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Don’t Allow Your Brain To Go On Vacation

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In 2011; 66-year-old Oscar Antonio Mendoza, a passenger from the Celebrity Solstice, died from injuries incurred as a result of a mugging, while he was strolling near the port in Naples, Italy.

This man died because a criminal spotted the Rolex watch he was wearing, and attempted to take it from him. Yes, the port area of Naples does have a reputation for being rife with criminal activity, but many of the major tourist sites in Europe are also well known habitats for professional thieves and pickpockets.

However crime is not restricted to “well known” areas of Europe, or anywhere else in the world.  Crimes can occur even in “the best areas”, and to “the best people”. It is not however human nature to allow fear to deter people from leading their normal lives. If it were, no one would leave their homes.

Generally we try to reduce the risks of the things we’re afraid of by managing our lives as well as we can; we call that using “common sense”.

So, let’s look for some recommendations for “common sense behaviour” while you’re cruising.

-Don’t look like a target –

When preparing to step off the ship in a port of call remember the story of poor Mr. Mendoza. Leave all of your jewellery in the safe in your cabin. Even faux jewellery, if it looks like it could be expensive, could draw unwanted attention toward you. While you may want to dress up on the ship, it’s abbetter idea to dress down during a port visit.

Ladies; wandering down a street you’re not familiar with, even if it’s busy street, with a Coach, Louis Viton, or similar, bag hanging from your shoulders is a bit like walking around with a spotlight pointing at you.

Backpacks may seem useful, easy to carry, and can certainly serve their purpose. Just be sure to keep nothing of value in them; not digital cameras, cell phones, your cruise card ID, or worse yet, any cash or credit cards. The straps on your backpack can be cut, and the bag gone before you can even turn around. Some people will say the safest way to carry a backpack is reversed, with the bag in front of you, clutched towards your chest. In my view doing so points out to potential criminals that there’s something in that bag that you value. Wearing the back pack reversed is certainly safer than wearing it normally. But for a shore excursion, or if you’re touring on your own, I recommend a simple looking beach bag, or shoulder bag. It won’t draw any unwanted attention in your direction. In fact, your goal should be to look just like everyone else.

-Don’t carry a lot of cash –

Even if you feel you are carrying your cash in a safe spot, like a zippered pocket, if you make a purchase, you’re going to have to take the cash out of its “safe place” to pay. When you do that, there may be someone nearby watching the transaction, and watching as you place your cash back in its (no longer) safe place. Carry a small amount of cash, and only one credit card, along with your identification. Place these items in a front pocket, along with a number of coins. This makes it much more difficult for even the best pick pockets.

-Be aware of your surroundings –

Don’t allow fear of what might happen to dictate your activities; to end your sense of adventure and exploration. Just do what you  do with your brain turned on. You can rely on your brain to direct you and keep you safe in most circumstances, if you keep it working, and pay attention to what is going on around you, and what the people around you are doing.

-A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: May 14th, 2014 under Paul Motter.
Comments: 5

Tips For Currency Conversion

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The spring/summer cruise season has begun. Ships are or have been repositioning to where many will be sailing itineraries not usual to those they sailed during the winter months.

If you’re going to be amongst the millions preparing to cruise you’ve no doubt given some thought to your spending on that cruise, and with that, thoughts of currencies accepted in the countries you’re going to visit.

On itineraries through the Bahamas and the Caribbean currency concerns are somewhat simplified because U.S. dollars are widely accepted. However, it’s still going to be necessary to know the rates of conversion to the local currency, to know just how much you are paying for any item purchased.

The same is true through much of Europe, if you’re sailing a European or Mediterranean true, where rather than the U.S. dollar the Euro is the widely accepted currency. But, there as well as in countries which use their own currency, there’s a real need to understand the rates of conversion.

Prior to leaving for a cruise I used to research and  write out a “cheat sheet” listing the current exchange rates of all of the countries I’d be visiting which used their own local currency, and I’d carry that with me. Then, I’d attempt to do quick mental calculations in an attempt to calculate exactly what I was paying.

