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FReeps Ahoy 4 - Caribbean Cruise - Thread II
Cruise Coordinator - Bahama Mama | 03/05/2006 | DoughtyOne

Posted on 03/05/2006 8:33:11 AM PST by DoughtyOne


  

Ahoy all FReepers!  Join the Fun!
  
FReeps Ahoy 4
      
  A fun-filled, Sun-Filled Caribbean Cruise!
  May 13 - 20, 2006


TOPICS: Announcements; Free Republic; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: 23; caribbean; cruise; freepsahoy; freepsahoy4; meetup
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To: All
ALERT!!!!!

TO ALL REGISTERED CRUISERS WHO ARE ARRIVING THE DAY OR NIGHT BEFORE EMBARKATION

Bahama Mama is informed that the Comfort Inn where we are booked has literally gone to the dogs since we were there a couple years ago.

I did some independent investigating after I called the Inn several times this past week with questions and the personnel were rude, impatient and barely spoke English.

I discovered the housekeeping has almost gone to pot, rooms need repair, the outside grounds and parking areas look like junkyards, the parking lot is dimly lit, the breakfast room is dirty, they run out of breakfast food quickly, carpets are frequently soaked from humidity, there are reports of bugs in the rooms and beds, the Tiki bar by the pool is permanently closed, and the shuttle service has become undependable.

I discussed this problem with Wanda and she recommended the Hampton Inn as an alternative. It's a few more bucks, but probably worth it a hundred times over. Folks, I always shop price for these cruises, but the supply of low-cost lodgings so near the port and the airport is terribly limited. Almost everything I checked is very pricey, the lodgings do not include the free breakfast or do not have free shuttle service.

The Hampton Inn is very nice and clean. I know many of you have stayed at Hamptons before, so you know what I state is correct. The price is $129 for the night plus tax. If you're an AARP senior, the price is $116 plus tax.

There is a free hot breakfast, dependable shuttle service between the cruise triangle (i.e. airport, Inn and dock). If you ask, they'll even drive you for free to a restaurant anywhere within five miles for dinner or take you to a sightseeing place and pick you up later if you want.

There are restaurants and fast food places right across the street. I understand there's a good German restaurant, the Heidelberg, close by. Jah! Gut!

If you want to change lodgings as I definitely am going to do, it will be painless to do. Just reach for the phone, call Wanda and tell her to switch you. Her number is 1-800-266-1167 (PST). That's all you have to do.

I want to emphasize that you don't have to switch from the Comfort Inn if you don't want to. It's soley up to you.

For those who planned on leaving their cars at the Comfort Inn for the length of the cruise, be advised that the Hampton Inn parking lot is more secure and less expensive. The cost is $15 total for up to 15 days. This is a great savings.

If you like, I can provide the link to the Cruise Critics Motel/Hotel Reviews for a rundown on the deterioration of the Comfort Inn, with a couple pictures posted as well! Freepmail with your email addy if you need this evidence or you can take my word for it.

Please phone Wanda IMMEDIATELY because all the motels/hotels near the port get filled up by cruisers in an endless cycle. You'll have to grab a room while the grabbing is good.

Freepers, I'm so sorry about this glitch, but I'm glad I found out about the situation early enough that we can land on our feet at a nicer place.

As soon as I get them, I'll post the driving instructions to the Hampton Inn. I'll be driving east across the state and I know one or two others may be doing the same.

If you have any questions on this, post them here or freepmail me at "MinuteGal".

Bahama Mama

101 posted on 03/27/2006 1:13:07 PM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: dalereed; Mycroft Holmes; jcparks; Ricebug
Please read # 101. Thanks,

Bahama Mama

102 posted on 03/27/2006 3:13:55 PM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: MinuteGal

I think it's the same chain as the Comfort Inn.

If I remember right it's next door to the Comfort Inn.


103 posted on 03/27/2006 3:19:44 PM PST by dalereed
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To: dalereed
There are two Hampton Inns.The one we're booking in is in a different location, 12th Ave., I believe. I'll have all the address and driving info as soon as I receive it.

The Hampton Inn on Stirling was so expensive as to be out of sight.

The Hampton Inn that we're booking into is very nice and is rated highly by the cruise hotel/motel critics.

Bahama Mama

104 posted on 03/27/2006 3:39:07 PM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: All
There's a self-serve laundromat and ironing boards on just about every floor. Bring some rolls of quarters if you plan on doing laundry and also for those little boxes of soap powder.

Bring a drawstring tall garbage bag or two for laundry. There'll be one in your cabin, but if you need a bigger one than they have, or you need more, bring your own.

You can rinse some small things out in your bathroom basin.....like underclothes and socks. There's a short clothes line you pull out in the bathroom. Drying takes longer because of the humidity at sea.

