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Old July 25th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Default Advice on booking shore excursions online



Howdy!

My husband and I are going on our first cruise (Majesty of the seas) for our 30th anniversary. We leave on September 1st. Got our passports *check*, haven't received our documents from RCCL YET (which is making me nervous)!

Could really use some advice about booking shore excursions online (this also makes me nervous!). I know basically what excursions we want, just don't know which site is best to book them. All suggestions and advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Kerry
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Old July 25th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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Hello KerryJ,

I am assuming that you will be booking thru the RCCL website.

I have booked tours on two different ways; one waiting to get onto the ship (and waiting on line and being disappointed when the tour is sold out)and two booking on-line.

We have found that booking on-line is extremely convenient. I first have the t.a. print out all the excursions offered for that cruise. My husband and I then go over the hard copy and then make our decision. After that, we go on-line to the RCCL website and pick the shore excurions. It does take awhile before the RCCL excursions are available on-line, but be patient as you can sometimes choose the most convenient time if the tours have a couple of different times when they start the tours. Also, you pay for the excursions on-line as well with a credit card. Once you have paid, you will get confirmations on all the tours and when you get to your stateroom your tickets will be waiting for you!

Hope this answers your question.

elf

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RCCL Brillance of the Seas 2007
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RCCL Jewel of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2009
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 2009
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Old July 26th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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We also book online. No need to stand in that LONG line to only be told it's sold out.

It's fast and very easy once you decide what and where you want to do.

We received an Excursion book around the time our documents came in. We had already booked what we wanted but it was nice to have. We took it with us on the cruise to reference things if we wanted to take another.

Also in your documents if you book ahead, you'll have a page per excursion. My mom's document booklet had all the excursions listed in it, ours didn't. Figure that one out

You tickets will also be in your cabin like the pp mentioned.

It's all good and your documents will arrive in the next couple of weeks.

Relax and enjoy yourselves....HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
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Old July 26th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Hello,

It's a pleasure to meet you elf and dottiel!

You both have been very helpful, and have eased my mind, and I thank you.

I've never used my credit card to purchase anything online, and I'm a bit hesitant to do that. When I paid for the cruise with my credit card, I did it over the phone.

I did an online search for shore excursions and of course there were Tons of sites listed that you can book through. I had no idea which site to choose.

Elf, dottiel, do you have the URL of particular sites you use to book online, so I can take a look? I'd be more comfortable booking online using a site you recommend.

We're going to Key West, CocoCay, and Nassau. We don't want to book so many things in any one place to the point we're running around all over the place meeting deadlines. We've decided what we want to do in the different ports, now it's just a matter of booking.

As I STILL don't have my documents, I didn't know what all will be coming in the mail. The information the two of you have provided me let's me know what to look for.

I called RCCL last Sunday and the lady told me my documents were mailed last Friday. I've been checking the mailbox everyday! Nothing but bills and junk mail! How long does it take mail to get from Florida to Ohio??? I'm getting impatient. The RCCL lady told me to call them if I haven't received the documents by the 1st of Aug. The RCCL lady also said Not booking through them would give me more excursions to choose from, and better deals.

I sure hope my document booklet lists all the excursions!

This trip will be alot of firsts for Dale and me. First time flyers (I'll be a White knuckle flyer like my mom). First time cruisers. For me, first time to go to Florida.

I am sooo excited!! ONLY 37 more days till our cruise!!!

My hubby.....He's a keeper!

regards

Kerry
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Old July 26th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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I only use the site thru the cruise line. Never have I used an "outside" source. Not that gutsy I guess.

Dunno about what the RCCL lady told you but when you book thru the ship you are somewhat protected by the cruise line if your excursion runs late etc. They know you are there and won't leave you behind.

I don't feel like we've ever been ripped off by booking thru the ship, just a piece of mind that we'll be fine and have a GREAT time

Kerry, you will be fine and sounds like you are in for quite an adventure!
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2008 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to New England/Canada

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Old July 26th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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You can try shoretrips.com. Many good excursions listed for the ports and I liked the tour guides. Bob
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Old July 26th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryJ
I've never used my credit card to purchase anything online, and I'm a bit hesitant to do that. When I paid for the cruise with my credit card, I did it over the phone.

I have purchased many things over the internet and I have never had a problem. But to be on the safe side I always use my credit card and not my debit card. If any funny business were to happen the credit card company would protect me, not so much with the debit card.

