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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

Make Your Luggage Stand Out in a Crowd

Make Your Luggage Stand Out in a Crowd

Unless you have personally designed your own luggage or purchased a uniquely different set from a retailer, your luggage probably looks like mine – ordinary black, green or blue - basic and functional. Claiming your luggage on the bag carousel or in the cruise port terminal can be confusing, and it’s easy to walk away with someone else’s stuff when all the bags look alike. Make your luggage stand out and easier to spot in the endless sea of bags. You don’t have to be an artist to individual

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Jan115

Go Green and Save Money:  Pack a Reusable Water Bottle

Go Green and Save Money: Pack a Reusable Water Bottle

Don't pay $4.00 for that bottle of water the crew will try to sell you at the gangway to your awaiting excursion. Even worse, don't be an environmental hog and bring a huge case of water from home, like I've seen some people do. It's wasteful, and those bottles are bad for the environment. Instead, go green! Pack a reusable water bottle and fill it in your stateroom sink before you head out for the day. Don't worry. The ship's water supply is purified, perfectly safe to drink, and tastes as good

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Cruising Solo?  How to Avoid the Dreaded "Single Supplement"

Cruising Solo? How to Avoid the Dreaded "Single Supplement"

For some, the idea of cruising alone can be a bit scary. Let's face it. The majority of passengers arrive to the ship on embarkation day in pairs, entire families and huge groups. Some people, however, may find themselves cruising alone for a number of reasons. Some may be looking for friendship or romance. Others may have lost a spouse or partner. More often than not, though, a person may just prefer to travel solo. Whatever the reason, traveling solo carries a big price - the dreaded "single s

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A Sure Cure for the After-Cruise Blues ... Book Another!

A Sure Cure for the After-Cruise Blues ... Book Another!

Just about anyone who has ever been on a cruise before can relate. You've just experienced a week or more of heaven on the high seas. You arrive home to a pile of laundry, mail, bills and an empty fridge. Suddenly, this feeling you can't quite explain hits you like a brick. A feeling of gloominess, which you can only attribute to one thing - the cruise is over. No more mints on the pillow, fresh towels and a made-up bed every day, room service, gourmet meals prepared by someone else, or a serene

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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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Welcome to My New Blog and First Travel Tip:  Don't Expect Perfection

Welcome to My New Blog and First Travel Tip: Don't Expect Perfection

First of all, welcome! Over the past years of cruise and land travel, I have had many "if-only" moments. If only I had reserved that excursion ahead of time, or if only I remembered to pack my water shoes. I have also gathered many helpful hints and much welcomed advice from experienced cruisers I've met over the years. I thought it would be great to have a blog or column just to share some of these morsels of knowledge with my fellow travelers. Some of the travel tips I share here will see

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Find Out How Many Ships Will Be in Port When You Are

Find Out How Many Ships Will Be in Port When You Are

The number of ships in port on any given day can have a significant impact on your cruise experience. The more ships in port, the heavier the crowds and the greater the demand for popular attractions. The number of ships can affect everything from available taxis to seating at popular restaurants. A super-mega ship like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas carries 5,400 passengers alone, and if it is joined in port by two or three other modestly size ships, that number can double or even triple i

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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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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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Allow Room in Your Luggage for the Stuff You'll Bring Home

Allow Room in Your Luggage for the Stuff You'll Bring Home

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..." So sings the trio Peter, Paul & Mary in the classic '70's song. Like all of us who traveled in those days, I'd venture a guess they had no worries about the weight, content or amount of luggage they toured around with. Back then there were few luggage fees. No 3-1-1 rule. No bare feet through security, and no pat downs. We just packed our bags, checked in as many as we wanted within reason, didn't give much thought to what we carried on the plane,

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Avoid Disappointment: Reserve Your Shore Excursions in Advance

Avoid Disappointment: Reserve Your Shore Excursions in Advance

Travel planning has come a long way, baby! Nowadays, you can plan your entire vacation from the comfort of your home. Simply log on to your favorite travel websites and book hotels, airfare, cruises and entire vacations. The same goes for cruise excursions. When you book a cruise, whether through the cruise line, a local travel agent or a big internet agency, you’re given a reservation number. Simply log on to the cruise line’s website, key in your reservation number, and your now in contro

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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 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

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Don't Forget to Mind the Kids