Today smartphone technology makes that unnecessary. There are many choices of apps for your smartphones to choose from (many of them free) that give you the exchange rates and do the calculations for you. And, of course an added benefit is the exchange rates you get are current.  One such app I like is .

Wherever in the world you’re traveling that uses currencies different from your country of residence, you are faced with these issues. But, in the majority of cases you’re also most likely to find a need to use a combination of actual currencies, a credit card, and ATM/debt card. And this is when things can get tricky, and cost you money, if you don’t at least have a plan for dealing with those transactions.

In my view, it matters not where you are traveling – even if you’re only in port for a few hours – you are going to have a need for at least some of the local “hard currency”.  The answer for that is somewhat simple, with a bit of advance planning; ATMs.

My best advice is to go to your bank and set up a separate “travel account”, with limited funds (not linked to your other accounts) and get an ATM/Debt card specific to that account.  While setting up this account, ask about the cost of transaction fees. Most banks will offer free transactions if you use machines on their network, but you may want to do a bit of bank shopping to find the best deal.

If, for some reason that travel account card gets compromised, the only funds at risk will be those in the account.

Then, as you travel only use bank ATMs. ATM machines are very commonly available; some that are not a part of your banks network may charge a transaction fee, but if you use bank ATMs as opposed to ATMs located in retail merchants, hotels, etc. you’re going to save money. And under no circumstances (other than dire emergency) do you want to use commercial currency converters. If you do, you’re basically assured of paying the highest fees; even if their posted exchange rates might appear to be attractive, they will get you on the service charges.

You aren’t going to want to get extremely large amounts of hard currency wherever you visit. This just leads to another transaction fee when trying to convert that currency a second time.

Paying for a purchase with local currency, also leads to you receiving your change in local currency. If you can, limit the amount of currency you have after leaving a port of call to small amounts, one nice thing you can do with “left overs” is  give it to some of your favorite staff onboard, as they are likely to be able to use it, as their ship is very likely to return to the ports of call on that itinerary.

Earlier in this piece I recommended using a credit card wherever possible. There are some pitfalls possible, but a credit card still has many consumer protections for you as well. One thing – you do want to make certain is you get a card that offers no foreign transaction fees! If your  present preferred credit card does not offer free foreign transactions, get one that does.

Here’s a site that may be helpful in the search for such a credit card

Of course, one should always verify the amenities and services a credit card offers, with the issuing bank. You also want to choose a card with no annual fee, as the savings of the free foreign fees may be lost on the annual charge for the card. Though I’m not one to advocate using a lot of credit, you may not be able to afford, as long as you’re prepared to pay off the complete balance when due, it’s not a bad idea to have a separate credit card specifically for travel, as I recommended for an ATM card.

It’s also wise to see if the credit card you’re going to use has the computer chip, with PIN number as opposed to those with just the magnetic strips. It once again offers more protection, and in many countries ATMs accept those more readily than they do those with magnetic strips.

Whichever credit card you intend to use during your travels be sure to advise the distributing bank of your travel plans, as otherwise they could flag and disallow charges you attempt to make because they are uncommon to your  standard spending.

– A View From The Kuki of Cruising –

Posted: May 6th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: 2

Mental Health Concerns

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Back a few months, in December ’13, a couple on the Celebrity Millennium, cruising in Australia, were put off the ship in Cairns because a woman with dementia had been left aboard alone while her husband took a tour.

The manner with which  Celebrity cruise line reacted to this situation drew reactions that ran the gambit, from appalled, to startled, to applauded.

In his initial response to the incident (as reported in the story by the Cairns Post) the couple’s nephew said ” This is disgusting way to treat an elderly couple, without even trying to resolve the issue at hand”. While it seems easy to sympathize with that position, and feel for the couple who found themselves put off the ship,  I do think it is necessary to examine the situation a bit more thoroughly, because it involves the disease of dementia.

Dementia is a disease of the mind  that little is known about, and which has no known cure. And, as well, the general public has very little understanding of it.

Sadly I have quite a bit of personal experience with this subject. Over the past 5 years I have witnessed the deterioration of my mother’s mind, due to her dementia. As my father had previously passed away, and I am her only child living in the city, the responsibility of assuring her care and well being fell to me.