If you go to the royal Caribbean website and put in your reservation # you can see all of the excursions now before your booklet shows up in the mail. We booked 2 excursions through RCI online and it was so easy and the tickets were in our room when we got there. It was one less thing to worry about. I heard people in the elevator complaining about trying to get excursions while they were on the boat and it sounded like a hassle.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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Hi Kerry,

As Dottiel said it is so much easier to book on-line thru RCCL's website. You certainly have piece of mind as well as Dottiel also confirmed that if the tour is late, no problem because you have booked thru RCCL, the ship will wait for you. If you book other than RCCL, you are basically out of luck as the ship will NOT wait for you. The tours from RCCL are probably more expensive, but at least you will have piece of mind, if you are late coming back to the ship.

Kerry, I do not have the URL, just go thru the RCCL website and your reservation number. If the tours are available, you should be able to download, if not, well you will have to wait until the tours become available which is the case for us for our cruise in November 2008.

Everytime I see a cruise ship come into port, I want to be on it!!!

I am sure you will have a great time (have any extra room in your luggage for me??)

elf

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Carnival Valour 2004
Carnival Jubilee 2005
RCCL Empress of the Seas 2006
RCCL Brillance of the Seas 2007
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 2007
RCCL Jewel of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2009
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 2009
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Old July 26th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Hey Elf, let's pay the over limit fee for her bag and BOTH go!!!
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2008 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to New England/Canada

2010 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Southern Caribbean
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Old July 26th, 2008, 11:45 PM
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Well. just to give another point of view - you don't have to book shore
excursions for all the time you are ashore. Your ports are pretty easy
and you can enjoy a lot of the islands just by walking around - you may
want to consider hiring a private van or taxi (many are at the pier and
are usually much cheaper than the shore excursions through the ship).
BE SURE TO AGREE ON A PRICE AND WHAT YOU WANT TO DO before
hiring. Also, try to pay at the end of the tour. If you take one of these
private vans/taxis - I would suggest doing this in the morning so getting
back to the ship is not an issue. There are some attractions that you
definately want to book through the ship for ex. "Swim with the dolpins"
or "Sting-ray City". They book up very quickly. Coco Cay is the private
beach and you pretty much relax, enjoy the ocean, and can do water
sports/activities if you want. Just don't over schedule yourselves - I think
a lot of "first timers" think they have to be busy every minute/everyday
- RELAX and enjoy the ship at your own pace. Best advise - Twice as much money - Half as many clothes !!
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Old July 27th, 2008, 12:19 AM
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Sherrie, good point about not overbooking excursions when you're a first timer.

My Sil insisted on doing this on our last cruise (their first) and then they complained they never had time to explore the ship!

We only had 2 excursions scheduled and enjoyed the Explorer and all her glory! The other ports we did on our own, had plenty of time to do so and enjoyed our day (we weren't overly tired for dinner either!).

My advice would be to figure out which ports interest you the most as far as excursion offerings go and explore the rest on your own.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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I agree with Dottie and Sherrie, not overbooking.

We overbooked on one of our cruises, Grandeur of the Seas. We hit a new port every day! Was that tiring! That was in 2007 and since then we have learned our lesson.

Now that we will be going on Explorer of the Seas in November, we can pace ourselves. We saw Explorer of the Seas in port in Puerto Rico (what a large ship she is compared to Jewel of the Seas). And we also see her from a distance coming into port here in Bermuda. Boy oh boy, what I would like to do when she is sailing away....

By the time we leave a ship, my husband has the ship down pat! He knows the short cuts (for instance the fastest way to get to the Windjammer!) and other shortcuts.

elf

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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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I am so glad I found this site. It's a pleasure to meet you all. You've all been so helpful, and have put my mind at ease. Thank you so much!

We received our packet in the mail yesterday!! Hey dottiel....My excursion booklet has the excursions listed! We'll be booking them through RC. They've got the excursions we want to do. Parasailing and Snuba in Key West. Air boat ride in Miami. Encounter w/ dolphins in Nassau. I'd love to go horseback riding, but at $120 per person and horsback riding isn't listed in the booklet.....ummmm, maybe not.

Dottiel and elf.......I'd love to take you with us! It would be a real Blast!

regards

Kerry
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:35 AM
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Hi Sherrie. It's a pleasure to meet you.

One thing Dale and I want to do is RELAX! We started remodeling this old house last March (New roof, new windows, knocking out walls and moving walls, gutting the kitchen laundry room and bathroom, new flooring...., We'll be moving into the camper in the next week or two (when we start on the Kitchen, laundry, and bath....we're doing all three at the same time.

