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Old 03-22-2008, 07:46 PM   #101
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To bring up an old thread. Anyways how far in advance do you guys recommend booking. We are looking to go Jan,Feb of 2009?

If you can go in Jan. . There are usually great deals for that month . I usually book when I find a great deal unless I want a specific itinerary or ship .
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:49 PM   #102
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We've never cruised before. We never really wanted to be on a boat with 2,000 other people and much prefer to travel independently. However, DMIL is not getting any younger and DH has always wanted to take her to Alaska so we just booked a cruise for the end of May.

Now that I've researched this whole process, it looks like if you book really early, you can get your choice of cabins, but the price may drop later. The experienced cruisers recommend that you go ahead and book to get your cabin, but keep watching the prices on your cruise (after you've booked, but before final payment is due). If the price does drop after you've booked, you can ask for (and usually get) a price adjustment. Needless to say, the cruise line won't volunteer that info, you'll have to learn it on your own.

Even though a cruise wasn't my first choice, I'm still very excited. Plus, we are going to spend 5 days on our own in the Anchorage area before we get on the boat, so we'll still get some independent time.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:21 PM   #103
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Thanks for the information you two. I guess we will we book early since we have a couple parties going.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:10 PM   #104
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I booked my Jan 08 cruise in Mar 07. I agree, it seems from my research that early/mid January the prices drop. I decided where we wanted to go and what port to leave from first. Then I found out the best price (I used Discount Cruises, Last Minute Cruises, Cruise, Cruise Line, Cruise Vacation to search, since you can sort the columns by price - nice search feature) and decided on the date based on that. THEN, I found a cruise agent I liked and called him, telling him I had several couples interested and seeing if he could get us an even better deal or perhaps onboard credit on top of the price, etc. He held several cabins at the best price and then gave all of us who signed up a bottle of wine and a $25 onboard credit per cabin. It was a great way to organize a group to travel.

Good luck!
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:14 PM   #105
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One thing to remember is that the deposit can lock in a particular fare for months. If the fare drops *before* the balance is due you can often negotiate for the lower rate (because you could always cancel your trip, get your deposit back and rebook at the lower fare anyway).

The "deals" vary by economic condition and time of year -- and by destination. So sayeth my wife the travel agent, anyway...
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:21 AM   #106
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I'm starting to develop a new pet peeve,its people using Acronyms and Abbreviations and expecting every one to know what they mean.Maybe i havent been on the forum long enough to know what LBYM means.After a Google check i now know it means "living beyond your means"..Is it really that much trouble to write the whole phrase?
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:52 AM   #107
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I'm starting to develop a new pet peeve,its people using Acronyms and Abbreviations and expecting every one to know what they mean.Maybe i havent been on the forum long enough to know what LBYM means.After a Google check i now know it means "living beyond your means"..Is it really that much trouble to write the whole phrase?
You may find this thread helpful
http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...rum-19058.html

Although I join in your aversion to the excessive use of acronyms.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:32 AM   #108
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Yeah, well lets just quit that EUA crap right now, eh?

You guys might wanna stay clear of the IEEE discussion forum...
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:49 AM   #109
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Wife and I have taken two cruises.

The first was on the old Independence out of Honolulu. IMO the best way to see Hawaii. No repacking and every morning you are at a different island. The ship was old fashioned, and we had an inside room with lower and upper bunks (it was subsidized by the government when built in the 50's as a potential fast troop carrier). The round shower was so small that the only way to soap up was to stick one elbow out the curtain!
We were glad to have experienced what ocean travel was back when.
(This was the ship that took Grace Kelley to Monaco to get married.)

Alas, i've heard the old ship is being towed to the far east for scrap.

Two years ago we took the Holland American Oosterdam to Alaska and back. We booked on the first trip of the season in the cheapest inside room and got a triple upgrade and a bunch of ship credit.
Nice ship, although maybe too large, great food, good shows. My best memories were standing on deck with Hubbard glacier nearby. It seemed twice as high as the ship, and several miles wide, with bergs constantly breaking off. There was a woman sitting in the hot tub watching it all. Too bad I didn't bring a suit!

