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The Cruise Compass

The Cruise compass.Booking a Cruise.

27/12/2010 22:32
BOOKING A CRUISE-CHOOSING YOUR TRAVEL AGENT-CHOOSING YOUR CRUISE-CHOOSING A CRUISE LINE-CHOOSING YOUR CABIN CATAGORY-CHOOSING YOUR CABIN LOCATION CHOOSING YOUR TRAVEL AGENT. There are a lot of decisions to be made in the process of booking a cruise. The very first, and likely one of the most important decisions, is choosing your booking agent. Your choices include: using a travel agent, booking through an on-line booking engine, or dealing directly with the cruise line itself.Whichever you choose, first, be absolutely certain that they have a real, live contact person available for you, to deal with any problems or questions that come up. Some of the on-line booking services deal only through e-mail. If you don’t get answers to your e-mail, what do you do then?   And remember, as a general rule, all cruise lines follow this policy: If you’ve already booked with a travel agent, or booking agent, all your communication and questions MUST go through that agent. The cruise line...

Cruising with children.Advice and packing list.

27/12/2010 22:29
CRUISING WITH CHILDREN: ADVICE AND PACKING LIST:  GENERAL ADVICE FOR CRUISING WITH CHILDREN FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED: I've said this before and I'll repeat it here: knowing what to expect, and what not to,  can make the difference between having a wonderful vacation, versus a disappointing one.  Never is this more true than when planning a cruise with our children.You have to realize up front, that this cruise will not be the same experience it would have been without them.  It's going to take careful planning, and possibly as much work as play.  But a true Cruise Addict is likely to feel that cruising is worth the effort, and no other vacation will do. So before you get your heart set on cruising with your little one, let me eliminate a few potentialmisconceptions.To start with, know that there are minimum age limits for: boarding the ship, swimming in the pools and participation in the children's program. All cruise lines have a minimum age for a...

The Everything but the kitchen sink pacaking list

27/12/2010 22:26
THE EVERYTHING-BUT-THE-KITCHEN-SINK PACKING LIST  The most often asked question on any cruise message board has to be this: What should I pack?  Well, here's your answer.  If it's not on this list, you don't need it. One note here before you start reading this epic packing list: In reality no one really packs ALL this stuff, not even me.  The list is intended to be a guide.  Copy the list, delete the items that you know you will never use, then print and pack. I’ll start with a bit of obvious advice, but it’s worth highlighting.  While traveling always keep these essentials on your person or in your closely guarded:  CARRY-ON BAG:  ___ Identification documents (passport, birth certificates, visas, and proof of inoculations where needed, etc.) ___ Your itinerary and all cruise, airline, insurance, hotel and rental car confirmation numbers and documentation. ___ Jewelry and valuables ___ Name and contact...

Packing for your Cruise

27/12/2010 22:20
PACKING FOR YOUR CRUISE-LUGGAGE LIMITS-WHAT TO WEAR-PACKING HINTS LUGGAGE LIMITS Start by checking with your airline before packing, to determine the current limitations on bag number size and weight. Most airlines are now restricting passengers to only one checked bag, measuring no more than 62 linear inches (total height, width and length) and weighing not more than 50 pounds.  Specific limits vary with different airlines, fare categories, and itineraries. Be prepared to pay significant fees for any excess.The same advice holds if you are not flying.  Check with your cruise line to learn their luggage limits:  Most cruise lines are more liberal with their luggage allowances, most stating only that they permit each passenger to bring a “reasonable amount of personal property, including luggage”,  and advising that you ”limit the number of pieces you take, for your own comfort and convenience.”  Those that give specifics, generally state a per...

Cruising Advice-Part two

27/12/2010 22:11
  CRUISING ADVICE: Part two.MONEY AND TIPPING-THE FINAL BILL-DEBARKATION-AFTER THE CRUISE  MONEY AND TIPPING  All ships use similar versions of a cashless system, where you are issued a shipboard account accessed by a "Sign and Sail card".  At embarkation they will electronically scan your credit card, or have you deposit an amount of cash, to back up the Sign and Sail card that they issue.  The Sign and Sail card looks like a credit card and is used for any purchases made aboard the ship (such as: spa services, beauty salon, ship sponsored shore excursions, gift shop purchases, photo purchases, non-included beverages, etc.) Those charges are then applied to your credit card at the end of the cruise in one lump sum.On most ships, this sign and sail card also serves as your room key, and your boarding pass, and therefore is required for you to get on and off the ship. You will have an identification photo taken during check-in. This photo...

Cruising Advice-Part One

27/12/2010 21:58
  CRUISING – Part One.-EMBARKATION DAY-LIFE ONBOARD-SEASICKNESS SOLUTIONS-GOING ASHORE EMBARKATION DAY What should you expect, on Embarkation day? …… Well first off, expect a line; a long line. If you have booked one of the new, larger ships there will likely be anywhere from three to five thousand people attempting to board that ship in a few short hours. Example: if you’re leaving out of a Florida port, official boarding time will likely be about one pm, with sailing usually set for about five, targeting to have all passengers embarked by 4:00 pm. That means they expect all those people to arrive and be processed between 1:00 and 3:30pm. That’s 1200 to 2000 people per hour. A line is inevitable.And be aware of the potential for delay. Sometimes delays with the previous passengers cause that line to be exceptionally long. Many things can hold up the previous passengers from leaving the ship. Usually, it’s a problem with customs, or delays getting the ship back into port. Even...


27/12/2010 21:45
 PRECRUISE.-TRAVEL INSURANCE-BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS-TIPS FOR FLYING-BEFORE YOU GO TRAVEL INSURANCE: Once you’ve chosen and booked your cruise the very next thing you need to do is to buy the travel insurance. While most cruise deposits are fully refundable prior to the penalty phase, you never know when an unforeseen life event will require you to cancel your trip in those last few weeks, (illness, job loss, death in the family, etc.) While the loss of that two or three thousand dollars, (or more) may not be enough to break your budget, the costs of a canceled or interrupted cruise can amount to a lot more than your up-front costs. Emergency medical care or medical evacuation can cost a fortune. (Remember most health care policies do not apply if you are outside of your own country.)And there are many other potential events that can ruin your cruise, and cost you plenty if you don’t have insurance. Items like: lost or delayed luggage, or a missed plane or ship, requiring last...

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