How does our excursions I listed above look? Not too busy? You notice I didn't list anything for CocoCay. I might rent a mat there.

One thing I don't want is to have to meet deadlines from one excursion to another, and then back to ship.

regards

Kerry
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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Hi ragtiki.

I appreciate the information you provided. Since RCCL lists all the excursions we want to do, and they'll hold the ship if we book through them.......I think we'll go that route.

regards

Kerry
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:45 AM
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Hi Jamie,

I feel better about using my credit card online. Talking to ppl who've done this with no problems Helps alot. My credit card company called me shortly after I paid off the cruise to make sure there was no funny business going on.

They'll probably be calling me again when I pay for the excursions 8) .
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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Hey!!

What's there to do at the Miami airport for 6 hrs.!!! RCCL isn't scheduled to pick us up and take us to our hotel (sleep over) till 6 hrs. after we arrive there. Wonder if the airport has some excursions!!!

I can only be entertained watching planes land and take off for so long.

Only 36 more days till we sail!
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Old July 27th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Hi Kerry,

When we came into Miami, I checked with an RCCL representative at the airport about transportation, and it turned out that it was cheaper to get a taxi or one of those buses to our hotel. If the hotel had their own transportation, of course, we would use that. Most of the hotels have restrictions about how far away you are from their hotel.

Six hours to wait, oh dear!!

Sorry ladies, but when I get a chance, after I check into the hotel, we head for a Mall! Not too much selection here in Bermuda. Lot of the main stores have closed down, very sad.

Yes, I don't think Dottiel and myself would mind sharing a space or two in your luggage, just as long as we get onboard the cruise ship!!

We will be thinking of you on your cruise and certainly wishing we were with you.

elf

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Carnival Valour 2004
Carnival Jubilee 2005
RCCL Empress of the Seas 2006
RCCL Brillance of the Seas 2007
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 2007
RCCL Jewel of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2008
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2009
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 2009
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Old July 27th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Good Grief !! Six hours to wait for a tranfer ??? Crazy - I would just get
my own taxi or use one of the shuttles services. What hotel are you staying at?? They may offer free transfer from the airport to the hotel. Is RCCL
providing the transfers from the hotel to the pier?? If so, you probably will
have to wait until the bus is full which can be "forever" - again, see if
you can share a cab to the pier. You get on board faster and avoid some
of the long lines. Yes, ask at the hotel desk about shopping and other
attractions nearby. Don't know when your plane arrives but I am sure
you will find something to do rather than sit at the airport - BORING !!
Have a great time.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Hi again - forgot to add - contact your Credit Card company again BEFORE you leave and tell
them what islands you will be visiting - this way, when you use your cc on the islands for shopping, etc. RED flags won't go up and freeze your account. It's a very good protectiion that the cc watch your buying patterns
- we were in Mexico on our first cruise when I bought a REALLY nice tanzanite bracelet. A few days later, when talking to our kids at home (called from Jamaica) my DD said" Mom, you have to call American Express about your cc !!! - which I did - they saw my purchase in Mexico
and were just checking to be sure I was the user of the card. Great protection !!
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Celebrity Summit - Jan. 2007 Panama Canal - Full Transit

Mariner of the Seas - Jan. 2009 Around the Horn B2B - 30 days

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Old July 28th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Hi Sherrie,

Yes, it is important to notify your Credit Card company and/or bank to give them a list of all the ports you will be going to while on your cruise. Maybe some credit card companies will block your purchases, so it is again important to let them know your destinations! I usually do that at least a week before departure.


elf

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Carnival Jubilee 2005
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RCCL Brillance of the Seas 2007
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RCCL Jewel of the Seas 2008
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Old July 28th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Hi Sherrie,

We're staying a the Courtyard Mariott Beach. We're flying down the day before the cruise (hubby's idea). RCCL is suppose to pick us up at the airport and take us to the hotel. Then they pick us up at the hotel the next morning and haul us to the ship.

We're scheduled to leave Ohio at 7:30am. We're an hour and 15 min. from the airport!!! Looks like we'll be staying the night before at a hotel in the city, cause I ain't gettin up at no 3:30 am to be at the airport two hours before we depart!!!

I didn't think of calling the cc company to give them our ports of call. Thanks!

Something else. We're not planning on spending alot on trinkets and such, but we don't really have any idea how much money to take with us. A ballpark figure would be helpful. We've gotten alot of advice from family and friends......"use travelers checks", "use your credit cards", "take cash". Okay. Which is best? We're allowing cash for gratuities, I've already told RCCL we'll take care of the gratuities ourselves. I've figured out the gratuities using the standard guidlines and it's in the old budget.

