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  #901  
Old April 14th, 2012, 12:30 AM
Stanza Stanza is offline
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Ive finally got to the end of the end of this thread, and just want to say thanks.. Ive checked out bags, shoes, rum runners and so much more. So much to think about, but you guys have certainly helped me make my packing list!
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  #902  
Old April 14th, 2012, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Stanza View Post
Ive finally got to the end of the end of this thread, and just want to say thanks.. Ive checked out bags, shoes, rum runners and so much more. So much to think about, but you guys have certainly helped me make my packing list!

...and Happy Sailing!
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  #903  
Old April 14th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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Mocha'shuman Mocha'shuman is offline
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OMG - this was wonderful reading and it only took me last night while watching the Penguins crash and burn and the Canucks do the same - so had to backtrack occasionally and this morning for 3 hours. I took notes and came to realize like many advised to take those tips that applied to me and my cruise to Alaska [need a few more clothes than beach/pool wear] I think that the tips that went beyond what to and not to pack will stay with me the longest. My 2 favourites which I may use as a mantra:

"Read the daily paper to know what's going on board the ship the next day.
Plan to catch at least one sunset and one sunrise.
Meet at least one new person each day.
As others have said, take half the stuff, twice (or more) the money.
Above all else, decide to have a good time before you even go"

and I love this one

"Suck the marrow out of the cruise.
Go and do the things that might be a little out of your "interest zone", talk to people that talk to you,
try foods that you might not necessarily order at home. And most important....leave all of your troubles at the dock"

Thank you Thank you Thank you
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  #904  
Old April 15th, 2012, 09:33 PM
scrappychick1 scrappychick1 is offline
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Thanks for all the wonderful tips! Many I hadn't thought of.
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  #905  
Old April 15th, 2012, 09:59 PM
LuckyZ LuckyZ is offline
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Not sure it's too late but always have plenty of $1 and $5 bills with you for tipping. Everyone has a hand out and you don't want to be stuck with only $10 and $20's and embarrassed cause you don't have small bills to tip with
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  #906  
Old April 16th, 2012, 02:36 AM
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Marian Paroo Marian Paroo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyZ View Post
Not sure it's too late but always have plenty of $1 and $5 bills with you for tipping. Everyone has a hand out and you don't want to be stuck with only $10 and $20's and embarrassed cause you don't have small bills to tip with
And of course 1 and 2 pound coins if you are in the British Isles and 1 and 2 Euro coins if you are in Europe.

Leaving the current value of the dollar aside, small notes are a PITA to change into local currency, unless you have a whole buncha them.
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  #907  
Old April 16th, 2012, 03:16 AM
Genevieve84 Genevieve84 is offline
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[IMG]http://www.*********.info/avatar3.jpg[/IMG]Don't bring so many clothes-nobody cares if you wear the same thing twice.

Last edited by Genevieve84; April 16th, 2012 at 03:17 AM.
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  #908  
Old April 21st, 2012, 04:16 PM
cnjnj1 cnjnj1 is offline
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Great advice. Thank You very much!
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  #909  
Old April 21st, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Default Using Your Bank Card Abroad - ATM Machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Flash View Post
Get your bank card approved for the countries you are going to. You may want to buy something.
Related to that, contact your bank to find out if they have an arrangement with bank(s) in the countrie(s) you are visiting.

For instance, Bank of America has an arrangment with Barclays in England, so you do not get charged fees by either bank to make an ATM withdrawal. This can save you a lot of money in bank fees, and gives you easy access to local currency.

Related to that, you can also research where ATMs are for the banks you will be using.
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  #910  
Old April 28th, 2012, 03:40 AM
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1: Use local transportation to see your port. 1/10 the cost and way more entertaining...

2: You don't have to eat in the Main Dinning Room. Once on formal night is plenty.

3: Bahamian ATM's (while reading your native card) will give you Bahamian money.

4: Bring small bills for tipping.

5: No matter what, don't stress... soon you will be back home and you will remember why you took a vacay in the first place...
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  #911  
Old April 28th, 2012, 09:12 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is offline
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If someone's still looking for a flashlight app for their iPhone - the one I use is called Flashlight by John Haney software - brighter than some others and limited options, which I like. Quick to turn on or off; very useful.

You can also get phrasebooks and maps that work offline, when you don't have (or don't want to use) a data connection.
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  #912  
Old April 28th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calliopecruiser View Post
If someone's still looking for a flashlight app for their iPhone - the one I use is called Flashlight by John Haney software - brighter than some others and limited options, which I like. Quick to turn on or off; very useful.

You can also get phrasebooks and maps that work offline, when you don't have (or don't want to use) a data connection.
Just installed it, thanks.
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  #913  
Old June 13th, 2012, 04:15 PM
m*u*g* m*u*g* is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyZ View Post
Not sure it's too late but always have plenty of $1 and $5 bills with you for tipping. Everyone has a hand out and you don't want to be stuck with only $10 and $20's and embarrassed cause you don't have small bills to tip with
This is a good one. I'm usually get a stack of change before I go and put it in a separate envelope so I don't spend it.

