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Old August 5th, 2011, 01:54 PM
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Question Questions from a newbie to seasoned RCCL cruisers

Newbie needs help! Looking at traveling on RCCL in Sept.

1. Is it worth it to buy one of the drink packages (soda, juice, water) or are there plenty of drink options available? Is it considered poor taste for me to bring my own water bottle from home?

2. Where is the best place to get travel insurance from? Are there any companies that are better than others?

3. My cruise would leave out of Port Canaveral and I would be flying into MCO the day of in the morning (9:30am arrival) - do you think I should fly in a day earlier or will that be enough time to get to the ship before it embarks? Is there a shuttle company that is really good from MCO to the port?

4. On RCCL cruises, besides bar tabs, excursions, etc are there any other "hidden fees" or things I should be aware of?

Thanks all!
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Old August 5th, 2011, 03:10 PM
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You should buy the travel insurance thru whoever you booked the cruise thru. They will set up the travel vouchers and everything will go just fine. If you try and save a dollar and something goes wrong, who are you going to blame it on? Buy everything thru the same company and there is ONE company to blame. As for bringing your own water, pretty sure they don't allow that. Not sure about the drink packages, never bought one, but don't drink that much, it was never really an issue. I wouldn't buy one unless you plan on drinking like a fish day and night.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 03:11 PM
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No other Hidden fees that I know of, although you should consider the tipping guidelines. The waiters and housekeeping staff make most of their money off tips, and they EARN them. The RCC staff is WONDERFUL!
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Old August 5th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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As for when to fly in, I always fly in the night before our cruise. ANYTHING can happen to delay a flight so its well worth the cost of a hotel night stay to be sure I get to the port on time. And, consider, its about an hour drive between the airport and the port so you also have any potential traffic issues to consider in driving there. I know many people choose to fly in the same day and have no problem at all. Its just a gamble that I don't like to take.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 06:13 PM
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You should always buy travel insurance from a third party, NOT the cruise line. Go to insuremytrip.com to get side by side comparisons.... plug in your specific needs,and check the quotes.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 08:35 PM
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I agree with Trip completely. Under no circumstances buy insurance from the cruiseline. Go to a private carrier. Did you book with a TA? If so, give him/her a call and see what they offer by way of insurance.

The drink package - liquor or pop is only good if you tend to drink a lot of either or both.

I'm one of those that opts for the day before but I also fly in from Canada thru Buffalo so also need to allow time. Also, what airline are you intending to fly. If Southwest (which is the one I usually fly with) they do not have any flying partners so if you miss your flight or something goes awry you would have to wait until the next available Southwest flight. Other airlines does have codeshare so you could possibly be put on another airline.

You can bring your own water bottle. There is no problem with that.

Although gratuities are personal I would never consider not giving a gratuities to those who have earned it. Therefore I allow for full gratuities. The only thing - I will never pay gratuities upfront.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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I'm going to add one more thing - I may have been misleading. Southwest has bought out Air Tran however I don't know if they are actually doing codeshare yet.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emme View Post
Newbie needs help! Looking at traveling on RCCL in Sept.

1. Is it worth it to buy one of the drink packages (soda, juice, water) or are there plenty of drink options available? Is it considered poor taste for me to bring my own water bottle from home?

2. Where is the best place to get travel insurance from? Are there any companies that are better than others?

3. My cruise would leave out of Port Canaveral and I would be flying into MCO the day of in the morning (9:30am arrival) - do you think I should fly in a day earlier or will that be enough time to get to the ship before it embarks? Is there a shuttle company that is really good from MCO to the port?

4. On RCCL cruises, besides bar tabs, excursions, etc are there any other "hidden fees" or things I should be aware of?

Thanks all!
1. It all depends on how much soda you drink. RCI does not have drink stations around their ships, so you have to find a bar or go to the windjammer to get drinks. If you plan on drinking more than 4 or 5 sodas in a day, the soda drink package makes sense, otherwise not really.

2. The 2 insurance companies I sell as a TA for cruises are Travelsafe and Travelguard. However, there are many other travel insurance companies that are just fine. I know these 2 companies and I've never had a problem with a legitimate claim made by my clients with either of them.

3. A shuttle company called Spaceport Transport is an excellent shuttle company for transports between MCO and Port Canaveral. Very reliable and a good price. I also fly in at least 1 day before my cruises, but if you do decide to fly in the day of the flight, the best way to minimize the chance of flight delays is to take the 1st available non-stop flight of the day to your destination.

4. Just remember the gratuities, the staff of RCI are great and they deserve the gratuities.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat View Post
I'm going to add one more thing - I may have been misleading. Southwest has bought out Air Tran however I don't know if they are actually doing codeshare yet.
It normally takes the DOT up to a year for two airlines to start codesharing. The actually paperwork of Southwest buying Airtran has not been approved. The companies have approved it; but it has to go thru a review panel at the Dept of Transportation; so that is why it can take up to a year for the approval and paperwork; once it gets the Gov't approval the two airlines merge into one and fly under one carrier; right now they are still considered duel carriers; meaning two ticket systems; once the gov't approval comes in, they become one airline with one ticket system. United and Cont'l are still waiting on Gov't approval to fly under single carrier status.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 09:54 AM
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Which ship are you sailing on?
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Old August 8th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emme View Post
Newbie needs help! Looking at traveling on RCCL in Sept.

1. Is it worth it to buy one of the drink packages (soda, juice, water) or are there plenty of drink options available? Is it considered poor taste for me to bring my own water bottle from home?

2. Where is the best place to get travel insurance from? Are there any companies that are better than others?

3. My cruise would leave out of Port Canaveral and I would be flying into MCO the day of in the morning (9:30am arrival) - do you think I should fly in a day earlier or will that be enough time to get to the ship before it embarks? Is there a shuttle company that is really good from MCO to the port?

4. On RCCL cruises, besides bar tabs, excursions, etc are there any other "hidden fees" or things I should be aware of?

Thanks all!
1-If you drink a lot of soda, at least 5 cans a day, then the soda card is worth it. We bring water with us and I drink it when we go off the ship and at night in the cabin. I don't walk around the ship with my own bottle of water. I usually drink an Arnold Palmer on the ship or just plain iced tea.

2-We buy travel insurance either through our TA or from Insuremytrip.com. We do NOT buy the insurance though the cruise line.

3-I don't know if you are flying in from HI or if you will be on the mainland, but when we fly to a port, we always fly in a day before the cruise. It makes for less pressure on the day of the cruise and also for a less tiring day. We now live in FL and we use a shuttle service to take us from our home near Orlando to the port and the service is Travelynx.net. They are wonderful and very reasonably priced. They pick us up on time and when we debark, they are there waiting. Give Lettie a call and ask her about prices.

4-Should you decide to go to Portofino or Chops there are additional charges. If you drink "specialty" coffee or want fancy cupcakes, Ben & Jerry's, steak from Chops at dinner, be prepared to pay for them. Also Bingo is really expensive on RCI. I don't believe tips are a hidden fee as they are listed on the website and I think in your cruise docs, but they are additional unless you pre-pay them. The ship also has stores like you'd find in a mall and if you purchase anything in them, ie souvenirs, charges add up. If you hit the casino there are charges too! Most of the things I mentioned are optional, so you don't have to worry about spending a fortune unless you choose to.

Enjoy your cruise on Freedom. We love that ship!
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