fee rather than a commission, although this may vary depending on your bank’s policy. Generally, you will get the best available exchange rate as well. Be sure to check with your bank before departing to activate your card and don’t forget to bring your pin number. We suggest however that you don’t rely on ATM’s for all your spending money, as machines may be unreliable. The best idea is to take a mix of cards and travellers cheques so that you are always covered.

South America & Antarctica:

  • ATMs are available in most cities and large towns. The machines operate just as they do here; at the beginning of the transaction it prompts the user for the preferred language. Simply withdraw money as you would at home. Of course the money will be dispensed as the local currency, but when you return home, your bank will have converted it into dollars.


  • Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are found in the large cities and operate in the same manner as Australia with an English language option.

Asia & India:

  • China - Yes, but mainly in large cities. There is generally a service fee for using ATMs in China (approximately 3%).
  • India - In big cities there are now ATMs where you can get rupees against your international debit or credit card (maximum amount is 25,000 - 50,000 rupees, depending on the ATM). State Bank of India (SBI) is the biggest bank in India and has the most ATMs. ICICI Bank has the second largest network of ATMs and accepts most of the international cards at a nominal charge. International banks like Citibank, HSBC, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro and Standard Chartered have significant presence in major Indian cities. It is always worthwhile to have cards from at least two different providers.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Except in large cities, ATMs may not always be conveniently located. There is generally a service fee for using ATMs (approximately 3%).
  • Myanmar (Burma) - Credit cards are not accepted in Myanmar and there are no ATMs. You will only be able to use the cash that you bring with you into the country. Please be aware of this and ensure that you have enough cash on you for the duration of your tour.


  • Australia - You will find ATMs available in major cities but limited in smaller towns. EFTPOS is quite widely available in the outback, although the 'cash out' facility may be limited.
  • Norfolk Island - an ATM is situated at the Commonwealth Bank at Burnt Pine.
  • New Zealand - ATMs are commonly are found in the large cities and even in some small towns. The machines operate just as they do here. Simply withdraw money as you would at home. Of course, in New Zealand the money will be dispensed as NZD, but when you return home, your bank will have converted the NZD into Australian dollars.
Q. Can I take travellers cheques or pre-paid travel money cards?

Unless otherwise stated - Yes.

Travellers cheques are easily obtained from your bank. You will find it an advantage to have your travellers cheques in a currency that is easily exchanged such as US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Remember to make a separate note of all the numbers and denominations of your travellers cheques as well as an emergency contact phone number (suitable for international access, not those starting with 0800) in case of loss or theft.

It is worth carrying some cheques in small denominations as it may be difficult to cash larger cheques in hotels and shops. Travellers cheques can be changed at your hotel and some local banks. Many banks charge a set rate, so it could be worth your while cashing more money, less often. Banks usually offer a better rate of exchange than hotels, restaurants and large shops.

Please note that travellers cheques are becoming harder to cash while credit and ATM cards are becoming more readily available and there are also the options of money cards pre-loaded with foreign currency. Scenic cruise ships are unable to accept Cash Passports, Travelex Cards or similar as they do not have a function to refund on these cards.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Yes. We recommend that you take US dollar travellers cheques for all tours including Canada. You can also purchase prepaid travel money cards in the currencies of the destinations you are travelling.

South America & Antarctica:

  • No. Travellers cheques are not widely recognised in South America and we do not recommend that you take travellers cheques. Pre-Paid money cards are accepted by most ATM’s to withdraw local currency.


  • Yes, you can use travellers cheques in Africa and we recommend that you take US travellers cheques for all tours as if they are lost or stolen they can be replaced quickly.

Asia & India:

  • Yes. You can also purchase prepaid travel money cards. Please Note: Passengers travelling on the Yangtze River cruise in China will need to see the front desk to change money and settle their incidental bills using most major credit cards, travellers cheques and cash.


  • Norfolk Island - Yes, you may also like to bring some money in travellers cheques in Australian dollars. If lost or stolen these can be replaced fast.
  • New Zealand - Yes, you can take both and we recommend that you take AUD travellers cheques.
Q. Does Scenic cover tips?

Yes, Scenic Tours has pre-paid certain tips and gratuities for you, including all drivers, local guides, porters (1 piece of luggage only), and meals included in your tour.

Please note: Tipping is NOT included for meals, drinks, taxis and transfers that are not included as part of the tour (including Asian stopovers). As a guide for taxis, tip 10-15% of the fare on the meter. We recommend you pre-negotiate taxi fares to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the journey. In restaurants and bars, tip 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Yes, we cover tips for Tour Directors and Drivers in Canada, meals included on the tour, plus cruise, rail and coach tour tipping.

South America & Antarctica:

Whilst on escorted tours, Scenic Tours has included the following tipping on your behalf:

  • Porters at hotels, airports, train stations and cruises in South America (for 1 piece of luggage)
  • All guides and drivers
  • All meals and touring


  • Your tour price includes tipping porters (for 1 piece of luggage) and to drivers and local guides. Please note:Tipping and porterage is not included on the BLUE TRAIN EXTENSION. In Zambia tipping is discouraged, as it is included as a service charge on your bill.

Asia & India:

Yes, tips are included for the following:

  • Local guides and coach drivers in each city
  • Meals included on tour
  • Porterage in each hotel
  • Please note: there are different requirements for Yangtze River cruise in China – see tipping protocol advice.
Q. Is there any tipping protocol to follow in any of the countries visited?


  • Morocco - hotels and restaurants usually include a service charge of 15%, but it is customary to include an additional 5 dirham per person for the waiter. Waiters in proper restaurants are always tipped up to 10% of the bill. At informal cafes, the tip is normally two or three dirham per person. Tip porters 5 dirham per piece of luggage.
  • Spain and Portugal - as a guide for taxis, tip 10-15% of the fare on the meter. In restaurants and bars, tip 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all. For others such as porters, tip in proportion to the level of services rendered. You should tip doormen and concierges between €2-3.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Tipping in both Canada and Alaska is a customary practice to show appreciation for the service received, and many employees rely on tipping for their income. Tipping is voluntary and on an individual basis. Tipping is customary for the following expenses:
  • Restaurants - tip 15% of the total bill before tax has been added
  • Hotels – Leave $1 to $2 per person for housekeeping staff
  • Coaches - For one-off transfers (i.e. from the hotel to the train station or the pier) a $2 per bag tip is appropriate for the driver moving your luggage on and off the coach
  • Taxis - 15% of the bill
  • Porters - $2 per bag each way for porters in hotels, railways and airports

South America & Antarctica:

  • Tipping in South America is a customary practice to show appreciation for the service received.


  • Tipping in Africa is a customary practice to show appreciation for the service received, and many employees rely on tipping for their income. Tipping is voluntary and made on an individual basis.

