Jump to content

Practical question about longer cruises


Recommended Posts

I'm finally planning to retire (YAY!!) and to celebrate, we booked a 3-week cruise plus 2-3 overnights on each end.  The longest we've ever been away has been 2 weeks, so I just had USPS hold the mail and then hit the road.  I'm looking forward to a longer cruise but am wondering what you all do to manage your lives back home while you're traveling, i.e., mail, bills, etc.  Can you share any tips from your own experience?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Automatic bill payments, pay other bills that don't have automatic payment advance, hold mail, forget email, stash laptop in cabin safe. Totally unplug. A few neighbors, friends and relatives know when we will be gone. ADT is activated. We cruise in the winter months so yard issues are of no concern.

 

Enjoy the cruise. That's it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, clo said:

Do you already pay your bills online? We have for ages and it makes a huge difference.  

Yes, I do pay bills online.  But what about unexpected mail?  You never know when something might need to be addressed.  (It's probably my corporate mindset, but I'm used to assessing risk!)  🙂

Edited by YoPhilly
Link to post
Share on other sites

All my regular monthly bills set for autopay in full.  On, my condo fee on my second home is paid automatically each month via my bank's bill pay feature.  It's been that way for well over a decade, almost two.  For the very rare non-recurring bills that can't be auto paid, I pay online or call and give my CC over the phone.

 

I'm single and travel a lot so don't have pets. I have a housemate at my primary home who takes care of the place when I'm away 6-8 months each year.  My second home is a condo where I spend winters and 2 months during the summer, so no worries there as I clean the place and close the door and go.  My mail goes to my primary address and a stack of it is waiting for me when I get back after being in Vail for 4 months each winter.

 

My own personal opinion about longer cruises...  I did a 30+ day cruise from Lisbon to Buenos Aires last December, and while I loved all the ports, the food, as excellent as it is, gets old after about 20 days.  At 21 days I think you'll be just fine in this regard, although assessments of this sort are very personal and vary widely, so your experience may well differ.  I've decided 20 days is my limit for future cruises, but if it was a good itinerary I'm sure I would stretch it another day or two if needed.  I almost always do 3-5 nights pre and post cruise as long as they are different cities. Next year I'm doing the western half of the Australia circumnavigation (18 days) vs. the full circumnavigation of 35 days.  I'm doing 5 nights in Sydney and 3 nights in Bali before the cruise even though it ends in Sydney because it ends in early January which is later than I like to cruise as it conflicts with ski season so I need to get back straight away after the cruise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

YoPhilly, do you know about Informed Daily Delivery from the US Post Office?  Once you sign up for it, you will get a daily email showing scanned copies of the front of each piece of mail that will be coming to your address each day.  You will receive it even while your mail is being held.  It won't help you with what is inside the piece of mail but at least you will know what mail you are missing.  Hope this helps.  

 

Enjoy your cruise and especially your retirement!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Check your home insurance.  Many will have requirements that the home have someone check it regularly.  If no one checks the home and something such as a power outage causes freezing and a pipe breaks you may not be covered.   If you have a maintenance plan with a company eg. furnace, make sure the person handling your home knows about it so the right company addressees the problem. 

If someone is helping with your home,  make sure they know how to get hold of you and make it clear what authority they have to spend money on your behalf in an emergency. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, mrs. gee said:

YoPhilly, do you know about Informed Daily Delivery from the US Post Office?  Once you sign up for it, you will get a daily email showing scanned copies of the front of each piece of mail that will be coming to your address each day.  You will receive it even while your mail is being held.  It won't help you with what is inside the piece of mail but at least you will know what mail you are missing.  Hope this helps.  

 

Enjoy your cruise and especially your retirement!

No, I didn't know about that!  That could be very helpful.  Do they scan only First Class mail or bulk mail too (like catalogues and junk mail)?

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Waynetor said:

Check your home insurance.  Many will have requirements that the home have someone check it regularly.  If no one checks the home and something such as a power outage causes freezing and a pipe breaks you may not be covered.   If you have a maintenance plan with a company eg. furnace, make sure the person handling your home knows about it so the right company addressees the problem. 

If someone is helping with your home,  make sure they know how to get hold of you and make it clear what authority they have to spend money on your behalf in an emergency. 

 

Thanks, Waynetor, for these reminders.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have someone who can respond to an alarm? Might that be the same person who checks on your home while you are away? Do you have someone who will check your lawn for a newspaper that got cancelled but is still being delivered? 

Alert your bank and credit card companies of your extended absence. And at the same time you might want to extend your credit line....there's always a Persian rug you never thought you needed but just had to have.

Do any of your ports of call have inoculation guidelines? Shots like Yellow Fever and Tetanus have a two week "waiting" period before they are effective.