It's surprising how clean your clothes stay on these near-spotless ships. Plus there's little or no air pollution in the Caribbean. Many people opt to rinse some things out and just fold other laundry flatly in a bag or two to bring them home rather than sit around in the laundromat waiting for a machine to open up.

Dry cleaning and pressing service is also available for a fee. About the only pricey luxury on a cruise I avail myself of is "express ironing". No matter how carefully I pack, most of my clothes are dreadfully wrinkled when I open the suitcases.

As soon as I arrive in my cabin, I fill out the form for ironing service, give the most egregiously wrinkled garments to my room steward, give him a couple bucks tip and ask him to take my duds to the pressers right away. I check "express service" on the form which means I'll get the ironing back that same late afternoon or early evening or whenever. I don't know exactly how fast they are on this ship, but they're usually really speedy. You'll return to your cabin and find your covered, neatly-pressed garments hanging beautifully in your closet.

Right off the bat, on the second night at sea (Sunday, Mothers Day)is the first formal night....so I know I'll have something that definitely will need ironing.

The second formal night is Thursday. Formal nights are always on sea days so you have lots of leisurely time to spiffy up and do your fingernails.

As also posted on the first thread, on formal nights gents can wear sports coats, shirts, Rush Limbaugh ties, nice slacks and casual shoes. No pain, guys.

Bahama Mama

105 posted on 03/29/2006 5:40:27 PM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: All
On the beach at Princess Cay
Where the flyin' freepers play
Where the sun comes up like thunder
Out of Nassau 'crost the bay

Oh, I'm sick o' wasting leather on gritty paving stones
And blasted winter weather wakes the fever in my bones
I'll walk barefoot with our freepers
On this dandy, sandy strand
This neater, sweeter beach front on greener, cleaner land

Ship me to this par-a-dise
I'll put my shades upon my eyes
While lookin' lazy down the shore where no whiny lib'ral cries

On the beach at Princess Cay-ay
Where the flyin' freepers play-ay
With ourselves beneath umbrellas on a shiny, briny day
Where the sun comes up like thunder
Out of Nassau 'crost the bay

Bahama Mama

106 posted on 03/29/2006 6:12:23 PM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: All
Some of us have called Wanda to change our Friday night reservations from the Comfort Inn to the Hampton Inn due to unacceptable deterioration at the Comfort (see this thread, post # 101).

If you've changed your booking, here's the instructions for those driving to the Hampton Inn on Friday. Please remember there are TWO Hampton Inns in Ft. Lauderdale. Those of us who have switched will be going to the one called Hampton Inn Airport North.

Do NOT go to the one on Stirling Rd.

The following driving instructions are for folks coming from the west on the I-75 turnpike, also known as Alligator Alley.

Approaching Ft. Lauderdale, watch for I-595 (Exit 19).

Merge off I-75 onto I-595 East via Exit 19 toward Ft. Lauderdale. Go about 10 miles. Watch for State Rd. 84 East (Exit 9).

Merge onto State Rd. 84 East via Exit 9.

You will go 0.1 miles curving slightly left. Watch for SW 12th St.

Turn left onto SW 12th Ave. The Hampton Inn is on the left.

If you are coming from another direction, go to www.mapquest.com. Plug in the address you're coming from and the address you're going to which is (Hampton Inn) 2301 SW 12th Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Inn's phone number is (954) 524-1451.

Please make a note of these instructions and tuck them into your wallet before leaving home.....or into your glove compartment now.

Bahama Mama

107 posted on 04/01/2006 5:44:10 AM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: All
For those flying in on Friday and who have switched their reservations to the Hampton Inn, here is some shuttle information.

After landing at the airport, look for the Hampton Inn courtesy phone in or near the baggage area. Phone the Inn and ask for a shuttle to pick you up. Be sure to tell them you are going to the AIRPORT NORTH Hampton Inn on 12th Ave., not their other Inn.

The shuttle will pick you up and take you to the Inn. I'm told the shuttle van has bright pink flamingos on the sides to help you identify it.

The driver will stow your luggage into the van and will appreciate a tip, so have some singles at the ready.

When we're at the Inn, we can discuss with the front desk the Inns and outs of further shuttle service, i.e., disembarkation day.

The shuttle will pick up disembarking freepers and take them to the airport. It will also return those of us who drove to Ft. Lauderdale back to the Inn to pick up our cars.

Since these free shuttle vans depend on availability of the vans at any given time, we'll have to nail down the drill at the front desk when we're there so no one misses their flights home.

I've heard only good things about the Inn's shuttle service. The Inn and the drivers bend over backwards to see that everything goes smoothly for their shuttle-bug guests.

