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Old 10-21-2013, 02:10 PM   #21
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I'm a loyal NCL cruiser. Yes, you can go to the hospitality desk and get the pills for free. The key point is to take the pill every day (when first getting on board, and then every day with breakfast). That'll prevent seasickness. Wait until you are sick, the pill will be of minimal value.
Are you saying that a first time cruiser should take the pills even if there's no reason to think they'll have a problem with sea sickness?
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:27 PM   #22
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I'm prone to seasickness so I take a Bonine every night we are on a cruise before going to bed. It can make you a little sleepy so I find it is a good time to take it. So far so good after five cruises :-) I have had noro virus twice and that was no fun.
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:11 PM   #23
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I'm a loyal NCL cruiser. Yes, you can go to the hospitality desk and get the pills for free. The key point is to take the pill every day (when first getting on board, and then every day with breakfast). That'll prevent seasickness. Wait until you are sick, the pill will be of minimal value.
If you're really prone to sea sickness, you might consider a visit to your primary care doc before you leave and get a prescription for Scopolamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This will not make you sleepy at all, and you won't be able to barf it out (since it's a patch you stick on your skin). I only used it once, in extreme conditions (Straits of Magellan). I was feeling great, athough it did make my vision a little blurry, which recovered quickly once I took it off.
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:30 PM   #24
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Are you saying that a first time cruiser should take the pills even if there's no reason to think they'll have a problem with sea sickness?
Today's cruise ships are designed to reduce feeling the ship's motion. Everyone's sensitivity is different. But no doubt about it, preventing sea sickness is much easier than resolving it (i.e., if the ship is at sea. Terra firma usually works). I got seasick once - on a scuba diving boat - and it was a miserable experience.
So, yes, especially a first-time cruiser should preventively take a seasick pill each day.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:01 PM   #25
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I am 58 and have been on 15 cruises mainly with Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. My main distination has been Alaska 4 times, Mediterranean 1, Caribbean 9, west coast 2. For a senior first time cruiser I would suggest Holland American, as I have had many people in my retirement community rave about them. I personally like Celebrity. The only thing you have to pay for is drinks 5 to 8.00 but specially drinks go up to 20.00 sometimes.
Room I prefer midship to rear balcony usually D1 or D2 class. Oceanview rooms on trans-Atlantic will same you some money, as the balconies are usually too cold to use anyway.
Cruising regardless of destination appears the best way to go regarding cost. Hotels are expensive, food is expensive, an Alaska cruise is usually about 1,500.00 Caribbean about 800.00 and Med is about 800.00
There are plenty of people to help you anywhere you go.
Unless you are a Alc I would not fool with trying to take hard liq on board.
Just enjoy yourself, you will have a great time.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:11 PM   #26
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I'm prone to seasickness so I take a Bonine every night we are on a cruise before going to bed. It can make you a little sleepy so I find it is a good time to take it. So far so good after five cruises :-) I have had noro virus twice and that was no fun.
Are you saying you have been on five cruises and had noro virus on two of them, that's a number that would make me think twice about a cruise vacation.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:59 PM   #27
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I'm prone to seasickness and I have only had one evening over 7 cruises that was so rough I started feeling queasy. I always take my sea bands and put them on if things start to get rough.

They are like sweatshirt cuffs that have a plastic bead on the inside that puts pressure on an acupressure point on the inside of each wrist. No side effects for me. I never leave home without them if I'm going to be anywhere near water. They even work for me after the onset of seasickness.

Sea-Band Adult Wristband for Morning & Travel Sickness - Free Shipping
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:02 PM   #28
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I personally like Celebrity. The only thing you have to pay for is drinks 5 to 8.00 but specially drinks go up to 20.00 sometimes.
We are doing our first cruise this winter on Celebrity. We have a group of 30 and booked a year ahead and one of the options we were given was free drinks for the trip!! Jumped all over that one It was either that or a $75 credit towards an excursion.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:57 PM   #29
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Here is the list of things that cost additional $$$ on top of the ticket, port fees and taxes which should be disclosed when you book. I just took a short cruise last week; so, this is fairly fresh in my mind. But, I do not partake in many of the additional cost services. In fact, the only thing on my account was the gratuities when I left the ship from this latest sailing. Every company is a bit different; but, this should be a reasonable list for all of the cheaper lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, etc.) operating out of FL.
  • Gratuities
    • I understand that you can have these removed from your account if you are so inclined.
    • I have been impressed enough with the on-board service to actually tip a bit more with cash directly on almost every cruise.
  • Anything with alcohol
    • Most boats will let you bring on some wine now.
    • Sneaking your own on really isn't that hard.
  • Soda
  • Decent coffee
  • Shore excursions booked via the cruise line
    • There are free or cheap things to do in almost every port.
    • The cruise line will attempt to frighten you away from doing anything other than their shore excursions.
  • Spa services (including many gym classes such a yoga, Pilates, etc.)
  • Souvenirs, sundries, etc.
  • Internet and phone
  • Parking
  • Laundry service (including just pressing)
Things that are generally free:
  • Most meals (as long as you avoid the specialty restaurants and coffee shops)
    • I have never found the need to pay for any food or coffee.
    • While I do hear people complain about the food occasionally, it is almost always better than anything I would be eating at home.
    • As far as I can tell, the dining staff has no idea if you have the best room or cheapest ticket on the boat.
  • Shows
    • Comedians, Vegas/Broadway style reviews, etc.
    • Quality is a mixed bag; some is surprisingly good.
  • Most on-board recreation (ping pong, shuffleboard, rock climbing, gym, pools, hot tubs, etc.)
  • Room service (although a bit of a tip is customary)