It is also the reason I have just taken a month’s leave from writing this blog, as her situation required much more of my attention. And, though I considered writing about this situation when it occurred, I avoided it, rather than face it.

No two people suffering from dementia suffer from it in the same way. Indeed, there’s all variety of how drastically the disease affects the individuals behavior as it progresses. What is true is that it most commonly attacks the elderly, and normally the elderly have other medical conditions that can complicate and compound the effects of the dementia.

Following medical advice from geriatric and dementia specialists, we have kept my mother in her own home, rather than any type of live-in facility. We were advised that keeping her in her home, in familiar surroundings, and in familiar activities, would most likely assist somewhat in staving off the full blown effects of the disease. Her health care professionals suggested that taking her out of her own home would in fact likely shorten her life.

At the present time my mother has almost zero short term memory, and we recognized several years ago, that she was in a position that she could no longer be left alone, even for a short time. I was incredibly lucky to find, and be able to afford, wonderful 24 hr. live-in caregivers for my mother.

I understand in many situations, the care for those afflicted with this disease are their spouses. And, I certainly understand how that responsibility can be a heavy weight to bare, and incredibly stressful for those spouses in that position.  No doubt, in this situation, Mr. Arnold was attempting to do what he thought best to care for his wife, and to do what he thought would bring his wife some happiness. That is exactly what most families faced with the care of dementia patients do.

With so few facts available to the public it does raise some questions in my mind; first of which is whether Mr. Arnold consulted with Mrs. Arnold’s medical advisors before even begin planning this cruise.  I also have to wonder how well Mrs. Arnold could care for herself at home.

The report stated Mrs. Arnold was found on the ship, disoriented, and crying and she could not find her cabin. Mr. Arnold had departed from the ship to tour  Cairns. After Mrs. Arnold was discovered by staff, and taken to the medical center, the ship attempted unsuccessfully to contact Mr. Arnold on shore.

There were probably several options for the cruise line to handle the situation presented to them. And perhaps they could have found a more sensitive solution.

However, as much empathy as I have for Mr. Arnold’s situation, it was indeed his responsibility to provide the care for his wife once he had made the decision to take her on a cruise. To me it is unfathomable how he could then leave her on the ship, while he went touring, without assuring she was cared for the entire time he was away.  Frankly, there was so much more that could have gone horribly wrong in that situation. The Arnold’s were actually lucky more didn’t go wrong.

What bothered me, reading all the reports of this incident at the time, was that Mr. Arnold never stood up to accept his share of the responsibility, at the time.  His actions set in motion a series of events which would have never occurred if he hadn’t left his wife, suffering from dementia, onboard the ship on her own. I would have to guess that his wife had some other medical issues which prevented her from going on tour with her husband. But that only amplifies the egregious decision Mr. Arnold made.

I honestly, very well understand Mr. Arnold’s motivation to take his wife on a cruise. I myself have seen other people, with even more serious medical conditions go on cruises to satisfy a loved one’s request, or in at attempt to share happier moments. But in those cases, those accompanying those sick people made all necessary arrangements in advance to care for and deal with critical situations, if they arose. They didn’t leave it to the cruise line to assume that responsibility.

I am not saying that people with health concerns shouldn’t cruise. I do however believe they shouldn’t expect the cruise lines to be, or replace, their caregivers.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –









Posted: April 29th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: 4

Mistakes To Avoid

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Ship happens but there are a few simple things you can do to avoid the most common blunders.

# 1 – The most common mistake can occur at the moment you decide to book your cruise. DO NOT pay the deposit you make to book your cruise, or make your final payment, using cash or by writing a check to a travel agent!

While the vast majority of travel agents are honest, ethical, and trustworthy, their financial circumstances can change, and if the agent you are using finds themselves in difficult circumstances, there can be a serious temptation for them to use your monies for things other than to pay the cruise lines the money you have trusted in them to pay for you.

And you may not know this has happened until months later,… or worst case… until you try and board the ship.

