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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

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. Repositioning cruises vary in length, usually longer than your typical sailing, from 10 days to several weeks. Leaving from major ports such as Miami, London, Rome, Buenos Aires and Anchorage, repositioning cruises allow the unique opportunity to explore multiple destinations and even different continents around the world. Common itineraries include transatlantic voyages form the Mediterranean to the Caribbean in the fall, or the reverse in the spring, or sailings from Alaska to Hawaii. There is an endless combination of itineraries offered throughout the year as ships move from one region to another.  What better way to save money on cruising than to relax onboard a resort-style ship as you cruise to or from seasonal cruise regions like Northern Europe, Panama Canal, Hawaii or Asia!

Jan115

Jan115

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 middle name, you avoid confusion as to whether to use middle initial or middle name, or in the case of some, having to squeeze 2 middle names on the reservation. You also avoid the annoying running of two names together on the flight reservation, i.e. “John Paul Jones” becomes “Johnpaul Jones”.  When TSA states the requirement that names match ID, they are not concerned with middle names, only the accurate spelling of first and last. For instance, if the passport says “Thomas Smith”, then “Tom” Smith is unacceptable.  I hope this clears up the confusion and makes your next flight reservation go easy.🙂    

Jan115

Jan115

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 green methods of eliminating excessive waste.  I wholehearted agree with the forward thinking. You might say “it’s just a straw - how can a straw possibly make a difference?” Well, take a 5,000 passenger ship, for instance. That’s up to 5,,000 straws a day in the trash, some ending up in the ocean. We can all do our part, one baby step at a time. Start with those ugly disposable plastic water bottles. Plastic bottles, in my humble opinion, are the scourge of the earth. Ditch the plastic and start using a reusable water bottle. Bring it on your cruise, and make it a daily habit at home.  Buy some reusable drinking straws. Some are made of silicone, but the good ones are steel and indestructible. Bring a few along on your cruise. You’ll be the envy of all your frozen pina colada friends. Everyone will want one! Other ways to conserve include recycling glass, paper, aluminum, plastic and cans where available, re-using towels, turning off the lights when leaving the cabin, and closing the balcony door so the A/C doesn’t have to work so hard. Now, if only Norwegian would do something about those plastic cups ... 😐  

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Jan115

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 in school, and cruising is generally quieter. It’s an ideal time to cruise. Chances are good that a hurricane will not affect your cruise plans. Cruise ships use the latest weather-tracking systems to steer around the path of storms. While you may encounter some rough seas, the crew will do a marvelous job of keeping you safe and the ship as steady as possible. If you are planning a Caribbean cruise in fall, you can take a few extra precautions to lessen the chance of weather-related mishaps. First and most importantly, buy a good travel insurance policy. You might even consider one with a cancel-for-any-reason feature. Arrive at your port a day or two ahead of your sail date, especially if you need to fly. While the cruise itself may not be an issue in a storm, getting to your ship on time could be. Weather delays and flight cancellations may leave you stranded at home. Getting a jump start to the cruise port will increase the likelihood of getting on board. When choosing a late summer or fall tropical cruise, consider a destination less likely to be in the path of a hurricane, such as Panama or Costa Rica. Use a travel agent. They have the resources to keep you alert to delays and cancellations and can get you where you need to be with minimal stress. If a storm does come your way, keep in touch with your travel agent for the latest cruise line updates and advice. If you are cruising during hurricane season, keep an open mind and board your ship with the right attitude. If a hurricane messes with your vacation, the ship’s itinerary may change, and you may find yourself in ports you weren’t expecting. Go with the flow, and enjoy your cruise, wherever it may take you. Jan

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Jan115

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 yourself at a streetside cafe and people watch - even better if it’s an ocean view! 2. Try a half-day tour, especially if you are just looking for an overview of a new destination. 3. Take a late afternoon snooze. It will be just the boost you need to get you through the evenings festivities after a long day in port. 4. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water while out and about to prevent that tired feeling from dragging you down - especially important during the hot, summer months. 5. Go to bed early. Skip the late-night partying if you have an 8:00 am tour in the morning. Your body will thank you!  

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Jan115

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 Dock is preferred because all that’s required is a walk off the ship when the Captain announces you’re clear to go. Quick and simple. Tendering, on the other hand, takes some time, and in most cases, there is a schedule or ticket process so that all passengers aren’t heading to the tender boats at the same time. Some tender operations are wheelchair and disability friendly, some are difficult or impossible. If you fall in one of these categories, it’s important to check your itinerary for any ports that require tendering and whether or not they can accommodate mobility issues. If you are meeting an independent excursion at a set time, be sure you allow time to tender ashore so you’re tour doesn’t take off without you. Consult the cruise line or your travel agent for specifics related to your itinerary.

