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Old May 1st, 2006, 08:13 PM
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Default Cruise Best Practices needed

We will be sailing on the Navigator of the Seas on June 3rd. The informaton on this site has been very helpful. As we get closer to our cruise date, it would be very helpful to hear some best practices that experienced cruisers know and use to enhance their vacation.

On this site, other cruisers have said they have boarded their ship as early as 11:00 am. Our cruise documents state no earlier than 2 hours prior to departure. That would be 3:00 pm, is that true? I have read that you can request robes upon your arrival to your cabin. Has anyone done this lately? Please share some of the best kept secrets that have enhanced your cruise. Thanks so much
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Old May 1st, 2006, 08:19 PM
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You can embark as early as 11:30 a.m. on most sailings. However, you cannot go to your cabin until approximately 1 p.m. You are able to go to the Windjammer for lunch once you board.
Robes are reserved for Crown & Anchor Platinum and higher members. However, if you ask for them, you usually can get them.
My biggest piece of advice is to "go with the flow". If you are flexible while cruising, you will have a great time. And don't try to do everything or you will exhaust yourself! . Just go an enjoy!
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Old May 1st, 2006, 08:26 PM
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Thanks MaryLou, that is great advise. Laura
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 12:22 AM
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MIKnLARA,

We will be sailing on the Navigator of the Seas on June 3rd. The informaton on this site has been very helpful. As we get closer to our cruise date, it would be very helpful to hear some best practices that experienced cruisers know and use to enhance their vacation.

On this site, other cruisers have said they have boarded their ship as early as 11:00 am. Our cruise documents state no earlier than 2 hours prior to departure. That would be 3:00 pm, is that true? I have read that you can request robes upon your arrival to your cabin. Has anyone done this lately? Please share some of the best kept secrets that have enhanced your cruise. Thanks so much


Okay, here goes.

* If you look at the "Cruise Dress and Packing" board, there's a thread with a title of "Packing for 14 Day Cruise" or something similar in which I posted my packing list for 14-night Celebrity cruise and an adaptation thereof for ladies, along with a bunch of related tips. Since you are going on Royal Caribbean Intenational rather than Celebrity Cruises, you can delete the items that are specific to "informal" evenings (sport coat for gentlemen, for example). If you cut the rest of the "pack" lists in half, rounding up, you'll come out about right for a seven-night cruise.

* Don't skip the formal evenings just because you don't feel like dressing up while you are on vacation. The ship really does go the extra mile to make those evenings special by breaking out the best menus, staging the best shows, and putting on the best special activities on those evenings. Those who skip out miss the best events of the cruise. Get rid of the attitude, don the fancy duds, and join in the fun!

* Make a point of using the stairs when going between decks. The shipboard elevators inject atomized fat into every passenger who boards them, causing passengers who use the elevators frequently to gain massive amounts of weight during the cruise.

* It's also a good idea to do something that's physically active (swim a few lengths of the pool or walk a few laps of the jogging track or work out a the gym or whatever) each day. This may include shore excursions or activities that include walking, swimming, or some other physical activity.

* Don't waste your money on medicine, gadgets, or other snake oil that's advertised to prevent seasickness. A ship displacing well over a hundred thousand tons does not get tossed around very easily, especially when it has dynamic stabilizers that counter the ocean's motion -- as all modern cruise ships do.

* Be aware that there's probably a charge to your shipboard account whenever a member of the crew asks for your shipboard card (which is also your room key). It's quite easy to have a great time without spending much money, but it's equally easy to go through a lot of money in a very short time.

>> Bar beverages, including sodas and juices, are about as expensive as at bars ashore. If you buy soda stickers (about $10 per person per day for the duration of the cruise), sodas (and probably also juices) become complimentary at every bar on the ship. If you are on a budget, get soda stickers and drink sodas at the bars. (Anybody who cannot have a good time without booze really does have a problem that needs attention, anyway.)

>> There's a specialty coffee shop that probably charges Starbucks prices for "upscale" coffee and tea. Coffee and tea, however, are complimentary in all restaurants and probably available 24x7 at the buffet restaurant.

