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

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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 seem obvious to seasoned travelers, who will be thinking - "yeah, no kidding - I knew that already." Please be patient. My goal is to offer advice to young people just beginning their traveling adventures or new cruisers embarking on an ocean journey for the first time. If my well-traveled friends learn something new in the process, or perhaps a refresher of something old and familiar, all the better!

Feel free to respond or offer feedback. This is a community - that's why we're here!

And so ... my first and probably best tip to begin this blog:

Have a Great Cruise - But Don't Expect Perfection.

Stuff happens. No vacation is perfect. Sometimes a meal might not be cooked to perfection. Or an evening show proves to be less than entertaining. Or your toilet clogs up. When I read poor or scathing passenger reviews of cruises, they are more often than not from first-time cruisers with unreasonably high expectations and ill prepared. Other times they seem to have been voiced by chronically picky people or folks who just like to hear themselves complain. Do your homework, learn about the cruise line, the ship and the destination. When choosing your cruise, make sure you and your ship are a good match. If you don't like crowds, long lines and belly-flop contests, pick a smaller ship with a more sedate crowd. Likewise, if you find sitting in a chair and staring out at the sea beyond boring (is that even possible?), pick a super mega-ship with non-stop entertainment. Most of all, be prepared for anything, and approach any mishaps with a positive attitude and calm demeanor. You and everyone around you will be much happier, resulting in a better cruise experience.

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Hey Jan, thanks for starting this new blog.

These are excellent tips that I think many often forget. Though we are on vacation and expect everything to be 100% correct every time, those working tireless hours to keep us satisfied are only human! It's important, like you said, to not let those little things affect your overall cruise experience - Especially as a first time cruiser.

Even something more extreme such as rough seas....maybe your cruise had some rough weather and you felt it. What season was it? Were you on a large or small ship? Take those points into consideration (as well as others), as that doesn't mean you'll feel the rough seas on every future cruise!

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For years I never got sick and took nothing more than ginger. Then...a rough sail and I was sick as a dog and miserable!! Now...I take Bonine whether I need it or not and take it every day . I have been on rough sailings since, and was fine. So even an old dog can learn new tricks!! I'll read your column with great interest. Thanks.

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