You wouldn’t be the first for this to happen to you. It has indeed happened previously, and on occassion to large groups traveling together.

Pay for your deposits or cruise fares using a major credit card, and then verify that said charges on your card are made directly to the cruise line.

You can verify this immediately with your credit card company, as well as checking the booking reference number you are given when booking online, at the cruise line’s web site.

# 2 – Just prior to embarking on your cruise, during the check in process, you are required to supply payment information guaranteeing your responsibility for charges you incurr on board. Cash deposits are accepted, and then once on the ship, if you’re closing to reaching the amount of deposit you’d left you’ll be required to deposit more.

The most commonly used method of deposit used for on board spending is by use of a credit card (also the best). However, as Debit Card use is becoming more common, many people have turned to using these same debt cards to guarantee their on board charges. This is a mistake!

The method banks use for debt card transactions is different than that used for credit card transactions. A credit card can pre-authorized, but the monies are not charged against it until the final transactions are processed at the end of the cruise. When using a debit card however the pre-authorization is withdrawn from your account at the moment it is processed.

This makes that amount of funds from the debit card account at your bank unavailable to you for other use. When your final tab at the end of the cruise is calculated the amounts are corrected to reflect the actual charges. However, until those corrections (and credits if they are due) are calculated you could find that the withholding made leave your account short of being capable to cover charges you want to use the debt card for.

Use a credit card to secure your on board charges and you are safe.

# 3 – Choosing the location of your cabin on a ship can be a bit of a minefield. Ideally, you want to be sure that your cabin is not directly above or below any of the ships busy public rooms and areas. That can be accomplished relatively easily by examining a ship’s deck plan, and choosing a cabin with passenger decks above you, as well as below you.

Your not likely to enjoy a cabin that is directly above or below the ship’s main showroom, dance clubs/discos, or the ship’s galleys. The noise at odd times of day and night may be disturbing to you. Cabins directly below the pool/lido deck and buffet restaurants may also be less desirable to you, as crew will be moving furniture and setting up quite early in the morning, and you’ll be very likely to hear it.

# 4- Don’t assume the cruise line is solely responsible for your good time. The cruise lines do a wonderful job of supplying the environment, activities, and atmosphere for you to really enjoy your experience. But that is truly only 50% of the equation.

You are the final determining factor. You get to make the choices of how many, or how few of the activities and amenities available to you you’ll use to make certain you enjoy the experience. And, inevitably there are going to be a few small glitches along the route. How much you choose to allow them to impact your experience is, in many ways, up to you.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: March 25th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: none

“How To Be A Cruiser”- Training Now Available

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It is with intense pride we announce the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a four day seminar designed specifically to make you a qualified cruiser.

Have you ever stepped onto a cruise ship and felt that you simply don’t fit in?

Have you stood around aimlessly, wondering how you are going to find your room?

Have you felt the stress of a waiter hanging over your shoulder, as you feel lost trying to decide what you are going to eat?

Have you called your cabin attendant Captain?

Have you wondered how all the people around you are all having a great time?

Help is now available!

Through four short, yet intense, days of training with me, you’ll never again have to ask yourself, “where is the dining room”.

For only $999 plus airfare and accommodations you will be able to confidently say, “I’ve never been able to drink that much in my life”.

Upon completion of this training you’ll have renewed patience for people who act like idiots, and those who seem to complain about everything.

You will understand full well why you don’t want to use the jacuzzis after they’ve been used by children and old people.

You will have a full understanding of why you should avoid the karaoke lounge, when you can’t sing.

You will know how to ride in tandem down the water slide, on your bellies.

You’ll be trained in the art of allowing people to get out of an elevator, before you get in.

You’ll finally understand that the staff and crew of a ship work 24 hours a day to make your experience a pleasurable one. (And you’ll understand that means collectively, not that each one works 24 hours a day).

You will learn that the most important factor leading to the enjoyment of your cruise is you.

You will come to understand that instead of attending my seminar, you should have spent $999 on a cruise.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: March 18th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: none

The Cruise Countdown

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Whether you’re a first time cruiser, or an old salt regular who cruises often, one of the most exciting parts of your cruise experience is the cruise countdown.