Asia & India:

  • China - The attitude towards tipping in China is changing rapidly, tips are now frequently offered for services in the tourism industry and in many cases supplement wages for people who work in various customer service areas such as local guides, porters in hotels and coach drivers. However, tipping is still not expected in most restaurants. If you are uncertain ask your Tour Director or your local guide whether a tip is necessary and how much. Sometimes, small gifts are a good idea when meeting and interacting with the locals.
  • Yangtze River Cruise - The suggested amount for shipboard staff is approximately $7-$10 per passenger per day, which will be distributed among the ship's staff and shore excursion guides, and $3-$5 per person per day for the Cruise Manager. Additional tipping is at the passengers' discretion. This should be placed in an envelope and given to the Reception Desk at the end of your voyage.
  • India - Visitors are not to be expected to tip taxi drivers. However, hotel, airport and train station porters should be tipped approximately Rs20 per bag. In restaurants, if the service was good, tip anything between approximately 5-10 % of the bill.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - The attitude towards tipping in Vietnam and Cambodia is changing rapidly, tips are now frequently offered for services in the tourism industry and in many cases supplement wages for people who work in various customer service areas such as local guides, porters in hotels and coach drivers. However, tipping is still not expected in most restaurants.
  • If you are uncertain ask your Tour Director or your local guide whether a tip is necessary and how much. Sometimes, small gifts are a good idea when meeting and interacting with the locals.


  • Tipping is becoming more widespread especially in restaurants. Although you don't need to tip you may like to show appreciation for excellent service when eating out on your own or at the end of your tour to the Tour Director and Coach Captain.
Q. What hours are most shops open?


  • Stores may close earlier than back home and are usually not open on Sundays (nor Saturday afternoons in some places).

South America & Antarctica:


  • Shops are generally open from 8.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday although some stay open until 19.00, and on Saturdays from 8.00 to 13. 00, although some stay open till 17.00.
  • Peru - Shops are typically open Monday to Saturday 09.00-18.00 with some stores open as late as 23.00.
  • Brazil - Shops are typically open Monday-Friday 10.00-18:30 and Saturday 10.00-18.00 and most department stores remain open until 22.00. Some boutiques, particularly in tourist areas, are open on Sundays.
  • Argentina - Shops are typically open Monday-Friday 09.00-19.30 and Saturday 09.00-13.00.
  • Chile - Shops are typically open Monday-Friday 10.00-20.00 and Saturday 10.00-14.00. Shopping centres are also open Sundays from 10.00-21.00.
Q. What are the banking hours?

Canada, Alaska & USA

  • Most banks are open between 9.00 and 15.00 on weekdays. Please note that not all banks have foreign exchange facilities that accept Australian currency.


  • Generally speaking, banks in Africa are open Monday through Friday from about 9.00 to 15.30. US dollars are widely accepted in banks throughout Africa, but hard to obtain once there. We highly recommend carrying smaller denominations of US dollars, but ensure that notes are no older than three years.


  • Australia - Banks in major cities in mainland Australia and Tasmania are open between 09.00-16.30 on weekdays. Please note: due to the isolation of some areas we travel to, it may not be possible to get to a bank each day during business hours, please ensure you carry enough cash for drinks and snacks etc.
  • Norfolk Island - Banks on Norfolk Island are open Monday through Friday from 09.00-16.00. There is a Commonwealth Bank at Burnt Pine and a Westpac Bank with no ATM.
  • New Zealand - Banks in New Zealand are open Monday through Friday from 09.30-16.30.
Q. Are there any taxes on shopping?

Many countries have a national sales tax (called VAT) that is levied on most goods and services. In some cases and with the proper documentation from the point-of-purchase, it is possible to have a portion of this tax refunded to you on items taken out of a country in unused condition. Depending upon flight schedules and timing, it may be possible to receive a refund by applying at the airport kiosk before departure.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Canadian taxes such as GST/PST (5% Goods and Services Tax and 7% Provincial Sales Tax) are added after the displayed purchase price. This differs in Quebec and Ontario which both add a 13% HST (harmonized sales tax) and in British Columbia which adds a 12% tax, replacing the GST and PST.


  • Foreign tourists visiting Africa can have their value-added tax (VAT) refunded provided the value of the items purchased exceeds 250 Rand. VAT is refunded on departure at the point of departure. Original tax invoices, foreign passport, plus all the items on which a refund is claimed, must be presented at the VAT refund administration office or an appointed Republic of South Africa customs and excise official on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded. Visitors will be requested to fill out a VAT Refund Control Sheet (VAT 255). Where a visitor does not export all the goods specified on a particular tax invoice, only the value of the goods and the tax paid on such goods exported must be declared on this form. 
Q. How should I deal with hawkers and retailers?

You will experience many retailers, hawkers and taxi operators engaging you in conversation to continually offer their services. Be prepared for the need to politely decline these offers, on a regular basis, if they are not required. You may be approached by locals offering to show you interesting features, so be prepared that you will be asked for a tip if you accept their offer.

Q. Is bargaining acceptable practice?

Bargaining is not acceptable practice, except for in the countries listed below:


  • Yes, the art of bargaining is commonly practiced, especially in markets. This is very much Africa's culture, as developing a good rapport between shopkeeper and customer takes precedence over the actual sale.

Asia & India:

  • In India you are expected to negotiate the price with street hawkers, but not in department stores. If not, you risk overpaying. Packaged goods show the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) right on the package. This includes taxes. Retailers are not supposed to charge more than this. Though this rule is adhered to at most places, at tourist destinations or remote places, you may be charged more.
Q. What sort of souvenirs can I buy and what should I be aware of?

Please go to the Australian Customers and Border Protection website for the most accurate and up to date information on any restrictions on products imported from each country.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Certain materials cannot be exported and there are restrictions for imports into Australia. Materials like whale, bear and lynx are illegal while others like caribou, mammoth, mastodon ivory and walrus can potentially be imported with the appropriate paper work. Many Alaskan dolls have fur on them, which may not be permitted in Australia. When purchasing Native art such as carvings, look for an igloo in Canada and a silver hand or a polar bear in Alaska, which verify the artwork is authentic native art.

South America & Antarctica:

  • Peru - Peruvian handicrafts include a tremendous variety of woollens, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and art. Shop for alpaca-wool sweaters and rugs, gold, Inca walking sticks, miniature handmade statues, woven-straw items, ponchos, llama rugs, cotton and linen fabrics, blankets, silver, tapestries, wood and leather products, Andean oil paintings, silkscreen prints and pottery. Andean markets are a great place to bargain for souvenirs.
  • Brazil - The best buys are shoes, leather goods, clothes by Brazilian designers, coffee, traditional handicrafts (such as sculptures, ceramics and woven hammocks), lace and embroidery. Artifacts from Brazil's many indigenous tribes include jewellery, baskets, pottery, headdresses, rosewood products, and semi-precious and precious stones. Brazilian music is also a great buy with samba and chorinho widely available.
  • Argentina - Buenos Aires offers excellent, high-quality shopping for leather goods, gems and brand-name products such as Gucci and Dior, etc. Other items to look for include rugs, gaucho souvenirs, sheepskin products, wines, guitars, art, handicrafts, yerba-mate paraphernalia such as gourds and bombillas (metal straws with a filter at the bottom), and vicuna products (high-quality wool from a llama-like creature).
  • Chile - Shop for blankets, lapis lazuli, choapinos (wool rugs), earthenware pottery, models of Easter Island statues, shell necklaces, cashmere sweaters, shoes, linen, bronzes, purses, sterling-silver jewellery, embroidered handkerchiefs, Chilean wines, Talagante ceramics and copper products.