Also, take a highlighter to mark up the schedule for things you want to do.
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  #914  
Old June 13th, 2012, 06:56 PM
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Default Price Drops!!!

Although this will be my 5th cruise, I wish I'd know on my first cruise that you could "watch" the cruise line websites for price drops, and then call to get an upgrade or obc!!!!
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  #915  
Old June 13th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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Default Price Drops

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjcruiser View Post
Although this will be my 5th cruise, I wish I'd know on my first cruise that you could "watch" the cruise line websites for price drops, and then call to get an upgrade or obc!!!!
Yes..... A hint is to bookmark the specific web page for your cruise, so you can check it on a regular basis. Also, this is a way to see if a preferred cabin class has become available, for instance if you could only get an outside, but you really want to a balcony.
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  #916  
Old June 14th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Lots of great advice here! Here are few of mine:
  • Great vacations don't just "happen" - you have to PLAN for them. It doesn't mean you have to plan every second of your day, but do your research in itineraries, ships & cabins, and when you've chosen all those - do your research on the ports and decide what you "have" to see, what you want to experience and how much you're willing to spend to do it. Also, I research ports to find out if there are "specialties" of the area I might want to purchase and how to get a good deal (e.g., Turkish rugs in Turkey - they are known for beautiful rugs, but you can easily get ripped off. Know ahead of time if you want to purchase one, where to purchase one, what your budget is and how not to get scammed.)
  • Do not be scared to book your own excursions, or to share them with others (Cruise Critic roll calls is a fantastic place to do this). In my experience, ship excursions generally suck - so if you have a special place you are visiting, it is worth it to plan your own excursions.
  • Plan your outfits ahead of time! This may sound crazy, but I can't tell you how many trips I took where I would just pack "my favorite clothes" and I'd end up wearing about 50% of them. My last cruise, DH and I took out our "favorites" but then went the extra step of coordinating tops & bottoms with shoes, etc. and we ended up with suitcases full of clothes that we actually wore. I think I wore everything I packed and I didn't end up with that random shirt that didn't match any bottom (like I always do!).
  • This year, we had a direct flight into our embarkation city, so we flew in the morning of our cruise. NEVER AGAIN. Our flight was supposed to leave the evening before at 6:00, getting us into our embarkation city at 9:00 the next morning and it was about 1.5 hours to the port from the airport (Rome). However, our flight was delayed by over 6 hours because of a bathroom issue on the plane. We didn't get into Rome until after 3:00 - thank GOD we bought our transfer through the cruise line because they picked us up and whisked us away. We walked onto the ship as muster drill was happening. They closed the gates behind us. Lesson learned. Always come a day early.
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  #917  
Old June 14th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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suzyed suzyed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunula View Post
Lots of great advice here! Here are few of mine:
  • Great vacations don't just "happen" - you have to PLAN for them. It doesn't mean you have to plan every second of your day, but do your research in itineraries, ships & cabins, and when you've chosen all those - do your research on the ports and decide what you "have" to see, what you want to experience and how much you're willing to spend to do it. Also, I research ports to find out if there are "specialties" of the area I might want to purchase and how to get a good deal (e.g., Turkish rugs in Turkey - they are known for beautiful rugs, but you can easily get ripped off. Know ahead of time if you want to purchase one, where to purchase one, what your budget is and how not to get scammed.)
  • Do not be scared to book your own excursions, or to share them with others (Cruise Critic roll calls is a fantastic place to do this). In my experience, ship excursions generally suck - so if you have a special place you are visiting, it is worth it to plan your own excursions.
  • Plan your outfits ahead of time! This may sound crazy, but I can't tell you how many trips I took where I would just pack "my favorite clothes" and I'd end up wearing about 50% of them. My last cruise, DH and I took out our "favorites" but then went the extra step of coordinating tops & bottoms with shoes, etc. and we ended up with suitcases full of clothes that we actually wore. I think I wore everything I packed and I didn't end up with that random shirt that didn't match any bottom (like I always do!).
  • This year, we had a direct flight into our embarkation city, so we flew in the morning of our cruise. NEVER AGAIN. Our flight was supposed to leave the evening before at 6:00, getting us into our embarkation city at 9:00 the next morning and it was about 1.5 hours to the port from the airport (Rome). However, our flight was delayed by over 6 hours because of a bathroom issue on the plane. We didn't get into Rome until after 3:00 - thank GOD we bought our transfer through the cruise line because they picked us up and whisked us away. We walked onto the ship as muster drill was happening. They closed the gates behind us. Lesson learned. Always come a day early.
Very good advice...

However, we have had some AMAZING tours booked through the cruise, but again, that was because we planned and investigated and chose one that really appealed to us! We've also had some stinkers that were booked privately...there are no guarantees!
But, of course I agree, that we shouldn't be afraid to book private cruises (again, some research will help make our choices informed).