It might seem odd that I refer to the countdown as a part of the cruise experience. But it certainly is, and the main reason it is, is that the planning and anticipation normally runs on much longer than your actual time on the ship.

The tingling sensation starts even before you book, and then continues to build in veracity as your sail date nears.

There’s an initial excitement, mixed with a bit of apprehension, as you sort through all the options and make your decision on which ship to sail, and which cabin to book. Then there’s a period of calm once the decision is made, and you’ve put down your deposit.

It all starts to build again as you visit your cruise line’s web site to fill out all the online documentation required before you cruise. It’s all suddenly becoming more real.

You can’t help it; your mind begins to be filled with images of smooth sandy beaches, or frozen glacial formations, or historical sights, depending on which itinerary you’ve chosen. The urge to research and get into more detailed planning becomes almost overwhelming, and your time spent online doing so, increases three fold.

As you do so, more questions pop into your head.

What should we do in port? What should we pack? How much money should we bring? How much are my favourite drinks going to cost? What colour shoes do I need? …and on and on. And your time spent online increases X 2.

Once your final payment is made, and you know it’s real, your heart begins to beat just a little faster. You realize that after all the research and all the questions you’ve had, it’s getting very close to the time you have to make some decisions on the answers you’ve found, and that just leads to more questions.

It’s not that it’s really that complicated, it’s just that now you are approaching full countdown mode.

You proceed to book some tours, finalize dining time options; putting all your final plans into place, and rather than it all having a calming effect, you find you’re getting even more excited (if that’s possible).

Then you realize you’ve forgotten to put a countdown clock in all the messages and questions you’ve bee posting on the Internet message boards.

You find, and insert a countdown clock into your message board signature file, and suddenly your countdown is real.

You check it every day, to see exactly how many days are left until you cruise. Silly! …like you didn’t know.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: March 10th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: 2

Do Cruise Ships Just Want To Be Resorts

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In the past decade the most noticeable “innovations” in the cruise industry ( in the contemporary mass market segment) has been bigger and brasher.

Several years ago I wrote a column about whether Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Oasis of the Sea, was going to change the industry. And even before they introduce their latest and greatest (Quantum of the Seas) next year, I think the answer to my question is YES. They have changed the industry in significant ways. And there’s certainly more to come with what’s been revealed to date about Quantum of the Seas.

Those ships are engineering wonders. And I certainly have to appreciate them as that, even if they hold little attraction to me personally.

Just as Norwegian Cruise Line changed almost all of the line’s cruise ship dining, with the introduction of dine when you want, with who you want, “Free Style” dining, the Oasis class ships, of RCI, have changed the approach to amenities and activities available onboard.

Not long ago the most outrageous activity on deck was a sports court, shuffleboard and some table tennis. Then, it was a big deal when some ships had a single water slide. Now massive water parks are common place on Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean ships.

These days you’re not considered a modern contemporary ship without some forms of
water parks, rock climbing walls, rope courses, zip lines, inline skating (or ice skating), flow riders, aqua theatres, 4D movie experiences, interactive arcade rides, a boxing ring, and coming soon… Bumper cars, a circus school, “Ripchord” ( air supported enclosed sky diving simulator), North Star ( a capsule that will move to offer 360 degree views, 300 Ft. Above the sea), and gymnasiums packed full of the most current work out equipment.

On the onboard entertainment front, cast production shows are being replaced with Broadway shows, well known Las Vegas acts, electronic enhancements, etc.

To enhance the family fun, the cruise lines are entering into affiliation agreements with well established family brand companies such as Hasboro, Dr. Seuss, Nickelodeon, and Dreamworks; replete with the various characters.

Royal Caribbean’s design team introduced “neighbourhoods”, and Carnival responded with “Ocean Plazas”, to act as central gathering areas, and now Norwegian has responded with the “Waterfront” ( having indoor venues extend outdoors, creating patio areas similar in feel to sea side sidewalk cafés).

Even while I write about it all, it all sounds so interesting and innovative. Yet, to my mind it also sounds very much like a resort mind set.

