Archive for the Category »Cruises «

Jan
31st
  How to Stay Healthy on a Cruise

princess cruise

Gastrointestinal craziness this week, as two large cruise ships returned to port early because of a large number of sick passengers. First, the Royal Caribbean returned to its port two days early because 600 passengers fell ill, and just yesterday Princess Cruises returned early to a Houston port with almost 200 passengers ill. The suspected culprit: the very contagious norovirus.

Ugh. What a way to upstage a vacation. But with more travelers taking cruises, and the cruise ships’ environment of close contact with many people, more travelers  are at risk for gastrointestinal illnesses. The norovirus is the most common gastrointestinal infection, and it can be serious for the elderly or younger children. It is passed on through another infected person, contaminated food, or touching contaminated surfaces.

So what can you do?

1) Be vigilant about cleanliness. It may be obvious to wash your hands before you eat, after you use the toilet, after changing diapers, etc.  But, you  should also wash your hands before brushing teeth, after you blow your nose, and after coming in contact with anyone infected.

2) HOW you wash your hands matters. Washing with soap and water is the BEST way to reduce microbes. Wash for 20 seconds… dry your hands… and make sure you use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and use door knob afterward.

**Many cruise ships have set up hand sanitizer dispensers around the ship for prevention – but do not slip into a false state of feeling protected. Hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol based to be effective (difficult to verify if the cruise ship is using that) AND is still doesn’t eliminate all germs like soap and water. It can reduce the number of microbes, so sanitizer doesn’ t hurt, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for washing with soap.

If you do choose to supplement with hand sanitizer, make sure you are using it properly for it to work – people often don’t use enough volume, or may wipe it off before it is completely dried. Be patient and let it dry.

3) Immediately wash any soiled clothes that could be contaminated, and if you have to handle them, wash your hands afterward.

4) If at all possible, avoid touching railings on the stairs, elevator buttons, door knobs. Wash hands immediately after if you do. Use your knuckles to press elevator buttons and have tissue handy for doorknobs.

The CDC is investigating both cruise outbreaks, and has a vessel sanitation program that evaluates the effectiveness of prevention and control strategies on board. Get this: the manual for cleaning these large cruise ships is 267 pages long! The sanitation crew has to disinfect every inch – including bedside Bibles.

Passengers who are affected, can request a copy of the CDC final report at FOIARequests@cdc.gov

All this being said – the number of cruise ship outbreaks is actually on a decline, even as more passengers choose to cruise.

 
Nov
04th
  Shout Out To My Hometown: Cypress Cruise Director Is Doing An Amazing Job!

Travel makes one realize how small the world can be.

My parents just got back from a wonderful 12 day Mediterranean cruise on Oceania cruise line. It was half-way around the world that they realized the cruise director was someone I went to school with from first grade until high school graduation. It was my dear friend David Shermet! photo

He is bringing the same enthusiasm to his job that he has always brought to the party :) He has been working on cruise ships since 1992, after a few years playing professional baseball.

Congrats David on a job well-done!!!   If anyone knows how to reach him, let me know.

I have interviewed cruise directors before, and you can imagine the unreal life they lead….always having to be “on” before a crowd,  living on a ship, rarely in the same town very long…. If he or she has any family, that individual will get a few weeks at a time to visit, and in between home visits, some cruise lines will pay for the family to come on board and stay for a while. It is a totally different existence, and requires sacrifices. But those I spoke with love their jobs!!

I want to point out the interesting itinerary on this particular Oceania cruise my parents took – Culturally, historically, and spiritually rich. The ship stopped in ports like:

fatimaFatima, Portugal to see the famous Catholic shrine to the Virgin Mary..

Porto, Portugal for some port tasting….

Bordeaux, France for some wine tasting…

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium…

Bilbao, Spain to see the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim among other things…

American Cemetery in Normandy, France, overlooking Omaha Beach

American Cemetery in Normandy, France, overlooking Omaha Beach

and the historic Normandy, France military cemeteries. My parents booked this cruise about a year in advance, with Normandy being the big draw. They have  always wanted to visit. So you can imagine how lucky they were to avert  the government shutdown  – It closed Normandy’s American Cemetery and Memorial just ONE DAY AFTER they visited.

Normandy Memorial

Normandy Memorial

There is nothing they could have done had the site closed before they arrived – they couldn’t have waited it out because they were part of a cruise itinerary. Even though they bought trip insurance, it would have only reimbursed for the cancelled shore excursion, and they would have had to pay to take the same trip again to see Normandy.

