Skip to comments.FReeps Ahoy 4 - Caribbean Cruise - Thread II
Posted on 03/05/2006 8:33:11 AM PST by DoughtyOne
I'm on board - for whatever that's worth.
Glad to hear it. Folks are going to have a great time.
I am one of the $50 prize winners you know.
You won't catch me putting on airs though, I'll just be my usual charming self.
She's deciding what to take on the cruise. She'll be a long in a minute.
Congrats for scoring the $50 prize btw. Some people have all the luck...
I've been here all along, lurking in the torments of panic as my balky computer wouldn't connect me with this new thread. I see you all carried on admirably in my absence.
Thanks, DoughtyOne, for the smooth segue into Thread Two.
Segue-ing right along, I want to announce to any newcomers to this cruise thread as well as those still undecided about our maritime freeper adventure to make that quantum leap and sign on.
There's still almost two months till embarkation, but the ship is filling up rapidly. You must get your oar in pretty quick....like this coming week....or you may be left standing forlornly at the dock while your dream ships sails away without you.
Phone our mermaid travel agent, Wanda, at 1-800-266-1167 (PST) Monday. Tell her you're with the Free Republic group. She'll arrange everything hassle-free for you as she has been doing these past two month for our very satisfied and delighted freeper cruisers. She'll find a nice sunny cabin with picture window overlooking the sea just for you.
Itinerary - # 9
Fares - 23
Booking - 23
St. Thomas - 84
St. Maarten - 159
Princess Cay, Nassau (freeper beach party) - 201, 203
Freeper Raves - 223
Required ID - 24
Comfort Inn - 249, 486
Sample Ships Menu - 114
Cabin Photos - 392
Movies Under the Stars (Wow!) - 394, 395, 396
Famous Havensight Mall, St. Thomas - 477, 483
James Bond Casino Royale - 488
Ship's Public Rooms and Salons - 522
From DoughtyOne, our masterful, artistically and technically superior Cruise Webmaster, a $50 gift certificate for Home Depot where you can find everything for all those cruddy jobs you're forced to do yourself. Also great home decorating stuff at Home Depot. What a verrrrry desirable prize to bring back with you from the cruise, guys and gals.
From our Alabama belle, Bizzy Bugz, we have a donation of two spectacular Swarovsky American Flag jewelry pins. Quality items, the pieces are in gold tone with red, white and blue Austrian crystals.
Bizzy ordered these from freeper Gene McDonald's (Seeking the Truth) great collection of freep stuff which can be linked from the FR home page.
Which reminds me, every cruiser will need a tight cap on this cruise, believe me. Why not look at Gene's freepstuff caps and order one? I'm going to be wearing my FR cap when walking on the very windy deck. Mine is navy with an American flag on it and "Free Republic" in reds and whites. You may want one in white for the tropics. Great for the beach, also. Everyone needs an FR cap on this cruise, yah, yah!
This cruise is shaping up to be gobs of fun. Thanks to involved and enthusiastic freepers like Bizzy Bugz and DoughtyOne it's going to be even more fun.
Love ya both....throwing kisses your way!
Marigot is the capital of the French side of St. Maarten. The architecture of the tiny city is a mixture of part French colonial, part gingerbread houses and part colorful Creole buildings.
It's elegant, it's Mediterranean, and it's lively with a tropical touch. It's got sidewalk cafes, open-air restaurants and chic boutiques. It's fun just to stroll around and breath in the European atmosphere on the main boulevard.
Marigot's beautiful little port is right there. "Heaven" is sitting at a little waterfront French cafe with a demitasse or a glass of wine and take in the vies. Magnifique!
Wednesday is market day in Marigot with displays of colorful wares......fruits, flowers, tropical clothes flapping on lines from the sea breeze, cool refreshements, and, of course, native crafts.
And....voila, we'll be pulling into St. Maarten on market day! Great luck.
There are good bargains to be found here to take home for yourself or for souvenirs. Things are actually less expensive on St. Maarten than in St. Thomas. This island is the last stop we make for shopping opportunities, so early on Wednesday morning get ready, get set.....and......CHARGE!