  • Africa is a mecca for handicrafts, wooden carvings and diamonds, and they can all be brought back into Australia, but must be declared through customs. Animal skins are prohibited to be brought into Australia.

Asia & India:

  • China - Tourists to China prefer to buy unique handicrafts and cultural relics, such as cloisonné, jade, bronze and stone tablets with inscriptions, writing brushes, ink sticks, paper and ink slabs, antiques, paintings, calligraphic works and handicrafts including dough figurines, facial masks and kites unique to Beijing.
  • India - Extraordinary patience, talent and imagination goes into the making of Indian products, whether dazzling silks, hand knotted carpets, bronze statues of Hindu gods, jewellery, shoes/sandals, handbags, men’s and women’s clothing, musical instruments or perfumes. The list is inexhaustible and the prices reasonable. Each region of the sub-continent has its own specialties. The bazaars are the places to find the best bargains, but be prepared to haggle. Please note: It is forbidden to export recognised antiques over 100 years old. It is also advisable to keep the sales receipts to convince the customs officers. Exports of wildlife and products made from them is banned. Insist on getting a proper certificate for the legitimate sale of a particular animal product to avoid inconvenience at departure.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Tourists to Vietnam and Cambodia prefer to buy unique handicrafts and cultural relics. Unique to Vietnam are items such as conical hats, lacquer ware, silk, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, marble, ceramics, silver jewellery and paintings. Unique to Cambodia are items such as silverware, textiles, wooden sculptures and stone carvings.


  • New Zealand offers a huge variety of shopping from arts and craft markets, galleries and museum shops to exclusive designer stores. For traditional New Zealand souvenirs look for examples of Maori carvings in wood, bone and pounamu (greenstone or jade); and jewellery and ornaments made from the iridescent paua shell (abalone). New Zealand potters are recognised as among the world’s finest and today many artisans are also working in stone, wood, glass and metals. The country's vast wool industry makes it possible to find wonderful hand knitted wool sweaters, beautiful wall hangings, homespun yarns and top-quality sheepskins. Alongside top international fashion in boutique stores in the main city areas, you will also find New Zealand's own award-winning fashion labels.
Q. Are there any customs or security issues I should be aware of?

All countries you will visit have laws against the purchase and export of certain items, including antiquities, national cultural property and certain animal products, especially endangered species (ivory, rhino horn, tortoise shell, coral, feathers, etc.). Additionally, Australia has laws prohibiting the import of certain items, which include many of the same things. You face having your purchase confiscated and/or heavy fines for exporting or importing prohibited items. On departure from the overseas country and on return to Australia, your luggage is subject to search.

Please Note: International airports operate the conventional green and red channels, with officials liable to carry out sudden spot check on passengers passing through the green channel.

China, Vietnam & Cambodia:

You are allowed to import:

  • Cigarettes & Tobacco
    • 400 cigarettes (China)
    • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars (Vietnam)
    • 200 cigarettes (Cambodia)
  • Alcohol
    • four bottles of wine or spirits (China)
    • 1.5 litres of alcoholic spirits/wine or 3 litres of beer (Vietnam)
    • 1.5 litres of alcoholic spirits/wine (Cambodia)
    • a reasonable amount of perfume.
  • Restrictions:
    • Cash exceeding AUD$5,000 should be declared.
    • Don't take any cold meats or fresh fruit with you as Chinese/Vietnamese/Cambodian law forbids their import.
    • There are limits to items, such as herbal medicine, that you can take out of the country.
    • Rare animals and plants also cannot be exported.
    • Cultural relics, handicrafts, gold and silver ornaments and jewellery purchased in China/Vietnam/Cambodia have to be shown to customs on leaving. If these items are deemed to be 'cultural treasures', they will be confiscated.
  • Please note: All bags are x-rayed.


Travellers over the age of 18 are allowed to import:

  • Cigarettes & Tobacco
    • 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco
  • Alcohol
    • Spirits - 1 litre

Please Note:

If carrying certain items of high value such as video cameras, lap top computers or cameras, you may be asked to fill in a Tourist Baggage Re-export Form (TBRE) while entering the country, which allows one to bring items into India free of duty, provided it is re-exported when leaving.

If carrying penknives, batteries, electronic items, liquids including perfumes, cosmetics and alcohol it may be prudent to pack them in the checked in baggage as they may be confiscated. This applies to all domestic flights on the sub-continent.

For extra security reasons, it may be necessary to identify your baggage on the tarmac before it is loaded on to the aircraft.

Q. What are the customs allowances on return to Australia?

Apart from personal effects, returning travellers over 18 years of age are allowed to bring into Australia the following goods duty free:

  • Cigarettes & Tobacco - 250 grams or 50 cigars
  • Alcohol - 2.25 litres

Other articles up to a total combined value of AUD$900 are free of duty and tax, but goods in excess of this may attract both.

Other Information
Q. What books can I read in preparation for this tour?

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • How to be a Canadian: Even if you already are one - Will Fergusson
  • Canada's First Nations: A history of found peoples from earliest times - Olive Patricia Dickson
  • The History of Canada - Scott W. See
  • Call of the Wild - Jack London
  • The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush - Barthe Declements
  • Discover Alaska: An Introduction to America's Last Frontier - Art Davidson
  • Alaska - James A. Michener

South America & Antarctica tours:

  • A History of Latin America - George Pendle
  • Peru Before the Incas - Edward P. Lanning
  • History of the Inca Empire - Father Bernabe Cobo
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Africa tours:

  • Africa's Animal Kingdom: A Visual Celebration - Kit Coppard
  • African Nights: True Stories from the Author of I Dreamed of Africa - Kuki Gallmann
  • Out of Africa - Isak Dinesen
  • The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior: An Autobiography - Tepilit Ole Saitoti
  • Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna - Joseph Lemasolai-Lekuton
  • Wildlife - Mitsuaki Iwago
  • The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores and Primates - Richard D. Estes
  • History of Africa - Kevin Shillington

China tours:

  • A Traveller’s History of China - Stephen G. Haw
  • A Taste of China - Ken Hom
  • A History of Chinese Civilization - Jacques Gernet
  • The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran
  • The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan
  • The Opposite of Fate - Amy Tan
  • The Crazed - Ha Jin
  • Waiting - Ha Jin
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie

Australia tours:

  • Northern Territory
  • In A Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson
  • The Australia Stories: A Novel - Todd James Pierce
  • A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  • Hell West and Crooked - Tom Cole
  • In the Middle of Nowhere - Terry Underwood
  • From Strength to Strength: An Autobiography - Sara Henderson
  • Uluru: Australia's Aboriginal Heart - Caroline Arnold
  • Aborigine Dreaming: An Introduction to the Wisdom and Thought of the Aboriginal Traditions of Australia - James Cowan
  • Western Australia
  • In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson
  • The Kimberley: Australia's Unique North-West - Jocelyn Burt
  • Wildflowers of Western Australia - Jiri Lochman
  • A Concise History of Australia - Stuart Macintyre
  • The Explorers: Stories of Discovery and Adventure from the Australian Frontier - Tim F. Flannery
  • Tasmania
  • For the Love of Tasmania - Owens Hughes
  • The Fatal Shore - Robert Hughes
  • South-West Tasmania - Ken Collins
  • Down Home: Revisiting Tasmania - Peter Conrad
  • Beyond the Reach - Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park - Chris Bell
  • A Concise History of Australia - Stuart Macintyre

New Zealand

  • The Penguin History of New Zealand - Michael Kay
  • A Short History of New Zealand - Gordon McLauchlan
  • The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera
  • Once Were Warriors - Alan Duff
  • Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders, from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century - James Belich
  • Maori: Art and Culture - Doro Starzecka
  • The Maori of New Zealand - Steve Theunissen
  • Land of the Long White Cloud: Maori Myths, Tales and Legends - Kiri Te Kanawa
  • This Is New Zealand - David Wall
  • Lord of the Ring Location Guidebook - Ian Brodie
  • The Story of New Zealand - Bassett/Sinclair/Stenson
  • Guide to New Zealand - Readers Digest
Q. Can I bring any gifts for children and local communities?

