people who don't do their "homework" before a cruise then gripe because they didn't "know" something that somebody else did.
A good example are the people who book the ships' trips in Grand Cayman then complain, loudly, that they didn't like the experience and why didn't anybody tell them about Captain Marvin? This, of course, occurs when the Marvin people are talking about their wonderful experience. (Marvin did NOT pay me to say that.)
On one cruise, a lady ragged at me for quite some time because I "knew" where the Jade Market was in Hong Kong and nobody had TOLD her. (I think she was jealous of the piece I haggled for.) Well, honey, it's right here in Lonely Planet. Nobody TOLD me, either.
On a Baltic cruise, there was a lot of grumbling because people didn't "know" how expensive the shore excursions were in St. Petersburg and how come nobody TOLD them they could get Russian visas and travel idependently?
Before every trip I do a lot of net cruising ... here and with search engines. I am particularly addicted to GOOGLE.COM . If we're going somewhere new (or sometimes even somewhere we've been before) I print out a lot of information, punch the pages, and toss it all in a binder. One woman asked me on a pool deck one day as I was planning the next port's activities why SHE didn't get one of the binders and where should she go to get one?
That's what's so terrific about CruiseMates ... it's a great place to do your homework. Ask a question, somebody is going to know the answer or know where to find it.
Me, I love helping first-time cruisers or people going on a ship or itinerary I've particularly enjoyed. (That would be all of them with the exception of a couple of ports.)
What I don't like are those folks who state, baldly, that Port X is the pits without giving their reasons for thinking that way. Somebody, once, trashed San Juan as a port. Gee. My former home and I love going there. So, it's important to take some of those statements with a grain of sea salt. Or ask for a futher explanation.
I asked, in e-mail, WHY the person didn't like it. "Because of all those Puerto Ricans." Last I knew the Sharks and the Jets were in New York. Oh, and they speak Spanish.
In the words of that famous philopsopher, Jimmy Buffet, "There are tourists and then there are travelers."
I submit that the travelers are the ones who do their homework.
Pamda: Your story about the people who didn't like PR because of all the Puerto Ricans there reminds me of the time I first took my daughters to Mexico years ago. One of them asked very loudly, in a public place "Dad, where did all these Mexicans come from"? Now she didn't do this with a critical or anti-Mexican attitude, so everyone just laughed. I explained that this was Mexico, that this is where they live, and the real question is "where did you come from"? She was four years old at the time. What was the excuse of the people you communicated with? Seems that if one does not like to meet people of different cultures, cruising is a very poor choice for leisure time activity.
Seriously, though, IMO some cruise lines do a bad job of informing guests about the various possibilities of each port. Instead, shore talks become infomercials for the ship's own excursions and for certain merchants that aparently have a connection with the line. It takes the spare time and ability to get all the info you need from this and other sites, which some people don't have. Even the line that does the best job I've seen in this regard (Radisson) falls a little short on advance info for those who have booked. For our June Alaska cruise on that line, their website contains a list and detailed info on excursions that MIGHT be offered, depending on availability and weather. That's fine, but price is not stated. That changes too, I know, but they could state "$X as of Feb 15, subject to change without notice" to give us a rough idea. We won't know all the details until we get our docs about two weeks before sailing. But at least then, Radisson will send us very detailed info on this subject, including prices and detailed info about other possibilities in each port. Some lines don't even do that --- you find out on the ship, which is a bit late for thinking and planning.
An example of this was the last time we were on a cruise (not Radisson) that had San Juan as a port of call, about two or three years ago. All of the shore talk hype failed to mention that Old San Juan had the best shopping in the Caribbean, which I accedentially found out on my own.
Pamda, cracking up that the lady's complaint was there were too many Puerto Ricans in San Juan!
I'm with you about doing research ahead of time. Art always knows for weeks before a trip I will come in from the home office and tell him about this or that we can see or do.
I had a wonderful experience on our last cruise when I was lying next to a German couple by the pool. We were chatting and they said they were just gonna wander around Puerto Vallarta too, when I pulled out my Fodors Guide and showed them the "great walking tour" they had listed. I loaned it to her to read, and she was so very thankful.
But I agree with the comment that the shore talks are infomercials. I swear that one day the OxyClean guy is gonna pop out and tell me they'll super-size my shore excursion if I act now. :-)
I find I have to make researching the cruise a part of the experience. After all the anticipation of the cruise lasts longer than the cruise... so have to find a way to enjoy it just as much.
I add finding cruisemates is also a fun part of the research.
Pamda I agree with you. EitherI research where I'm going or I am surprised. Either way I know somewhat what I am in for. I have NEVER gone anywhere without at least reading a magazine article . Happy Cruising!!!
Had to laugh last year. We traveled with our ta on our first cruise. I researched the trip from one end to the other. Knew all the menus, activities and excursions. Met many fine people who were cruising with us. Set up meets with them on the first day.
She is a great girl and a heck of a ta. Gets us super deals. But for them being on their 17 cruise they didn`t know that much about what was ging on.
She is sending us on another great cruise on the Pride in Sept. Thanks to the net and the boards U know what is what
Hmmmm finding "too many Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico" all I can say is DUUUUUUH!!!!