You never know what is going to happen when you book travel far in advance. It is always a risk to travel… but it’s a risk that many of us as are happy to take. And some of us, like my friend David, even make it our lives. :)

***Photos courtesy of… my mom :)

 

 
Jan
29th
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Kids Sail Free on Disney! January is a Good Time to Book a Cruise…

From Caribbeanislandcruises.com

It is Wave Season! One of the best times of year for cruise deals –  the period between January and March is traditionally the industry’s hottest selling period.

The combination of  winter-weary travelers and cruise lines’ goal to move inventory early — so they can raise prices later — is good for us –  it means that this is when the cruise lines make offers like free upgrades, onboard credit, and free airfare. Typically, summer months bring higher cruise prices because of demand, so consider spring or fall if you are looking for better prices.

From mousecounselors.com

One example of a current promotion I found is through Disney Cruise Line – Book a Caribbean cruise from Miami on the Disney Wonder for most weeks in April, and two kids sail for free with two adults in a stateroom.  http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/special-offers/kids-sail-free-miami/?sourcecode=18330&CMP=EMC-DCLFY13Q2Q2OfferEMs0048D

Disney Wonder to Alaska 9/12

The savings is tremendous – To give you an idea, on a Disney Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, each child would be $1300 on an ocean view room. And the Disney Wonder is a beautiful ship! I just sailed on it to Alaska.

For finding other deals, I recommend using a travel agent. They can be instrumental in advising the best cruise line for your tastes – there are so many lines with distinct personalities. They can also help with room upgrades and other promotions.

But like anything, shop around. Even among different travel agents you will find different perks based on the volume they do with various cruise lines.

Happy Cruising!

 
Dec
06th
  Should You and Your Family Book a Shore Excursion on a Cruise? Day 6 of my Alaska Adventure

Alaskan Cruise on the Disney Wonder

A cruise is a double adventure – especially for children. By sea….You get the excitement of being on a huge, beautiful vessel out in the open water

… and by land, you can take advantage of some carefully planned day trips doing things you may have never pursued traveling on your own.

Cruise ships offer all kinds of day excursions for an extra price on top of the cruise fare. They vary from sight seeing… to more physical activities.

From Whitewatertours.com

For example, you can go white water rafting in Mexico… visit an elephant park in Bali after getting a massage in a rain forest…

From acropolisofathens.gr

see the Acropolis in Athens, Greece with a guided tour…or sample premiere cheese while wine tasting in New Zealand.

Bottom line: the excursions allow you go beyond the port and explore new places. They can be expensive – it is a form of revenue for the cruise line because once they capture your attention by offering a good rate, they make money on the extras.

There are separate companies you can hire to take you on your own excursion but beware – ships will wait for ship sponsored excursions if you are late, but if you hire a private company there is a chance you could miss your ship pulling away from the dock if for some reason your tour is running late.

You can book excursions either before your trip, or at the ship’s excursion desk once you are on board. If you wait until you are on board there is a risk of the excursion you want being full. Keep in mind that you can change your excursion if you book in advance – but only if there is room.

Things to know:

–If you have kids, look at the age permitted on the trip.

–Read about the travel time to and from the destination – will you be spending a lot of time on a bus? It may be more worth your time to find something closer.

Zip lining canopy tour in Juneau, Alaska

I have been writing about my recent cruise to Alaska – on Day 6, my family took an exhilarating excursion, dangling from the tree tops of an Alaskan rain-forest -

we went zip lining in Juneau on a Disney cruise sponsored excursion. Disney offers some interesting excursions through their other travel line “Adventures By Disney,” so you get that Disney touch – and guaranteed friendly and cheerful guides. http://www.adventuresbydisney.com/

I have been zip lining before, but never in such a dense green environment… and admittedly, never SO high up. The first ride is exhilarating – it gets your heart pumping. My advice: if you have any fear of heights, do not look down and just enjoy the ride. Not to mention the incredibly fresh air!

It was so fun watching my kids do it. We were warned they may have a harder time making it all the way across because of their light weight- some of the paths were seriously far apart, but they did just fine. (Don’t worry – if you don’t make it, there are techniques to get you safely to the platform!)