Bahama Mama

108 posted on 04/01/2006 6:03:53 AM PST by MinuteGal (Sail the Bounding Main to the Balmy, Palmy Caribbean on FReeps Ahoy 4. Register Now!)
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To: All
Nothing could be finah
Than to be a breakfast dinah
As you eat on your verandah
Your cares are left on land-ah
Nibble on your toast or Danish
Feel your cares and troubles vanish
When you dine on your verandah
And take a gandah at the sea

LAST CALL! WRITE YOURSELF A MEMORANDAH TO CALL WANDAH MONDAY AT TOLL-FREE 1-800-266-1167

Ah-ah-ah-choo!

Bahamah Mamah

109 posted on 04/01/2006 7:34:44 AM PST by MinuteGal
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To: All
ODDS AND ENDS

Here's a tip if you want to partake of a glass of wine or two in your cabin or on your balcony and you don't want to weigh your luggage down with wine bottles. Order a bottle of wine at the dinner table. If you don't finish it take it back to your cabin to enjoy later. Or you can tell the waiter to stash it for you in the cooler and bring it out for consumption the next night.

If your beds and pillows aren't just quite right for you, ask your room steward for feather pillows. You can also ask him to bring egg shell foam pads that he'll insert under your bottom sheet. But try your beds first, they're generally quite comfortable. You can also ask him to leave extra towels for you every day if you don't have enough. Just tell him bath or hand towels or both and he'll take care of you.

Be prepared for culture shock in the bath. The shower space is small, but adequate. Remember, don't sweat the small things. There's more than enough storage space for your toiletries and other items. I don't bring shampoo and conditioner on a one week cruise. It saves space and weight in my luggage. These items are stocked in your bathroom and are fine quality. Though most people naturally prefer their own shampoos and conditioner, I can live with the ship's toiletries for 7 days.

Many seasoned cruisers buy a $25 International Phone Card to give to their room steward the first day. The ship's staff and crew are not paid all that much. They are away from their countries, parents, wives and families for up to nine months. They call home when we pull into a port. Watch the crew head for the pay phones at the dock. A "first-day tip" of a phone card, or some cash is much appreciated and the appreciation will be reflected in many ways during the voyage. It should be emphasized that this right-off-the-bat tipping is not necessary, required or solicited.

Bahama Mama

110 posted on 04/02/2006 7:25:50 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All
You can order breakfast in the dining room from a menu and the food is good. But Bahama Mama will be going to the Horizon Court breakfast buffet because it's more fun pickin' and choosin'.

Here's some of the items you can choose for breakfast:

Six to eight different brands of cereal, granola, papaya, banana, smoked salmon, white fish, bagels, croissants, at least a dozen varieties of breads/rolls/muffins, bacon, ham, potatoes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, Eggs Benedict, omelets made to order, yogurt, French toast, etc., etc.

You can eat inside the pleasant Court or you can take your tray outside to a table by the pool....or by the rail and watch the sea roll by.

There's also a lunch buffet in the Horizon. There's a good variety of meats, fish, chicken, cold cuts, salad bar, fresh fruits, every imaginable veggie, fresh-baked breads/rolls, and desserts.

On one night during the voyage the ship will have a very special fantastic seafood buffet in the Horizon Court. Many folks can't resist going there for an appetizer plate of lobster, king crab, shrimp, or sushi before they head to the main dining room for dinner. Remember, we have second seating for dinner (8:30) so you won't spoil your appetite.

Some people prefer a room service breakfast in their cabin or on their balcony especially if they're late starters in the morning (like me). You have a limited menu, but it's not bad. You can stay in your pj's and enjoy your breakfast while watching TV or you can read the ship's morning newspaper along with coffee on the balcony.

Bahama Mama

111 posted on 04/02/2006 7:51:33 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: DoughtyOne
Hi, D1....you have email.

Thanks,

Bahama Mama

112 posted on 04/03/2006 6:51:44 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All
Lest there be some confusion, here's some info on immigration forms.

You have already received your pre-cruise packet. In it are two "strips" of paper which are forms titled "Welcome to the Islands of the Bahamas".

Each person must fill out this form. If you have any questions on what to fill out, freepmail me at "MinuteGal".

After you have filled out the form and signed it, keep it and put it in with your ticket (when you receive it), your birth certificate with raised seal, and your driver's license. Each of you must fill out this form, even if you're a married couple.

Okay. This form is out of the way. Now each of you must fill out the form(s) in your packet titled "Passenger Immigration Form" if you haven't already. This form must be filled out and put in the mail IMMEDIATELY or at least in a day or two because it must be received in advance of 30 days before sailing.

Put this completed and signed form(s) in the mailing envelope that should be in your packet and pop it in the mail.

You'll receive your tickets about a week to 10 days before May 13 so don't get antsy. They SHALL arrive. Here you'll be able to see not only what your cabin number is, but what deck you're located on.