(.......yes, credit cards are accepted everywhere we go on this cruise).
I couldn't resist posting the photo of the liberal Robert (Woodward) Redford's house on a mountain side in Marigot. I'll leave the comments to you, LOL.
I gotta find that place!
Anyone want to join me there for a white wine cooler and a fresh-baked chocolate-filled croissant?
C'est la vie, mon amis.
I am working on a couple of friends to get them to sign up. They are not members here but just nice people.
She wants to go but he doesn't - claims he gets sea sick.
Two years ago, some freepers came with friends who were staunch Democrats. They were the nicest folks in the world. They had a ball and we loved their company. Maybe we converted them a little as a sidebar, who knows, heheh.
Actually, it's amazing how little politics are involved in our cruises.....there's just too many thing to see and do and talk about. A lot of folks want to get away from politics for a while.
We've also had a lady or two whose husbands can't get off work, or they get seasick, or whatever. These fine fellows encouraged their wives to go anyhow. It's only for a week, plus.....how can anyone be in more secure company than with our fine freeper family?
Tell your lady friend to start shopping for cruise clothes and join the party!
BTW, We had another freeper couple sign on today.....and we'll wait for them to chime in here.
Those cruise ships are so big and have stabalizers to dampen any motion,
Even when we hit real heavy seas 2 years ago , they were coming over the bow, the ship didn't pitch very much.
Usually this time of year the sea is so flat that that there isn't any motion at all.
For some unknown reason I haven't had a problem with sea sickness on smaller boats in swells or choppy water but it's hard for me to even look at carnival rides without getting queasy.
A larger ship with a cabin near mid ship will be even easier.
I was just looking over the material I received in the mail and noticed the form to fill out concerning the tours on the islands.
Do most people take the guided tours or are we somewhat free to go out exploring on our own? Which is best?
Some just stroll around in the nice malls and shops adjacent to the dock in the morning, and then go back to the ship for lunch and for whatever else on the ship after that.
As an aside, the casinos and shops are closed when a ship is in port. Some organized activities are shut down because the ship's staff gets to go ashore also.
It's wise to reserve your tours ahead of time, or the same day you board. Some popular ones fill up fast.
We have two sea days before we pull into St. Thomas. Next day is St. Maarten. So, at dinner the nights before, find out who else in our group signed up for your particular shore excursion and you may want to hook up together when you disembark in port. Or go solo. It's your call.
You don't have to take a bus tour. There's always cabs waiting at the dock to take you where you want to go. On a past cruise, I checked with waiting taxis by asking "how much to take me to what I should see on this island?" I got a good price from a cabbie (he was also a walking encyclopedia of his island). Factor in a tip. I had a very nice, moderately priced, comprehensive tour with a fellow freeper cruiser. We split the cost.
You're always free to go exploring on your own......rent a car or motor bike if you want. LOL. If it's a walking tour, stay on the main drags and adjacent side streets.
Vehicles to take you around on both ports are licensed and regulated by the island's government and can be trusted. Just make sure your terms with the driver are clear beforehand.
Tour buses are regulated, clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. The driver is your guide. He should be tipped also. Bring enough dollar bills with you. Small bills can be obtained at the ship's front desk.
We freepers are all together at dinner and it's fun to jabber about what we did and saw during the day. We don't do everything as a herd, but we do sorta keep in touch. Actually, freepers like to be together. It's a phenomenum I've noticed on every cruise.
We didn't solicit for prizes on this thread, yet generous freepers donated anyhow. The donors send wishes for a happy voyage. More than that they know we'll be representing conservativism to other ship passengers who want to know who we are........and some of us will be passing out FR cards during the week. Bahama Mama never leaves home without her FR cards.
All this is positive advertising for this great forum. Plus, any funds raised from the voyage will be donated to FR to support its vital work.
Many thanks to donors DoughtyOne, Flaglady47, Oswegodeee, Bizzy Bugz, Carlo3b, plus an anonymous friend of FR, plus a conservative local businessman whom Bahama Mama schmoozed-up for a great prize. He never knew what hit him, heheh.