The weather was perfect, and I couldn’t think of a more fun family adventure. some tours have even spotted bears from above. Although it was a short excursion, the stop in Juneau was short, so this fit in the time frame perfectly.

The only down side – there are age limits, and my youngest child couldn’t go. (He got the teddy bear souvenir  from the zip line gift store instead) You had to be 10 years old.  Normally, I wouldn’t have even booked this – leaving one child on board while I take off for a few hours? What if something were to happen? But given the choice to stay on the Disney cruise in the kids’ club with complete supervision, he would have chose that anyway. My other kids were dying to try zip lining. And.. I felt comfortable with Disney’s security in the youth clubs, as well as safety procedures. They lock the gate behind you so no one can just walk in. That extra free babysitting is just another reason a cruise is great for all ages :)

Juneau is a cute little town… but I would recommend getting out of the port area – it is very touristy with many jewelry and souvenir shops.

TIP: Cruise lines often roll out grand sales and extra amenities in January and Feb, so start thinking about booking!

 

 
Oct
26th
  Would You Travel During Hurricane Season? Here’s a Smart Way To Do It
"Hurricane Sandy"

Hurricane Hits the Caribbean from nj.com

Hurricane Sandy is on the East Coast….heading for the North Atlantic… after blasting the Bahamas and Cuba.

Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship

Dozens of cruise ships have rerouted itineraries…. and ships that port in New York are heading northward to beat the storm.

But what if places you wanted to visit are eliminated due to bad weather? It is not exactly the same cruise for which you paid.

This is a chance we travelers take when we book travel  near the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico between July and November. There are plenty of good reasons to travel during this period – prices are generally lower because it is hurricane season, and in many places not much rain.

One way to protect yourself, and I am a big fan, is to buy travel insurance. Some insurance providers sell a plan called “Cancel For Any Reason, ” which really follows it’s name. If your cruise ship is rerouted to places you’ve already been and don’t want to see them again… or some other reason….you can usually cancel two days before departure. It depends on what kind of plan you bought as to how much money you get back.

Hurricane Sandy in Florida, from Orlando Sentinel

Even if you don’t think anything could happen to you on a “safe” trip, there could always be a health issue or disruption from home that may preclude you from your plans.

Typically, you should count on insurance costing about 10% of your trip.

Here is an example of one policy that I found, so you can see if it would be valuable to you.

For two people traveling on a trip that costs $2000 per person, here is the coverage PER PERSON, even though the cost covers both people. This is one of the more comprehensive coverage plans:

Cost: $429 for the two travelers.

What it provides:

–$1,000,000 in emergency evacuation

—75% non-refundable costs if you employ “cancel for no reason”

–$50,000 in rental car collision

–$2,000 in trip cancellation

–$3,500 in trip delay

Plus, baggage coverage, regular medical coverage that doesn’t involve evacuation, etc.

If nothing else, wouldn’t the $429 be worth the peace of mind?

There are plenty of websites to help you: insuremytrip.com, and travelguard.com are just two.

Have a great weekend, and you on the East Coast, stay safe.

 
Oct
24th
  When In Alaska, Hike A Glacier! Day 5 of My Alaskan Adventure..
Working in Alaska

Working in Alaska

THIS…is often my office when I am working. I feel very lucky.

However, on day 5 of my Disney Cruise to Alaska, I was promoted to nature’s equivalent of the corner suite. Alaska’s Mendahall Glacier.

Disney Cruise to Alaska

Disney Cruise to Alaska

My excursion arranged by Disney that day began benign enough…  a nice breakfast overlooking amazing scenery….

…but soon enough I was vibrating to the rhythm of helicopter engines on the heli pad for North Star Trekking’s privately guided tours.

My crew and I first had to change into proper glacier hiking gear of course… warm pants, red jackets, and backpacks for cameras, water, snacks, etc. TIP: Don’t forget to bring gloves if you ever hike a glacier. You might not think of it at home when packing for Alaska.

The shoes always make the outfit right? Out in the wilderness there  is no exception: part of the equipment provided with a glacier trek are the crampons to help you grip the ice while walking. Once all set, we got  quick safety briefing for our unique journey.

The helicopter ride was not as bad as I anticipated. I had been up in a helicopter once before, and remember it to be much more sensitive – you felt every tiny move.

The view from the helicopter gives you a wider perspective of what is to come. It is as if one is looking down on heaven.