The immigration form you fill out to mail is actually a good feature of the Princess Line cruises. With most other lines, you present this form when checking in. The check-in person has to exam it. This really stalls the boarding queues but good. Since Princess gets the forms ahead of time, it makes for a smoother, quicker boarding procedure on sailing day.

Again, any questions on forms, email me....or post the question on this cruise thread. That way other cruisers can see my answer if they might have the same question.

Bahama Mama

113 posted on 04/03/2006 7:18:57 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All; Seeking the truth; DoughtyOne
CHITTY-CHATTY, SPLASH, SPLASH

Our little flock of early birds have all been re-roosted to the Hampton Inn. Very smooth transition. Life is good.

Bahama Mama just received delivery of our cruise keepsake name tags. You're going to LOVE your own personalized tag as a great memento of our voyage. They are sharp!

You freepers at the Hampton Inn will receive yours on Friday night and the rest of you will get them at the after-boarding buffet (if I can find you!)

Our own freepstuff guy, Gene McDonald (Seeking the Truth) made the tags, and they're just so tropically kewl!

Do you have your FR baseball-type cap yet for the trip? Check out Gene's 0Cents.com link on the FR home page. You'll need a cap of this type because it's so windy on deck. If I had a nickel for every too-loose hat that flew overboard on each cruise, I'd be sailing along the French Riviera right now. I'm bringing my snappy FR hat and I'll wear it proudly (especially on bad hair days).

Thanks to our angelic donors, we're going to have a table prize every single night of the week. They are just great, folks. We have generous gift certificates for Red Lobster, Home Depot and Outback Steakhouse.

We have a gift box full of items for a romantic Italian dinner, a gift box for an outdoor patio dinner, a unique and nostalgic hot-dog-stand grill for a focal point at your outdoor barbeques, and a luxury gift box of exotic teas right from the plantations of the Far East and Eurasia, a unique tea maker along with a mouthwatering selection of totally-gourmet goodies to munch on with your tea.

We have a number of little fun patriotic prizes to draw for at the beach party at Princess Cay in the Bahamas.

Then there's the Mystery Welcome Aboard prize everyone will receive at dinner the first night. This is the gift mentioned before that is worth under 10 cents, is something you'll use every day and night of the cruise, and is smaller than a breadbox.

Historically on FReeps Ahoy cruises we always have a gag gift at our cocktail party. Well, this trip we have TWO of 'em. Just wait and see.....these goofy items are HILLARYOUS. You can entertain your guests, friends and family FOREVER with 'em.

It's hard to beat the Klinton voodoo doll (with pins) we had on one of our past cruises, but the prizes this time will really make you roll on the floor laughing out loud (ROFLOL, LOL).

Good luck to you all. Hope your name is pulled out of our FReebooter Booty Bag!

Bahama Mama

114 posted on 04/05/2006 12:15:42 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All
Bahama Mama received a freepmail asking what time to be at the terminal Saturday morning.

I would recommend between 10 and 10:30 AM, earlier if you don't mind standing in line longer.

They appear to open the doors around 11:15, a little earlier or later depending on various factors.....the cabins all cleaned, for instance.

Don't be dismayed at the length of the line outside when you arrive. I understand from all sources that Princess is the best at processing arriving passengers and getting them to their cabins very quickly.

Once you get inside the terminal, you'll zip through registration and security and you'll be on your way to your little bit of heaven high above the sea. Everyone should have his/her tickets and ID in hand to facilitate your checking-in and helping to make it speedier for other passengers waiting behind you.

It's a LONG walk from registration to your cabin. Remember, this ship is immense and the weather will be hot when you stand in line. You'll also be toting carry-ons. If a health condition poses a walking problem for you, there are wheel chairs right where you check in. Just ask for one. There may be a wait. A steward will then wheel you to your cabin and then take the chair back to the terminal area. Have a tip ready. If you have trouble walking any longer-than-usual distances, I urge you to take a wheel chair.

Have a water bottle with you. Hampton Inn folks, there's a store across the street from the Inn where you can purchase water bottles Friday rather than lug them along on your flight.

Remember, do NOT take any photos or videos in the embarkation area. Security rules.

REMINDER: Have you mailed your filled-in U.S. Immigration form in yet? This must be done NOW. The form is in your pre-cruise packet along with the necessary mailing envelope.

Bahama Mama

115 posted on 04/05/2006 12:54:56 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal
I just received my catalogue from "Travel Smith". Holy Moly look at those prices!

$12.50 for a pair of Jockey shorts? I believe I'll pass on that.

116 posted on 04/06/2006 2:25:06 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Graybeard58
What's "Travel Smith"?

Leni

117 posted on 04/06/2006 2:57:23 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal

Travel Smith seems to be part of the travel insurance package I bought through the travel agency. They sent me a catalogue with some pretty pricey merchandice.