South America & Antarctica:

You will be visiting a local community and school in the Sacred Valley where you will have the chance to interact with the primary school students and their teachers. Scenic Tours sponsors different community and school projects for each group that visits and your Tour Director will advise you what your visit has contributed towards. This is a low socio-economic area in Peru where families struggle to provide the essentials. It is the simple things they do not have.

There are approximately 120 children at the school attending classes from Kindergarten to Junior High school.

Recommended gifts for the girls: hair products, combs, brushes, hair bands, hair clips, beauty accessories, lip-gloss, dolls and stuffed toys.

Recommended gifts for the boys: soccer or footballs, toy cars, toy trains, kites, blow-up balls, etc.

In general toys are a luxury item that are greatly received by both the boys and the girls.

Pencils, crayons, pens, coloured paper and reading books are also well received or anything you believe the children would enjoy will be greatly appreciated.

This is at each client’s own discretion and is not compulsory.


Many past passengers have enjoyed the experience of giving the local village children small gifts from Australia. During your tour you will have the opportunity to visit the Nakuru Baby Orphanage Centre and meet the Australian family who established the Orphanage, plus the children and volunteers. Scenic Tours makes a donation to the Orphanage with each group that visits. If you would like to bring gifts from Australia, we suggest anything that children would enjoy, such as pencils, pens, coloured paper, reading books or small toys. Any gift will be greatly appreciated but is of course at your discretion and not compulsory.

Q. Can I smoke on tour?

A “non-smoking” room often means the establishment has merely removed the ashtray. Where possible we have requested non-smoking rooms and non-smoking sections of restaurants.

On board the Lake Nasser and Nile Cruise Ships, smoking is only permitted on the outer decks. Smoking is not allowed in cabins or in public areas.

Smoking is not permitted on motor coaches used during the land touring and shore excursions.

Q. What else should I be aware of?

Australia tours:

  • The top end of the Northern Territory has a number of pests, which do not occur in other regions of the Northern Territory. For this reason, no fruit, honey, vegetables or nuts can be carried on the coach from the Darwin region to other centres, including Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs as well as Western Australia. Your Tour Director will give you more information once on tour.
  • Tasmania has a disease-free status and as such has quarantine inspections at all entry points. To maintain this status, you must not bring in any fresh fruit or vegetables, fish or fish products, plant or plant parts, cut flowers or anything carrying soil. Even a single item such as an apple could introduce a pest or disease and as such, trained sniffer dogs are used to detect any undeclared items.
Q. How do I select my Scenic Freechoice activities?

Scenic Freechoice activities are subject to availability, operational and seasonal factors. All activities can be reserved, subject to availability with the Scenic Tour Director whilst on tour unless otherwise stated. Please note a minimum number of people are required for some activities to operate.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • In some cases in Victoria your Free Choice itinerary may be provided in a different order than stated but you will still enjoy all your touring inclusions.
Q. What else should I know about my travel destination?


  • Air-conditioning is not yet as popular in Europe as back home and you may not find it everywhere. In some places due to environmental concerns it is strictly regulated.
  • European festive days, especially religious holidays, are quite numerous. On these occasions, particularly in May/June, you may find services in general slightly reduced.
  • Sometimes there is a small charge for public toilets, food and drinks usually cost more and the service may be a little more leisurely than you might expect.
  • Europeans generally dine slightly later than might be your custom and they tend to be less sensitive to issues regarding smoking.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • Toilets are referred to as ‘washrooms’

Egypt and Middle East:

  • The Muslim Sabbath is Friday.



  • It is disrespectful to touch or point at people with your feet. If done accidentally, you will find that Indians will make a quick gesture of apology that involves touching the offended person with the right hand, and then moving the hand to the chest and to the eyes. It is a good idea to emulate that.
  • Books and written material are treated with respect, as they are considered the concrete form of the Hindu Goddess of Learning, Saraswati. So a book should not be touched with the feet and if accidentally touched, the same gesture of apology as is made to people (see above) is performed. The same goes with currency, or anything associated with wealth (especially gold). They are treated as Goddess Lakshmi (of Wealth) in human form, and ought not to be disrespected.
  • Avoid winking, whistling, pointing or beckoning with your fingers, and touching someone's ears. All of these are considered rude.
  • Carry a kit containing sunscreens and other lotions for protection from the sun, insect repellents and sting relief creams, water sterilising tablets and medicines for possible stomach upsets or indigestion.
  • Be careful about mosquitoes when outside in the evenings - use an insect repellent and wear socks and a long sleeved shirt.
  • To avoid any illness whilst on tour and to maintain hygiene we recommend the use of anti-bacterial wipes or lotion. Due to the changing culture, hygiene and food standards in China, it is common for passengers to experience some stomach upsets and cold and flu symptoms.
  • During your visit to the Giant Panda Research Centre you may be given the opportunity to hold a baby Panda, for approximately 1000RMB per person (which is equivalent to approximately AUD$180.00) or have your photo taken with a Giant Panda for approximately 500RMB per person (which is equivalent to approximately AUD$90.00). The cost of both activities is subject to change and also serve as a donation to the Research Centre. Your local guide will advise the day prior to your visit if these options will be available.
  • Please Note: Large amounts of money can be difficult to obtain in one transaction throughout China. If you wish to partake in either of these experiences, we suggest you obtain this amount in advance.
Passport & Visas
Q. What validity do I need on my passport?

All passengers are required to possess a passport valid for 6 months beyond the conclusion of their trip.

Q. What visas do I require?

Visa requirements can vary and it is the sole responsibility of each passenger to have the necessary visas and to comply with entry, health or other requirements of the countries visited. More advice can also be found at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.

Q. Should I bring copies of my passport and visas?

Yes. As your passport will be kept on board the ship throughout the cruise portion for transit formality reasons, we recommend you bring a photocopy of your passport/visas with you to carry on you at all times when on shore.

Q. Can Scenic arrange my passport and visas?

No, Scenic and/or their employees and their agents are not responsible for passport, visa requirements, entry, health or other requirements of the countries visited or for any loss sustained by you for failing to comply with laws, regulations, orders and/or requirements of countries visited, and will not be liable for any costs or cancellation penalties or inconvenience where travellers do not have a travel authorisation, and are not permitted to travel.