Additional notes in no particular order attempting to address some of your questions:
  • Slacks and a collard shirt are dressy enough for most short, cheap cruises.
    • A blazer of some kind would just be a bonus and only for the dining room.
    • Shorts/trunks and a clean shirt are fine for most of the ship.
  • I am basically an introvert and do not go out of my way to meet others; yet, I almost always do find interesting conversation on-board with random strangers.
  • I spend very little time in my room, basically just sleeping and showering. Anything reasonably priced is very small.
  • If the boat docks in town, I generally just explore on foot during port days.
  • Get and take seasickness meds. Eventually, everyone gets seasick if they sail enough; and, it is no fun. (I rarely take the meds myself.)

My best advice is to just give it a whirl and see if you like the concept.
  • If you have a FL address (FL driver license generally required), you can get some great discounts. Sounds like BIL and SIL can give you more details on that.
  • Another place to look is the Discount Cruises, Last Minute Cruises, Cruise, Cruise Line, Cruise Vacation site. It is not very pretty; but, they do a good job of consolidating various cruise bargains in one place. I am not affiliated but have used it extensively.
Bon voyage!
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:14 PM   #30
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Thank you all for the great input. We feel much more comfortable.
The bits and pieces that we had heard from friends and neighbors were a little scary. Your posts made it more real and we feel better prepared. Will come back after our first voyage, and let you know how we made out.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:56 PM   #31
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One other tip-regarding trip insurance: you should have insurance including medical evacuation as mentioned, but you do NOT have to buy it from the cruise line. The cruise line will not make this clear at all but you can save 50% or more by declining the cruiseline's overpriced coverage, hanging up after you book and calling your own insurance company to get travel insurance. There are also reasonable online companies that will sell you a policy. The coverage is the same, the cost is a fraction of the cruise line's BUT be sure to buy within a short time of booking to be sure pre-existing things are not excluded. We saved several hundreds of dollars doing this on our last cruise.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:25 PM   #32
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One other tip-regarding trip insurance: you should have insurance including medical evacuation as mentioned, but you do NOT have to buy it from the cruise line. The cruise line will not make this clear at all but you can save 50% or more by declining the cruiseline's overpriced coverage, hanging up after you book and calling your own insurance company to get travel insurance. There are also reasonable online companies that will sell you a policy. The coverage is the same, the cost is a fraction of the cruise line's BUT be sure to buy within a short time of booking to be sure pre-existing things are not excluded. We saved several hundreds of dollars doing this on our last cruise.
This is important; but, you may already have it with no additional costs.
  • Personally, my current insurance covers me (both service while offshore and medical evacuation back to USA) as long as I am not out of the USA more than 60 days at a time.
  • Mom's medicare supplement provides similar coverage for her.

And, as long as we are on the subject of insurance, I have never purchased any kind of travel interruption insurance; and, that has been the right financial choice for me. I could take two or three cheap cruises with the money I have saved by not buying these kinds of policies. There was a thread some time ago about these policies offering some differing viewpoints; but, I cannot find it now. And, you may have a credit card offering some of this protection assuming you use that card to book the trip.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:56 PM   #33
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We have been on many cruises and now only go on all inclusives. Favourite line is Regent. Most recent was a Baltic cruise this July. All inclusives are easier, you don't feel like they are nickel and diming you to death. Also we like anytime dining and usually eat at the specialty restaurants. We find the main dining room a little noisy, impersonal and the food is generally not made to order.Cruising can be quite reasonable cost wise. We find the ports of call not that important as any tours will be crowded and cursory. You always seem to be waiting for Aunt Matilda to get back on the bus. Some of the best cruises are repositioning cruises across the Atlantic that don't have many stops. They also are less expensive. Sometimes they have special programs like cooking classes which can be really fun.
I hope you enjoy your cruise.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:39 PM   #34
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One other tip-regarding trip insurance: you should have insurance including medical evacuation as mentioned, but you do NOT have to buy it from the cruise line. The cruise line will not make this clear at all but you can save 50% or more by declining the cruiseline's overpriced coverage, hanging up after you book and calling your own insurance company to get travel insurance. There are also reasonable online companies that will sell you a policy. The coverage is the same, the cost is a fraction of the cruise line's BUT be sure to buy within a short time of booking to be sure pre-existing things are not excluded. We saved several hundreds of dollars doing this on our last cruise.
Very good prices on trip insurance through the USAA website. Not USAA but a company they are recommending.

