Archive for the ‘Cruise Planning…it never stops!’ Category

Norwegian Cruise Line – Reduced Deposits    Leave a comment

For the month of October, only $50 pp deposit fleetwide!  Sailings must be booked 90 days in advance, and the offer does not apply to Haven and Suite categories. 
This offer is not on NCL’s front page, but pops up once you start searching for cruises. 

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Celebrity Cruise Deal   Leave a comment

Through Monday, Celebrity is offering 50% deposits. (You have to call to get the offer.)  This on top of 50% off second, third and fourth passengers. Toss in the free beverage packages (and/or OBC or Wifi or DSC) and there are good deals to be had!

Get Ready Bermuda! We’re Almost On Our Way!   Leave a comment

The sand is racing through the hourglass as our latest trip countdown gets serious.

Friday we board the wonderful Norwegian Dawn for our week-long cruise to Bermuda. Three days in beautiful Bermuda is a great prescription for relaxation and de-stressing! The weather forecast isn’t for the best (80% chance of rain! BLECH!), but who cares? We’ll be in Bermuda and on vacation. It’s all good. And hey, we’re a week out, so the forecast can improve…right? Right?!

I know I’ve said it before, but I am crazy excited to be sailing out of our home port (it’s been five years)! That means no TSA, no liquid restrictions, no weight restrictions, no airport food, no cramped seats, no seatback trays covered in crumbs. Just load up the car, drive to the pier, and park. BLISS!!!

I think I may be more excited about that than going to Bermuda, LOL.

So anyway, all of this means I have to get packing. I got the laundry done this weekend, so now it’s a matter of deciding what makes the final cut and jamming it all into a suitcase. (And as we aren’t flying, that can be a really big suitcase!!!)

Posted October 6, 2014 by cubechick in Cruise Planning...it never stops!

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Booking Flights … Do You Go For Price or Convenience?   Leave a comment

That was the question plaguing me as I attempted to sort our options for getting to the Port of Miami. First there was just the Miami vs. Ft. Lauderdale conundrum. Even though MIA is of course closer to the Port, FLL is traditionally quite a bit cheaper to fly in to.

I spent weeks playing with options from BOS to both airports. I even threw the recently opened Worcester airport in for good measure. Truthfully though, in my heart, I was just circling, waiting for Southwest to extend their booking window. Finally, the day arrived!  But what the hell?  No “Wanna Getaway” fare for the flight home?!  The MIA-BOS leg was equal to roundtrip fares… and the flight wasn’t even direct!

So this weekend I threw all of my options onto a spreadsheet for comparison. Surprise! American Airlines emerged the clear winner!  First because the price dropped from the last time I had  checked (over $100 per person!) Second, with numerous flights to choose from, the times fit our schedule perfectly. Third, they fly non-stop. Oh, and Fourth, I could get extra legroom seats.  Maybe the most important factor with the epidemic of “reclining seat” rage going on right now, LOL.

The moral of this story being never assume. You just never know how things will work out!

Now with that hideous chore in the rear view, I can start to focus on the new islands this cruise will bring us too!

Posted September 2, 2014 by cubechick in Cruise Planning...it never stops!

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Time to Look at Bermuda!   Leave a comment

After our Great Alaskan Adventure, it is time to start thinking about our Blissful Bermuda Vacation.

As of today, we are three months away from a short drive into Boston, followed by (hopefully) an even shorter time waiting to board the beautiful Norwegian Dawn. It will be our tenth cruise to Bermuda (ninth out of Boston) but it has been five years since we’ve visited the beautiful archipelago that is Bermuda. Such a long time away means that a little research is in order.

A couple of things that I have found out that have changed since our last visit in 2009:

You can now purchase Wi-Fi for the duration of your visit to Bermuda. A three-day Wi-Fi package from the TBI Network runs $14.99. Granted that isn’t cheap, but it is less expensive than purchasing internet on the ship. The same price point would give you about 10 minutes of Wi-Fi on the ship ($7 activation fee and 75 cents per minute without a package).

Those of us who have been to Bermuda before know the bus and ferry system is the best (and most economical) way to get around the islands. A three-day bus pass runs $35 per person. However I discovered this year that $30 will get you a book of 15 transportation tickets where each ticket covers a journey of more than three zones. The tickets can be used by more than one person. So depending on how much bus and ferry hopping (the tickets are accepted on the ferries this year per the ferry website, http://www.seaexpress.bm) you plan to do, the booklet may meet your needs. Based on our current plans, I think the book will work for DH and I and save us $40 versus the cost of buying two bus passes.

