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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

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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.

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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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Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

5 Etiquette Tips for Sharing a Cabin

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 peacefu

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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.

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

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

Jan115

Jan115

Bringing the Kids? Two Cabins are Better Than One!

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 in

Jan115

Jan115

Be Smart When Traveling with Electronic Devices

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

Jan115

Jan115

Balance Alone and Together Time When Cruising with Friends and Family

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 de

Jan115

Jan115

Get to Know Your Cabin Before Booking It

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 sq

Jan115

Jan115

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