Then there's that mysterious little sailing-away gift that we promised on the first thread. Each member of our group will receive one of these packets during the embarkation-night dinner as the Caribbean Princess silently heads out of Florida waters to tropical climes.
As we stated in the first thread, the value of each little packet is less than ten cents. It's smaller than a bread box but larger than a match box. Incredibly, this surprise is something you'll use every day and evening during the entire week. Hmmm.
Thanks again to our very involved donors. You are great Americans!
What are F.R. cards?
Mine is white with red and blue printing. Each card has a little American flag on it.....plus my screen name, my e-mail addy, and WWW.Free Republic.com. You can add "The premier political forum on the web" or whatever in script. Always vary your lines in color and font (script and block).
I hand them out all the time if I strike up political conversations. When GWB came to St. Pete, I was standing next to a large group of local Young Republicans lining the street waiting for the President to come out of an auditorium. I struck up a conversation with them and not one knew about Free Republic. Ah......fertile ground for Bahama Mama. I exhausted the supply of cards I brought with. All these young men had computers and, who knows, maybe some of them are posting here today.
At any rate, tons of freepers have their own cards. You design your own.
I'll be bringing mine with on the cruise and you can take a gander at them.
BTW, the President came out of the auditorium when he was done speaking. He made a beeline towards the YR's. He shook hands all around including mine. Everyone was thrilled to death. Man, let me tell you, the President has such charisma up close and personal....it's like an aura that folks can feel.
They'll be coming from Florida (several), California (several), Missouri, Illinois, Utah, Alabamy, Massachusetts (Cambridge, yet!.....home of Hahvard University)...and New Jersey.
This terrific mix will certainly make for some scintillating conversations on board. Can't wait.
Folks, you can join this fun trip, also. Don't be moping in May wishing you were vacationing in paradise with a great group of freepers. Tempus is fugiting and I advise you sign up now while Wanda can still get you a good cabin that suits your budget.
Phone Wanda now at 1-800-266-1167 and she'll take care of everything for you so that you can relax and just think about the nice time you're going to have in May.
If you want, arrive in Fort Lauderdale and stay overnight with some of us at the Comfort Inn the night before we sail. It'll be sort of a "getting to know you" evening! The Inn's van will take our group, luggage and all, right to the ship the next morning after a complimentary hot breakfast. Wanda can arrange a room in the inn for you also, as well as your air transportation. It's all done in a hassle-free package, really very easy.
Freepers, if you've alway wanted to participate in a Magnificent Freep, this is it! Hurry, hurry, don't put off that phone call.
Pre-cruise packets have been or are being sent to those freepers already signed up. There are forms to be filled out in the packet.
YOUR TICKET(S) IS NOT in this packet. It will be mailed to you later.
The Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Boat!
Meet us in Ft. Lauderdale, Irish, and sail away with us on the Love Boat.
P.S. I bought my corned beef today.
Most everything is covered in your information package and I'm not going to duplicate. My comments will be useful ideas picked up from many voyages.
Covered will be a few tidbits on what to pack and wear, how to save money on the trip, and some info on embarkation day.
Yours truly has to finish her IRS tomorrow and Saturday, or yo' Mama will be in the Graybar Hotel while y'all are in the Comfort Inn.
Don't they have corned beef on board ship? Should I bring my own?
By the way, I just finished rereading "The Innocents Abroad", I read it the first time when I was in high school and had forgotten that Mark Twain can get down right long winded in his descriptions of things. I still consider him one of the best authors ever.
(Another by the way) Mark Twain had a very low opinion of Islam and Arabs in general.
(one more by the way and I am outta here). Mark Twain had a son who was even better known then Mark was.
We had corned beef tonight, cooked one that we had in the freezer from last year!
P.S. don't invite me over for fruitcake.
The only thing left arter 48 years is the picture album and wedding gifts that we still use.
Bahama Mama will put in a request to him on behalf of our group as soon as we board. You'll all be notified if we get permission. The tour, if approved, will be on a sea day.
