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Old October 21st, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Default Newbie here..Military family going on a cruise woohooo!

Ok, last cruise we were on was 1998. We enjoyed the ports but not the actual cruise part.........small ship, lots of storms, people vomiting all up and down the hallways. It was miserable. Everyone drugged out on dramamine.

Fast forward 9 years, lived in Alaska for last 8 of these so it was not cost effective to take a cruise--the airfare exceeded the cruise price in most cases.

We are now temporarily in Southern GA so have easy access to many ports. We are taking a small/cheap cruise out of Jacksonville in December.

Tons of questions--and I cannot seem to find a 'search' feature.

What is the deal with soda and iced tea? Hubby will not drink water and I am trying to figure out how much we will rack up in soda fees? Someone mentioned a 'soda card'?

Meals outside of the formal dining room.........is there really a decent selection if we do not want to dress up? I am SICK of dressing up and we are on vacation. Like we want to dress up on vacation.

Is the air conditioning decent? Are the rooms individually climate controlled? We like it chilly but trying to figure out what to bring for in room/dining clothing so we can be comfy. I do not want to overpack.

Laundry facilities.....once again, I hate to overpack, so many times we bring a couple of outfits and wash them. Anyone used the laundry on board?

Shore excursions--who has done the Atlantis one? I have specific questions about it.

Let me close by saying any and all advice/help is highly appreciated. We are taking our son and 'trying' out cruising again after our not so great experience before.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Hi, Crabby, Welcome to CruiseMates!

I'm glad you have got a cruise to look forward to, I'm sure it will be very different from the one you took 9 years ago!

You asked about soda/tea. There isn't a charge for tea, and it is available 24 hrs in the Lido Dining (Buffet). The soda card costs approx $9 (the cost will include 15% gratuity) per day and allows for unlimited soda. If you purchase it by the glass, seems like the cost is $1.75 or so.

Regarding clothing for the dining room, I'm not sure how long your cruise is, but you will probably have 1 formal night. If you don't want to dress, there are always other options. The Lido Dining has lots of options. There is also a grill where they serve hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. Also, there is pizza. The food in the buffet is good. It certainly won't be what you would expect at a 4-star restaurant, but there is plenty of variety and always fresh. The dress in the dining room on other nights is not formal. The guideline would be slacks and blouse for you and Dockers and button shirt or polo style shirt for your DH. In the evening, no shorts and no t-shirts for men. That is pretty much the only restriction.

Of course you also have 24-hour room service available.

Let us know which ship you will be sailing, and more specific questions can be answered.

I believe all the ships have individual thermostats in the cabins, however when we boarded our ship last time, our cabin was very warm. We requested a fan and they brought us a box fan. Someone else in our group requested one and didn't get it, though. Probably depends on how quickly you ask, after boarding the ship.

I used the laundry facilities on one of our cruises. Again, be sure that your ship has washers/dryers available. I don't know if they are available on all the ships.

Sorry, but I can't help you with your questions about Atlantis.

At the top of this page is a button for ship reviews. Read the reviews about the ship you are sailing and it will give you a lot more information about dining options, etc.

I know you will have a great time. You will be setting sail before you know it!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Wow thank you!

On the soda card, the guy on the phone said $20 for unlimited for the whole 5 day cruise . That is why I am asking again..........big difference there!

We are doing the Celebration out of Jacksonville. I will try to find that link to see specific reviews on the ship. Thank you SO much!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Here is a link to one of the reviews:

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...elebration.cfm

If someone else told you $20, they may know better than I do. I don't normally purchase the card. I'm sure someone will be able to let you know what they paid.

I'll see if I can find information about Atlantis and post the link for you.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:55 AM
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You are so awesome! I had found the link after struggling a bit. I did a search for Atlantis and read a few threads. I am working today (I work online from home) so kind of getting paid to surf.........it is slow today!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:32 PM
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We did Atlantis on our own. It was a short and very easy walk from the ship. Once there, we paid to go through the aquarium and the dig (we did the tour). We spent the rest of the time exploring the outside of the hotel, the beach and then went to have lunch at Senor Frog's and shop at the Straw Market. The restaurant and Straw Market were a stone's throw from the ship.

We spent a very nice there on our own.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:44 PM
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What did it run you to get into Atlantis? Someone had said you cannot get day passes anymore so I was concerned. I see you did the cruise to Alaska--that is where we are from--just temporarily in Georgia (USAF)
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Old October 21st, 2007, 04:06 PM
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Hi Crabby Apple,

I just went onto the Atlantis Resort website and copied this...

Stopping off in Nassau on a cruise? Visiting Paradise island for the day?

Day visitors to Atlantis can embark on a Discover Atlantis Tour where expert “Navigators� guide them through the ancient city streets of Atlantis.

Enhancing the experience of this 11,000-year-old lost continent is ‘The Dig’. The Dig provides a unique excursion into a wondrous civilization where well-preserved artifacts and hieroglyphics provide evidence that Atlanteans possessed great technological and artistic prowess.

The Dig’s partially submerged archaeological sites are home to some of the world’s most exotic sea creatures including piranha, moon jellyfish, venomous lionfish, a resident manta ray and more!

The tour promises to reveal many other fascinating marine habitats showcasing over 70,000 sea animals representing over 250 species. Tour participants will have the opportunity to view one of the most incredible collaborations of art and architecture on the myth of Atlantis.

