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Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I go on an Iceland cruise?
Cruises that visit Iceland typically sail in the Arctic, the British Isles, Northern Europe or Norway. There are also some cruises that stop in Iceland while crossing the Atlantic.
How long does it take to get there?
Iceland is accessible via a five- to six-hour flight from New York City.
When is the best time to take an Iceland cruise?
Cruises that visit Iceland are offered from June to September. The weather is the mildest from June to August, but this is also the busiest time for tourists.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors.
Is English spoken?
English is widely spoken, and most resorts, shops and restaurants connected to the tourist trade will have some English-speaking staff.
What is the time difference?
Iceland is four hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
The local currency is the Iceland Krona. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Many restaurant bills and taxi fares already include a gratuity, and tipping extra is not common in Iceland. The appropriate amount to tip in Iceland, if you feel you've received excellent service, should be up to 10% of your bill. The best way for visitors in Iceland to show their appreciation is to leave the tip by rounding up the amount of the bill.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
Many churches and cathedrals in Europe require some degree of modest attire for visitors. You may not be permitted to enter if wearing "too short" shorts, and women may be asked to cover bare shoulders (it's a good idea to tuck a lightweight scarf into your purse or tote).
What should I pack?
Most excursions in Iceland involve sightseeing with a minimal to moderate amount of walking, although some tours may include extensive walking or climbing of stairs. Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try and pack accordingly. Protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Because the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable a sweater or cardigan and a weatherproof coat are a good idea. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Iceland has some of the cleanest water in the world, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of Europe uses the 220-volt outlet.
How do I make a telephone call from Iceland?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Not all hotels in Iceland have air conditioning. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy?
Iceland offers a good selection of high-quality fashion clothing and other exciting merchandise. The standard of living is very high in Iceland and people want quality and are very fashion-conscious. There may even be some products that have not yet been introduced elsewhere, as some big manufacturers use the small but demanding Icelandic market for testing their new products. Look for world-known designer labels in clothing, shoes, giftware and glasses. Tax-free shopping is widespread and visitors can purchase high quality woolen goods, Viking jewelry, runes and rune calendars, flowers, Icelandic jewelry, paintings, sculptures, candy and chocolate, Beachwood smoked salmon, furniture and more.
How do I get around?
Buses operate throughout Iceland and are a great way to get around. They offer frequent service to most towns and limited service to smaller villages and hamlets. Cars, coaches and minivans are also available to rent. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
What can I do there?
There are plenty of things to see and experience in Iceland. In Akureyri, visit the natural harbor in the Eyja fjords. Go bird-watching on island of Papey in Dijupivogur. Catch the annual Thjodhatid festival in Heimaey. In Reykjavik, visit the Golden Waterfall, the Strokkur Geyser, Thingvellir National Park, the Blue Lagoon and The Pearl, a domed building offering exceptional views of the city. Explore a quaint fishing village in Seydisfjördur.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers to Iceland?
There's plenty of historic and natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards. If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.