We have a very high deductible medical policy so the $80 extra is worth it to us. I don't even analyze the trip interruption part of the policy. We buy it for the medical. I hope I never get my money's worth!
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:54 AM   #35
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If you google "cruise reviews" there is an excellent "critic" website that is extensive and can provide answers to any questions that you might have and more.

We just returned from a 12 day cruise on the Celebrity line to Greece and Turkey that was amazing. Met some terrific folks going on the same cruise through that website and went on small private tours that many of them arranged that were more extensive and considerably less expensive that what is offered by the cruise line. The crew was so helpful and friendly and we enjoyed visiting with the captain and a few of the ships officers.

We will be going on a 7 day Carnival cruise in Jan. out of a nearby port just to relax, soak in their Thallasotherapy pool, sit in the steam rooms, lay on heated lounge chairs, eat, and enjoy the entertainment. Since we don't gamble or drink (other than an occasional beer) our costs are the cruise + port charges, tips (these are normally about $12/day for stewards, waiters, etc.), the cost to drive to the port, and paying the cat sitter while we are gone. We were able to get rates for that particular cruise that made it cheaper than staying home.

You can cruise for just the cost of the cruise and tips. Your cabin, all the dining, snacks, entertainment, use of exercise facilities, pools, and hot tubs, are included in the price of the cruise. Adult beverages, gambling, souveniers, and tours are variable if you decide you want to spend extra for these.

Cheers!
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #36
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We will be going on a 7 day Carnival cruise in Jan. out of a nearby port just to relax, soak in their Thallasotherapy pool, sit in the steam rooms, lay on heated lounge chairs, eat, and enjoy the entertainment. Since we don't gamble or drink (other than an occasional beer) our costs are the cruise + port charges, tips (these are normally about $12/day for stewards, waiters, etc.), the cost to drive to the port, and paying the cat sitter while we are gone. We were able to get rates for that particular cruise that made it cheaper than staying home.

Cheers!
Laying in those heated chairs looking out to the ocean is sooooooo relaxing!!! The steam rooms killed the kid crud I had from substitute teaching and the showers in the 'exclusive' locker room were wonderful. I want to go again!
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #37
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I've been looking for a cruise to go on. The price listed is always "per person/double occupancy". If i'm going by myself, does that mean I have to pay double the list price for the full room or is there a way around that?
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:17 PM   #38
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I've been looking for a cruise to go on. The price listed is always "per person/double occupancy". If i'm going by myself, does that mean I have to pay double the list price for the full room or is there a way around that?
Not really but you do only pay the port charges for one person. I do think most of the cruise lines run specials on single supplements in low seasons though and Norwegian's new ship, Epic, might have cabins for single occupancy.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:28 PM   #39
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I've been looking for a cruise to go on. The price listed is always "per person/double occupancy". If i'm going by myself, does that mean I have to pay double the list price for the full room or is there a way around that?
Unfortunately, cruises in general have a huge markup for singles. They don't want to transport one empty bed around the seas if they can help it. There are a couple of ways around this. Sign up at the Vacations To Go website and get access to some radically discounted cruises. There is a specific list of discounts for singles. In most cases there will be some markup but it will be less than you will get just by walking into a travel agent. There are some cruises with no markup. Sometimes the discounts are so deep that you could pay for the whole cabin and still get a bargain.

You could also look for someone to share a cabin with but personally I would not be comfortable with this unless it was a friend. But I know some people join singles travel groups for this reason.

Another idea (not specific to singles) is to use loyalty points to pay for part or all of the cruise. Expedia Cruise Ship Centres does this (and the agents will try to get you the best deal). Two years ago I paid for a 10 day Caribbean cruise on Celebrity using frequent flyer points. I didn't mind using the points as much as I would have minded spending the money!
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:00 AM   #40
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Meadbh gives some good advice to make cruising single more affordable. Additionally, the Carnival (usually one of the cheaper option when cruising from the USA) web site will let you price and sort by total room cost (without tips, taxes, fees, etc.) for a single cruiser. This is the only place I have found where I can book a cruise quickly without having to actually speak to a human being.

The Vacations To Go website does something similar for most cruise lines but is a bit harder to navigate in my opinion. This site is usually my starting point when looking for a cruise.

Most deals for cruising single without a single supplement or with a very low single supplement seem to be for cruises departing in the very near future. (Seems the cruise lines would generally rather fill one bed in the cabin rather than sail with an empty cabin.) I have found this to be a very cost effective way to take a short break from my real life occasionally.
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