Q. Can Scenic organise my travel insurance?

No, this is the responsibility of the passenger; however your travel agent can do this on your behalf. We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise as defined in the respective proposal forms. It is a good idea to take your travel insurance documents with you.

Travel & Accommodation
Q. How do I receive my tickets for internal flights?

South America & Antarctica tours:

  • You will receive your air tickets for all your internal flights once on tour.

Egypt & Middle East tours:

  • In Egypt internal flight allocations to and from Aswan and Luxor are not under Scenic Tours control, but are advised by the Egyptian airline at short notice. For this reason we do not have flight numbers or times for your internal flights. These will be advised as soon as possible by your Tour Director whilst you are on tour.

Africa tours:

  • Flight numbers and times for your internal flights will be advised to you on tour by your Tour Director. They will also provide you with your internal flight tickets.

Asia & India tours:

  • Tickets for domestic flights are issued in each country, with Cambodia tickets being issued in Vietnam. Your Tour Director will distribute the tickets at each destination.

Please Note: You are required to show your passport to board your domestic flights. Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage.

Q. Can I take or purchase alcohol on domestic flights?

Asia & India tours:

Alcohol of any kind CANNOT be carried onboard the aircraft in your carry-on hand luggage on domestic flights with in China, India, Vietnam or Cambodia. Please pack all alcohol in your checked-in luggage for all domestic flights.

Q. Who will be escorting the tour?

Your holiday is a special time and our Tour Directors and Cruise Directors make all the difference. From your very first day their warm greetings and professionalism signal the start of a wonderful rapport.


  • For all land tours and cruises that have city extensions in Paris, London or Prague, you will have the services of a Tour Director. Whilst on your cruise you will be taken care of by a Cruise Director. Our Directors have your best interests at heart and will take care of all arrangements for you. Please note that that your city extension or land Tour Director will not join you on the cruise.

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • There will be an additional Cruise Representative on board our cruise ships, however it may be a different person to the representative escorting the land portion. The Cruise Representative is available if you require information, cruising tips, or have any questions during Hospitality Desk hours, which are assigned at the discretion of each ship. The Cruise Representative can also be contacted at any time through the ship’s cabin-to-cabin telephone. Watch for the newsletter that our Scenic Cruise Representative will deliver to your cabin the first evening on board, which will include details of Hospitality Desk Hours, Welcome Presentation and Disembarkation Meeting times and locations.

Asia & India tours:

  • There will be a Cruise Director who will coordinate all onboard activities for our Yangtze River cruise, however your Tour Director will be travelling onboard as well and will be available for your convenience if you require information, cruising tips or have any questions.
Q. What level of quality is the booked accommodation?


  • Europe’s tourist industry is centuries old and its hotels very often reflect the varied traditions and cultures of each country, so do not expect European hotels to be the same as those back home. You may find hotel rooms are slightly smaller.
  • Most European hotel rooms do not have tea/coffee or ironing facilities in the room.
  • Single rooms in hotels are designed for one bed and as such in some locations, are smaller than twin rooms.
  • Double bed rooms are on request only. We cannot guarantee that clients will receive a double bed at all properties due to limited availability with this configuration.
  • In some cases, clients may be accommodated in twin share rooms.

South America & Antarctica tours:

  • Single Accommodation - single rooms are designed for one bed and as such in some locations are smaller than twin rooms.
  • Double Rooms - we cannot guarantee that clients will receive a Double Bed at all properties due to limited availability with this configuration, and in some cases, clients may be accommodated in twin share rooms.

Asia & India tours:

  • In India, some of the hotels you will be staying in are heritage properties (former Royal Palaces and Forts) where no two rooms are the same. These grand heritage hotels were once the residence of the Royal families of these areas. This is a unique opportunity to experience the past lifestyle of Indian Royalty.
Q. What time can I check-in to my hotel?

If your flight arrives before noon (usually 14.00 is check-in time) at the city where your tour starts, the hotel may not have your room available until mid afternoon. We endeavour to ensure that rooms are ready for your arrival times however this is not always possible and is outside our control. Some people use this time to explore the neighbourhood, shop or relax in the hotel public areas. On arrival at your hotel, please check to see if your Tour Director has already posted tour information in the foyer.

Canada, Alaska & USA:

  • In many locations, hotel check-in is generally between the hours of 15.00-17.00. If you arrive early, we suggest you ask your hotel to store your luggage so you can explore the area. You can also rest in the guest lounge or lobby, or request an early check-in or reserve a pre-night.

Egypt & Middle East tours:

  • You are required to have at least 4 copies of your passport when checking in to your hotel in Egypt.

Asia & India tours:

The usual check-in times are as follows:

  • China - 14.00
  • India - 12.00 midday
  • Vietnam - 14.00
  • Cambodia - 14.00
Q. Will I need any documentation with me for the cruises?

Canada, Alaska & USA:

Yes, you will need to have your passport, cruise documentation and immigration forms ready and available (not in your suitcase).

Q. Will I be pre-assigned a cabin?

Canada, Alaska & USA:

Cruise lines do not always pre-allocate cabin numbers. If your cabin number is not shown on your documentation, your cabin will be assigned when you board the ship. Cabin allocation is at the discretion of the ship, your stateroom number is not guaranteed/confirmed until cruise check-in, even if a stateroom number has already been provided in your documentation. From time to time, cruise liners may upgrade passengers at no additional cost, yet this is on a random basis only.

Q. When should I complete the ship’s disembarkation form?

Canada, Alaska & USA:

Your Scenic Tours on board Cruise Representative will arrange your disembarkation from the ship. Please do not complete the ship’s disembarkation form, as it will interfere with our group disembarkation arrangements.

Q. What are toilet facilities like?

All toilet facilities are Western style unless otherwise stated.

Asia & India tours:

  • China - Please bear in mind you are visiting Asia. Toilets in public places are mostly of eastern squat style. However as the country is changing dramatically, there is on occasions the odd western style toilet in a public place.
  • India - All toilet facilities, where coaches stop, will be Western style. All hotels also have Western style toilets.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Vietnam and in particular Cambodia are still very much developing countries, and toilets in public places are mostly of eastern squat style. However as the countries are changing dramatically there is on occasions the odd western style toilet in a public place.
Q. Do I need to bring electrical adaptor plugs?

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • Yes, you will require an adaptor plug, as Canada and Alaska's electricity current is 110 volts at 40 cycles per seconds. Appropriate adaptor plugs should be purchased before leaving home to use for items such as razors and mobile phone chargers and you should check with your mobile supplier as you may require a transformer for your mobile charger.

South America & Antarctica:

  • Most countries use either 110 volt or 220 volt, at 50Hz or 60Hz, plugs with either two flat pins or two round pins. You’ll need a multi-adapter with your appliance. Appropriate adaptor plugs should be purchased before leaving home to use for items such as razors, and mobile phone chargers (check with your mobile supplier as you may require a transformer for your charger). Adaptor plugs can be purchased from any luggage store.

Egypt & Middle East tours:

  • Most areas use 220 AC volts, requiring a rounded two-prong wall plug. An adaptor will be required.