By purchasing the Discover Atlantis Tour wristband, visitors can explore The Dig and its exhibits as well as the Ruins, Predator and Water’s Edge Lagoons.

TICKETS
Discover Atlantis Tour wristbands can be purchased at the Temple of the Moon in the Atlantis casino.
Adults - $32, Children 4-12 years - $22

That is exactly what we did. I can't remember, but I think we got a bit of a discount from being a AAA member or showing our Sign & Sail card, or something like that.

Are you stationed at Elmendorf AFB?
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Old October 21st, 2007, 04:17 PM
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We were stationed at Eielson and lived in North Pole!

I think we want to use the pools and slides and such also........did you have access to those? Our son is 7 so want to let him have some fun also! Those are GREAT prices compared to the $149 pp excursion!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 04:34 PM
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I found this on the Internet, posted in Sept. 07...

Quote:
We meet some folks from a cruise ship that paid to use the Atlantis facilities for the day. They pay $160 per person until 5 PM to used the pools and water slides. Yes, that is $640 per family of 4 for the day. And the people were happy to pay it.
Ouch! That's really expensive! You can use the beach behind the hotel for free. [/quote]
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Old October 21st, 2007, 05:14 PM
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I guess where I am unclear is this.......

do you get to see all the interesting/different sea creatures if you have full access to Atlantis (as in........guest at the hotel status)? Or do you just get to use the pools? I need to research this further it sounds like.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 05:20 PM
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You cannot walk from the ship to Atlantis. The ship docks in Nassau and Atlantis is on Paradise Island. We just returned from a land vacation on Paradise Island. We took a cab from Nassau back to Paradise Island. The fare is a flat rate of $4.00 per person. Hope this helps in planning your day in Nassau.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:08 PM
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The ship has two laundry rooms, one is located near the rear elevators on Main Deck, the other is located on Upper Deck near the forward elevators.

Sent you a PM about the soda cards but for anyone else that may be interested, the cost for a 5-day cruise is $20 + 15% gratuity for children, $27.50 + 15% gratuity for adults.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:18 PM
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Great, seems like a plan!! Do they tack on the 15% everytime they bring you a drink then? I imagine so. Would make sense but wow that can add up. How do you even keep track?

That is great that there are laundry rooms, at bare minimum I like to wash the swimsuits and jammies. Do they supply beach type towels?
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:38 PM
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I apologize, we were on Royal Caribbean when we went to Nassau. I guess Carnival docks somewhere else, but $4 for a ride is cheap!

As for seeing the sights, see below for a few of the pictures we took.









Actually I have a lot more pictures but I'll have to upload them later.

We're watching what's happening with the Malibu fire and now have relatives over because they've lost electricity because of the fire. I just took this picture from my front yard. The sky is now dark and getting darker from the smoke. We're not in danger but close enough to be a concern.

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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:02 PM
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Wow, that is scary. Fires are so devastating! I remember the scary ones in Alaska but thankfully they did not damage anything near us. The night skies/terrible haze is something.

Thank you for the wonderful photos! I am considering this 'dig' thing.........do you mostly see aquatic animals or what is it all about? Sounds silly but the reason I ask is that we have been to gosh.........10+ aquariums (some of the best in the country included) and wondering if it would duplicate most of that or if it is different? The dig is less than the $149pp rate though I recall from reading.........I think so that may be something to consider.

You have all been so wonderful! I love it here, will have to cruise a TON now!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Well the relatives have left, I can't watch the fire on TV anymore and now my son is all upset that his school will be open on Monday.

As far as the aquarium and dig goes, it's not the best aquarium in the world but it's different. We've been to quite a few aquariums ourselves and I'm still glad we went. I believe your 7 year old will like going through the caves and seeing the residents of old Atlantis (not real of course but fun enough for everyone to enjoy). There's also fun places for him to explore in the hotel, rope bridges for him to cross, sharks to see, stuff like that.









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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:55 PM
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I Hope you have a nice trip there.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 11:20 PM
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I don't think any of the 'day ' passes or tours include use of the Atlantis pools or slides. You used to be able to book a rom at I believe Comfort Suites and gain access to all of the Atlantis stuff. I'm not sure they do any more tho. Atlantis has a nice website you can check out too.

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so we just stayed here!!
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Welcome to Cruise Mates! From an old soldier (20 years, 1 month, 3 days) I am glad to see fellow service members here. You will get great answers from the nice people here.

Be sure to let us know how your cruise was.

I was a Soldier, I am a Soldier, I will always be a Soldier.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:23 PM
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If you purchase the pass at the Atlantis hotel to tour The Digs, you will not be allowed to use their pool or beach facilities. All hotel guests are required to wear wrist bands which allows them access to all facilities. There were security guards posted at the entrances to the pool area and the beach access checking to make sure everyone had a wrist band on. Also, as a walk in visitor, you will be allowed access to all restaurants, retail shops and the casino. There is a fairly reasonable (for Atlantis) deli style restaurant that can be accessed from the outside to the left of the hotel down some stairs next to the marina. We found a free beach access area next to the RIU hotel which is an easy walk from the Atlantis. The water and beach were beautiful...a few vendors braiding hair and dispensing liquid refreshments, banana boat rides, jet skis, lounge chair rentals, but no restroom facilities.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:36 PM
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When I went to Atlantis my family and I took a cab. We chose not to take the shore excursion there.The cab cost 15 dollars for 5 of us. We talked them down. I highly recommend Atlantis. I enjoyed the big fish.

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