I made a mistake purchasing the insurance because it duplicates a lot of coverage that I already have. All I wanted was an insurance policy that would refund my full purchase price in the event that I couldn't go on the trip. I got life insurance, health insurance, accident insurance from the time I leave the house until I get back. Great stuff but like I said, I already had it all except the refund part and my insurance agent here at home tells me I could have gotten that from her much cheaper than the $100 apiece that I paid for my wife and me.

We live and learn don't we?


118 posted on 04/06/2006 5:04:37 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: MinuteGal
Do I have to have a birth certificate??

BobfromNJ
119 posted on 04/06/2006 7:02:11 PM PDT by BobFromNJ (out dthere)
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To: BobFromNJ
Hi, Bob.....yes, you need a birth certificate and so does Mrs. Bob. It cannot be a photocopy unless it is a copy with an original certification on it (raised seal, original signature of clerk, or however they do it in NJ).

Each of you also needs a photo drivers license.

If you don't have an original birth certificate or a copy with original certification, you should phone your county clerk right away to see how you can obtain one (and for your wife if needed).

Further details on ID are on Thread One, post # 241. The link to Thread One is at the top of this thread.

Passports are not needed this cruise. They will be needed after December 31, 2006 for anyone travelling to the Caribbean and Canada by any type of transportation.

If you have further questions, I'll be happy to answer.

Bahama Mama

120 posted on 04/06/2006 7:15:22 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal

I'm assuming that you don't need to bring a birth certificate if you have a passport.


121 posted on 04/07/2006 5:23:17 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: dalereed
Correct, Dale. If you have a valid passport, you don't need your birth certificate.

Folks who don't have a passport need an original birth certificate or a photo copy of same with a RAISED seal plus a photo drivers license.

Bahama Mama

122 posted on 04/07/2006 5:39:21 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: DoughtyOne
Hi, you have freepmail.

Bahama Mama

123 posted on 04/08/2006 6:59:44 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal

Hi Leni. Sorry for the delay. Here are those photos you found. They're great.


124 posted on 04/09/2006 11:02:03 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: MinuteGal


Sailaway from Ft. Lauderdale, Port Everglades
125 posted on 04/09/2006 11:02:24 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: MinuteGal


The Putting Green
126 posted on 04/09/2006 11:05:21 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: DoughtyOne


View of Pool Deck at Back of Ship
127 posted on 04/09/2006 11:07:14 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: MinuteGal


Magen's Bay, St. Thomas
128 posted on 04/09/2006 11:09:28 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: All; DoughtyOne
Thanks to DoughtyOne, our talented Cruise Webmaster for posting these gorgeous photos.

I'll tell you folks, my body is here at the computer, but my mind is already on the ship. Just think, a few more weeks and.........wow!

Picture yourself at the rail of this ship as we leave Ft. Lauderdale on our merry way to the paradise islands of the Caribbean. Do you see the Outdoor Movie screen way up on top? Some balmy night at sea you'll be lounging on deck watching a movie or concert under the brilliant stars......munching popcorn or sipping a Rum Bahama Mama.

Later, challenge some of your fellow freepers to a fun contest on the unique putting green. A couple little side bets allowed.

The aft pool pictured is one of four on the ship. One of the four is a pool near the spas/gym area where you can swim against a current. The one pictured is adults only, is less crowded, has warmer water......and what a view!

Magen's Bay in St. Thomas (our first port-of-call) is considered by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful beach areas in the world. You can see why! The thin strip of white on the right is the beach which is actually very wide. Yes, the water IS that color.

There's a feeling you get upon seeing all this tranquil beauty that is overwhelmingly calming to the eyes and the soul. God is good. Life is good. Enjoy it!

Bahama Mama

129 posted on 04/09/2006 4:03:06 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All
MORE NOTES FOR YOUR TO-DO LIST

Now's the time to prepare for any prescriptions you have to take with you. Make sure that every scrip that has to be filled will be filled in a timely fashion before you leave. Take a week's suppply with you plus some extra. Use one of those 7-sectioned "daily" plastic boxes or get a 14-day one and add your vitamins, aspirins etc. It's wise to have a little note in the box with the names and dosages of your pills written on it. Or keep the pills in the original pharmacy bottles and put them in a baggy. There's no problem bringing any prescribed medications on board.

Tuck some band aids into one of those mysterious slots in your wallet. You'd be surprised how quickly blisters can form when walking around in tropical climates.

If your ankles tend to swell in hot weather or from walking a lot on hard surfaces, ask your doctor to prescribe some water pills for you to take with. They'll pretty much do the trick and are harmless for most people.

Bring sun block and a broad-brimmed straw or summer hat. Take the sun gradually. Have good sunglasses.