Generally, you are shown around the bridge by a senior officer or two plus the Quartermaster of the Watch. If he's not otherwise occupied, the Captain will join us for handshakes and a photo op. Questions will be patiently answered. The 180-degree panoramic view of the sea from about 15-18 decks up is phenomenal in itself.
Joining our FR group for this tour is optional. But for some of you it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was on the bridge on one of the Holland America ships, and it was awesome. Don't miss this, peeples.
You'll have to check the schedule you get every morning in your "Princess Patter", but I believe on the last sea day, you can attend a cooking demonstration. Very informative and funny, too. Two chefs (not connected with the ship except by contract) put on a great show!
The demonstration ends with a tour of the galley. Here you can see how thousands of meals are prepared on a ship (and that's just for dinner!). Seeing the cleanliness, the compactness and the amazing use of space in the galley is an experience in itself.
Freepers, there's still time to sign up for this cruise. You can't get a vacation anywhere at this price with so many activities and informative opportunities to chose from.
Freepmail me at "MinuteGal" if you want a personal answer to any question about booking.
Be sure to read everything in your pre-cruise information booklets thoroughly.
I suggest you start a "cruise tablet" and take notes of the tips here that will be of use to you. It'll be too difficult to scroll back at the last minute to find things you forgot to remember.
If anyone has good tips on packing, what to bring, etc., please post them here. They will be appreciated by all.
(Start taking notes for your to-do list with this subject if you wish. Other subjects will be posted regularly).
The doors at the Princess terminal generally open between 11-11:45 AM. All cabins and the ship itself is being cleaned and we can't board till this is finished. When you arrive you may be thunderstruck at the awesome line of passengers waiting to get in. Be of calm heart.
You get in quite quickly. Once inside, you'll be directed to the proper line to stand in.
Generally, if the doors open, say at 11:40 AM, you'll be checked in, passed through the security check and in your cabin by 12:30.
You may be thankful for a small water bottle in your carry-on as you wait in line.....some of this wait may be outside in the hot Florida air.
Do not doll up for embarkation. Wear shorts, jeans, ducks, sneakers, tees, cool tops. You are in Florida now. You can stay in these clothes all day till it's time to dress for dinner ("smart casual" night......no shorts, jeans, tank tops, etc.)
Port Security Notice: Do NOT take camera photos or video shots in the embarkation area. If you do, your camera will be deftly taken from you by security. The offending tape or film will be removed and the camera returned.
Each of you should have your IDs and ticket handy. Do NOT pack them in your check-in luggage by mistake. Have a pen handy, each of you. ID needed is your picture drivers license plus your original birth certificate or a photocopy with a RAISED SEAL on it.
Once on board, you will not be escorted to your cabin. However, boat staff is stationed at every elevator, stairwell and hallway to enable you to find your cabin with ease.
The freepers staying at the Comfort Inn will arrive as a group. Other freepers will be arriving at different times from the airport. Do not wait around for other freepers to arrive or for a freeper "group" to form. Go right in line and then head for your cabin.
We'll all meet together shortly for the welcome-aboard lunch buffet.
Your luggage probably will not be in your room yet. Freshen yourself and high-tail it to the buffet. The Comfort Inn folks will be wearing their name tags, and Bahama Mama will distribute the rest of them at lunch.
The buffet will be jammed. It will be chaos.......because all the the passengers are pretty much getting aboard at the same time, all starving. It will be hard to find each other. Our distinctive name tags will be a big help.
Crowd or not, you'll eventually get a nice meal. You can take your tray out to the tables and chairs on the Lido deck, if you like. I'll try to find as many of you as I can to give you your name plates.
After lunch and some schmoozing with your new freeper friends, go back to your cabin and unpack, explore the ship, or sit on your balcony and have a stiff one.
Dinner will be at 8:30 so you don't have to rush for anything. There are two dining rooms. We are not yet assigned to one. Your specific dining room and table number will be in your cabin when you arrive. Our group will eat together.
Later in the afternoon there will be the mandatory first-day lifeboat drill. I hear that Princess has the drill inside the ship in salons. This is good news. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder on deck in the hot Florida sun for a half-hour drill is murder.
