Cruising – The Ultimate Travel Experience

Today, I'm going to cover some of the reasons why I feel that cruising is the ultimate form of vacation. As of about 8 years ago, my wife and I have all but forgotten about any form of travel or vacation other than cruising. Do not 'get me wrong, it's not that we do not…

Today, I'm going to cover some of the reasons why I feel that cruising is the ultimate form of vacation.

As of about 8 years ago, my wife and I have all but forgotten about any form of travel or vacation other than cruising. Do not 'get me wrong, it's not that we do not enjoy other vacation styles, it's just the pros of cruise vacations far out weigh the cons of cruising.

We still love a good trip to Walt Disney World coupled with other Orlando hot spots such as Wet and Wild, Universal Studios, Ripley's Believe it Or Not, and Sea World to name a few but nothing quite compares to the thought of being able to wake up in a new port of call each morning and spending each evening enjoying the warm, tropical breeze on the deck of a fabulous floating paradise otherwise know as a modern cruise ship.

I suppose the ULTIMATE vacation in my eyes at least, would be one where I cruise the seas at night and then wound up at some of my favorite land vacation spots each morning. Let's face, that is just not going to happen without someone knows of a way to sail from say Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to Las Vegas Nevada to the shores of Caribbean islands like Belize and so on.

Back to reality, I've heard some people shy away from cruising as they fear getting seasick. I get a little nauseous riding the escalator at Sears and I've never had a problem with seasickness in 8 years of cruising. There have been some rough seas and tenders (the small boat that takes you from the ship to port) where I thought I might toss my cookies, but so far so good.

Cruises are expensive. I have to disagree there too I'm afraid! Sure, you CAN spend a small fortune on some of the high end cruises, but with some careful planning, you can cruise very reasonably.

If you can avoid traveling during peak times such spring Break, Christmas etc. your airfare and cruise fares will drop considerably not to mention the fact that the ship may be a lot less crowded during peak times.

People sometimes mention that they do not want to be “trapped” on a cruise ship or that they'll have nothing to do. First of all, having “nothing” to do can be a very beautiful thing. How many times have you come home from vacation more exhausted than when you left? It's happened to me and it's not a very good feeling. To lie out in the warm air and sunshine on a cruise ship, sipping a cool beverage spending quality time with your mate is a VERY good way to do nothing.

As far as being trapped on a cruise ship, I'm not sure I understand that statement. I mean, sure you can not just walk off and go do something else as the ship cruises along, but cruise ships of today have shopping malls, restaurants, swimming pools, spas, state-of-the-art gyms, ICE RINKS, rock climbing walls, wave pools for surfing, live entertainment, games, Vegas style shows, art auctions … the list is growing all the time as cruise lines battle each other to get your business.

Get Out There And Have A Blast On Your First Cruise!

I know from experience that going on a cruise for the first time can be a little nerve racking. There are so many questions running through your mind. Where should we go? What cruise line should we take? Is there anything for the kids to do on a cruise? What should we pack? What documentation…

I know from experience that going on a cruise for the first time can be a little nerve racking. There are so many questions running through your mind. Where should we go? What cruise line should we take? Is there anything for the kids to do on a cruise? What should we pack? What documentation do we need? Well, relax. I will help you answer those questions and more.

First, where should you go. Well, as first time cruisers I recommend you take a short 3 to 5 day cruise from a nearby port. This will give you the opportunity to see if you will enjoy the experience with out keeping you on a ship for a long period of time. Think about it, if you do not enjoy yourself, would you really want to be stuck there for 7 plus nights? Probably not. I would be surprised though if you do not enjoy yourself. Look for cruises leaving a nearby port (if possible) that go to interesting destinations that you may want to see. This leads to the next question of, What cruise line should we take?

