Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Rewind – with D.G. Kaye – #Cruising – Reports and Tips Part One

There is good news finally on the availability of cruises in 2022 although it is important to keep up to date with current Covid restrictions in place. It is almost certain that vaccine passports will be required and PCR testing or similar evidence of non-infection required.

Here is an update from one of the cruising websites that shares how busy the year is likely to be for bookings.

“As travel begins to return in greater numbers following the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of cruise will continue to evolve in 2022 and beyond.

Pent-up demand already has led to a huge surge in bookings in 2022 and 2023 from cruisers who have had their trips canceled or delayed because of the pandemic as well as new bookings from people who foresee cruising coming back safer than ever.

A couple of examples of this: Oceania’s world cruise for 2023 sold out within one day of opening for sale to the public January 27, 2021. And river cruise operator Uniworld has seen a 425 percent year-on-year increase in late 2021 and 2022 bookings to exotic destinations like India, Vietnam and Egypt.”  Adam Coulter Cruise Critic

Cruising – Reports and Tips Part One

In this series I’ll be sharing some of my favorite places I’ve traveled to, tips about preparing for travel, staying safe when traveling, and how to get the best bang for your dollars.
In today’s post I’ll be talking about cruises. I love cruising. I’ve been on approximately 15 cruises and have the protocol down to a science.

Image by addesia from Pixabay

I began cruising with Celebrity Cruises cruises because of the many good recommendations I received and after researching various cruise lines while initially trying to decide which cruise line to choose. I had a fabulous first experience cruise with them and never looked any further. I also met many cruisers on the cruises I’ve been on and heard lots of stories about bad experiences with low quality food, tiny cabins, expensive beverages and lack of activities offered. I also met people who traveled on various cruise lines who said their best experience was with Celebrity and I can understand why.

This article is not a plug for any particular cruise line, but rather a sharing about what I’ve gleaned about cruising. Because I travel with Celebrity this is the cruise line I make reference to. Other than the possibility of taking a River Cruise one day, any future cruises I take will remain with Celebrity. I’ve had nothing less than first class service, wonderful amenities, great food, beautiful cabins, and not to mention – their rewards program is fantastic, but I’ll get into that a little later. Therefore, for me, if it aint broken, I aint fixin’. As far as cruisers go, you either love being out on the ocean or you don’t. But for those of us who do, here’s the scoop on what to look for when choosing a cruise.

Which Cruise Line Should I Choose?

This is a matter of preference, pricing and itinerary. For many new cruisers, it can be overwhelming to decide which cruise line to book with. My advice to help you decide is to go to a cruise line site, look at their itineraries, fleet of ships, staterooms (cabins), dining options, reward programs, drink packages, activities, and check what they have offer. Doing your homework is important! You will also take note of which port your cruise leaves from – the further the sailing port is from where you live, the more it will likely cost to fly there. You can also get a good education by checking out sites that passengers leave reviews on such as Tripadvisor, Google, and directly to cruise line sites where travelers often leave honest reviews.

Are you a person who likes to spend a lot of time touring at each port or do you prefer hitting the beaches or shopping? Do too many days at sea in between ports bore you? Personally, I love sea days, they are days to relax at the pool and get my tan on. But some people get a bit antsy with too many sea days, so make sure you check out the ship’s itineraries when looking for one you’d enjoy.

Celebrity Equinox – This was the last ship I sailed with in 2017 – Posted by Mogens Hallas

Which Cabins Are Best For You?

Lodging cabins aboard ship are otherwise known as staterooms. There are various types of staterooms offered, each one with its own price points and perks, depending on your choice of category.

Traditionally, inside cabins are the cheapest, and if you’re anything like me, loving to sit on my balcony to take in the ocean view and enjoy watching the ship dock or sail, you’ll want the freedom of stepping outside your room and perhaps sipping on a cocktail after a lovely day in the sun. But some people are willing to forgo these benefits for a cheaper price and don’t mind an inside cabin.

Inside cabins don’t have windows or balconies, and as you may have seen in movies, the very bottom floors may have a tiny portal window if the cabin is just above sea level. I’m also claustrophobic so that is certainly no option for me.

Image by Larry White from Pixabay

Oceanview cabins have large floor to ceiling windows facing the ocean, but unless you go up one category, they don’t include balconies. From there, we get into oceanview cabins with balconies and yet another upgrade termed Concierge Class. These cabins are typically a little more generous in size with upgraded room amenities, bigger bathrooms, and come with additional services – your own stateroom attendant on call 24/7 for all your needs including room service orders.

