Celebrations International Travel Blog

Archive for May 2010

Time to share another cruise tip I’ve come across:

Topic Statement: Nearly every cruise line will toss in one free cabin if you travel in a group of 15 or more.

My Viewpoint: This statement isn’t entirely correct.  The correct statement is:  Most cruise lines will offer one (1) free bed (known in maritime lingo as a berth) per every 16 sailed passengers.  When organizing a group cruise, always consult your travel agent about the specifics of any “free berth” and related promotional offers.  Every cruise line has its own rules and restrictions, and depending on your group’s particular situation, the various promotional offers seen in mass media may or may not be applicable.

Specifically regarding the possibility of “free berths,” the word “free” most often only applies to the base cruise fare, excluding any port charges, government fees, and taxes.  Additionally, most cruise lines count only the first and second passengers in a stateroom toward that “magic number” 16 (or whatever it happens to be).  They do this because if you have more than two passengers occupying a particular stateroom, the fares for the third and additional passengers is greatly discounted.

Here is another “cruise tip” I wanted to tell you more about:

Topic Statement: Before booking, check deck plans online to confirm your cabin isn’t beneath a well-traveled area. Many ships have a lido deck buffet, where diners eat poolside. When they drag around chairs, it can make quite the ruckus in rooms right below.

My Viewpoint: This statement is somewhat erroneous, and there are a number of ways to avoid an unpleasant experience like this:

1) It isn’t possible to confirm the location of your cabin (stateroom) before you book it because you won’t even know what is or isn’t available until you ask.  Cabin choices are made while you’re booking.

2)  Work with a travel agent.  Any good travel agent who’s working to make your cruise experience the best it can be shouldn’t choose a stateroom for you that isn’t as ideally located as possible.

In my mind, “ideally located” could mean any or all of the following, (just to name a few) depending on the travelers’ particular needs or desires:

– Avoiding staterooms near potentially noisy, high-traffic areas;

– Avoiding staterooms with obstructed or partially obstructed views;

– Avoiding staterooms on the promenade deck (where walkers or joggers might be able to see in);

– Advising travelers who may be sensitive to motion to opt for staterooms located as mid-ship as possible;

– Reminding travelers that the “cheapest” available staterooms may not be ideally located and why; and

– Being mindful of any other specific needs or requests the travelers may have.  The difference is often in the details, and can make a big difference in your overall vacation experience.

At Celebrations International Travel, we pride ourselves on the personalized service we provide to each client.   Contact us for help in planning your next cruise or other travel experience.  Until my next post, cruise on!

This is the first in a new series of posts I would like to write about tips for savvy cruisers.  I frequently come across articles, ideas, questions, and advice by and for cruisers.

As both a travel professional specializing in cruises and as a family of avid cruisers, I’d like to begin sharing tidbits of my findings with you, along with my own take on them, whether I agree or disagree.  And I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on each subject.

Topic Statement: “You are almost always charged extra for soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails at meals.  But if you stick to juice, you can drink for free (on most ships).”

My Viewpoint: I completely disagree with this statement.  While the speaker makes a correct statement regarding soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails, I don’t agree that “if you stick to juice, you can drink for free.  No, in most cases, unless you have purchased a soft drink and/or juice package, juices are only free during breakfast and at self-service beverage stations, if the cruise line offers them.

To further clarify, I would suggest that savvy cruisers keep the following tips in mind with regard to beverages:

1) The idea that you “almost” always have to pay for certain beverages most likely stems from the fact that some cruise lines offer complimentary house cocktails (i.e. one or two specific types) to passengers on formal nights.  At all other times, when you are asked to sign a slip when presented with your drink, it gets added to your stateroom account.

2) If you are ever caught off-guard by a crew member asking you to sign for a beverage charge, but you were unaware that there was a charge for the item, remember that if you haven’t sipped the drink, you can decline the charge and let them know you do not wish to authorize the charge.  This knowledge could come in handy if you’re suddenly ambushed by crew members offering a “Welcome Aboard” drink that they don’t openly state carries a charge.

3) Every cruise line has their own rules as to which beverages are complimentary and which are not.  For example, some cruise lines count lemonade as a soda, while on other lines, it flows freely.  Ask your travel agent for specifics and commit them to memory.  If you decide you can’t do without juice, soda, or specialty coffee, consider buying a beverage package that’s good for the duration of your cruise.  This could help save you time and money.

4) For wine connoisseurs, wine packages are also available, giving you the opportunity to select different wines to enjoy during your cruise and enjoy significant savings compared to purchasing each bottle individually.

5)  If you’re ever in doubt about whether something costs extra, always ask before you consume.  Better that than an unpleasant surprise on your stateroom bill at the end of the cruise!

Celebrations International Travel offers a wide variety of oceanliner cruises and river cruisesContact us with any questions.  Until my next post, cruise on!


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This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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