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Old October 8th, 2007, 09:04 PM
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Default Be Prepared-do your homework!

Ok, folks, who here books a trip and by the time departure time has arrived you have done enough homework to know whatever you need to know for your trip to make it truly enjoyable? I do, folder and printouts in hand.

I read a post where someone grumbled about having a hard time finding the restaurant and how the layout of the ship didn't work. Did they do their homework? No. Do look at the deck plans of the ship before you go because it does help to have an idea of where everything is and how to find the elusive aft dining room. Why not take the brochure with the ship layout in it so you have another reference source, it works!

I know someone who is going on a 10 day cruise with their spouse in late November. Neither of them know where their cabin is, if it is inside/oceaview/ or balcony, they don't know what deck, they haven't even looked at the ship layout, or know much about where they are going. I told her to find out and to get a map of the ship so they know what to expect and where everything is.

Everyone should be prepared and know as much as possible before they go. A good example is a family on the ship didn't know that we weren't going to Jamaica, uhm, hello? APparently they booked a year out and didn't think twice about checking anything else. They discovered the day they sailed that we weren't going to the Western Caribbean and that the route was switched--this particular route change was announced early this year. They never bothered checking their tickets, nor did they check the website and see the route changed.....HOMEWORK folks.....I think they were complaining the most, but if you don't look, you can't ***** because it is your own damn fault!

Ok, I'm done
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Old October 9th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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How about the people that tell you they went on a cruise. You ask them what ship and they don't even know the name of the ship they were on!
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I can't agree more. Yes, I do my homework, and everyone else's too. I don't like the unknown.

They are just cheating themselves.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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Of course there's the flip side of that.... people who research so much, the they feel they are totally prepared for the experience... in some cases raising their expectations much too high, and then when something "they know" doesn't fall into place it causes lingering disappointment.

I agree it's best to spend some time studying the ship you're going on, and the itinerary you're sailing. But there is a part of the experience that should be left out for you discover yourself. It's part of the adventure.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Be Prepared-do your homework!

Quote:
Originally Posted by misguidedangel
Ok, folks, who here books a trip and by the time departure time has arrived you have done enough homework to know whatever you need to know for your trip to make it truly enjoyable? I do, folder and printouts in hand.

I read a post where someone grumbled about having a hard time finding the restaurant and how the layout of the ship didn't work. Did they do their homework? No. Do look at the deck plans of the ship before you go because it does help to have an idea of where everything is and how to find the elusive aft dining room. Why not take the brochure with the ship layout in it so you have another reference source, it works!

I know someone who is going on a 10 day cruise with their spouse in late November. Neither of them know where their cabin is, if it is inside/oceaview/ or balcony, they don't know what deck, they haven't even looked at the ship layout, or know much about where they are going. I told her to find out and to get a map of the ship so they know what to expect and where everything is.

Everyone should be prepared and know as much as possible before they go. A good example is a family on the ship didn't know that we weren't going to Jamaica, uhm, hello? APparently they booked a year out and didn't think twice about checking anything else. They discovered the day they sailed that we weren't going to the Western Caribbean and that the route was switched--this particular route change was announced early this year. They never bothered checking their tickets, nor did they check the website and see the route changed.....HOMEWORK folks.....I think they were complaining the most, but if you don't look, you can't ***** because it is your own damn fault!

Ok, I'm done
Don't get me wrong because I like to be prepared myself but a lot of people just like to wing it sometimes.

Of course these are the same people you see broken down on the side of the road saying, "guess maybe I should have checked the antifreeze in my car, after all it is 10 degrees below zero today!"
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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I could never "wing it," I want to know where I am going and what there is to see. I don't let my expectations get to high because I have no clue what to expect. I look forward to each day and hope all goes well. I fret before I leave because one never knows what can happen.

I want to be prepared so I print off a deck plan of the common areas of the ship so I don't get lost! True, getting lost can lead to unexpected suprises.

I guess there will be that small percentage of people who don't look and then gripe about not finding this or that when they know full well that they had the resources at hand at one time and did nothing about it.

Please, if you are one of the "wing it" people, learn to NOT wing it and you will see how smooth things can be when you get even a little bit of information...

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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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You're so right! On a cruise where we stopped at the San Blas Islands off Panama in late April it was very hot.......imagine! It was a wonderful stop and so few ships stop there I feel very fortunate to have been there. It was a wonderful experience.

Getting back on the ship and on the elevator, everyone was complaining about the heat - I remarked (just before getting off), "Uh, it's April, it's near the Equator, it's hot. Didn't you know we were coming here? You might want to investigate an Alaska cruise". Thankfully I got out alive.

I also am annoyed that so many people say "I don't know why we stopped here - there's nothing here". Ah, no Target, no Nordstroms, no Taco Bell, no Applebee's - I get it. Some people should not travel.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:40 PM
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We do study the deck plan and choose the cabin of our choice.
We usually go on the smaller ships so it doesn't take me all day to find lunch etc...