The embarkation area, the first buffet and everyone trying to board tenders at once for Princess Cay Beach will be the only times you'll feel crowded. The architects of this new ship were astonishingly skillful in their design. It resulted in a vessel where you don't notice crowds at all and have plenty of places you can do things in almost solitary splendor.
I want to get in one philosophical word here. Remember, there are always glitches on a cruise just as there are in hotels and resorts. Nothing is perfect. To truly have a great time is to not sweat the small stuff and to concentrate on enjoying the good stuff.
The ship's staff works hard at low pay to help you have a pleasant voyage. If someone goofs a little, shrug it off. The good times will still keep rockin' and rollin' as we enjoy a terrific week on this beautiful ship.
Tomorrow, Bahama Mama will touch on helpful hints regarding luggage/carry-ons.
She will also address the most frequently asked question regarding cruises, "Can we bring liquor on board the ship?". Stay tuned.
Bahama Mama (hic)
When you pull up to the Princess terminal curb, a redcap will take your luggage. Be sure each luggage has a ship's tag on it. You'll receive these special tags in your final packet. Fill them out and attach before you leave home.
Often you will not have enough tags for your luggage. The redcap at the curb will give you blank ones to fill out. Have a pen at ready.
Make sure you also have your own personal tag on each luggage piece. I add my email addy to the personal tag info.
For carry-ons, I use a light-weight but roomy duffel bag to hang over my shoulder. I also have a shopping bag-looking tapestry bag I carry. It has little wheels that come down so I can roll it when necessary. It's also lightweight. I find the airplane rolling suitcases too heavy for me, even the smallest ones.
Ladies, dump the purse for embarkation time. You don't need to carry a useless item. In the duffel bag I have all personal/breakable items I want to keep close to me.....sun glasses, small throw-away camera, keys, wallet, required ship ticket and ID's, cosmetics and comb, cash and travelers checks, my jewelry in a baggie, a couple of cookies (you'd be surprised how they come in handy), a bottle of water, prescription pills....you get my drift. (I use baggies for most of this stuff. Makes things easier to find and grab out of the duffel bag).
In my rolling "shopping bag", I carry things that I may need right away upon entering my cabin, or things that may get crushed or broken.....straw hats, deoderant, shaver, change of shirt or shoes (your luggage may not be in your room yet), wine, champagne & soda pop (padded) a baseball-type cap for men, travel alarm clock, etc. Remember, your checked luggage gets stacked like cordwood before it's loaded on the ship.
Make sure you have your own personal tags on your carry-ons, also. Limiting youself to two carry-ons makes sense in a lot of ways. Keep them light. It's a long walk from the terminal to your cabin.
You'll find your suitcases more quickly at disembarkation time if you wrap colored luggage straps around them. J.C. Penney stores carry them in the luggage departments. If you don't want to buy any, use bright-colored yarn or cloth ribbon tied through the metal rings. My straps are day-glo lime green.
I read somewhere that you no longer have to tip the redcaps taking your luggage at the curb. Apparently they have "no tipping" signs posted. Maybe one of our freepers who have sailed from this terminal can help out here. Otherwise, $1 tip per piece handled is standard. Do not count in your carry-ons.
If you need a wheel chair to take you to your cabin or you have other special needs, there is a desk inside where you will be taken care of. Just ask where to go.
Have enough small bills ready for anything that comes up. A van driver that takes you from a motel or the airport should be tipped. I also tip my permanent room steward $10 right away.....that is, after I check to make sure I have ice. He will also empty your fridge of the usual mass of beverages-for-sale upon request. He will also bring you feather pillows upon request. Tipping a nominal amount to a room steward at the onset is done by seasoned travelers for obvious and good reasons.
Any questions, post them here or freepmail me at "MinuteGal".
HELPFUL TIP......sounds goofy, but pick up some $2 bills when you're at the bank for travelers checks. You'll use them a lot and they're bulge-friendly in your wallet.
For those of you staying at the Comfort Inn on the night before embarkation, here is the phone number if you want to leave it with a relative......1-954-922-1600.