Water bottle, water bottle, water bottle. Take it with you everywhere you can. Buy a cold bottle at a store to sip on while shopping in port. Drink lots and lots of water. There are filtered water stations here and there on the ship which is a nice touch.

Just about everywhere you go on ships now, there are stations and washrooms with aromatic hand-disinfectant dispensers you can spray or massage on. You may want to avail yourself of this innovation.

There's a sundry shop on board the ship stocked with commonly-requested items....i.e. aspirin, anti-acids, band-aids, suntan oil, etc., but it's much cheaper if you bring your own little cache. Keep your medications with you in your carry-ons.

Please.....the first one or two days on board, take it easy. Watch the overdrinking, overeating, oversmoking, oversunning, undersleeping or too much unaccustomed exertion. There's a reason people seem so laid-back in the tropical islands. It's called smarts. We don't want any of our group to have to visit the infirmary right off the bat for sunburn, tummy problems or anything else.

There are so many health benefits from a cruise it's hard to count the ways. You'll get plenty of exercise just walking around the huge ship. Since there's little or no pollution where we're going, your nose, sinuses, throat will benefit from the clean sea air. Your pod-confined body will finally be able to soak up beneficial natural vitamins from the sun. Just putzing around in the pool or beach water will loosen up those stiff joints in the limbs and back.

Stress will be gone. No phones, no mail. No cooking, making beds, cutting the lawn. You're already paid up except for what goodies you may want to indulge yourself with on board or in our ports-of-call. The only major decisions you have to make during the cruise is what fun activities to do that day and what to order from the dinner menu.

Your brain and your nerves get a rest. You get a psychological lift from enjoying the beautiful vistas in the Caribbean islands. You have the pleasure of being with like-minded freepers who are fun and interesting.....or you can do your own thing by yourself when the mood strikes.

Cruisers are very wise in giving their bodies and psyches a favor by getting out of life's hurly-burly and getting into the radiant, warm outdoors for an entire week.

Remember, a mango sprinkled with fresh lime juice a day keeps the doctor away.

Bahama Mama

130 posted on 04/11/2006 6:10:40 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All
BAHAMA MAMA RECIPE

(A Tropical Sensation of Coconut and Juices)

1 oz. Coconut Liquor
1 oz. Light Rum
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 oz. Orange Joice
2 oz. Grapefruit Juice
Splash of Grenadine

Blend with ice in a blender. Give it a good mix and pour into a tall, ice filled glass.

Garnish with a slice of orange or wedge of fresh pineapple. Insert a brightly-colored straw. Add a paper umbrella or hang a toy monkey on the side.

CHEERS!

Bahama Mama

131 posted on 04/11/2006 6:20:00 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal
As typo-ed above, "Orange Joice" is the same as "Orange Juice", only happier.

Bahama Mama

132 posted on 04/11/2006 6:22:32 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: MinuteGal

Leni, That recipe sounds so good. I am ready to sail and visit with all of the freepers.
Molly said for me to have a chocolate martini for her. Maybe we can have one for everyone that cannot go! Do you think that we would have that much time?
Oh well, it will be fun, fun, fun anyway.


133 posted on 04/11/2006 12:31:33 PM PDT by Bizzy Bugz ("If you cannot get what you like, Why not try to like what you get." ANONYMOUS)
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To: All
Get cruise info here
From Bahama Mama
So when we sail
You'll have no trauma

CARIBBEAN SHAVE

Bahama Mama

134 posted on 04/11/2006 6:26:50 PM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: All; DoughtyOne; jcparks; dalereed; Graybeard58
Woo Hoo! I received my tickees in the mail today! Maybe you did, too. Countdown will start very soon. All is going smoothly, fellow freeper cruisers, very smoothly.

I HAVE GOOD NEWS! I was able to finagle a group reduced rate at the Hampton Inn. Those of you early birds will notice on your hotel reservation (in the mailing along with your ticket) that the rate for each of us has been reduced to $109.00 plus tax, a nice savings from the original quoted price. Most of us were quoted $149 at the beginning because we didn't have an organized group ready to book right off the bat.

MORE GOOD NEWS! I got the word just today. We'll have a free cocktail party while on board! I was sweating this one out as we have a small group and I didn't know if we would qualify or not.

Right now, I don't have the date, time or which beautiful lounge we'll meet in, but have a PARTY we will! Bring on the chocolate martinis, James, stirred, not curdled.

I've requested the party to be on a sea-day prior to a non-formal dinner so we don't have to be stiff and gussied up and all that.

The FReeper Cocktail Party has always been one of the MOST FUN FReeps Ahoy events going way back in time. On this purposely laid-back voyage, it's the ONLY planned event.

The cocktail party is where we draw a name out of our FReebooter Booty bag to get a winner for the famous and always-hilarious "gag gift" prize.