Deciding which cruise line to take can be as simple as finding out which ones leave that near port, or as difficult as deciding which one has the amenities you are interested in. Cruise lines range from the contemporary to the luxurious. Which one you choose depends on how much you want to spend on your stateroom. One thing to remember about cruising is that when you pay for your stateroom, you are also paying for your food and entertainment for that period of time. Your beverages are not included in that price so remember to keep that in mind. My first cruise was on the Carnival Paradise and it was a blast! If you are worried about getting sea sick, and yes, people sometimes do, you should get a room with a window. Avoid the interior staterooms because it helps to have a window to look out. Also, try to get a stateroom on a higher deck. They get a little more expensive the higher you go but you do not feel the ships movement as much up there.

Taking the kids? Great! Cruising is an excellent way to give kids the opportunity to see other parts of the world they might not otherwise get to see. Most cruise lines understand that kids go on cruises too and they have kids camps for them to go to when parents want some time to themselves. Carnival for example, has Camp Carnival. This camp is structured so that kids are separated by ages. Each age group has activities geared for them to keep them entertained. For the teenagers they have a dance club just for them. The only adults allowed are the camp counselors. At night for a fee, they will watch your children in a slumber party theme, so you can have an evening on your own.

As for documents, you will need a passport, a photo ID, and a credit card for your sail and sign card. The sail and sign card is your room key and also serves as your credit card while on the ship. All purchases of drinks, photos, and duty free shop purchases will be charged to this. At the end of the cruise you will receive a statement of all charges before it is charged to your credit card.

The most important thing to bring is your positive attitude and a big smile. Get out there and have fun! The world is waiting for you. And you do not even have to drive! Check out my blog for more tips and to see some photos from great destinations!

First Cruise

My significant other told me a year or so ago that he would like to take a cruise once in his lifetime. Neither of us had ever been on one and were unsure for how long, or to where we should go the first time. Since he was financing the trip, I let him make…

My significant other told me a year or so ago that he would like to take a cruise once in his lifetime. Neither of us had ever been on one and were unsure for how long, or to where we should go the first time. Since he was financing the trip, I let him make the decisions; other than whether I thought I would like anything longer than a few days to see whenever I'd like it. We decided on a Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas, 3 night, 4 day, Western Caribbean cruise leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with stops at Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico.

Getting ready for boarding and actual boarding were quite an experience in themselves, mostly involving waiting in line, and showing our passports and identification. Once we got on board, it was a four hour wait for our luggage to arrive at our stateroom. We had a reasonably nice stateroom, although the tiny shower and bathroom took some getting used to, as were the excessive prices for a bottle of water or a can of soda. Once we had checked into our room, we were invited to partake of the Windjammer Cafe's wide selection of buffet-style foods of every type. This cafe was one of the highlights of the trip, the food selection varied throughout the day from breakfast to supper, with something always available to who the appetite.

On board the ship were various forms of entertainment including music, shopping, spas, live lounge shows, casino, colorful drinks, and pools for either swimming or sunbathing, to name a few. Much of what was offered was not to our taste; although we enjoyed the Windjammer, the live music and dance / singing shows at the Orpheum Theater, the more formal sit down dinners in the evening, and the site seeing on the ship.

We were happy that we decided to take this one cruise, just to see what it would be like, but I seriously doubt we will ever take another. It was an exciting experience, but a rather expensive one for something we were not altogether thrilled with. We took advantage of the over-abundance of good food, a drink or two, listened to some good music, and saw some beautiful sites, but I think it was a once in a lifetime experience for both of us.

Sixteen Tips That Will Help You Be Prepared For Your First Cruise

So, you're getting ready to take your first cruise? How exciting! You've certainly read through all the information that your travel agent provided, and you've probably read everything you could find on the ship's website, and if you had time, you probably even checked out comments from previous travelers, right? That's a great start! Here…

So, you're getting ready to take your first cruise? How exciting! You've certainly read through all the information that your travel agent provided, and you've probably read everything you could find on the ship's website, and if you had time, you probably even checked out comments from previous travelers, right? That's a great start! Here are additional tips that will help your whole experience be more pleasant. I wrote myself notes after my first cruise and have been using them every time since.