The address of the Inn is 2520 Stirling Road, Hollywood, Florida.
Hollywood is a little satellite town of Ft. Lauderdale. The Comfort Inn is 2 miles from the port. We will get a complimentary hot breakfast buffet with omelet bar before the Inn's van takes us to the port.
The Comfort Inn has no dinner restaurant. There are 11 restaurants within walking distance, including a MacDonalds and Taco Bell a few steps away. Our freepers are coming into the Comfort Inn at different times during the day and evening, so you're all on your own for dinner.
For those driving to the Inn on I 75 (Alligator Alley)....go east on 75 to 595.............595 branches off to 95 south. Take 95 south to Exit 22 - be alert, the exit comes up immediately (it's the NEXT one)......You are now on Stirling Rd. Go east on Stirling and stay on it for one light and the Inn will be right there on south side of Stirling.
The Caribbean Princess will have a phone number also which you will want to leave with one of your home folks. The number will be in your ticket packet that you'll get later in the mail.
Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages on board the ship in the port of embarkation with the exception of wine and/or champagne. You may want a glass of wine in your stateroom or on your balcony as you watch the ship glide out of beautiful Port Everglades. If so, wrap your wine in bubble wrap and put the bottle(s) in your carry-ons. Bring some of those plastic wine glasses.
You cannot buy wine in the ship's shop and bring it up to your cabin during the week. If you buy a bottle or two, they will be held for you till the last night. Nor can you purchase alcoholic beverages in any port to bring back to the ship. All beverages will be taken at the gangplank and delivered to your cabin the night before disembarkation.
Here's a good trick.......if you wish, you can order wine on the order form (page 28) in the cruise answer book you have in your packet. Look at the wine list on the previous page and make your choices. Phone or fax in your order. Have the wine delivered to your own cabin as a sailing-away gift, hah. Order as soon as you get your cabin number. You can even write yourself a "bon voyage" note, LOL. The wine order will be waiting for you in your cabin when you arrive. This is a good idea if you don't want the trouble of lugging wine bottles in your carry-ons. Don't forget to pack a wine bottle opener.
If you bring bottled wine to the Dining Room at night, you will incur a $15 corking fee whether it's open already or the wine steward opens it. You cannot bring your own wine into any other public ares on the ship.
The prices of mixed drinks at the ship's bars are pretty much the same as at good hotels, ranging from $4-something and up. Beer and wine are a little pricey. Tap beer is about $3.50 up and bottled beer about $3.75 up (depends on brand requested). I don't know the price of wine by the glass. You'll have to stop in a bar lounge and check out prices ahead of time.
Some cruisers bring pack a 6-pack of 7-Up or tonic in their carry-ons with "you-know-what" substituted for the mix in a bottle or two. Make sure every bottle is sealed tight.
Make sure you check the price list for the beverages you'll find in your fridge upon boarding and before grabbing some to drink. If you don't want them, tell the room steward to clear them out. You may want some fridge room for stuff you snitch from the buffet...a dish of strawberry shortcake, an apple or other things to midnight snack on.
If you're a soda-lover, you can buy an unlimited soda card for about $22. You do not get this soda in cans....it's in a cup with ice from the various indoor and outdoor bars. They sell an insulated mug which you can pour the soda into. This is undoubtedly a good idea, as it stays cold very well in the mug as you wander around the ship or take the sun out on the deck. Or bring your own larger-size mugs with you.
Many times, I grab two free iced teas from wherever they have them and bring them up to my cabin, drinking one, and putting the other in the fridge. Ice cubes, of course, are always available for your room.
The cost for the soda card is added to your shipboard running account. It's good anywhere on the ship. It's not good on Princess Cay. At the Cay, you'll get free beverages with your buffet lunch. On the beach, you buy drinks from the nearest Tiki bar. Or you can buy from the tanned Studley Dudleys driving little mini-bar carts bringing you the best ice-cold pina coladas and fresh strawberry frozen daquiris in the world. Soda is also available.
