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About this blog

A selection of "if only I had known" hints, secrets and advice to avoid cruise and travel mishaps and assure smooth sailing! 
All content & select photos © Janice Neves/Seven Sea Journeys, CruiseCrazies Authorized Agent

Entries in this blog

2020 Holiday Travel Tips

2020 Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday travel for U.S. residents will be very different in 2020. No doubt about it. With the exception of small or expedition cruise ships, vacations by sea are essentially off the table for the rest of 2020 (depending on how the CDC rules on cruising when the current No-Sail Order ends October 31). But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a great escape over the holidays.  While some folks have sworn off travel altogether since the COVID-19 pandemic became front and center in the U.S., others

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Coronavirus and Travel: What You Need to Know

Coronavirus and Travel: What You Need to Know

Whether you normally travel for work or you’re just chomping at the bit to get away, you’ll want to consider how you will stay safe and healthy before planning your next adventure. Covid-19 travel bans are gradually being lifted and destinations are re-opening, and you’ll need to take precautions - and take them seriously - in making trip preparations. It may be a while before major cruise lines sail or Europe welcomes Americans back. As if travel weren’t stressful enough with planning, pac

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The Benefits of a Travel Agent in an Uncertain World

The Benefits of a Travel Agent in an Uncertain World

[Updated 6/27/2020] If you experienced a recent COVID-related cancellation during the 2020 pandemic, you might be cursing the cruise lines, airlines, or resorts out of an abundance of frustration in obtaining refunds or credits. If you booked your own trip, unfortunately you’re on your own. Now imagine if you had booked with a travel professional. He or she would have expertly borne the frustration and aggravation of dealing with the travel providers so you wouldn’t have to. Travel agents may ha

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What to Expect on Your First Cruise

Are you embarking on your first journey at sea? Or maybe you need a refresher? Here are a few tips to make your cruise a smooth one. Flights. If you aren't cruising from a port close to home, you’ll need to fly to the port of departure. If possible, arrive at least a day early to allow for any delays or flight cancellations. If your schedule doesn't allow it, then you should book the first flight of embarkation day, preferably non-stop, being sure to allow enough time to reach the ship 90 m

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Norwegian's Upgrade Advantage - Should You Bid?

Norwegian's Upgrade Advantage - Should You Bid?

In eager anticipation of your next cruise, you've logged into Norwegian Cruise Line's online cruise planner, and you're greeted by words in big bold letters:  "LET'S GET YOU UPGRADED!" Those first four words grab your attention with a promise of a better cabin than the one you've already booked. Then your eyes move on to the words "Submit an Offer ... " and you realize that you'll have to shell out some money for that upgrade. The big question is, should you submit an offer to upgrade your

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Prepare for Emergencies with Both a Passport and Trip Insurance

Prepare for Emergencies with Both a Passport and Trip Insurance

I have stressed in previous blogs about the importance of carrying both travel insurance and a passport while on a cruise vacation. An article on Yahoo’s travel page yesterday about a couple who cruised very recently without the benefit of either passport or insurance is a perfect example of what can happen if travelers don’t prepare for the unexpected. The couple were on a three-night cruise to the Bahamas when a sudden and serious illness necessitated a visit to the cruise ship doctor whi

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Group Cruise Misconceptions

Group Cruise Misconceptions

What exactly is a group cruise? When I offer a group cruise to someone, I often get looks of puzzlement or replies like "I don't like to travel in herds" or "nope, don't like crowds of tourists". What many people - those who have never experienced group cruising - don't realize is that a "group" reservation doesn't mean that you have to follow one another around the entire trip as if you were attached at the hip. For some, the term ‘group’ conjures up images of eating every meal together, d

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For a Unique and Affordable Cruise, Re-Position!

For a Unique and Affordable Cruise, Re-Position!

Did you know? Repositioning cruises are a unique and affordable way to vacation and experience a number of ports around the world! Low prices, lots of relaxing sea days and interesting itineraries make a repositioning cruise an attractive vacation option. Most often taking place during the shoulder seasons of fall and spring, this interesting cruise option allows you to sail to unusual and off-the-beaten track locations when a cruise ship relocates to another region for the new season.

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Is Middle Name Needed on a Flight Reservation?

Is Middle Name Needed on a Flight Reservation?

One of the most confusing things for travelers when booking flights are the names on the reservation. As we all know - or should know, especially if booking our own flights - airline reservations require names to exactly match those on the guest’s passport or ID.  But what about middle names? According to theTSA and Homeland Security travel requirements, middle names are not required, even if the middle name is spelled out on the passenger’s passport or traveling ID. In fact, by omitting the mid

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Conserve and Re-Use When You Cruise

Conserve and Re-Use When You Cruise

While aboard the Norwegian Epic a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when a guest angrily complained to the lido bartender about the lack of a drinking straw for the frozen concoction she was holding. In the scheme of things, a plastic straw seems like a non issue, really, but it has become a hot topic since Norwegian did away with them as a step in an environmentally-friendly direction. The new line, Virgin Cruises, has similarly announced a similar ban on straws as well as other g

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Enjoy a Hurricane Season Cruise with the Right Attitude

Enjoy a Hurricane Season Cruise with the Right Attitude

[Updated 2018] Now that summer has officially arrived, so has hurricane season in the Caribbean, lasting from June through November, affecting tourists and residents from the Southern Caribbean, and on north to the coast of Maine. Should that stop you from booking a Caribbean or New England cruise in late summer or fall? No, and here’s why. Caribbean cruise rates are never better than they are in fall, especially from late August through mid-December. Crowds diminish, the kids are back

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5 Ways to Survive a Port-Intensive Itinerary

5 Ways to Survive a Port-Intensive Itinerary

A cruise with most or all of its stops spent in a new port each day can be a rewarding and enriching experience. It can also be an exhausting one. I love cruising Europe and being introduced to new scenery and cultures, but I also like my moments to kick back and relax. How does a cruiser enjoy a port-intensive cruise without burning out? Try one of these 5 remedies: 1. Instead of filling an entire day with a worldwind tour, focus on one or two particular attractions, or simply park yoursel

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Will Your Ship Dock or Tender? Know the Difference.

