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Ships, Destinations and Document Requirements

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Welcome back!! First off, allow me to extend my sympathies to the passengers of the failed Carnival Triumph cruise. I sincerely hope that with time, you will take advantage of the discount you have received from Carnival and venture to the open seas once again. There has been enough coverage from the media and aboard the Cruisecrazies site so that's all I'm going to mention about the Triumph incident.

Now that we have covered the most important aspect of your cruise planning, Finances, let’s discuss the variations in the different vessels and some of the most popular cruise destinations you may choose from.

When choosing a cruise ship for your vacation, there are many variables that come into play including, YES, finances again. It seems that in most cases, the smaller vessels operated by lines such as Silversea, Seabourn and Costa just to name a few, seems to be a bit more expensive yet provide a quieter atmosphere and more of a personalized touch. The larger vessels, also known as “Mega-Liners” operated by lines such as Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are more family friendly priced and offer more of a family type atmosphere where there is something for just about every age group. If you’re a couple planning an intimate and relaxed type atmosphere with very little hustle and bustle, a smaller vessel may be to your liking. Vessels that host in the range of 2000 passengers would most likely fit your needs. If you’re a couple or family that enjoys the party type atmosphere with activities around every corner then a cruise aboard a vessel in the 4000 to 6000 passenger range will keep you very busy. Just keep in mind that the larger vessels have much to offer. If you are planning a cruise on, let’s say, the Oasis of the Seas for 7 days of bliss, you may find that there is just not enough time within one week to discover all the ships amenities have to offer.

Where to go! Hmm, this is more personal preference than anything. If you prefer the warmer climate type destinations, then cruising the Eastern (St. Marteen, St. Thomas, Nassau and Freeport), Western (Cozumel, Roatan and the Caymen Islands) or Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, and Granada) may be a direction to go. If you’re more interested in a colder climate, then an Alaska cruise may be in your future. All destinations offer their own enticing amenities such as snorkeling and scuba diving in the warmer climates in the Caribbean sailings and visits to small Alaskan towns and Glacier views in the colder regions. Your cruise agent can provide more insight on the regions you will be visiting on your cruise vacation.

Here’s a commonly asked question, “Do I need a passport to go on a cruise”? The answer, Yes and No! The U.S. Department of Homeland Security states that if you are on a “Closed-Loop” cruise (a cruise that originates and returns to the same U.S. port) and are visiting what are considered U.S. possessions such as Puerto Rico, you do NOT need a passport. A certified (not a copy) of a U.S. State issued Certificate of Birth and a State issued type of photo I.D. is fine. The only catch here is even if you are cruising from and returning to the same port in the U.S. yet are visiting a foreign country such as Mexico or Bermuda, those countries DO require you have a Passport. My personal advice, GET A PASSPORT!! They are good for 10 years. Just be aware that it can take a couple to a few months to receive your Passport if it is your first time applying for one so plan well in advance of your cruise. Now, until my next BLOG entry, you may wish to go back and review my previous cruise planning steps easily just by clicking here... http://www.cruisecrazies.com/forums/blog/17-brilliance-of-the-seas-2013-uncut/. Till next time, may you have calm seas and beautiful sunsets.

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Just don't be bummed or disappointed when you don't get your passport stamped at the various islands that you go visit ... It truly is the best means of ID.

I keep copies of our passports in the inside zipper compartments of our luggage. The originals get locked in the safe in the room and only come out when we are told we need them to get back on the ship.

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