We aren't big drinkers (alcohol or soda), so we won't have a big expense there. We're ice tea and water drinkers. There's no extra expense for those two beverages. One alcoholic drink a day is my limit!

We're allowing $200 for the casino....and That's It! No More! Well, unless we win.

We're both doing the massage onboard. That's about it. We'll use the cc some, but probably not for everything.

Kerry
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Old July 28th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Hi elf,

I'll be sure to look up the RCCL rep. at the airport upon our arrival. I ain't waitin at no airport for 6 hrs!!!!

I gotta call the Columbus airport and get our seats and find out how many bags we're allowed. I don't know about Bermuda but here in the States you're limited on luggage. Not sure if it's all airports, but some airports charge you anywhere from $15 - $25 dollars for each extra luggage!! Good thing I'm not planning on packing alot.

Kerry
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Old July 28th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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Whoo Hooo!!

I've re-confirmed flights.

Got me a room near the airport w/ complimentary transport to the airport! I won't have to get up till 6 am!

We are all set!
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Old July 28th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryJ
Got me a room near the airport w/ complimentary transport to the airport! I won't have to get up till 6 am!
0600! Where are you going on a cruise or something?
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:33 PM
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Hi Kerry,

The airline luggage here is limited as well. It's as though the airlines are discouraging us from taking any luggage!

I am guilty of overpacking! Just can't help it. I will though only pack one formal not two this time around. Better to have than not!!!

Boy the way the airlines and the cruiselines are nickel and diming, pretty so it will be impossible to either fly or go on a cruise, and that will be a sad day indeed!

elf
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryJ
Got me a room near the airport w/ complimentary transport to the airport! I won't have to get up till 6 am!
0600! Where are you going on a cruise or something?
Hi Irish Shark!

Oh Yeah! I'm going on a cruise! I'm going on a cruise! Yes I am!!!

How do you do that cruise countdown thing? I wanna cruise count down thing!! 8)

Regards

Kerry
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elf
Hi Kerry,

The airline luggage here is limited as well. It's as though the airlines are discouraging us from taking any luggage!

I am guilty of overpacking! Just can't help it. I will though only pack one formal not two this time around. Better to have than not!!!

Boy the way the airlines and the cruiselines are nickel and diming, pretty so it will be impossible to either fly or go on a cruise, and that will be a sad day indeed!

elf
Hi elf,


We're flying down on American Airlines. AA is charging us $15 per luggage! I was going to take a bag for each of us....just because. Maybe I'll rethink that.

We're flying back with a different airline (Us Airways) Since we booked before June something, US airways allows you a bag a piece without charge. If we had booked After June something, they would have also charged us to haul our clothes.

You're right! $$$ keeps adding up! I already told our sons that we are spending their inheritence on this trip.

News Flash!! We're going to be grandparents come Monday! If our d-i-l doesn't go into labor on her own this weekend, the doctor is going to induce labor. This will be our fourth grandchild. 1 grandson and 3 grandaughters.

regards

Kerry
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Well, be sure to let us know when the "bundle of joy" arrives. Will be
saying some special prayers that all goes smoothly and Mom and baby
are fine.

I thought American was charging $ 25 per bag?? Did they lower the fee??

I suppose there are two sides to this argument - won't go there.

By the way, did everyone
see the mess at JFK at the AA baggage area due to conveyor belt breakdown. How about all those bags that were shipped out without
being on the same plane as the owners - is AA going to reimburse these
people when they have to drive back to the airport of destination to pick
up their stuff???? Probably not - And if AA does deliver the baggage --- who ultimately will pay for the
gas that AA uses to deliver all these bags ??? - You guessed it!! The already overcharged, overstressed
paying public because AA will increase airfares for EVERYBODY to offset this HUGE "booboo"s
expense.
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Dawn Princess, Jan. 2003 Caribbean,
Celebrity Summit - Jan. 2007 Panama Canal - Full Transit

Mariner of the Seas - Jan. 2009 Around the Horn B2B - 30 days

Future Floats: Jan. 2011 - Rotterdam - Hawaii/Tahiti - 30 days



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Old August 2nd, 2008, 02:35 PM
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JFK airport in NYC is a nightmare. I live in CT and would rather spend a little more money to fly AA out of Bradley International in Windsor Locks CT. Always a no hastle flight out of there. Bob
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