Do any countries you plan on visiting require a visa? That's in the preplanning stage of course but it's still something to plan for.

The list is endless but being away for three weeks is awesome.....enjoy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, alcpa1 said:

Do you have someone who can respond to an alarm? Might that be the same person who checks on your home while you are away? Do you have someone who will check your lawn for a newspaper that got cancelled but is still being delivered? 

Alert your bank and credit card companies of your extended absence. And at the same time you might want to extend your credit line....there's always a Persian rug you never thought you needed but just had to have.

Do any of your ports of call have inoculation guidelines? Shots like Yellow Fever and Tetanus have a two week "waiting" period before they are effective.

Do any countries you plan on visiting require a visa? That's in the preplanning stage of course but it's still something to plan for.

The list is endless but being away for three weeks is awesome.....enjoy.

Alcpa1, thanks for the suggestions.  I especially like your comment about rugs.  I didn't want one, didn't intend to buy one...but now there's a gorgeous Moroccan rug in my living room! 🙂  3 weeks!  Yes, I think I'm going to enjoy retirement.  🙂 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Give a house key to a trusted neighbor

In our case rather than hold mail we had neighbor pick it up daily

Make sure they have cellphone and email addresses

Secure any cash and valuables/jewelry (we have a safe)

Autopay is your friend. 

Make sure you have money in checking account to cover needs for cash like ATM

For longer cruises start of list of anticipated payments and you can pay them forward or leave a check/envelope with your neighbor for mailing at appropriate time (car payments with coupon, mortgage, estimated taxes)

If taking a computer -- make sure you have a good VPN installed and know how to use it.  Foreign country wi-fis are not friendly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We've gone away for as long as 5 weeks without access to our mail and had no surprises that needed our attention.

We pay bills online, a few go automatically to our credit card.

We have a freeze alarm, which calls if the temperature in our house goes too low.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, mrs. gee said:

Junk mail, yes.  Magazines/ catalogs, no.

Size somewhat matters.  Smaller brochures are sometimes scanned...like all those small Oceania brochures that arrive daily 🙄 😁.

 

It also looks like some of the commercial vendors provide the USPS with scanned images.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We were gone 23 days and, quite honestly, my biggest concern was boarding my dog.  For the house, we have Ring and, with WIFI on ship, I really don't worry about bills.  Did mine on a slow period for work, but checked emails once or twice a week.   I think that 23 days is my limit though.  I loved the vacation, but was ready to come home.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had our son pick up the mail and he paid anything that was urgent.  Next time we will leave him with some money to cover those unexpected bills.  Most of our bills are automatically paid, so no worries.  For insurance purposes we have a company check our house every week.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, PaulMCO said:

Give a house key to a trusted neighbor

In our case rather than hold mail we had neighbor pick it up daily

Make sure they have cellphone and email addresses

Secure any cash and valuables/jewelry (we have a safe)

Autopay is your friend. 

Make sure you have money in checking account to cover needs for cash like ATM

For longer cruises start of list of anticipated payments and you can pay them forward or leave a check/envelope with your neighbor for mailing at appropriate time (car payments with coupon, mortgage, estimated taxes)

If taking a computer -- make sure you have a good VPN installed and know how to use it.  Foreign country wi-fis are not friendly.

VPN!!  I keep forgetting to research and install one.  This is a good reminder.  Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

We were gone 23 days and, quite honestly, my biggest concern was boarding my dog.  For the house, we have Ring and, with WIFI on ship, I really don't worry about bills.  Did mine on a slow period for work, but checked emails once or twice a week.   I think that 23 days is my limit though.  I loved the vacation, but was ready to come home.  

Thanks, hubofhockey.  I'm looking forward to the luxury of time and seeing what my limit is!! 🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, no fuss travel said:

We had our son pick up the mail and he paid anything that was urgent.  Next time we will leave him with some money to cover those unexpected bills.  Most of our bills are automatically paid, so no worries.  For insurance purposes we have a company check our house every week.

Thanks for your suggestions.  P.S. I love your name: "No Fuss Travel"!  😄

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget to turn off your cellular data or go to airplane mode on your phone.  I shared a pic of the Golden Gate moments after sailing under in on Regatta last month, and we had just gone from AT&T data to Cellular at Sea.  GIANT CHARGE!  

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, marieps said:

Don't forget to turn off your cellular data or go to airplane mode on your phone.  I shared a pic of the Golden Gate moments after sailing under in on Regatta last month, and we had just gone from AT&T data to Cellular at Sea.  GIANT CHARGE!  

Yes, I've read horror stories of cell phone charges at sea.  I use my phone's camera, so right away I switch it to airplane mode until I'm back on solid ground.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team: New Ship Ultramarine
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...