Your Iceland cheat sheet

Cruise travel to Iceland is a trip of a lifetime for many people.

Cruise travel to Iceland is a trip of a lifetime for many people. You'll see breathtaking natural beauty and participate in a welcoming culture that's as historical as it is modern. As you pack your bags and get your travel documents in order, you're probably wondering about a few key Icelandic facts. We've compiled the ones you might find most important:

What currency does Iceland use?

Iceland uses the króna, or the kronur in the plural form. You should be prepared to see prices that look very high to American eyes, as $1 is equal to more than 100 kronur at the time of this writing. You'll want to change at least some of your U.S. dollars to kronur when you are in Iceland to account for activities and purchases you can't make with a card. You may also choose to exchange money to cover your expenses if you choose not to use a credit or debit card outside of the country. If you are taking this route, thoroughly research what expenses you can expect to encounter in Iceland. During cruise travel, many expenses are covered for you, but you may wish to purchase souvenirs, take an unplanned excursion or something similar, which means you should have money on hand.

What is Iceland's form of government?

Iceland is a constitutional republic. In fact, it's possible that it's the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world, with the Althingi, Iceland's Parliament, established inthe early 10th century. The state's head is the President, and the executive branch is the Government. Every four years, the electorate chooses 63 representatives to the Althingi. Everyone who can vote can also stand for the Althingi, except for the President and members of the Supreme Court. After the election, the President gives the leader of a political party the right to form a cabinet, usually starting with the largest party in Parliament. If this doesn't work out, the President will move on to another political party leader. Iceland has many political parties. The cabinet formed in this way stay in power until the next election or until a new government is formed. Those who were not elected to Althingi sit in it but cannot vote. The President is elected every four years by a direct vote, and there is no limit on how many terms he or she can serve.

Brief guide to customs

Icelandic people value tradition and history very highly. However, they're also a progressive bunch. Other key elements for people in Iceland are the family, which they hold to be very important, and the natural world. You'll find most Icelanders speak at least some English, and are very approachable.