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Welcome to "Planning Island"

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Sarge6870

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Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome you to our first port of call, “Planning Island”, located in the remote area of “Land of the Lost”. It may seem funny, but yet for many, so true. It’s the feeling many get when planning their first cruise or even their next cruise. Even for veteran cruisers, it seems that the water changes with every cruise booking. I will approach this first port as though you have never been to this island before. This will allow new passengers to experience the sometimes confusing steps of planning your cruise vacation. Of course, these shore excursions are personal experiences encountered from my past eight cruises to this hemisphere. Remember as we continue, all experiences vary by passenger yet the final outcome will be the same.

Just to give you some background on myself, Captain Tim, I have been fortunate to sail to many ports of call over the years aboard many wonderful ships. My past cruise ships include:

*Carnival Celebration

*Celebrity Meridian (Celebrity Cruise Lines Flagship)

*Norwegian Cruise Lines Dreamward (Now called the Norwegian Dream)

*Carnival Ecstasy

*Carnival Pride

*Carnival Triumph

*Grand Princess

*Carnival Dream

My ports of call over the year have been Key West, the Eastern & Western Caribbean as well as Bermuda. The planning of our next cruise on November 16, 2013 began after three years of no vacation.

So let’s begin with what I consider to be Step one in the planning stage, Finances. For us, this is the crucial step in a successful cruise vacation. Even before you plan the time-frame, itinerary, cruise line and ship, you want to make sure it is within your means. Ask yourself, “What can we afford”. You can book cruises for as little as one day, usually called a “Cruise to Nowhere”, cruises that are called “Back to Back” ,a cruise right after a cruise and cruises that can last weeks to months. So, now you see why finances are the most important step. Although most of the amenities on-board are included in your cruise fare, there are some extras that you may need to consider. The amenities vary from cruise line to cruise line but these are the generals that are included:

*Your Cabin

*Food (Including 24 hour room service)

*Entertainment

*Some Non-Alcoholic Beverages

There are some additional charges you may need to consider such as Specialty Restaurants, Alcoholic Beverages, Shopping, tipping and Shore Excursions. Some of these items may be included in your cruise fare dependent on the cruise line you choose. In the upcoming “Tim’s Times” planning guides that you will find in your cabin next to your towel animal, we will discuss these varied amenities. So until next time, sit down and consider what your cruise vacation budget is.

Again, Welcome aboard and I wish you a wonderful day on “Planning Island”.

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The best cabin service menu item for us is the morning delivery of coffee, danishes and croissants that we indulge in on our balcony!! Then after that, the wife goes in the shower and I venture up to the breakfast buffet. When we meet up after her shower, we go to the dining room for breakfast!!! Hey, the food IS free!!!!! :)

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