>> There are many opportunities to leave large sums of money behind (casino, shops, bingo, art auctions, golf simulator, specialty workouts at the gym, spa treatments, hairdressing services, computer classes, photographs, wine at dinner, in-cabin minibar, specialty restaurants, etc.), and none of it costs anything until the day of disembarkation -- when the final bill can be a real shock. There are also plenty of activities that are included in the cruise fare including featured lectures during days at sea, pool games, use of the pools, hot tubs, gymnasium, and sports facilities, the disco, board and table games, shuffleboard on deck, bridge lectures and bridge play, etc. Be aware of how much you are spending and seek out the "included" activities that don't have charges, especially if you are on a tight budget.

>> The shore excursion packages on the ship actually are priced reasonably competitively with the cost of similar excursions purchased ashore, but they can add up. Review the offerings in advance and decide what you want to do and what you can afford, especially if you are on a budget. BTW, the less expensive excursions often are just as enjoyable and just as educational as the more expensive excursions, so don't let price lure you into something that will consume your whole budget.

>> Be sure to keep the receipts for ALL purchases on your shipboard account and match them up with your bill at the end of the cruise. If there's a discrepancy, go to the purser's desk, resolve it, and get a printed copy or your final bill BEFORE DISEMBARKATION. (Allow time for this, as they may have to get somebody from the department that made the charge to verify the record and rectify the error and they tend to have long lines in the time before disembarkation.)

Finally, be sure to call your broker and buy 100 shares of stock of the parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), and submit the paperwork for the shareholder benefit (http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_...efitLetter.pdf) as soon as you get a brokerage statement showing the shares in your account. This shipboard credit is fully combinable with all other deals, and the credit comes straight off your shipboard account on disembarkation day. (It usually appears on the account a few days into the cruise.)

And, as others have said, relax, enjoy, and have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Finally, be sure to call your broker and buy 100 shares of stock of the parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), and submit the paperwork for the shareholder benefit (http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_...efitLetter.pdf) as soon as you get a brokerage statement showing the shares in your account. This shipboard credit is fully combinable with all other deals, and the credit comes straight off your shipboard account on disembarkation day. (It usually appears on the account a few days into the cruise.)

And, as others have said, relax, enjoy, and have a great cruise!

Norm.[/quote]

Norm: What do you mean buying 100 shares of stock in RCCI gives you some short of credit? I've never heard of this...BUT I'M INTERESTED!
Can you explain further?
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Fieldmouse,

What do you mean buying 100 shares of stock in RCCI gives you some short of credit? I've never heard of this...BUT I'M INTERESTED!
Can you explain further?


Not "short credit" -- shipboard credit, on every cruise that you take with either Royal Caribbean International or Celebrity Cruises. Click on the link in my earlier post for more information, including the schedule of the amount of the credit (which depends upon the length of the cruise). You might want to check out the rest of the parent company's investor web site (http://www.rclinvestor.com) as part of your "due dilligence" before investing.

BTW, please be a little more careful with the "alphabet soup" of this company. Here's the company structure.

>> The parent (holding) company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (and also on the Oslo Stock Exchange), is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), commonly either abbreviated RCCL or designated by its ticker symbol.

>> The company's "premium" cruise line is "Celebrity Cruises" or "Celebrity" for short.

>> The company's "mainstream" cruise line is Royal Caribbean International, with no mention of "cruises" and thus known as either "Royal Caribbean" or "RCI" for short.

>> The company's land tour operation, "Royal Celebrity Tours," operates the land tour portions of cruise-tour packages for both cruise lines.

I'm not sure whether the these subordinate business units are formally incorporated as wholly owned subsidiaries or not, but it really does not matter. They are separately named entities. There is no "RCCI" anywhere in the company's structure.

Norm.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 01:08 PM
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some cruise advise that i can give is to just relax, enjoy, have fun, go with the flow and take in the cruise experience. Don' overdo it by trying to do everything, everywhere, everyday. Only book one shore excursion per island. Don't leave your brain at home, travel smart. You will be in foreign countries, be courteous to their customs and ways.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 02:56 PM
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Having 100 shares of RCI or CCL (Royal Caribbean or Carnival Corporation) stock in your portfolio is a great way to receive a shipboard credit but I don't advocate anyone going out and purchasing 100 shares of stock just to receive a $100 shipboard credit.

Royal Caribbean is trading around $38 per share. A $3,800 investment to receive a $100 credit isn't the greatest use of money unless you are in it for the long term or speculation plus the dividend yield isn't too great.

If you have the funds in your portfolio or wish to add either, they are good investments (IMHO) but not as a reason to get a cruise credit.