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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 second entree? Then share it with your table mate. I typically can’t eat more than one entree, but I do like to order an extra side to share with my husband. Ordering multiple menu items is the perfect way to try new dishes!

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Jan115

5 Etiquette Tips for Sharing a Cabin

I recently cruised on a seminar at sea 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? Here are a few tips to co-habitate peacefully. 1.  Divide and conquer. Equally share drawer, counter and closet space, and keep your stuff in your space. Not only will it keep you organized but prevent your cabinmate from re-packing up something of yours by mistake at the end of the cruise.  2.  Admit to snoring and early-to-bed or early-to-rise habits early on. Offer your mate a pair of earplugs if you are a snorer. If you like to wake up to the sun rising over the ocean, but your cabin mate likes blackout curtains, some compromises will need to be made. Learn to tiptoe and keep noise and light to a minimum when necessary. 3. Take turns recharging devices. I brought my charger - my roommate lost hers. The outlets were few and in an awkward location on our ship. We had one charger for all our electronics, but with some planning, we made it work. 4. Be aware of any perfume or aroma therapy scents and the effect they might have on your roommate. My roommate brought a supply of oils of various scents, which had my eyes watering and my head spinning. A carefully worded request to ease up on them worked, and there were no hard feelings. 5.  Bathroom etiquette. Avoid spreading your cosmetics all throughout the limited shelf space. A hanging cosmetic bag works wonders for me. I unfold it from my suitcase and hang it directly on the bath door hook. Speaking of the bathroom and sensitivity to smells, a squirt or two of Lysol will help minimize objectional smells. To take it further, you might want to agree to use a public restroom for the “big jobs”.    

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Jan115

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 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.

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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 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. Jan Neves CruiseCrazies Authorized Agent http://www.sevenseajourneys.com

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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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Jan115

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

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 attractions with fewer crowds and more elbow room. For more on the subject of when to cruise where, see my article: Destinations and the Best Time to Cruise Them

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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. The cruise line will claim your luggage for you and carry it to the ship, and all you'll have to do is board the bus. If your flight is delayed, the cruise line will be aware of your delay and may be able to hold the ship for a few hours. If not, they will make every effort to get you to the first port to board the ship (not necessarily at the cruise line’s expense, however). Cons: While cruise air booking has improved in recent years with added ability to choose your own flights (though somewhat limited in airline and connections), some lines (Carnival and Norwegian, for instance) remain steadfast in choosing your flights for you and only making you aware of them just weeks before you cruise. Generally speaking, cruise/air tickets are consolidated – or bulk - tickets, purchased by the cruise lines months in advance, and carry strict rules different from published rates. Most likely, everything will go smoothly with your flight, but in the event your flights are delayed or canceled, re-ticketing or rescheduling may not result in the flights you desire. Arranging your own flights: If you decide to purchase your own tickets, you might be able to find a better deal, flying nonstop with an airline you prefer while earning frequent flyer miles. For instance, Southwest has awesome deals (and bags fly free!), and can only be booked through the airline directly. Enlist the help of a travel agent, especially if you booked your cruise through one. They may be able to find the exact flight you’re looking for at a great price. An agent can be particularly helpful with complicate itineraries, using some creative ways to get you from Point A to Point B that you would not have thought of yourself. Keep in mind the time of your ship’s departure. You’ll want to be on the first flight out of your home city, and preferably non-stop, to avoid any delay in getting to the ship. If at all possible, fly in at least a day before your cruise to allow for delays, mechanical failures or flight cancellations. Also remember that will have to find your own transportation to the cruise terminal and claim your luggage and carry it with you. For convenience, however, cruise lines offer cruise/air transfers for independent flyers. In some cases, depending on the distance from airport to cruise ship, cruise ship transfers are worth it. If, however, you’re flying to Miami for a cruise from the same city, a taxi is quick and cheap.

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Jan115

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 learn the basics of the place you’ll get a glimpse of – the history, culture and the 5 best things to see. An organized tour – whether a ship excursion or local taxi guide – can be the best way to experience a place in the short amount of time allowed in a port of call, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. Perhaps the biggest reason for port research is learning about the transportation logistics. Some ports require a 1 or 2-hour drive to the nearest landmark, and you will want to get the lay of the land and learn how you’ll get from point A to point B. Figuring this out in advance of your trip will avoid loss of precious time seeing all you want to see. Sometimes, just a simple walk through a village or town not frequented by tourists will be all you need a get a feel for the local culture and customs. Either way, armed with knowledge of your port city, you’ll be an informed traveler and won’t have regrets later.