Typically, in this class, you will also find other goodies in your stateroom upon arrival such as: a bottle of wine or champagne, personal tote beach bags, yours to keep, coupons for discounts in select restaurants onboard that aren’t part of your package, wifi usage, priority disembarking privileges, and of course, afternoon hor’s d’heurves of your choice brought to your cabin daily.

Next category up is Concierge Class cabins with spa privileges, ie: use of sauna and relaxing aromatherapy rooms for cabin passengers situated on spa floors, plus dining privileges in the ship’s elite restaurant for those who don’t prefer eating in the huge dining room where patrons congregate nightly for dinner at designated times.

Then of course, you have the Penthouse Cabins, which are almost condo-sized, complete with every imaginable perk including large balconies with sunbeds and a personal butler!

Which Part Of The Ship Is The Least Rocky?

The quick answer is ‘midship’. Midship cabins will typically run you a little more money than the same cabin type located at either the front or back ends of the ship. You will feel the least movement of the ship in a midship cabin. Personally, I don’t get seasick, despite encountering a few rough patches on a couple of cruises I took. But there are several aids people use to combat seasickness.

Some recommended aids to help with seasickness are Seabands, worn on the wrists, said to work on accupressure points to hold nausea at bay. Others swear by Bonine and Gravol. These are tablets you can purchase at any drugstore. Just make sure to take the non-drowsy Gravol or you might sleep away half your vacation!

What Do I Need To Know About Boarding The Ship?

Typically, on all cruises I’ve taken out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the cruises depart around 4PM, and protocol is, you can board up to 3 hours early and have lunch aboard and mingle before you’re assigned the okay to go to your cabin as time is needed to clean the rooms from the last sailing’s passengers. Concierge Class and all categories higher can board earlier because they have priority checkin.

The cruise lines state clearly that anyone missing final boarding time should find their way over to the next port that ship will sail to. So not fun! For this reason, many cruisers like myself, are seasoned enough to know that unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays, bad weather, etc., can leave you vulnerable to getting left behind from boarding the ship for same day arrivals. For these reasons, I prefer to fly out at least a day before the ship’s sail and begin my vacation earlier. Besides, I get extra cross border shopping time in!

Boarding a ship is similar to going through airport security where you will pass through similar security checks and scanners for your personal items to ensure safety for all passengers. Similarly, when the ship docks in each port and you return from an off-ship excursion, you will go through the same security procedure to re-board.

Once you’ve checked in on the ship, you’ll be given a ship card which will serve as your room key and cruise credit card where anything you purchase aboard – drinks, upgraded restaurant meals, shopping, booked tours, paid activities, etc., will all be charged to that card. You will pay your onboard cruise bill the evening before returning to your disembarking port at the end of the cruise.

As soon as the ship sails, each passenger will be directed to their section’s muster station for a short crash-course on emergency procedures. This is mandatory on all ships although, meeting times will vary with each cruise line.

Rewards Programs

Most cruise lines offer perks for new cruisers and upgrades for patrons who are repeat cruisers. It’s important to check what your cruise line has to offer you. I know with Celebrity, the more you cruise, the more discounts and perks you receive for every consequent cruise you take with them. These perks can be anything from cabin upgrades to free drink packages, free wifi, invites to the Captain’s party, discounts on spa facilities, and even discounted tour packages (something I’ll get into on the next post).

The points I earn for each cruise bumps up my status to a new category of perks. To stay competitive, many cruise lines offer package deals you can purchase when booking your cruise such as: a choice of different alcohol and non/alcohol packages and an onboard credit. And many offer these perks as part of a ‘take your choice’ bonus package just for booking with them. There may be a drink package, a special offer to have your tips included, or perhaps free or discounted wifi offered as a special bonus at the time of your booking.

Something else I recommend is if you discover you love cruising, you should book another cruise while onboard at the ship’s travel office because you will receive a discounted price and a cabin upgrade plus a choice of at least 2 or 3 packages included free in your booking onboard. I’m also going to add here that Celebrity has an ‘evergreen’ policy where once you’ve booked another future cruise you can change your destination choice to a different cruise anytime before the booked cruise date to pay the balance in full is due and keep every discount and package you were given when put to a different cruise. So, I highly recommend booking another cruise while onboard – any cruise, it doesn’t matter because you can change the destination or dates indefinitely and as many times as you deem. Note: You will also have the option to cancel a booked cruise and get back your full deposit. So, there’s really nothing to lose – it’s a win/win!

~ ~ ~

©D.G. Kaye 2018

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post when I’ll be getting into your dining options, when and where to book excursions, shopping and tipping protocol, and things to beware of!