On the way back down the gulf of Alaska we ran into 20-30 foot waves.
We sat virtually alone in the bar on deck 10 and enjoyed the show. Luckily there was a bartender who wasn't seasick. Lots of missing diners at supper, and lots of people with patches behind their ear. We were so smug we actually had dessert!!!
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Smile Re booking far ahead
Old 03-27-2008, 01:45 PM   #110
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Smile Re booking far ahead

Just wanted to mention that if you see a cruise you'd like...don't pay for the whole thing way in advance. If you must, you could make a refundable deposit - but sometimes plans change - and many if not all cruise lines won't return full payment...and that wouldn't be good!
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:42 PM   #111
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We've taken many cruises, some booked waaay in advance, others booked less than 90 days out. If you're looking for a specific itinerary, want a specific cabin, or are cruising with a group -- it's better to book early to insure you meet those needs. On the other hand, if you're more flexible in terms of ports, cabins, etc., there are many bargains available online. And, as others have mentioned, keep an eye on the prices before you make that final payment -- I've been able to get the lower prices every time I've asked after the price has gone down (but it's never volunteered by the cruise line!!)

One thing I strongly suggest, no matter when you're booking, is to purchase travel insurance from a site like Travel Guard. If you have to cancel for any reason -- or heaven forbid, you have a situation arise where you have to leave the cruise ship -- the small investment in travel insurance is well worth the cost, IMHO.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:31 PM   #112
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Totally agree about getting travel insurance. When we were younger, we never even thought of it, but we now see the wisdom of having it. We've been on several cruises where people have been taken off either for medical treatment or because they were deceased. Was a wake up call!!
I love cruises. One good site to check is vacationstogo.com...lots of others.
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:21 PM   #113
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because they were deceased
Remember the joke about the old laundry commercials where the person is trying to wash out some blood stains, and the comedian says "maybe if you've got a bunch of blood on your shirt...laundry isnt your biggest problem..."?

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Old 03-28-2008, 11:37 AM   #114
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...
What helps: lying down when mild symptoms start; often that's all you need; ease back on the alcohol. Caffeine also helps. Accupressure (the wrist band contraption) has been shown to be helpful in some weak....
Thanks, Rich. Wow!: "Caffeine also helps." I've found that caffeine withdrawal mimics the symptoms of sea-sickness: headache and that awful nausea.

Every time I've been put under for medical procedures, I get those symptoms, even when they give me anti-nausea meds (the last time they even used three kinds at once-didn't help at all). So I've come to believe that the problem is caffeine withdrawal and the cure for me the next day is to take small sips of coffee until the nausea goes away.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:54 PM   #115
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We have been on something over thirty cruises in the last twenty years. I think it is the best way to see the world. We book most of the trips way in advance. We have booked as much as two years ahead. We have done repositioning, small ships, big ships, old and new. I loved them all. I have never heard anyone on debarkation day say "I will never do this again".

Last year we did Italy, which was one of my favorites. We hit Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, Capri, Portofino, Sicili, and two stops in Croatia. It was 14 days and had we stayed in hotels, and paid for transportation and for meals we would have blown the LBYM budget for the year.

Right now we have four planned. We are doing Alaska in August, Eastern Caribean out of Ft. Lauderdale in Dec., and back to back (Get off one ship and roll onto another)Southern Caribbean out of San Juan in Jan. 2009.

Be sure you have a good travel agent who will negotiate with the cruise companies about final costs. Make sure you are a good match for the particular ship you are going on. Ask the agent to recommend ships that meet your expectations. Some cater to young people and on some you will find more elderly. Some may have a "stuffy" feel, while others may be more relaxed and friendly. A good agent should be able to listen to your expectations and direct you to the right ship, as well as the right itinarary.