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Jan115

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 reading the fine print. Are there black-out dates or restrictions? Are there extra charges and fees involved? Check to see if the company is listed with the Better Business Bureau or perform a “Google” search to find out if there have been any complaints. Sites such as “rip-off report dot com” or “complaintsboard dot com” are good places to start. Never give out any private information or credit card details unless you initiate the transaction or you’re confident that the promotion is for real. If you decide to pay in advance for a trip, be sure you know what you are paying for and what happens if you change your mind – will you get your money back. If they can’t give you the details in writing before money is exchanged, then walk away. Everyone wants a free cruise or vacation, and the best offers are those in which you make the reservation yourself and not through a shady third party. For instance, casinos are famous for rewarding their high rollers with free cruises. The customer receives a voucher with instructions for making the reservation directly with the cruise line. It’s a very easy and uncomplicated process. The cruise line sends you a written confirmation, and you know exactly what transacted. If you decide to take advantage of one of the postcard promotions, however, always pay with a major credit card allowing you some protection in case things go very wrong. In buying into one of these travel schemes, just be forewarned that you could end up paying much more for that “free” cruise than if you had booked with a respectable travel agent. Photo credit: the lake news dot com

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Jan115

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 packing, dressing and otherwise preparing for whatever Mother Nature has in store while on your trip. Photo credit: Yahoo Weather

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Jan115

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-dark rooms and don't spend much time indoors to worry about small spaces. But if you're claustrophobic, need natural light and fresh air in your stateroom, or are squeezing four into a cabin and need room to move around, the lowest-category cabins might not be worth even the rock-bottom fare you see online. Be sure you know what you're getting. Ask your agent to or cruise rep for details as to the cabin's location, size and nearby noisy public areas which may interfere with sleep. Your agent will be more than happy to find you a great cabin specific to your needs at a price you can afford. The cabin may not be cheaper, but you'll be a lot happier in the end.

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Jan115

Bringing the Kids? Two Cabins are Better Than One!

Are you bringing the kids on your cruise? You've got a few of choices for accommodations. You can all squeeze into a standard cabin for 4 (some ships allow 5 in a cabin). Another option is to book a more costly family-size cabin or suite for more elbow room. A better option, though, is to book two cabins. If the kids are young, book connecting cabins. If your kids are older (12 and up) consider booking two side-by-side cabins or, better yet, an oceanview or balcony cabin for yourselves and an inside cabin for the kids across the hall.You will need to book an adult in each, but once you're on board, you can reorganize yourselves any way you want. The interior cabin costs less, you'll get two bathrooms, the kids will have their own space - and so will you! Depending on category and pricing, you may actually save over the cost of a larger room. Even if you have to pay a couple of hundred dollars extra, it will be totally worth it - trust me! Whatever you decide, be sure to ask Guest Services for a spare key for the kids' stateroom so that you have easy access to their comings and goings at any time. One word of warning, though ... If you are planning on booking two adjoining cabins, side-by-side cabins or cabins across the hall from one another, book early, as they disappear fast. Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club

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Jan115

Be Smart When Traveling with Electronic Devices

Today's tip comes to you from Travel & Leisure: "Should I Be Worried About Cybersecurity When Traveling? (by Amy Farley). Be smart when traveling with your electronic devices. Don't use shared computers, and beware of fake hot spots, unsecured networks and social snoops. Most importantly, be sure you have some type of "Find My Phone" service installed on all your electronic devices. If your phone goes missing, immediately lock it and change your passwords immediately. Alternatively, if you don't have this feature, immediately contact your cell carrier and disable the phone. At the very least, you'll have your phone locked with a passcode, slowing down or preventing a thief's access to any personal information stored on it. For more information, read the article here. Photo credit: Travel & Leisure

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Jan115

Balance Alone and Together Time When Cruising with Friends and Family

Cruises have so much going on at any given time, catering to all kinds of individual preferences. If you want your family or group of friends to stick together like glue through the whole vacation, two things will happen: (a) you will miss a lot, and (b) you'll resent each other by the end of it. For example, your husband is fond of the casino, but the last thing you want to do on a warm, tropical day is spend it inside a smoke-filled, noisy room. Go to the pool or spend time lounging on your deck, while he goes to play the slots. You'll both be happy. This is even more true for couples you might be traveling with. In the case of shore excursions, for example, you all want something different from the island you're visiting. Why not have each couple go off on their own adventure, and then meet for dinner that evening to compare stories. Traveling with the kids? That's an easy one. They can have fun with their new friends in the kids' club, while you and your honey catch some much-needed alone time. Or one of you go for a relaxing spa treatment while the other climbs a rock wall with Junior. Vacations are about discovering new people and places, and sometimes that means going it on your own. By enjoying what you like and and then sharing each other's memories, you'll all receive a much more enriching experience.