Will Your Ship Dock or Tender? Know the Difference.

One of the favorite things about cruising is the ports you’ll visit, the sights you’ll see, and the new experiences you’ll gain. To access the ports and all the fun, your ship will either dock right there portside, where guests can walk right off the ship, or it will “tender” passengers to shore in small boats while the ship is anchored off shore. It’s important to know the difference so you can plan ahead, especially if you have something special planned in port.  Going ashore from the Doc

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Cruise Dining: Try Multiple Entrees at Dinner

Cruise Dining: Try Multiple Entrees at Dinner

What better way to explore an assortment of culinary creations than dinner in the complimentary dining room. Nothing in the cruise contract indicates you’re limited to one appetizer, entree or dessert at dinner. Feel free to order multiple dishes. If you can’t decide between the chicken cordon blue or the beef Wellington, order both. Same goes for appetizers and desserts, too. If no entree is calling out to you, then choose a few appetizers to serve as your entree. Don’t think you can finish a s

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5 Etiquette Tips for Sharing a Cabin

5 Etiquette Tips for Sharing a Cabin

A few years back I cruised on a seminar at sea for business and chose to share my cabin with a complete stranger to save money. As it turned out, we got along great, but it got me thinking - what if we weren’t compatible cabin mates? Most of the time, we share cabins with family or good friends. We know their habits and idiosyncrasies, compromises are made, and for better or worse, it usually works. But what if we’re spending a few days or a week with someone we don’t know well? Even when we thi

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Airport Security Tips for Flyers with Knee/Hip Replacements

Airport Security Tips for Flyers with Knee/Hip Replacements

Travelers 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 membe

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Make Your Rental Car Theft-Proof

Make Your Rental Car Theft-Proof

Nothing 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 a

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Use Your Cell Phone's Camera to Create a Visual Reminder of "All-Aboard" Time in Port

Use Your Cell Phone's Camera to Create a Visual Reminder of "All-Aboard" Time in Port

To 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.

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See the Northern Lights Next Spring

See the Northern Lights Next Spring

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights, a.k.a. Aurora Borealis? If not, then you'll have a greater chance of seeing them during 2016 or 2017 if you're heading toward the Arctic. With a forecast of heightened activity, you'll be able to view them from a wide variety of locations. For the best experience, visit during early spring, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Read the full article: Where to See the Northern Lights in 2016

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For a Quieter Cruising Experience, Cruise Off-Season

For a Quieter Cruising Experience, Cruise Off-Season

If your vacation time is flexible, consider yourself fortunate. You have the ability to choose to cruise when prices are lower and cruise ships are generally quieter. There will be far fewer children to compete with, and ship activities will be more enjoyable. In the Caribbean, for instance, the highest prices and larger crowds occur during mid summer, school breaks and Christmas week. By choosing a cruise in, say, early November, you'll save money and easily navigate the ports and biggest attra

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The Pros and Cons of Cruise/Air Packages

The Pros and Cons of Cruise/Air Packages

You’ll find that when you are about to reserve and make a deposit on your cruise, you will have the option of purchasing a round-trip air add-on from the cruise line. While an air/sea package might avoid the hassle of finding and booking your own air ticket, be aware of the pros and cons of these convenient add-ons. Pros: If you purchase the air/sea package, most likely your transfers between the airport and the ship will be included in the price. It’s the ultimate convenience. T

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Research Your Ports of Call in Advance

Research Your Ports of Call in Advance

Your cruise ship will be visiting some exciting destinations, and it would be a terrible waste if you didn’t experience at least one of the best features about the island or city you’re docked at for a day or a few hours. I’ve talked to some cruisers who just prefer to “wing it” – disembark and just stroll around, hit the most popular beach or visit the local watering hole. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it’s a good thing to take a chance and learn by accident. Still, it’s a great idea to l

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How to Avoid Cruise and Travel Scams

How to Avoid Cruise and Travel Scams

If you’re skeptical about a postcard you received in the mail or phone call offering a free cruise or vacation, you have every right to be. While some are legitimate, many are not. At the very least, they will ask you to attend a high-pressure sales pitch for a product or ask for a substantial sum of money up front, presumably for taxes, fees, service charges or other hidden charges. A little detective work will usually let you know whether the travel provider is legitimate. Start by readin

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Be Prepared for Anything with a Weather App

Be Prepared for Anything with a Weather App

Before embarking on your next land or sea vacation, load a weather app to your smartphone or favorite electronic device. Set the app's preferences for each place you're visiting on your itinerary, whip out your smartphone and have a day, weekend or week's worth of weather forecasts at your fingertips. There are several good apps for weather, but my favorite two are "Yahoo Weather" and "Weather Bug". Well organized, pretty to look at, and very functional, these handy tools will assist you in pack

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Don't Choose a Cabin Just Because It's the Cheapest

Don't Choose a Cabin Just Because It's the Cheapest

Agents and cruise lines love to promote their cruises, and their ads will boldly display a particular sailing with a "starting at" price - $199/pp, for instance. What you don't see until you investigate a little further is that the $199 cabin is the lead-in price, or the price of the cabin at the lowest category, which tend to be the least desirable in terms of location and size. The cheapest is also an interior cabin. Some people are quite happy with an inside cabin; they like sleeping in pitch

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