We do a little research for the ports but not too much ...I just find by the time I get there I am exhausted from all the planning!!

We have a friend who plans everything down to the minute (well almost) they are on the go all vacation. Not my kind of vacation, been there, done that.
Now we go with the flow.
Everyone has there own way of spending there vacation time.
Enjoy!!
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Old October 10th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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My BIL:

Prior to the Cruise:

What cruiseline are you on?

"I dunno."

Where are you cruising?

"I dunno. Caribbean maybe."

On Return:

What cruiseline were you on?

"Carnival, I think."

What ship?

"I dunno it was big and had a Sushi bar."

At that point I gave up.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Hey, it had a sushi bar. That's enough for me!
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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I would have asked how big was your bar bill and what do you remember of the trip.

I guess one could say that that might be the sort of person who seem to forget or check when they are supposed to be back on the ship. I always wonder when you see the people runnig for the ship and it's five minutes PAST departure time (and 35 past "all aboard" time) and they finally get jeered on the ship. Does the captain, CD, or other officer ask them if they checked the daily newsletter the night before or that morning to see what time the ship docked and the all aboard time is supposed to be? I know in Mexico the couple set their clocks back one hour, which is why they thought they were getting back one hour before sailing when in fact they got on board 5 minute AFTER sailing time. That was when the announcement to NOT set your clock back and to keep it on Miami time.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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I don't know, I guess my wife and I are semi-planners. We sail only small ships, so there is no need to study ship layout, but we do enjoy researching the ports we're visiting.

We'll pick out the things we want to see on each island, but after that its kind of all "seat of our pants". The night before a port we'll usually come up with a game plan for the next day, but that is always subject to change.

When we wake up in the morning, we'll talk to the various friends we've made on the cruise and if they're doing something that sounds like more fun than what we planned on, we'll do that instead.

We always make sure we see the things we want to see, we just may not do it in the way we planned. For us its much more fun and relaxing to make it up as we go along!
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Old October 11th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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I do the homework but I also enjoy the adventure of exploration also.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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I am booked on a trip with family in 35 days, 1 of the members does not want anything to do with planning. I don't think that he can even tell you where he is going. This his is life style. Myself I am with everyone else. Do your homework, understand what could be, and then leave everything else up to fate. But if we are standing by the evaluator saying. Where is....., I can jump up and say...... I can help...., or better yet, if we are standing on the dock looking at each other and don't know what to do, I can give some suggestions.

Doing your homework is as fun as the vacation.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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I'm sailing HAL in November, and, uh, yeah, I just printed layouts of all pertinents decks. Mostly because I'm itching to go already!! Also investigated what there is to do in each port, looked up websites for each.

I'm the sort who needs to have a plan, or I'll end up sitting by the pool all day or lazing on the beach all day. Nothing wrong with that, but I sit on the beach every weekend in the summer, if I'm going to fly/cruise the USVI or somewhere, I don't want to be kicking myself that I didn't do anything that I couldn't do at home. lol

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Old October 12th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Planning is good! However, there are extremes at both ends of the planning scale.

There is nothing wrong with having the basic information as long as you have realistic expecations of what to expect from the cruise. I strongly believe that overplanning is as bad as under planning, especially once you board the ship.

I often feel sorry for a new cruiser who comes to the boards and reads "one" negative post about a ship and thinks they made the mistake of a lifetime or reads something positive about another ship and suddenly has buyer's remorse. Sometimes it's nice to let the experience happen. Just about any relatively new ship can be a wonderful experience for a first time cruiser.

I can spout the tonnage, number of decks, basic cabin layouts, which specialty restaurants are available on what lines and ships right off the top of my head and sometimes I wish I couldn't. It takes some of the "freshness" out of the experience. There have been times I wished I didn't know as much as I did but there are many times that I'm glad I did.

So: My recommendation is to get the basic information out of the way: Booking number, online check in, basic packing info, what the dining experience is like and an idea of what you want to do at each port and then just let the experience happen.

Remember: It's a vacation and not a military operation.