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Jan115

Get to Know Your Cabin Before Booking It

You found a great cruise deal on line and booked it. You patted yourself on the back and told all your friends about it. Maybe it was a buy-one, get-one-free promotion. Or maybe it was a free upgrade. Whatever the deal, congratulations! But before you click the "Reserve" button, be sure you know what you're getting. Do yourself a favor and study the deck plan. Pay close attention to the following: Square Footage. How large (or tiny) is the cabin? You and your 3 buddies crammed into a 145 square-foot cabin will, in all likelihood, no longer be friends by the end of the cruise. What's directly above and below your cabin? Is there a pool deck or a jogging track? If you're a late sleeper, you won't be for long. The pounding of feet or screeching of chairs across the deck will have you up for breakfast early. Likewise, what's under your feet? Is there a loud night-club directly below? Not good if you're the early-to-bed type. Noise. Engine noise, mechanical apparatus noise and noise from people congregating around elevators and stairs may be unpleasant for some folks. A good rule of thumb is to book a "sandwich" cabin - one located between two decks consisting of cabins only - for the least amount of noise and motion. Motion. Cabins close to the front and rear of the ship tend to be the most uncomfortable for those prone to seasickness. Choose another or bring your favorite motion remedy. Obstruction. You will know whether a cabin is obstructed or partially obstructed. But if you look at the deck plan, you can choose a cabin, say, between two life boats for a better view. Balcony. Before celebrating the great deal on that balcony, make sure it's what you want. Some ships, like the "Grand" class of Princess, have balconies that are fully covered, partially covered or totally uncovered. In fact, there is a whole deck of mini-suites with balconies on this class. While these are awesome cabins, they are totally uncovered and totally exposed to the view of cabins above you - in other words, no privacy. If you're not sure about the veranda cabin you have your eyes on, ask your agent. Photo Credit - J. Neves (inside cabin on "Disney Magic")

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Jan115

Save Money and See the World with a Repositioning Cruise

To save money and enjoy a more relaxing cruise experience, try a repositioning cruise. Cruise lines will typically have their ships spend a season cruising the same itinerary. During, say, the spring or fall, these ships will be relocated – or repositioned – to a new geographical area of the world to begin a new cruise season and new itinerary. Rather than have these ships sail empty, cabins are sold, usually at a reduced rate. For passengers who like lots of peaceful days at sea, this can be a wonderful way to spend a vacation. Instead of a hectic port schedule, the ship will spend many, many days at sea with a brief stop or two in interesting ports. Of course, a repositioning cruise doesn’t come without its disadvantages. Because the sailing involves leaving one port and arriving at another – sometimes half a world away, air travel can be complicated and expensive. Also, while retired folks and those with a flexible schedule can afford the time to be away at sea for an extended period of time, many are not so fortunate. Still, if you have the time and are creative with flight arrangements, a repositioning cruise can be a great cruise value.

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Cruising: 5 Reasons to Rise Before the Sun

Sure, you're on vacation, but that doesn't mean you have to sleep the day away. You'll miss so much. Here are my five best reasons to force yourself out of bed before sunrise: (1) View a breathtaking sunrise at sea; you'll forget all about how much you wanted to sleep in. (2) Photograph nature in its best light. The natural lighting for taking photos is best early morning and just before sunset; this was especially true for the glaciers on our Alaska cruise and our cruise 2 years ago around the British Isles. (3) Photograph highlights of the ship without the unwanted crowds; you will impress your friends back home, who will wonder if you had the whole ship to yourself! (4) Enjoy the ocean view without distraction. No announcements, no blaring movie screen, rock music or chatty people - just you and Mother Nature. (5) Have a leisurely breakfast and coffee before the mad dash, with first dibs at the food. Photo: Bahama Sunrise, Disney Magic (J. Neves)

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Jan115

Celebrate Romance at Sea with a Special Occasion Package

A cruise is the perfect way to mark a romantic event. After all, nothing puts us in the mood than sun, sea and a cruise ship. Why not add a little something else to celebrate the grand occasion!Whether you are celebrating with an on-board wedding or simply looking for some alone time with that certain someone, cruise lines have made it easy to order gifts and packages to say "I love you." Your travel agent can help you choose the perfect gift or package. If you booked direct with the cruise line, log on to their website and choose from an array of gifts - spa treatments, champagne, wine, flowers, cakes, balloons, candy, special balcony dinners or breakfasts, and much more - or a complete package containing all or some of the the above. Don't want to treat yourself? Maybe a friend or family member is looking for a way to honor you on your special occasion. Simply put them in contact with your agent, or give them your booking info and show them where they can find it on line. For more tips in how to celebrate romance on a cruise, see today's article all about celebrating romance at sea.

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