Africa tours:

  • Yes, you will require an adaptor plug as Africa’s electricity current is 220 volts AC and both round and rectangular three-pronged plug sockets are in use. Appropriate adaptor plugs should be purchased before leaving home to use for items including shavers and mobile phone chargers.

Asia & India tours:

  • China's electricity current is 220 volts, AC 50 Hz so adaptors are required.
  • India’s electricity current can vary but the standard is now 220 volts, AC 50 Hz so adaptors are required. Socket sizes vary, so it is recommended to carry a set of plug adaptors.
  • Vietnam's and Cambodia's electricity current is 220 volts, AC 50 Hz so adaptors are required.

Norfolk Island tours:

  • Norfolk Island's electricity current is 240 volts AC, 50 cycles, three-pin plug. As electricity is made locally by diesel generators, a power surge protection device is advised for electronic equipment, particularly computers.

New Zealand tours:

  • New Zealand’s electricity current is 230/240 volts (50 hertz) therefore passengers from Australia will not need to use an adaptor.
Q. Are there likely to be changes to my itinerary?

On certain occasions, for operational or local reasons, it may be necessary to change your hotel accommodation or a brochured attraction in a particular location. If this does occur, you will be notified of such changes as soon as possible.

Asia & India tours:

  • The itinerary is subject to minimal changes due to internal flights. Flights may vary and some slight alterations may need to be made to maximise your experience. Please note: due to some flights in China occurring over the lunch period, these meals included in your itinerary will be provided on an alternate date.
Q. Are laundry facilities available?

Laundry can be arranged direct with the hotel although it can be costly. Some hotels will provide an iron for you upon request.

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • Laundry facilities are only available at Delta Sun Peaks Resort and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Laundry facilities in Banff, Victoria and Vancouver are located close to your hotel, so please ask your Tour Director for details of these facilities.

Egypt & Middle East tours:

  • Laundromats are scarce and having laundry done professionally in the hotels can be expensive, so you may wish to bring some washing powder. A laundry service is available on the Nile River cruise and the cost is reasonable.

Africa tours:

  • Hotels in Africa do not have public laundry facilities, however the housekeeping departments of all hotels do offer a laundry service but this can be costly. The Blue Train does have a limited laundry service - however this is also expensive.

Asia & India tours:

  • China - Laundry facilities are available in all the hotels during the tour however it is best to put laundry out when you are staying a minimum of two nights in the hotel. Laundry and pressing services are available onboard the Viking Jenna for a fee; price lists are in your cabin.
  • India - Laundromats are scarce and having laundry done professionally in the hotels can be expensive, so you may wish to bring some washing powder.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia - Laundry facilities are available in all the hotels during the tour however it is best to put laundry out when you are staying a minimum of two nights in the hotel.

Australia tours:

  • The hotels we stay at have coin-operated washing machines and dryers. Most machines take $1 and 20 cent coins. Laundry powder is available from the hotel’s reception.

New Zealand tours:

  • Most hotels we stay at have coin-operated washing machines and dryers. Most machines take $2 coins. Laundry powder is available from most receptions.
Q. Where will I be seated on board the coach?

To ensure all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy front and window seats, a daily seat rotation system is employed on our coaches. It works on a scatter system where you are rotated around the coach by numbers, which allows you to get to know other members of the group.

Canada, Alaska & USA tours:

  • In Canada and Alaska our coaches are not custom designed, as it is illegal in Canada to have two-door coaches.
  • We are unable to accommodate adjacent seating for parties greater than two.

Asia & India tours:

  • Our coaches in China, India, Vietnam and Cambodia are unlike those used in our Australian tours as we cannot custom design them. Coaches will be large and comfortable and most likely only have one door for entry and exit.
  • As we will be flying for portions of the tour there will be a different coach in each city.
Q. Is there any specific information relating to the Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada?

Gold Leaf passengers will have their luggage checked through to their hotel room in Kamloops. You have limited hand luggage space in Gold Leaf.

Red Leaf passengers must remember to pack down to an overnight bag, as your luggage will go straight through to the next hotel on tour after the Rocky Mountaineer journey. You will have plenty of hand luggage storage space above you on the train.

The Rocky Mountaineer allocate both Red Leaf and Gold Leaf hotels for the one night stay in Kamloops and will advise you upon boarding.

Movements are restricted on the train due to operational reasons, but where possible the Tour Directors will move between Red and Gold Leaf to assist you with any general questions you may have.

Q. Is there any specific information relating to the True North Cruise in Western Australia?

Luggage: True North Cruises has a maximum luggage allowance of 20kg per person (soft bags are preferred for ease of storage and transport). Guests personalised luggage tags will be posted to your office when Cruise Documentation is emailed.

Shoes: Bring along a sturdy pair of walking shoes - preferably a pair you don't mind getting wet. We recommend amphibious footwear such as the brand Keen. Keen's are suitable for all our off shore activities and are worn by the True North crew. These shoes are comfortable, waterproof, and durable, provide whole foot protection and are equipped with an elastic quick draw strap. Keen shoes are available for purchase whilst onboard the True North.

Ensuite: Each ensuite is equipped with 240V, a small hairdryer and L'Occitane toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, body soap and vanity sets.

Laundry: is available onboard for a nominal charge. This will be added to your onboard account, should you choose to make use of this facility.

Additional: Beach towels and drink bottles are provided onboard. There are also additional supplies of sunscreen and insect repellent located on the sports deck; however we would recommend bringing your own travel size supply for shore excursions.

Camera: Feel free to bring extra memory, batteries and downloading equipment as there is a limited supply of camera equipment/accessories aboard.

*Please note that there is only 1 computer to download photos onboard and it may not be available if in use for email purposes*.

Q. Is there any specific information relating to the Holland America Line Cruises in Canada, Alaska & USA tours?

Holland America Line require passengers (or agent on their behalf) to accept the Terms and Conditions on the Holland America Line website. This must be completed before you are able to print your Express Docs. Scenic Tours is no longer able to provide the service of printing the cruise documentation on your behalf. Personal Information will be handled in accordance with Holland America Line Privacy Policy which is available on their website.

Your Express Docs include your Signature Preferred Boarding Pass, which is required to board the cruise ship.

It is mandatory that all our guests check-in online.

Please check-in online at least 30 days prior to your departure as U.S. Government security regulations requires certain guest information for check-in (i.e. immigration and disembarkation details, credit card registration forms, etc).

Guests who wait to check in at the terminal risk being unable to sail and will be responsible for all costs incurred to join the vessel at the next port.

If Holland America Line do not have your information 90 minutes prior to departure you will be unable to sail.

You are required to carry a credit card or sufficient cash to cover any additional on board personal expenses, including gratuities/tipping.

The embarkation process on Holland America Line ships is as follows:

Please complete all the forms required by Holland America Line (as outlined on their website) and submit online. For questions and/or help with completing your Online Check-in forms please contact your Travel Agent or Holland America Line Reservations. Missing or incorrect data may delay embarkation or result in denied boarding without compensation.

Print out your Signature Preferred Boarding Pass to expedite your embarkation process at the pier.