When it was trading for $12/share it was a different story.

Take care,
Mike
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 04:42 PM
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Royal Caribbean is trading around $38 per share. A $3,800 investment to receive a $100 credit isn't the greatest use of money unless you are in it for the long term or speculation plus the dividend yield isn't too great.

If you have the funds in your portfolio or wish to add either, they are good investments (IMHO) but not as a reason to get a cruise credit.

When it was trading for $12/share it was a different story.

Take care,
Mike[/quote]


Thanks Mike for putting things in perspective.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:13 PM
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Default RCL Stock

Well, today RCL is trading at $41 and change. We own 100 shares, and based on the credits they offer, we have $500 total coming for the three cruises we currently have booked. Plus, we intend to book another 12-night cruise when it opens for reservations in a day or so. That will give us another $250 shipboard credit. Not a bad investment IMHO.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:13 PM
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Mike,

Having 100 shares of RCI or CCL (Royal Caribbean or Carnival Corporation) stock in your portfolio is a great way to receive a shipboard credit but I don't advocate anyone going out and purchasing 100 shares of stock just to receive a $100 shipboard credit.

Royal Caribbean is trading around $38 per share. A $3,800 investment to receive a $100 credit isn't the greatest use of money unless you are in it for the long term or speculation plus the dividend yield isn't too great.


I normally take two or three cruises per year, and most are longer than seven days. This year, for example, I took an 11-night cruise to the Mexican Riviera in February ($200 shareholder credit) and I'm booked on a 14-night cruise to Hawai'i October ($250 shipboard credit) for a total of $450 this year. That would produce a return of 10.7% in addition to the normal dividends and, hopefully, appreciation of captital on an initial investment of $4200 (100 shares x $42/share), basially doubling the average performance of the market. I'm also considering a cruise to either Alaska or Bermuda this summer, which will raise the return by another $100.

Bear in mind, BTW, that the shareholder credit is "after tax" dollars so it's actually equivalent to considerably more pretax income, the exact amount of which depends upon one's tax bracket.

Your results may vary depeding upon how much stock you buy and your cruise schedule. This post is not a recommendation nor a solicitation with respect to any investment. Readers are advised to do their own due dilligence and to conult their brokers or financial advisers regarding the appropriateness of investment in the parent company's stock for their own portfilio.

Norm.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:17 PM
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Pootersdad

Well, today RCL is trading at $41 and change. We own 100 shares, and based on the credits they offer, we have $500 total coming for the three cruises we currently have booked. Plus, we intend to book another 12-night cruise when it opens for reservations in a day or so. That will give us another $250 shipboard credit. Not a bad investment

You'll get another $200 shipboard credit if you wati to book it aboard your next crusie. The onboard booking agents will put the booking in the name of your regular travel agent, who recieves the full commission and handles all of the remaining details after you return home.

Norm.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Pootersdad

You'll get another $200 shipboard credit if you wati to book it aboard your next crusie. The onboard booking agents will put the booking in the name of your regular travel agent, who recieves the full commission and handles all of the remaining details after you return home.

Norm.
True, but there's a hitch. Our next cruise isn't until October 31, and the cruise we want to book is the Jewel repo for 2007, so if we wait until October to book NEXT years repo, all the good cabins will be gone. The old "rock and a hard place" problem. Our TA usually comes through with a cabin credit for us anyway.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Boarding and disembarkation are hectic and I agree with other posts about going with the flow. It's a necessary evil unless you have the luxury of driving to a home port. We do this often and arrive later, walking on without a line. Next thing is to acclimate to the ship quickly. Use the ship's small map and learn how to get where you will be going, and the best way to get there. Use the stairs to go everywhere (if physically able of course) and you will be pleasantly surprised when you hit the scales upon your return. Pack "Downey Wrinkle Release" (put some in a travel size spray bottle for convenience), spritz and stretch wrinkled fabric as you unpack and forget the iron/steamer bit. Dining room can be a nice place to do breakfast or lunch, compared to the buffet, and it helps keep the frustration level down (for breakfast or lunch, dining room closes more often on port days now so check the daily planner for hours).

Also, don't be afraid to ask questions onboard. Regret is one of the main things that detracted from our early cruises. "We wish we had known..........." So chat it up since we cruise junkies love to share stories!

Have a great one, Robbie
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