On the positive side, they are resorts that float and do travel to different places.

But, to be frank, I have never been a fan of resort style vacations. They all hold far less draw to me, rather than more. But I do understand that I am likely in a fairly insignificant minority in this regard. The vast majority are likely ecstatic about all the innovation.

The good news for all cruisers, including me, is that there are plenty of options, including somewhat more traditional cruise line offerings for old fogeys like me; ie Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Oceania, Azamara Club Cruises, Cunard; not to mention all the luxury cruise lines.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: March 4th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: 5

Things No One Knows About Cruising

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Within the pages and archives on CruiseMates one can find almost any information in existence regarding the cruise experience.

Now it’s time to remove the “almost” from that sentence.

I’m about to reveal the things about cruising that no one knew about, until now…

For example, did you know that prior to a new ship entering service, the cruise line gathers the entire crew prior to the ship’s christening and hold a spelling bee? The top four finishers in the spelling bee then compete in an arm wrestling competition. And at the point, the winner is declared Captain.

Their reasoning is the role of the Captain must be handled by someone who is both smart and strong. Actual maritime training is of minimal importance.

Prior to every sailing of every ship a lottery is held on board prior to boarding passengers. Every cabin number is thrown into a giant bin, and 4 cabin numbers are drawn. Those 4 cabins are then pre-determind to not receive their luggage. The Guest Relations department is the only department to remain uninformed about which cabins have been chosen to forgo receiving their luggage.

The purpose of this lottery is solely to provide entertainment for the staff and crew. Over the years they’ve found giving the crew something to laugh about, watching some of the ensuing mayhem, has proven to be an excellent morale builder.

When surveyed most cruise passengers say they cruise for the great food, or the excellent entertainment, or the fabulous destinations. But do you know the real reason? … Regardless of the demographic of any particular sailing there is more sex occurring on a cruise vacation, than any other type of vacation.

During any particular cruise, during monitoring, if they find the rate of sex seems to be falling short , the crew are required to make up the short fall with each other.

In 2015 a new Royal Caribbean ship will be outfitted with the first Liposuction Clinic at sea. However, the most innovative part of this treatment is guests will not be required to remain in the clinic during the procedure. They will be outfitted with specially designed portable units, which will allow them to enjoy dining at buffet, while being mechanically slimmed at the same time.

The “experts” believe that once this program is totally functional fleet wide, the rise in the rates of sexual activity on board will also skyrocket, and as a result, guest’s post cruise satisfaction survey results will skyrocket.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: February 18th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: none

Time For Thoughts Of Romance

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With Valentine’s Day just days away, it’s time to talk about romance. And if you’ve surprised your “babe” with a cruise, there’s some tips for you here.

The reputation of time at sea, from the beginning, has included thoughts of adventure, danger, and romance. More recently, with the advent of the cruise industry, romance has no doubt climbed up the ladder of the sea going thought process.

Whether “old married couples”, or a young couple’s burgeoning relationship, romance at sea becomes a large part of their cruise experience.

There’s things you can do to enhance that experience, and there’s mistakes you make in your attempt to enhance that experience. This week I’ll offer suggestions which may positively affect your ability to heighten the romantic attitude on your  cruise, and to point out some mistakes you may want to avoid.

The very first action you take that will have an affect on setting the entire romantic tone of your trip is your choice in cabin type. The very best choices are, of course, the most expensive; a balcony cabin or a suite. That choice is an automatic ignition switch for preparing for romance.

If you are just in a budding new relationship, the worst mistake you can make with regard to your cabin choice, is asking your partner to split the cost of the cabin, or even worse, ask them to pay for you. Over the years that move cost me 3 relationships.

If your budget dictates a lesser cabin category that does not sound the death knell of romance. There are still plenty of things available to make up for any lost ground.

You could have your cabin decorated for your arrival, or have a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting, or even a nice bouquet of flowers with a personal message waiting, or even just a personal sentimental note that you slip onto the desk. Any of those things will at least light a spark of romance.