Upon arrival at the pier before embarkation, you will go to the line for Signature Preferred Check-In where we will verify your information, take your photo for security purposes and give you your on board key card, giving you access to our convenient on board cashless society. In addition to your Signature Preferred Boarding Pass, you are also required to show appropriate identification, passport, visa and immunisation information, plus the cruise documents that contain your cruise contract.

Weather and Climate
Q. Where should I be worried about altitude sickness?

Some South American cities such as Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are situated at altitudes of 3,200 metres above sea level or higher. At these levels, altitude sickness (caused by lack of oxygen at high altitudes) affects most people to some extent.

Q. How do I know if I am suffering from altitude sickness?

How altitude sickness affects you can range from mild to severe and occurs because less oxygen is reaching the muscles and the brain, requiring the heart and lungs to compensate by working harder. Symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) usually develop during the first 24 hours at altitude but may be delayed up to 3 weeks. Mild symptoms include headache, lethargy, dizziness, difficulty sleeping and loss of appetite. AMS may become severe without warning. Please consult your doctor before departure to ensure you have an adequate level of fitness and health.

Q. What can I do to try to prevent symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness?

Drink extra fluids. The mountain air is dry and cold and moisture is lost as you breathe.

Evaporation of sweat may occur unnoticed and result in dehydration

Eat light, high carbohydrate meals for more energy

Avoid alcohol as it may increase the risk of dehydration

Avoid sedatives

Altitude Sickness tablets are available to help prevent/ reduce symptoms, consult your physician for advice on whether these are suitable for you.

Q. What is the climate like at my travel destination?

Canada, Alaska & USA:


  • Canada's climate is diverse, with temperature and precipitation differing from region to region and from season to season. In the extreme north temperatures climb above 0°C for only a few months a year, but most of Canada has mild springs and summers and pleasantly crisp autumns for around seven months. Temperatures in Canada will generally be mild and sunny during June, July, August and early September ranging from 10°C to 25°C. Umbrellas and a waterproof coat are highly recommended however.


  • Alaska enjoys extended daylight hours throughout the state in the summer months. The further north you travel, the more pronounced the difference. Summer temperatures in Alaska range from 15°C to 24°C. Night time and early mornings are cooler, from the 4°C to 10°C. Late August and September departures could encounter cooler temperatures and slightly fewer hours of sunlight, as the fall arrives early at these latitudes.


  • The climate of the United States varies due to large differences in latitude, and a wide range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts. Climates include:
  • Semi-arid/arid (parts of the US located west of the 100th meridian)
  • Desert (far southwestern US)
  • Humid Continental (Northern areas east of the 100th meridian, locations above 40 north latitude)
  • Humid-Temperate (Central and Atlantic coast regions)
  • Humid-Subtropical (Gulf and south Atlantic regions)
  • Tropical (southern tip of Florida)
  • Alpine (Much of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the Cascade Range)
  • Mediterranean (along the coast of California)
  • Cool-Temperate/Oceanic (upper West Coast areas in coastal Oregon and Washington)

Please Note: Due to the significant variance in climates of the United States, it is best to check the temperatures for the specific travel destinations on your booked tour.

South America & Antarctica:

  • The South America continent is situated along the same latitude as Australia and has the same seasons and extremes in temperature from north to south. South America is a year round destination as different parts of the continent will be at their best according to the seasons.


  • Peak season runs from June to August and the highlands are very busy with trekkers at this time. It is good to visit all year round with many of the major festivals occurring during the wet months of January to April. The average temperature during the dry season of May to December in Lima is 20°C and the wet season is 25°C. Cuzco has an average annual temperature that fluctuates between 11°C and 13°C. During sunny days the temperature may reach 20°C.


  • In most of Brazil, short tropical rains are frequent all year round but rarely interfere with travel plans. The average temperature in Rio de Janeiro in the summer months is 28°C, and in the winter months is 22°C.


  • Argentina’s elongated geography ensures that the country has a diverse climate. The central area is temperate, but can be hot and humid during summer and cool in winter. Average temperature in Buenos Aires in summer is 22°C and winter is 10°C.

Galapagos Islands

  • The weather in the Galapagos Islands is largely determined by ocean currents. Normally from June to December, the cold current comes from the South and creates an inversion that traps a cool moist fog called a ‘garúa’ near the ocean which creates a cool, dry climate, with average temperatures of 22°C. In December the trade winds normally die down and the ocean currents change, bathing the Galapagos in the warm current from the North. The warm currents bust up the inversion and a typical tropical weather pattern of hot sunny mornings followed by clouds and occasional showers in the afternoons generally prevails, with average temperatures of 27°C.

The Amazon

  • The Amazon is characterised by rain, heat, and more rain and heat, providing the perfect environment for plants and wildlife. The Amazon is always humid with generous amounts of rain occurring year round. The average temperature varies from 23°-26°C. The drier season is generally November to February but varies by region. The Amazon cruise itinerary is based on high water levels. The itinerary may vary subject to the water levels at the time of travel.


  • The climate is tropical, with north-easterly trade winds that blow year round. In general, there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 21°C in January and 27°C in July.


  • Much of the country has a mountain climate with snow in the higher reaches. The north is desert, warm during the day but very cool at night. The central part has a Mediterranean climate with a rainy season between May and August. The south is cold, bitterly so in winter, and often wet. Average temperature in Santiago in summer is 26°C and in winter 14°C.


  • Travel is only available from November to March as ice blocks main access routes during the remainder of the year. Temperatures along the most commonly visited region, the Antarctic Peninsula, range from minus 5° to 5°C during the summer months. Antarctica experiences the strongest winds on the planet, and is the world's driest desert with minimum annual rainfall, especially in the interior.


Southern Africa

  • The rainy season runs mainly from late November through mid-April in the safari regions, however in South Africa, the southern Cape is experiencing summer at this time. The Cape area can be cooler and wetter during the southern hemisphere winter months from June through August.

East and Central Africa

  • The long rains are from early April through to early June, and the short rains are from late November through December. Dry seasons offer excellent visibility and more reliable road conditions, and game tend to congregate around the limited water sources, making the animals easier to find. July and August are generally extremely busy in East Africa, offering comfortable temperatures.

Asia & India:


  • China has a great diversity of climates due to its size. The best times to travel are spring and autumn when the weather is pleasantly warm with very little rain and low humidity, although temperatures can drop away at night. The temperatures vary in spring (April-May) from 10°-24°C with summer (June-September) temperatures averaging 20°-32°C. During summer the weather can be hot and humid with heavy rainfall in some areas so please be prepared. In the North around Beijing during spring the 'yellow winds' visit carrying sands from the Gobi Desert. They can be unpleasant at times but as they dispel, the sky has a quality of light that is quite unique.