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

This is where I wish knew how to access a more visual and descriptive way of writing. Channeling Pat Conroy here…. I can’t quite find the words to describe how truly spectacular Mendenhall Glacier is. This icefield is 12 miles long – almost 2 miles shorter than in the 195os…retreating of course because of warmer global temperatures.

But 12 miles was plenty for me to hike! The helicopters landed in a safe place… then my crew was lead by experienced and very athletic guides with whom I felt very safe, and had a great time.

After  catching my breath from the raw beauty – I thought that this is what it must have felt like landing on the moon – desolate…and extra-terrestrial like – different topography than anything an explorer had ever faced.

The bright blue-ish hue from the ice made it all the more exotic.

The technical definition of a glacier is: a large mass of snow, recrystallized ice, and rock debris that accumulate in great quantities and begin to flow outwards and downwards under the pressure of their own weight.

Mendenhall Glacier is thousands of feet deep.

Thank goodness the peak I decided to climb is not as tall as it is deep.

Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is a lot like rock climbing, but on a completely different substance. You have to get the groove of it, because it involves really digging in your toes to the mountain…with nothing really supporting your heels in the back. The ice wall is practically perpendicular to the ground, which  makes it challenging. The ice pick does help, as do the terrific guides who helped me with ropes.

It is exhilarating…. and an unforgettable experience. I only wish we could have packed a picnic lunch and string quartet :)

These excursions aren’t to strenuous if you don’t do the ice climb…and children 8 and over can participate in the shorter versions. The tours are available in 3-5 hour windows. But, it also depends on your cruise itinerary – if the ship is only at port a short time, you would be limited.

I would recommend it – where else would you get to hike a glacier?

Tracy Gallagher

Coming up on my next Alaska cruise post: Calling all foodies: take advantage of the special booking restaurants.

www.disneycruise.disney.go.com/

www.northstartrekking.com

 

 

 
Oct
15th
  An Alaskan Adventure WIth Kids: Day 4

My family’s trip to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder was a blast for the kids.

Aboard the Disney Wonder

They felt a sense of independence being able to roam around the ship to kids’ clubs, or movie theaters, and loved it. By day 4, (all 3 prior days at sea with no excursions) they were pretty darn comfortable with that.

From Kingdommagictravel.com

There are actually four different kids’ clubs on the Disney Wonder- each catering to a specific age and need. From one end of the spectrum, there is one club for teens only – “Vibe” which is a cool hang out… to the other end of the spectrum  -  a club for younger children that offers babysitting.

Wave phones from mouseplanet.com

What made all of this easier- and is a great touch on the Disney cruise – are the “wave” phones that are in your stateroom.  We gave our kids one of the phones and could check in on them at any time.

Unfortunately, the phones don’t work off the ship – so on day 3 when we docked in Skagway, I was out of communicado with my kids. I had some work to do, and was taking a separate tour of Skagway..

So I saw my husband and children off while they took a scenic train ride on the historic White Pass Railway.

From Yukonadventures.com

Skagway was put on the map during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. It was the entry point for prospectors trying to get to Canada for gold. Unfortunately, the White Pass railway was finished after the gold rush… but today tourist still enjoy it. Adults can take in the scenery from a vintage rail-car, while there are Disney Cruise Line Counselors helping keep the kids interested and entertained. Remember to bring your passports if you take this excursion because you enter Canada… not that you are checked, but if something should happen, you might need your passport to get home.

It is a great outing – I highly recommend trying an excursion if you want to see anything authentic about Alaska.

Skagway, Alaska

If you don’t take an excursion, but walk around the port towns, you will be visiting very touristy shops, and jewelry stores owned by many cruise lines. TIP: I know I’ve said this, but when budgeting for a cruise, before you book, see how much the excursions are. For example, the White Pass adventure is $169 for ages 10 and up. $99 for ages 5-9.

My outing was a bit different – I took the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake, which was a charming recreation of a town during the gold rush. The town is named Liarsville for the stories told to journalists about the gold rush – the journalists never actually went to Klondike, so the truth was stretched as stories were told to reporters.

Liarsville Salmon Bake

On this excursion, visitors  pan for gold, then attend a salmon bake….wild Alaskan-caught salmon freshly grilled over a huge alder wood fire. Granted, this is staged for visitors,  but it was an attempt to educate visitors what it was like in the more than 100 years ago,  The scenery was pretty, and you did have an only in Alaska fresh meal! Definitely wear warm clothes: Even if it s a warm Alaska day (i.e. 60 degrees!) this area is the shade from a forest.