Do you have any cruise stories or info you’d like to share here?

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Have Bags Will Travel

Lana B. 5.0 out of 5 stars Super fun travel reading Reviewed in the United States

“Have Bags, Will Travel” is a delightful read on the experiences of travel, fashion, the art of packing suitcases with the emphasis on having a good time. Author, D.G. Kaye details her days on board planes to many popular destinations and her vivacious antics with friends. She also relates her solo travels to exotic destinations with steep cliffs and too much baggage. I particularly enjoyed the details of the by-gone, romantic days aboard Wardair, and the exquisite details of vintage Las Vegas.

A consummate shopper, D.G. Kaye relates her rather humorous run-ins with customs officials. How does it feel to be singled out routinely by airline officials? A read through this humorous pages will give you the insight to these first-hand conflicts.

I would say this might be required reading for shoe connoisseurs and fashion mavens especially if they have a plane ticket in hand. Germ avoidance theory is also discussed, and it may never be possible to look at airplane bathrooms the same.

D.G. Kaye brings back the memories of best friends and blazing trips through the desert. Many readers will identify with the struggles of this stylish lady attempting to blend in to avoid a custom’s mishap. A short and super fun read, “Have Bags, Will Travel” is perfect for your next airplane ride.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads –  Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye

My thanks to Debby for sharing her tips for enjoying your cruise and as always she loves to hear from you.

72 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Rewind – with D.G. Kaye – #Cruising – Reports and Tips Part One

  1. I’ve only been on one cruise, but I would go again. It was more fun than I thought it would be, and I thought the level of entertainment on the ship was quite good. I read your article carefully, Debby, and picked up quite a few tips. I’m a guy who gets nauseous easily, so I’ll keep those seasick and middle-of-the-ship suggestions in mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I travelled on the Celebrity Equinox just after you, Debby, which was our third cruise. I have to say that after our experience on the tender at Grand Cayman three times is enough and I never want to go cruising again! x

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I performed on a cruise ship back in the 80s and did two shows a night. It was fabulous, I had a beautiful cabin and enjoyed all of the activities the cruise offered. Your post brought back many wonderful memories, Debby. Thanks for sharing. Hugs
    Reblogged on Improvisation – “The Art of Living”
    https://williampriceking.tumblr.com/

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I love cruising and have been to many different destinations on several different ships. I’m hoping to take another cruise next year. Great information, Debby! Thanks for sharing, Sally! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Debby, this is a very useful post on cruising. I also like cruising and have always been on celebrity, except for a job I once got on a Norweigian freight ship which was awesome. Like you, I also love sea days. I love lying on a lounge chair by the water. I’ve done two repositioning cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona where we stopped at few ports but spent most of the time at sea. These happen in the spring and fall and are less expensive than a regular cruise. Also, I also like to have a balcony. I’ve heard that there are cruises for writers. Maybe one of these days we’ll meet on one of these!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is good news, Debby. I’ve never had the chance to go on a cruise (yet) but these tips sound like they are super helpful if and when I do! Thanks for sharing, Sally!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great information! I have only been on one regular cruise to Alaska and loved the experience. We got a balcony and loved spotting whales and dolphins. I got a bit sea sick but nothing bad. Exploring each stop was amazing and doing the offered trips. I finally got to fly in a water plane. We did a smaller disney cruise with the inner room which we didn’t like as much but enjoyed the tropical stops 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Fasciinating information and great advice, Debby. We were lucky, like Dorothy, to go on the QE2, and we also went on a wonderful cruise around Scandinavia and the Arctic. I’d love to go again, and this piece has really whetted my appetite! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for sharing great experiences, Debby! For just a moment i had forgotten we are still in C19-time. So cruises definitely would be better than the spontaneous adventures i had prefered more. Lol Thanks, and have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Bizarro. I saw this post last night and was sure I commented Sal. Thanks for resharing, and good to hear many here are enlightened and ready to hop on a cruise! ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A wonderful peep into your holiday. Thanks so much. Never cruised, but back in the 1960s hubby and band would often play on cruises to earn money between tours. Ma in law cruised in style a few times a year and always had amazing stories to tell. Glad you enjoyed it. Tweeted.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent post from Debby, full of helpful details. I haven’t been on a cruise in a couple of decades, and I have wonderful memories. It’s nice to hear that cruising is back after a long hiatus. Thanks for the wonderful info, Debby, and thanks, Sally, for sharing. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Debby! This is outstanding. Your post is a must read for anyone considering a cruise, and a terrific read for those of us who want to be in the know and learn. Sally, thank you for Debby’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

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