  • In India, it rains only during a specific time of the year. The season as well as the phenomenon that causes it is called the monsoon. There are two monsoons, the Southwest and the Northeast, both named after the directions the winds come from.
  • The Southwest monsoon causes rains over most parts of the country, and is the crucial variable that decides how the crops (and therefore the economy) will do. It lasts from June to September and hits the West coast the most. The Western coastline is therefore much greener than the interior.
  • The Northeast monsoon hits the East coast between October and February, mostly in the form of occasional cyclones, which cause devastation every year.
  • The only region that gets rains from both monsoons is North-Eastern India, which consequently experiences the highest rainfall in the world. India experiences at least three seasons a year, summer, rainy season (Monsoon) and winter, though its only drops to around 25°C in the tropical South in the winter. The North experiences some extremes of heat in summer and cold in winter, but, except in the Himalayan regions, snow is almost unheard of. November to January is the winter season and April and May are the hot months when everyone eagerly awaits the rains. There is also a brief spring in February and March, especially in North India.

Vietnam and Cambodia

  • Vietnam and Cambodia both have great diversity of climates. The best times to travel are spring and autumn when the weather is pleasantly warm with very little rain and low humidity, although temperatures can drop away at night. The temperatures vary in spring (April-May) from 10°-24°C with summer (June-September) temperatures averaging 20°-32°C. During summer the weather can be hot and humid with heavy rainfall in some areas so please be prepared.



  • Australia's climate is characterised by its diversity, as temperature and precipitation differ from region to region and from season to season.
  • The Top End - The top end has just two seasons - tropical summer in November to March, and tropical winter in May to October. It's warm all year round, but summer is wetter and winter is dry. The crisp, clean air, warm dry days, low humidity and cool nights of Darwin's winter are perfect for outdoors adventures and touring.
  • The Red Centre - As you'd expect of a desert environment, Alice Springs and Uluru are mostly dry, with brilliant blue skies year round. Average annual rainfall is 286 millimetres (less than a can of soft drink). From October to March you'll need sunscreen and a hat, and for the cooler season (May to September) take extra clothing for cold mornings. Winter nights range from balmy through to cold. Autumn and spring will give you sunny days with cloudless skies and crisp, cool nights. Summer is the time when Central Australia is at its most vivid, with hot days and balmy nights. December to February are the hottest months - usually more than 35°C.
  • Broome - Broome's climate is warm sunny days, balmy nights and spectacular storms during the tropical summer. It's a city with just two seasons. The 'cooler' months of April to October bring rainless, balmy days, while November to March bask in higher temperatures and monsoonal rains. Average cool season temperatures reach about 30°C in the day and a low of 15°C at night, whilst warm season highs are 33°C and 26°C at night.
  • Perth - With its Mediterranean climate, Perth averages eight hours of sunshine a day, year round. It has four seasons, with average temperatures of around 30°C in summer and around 18°C in winter. January to March are usually the hottest months, with temperatures sometimes rising to 40°C at this time, however the heat is dry and the 'Fremantle Doctor' - a refreshing south-westerly ocean breeze - can be relied upon to bring mid-afternoon relief.
  • Tasmania - Tasmania’s weather is unpredictable. Though summer temperatures average a comfortable 20°C, it can unexpectedly snow in December. In winter and autumn average temperatures are 12°C. Spring is warm, but bring extra clothing for the evenings. Tasmania's summer days are wonderfully long - at midsummer, daylight lasts more than 15 hours. Rainfall varies dramatically between East and West coasts. Hobart is the nation’s second driest capital city with an annual rainfall of approx 626mm, while the West coast has an annual rainfall of approx 2,400mm.

Norfolk Island

  • Norfolk Island's weather is sub-tropical with lovely summer days ranging from 24°- 29°C and nights from 19°-21°C. Mid-winter days are idyllic with temperatures ranging from 12°C at night to 19°-21°C during the day. There is always a breeze and no wet or dry season.

New Zealand

  • New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has sub-tropical weather during summer and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as minus 10°C in winter; most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine.

Here’s a summary of what to expect for each of the seasons in New Zealand:

  • Summer - New Zealand’s summer months are December to February, bringing warm temperatures and sunshine with long and sunny days and mild nights.
  • Autumn - March to May are New Zealand’s autumn months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places on the North Island until April while the South Island can experience snow and showers.
  • Winter - New Zealand’s winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas. While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty.
  • Spring - lasts from September to November and New Zealand’s spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot.
Coronavirus 2019-nCoV
Q. What are Coronaviruses?
A. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild respiratory illness. A new (novel) CoV was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and is called COVID-19.
Q. What is the current situation?

Currently all our itineraries are operating as planned, with the exception of China for departures up until 30 April 2020. Additionally, some governments have implemented wider restrictions that limit the arrival of travellers who have travelled from/visited or transited through countries beyond China, Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy.  We recommend that you check the current travel policy of your final destination

WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread.

Q. What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
A. Signs of infection may include respiratory symptoms, such as fever or feverishness, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.
Q. How is the virus transmitted?
A. Health authorities are not yet certain exactly how the new coronavirus is spread, however when someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus.
Q. If I traveled to a highly affected area in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing what should I do?
  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms
  • Avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  •  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
Q. How can I minimize risk of transmission and protect myself?

You can protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by taking every day preventative actions, such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid personal contact, such as sharing cups or eating utensils, with ill people.
Q. Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine available.

Q. What are the treatments?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the new coronavirus infection. Individuals with respiratory infections should seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

Q. Is the new Coronavirus the same as SARS or MERS viruses?

It is a similar type but not the same virus that caused SARS or MERS. Most recent reports indicate it is not as severe.

Q. What is the preventive action we have taken?
  • In accordance with CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) and IATO (International Association of Tour Operators) guidelines we do NOT allow any passengers to board our ships who have travelled, or transited through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy (or any other affected areas deemed by Government travel boards).
  • All our guest’s arrival flights are pre-screened in advance by our International offices to ensure the above is complied Passengers failing to comply will be denied boarding to maintain the safety of our guests and crew – even if guests are asymptomatic  
  • Upon arrival and prior to the cruises guests are checked for symptoms and asked to fill out the questionnaires to ensure no one has any symptoms or had any last minute flight changes we unaware previously unaware of.
  • Strict operational procedures are in place for anyone displaying symptoms both prior to and during any cruise and they are immediately quarantined.
  • We have intensified all procedures around general cleaning, housekeeping, back of house and Nautical and technical compliance on the ship.
  • Any touring locations deemed to be at a heighted risk have been suspended until further notice.
  • We have hospital grade automatic and manual hand sanitisation machines throughout the ship. Their presence has been increased throughout all public and back of house spaces.
  • We have provided in depth training to all our crew on background of COVID-19 and common practices to minimise associated risk. This is done in line with WHO recommendations
  • Non-contact thermometers have been provided to all ships and ground offices and our own internal daily checks are performed as needed.
  • Our water and air filtration systems are all pre treated to International standards.
Q. What health screening methods has the put in place?

We are following the US CDC recommendations for healthcare providers which includes:

  • Prior to boarding specific guests, crew and contractors will be required to fill out questionnaire that will screen for:
  1. Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
    – and in the last 14 days before symptom onset,
    1. History of travel from affected areas
    2. Close contact with a person who is under investigation for COVID-19 while that person was ill.
Q. What measures are taken if a guest or crew present during sailing with a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness and who have no travel history to affected areas?

Patients who present with a fever and symptoms of a cough or shortness of breath will be evaluated by ship staff and subsequently a medical team. The guest or crew will be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and quarantined in their cabin while it is ascertained if further tests are required by medical professionals.