The good news about Skagway is that it is easy to find other things to do if you can’t book an excursion every day.

Within walking distance of the port, we took an incredible two hour hike up a mountain that led to a lake.

We enjoyed beautiful vistas and a well-marked trail. ** I highly recommend this for its easy access and non-touristy nature.

The thing I love most about travel is learning about how other people live…experiencing  a new culture. What’s interesting about Skagway is that the population is only about 900, but in the summer it swells to the thousands. Temporary residents spend summers here working during the tourist season. I met a couple who says it’s like “summer camp” for them. They never know if they’ll have a job when they go back to their “winter home.”  A lot of students also come to spend the summer working in a beautiful environment.

Coming up in a later blog post -Day 5: Hiking  a glorious glacier with the true Alaska spirit and grit.

disneycruise.disney.go.com/

 

 

 

 

 
Oct
10th
  An Alaskan Adventure With Kids in Tow

Whether you are a cruiser or not, there are two things about my recent cruise to Alaska that might one day put you in the former camp.

Alaska

#1 – Alaska is one of the few places I think a cruise offers a unique view of the destination..unlike say a cruise to the Caribbean – you could see the same things there as you would NOT on a cruise.

#2 – Cruising is a GREAT family vacation…there is always something to keep the kids happy. Oh – and did I mention I took a Disney cruise? So take the normal kids cruise activities and put them on steroids.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, I hope to paint a clear picture for you… and share with you some of the most beautiful wilderness and raw beauty in the U.S.

The Disney Wonder

Our seven day Disney’s cruise to Alaska departed from Seattle. Getting through all the check in and finally getting on the boat is a bigger ordeal than one would imagine – The cruise terminal is crowded so plan for enough time to check in. TIP: Disney allows you to check in before boarding – that is highly advised to save time. Alwyas bring a passport, even i fyou think you are just cruising in the US. We went through Canada, and if anything should happen, you’d need your passport to get home if you stopped in Canada.

Once on the ship – it is actually a dramatic surprise – the Disney Wonder is a beautiful ship. There are crew members and musicians welcoming you as you walk down the spiral staircase to the main lobby…

Disney Wonder Lobby with Dale Chihuly Chandelier

with an enormous Dale Chihuly chandelier above. The ship was constructed in Italy, and the goal was to bring “the golden age of ocean liners to life.” You can tell it was built with quality – all the wood work is ornate and solid… the details and trim were opulent… The staterooms were the most basic areas on the ship!

The Disney Wonder has  11 public decks, and can accommodate a whopping 2,400 passengers in 875 staterooms. There are three public pools- one with a water slide!

Palo Restaurant aboard the Disney Wonder

The Wonder has three main restaurants (Triton’s, Animator’s Palate, Parrot Cay), one specialty restaurant (Palo – my absolute favorite!) One of the amazing things there was the gym  – all windows so while you worked the elliptical you watched the world unfold around the horizon.

Our first day at sea (day 2) was sunny and warm… Perfect for a soccer match or basketball game. Yes – on a ship! Kids loved scoring goals out at sea… The sport courts are a nice touch since it would be easy for children to be sedentary in one of the movie theaters or kids’ clubs. To be honest with you, there was so much else to do it was hard keeping track, even though passengers get an activity guide each night before the next day. There were special activities going on in each kids’ club, movies, shows, etc! Who has time to relax??

Tracy Arm, Alaska

On day 3 our first port of call was Tracy Arm, Alaska. The Wonder doesn’t actually stop there, but the captain brings you so close to the land, you still experience it intimately. Tracy Arm is a 30 mile fjord…

at the end of the journey through the fjord we were rewarded with a frightfully beautiful site: the Sawyer Glacier. Scenery that takes your breath away.Little bits of glacier litter the beautiful ocean like a mosaic falling apart….and keep a close eye out for wildlife- we saw sea lions sitting atop some of the glacier pieces.

Since this adventure is narrated by a staff member over a loud speaker, all 2000 passengers are on an outdoor deck, vying for the best spot to take photos and see the natural wonder.

TIP: Don’t worry about being on one side of the ship or the other – the captain will trun the boat around so everyone has a view. Also, look for the private, less crowded outdoor areas so you aren’t blocked behind groups of people.

