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Cruising: LBYM. NOT.
Old 02-01-2008, 09:14 PM   #1
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Cruising: LBYM. NOT.

I'll admit it. After decades of professing to hate cruises (we've taken maybe 6), they have grown on me. Aside from some occasion-specific family trips, we have mostly done 5 to 7 day Caribbean and Latin America itineraries.

The destinations are almost irrelevant to us, and with infrequent exceptions, you can have the t-shirt shops and faux jewelers. We either do nature stuff or often stay on the ship.

But we've learned to settle into a mindless daily routine, eat ad lib but watch our portions, work out every day. We usually request a dinner seating late, and hope for 2 or 3 other couples. Over the years we've made friends on cruises that we still see once in a while. Recently, the day might go something like this: wake up, breakfast, find a deck chair and read for an hour. Nap (I am a power napper). Then lunch. Visit with strangers. Work out on a treadmill overlooking the open seas. Shower, dinner with lots of laughs if we were lucky at our table assignment. Then a cheesey show or maybe a few bucks at the casino. Glass of brandy, then sleep. Repeat.

It's pleasantly numbing and relaxing. I may not enjoy it so much after I FIRE, but for a working stiff, it's pretty darn nice.

End of March we have our first 10 day outing -- Panama Canal, and we can drive to and from the cruise terminals, which helps. Pretty cheap this year for some reason.

This feels like a very counter-cultural, non-LBYM post. Anyone else care to admit that they've actually taken a cruise?
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:16 PM   #2
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I think Nords has been on a couple. I've been on 4 or 5.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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I always thought I would feel claustrophobic on a cruise. However, several years ago I helped to organize an educational event for an organization I was involved with, and we had it on a cruise ship. We travelled from Vancouver to Alaska and back through the Inside Passage. We had a ball.

Cruises are no bargains for singles; the single supplement is outrageous.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:30 PM   #4
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I am looking forward to an Alaskan cruise, Peru/Chile would be nice too. Yes, I would prefer something that took me to a less inhabited place and introduced something other than another marketing destination, but both could easily happen with no complaint from me...
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:37 PM   #5
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I paid money to crew on a tall ship for a couple of weeks, does that count? There were no deck chairs or late dinner seatings. But I had a blast and came back totally refreshed. I noticed that I appreciated hot showers more after that trip.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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We just got back from our first cruise to the Western Caribbean. I actually think it's a pretty darned good deal, and LBYM as far as nice vacations go! We had a 7 day cruise for something like $1120 per person. That is $160 per day per couple for a room, all the food you want, free entertainment, and transportation to various ports. Pretty decent when you figure a decent hotel could run you ~$100 per night and then you'd have to buy all your meals on top of that.

Mind you, not as cheap as camping, but still a great value for the money, IMO.

P.S. It helps when you smuggle alcohol on board Or at least that's what I hear....
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:23 PM   #7
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P.S. It helps when you smuggle alcohol on board Or at least that's what I hear....
Naughty girl .

They do charge a hefty corkage fee if you bring your own wine. But hard stuff in a flask or uninspected bottle might be a consideration.

Or at least that's what I hear...
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:25 PM   #8
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Before RE, DW and I took three. The first to Alaska for 7 nights. Wonderful and the excursions were great. The second to the Caribbean for seven nights also good but not as good as Alaska. The third cruise last year for seven nights along the New England coastline into Canada. This was lots of fun also with good side trips. Overall the best for us was Alsaka! We may take one in Europe in a few years but are not ready now.

We also have made some friends on the cruises and usually over eat. The show are pretty good on RC.

Thanks, Rich. Now I want to go on a cruise again!
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:28 PM   #9
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Naughty girl .

They do charge a hefty corkage fee if you bring your own wine. But hard stuff in a flask or uninspected bottle might be a consideration.

Or at least that's what I hear...


some people might even use handy little devices like these....
Rum Runner Flasks
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:37 PM   #10
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Been to Alaska, the southern Carribean and the western several times.
Going again next Friday from Galveston. One of the greatest things about living in Texas was having that port a few miles down the road.
But, in the end, the spiders, snakes, and scorpions won out.
Yep, them thar three S's finally got me.

You're welcome REW.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:40 PM   #11
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:47 PM   #12
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Never been but wife has. Its on the to do list soon. Friends of ours want to head out from Galveston too. Seems like it would be alot of fun.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:52 AM   #13
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Have been on two so far. Alaska Inside Passage. Great cruise and loved every minute of it. Will do again in a couple of years.