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Old October 12th, 2007, 08:20 PM
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I don't plan every minute of my vacation down to the milli-second, I want to relax. I do like to know generally whats going on so I can decide what I want to do, where I have to go, how much it's going to cost etc etc. Like everything, to much prepartion can be a bad thing, but no preparation is just lazy.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
How about the people that tell you they went on a cruise. You ask them what ship and they don't even know the name of the ship they were on!
Hmm . . . it must be interesting watching them return from port. "Um, honey, which one's our ship?"
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
How about the people that tell you they went on a cruise. You ask them what ship and they don't even know the name of the ship they were on!
Dave...that is so true! Our mailman went on a cruise recently and when I asked him which ship he cruised on...all I got was a blank stare
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Old December 21st, 2007, 12:36 PM
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A young friend of mine went on her first cruise when she was even younger...as in too young to drink. Got to Mexico and went to a bar where nobody cared how old she and her friend were. The ship was there overnight, luckily, because they got back to the pier at 5 a.m. and neither of them could remember which ship they were on! They just went up one gangway after another until they found one that said their boarding passes were okay and let them on board. Have been teasing her about it ever since.
On the other hand, I don't believe in the other extreme either, such as needing to have every little thing nailed down in advance. I don't do the fretting over little stuff thing, especially on vacation.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 01:32 PM
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I never look at the ship layout. I walk the ship get the feel and I have a real good memory so once is a enough to remember. The research I do is I have seen the ship photos, read reviews, know the cruise line, the ports, and information about what I want to do there. I love the excitment of planning it adds to the vacation.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorcrazie
They just went up one gangway after another until they found one that said their boarding passes were okay and let them on board. Have been teasing her about it ever since.
On the other hand, I don't believe in the other extreme either, such as needing to have every little thing nailed down in advance.
I'm with you in the second group. I like getting on a ship and "discovering" the layout, all the nooks and crannies, etc. I don't like having all information in advance. Takes the excitement out of it for me.

Your story about your young friend brings to mind my first cruise. I was only onboard because a writer's group I was a member of was having a sea-going retreat. I knew zilch about cruising, zilch about the cruiseline, zilch about the boat. All the info I had was what the travel agent had given me ... tips are optional (Holland America at that time), formal nights I'd have to dress up, and that we would be eating at a group of tables in the "elegant" dining room together.

Well I got on the boat in Costa Rica (missed the embarkation in Fort Lauderdale three days before ... a whole 'nother story). I had spent several hours traveling from San Jose to Port Limon that morning and hadn't eaten. I finally got onboard and escorted to my stateroom. Just about all of the other passengers were onshore enjoying the port. Once settled, I realized I was pretty hungry and didn't know if I'd be able to find something to eat before dinner. I went out into the hallway and flagged down a room steward. I explained my predicament to him and asked if there was any way I could get something to eat at this "non-traditional" time. He looked at me with this bewildered look in his eyes and asked if this was my first cruise. I told him "yep!" He then smiled and said "ma'me, this is a cruise ship. You can eat anytime of the day or night." Then he directed me to the Lido. I had no idea food was available just about 24 by 7.

So, your friend is not the only "clueless" one.

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Old December 26th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Cute story. The 24/7 food is my favorite thing about cruising and my least favorite thing after I step on the scale after the cruise.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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I have travelled quie a bit and have done 8 cruises, so I find tha it does not take much planning on our part.

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Old December 26th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
How about the people that tell you they went on a cruise. You ask them what ship and they don't even know the name of the ship they were on!
Oh I have friends like that. worse they have no idea the line they were on-my friend told me "I think it was Norweigen". Her daughter was a little smarter though and told me they were on RCI Soverign of the Seas.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmeg
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
How about the people that tell you they went on a cruise. You ask them what ship and they don't even know the name of the ship they were on!
Oh I have friends like that. worse they have no idea the line they were on-my friend told me "I think it was Norweigen". Her daughter was a little smarter though and told me they were on RCI Soverign of the Seas.
On the other side of this, I have friends who are so excited that they are going on a cruise and want to talk about it to someone. O.K. I am game. However, when I ask them which ship are they on, I get the "deer in the headlight" look. I then ask "which cruiseline". That generally gets me the shoulder shrug. So, I ask what city they are debarking from, the "look" continues. Finally, I ask what stops the ship will be making and that darn "look" just won't go away. :evil:

I usually end up saying, "Well have a good time and tell me all around it when you get back" and walk away.

How do you book a cruise and not know the details? I don't get that.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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I book the cruise a year ahead then talk about it the whole year to co-workers. I'm not kidding I tested my co-workers on my alaskan cruise they knew how many days, what cruiseline, and what ship I was on. They were so ready to get rid of me.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Kat that's my style also, my co-workers all know about my cruises. After my new years cruise I still have 2 booked. One of those cruises is not untill april 09 I will be booking another one shortly.

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Old December 29th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
Of course there's the flip side of that.... people who research so much, the they feel they are totally prepared for the experience... in some cases raising their expectations much too high, and then when something "they know" doesn't fall into place it causes lingering disappointment.
I'm guilty of what might be considered over-preparing - having lists of possible things to see & do in every port etc.

The emphasis is on the "possible things" since you then have the option of switching, & eliminating. If you don't know what's out there you may miss something you later wish you'd seen.

As Kuki says, if you raise expectations too high you have a greater distance to fall/be disappointed.

So...... I've learned to accomodate/incorporate this aspect of preparedness by going with the flow/having an adventure too. Having knowledge lets you feel far more in control but because I incorporate my knowledge with the unexpected I know I will have fun whatever happens.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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I do all the planning because quite frankly no one else wants to or cares to. There on a ship, there is good food, it stops at a port, thats all they care about. I choose the rooms, I choose the activities and they happily all comply............and its a good thing I do it because if I didnt........it would not get done. I dont over plan, I know where I want to go but I dont go nuts about it. It is vacation after all.
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