Cruise Packing List and Tips by Cruise Experts
You'll be among the most well prepared cruisers, with the help of our packing resources
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Read our cruise packing tips for suggestions on packing techniques, items to bring which each have a unique purpose, and precautionary measures you can take for those unanticipated situations.
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Latest Blog Entries
By sunluva7 in Tuesday Travel TipsTravelers with knee, hip or other joint replacements have another reason to hate flying: airport security.
When being discharged from the hospital after a total knee replacement last December, one important piece of advice was missing from the pile of recovery plan papers I received from the staff - how to get through airport security without setting off the alarm and the resulting embarrassing pat-down, both of which has happened to me several times in the months since my surgery. A member of airport security in Boston finally offered me some helpful advice which I hope will assist other "bionic" travelers at the airport.
There used to be a time when the doctor would give you a note to show at airport security informing them of your joint hardware. This is no longer the case, and in fact most physicians rarely bother to offer a note for security clearance, as the FAA no longer accepts this type of proof. Whether you have a note or even display your surgical scar to the security agent makes no difference. When you pass through the metal detector, the alarm will sound, and you will require a full and thorough pat-down. To avoid this, try the following tricks:
If there is the option for a full body scanner, choose it, as it will be much easier. There is no need to announce your artificial joint to security personnel. While metal will still be detected, the scanner will clearly show that the metal is in the bone. If a full body scanner is not present, be sure to tell a security agent that you have joint hardware BEFORE going through the metal detector. You will still most likely have to undergo further screening, but less intrusively, with either wand or a quick frisk.
By sunluva7 in Seven Sea JourneysDo you ever wonder how some cruisers seem to get loads of shipboard credit to use for onboard purchases? For the benefit of you folks new to cruising, any added value in the form of cash for you to use on board your cruise - for things like beverages, shopping, drinks, shore excursions, the spa, and other for-fee extras - is known as on-board or shipboard credit. Some people get a lot of it, while others seem to get none. If you're looking to score maximum onboard credits for your next cruise, you just need to know where to look. Here are a half dozen tricks for finding free money for your cruise:
A Travel Agent. Don't expect an agent to fork over their whole commission to you in the form of credit so you can have a good time, but do expect them to know which cruise lines are offering some in the form of a promotion. The best way an agent can give you onboard credit is through a value-added offer (gifting you something rather than discounting your cruise), and many times this is done through group blocks the agent holds for the purpose of booking their clients. Either way, if you are dedicated and loyal to your travel agent, no doubt they will reward you.
Cruise Line Promotions. Cruise lines run deal after deal, and many of them come with a specific dollar amount of onboard credit, usually tied in with the number of days sailing or the category of cabin booked. The more money you are willing to pay for your cruise, the more credit you will receive.
Book Your Next Cruise While On Board Another. Most cruise lines have an on-board booking program, either a Future Cruise Desk or an entire office staffed by crew members whose job it is to entice you into booking your next cruise with them. After all, this is what builds their loyal customer base. To do this, you would place a small deposit ($100 per person, in many cases) in a future cruise, and the cruise line will reward you with onboard credit, again, tied in with the number of days or category of cabin you intend on booking for your next cruise. In fact, you don't even have to decide right then and there. Instead, the cruise line will give you a year or two to think about it.
Refer a Friend. Many lines will reward you for bringing them business in the form of your friends and relatives who may be new to cruising - or a particular cruise line - and want to see what they've been missing.
Price Drops. This is hit or miss, but worth asking. If you find your cruise price dropped after final payment, the cruise line may issue you the difference in the form of onboard credit - or perhaps an upgrade.
Register a Complaint. Did you have a bad experience on your last cruise? If you had a serious issue with service or anything else related to your cruise, write a letter to the cruise line, explain what happened, and you may receive a letter of apology in return with a certificate for a discount on your next cruise or for shipboard credit. The amount would most likely depend on the severity of the complaint. Some assistance from a travel agent will help to assure your letter of complaint gets to the right people.
Not all onboard credit is combinable, meaning you may not be able to combine onboard credits received from a promotion with those received as a loyalty reward. But it never hurts to explore all the options.
Photo credit: Pixabay Free Web Photos
By sunluva7 in Tuesday Travel TipsNothing says "tourist" like a rental car full of cameras, luggage, maps and tour books. Would-be thieves, in fact, can spot a tourist and his rental from a mile away. Here are a few tips to prevent you and your rental becoming a victim of theft:
- Don't have anything of value in plain sight while occupying the car, and definitely hide any valuables in the trunk while parked.
- Look and drive like a local. Avoid having maps, guides and other touristy info out in the open while driving and when parked.
- Leave glove box open to show there is nothing of value stored inside.
- Watch for snatchers at traffic lights - crooks who will reach inside your window and grab your purse or camera. Better yet, keep windows closed and doors locked when occupying the vehicle.
- For SUVs or hatchbacks, use the rolling cover during the day to hide any valuables. At night, remove everything, leaving only the harmless stuff, and roll the cover back so thieves will know there's nothing of value worth stealing.
CruiseCrazies Authorized Agent
By sunluva7 in Tuesday Travel TipsTo avoid missing the boat in port, snap a photo of the "All-Aboard Time" before stepping off the ship to see the sights. It's a great visual reminder for the younger, care-free members of your party venturing out on their own. Plus, if you have a few too many shots in the local watering hole, you can refer to your cell phone camera if your brain becomes too muddled to remember what time you're supposed to be back on board.