Western Caribbean. The boat broke so we did not get past Key West from Ft. Lauderdale. Ended up in Royal Caribbean's own cay. Not exactly what we wanted but still beat w*rking.

Next one is Southern Caribbean from Miami in April. 7 day cruise with some family.

Want to do the Panama Canal trip from Miami? to the west coast through the canal.
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:13 AM   #14
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Been on 4 of them. The 1st one was going to be our 'last family vacation' with the kids. They were all getting old and wanting to get on with their 'lives'. So I asked them what they wanted to do. My DD suggested a cruise, as we had never done one. I arranged it. We HAD A BLAST. On the airplane home, DD was sitting next to me and leaned over and said 'Dad, this was a great vacation, which cruise are we going on next year?'.... 3 more cruises later before we OD'ed on them.

Lots of fun... do as much as you want or as little as you want ... hmmm kinda like retirement .

Also if you shop around and get lucky (very year dependent), you can get cruises for less than $100/per person/day. Which makes it not quite cheap as camping, but affordable for what you get.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:55 AM   #15
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We've been on two, a three-day event years ago to the near Carribbean on a rust bucket which was only OK, and an Alaskan inside passage cruise out of Vancouver that was outstanding. However, it was marred in that we left Vancouver on September 10, 2001. Royal Carribbean and the ship's crew handled 9/11 very well, and we really enjoyed the trip despite the sadness.

We'll probably go on another as a retirement trip, and the one I'd really like to do is the Panama Canal. Has anyone done that one?
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:47 AM   #16
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We cruised the Alaska Inside Passage several years ago on a very small cruise ship (130 passengers). There were no shows, no casino, no dinner seatings, no dressing up. Just a library/lounge and a bunch of friendly people who were interested in the natural beauty and distinct culture of the place. Indeed, the most popular crew members onboard were the naturalists who would explain the various animals and plants. Because it was so small, we stopped in many out of the way places in addition to the standard cruise ship destinations. It was also possible for the captain to do things such as turn the ship around so we could follow a pod of orcas that we came across. For us, the ship was a place to eat and sleep and get from one place to the next, but we spent most of the time ashore. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole package. I suspect, however, that I would not enjoy going on a big cruise ship in the Caribbean.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:52 AM   #17
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P.S. It helps when you smuggle alcohol on board Or at least that's what I hear....
How difficult is it to put some bottles in your luggage. Or, am I missing something?
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:57 AM   #18
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How difficult is it to put some bottles in your luggage. Or, am I missing something?
I think we're just having a little fun with that whole issue, but the baggage does get pretty roughed up and inspected for cruises these days. Even if nobody cared about the booze, you'd better pad it real well.

I'd love to do Alaska some day. Before it melts.
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:06 AM   #19
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Over the years, DW and I have been on over 20 cruises. We do a lot of travel and cruising has not been a large part of it. In fact, it has been about five-six years since our last. Nevertheless, the bug has hit us again. We have a 10 day cruise, of the southern Caribbean, booked for March 9th. We will drive (from Denver) making stops in Memphis and Nashville on the way to Ft. Lauderdale. After the cruise, we will drive back through New Orleans and Phoenix. (MSC Cruises - Cruise to South Africa, SA Cruise Vacation, Luxury Cruise Offers or more specifically MSC Cruises - Cruise to South Africa, SA Cruise Vacation, Luxury Cruise Offers)

Actually, this is LBYM in full bloom. The 10-day cruise will cost about $1,800 -- that's room and board. This form of travel has always proven to be the least expensive for us. In fact, the driving portion of this trip may end up costing more -- we are taking a car not a motor home.
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:14 AM   #20
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How difficult is it to put some bottles in your luggage. Or, am I missing something?
Actually, according to frequent cruisers on cruisecritic.com, the cruiselines are cracking down on people bringing alcohol on board. The most stringent of cruiselines is supposed to be Norwegian. They scan the luggage. If you have anything resembling a bottle they keep your luggage, and you get a note to come to the "naughty room" where they will inspect it with you. They keep any alcohol you may have brought on and then return it to you at the end of the cruise. This is all just what I hear, never experienced this myself!

Oh, and most cruise lines don't advertise it, but typically you can purchase what is called a "bar set-up" ahead of time. You can buy a liter or two of alcohol that you can have delivered to your room so you can have a drink while getting ready, on the balcony, etc.
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