This part isn’t new information for me, but seems a good tip to share for my fellow cruise passengers. I’ve read a lot of gripes on Cruise Critic that you can purchase bus passes on the ship, but that you need to do so early on as the ship runs out. If that happens, fellow cruisers warn, you need to buy them at the pier and the lines are horrendous. Well, yes, that is true if you go to the Visitor Information center at the pier. However there are two other Visitor Information centers on Dockyard a short walk away. I recommend strolling by the massive line by the ship and going to the next center to purchase your book of tickets or bus passes.

DH and I are still sorting out what we’d like to do on this visit to Bermuda. We do know that we’d like to go to Gibb’s Lighthouse as we have never been there before. It’s easy to get to on the number 7 bus. Just get off at the Henry VIII Restaurant and walk five minutes up Lighthouse Road. If you’re of a mind, after you’ve climbed the 185 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you can take in refreshment at the Lighthouse Restaurant. However the restaurant is small (I believe it seats 50), so our plan is to hop back on the number 7 bus and make our way to the South Shore Swizzle Inn. No visit to Bermuda is complete without a pitcher of rum swizzle from the Swizzle Inn!

Swizzle

Alaska is Almost Here!!!   Leave a comment

The clock is ticking and cruise draws near! I am sure that it isn’t a surprise that I’ve been busy making my packing list, but DH started putting clothes into a pile over a month ago! A sure sign of excitement if I’ve ever seen one!

With just over two weeks to go, I have to get serious about packing soon. Although I have to admit that after 25 cruises, I can practically pack in my sleep. 😉

I’ve already ticked off some little things on the to-do list. Made arrangements with the cat sitter…(first time leaving the new babies…I’m a little sad about that…I mean look at those faces!),

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asked the hotel to note that we’ll be arriving early, arranged for a car service to take us from the airport to the hotel, etc. Very exciting stuff, LOL.

For those interested, I will be blogging live as much as possible during the journey. I plan to start June 5th, so watch this space.

It was our first cruise to Alaska five years ago that got me to write pictorial reviews. We were blown away by everything on that trip. I felt compelled to share as much of it as I could. I am humbled to say that my review persuaded more than one person to book an Alaska cruise (this from people who hated the cold and only want to cruise to beaches!). I am happy to report that they all came back thrilled that they had gone. Phew!

Posted May 20, 2014 by cubechick in Cruise Planning...it never stops!

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Looking at Seattle and Alaska…and are we going to Bermuda or Key West?   Leave a comment

First I think the great debate is over. I know people have been wondering whether Bermuda or Key West was going to win. Well the verdict is in, and Bermuda is the winner! The lure (and convenience) of driving to the pier is just too great. Seriously…driving 45 minutes to the pier versus hours of being trapped in planes and airports? Add to that the fact that Bermuda is wonderful, it’s been five years since we’ve been there, and we did get a really nice price on our cruise…well Key West will be there next year.

But enough about that. That trip is in October. Seven weeks from today we sail from Seattle to Alaska and planning needs to be done.

Sailing out of Seattle is a real treat. The pier is minutes away from Pike Place Market and surrounded by restaurants and much to keep you occupied, like the aquarium. DH and I will fly into Seattle the day before the cruise so we’re already dreaming of our day on the Seattle waterfront. Of course those dreams are all revolving around food. During our last trip to Seattle we discovered a love of Pacific oysters and Dungeness crab…two things not readily available on the east coast. We also discovered during our last trip that by dinner time that first night, we’ll be too tired to handle a nice dinner (not to say we didn’t thoroughly enjoy our burgers at Red Robin!) so we’re focusing on getting our seafood fix during lunch. It is looking like Elliot’s Oyster House is in the lead at the moment but we’ll see! I will also be on a quest for a better fridge magnet. The magnet I got last time is just a restaurant magnet and doesn’t even mention Seattle. Rookie mistake.

On to the Alaska portion of the trip…I believe I already mentioned the excursion that allows you to take a small boat right up to Sawyer Glacier from Juneau. I am all over that. In addition we’re going to horseback ride in Skagway (a bucket list item for DH) and a Duck Boat tour in Ketchikan (my bucket list item). We also plan on having lunch at both places. DH and I always try to dine locally when we have a chance, and I am on a mission to eat my weight in Dungeness crab, LOL.

Posted April 19, 2014 by cubechick in Cruise Planning...it never stops!

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