You must use your ship's card for all purchases at Pricess Cay Beach. No cash changes hands except for purchases from the tables of the natives who sell crafts there. I will bring some small bills with in case I want to buy a trinket or two....... or if I need some for tips.
TIP: IF THERE ARE TWO OF YOU, BUY JUST ONE SODA CARD TO BEGIN WITH. (Actually, I believe you get not a card but a soda sticker to attach to your ship's card which you carry around with you at all times). JUST FLASH THE CARD TO THE BARKEEP AND TELL HIM YOU WANT TWO CUPS OF SODA. YOU WILL USUALLY GET THE TWO WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM AT ALL. THESE GUYS USUALLY COULDN'T CARE LESS. IF HE DOES GET PERSNICKETY ABOUT IT, WELL.....AT LEAST YOU TRIED.
Also, Bahama Mama will briefly expound on some tips on how to take a week's cruise on the cheap and have as much fun as anybody.
No, I've not finished my IRS yet. Oh, I wish I were on Cinnamon Beach right now, sigh.
Can you smoke?
Freepmail me at "MinuteGal" if you want a personal answer to any questions. Or post them here.
If you think there's no place like home, you've never been on a cruise!
I held off as long as possible in hopes that I could get away for this cruise, but no such luck!! :(
I know you're all gonna have a blast! I am so disappointed that I can't join the fun this trip. bttt
You can still get a cabin for this freeper cruise. If you're on a budget consider an inside stateroom. They're still available for under 900 bucks. Try staying at Disney or other resorts for that price. There's no comparison, taking into account unlimited food all day, each day........entertainment of every possible kind, stops at beautiful islands, a luau beach-day with steel band , white sand and azure water, plus a moveable feast of scenes, sights, sounds and sensations every single day. Cruises are a great way to take an economy vacation if you know the ropes and have a little will-power.
Inside cabins are very compact, but have all the amenities such as TV, safe, fridge, etc. Queen or twin beds. Plenty of storage space. Many regular, seasoned travelers deliberately choose inside cabins so they have money to spend elsewhere on the voyage.
You really shouldn't care all that much about a smaller cabin.....you're mostly in there only to dress, shower and crash. The square footage becomes relatively unimportant when compared to the fantastic opportunity to live like royalty on a hassle-free vacation getaway.
Ships today seek to maximize their cash flow with tempting ways to get you to spend extra money over and above the all-inclusive fare you paid.
Now most of them have PC (Personal Choice) gourmet restaurants where the food and service are deelish, but they'll cost you $30 more per person. Resist the temptation. The dinners in our Dining Room feature delicious eats........and the freeper fun and conversation at table will be worth more than 10 gourmet bistros.
Have your steward empty your fridge of all the beverages that are in there when you board. Bring your own water bottles in your check-in baggage. Bring wine in your carry-ons.
You can always buy more bottled water in a supermarket or store right near the dock. Buy a soda card if you drink a lot of pop. (Tips on soda cards above).
If you're sunning on deck, resist summoning that steward rolling his drink cart around the deck. He'll put whatever you drink on your running tab.
If you're dry, drink from your own water bottle....or hie your body to an area on the ship where you can get free iced tea, coffee, hot tea or ice water 24 hours a day.
Other ship offerings include massages, some spa activities, hair cuts, computer room, ice cream bar, and other goodies all for a charge. Eat your ice cream for free at lunch or dinner, good pizza is always available for free, and forget the computer for a week....you'll live, and your eyes will welcome the rest.
More tips to follow.
No, you don't have to take shore excursions. You'd be surprised how many passengers chose to stay on board when the ship's in port.
You can roam the mostly deserted ship and discover new activities. The pools are comparatively empty as are the lunch dining facilities. It's a great way to spend doing what you came for, sunning, swimming, reading, eating, napping, ah.....nice prospect, eh?
If you want to take at least one shore excursion, look for a bus tour of an island. They're usually the least expensive. Or, shopping is always a fun thing to do in the morning when it's cool. See where a straw market is, or a whatever else you can see on foot. Most islands now have attractive outdoor shopping malls right near the deck. You can then go back to the ship for a free yummy lunch, and the rest of the day is yours.