It's another doozy this year, folks! Wait and see. You'll ROFLYAO!

Here's also where we can sit and schmooze with each other up close and personal in some gorgeous, dimly-lit lounge while the panorama of placid Caribbean rolls by through the picture windows.

AND ALL THE DRINKS AND SNACKY-POOHS ARE COMPLIMENTARY FOR ONE SOLID HOUR!

A special note to the three winners of our Early-Bird-Booking Incentive prizes (the Dalereeds, the JCParks and the Greybeards). On embarkation day, you'll find your on-board cash credits already in your ship accounts and you can start wild spending right away, LOL.

Back to more mundane things.......your ticket packet will contain stick-on luggage labels. Be sure to write your cabin number BIG, bold and black on each one (at home before you leave).

If you have more luggage than labels, the Red Cap at the curb in front of the terminal will have extras to give you.....just have a pen at the ready to fill them out.

In your ticket booklet (on coupon 7), you'll see some charges listed in a column. Pay no heed, you've already paid anything listed there....this is just how they break things out for their own records.

Your ticket booklet, your hotel reservation (if you're arriving on Friday), your photo drivers license, your original birth certificate (or a photo copy with ORIGINAL raised seal), or your up-to-date passport should be kept together and placed AT THE READY in one of your carry-ons. DON'T PACK THEM IN LUGGAGE THAT WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOU RIGHT AWAY BY THE RED CAP AT THE TERMINAL! Oh, man, I don't even want to think about that.

I think we're getting good to go, maties.

Be still my freeping heart!

Bahama Mama

135 posted on 04/17/2006 6:17:45 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal

Our tickets came today also, I guess it's time to think about getting ready.


136 posted on 04/17/2006 8:04:39 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: DoughtyOne
Hi, ho.....I just sent you freepmail and emails. Thanks,

Bahama Mama

137 posted on 04/18/2006 1:05:10 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal

Those will go up this evening. Thank you.


138 posted on 04/18/2006 1:33:46 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Illegal Immigration: What hope is there when OUR President is leading the insurrection?)
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To: All
There's 12 of us early-birds who'll be at the Hampton Inn on Friday. I'll be driving there and will arrive mid-afternoon.

Hampton Inns don't have restaurants, although they'll have a nice hot breakfast for us Saturday AM before their van takes us to the port.

When I get to the Inn, I'm going to scout out a place really nearby for any of us who want a casual dinner.

I hear there's some fast-food joints and a modestly-priced restaurant or two right across the street or walking-distance close. I'll take a gander and see what looks good.

I should be in the Hampton lobby some of the time, meetin' and greetin'. And if I'm not, I'm leaving my FR card at the front desk with instructions to the clerk to give out my room phone number. Just ask for "Bahama Mama from FR" (mmmm, sounds like a great song title, right?)

If I'm not in my room, I'm in the lobby.

We'll see the rest of you travelling straight to the dock Saturday AM at the lunch buffet near the Lido deck.

Around the buffet area, it may be hard to find each other in this initial one-and-only mob scene we'll experience. Just look for someone with an intelligent face and a name tag hanging on a bright red cord around his/her neck......and you will have found a freeper.

Bahama Mama

139 posted on 04/18/2006 2:49:08 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal



Here are some photos of the Hampton Inn that Bahama Mama found.

If you'd like, right click / view to see a larger version of  these photos.


140 posted on 04/18/2006 8:21:29 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Illegal Immigration: What hope is there when OUR President is leading the insurrection?)
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To: All; DoughtyOne
Thanks for the usual great job of posting photos for these threads, D1.

We early birds really have nice digs (exterior pictured above) reserved for us.....and at a great price.

Friday, we'll meet and greet in the lobby or the attractive conference room. It'll be a nice pre-cruise "getting-to-know-ya" before our Saturday sailing.

A hot breakfast will await us Saturday AM in the above dining area so we can stoke up before the Inn's van whisks us and our luggage to the Princess dock terminal.

Freepers arriving by air should go to the airport luggage pickup area, look for the Hampton Inn courtesy phone, and notify the clerk you're waiting for a pickup.

Since there are two Ft. Lauderdale Hamptons, be sure to specify on the phone that you're going to the 12th Avenue one. It's also known as the Airport North Hampton Inn.

Keep your eyes peeled for the kitchy flamingos perched on top of a van (visible above). These will let you know your tropical transportation has arrived to start you off on our great seagoing adventure.

Bahama Mama

141 posted on 04/18/2006 9:15:36 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal
ask your doctor to prescribe some water pills for you to take with. They'll pretty much do the trick and are harmless for most people.