Now you know where the name came from,

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Old 04-02-2008, 07:51 PM   #116
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I always thought that I would hate cruises, but when my in-laws wanted to take us on an Alaskan cruise, I agreed since we would be in Alaska for a full week by ourselves before going on the cruise. I figured the cruise would be OK, but the week of going around Alaska would rock.

I have to admit, the cruise was very good. The dining was very good as long as it was the "sit-down" place. The buffet looked really bad, but it didn't stop tons of people from partaking in the trough. I think the best thing about the Alaskan cruise is that you have to take a boat to see some of the spectacular stuff anyways, so you might as well take a cruise. College Fjord and the Inside Passage were amazing. Seeing whales all around us was so must fun. We ended up doing a lot of the excursions ourselves by a renting a car since the cruise company charges more if you do it through them. This does require some preliminary research.

I noticed that some people signed up to go to Denali as part of a cruise package. The hotel that they stayed at was very nice, but it definitely had a package feel to it. We stayed at several interesting places with wonderful cooked food (best salmon I've had in my life). I'm glad we did that part independently even if it probably didn't save us money.

I'm not sure I would like other types of cruises where you are at sea for a long time though.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:22 PM   #117
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I am just setting up my 'poor mans cruise' for Alaska around Memorial Day. I
am flying up to Ketchikan, then taking the Alaska Marine Highway ferries to
Sitka, Juneau, Haines, Skagway, and back to Ketchikan for some camping on a
friends island property. I'll be spending 2-3 days in each city (more in Ketchikan),
hoping to get a better feel for each city than a 6 hour cruise ship stop. Pretty easy
to rent a bike in each city.

I have taken the Marine ferries once before - 36 hours from Bellingham to
Ketchikan. Very relaxing - slept in the movie theatre at night, spend most of the
days on deck.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:35 PM   #118
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I'm starting to develop a new pet peeve,its people using Acronyms and Abbreviations and expecting every one to know what they mean.Maybe i havent been on the forum long enough to know what LBYM means.After a Google check i now know it means "living beyond your means"..Is it really that much trouble to write the whole phrase?
Um, it actually means "living BELOW your means". I should probably warn you about other forums that use the similar term YMOYL. That one stands for Your Money or Your Life, the favorite old-timer book of the thrifty, written by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. You'd not get that one otherwise!

Now if I could only remember who MMMN was....

Now to the cruises: I've been on one, DH won it as a performance bonus and we went with other folks from the company. It was pretty cool, but we like to think of ourselves as backpacker types and it ruins our image to appreciate the comfort and convenience of cruises.

I like the ferry idea, though--that is way cool!
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:06 PM   #119
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Now to the cruises: I've been on one, DH won it as a performance bonus and we went with other folks from the company. It was pretty cool, but we like to think of ourselves as backpacker types and it ruins our image to appreciate the comfort and convenience of cruises.
Yeah, wilderness cruises have a long way to go. But having just gotten back from a cruise to Costa Rica (and last year to Guatemala), you can get pretty far back into the jungle on some of those excursions, if that's your thing.

Still, it's an indulgence type of vacation but one I am learning to enjoy more and more for a lot of reasons. One is that the DW and I can go our own way whenever we want. She likes to attend the various classes and lectures, and I like to work out and then nap (not necessarily in that order). We both like to sleep in but stay up late. We meet cool people at the dinner table. Whatever you fancy, you can do it either together or separately.

And it helps to live near cruise ports - take a cab to the ship and off you go. I'll try to post a few photos of this recent cruise if I can.
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OK - I admit...
Old 04-05-2008, 09:33 AM   #120
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OK - I admit...

That i did not like cruises when I started.

However, the cruises to Alaska two years ago and our September 2007 cruse on the Danube taught me that "all cruises (and boats) are not the same"...

My recommendation? First of all, select the area of the world you want to see. Then look at the cruise "possibilities". If you remember to keep your "destination" in mind (other than just the boat, which is nothing more than a "floating hotel") you may have a better time.

- Ron
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