Unsolicited advice....DO budget a few sous for purchasing SOMETHING on the islands......even if it's just small potatos. Spoil yourself by buying something to take home for yourself or your neighbor who's feeding of your cat, or whoever.
I don't buy anything much in the islands, just small, inexpensive treasures that catch my eye or my sisters would be delighted with. I just like to wander around and get the feel and atmosphere of wherever I am.
DO leave a little extra space in your luggage for any purchases. Don't buy 'big" things. If you do, most shops will ship your purchase to your home.
Bring stamps for your postcards. You can buy them on board, but they get added to your tab and there's usually a wait in line.
Wait for the end-of-the-week sales in the ship's shops. They can be very good sales, especially in costume jewelry and fun watches.
Tuck bandaids in your wallet for any foot blisters. Wrap a couple aspirin or Tylenol in foil. You probably won't need them but it's expensive to buy a whole bottle in the ship's shop or in port. Heck, they're expensive here at home, also.
Don't want to buy formal dresses for the two formal nights? Buy one silky, chiffony, swingy black palazzo pants or long sleek black skirt. Buy two different tops to wear with the same bottom. Tops can be strappy, strappless, sleeveless, sequiney, just look for bargains. With different jewelry, it'll look like two different outfits. Or, of course, bring your dressy cocktail outfit, (short or long dresses or dressy pantsuit). Again, remember color and style-wise, we're in the tropics. Don's bring that long-sleeved winter dress with the tight turtle neck. You'll melt away like the Oz witch.
Or do what Bahama Mama did one cruise. I went to a nearby "Hawaiian" shop and bought a bright red and orange tropical print ankle length dress with slit up the side for a little under $25 dollars.
Brightly colored, interesting el cheapo baubles and beads, dangly earrings, plus bright red strappy heels which I already had gave me a zingy tropical evening dress for a little over thirty bucks. Oriental stores may have similar dresses. Or type in "sarongs" or "Hawaiian dresses" in computer search and order on-line. Remember, you don't have to look like a prom queen on formal nights. Simple but smart will do the trick. A lot of people go back to their cabins after the formal dinner....and, shhhh, change into something more comfortable for exploring all the different night life venues on the ship.
Bahama Mama is the Baggie Queen. I use baggies for everything when I travel. Don't buy those satiny fold-up jewelry holders. Use small baggies. Wrap chainy things in saran so they don't tangle. Use a baggie for earings and bracelets. Use another for rings and watches. Put the baggies in your cabin's dressing table drawer. You can see perfectly what to pull out when you're getting dressed.
Pack a pair of shoes in one of those big two-gallon baggies you can get at Wal-Mart, Target and other fine shops. Then you can pile the bags of shoes compactly on the bottom of your stateroom closet or on a shelf. They'll stay neat and clean (and TOGETHER), and you can see at a glance what shoes you're pulling out of the stack.
If you like at least some casino play during our trip, budget yourself a set-amount of cash for some casino play during the week. I put my separate casino cash in a pretty zipper pouchy thing and that's all I bring into the casino. If I'm lucky, the money will grow. If not, I had fun.
I especially like the casino on formal nights when some men and their ladies come in wearing tuxes and gowns. It's so Monaco-ish. Of course, there I am, playing the nickel slot machines......
Well, there you have it. When your final bill is placed under your door the night before disembarkation, you'll be tickled tan to see only a few bucks total at the bottom. You've had a great time on a shoestring.
Other of our repeat freeper cruisers may have other money-saving tips....if so post 'em here.
I'll be giving some more tips on what to bring clothes-wise and otherwise later in the week.
Bahama Mama, I have had my luggage opened two times and I was so glad that I had placed everything in ziplocks. I do not want anybody else handling my things.
It was opened officially as I had an official note placed inside of the luggage when I opened it.
Target has large ziplocks and sometimes Walmart has them.
Also I go to my cleaner and get plastic garment bags. They always give them to me. They are so good to wrap things, that might break, to bring home and so thin to pack as you leave home.