Just eat plenty of bananas, water pills deplete potassium pretty fast, which will make you very fatigued. :-)

142 posted on 04/18/2006 9:53:24 PM PDT by Full Court (And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.)
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To: Full Court
Water pills are routinely prescribed for those whose ankles swell on cruises from the heat and a lot of walking if the cruiser requests them from a doctor. They are not at all harmful on short cruises such as ours.....and they do the trick. I bring them with whenever I cruise in case I need them to get into shoes.

Of course, everyone should ask their doc in case he/she is the one in a million that shouldn't take 'em. However, they are prescription capsules, so they have to ask their doc anyhow.

Now please pass a banana, I love 'em.

Bahama Mama

143 posted on 04/18/2006 10:10:32 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal

It's not the one in a million that gets potassium depleted, it's everyone who takes them. And it happens very fast, which is why people who take such meds like lasix are given potassium supplements.

:-)

But bananas will work for short term use.


144 posted on 04/19/2006 7:52:12 AM PDT by Full Court (And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.)
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To: All
BITES AND PIECES

(Add things that catch your eye onto that list you're supposed to be making, LOL.)

The Caribe Cafe (the buffet behind the Horizon Court) offers totally delicious lobster, shrimp, crab and sushi which can be used as appetizers as you make your way to our evening dinners. Eat all you want, mmmmm, but save at least a little room for din-din.

There's always fresh pizza available on board. I hear it's excellent. You'll see the ship's officers walking by and sneaking a piece. And they are ITALIANS so it must be good!

MAKE A NOTE: There's a delightful pay ice cream bar on board, but a sleuth told me there's a freebie ice cream bar almost hidden away in the closed side of the Horizon Court buffet. This freebie bar is open every afternoon between 3:30 and 4:30. Yummy ice cream with lots of toppings 'n stuff.

You can bring wine and champagne on in your carry-ons. Some folks bring a case of sealed water bottles, stick a luggage tag on it, give it to the Red Cap at the curb, and it'll be delivered to your cabin along with your luggage after boarding. Remember, everyone has a little fridge. If you're not interested, tell your room steward to remove the pop and all those beverages in the fridge that the ship hopes you'll buy.

To the early-birds coming on Friday, you can buy water bottles across the street from the Hampton Inn. This way you don't have to bring them on the plane.

Ladies, we must investigate the high tea held every afternoon. I hear tell it's loads of fun .....and the fresh-baked scones, tartlets, tea sandwiches and cookies are yummie!

Ah, high tea on the high seas. So poetic.

You'd be surprised at the number of men that attend the high tea. Why not? Elegant fare and service, quiet atmosphere conducive to intelligent conversation with other freepers, all with a magnificent and serene panoramic view of the sea. Maybe a harp or string trio. Very British and classy, old chaps!.

I almost forgot, you can stop by the Cafe Caribe and pick up some big plates of cold shrimp and crab legs (w/sauces) to munch on while viewing the evening "Movies Under the Stars".

The ship's bakery may not make them for every breakfast or lunch, but watch for the chocolate croissants. It is said they are to die for. So if you see some, POUNCE! They disappear fast! They may even be better than the chocolate martinis.

Speaking of chocolate, don't forget to order the ship's signature "Love Boat Chocolate Dessert" at least once. It's supposed to be simply fabulous and a chocoholic's nirvanah.

~Bon Apetit~

Bahama Mama

145 posted on 04/19/2006 6:00:19 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: All
In answer to a freepmail question.....yes, there is a nightly piano bar with requests acknowledged and great sing-alongs. Where and when will be listed on the schedule in your daily Princess Patter.

"You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by"

....(ah, SO good.......play it again, Sam)

Bahama Mama

146 posted on 04/19/2006 6:12:59 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: All
On a scale from one to ten
Our cruise food will be perf
Imagine dining on rack of lamb
Prime rib and surf 'n turf

Order double lobster tails
Order two desserts
As the ship smoothly sails
Eat until it hurts

Don't worry 'bout about your tummies
You'll be so much on the go
That all ingested yummies
Will never ever show

(trust me.......)

Bahama Mama

147 posted on 04/19/2006 6:28:26 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal
yes, there is a nightly piano bar with requests acknowledged and great sing-alongs.

WARNING:

If Graybeard starts to sing, head for the exits!

148 posted on 04/20/2006 8:28:00 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Graybeard58
If Bahama Mama starts to sing, head for the head!

Bahama Mama

149 posted on 04/20/2006 7:17:44 PM PDT by MinuteGal ("FReeps Ahoy 4" will be sailing May 13th! We'll have After-Cruise Pix to Post. Stay Tuned !)
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To: MinuteGal

OK, that's it! I gained 5 pounds just reading this thread.
Somebody tell me about the great gym, spa and art auctions.


150 posted on 04/22/2006 10:58:52 AM PDT by seenenuf (Progressives are a threat to my children!)
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