Most ships have a daily newsletter with news and headlines from various countries of the world. Staterooms on your ship will have televisions. While many ships now have telephones in passenger cabins, you can also call someone on shore through the ship's radio operator while at sea. And, you can make phone calls from most ports. Most ships now offer an internet package where you can use the Computer Room to keep in touch with family back home via email. Many ships now also offer WiFi hotspots for a charge. While internet access at sea has been slow in the past, technological advancements have meant that internet speeds are continually improving.
Virtually every cruise ship (except for some smaller vessels) has a fully-equipped medical facility and staff to handle almost any emergency.
Very few cruise ships provide self-laundry services on board. Almost all cruise ships have dry-cleaning or laundry services for a charge.
Today's cruise ships have made the transition to a "cashless society." All passengers are given an onboard charge card that typically doubles as their boarding pass. You would use this card for all purchases including drinks, souvenirs, shore excursions, boutique services, spa services, etc. Cash is accepted in the casino, for gratuities to the staff that served you, and at the purser's desk to settle you onboard account.
Most cruise lines let you pre-book and pre-pay your shore excursions prior to travel.
Every cruise requires some proof of Australian Citizenship before they allow boarding. While a passport is not required for Australian domestic cruises, a drivers licence or Government proof of identification is.
Some ports may require a visa, but the cruise line will inform you prior to departure.
It's unfortunate to see someone denied boarding for lack of proper documentation. Make sure you have your documentation well in advance, including plenty of time left on your passport prior to expiry, if required.
Pack like you would for any resort. Cruises are casual by day, whether you're on the ship or ashore. In the evening, ships vary as to dress. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. For the Captain's Gala, for example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, such as a dark suit, or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown.
On some cruises, formal dinners or parties are part of the fun. But don't buy a tuxedo just for the trip. If you do want to dress to the nines, many ships offer tuxedo rental services. Even on the most formal of ships, a dark suit and tie are fine for the dressiest occasions.
Most ships have 240-volt outlets in the staterooms so you should be able to use your hair dryer and shaver. However, most ships include air dryers in the room.
Yes, there are. Most ships have a safe in the cabin with instructions on how to use it.
As a rule of thumb, wheel chairs are available for passengers who are injured after they get on board. Most suggest that you bring your own collapsible one if you will need it throughout the cruise. Check with your agent when booking regarding your ship's policy on providing wheelchairs to passengers.