Even if you're in the sticks w/out a computer or Barnes and Noble and barely have electricity, you can still go to the TA you were able to book the cruise from since you're going and find out about the islands and ships! Pick up every brochure available, or here's a novel idea, call the cruise line's 1-800#
If you have the capability of booking the cruise, you have the capability of finding out as much as possible about your upcoming trip so that you know in advance what you WANT to do when on it.
On the other side of the coin... I'm going to stop researching and planning for a bit as I'm finding myself overwhelmed lately. The Canyon! No, wait, the Volcano, uh, I meant the Luau on the Submarine on the Downhill Bicycle Run wearing flippers and snorkel gear and I WAIT, MOOSE ANTLERS COMING AT ME, CANT' RUN, CAN'T HIDE, HELP CECIL HELP DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER ARGHHHHHHHHHhhhh.......
Later on, when I feel a little better and those nice nurses take off the restraints, I'll get back to vacation planning.
Wow! I won't be the only one with a binder? I'm gathering stuff, putting it together and I plan on reading it during the long plane ride along with my Lonely Planet Hawaii book. And, I've been to Hawaii before! I go through this routine every trip I take, sea or land. It doesn't take a computer or a book store, even the smallest towns have libraries!
My ultimate one was on the Norway, headed to France for her first visit back since she was turned into the Norway! All these people were so mad because there were so many French people and "ferners" (foreigners) onboard. I loved it, I thought it was a great experience. If they weren't complaining about the nationalities onboard then it was the number of sea days. Hello, you are crossing the Atlantic, it is not a two day trip! At the time I wondered how people could be on a ship and not know the number of days or where they are going??? Amazing!
Susan will be cruisin' soon on the Summit "lei'd" trip!
Susancruzs, Hi! Yours is a very funny post about people complaining about sea days on an Atlantic crossing. Not many possible ports out there, right? And if the guests did not like French people, why the heck were they sailing to France?
One thing about these boards is that they are educational. I know they have been for me. Some people tend to think that all cruises are pretty much alike, only that some ships may be fancier than others. I used to be one of them. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we know now. Some want a "port rich" cruise and others want a lot of sea days. Some want nightlife, large scale entertainment, bingo, art auctions, and some don't. Some want formal nights and others don't. The list could go on and on. And just a little basic recearch can provide all needed info for a personally right cruise selection.
But one thing that defies explanation is why people who greatly dislike meeting people from other countries and cultures would choose to cruise (or choose any long distance travel), because meeting such people is an unavoidable part of cruising and IMO, one of the best parts.
This is hilarious. It's not only those who didn't do their homework, but those who did and still complain. Some people could be told 10 times and they still won't listen. Yes, if you want to eat in the dining room, there's a set time and no shorts. Wouldn't you know it, I got asked every day. What time is dinner and can I wear shorts? There's one on every trip; I was ready to tell him, "yes, wear shorts" and watch him get turned away.
Binders...Binders...Binders....Little did I know when I married my wife three years ago that my life would be contained in a three inch binder (well, I think that it is now five or six binders). Not only does my wife fill up a binder whenever we plan a major vacation or cruise with all the available activities (which I must say has helped us fill up our itinery with the greatest activities and history of the places we visit), but upon returning from our vacations and other trips, she creates a laminated, bound, scrapbook/photo album with the "trolley tickets", carnival notes, and other mementos permanately embedded in our memory albums. Now, please don't take this to be complaining 'cause I believe that I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth to have found such a wonderful woman as my wife.
Next stop, Carnival Pride, August 3, 2002 - Western Caribbean
how complimentary dear husband!
as I read this thread I was smiling to myself.... saying "see... binders are normal behavior"
perhaps the color coding or index tabbing for each port activities might be pushing it....
however, I agree with the general concensus in terms of part of the thrill and excitement is the planning and discussing the joy of cruising! and the shared experiences.....
plus, options are very grand things....
Hi all and first of all thanks for all the information these boards provide by all of you.
I, too, am a binder person for all my trips. Even if its just a 3 day weekend. I find this a great way to get excited about the upcoming vacation. I am now digging up info on taking my first cruise in 2003. But, I made a huge binder on my last vacation that would include many different locations. I actually had a person at work laugh (and I mean laugh hard) at my book I was putting together. Well, after I told her how well the vacation turned out and she saw that the hotel pictures were exactly like the pictures in MY book, she has asked me to help her make a book for her upcoming vacation. Ahhhh, how I enjoyed that conversation!
So, keep making those binders. They are wonderful!
My file for upcoming Hawaiian cruise already has 89 pages and I don't leave for another 24 days! I had Carnival fax me a copy of the offered shore excursions and I did reasearch on each to decide which I wanted to do most. I also keep cruise reviews, hotel reviews, directions, flight info, pre/post hotel and limo confirms with phone numbers their phone number (also airline #'s). This can - but hasn't had to yet - come in handy for delays and diversions. I will have this file in hand as I board the plane in Orlando to read through again on my 13 hr trip to Honolulu.
For me the research is almost as fun as the cruise and keeps me from driving people crazy from talking about my upcoming trip.
Can anybody send me their binder for travelling out west, i.e. Badlands and Yellowstone, that I can respectfully plagiarize as my own for when I take my 73 year-old mother on a sightseeing trip. I don't have the time to make my own.