What you don’t want to do is open your cabin door, and ask your partner to stay and unpack, while you go to a bar up on deck and have 8 or 10 Margaritas, and meet up later for the safety drill in only your underwear and lifejacket. And even worse, if you’re wearing only your underwear and lifejacket, with someone else on your arm, in the same condition.

Another possibility for some time in a romantic setting on board is an evening in some of the alternate restaurants available on the ship. It can be quite simple to speak to the restaurant Maître D and request a reservation for a table for 2 in a quiet corner of the restaurant. Some of these alternate restaurants are designed to create the most refined ambiance on the ship, and with a table for 2 you can take advantage, enjoying the fine dining, while at the same time directing all your attentions to your partner. Just the fact you went “the extra mile” to make the arrangements, and chose to do so for just the two of you, sets the seed for romance to grow.

You should understand that telling your partner you’ve decided to take them to buffet for your anniversary dinner, or their birthday celebration, won’t have quite as much of a dramatic affect on the romantic tone. That can be made even worse by telling your loved one to eat without you as you have an urgent need to play the slot machines in the casino.

On most ships you can arrange for a renewal of your vows, often officiated by the Captain of the ship. If you can arrange this secretly, as a surprise, the move may supply the ultimate romantic spark. For the unmarried, the equivalent move would, of course, be a proposal of marriage during a moonlit walk on deck. Pick a lovely, secluded, dimly lit spot on deck, where the moonlight glistens off of your eyes, or better yet, reflects beautifully off of the ring you are holding.

What you don’t want to do in either of these scenarios is get so tongue-tied you begin blathering on about how much better you used to have it. Even worse would be breaking up with someone before the cruise ends.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –


Posted: February 11th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: none

What You Shouldn’t Do In Port

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There are already plenty of existing articles (many of which I wrote myself) offering advice on what to do during your visits in different ports of  call. 

Now it’s time for me to offer some advice on what NOT to do while visiting a port.

The most important thing not to do in a port of call is to stay there; that is… Don’t miss the ship’s departure. You’ll be left to find and pay for your own way to meet the ship, or looking to start a new career in a new country.

Private, rather than ship’s supplied tours, are available on pretty much any cruise ship itinerary. Researching online for recommended companies is easy, as is booking. but, you don’t want to send your money in advance to some guy called Noriega, with a prison address.

When on a Caribbean cruise there are normally many options for a day at the beach, or even all inclusive beach clubs. Each island also has several clothing optional beaches to choose from. If your intention is to spend the day naked on one of those beaches, you shouldn’t walk off the ship already “dressed” for it.

Rental vehicles are available during your port visit almost everywhere. If you choose to rent an automobile you want to double check that the vehicle has 4 tires, and also a spare, and if you really want to go somewhere, a motor. And you definitely don’t want to rent a vehicle if you don’t have a driver’s license.

Before disembarking a ship, in every port they will supply printed material with the name and contact information for their port agent. Be certain to carry that information with you in case of emergencies. You want to do everything you can to avoid the need to have to contact the port agents, especially from a jail cell.

Be aware if there is a difference between ship’s time and local time. Ignoring that difference can lead to the problem I first referenced in this article. Time in port does have limits, and you’ll be best off if you also put drink limits in place as well.

Thinking along those lines, you don’t want to be buying or selling illegal substances in any port of call. The danger of getting caught means you’ll have a need to call more than just the port agent, and the jails aren’t likely to provide free internet access for you to check Trip Advisor for the most highly recommended attorneys.

Every port you might visit has very friendly locals, as well as its share of not so friendly locals. You want to do your best to avoid the latter.

To best avoid them you don’t want to allow your “stupid self” off the ship. Every one of us has a “stupid self”, who’ll get us into bad situations by making bad decisions. When traveling in foreign places leave your stupid self in the cabin safe, and make smart decisions. Be aware that you are traveling in unfamiliar places, and that requires more diligence, not less.

Your enjoyment and safety are relying on you to make the right decisions. You don’t want to hear your “stupid self” apologizing to your reasonable self later.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

Posted: February 4th, 2014 under Kuki.
Comments: 2