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About LifeIsCruising

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  1. I just did this last May and it turned out just fine!
  2. Sure a great reason to have travel insurance huh? Interestingly, many travel insurance companies have "watch lists" and "Will not insure" lists that can be a good resource in this area. The most common companies being "watched" or not insured are airlines in financial trouble. US Air, for example, has been on and off the Travelguard list several times. Cruise lines are rarely on these lists (Ok, NCL comes close from time to time) but this story brings up a more important concern. Sure, one may be covered for the financial loss and that's good. But what about the ruined vacation itself? It would have been nice to know, before all the planning, that cruising on Barefoot might not have been possible. They could have made other plans. I guess that's a risk you take when booking little niche cruise lines though.
  3. I almost hate to post this but feel obligated to do so. I know for a fact that a good travel agent can have a very positive influence on all the elements that make for a fabulous cruise. I know for a fact that smart cruisers do scour the Internet searching for information that wil help them make an informed buying decision. Those are the smart ones, the ones that do their homework then let a competent travel agent handle the details and perhaps blow them away from time to time with some excellent values they might not have been privy to otherwise. In other words; the savy cruiser looks around on the Internet to find out what is being offered but realizes that a cruise travel agent lives and breathes the industry and knows what's going on. They know that knowledge can reap great rewards for them. A disturbing practice which I have never agreed with but which is quite common in the travel industry is making big waves lately and deserves your considerartion before making an informed buying decision. It has to do with who processeses the payments you make for your cruise I'll just get right down to the meat of it here right now It is pretty common for travel agencies to take your deposit money or payment money and hold it for a while before paying the cruise line. Lots of travel agencies do this and have for decades without any problems. That was just the way it was done. What I am seeing way too frequently are passengers who have paid their travel agency money but go to get on the ship and find out that their cruise was NOT paid and that they can not get on the ship. It is tragic but there is not a lot I can do for them which brings me to this forum to write this. There is a simple way to make sure this does not happen to you. Odds are that the major cruise lines are not going to be going out of business. When you are talking to a travel agency about booking a cruise ask "Will I see your agency or the cruise line on my bank or credit card statement when I make payments?" If they say "the travel agency", run. Fast There is no logical reason for a travel agency to hold your money. Your credit/debit card statement should indicate that the charge was run on the cruise line, never the travel agency. If there is a problem you know exactly who got your money. This may seem trivial but it really is not. The last thing I want to hear is a story about how someone did not get to board because their travel agency was late or didnt post a payment, causing problems at embarkation
  4. Kinda depends on the line. Just off our first Carnival cruise in years I would vote to hand them out the last night and skip the automatic thing. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, sure I'll go to the Pursers desk and take them up on the automatic. Norwegian, hard to say, which in my world means wait and tip on the last night. Princess, it's been a while but I remember the auto-tip as being a good fit with maybe some extra for the superstars. Cunard? last night for sure, just because "traditional" is the name of the game All that said, if I had to pick one way to go it would be to do it on the last night to those who performed well during the voyage. Let them sweat it for a while and be motivated to dance for us. To me, pushing autotips down our throats is an insult and an insult even to firsrt-timers. It's their first time on a cruise, not their first time being served; give them some credit for cryin out loud. Even cheapskates can be impressed. Better yet (Mr Cruise Line Owner) get your service act together and scream for awesome tips because your crew did such an awesome job and blew away every guest with fabulous service.
  5. Wow, and it seems like just yesterday that you were so excited about being accepted! Best wishes!
  6. About 4 years ago (when I lived and breathed this board) , after 8 Carnival cruises in a row, I started trying other lines. Since then I've been on Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America, and others. I'm booked on the Carnival Glory a day after an inaugural sailing on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas. What will I think of Carnival?
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  11. Quite appropriate Jason, thanks. I just think back to our first cruise and how I thought it would be a good idea to bring along some scented candles to burn in the cabin. Luckily someone told me that wouldn't be a good idea. Funny how people's thinking can be so dead wrong
  12. I guess I will have to throw in a Cunard sailing so I can compare. Cool!
  13. Interesting topic! Oddly, I just got off the Sovereign of the Seas a couple weeks ago and did not dress up one time. This was a first. I left the tux at home and did not enter the dining room one time. We did the buffet and it was really quite good. I had never ever done that before but after a recent exposure to NCL's freestyle dining I think I may just be hooked on NOT dressing for dinner (dressing UP that is). Actually I never thought I would say this either but I liked it better Go figure
  14. I'm with Joey, there's good stuff to be had close to the dock too We'd been to St Maarten a number of times so we were quite pleasantly surprised when we found the Holland House Hotel on the beach and made friends with Louie and "Iceman", the two guys that service the beach guests. We've always taken the water taxi from the pier then turned left, towards where Everything Cool was. On this trip they dropped us farther to the right, at the head of a new "boardwalk" area that is really nicely done, in the same flavor as the new pier area. Boy am I glad they did Louie took really good care of us and we had our best port day right there on the beach. The water and beach were very nice. Louie brought us buckets of beer ($10 for 6) Guavaberry Colada (Lisa's new favorite drink), and burgers (dang good) or anything else we wanted to our nice chairs and umbrellas ($20 for four chairs and two umbrellas)
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