Since this isn’t a terribly active sightseeing day, I wondered how my kids would do. What I do at times like this is give them my camera, so I put them in charge of taking photos. It is amazing how they all got into it. Luckily, they didn’t have to go far when they were ready for some more heated fun… they only had to choose between the pools, arcades, or movie theaters! Safe to say, they had a blast.

Coming up on Day 3: Skagway, Alaska

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com

 

 
Oct
02nd
  Travel Tip Tuesday: How To See Alaska

Alaska

Any trip to Alaska is a significant investment in time and money. So, you should know there are a few ways to see the the Last Frontier. You can take an organized tour… plan your driving trip on the road on your own… or take a cruise. Either way, it is an awesome trip which provides glimpses of wild beauty you don’t see often in our country.

Alaska Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge

I have traveled by land on my own on the Kenai Peninsula…

Disney Wonder in Alaska

and I recently took a cruise to Skagway, Juneau, Tracy Arm, and Ketchikan.

More travelers undoubtedly cruise – it is smoother sailing on many levels. (Not just to Alaska – The cruise industry has seen a bounce in bookings in 2012, despite the early year disaster in Italy. It is clearly a popular way to travel… some 19 million cruisers a year with more than 200 ships out at sea.)

I sailed on the Disney Wonder…. with three young kids, I would say this is the best cruise line to take to Alaska – Alaskan cruises tend to attract an older generation, so Disney’s entry into the area three years ago is a welcome travel benefit for families.

Here are some reasons to take a cruise:

Soccer “Field” on the High Seas

1) Young kids – there are activities to keep all ages busy and happy – seriously, there is so much to do it is overwhelming. Something going on every hour – oops make that minute. Many ships have activity centers with supervision so you can drop off the kids without a worry. Teens and tweens really like this independence! There were even outdoor basketball courts and soccer fields.

2) It is fantastic for multi-generational trips.

3) Travelers get to see the stunning glaciers and  Inside Passage while sailing.

4) The ship offers plenty to do indoors if there is bad weather – movies, shows, spa, gym, coffee house, etc.

5) The entertainment  - on Disney anyway – is top notch. We watched musicals, hit Disney movies in the ship’s theater, magic shows, and my personal favorite – a hilarious ventriloquist/comedian who is good enough to be in Vegas.

6) Travelers only unpack once, but see a variety of destinations.

7) Staff always available to answer your every question, or fulfill your requests.

Here are things you need to know about a cruise that brochures don’t tell you:

1) On the surface, cruises are not as authentic a view of Alaska… the port towns are built for the tourism the ships bring (just look at how many ships are in port at one time in the above photo!) However, if you take advantage of the cruise ship excursions, it plenty makes up for it. Nice choice of things to do, without have to do separate research.

Zip Lining in Ketchikan, Alaska

2) Be careful – the excursions can add up. They are expensive, so before you think you find a trip within your budget, make sure you research the shore excursions you may want to take. For example, we took a three our zip-line adventure that cost $178 a person. There are dozens of port adventures to choose from, which is convenient and fun for the traveler.

3) Small rooms – the average size stateroom is 177 square feet!

4) You need to be OK with having many people around sometimes.

5) If you plan to do some work, and need Wi-FI, it can be expensive at sea.

The best time to travel to Alaska is May – September. You should book as early as possible so you have a choice of rooms and excursions. There are regular cruisers who want the same room every year who call the day bookings become available. Although… if you want to risk it, sometimes you can get a better deal waiting.

In the upcoming posts, I will highlight some of our excursions!

www.disneycruise.disney.go.com


 

 

 
Sep
11th
  Travel Tip Tusday: Beware: Travel in the US Can Still Send Cell Phone Bills Soaring

If you want to stay connected on your next overseas vacation, you should know by now to get an international plan with your carrier before you go. If you don’t get one, you need to adjust your phone settings to deactivate data roaming, otherwise you could get hit with BIG charges for those texts you receive.

Skagway, Alaska

 

Now what may be deceiving is if you go on a cruise – even if it is to a domestic location, say along the West Coast or to Alaska, you have to do the same thing, or completely turn your phone off. Once you are far enough from shore,  your phone will connect to something called “cellular at sea if your cell phone is turned on; which carries expensive international roaming fees.  Your phone will collect charges by just being turned on even if it’s not being used!

That is deceiving because you technically aren’t entering another country. Be careful!

Somewhere at sea between Tracy Arm, Alaska, and Skagway, Alaska..