Don't Forget to Mind the Kids

I see it all the time - parents who take the kids on vacation and then pretend they don't know them - or they do remember and bring them along to places off limits to kids, like the adult-only pool or hot tub, because - what the heck - "they're my kids, we're on vacation, we paid good money for this cruise and we'll do what we want." Yes, you're on vacation, but that doesn't mean you're on a sabbatical from parenting the kids you brought on your cruise. We all love children, but the antics of yo

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Avoid Cruise "Cell Shock" - Set Your Phone to "Safe" Mode

Avoid Cruise "Cell Shock" - Set Your Phone to "Safe" Mode

What is Safe Mode, you ask? Confused, you scan the button and menu of your phone but can't find any reference to this term. You turn to your owner's manual, but come up empty. Try this: The next time you board a ship with your cell phone, turn it off and lock it in the cabin safe for the duration of the cruise. Voila! Safe Mode! This is especially true when traveling with a smartphone. Charges for voice roaming, data roaming, streaming music and videos or downloading an app can rise into t

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Pre-Cruise: Weather the Storm Before the Calm

Pre-Cruise: Weather the Storm Before the Calm

Finally! We’re down to the final days before our long-awaited Alaskan cruise. As much as I would love to spend the time daydreaming about glaciers and wild animals, I am busy with final preparations – last minute shopping, packing and confirming of reservations. If that weren’t enough, there are other necessary pre-vacation tasks to attend to in order to avoid coming home to chaos and a mountain of projects. Don’t overlook the chores and responsibilities that need to be completed before yo

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It's Really Okay to do Nothing on a Cruise ~ It's Your Vacation!

It's Really Okay to do Nothing on a Cruise ~ It's Your Vacation!

This is a big area where my husband and I differ – especially on a cruise day at sea. He is up early, out the cabin door and ready to see and do everything there is aboard the ship. I, on the other hand, like to linger over a cup of coffee in my cabin, sit out on the balcony (if I am lucky enough to have afforded one) and watch the world go by. I am in no particular hurry to do anything. So while we attend shows together, hang out side-by-side by the pool for a little while before attendin

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Make Safety the #1 Priority After Boarding Your Cruise Ship

Make Safety the #1 Priority After Boarding Your Cruise Ship

When boarding a cruise ship – especially if it’s your first – you’ll gaze in wonder with your head in the clouds at your surroundings. However, once you have come down to earth, it’ll be time to get down to the business of reviewing a few safety measures to make your cruise a safe and enjoyable one. Begin by taking a tour of the ship. Gather your family or traveling companions together and take a walk around the ship. I know – given the size of some of today’s super mega vessels, this coul

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Avoid the Crowds at the Buffet on Embarkation Day ~ Enjoy a More Leisurely Lunch

Avoid the Crowds at the Buffet on Embarkation Day ~ Enjoy a More Leisurely Lunch

Those who have cruised before know what a popular place the ship's buffet is on embarkation day. It's as though 3,000 cruisers arrive on board and haven't eaten in days. Eager, hungry vacationers line up at the door, squirt the required antibacterial lotion into the palms of their hands, fill their plates, and search for the grand prize: a seat at which to enjoy their lunch - all while carefully and steadily balancing plates and cups along the way. Depending on the ship and venue, it can be a ve

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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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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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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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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

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Love that cabin you selected?  Make sure you keep it.

Love that cabin you selected? Make sure you keep it.

If you have your heart set on a certain cabin in a particular location of the ship, be sure to tell the cruise line or your agent to mark it as a "no upgrade". For instance, you love those peaceful and ever-so-popular "Aft" balcony cabins at the very back of the ship that overlook the wake, and you've just gotta have one. So you book the cruise as early as possible in order to snatch one up before someone else does. Then one day the "upgrade fairy" pays you a visit. You get a notice from your ag

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Never Pack Necessary Documentation in Your Checked Luggage...including your Passport!

Never Pack Necessary Documentation in Your Checked Luggage...including your Passport!

I once read a story of a teenager traveling with his family by car to board a cruise ship. When the group arrived at the ship for embarkation, the poor kid was not allowed to board because his passport had been packed in his checked luggage already aboard the ship. Sometimes passports and ID are checked at the outside gate to the terminal, where one could have the opportunity to retrieve their passport before boarding. Apparently, in this case passports were not checked until the family were ins

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