I often wonder how the heck we ever cruised before joining Cruise Critic! LOL!
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  #918  
Old June 14th, 2012, 02:28 PM
Travel R Travel R is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokeyham View Post
Yes..... A hint is to bookmark the specific web page for your cruise, so you can check it on a regular basis. Also, this is a way to see if a preferred cabin class has become available, for instance if you could only get an outside, but you really want to a balcony.
Stupid question. I would like to know how this works.

Let's say I get an outside no balcony for $5000. The ship, at the time had balcony rooms for $6000. Three weeks before the cruise, I see that the room I booked is not $4000 and the balcony rooms are bow $5000. Do you call up the cruise line and say either (1) "Hey, the room I booked is now cheaper, could I have it for the lower price, or (2) Hey, the upgraded room is now the same price -- please change my room (obviously if the upgraded room is available).

Is this correct -- is it as easy as that, or will there be some complications associated with this? Are there any costs associated with doing this?

Also, after you make one upgrade/get $ back, and the price goes down again, can you do this a second time?

I know, they are stupid questions, but after going on a few cruises, I never did this and did not even know if it was possible -- my last cruise was free, so I did not worry about it -- the one previous to that was a decade ago before I think Cruise Critic even existed.
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  #919  
Old June 14th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Default Taking Advantage of Price Drops

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Originally Posted by Travel R View Post
Stupid question. I would like to know how this works.

Let's say I get an outside no balcony for $5000. The ship, at the time had balcony rooms for $6000. Three weeks before the cruise, I see that the room I booked is not $4000 and the balcony rooms are bow $5000. Do you call up the cruise line and say either (1) "Hey, the room I booked is now cheaper, could I have it for the lower price, or (2) Hey, the upgraded room is now the same price -- please change my room (obviously if the upgraded room is available).

Is this correct -- is it as easy as that, or will there be some complications associated with this? Are there any costs associated with doing this?

Also, after you make one upgrade/get $ back, and the price goes down again, can you do this a second time?

I know, they are stupid questions, but after going on a few cruises, I never did this and did not even know if it was possible -- my last cruise was free, so I did not worry about it -- the one previous to that was a decade ago before I think Cruise Critic even existed.
Great questions, and not stupid at all!

Here is my understanding, and others can certainly add to this from their experiences.....


If you see a price drop prior to your final payment, then you have a good chance of getting your cabin dropped in price. Do make sure that you are actually looking at the same class of cabin though! Just because you see a commercial which says "Balconies are $4,000" does not mean that your category of balcony has dropped to a lower price.

You have to jump on these as soon as you see them. It is a lot more powerful if you are talking to the cruise line and can say "I am looking at the screen right now, and see that you are offering BB class balconies for $4,000 and I have reservation for a BB at $5,000; can you lower the price?"

To answer your second question; yes - you can make multiple requests to lower the price, basically each time you see the price going down you should jump on it. There is no charge for negotiating these changes.

After final payment you are pretty much stuck with whatever the final price is that you negotiated with the cruise line. In your example you said that you see a price drop three weeks befor the cruise. I suspect that final payment will have been made by then, so you will probably not be able to get a lower price.

I have heard stories of some people being able to negotiate some type of on board credit after final payment, but if others have been able to do this I would like to learn more about how they did it.

Anyone else care to comment on this?
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Last edited by Smokeyham; June 14th, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
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  #920  
Old June 15th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Default Price Drops

I am preparing for my first cruise, but I already have some experience with this. I booked in January at the brochure rate for a single inside cabin category N (sailing as a single and paying the double rate) for my Nov 7 day cruise. Thanks to Cruise Critic, I knew I could get a price drop (this doesn't count for Tuesday sales or if the advertisement declares the price for new bookings only if you book with RCI, btw) before final payment if I kept an eye on it. Checked every day for the first month. Then every week. By April it still hadn't budged and I was only checking once every couple weeks, but someone in my roll call mentioned the price for their cabin going up and I checked RCI's website out of curiosity. My category cabin had gone from $549 to $399. I took a screenshot of the page making sure I had my computer's date and timestamp on it and emailed it to my travel agent. By the end of the day I had a confirmation from my travel agent that I had gotten the price reduction, which was reflected on RCI already and I would be receiving an adjusted invoice for what I still owe, saving myself a nice $300 and it was easy. I've decided to wait until just before final payment is due to pay any more on it so I can take advantage of anymore price drops I can get.

If you are going through a travel agent, they might charge a fee for the change. Mine didn't. I had been debating whether I wanted to work with a travel agent when I cruise again because I'm one of those people who are very hands on and investigates every angle of the trip from the time I walk out my front door to the time I walk back in - not so I can schedule myself to death, but so I know all options available to me and can be flexible and enjoy myself regardless of what hiccups might occur. I went with a travel agent this time since it's my first cruise and I'm extremely hard of hearing and no TTY yet, so if there were problems theoretically it would be easier to text/email my travel agent than dealing directly with the company. It's been hard relinquishing some of the control, but my agent (and her assistants) have been great about taking care of my needs promptly whether it was the price drop or submitting the forms for my assistive devices and I'll probably book with them again for my next cruise.
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