  • When you pack, keep in mind that you will not need as many clothes as you think you will. If you're taking a 7-day cruise, you'll really only need 4-5 outfits. Trust me! That's the way it works out. The days that you're on the open sea, you'll probably live in a bathing suit and cover-up all day, if you're in warm weather. If you've got more clothes available even if you do not wear them, keep in mind that your closet will be very small and there's no room to leave your suitcase sitting out.
  • Speaking of closets, take some of those hangers that you get from your dry cleaners that you will not mind leaving behind. There will not be enough for everyone in your room to use. It's a great idea to pack your clothes already on hangers with dry cleaning bags over them. It makes unpacking a breeze and really helps ward off wrinkles!
  • While we're on the subject of clothes, forget those fancy outfits for dinner. Very few people “dress up” anymore on ships. Instead, shoot for “casual elegance” and you'll fit right in. Women, throw in a pair of shoes to wear with your black capris, or if you're a man, tuck your shirt into your khakis, and you'll fit in perfectly!
  • Take comfortable shoes !! Make it less about style and more about comfort. You'll need them while walking around on the ship, and you'll definitely want them when you go ashore.
  • Do not be shocked when you see the size of your room and especially your bathroom. Do not let the fact that you can sit on the toilet, brush your teeth in the sink, and shave your legs in the shower-all at the same time, spoil your trip. It will be fun! You're only in your room to sleep and get dressed anyway.
  • If you like to drink a lot of water through the day, take your own water jug ​​and have the bartender fill it up. It's a hassle to constantly go get water and the glasses are really small. Likewise, if you like soda, spend the money to purchase a soda card. The ship will usually give you a thermal mug that you can have the bartender fill up as often as you like. Take a travel coffee mug too, if you like more than one cup at a time.
  • If you must make a choice, choose the later dining option. Even if you normally like to eat dinner early, you're not going to want to rush back from shore to shower and get ready for dinner at 6:00. You will not go hungry on the cruise!
  • Consider eating dinner in the buffet hall a couple of nights. You can dress as casually as you want (even bathing suit cover-ups are acceptable), you can eat any time that you want, and the food is the same as in the dining room!
  • When you arrive on the ship, take the opportunity to go to the dining room to check on your table arrangements. If you have children, you may want to request a table with other children so that your kids will have company. Likewise, if you have no children, you'll probably want to request an adults-only table. At the same time, request a larger table so that you'll have dining companions. Even if you're shy about talking to strangers, after the first awkward night, your dining experience will be a lot more fun!
  • If you enjoy soaking up the sun while the ship is at sea, scope out a good spot away from the kids where you can quietly enjoy your book. That will not be in the main area near the pool! There are lots of spots tucked around the ship's deck that will be perfect! Look early and you'll be able to reserve your chair with a towel or book, while you go eat breakfast.
  • Tuck a bag in your suitcase that you can use as a “pool bag” to carry all your goodies that you'll need when you're outside all day.
  • Some areas of the deck are very breezy, so take a hat or visor that will not easily blow off. If you're sunning yourself, and you have longer hair, you may want to take a “buff” or bandana to keep your hair out of your face.
  • The sun can be very brutal on the open sea! Take plenty of sunscreen and consider throwing a regular umbrella or even a small beach umbrella into your suitcase. That can come in handy when you want to stay outside but you've had enough sun.
  • Take advantage of the activities. They really will make your cruise experience more enjoyable. Do not miss the shows! They are always excellent! Likewise, visit the nightclubs. They often have live bands that are fantastic!
  • While we're on the subject of activities, read the ship's daily newsletter. You'll find out everything that is going on from activities to shows to special shopping opportunities. In the newsletter, you'll often see a meeting for “Friends of Bill W.” On my first cruise they met often and I found myself envious that this group I assumed was a “reunion” group, met so often. I later found out that it was a code for Alcoholics Anonymous. So, now you'll be smarter than I was!
  • Take several books if you like to read, although most ships have libraries. Also take cards or a travel scrabble game in case the weather is too bad to be outside.

Follow these 16 tips and you'll be well prepared for your first cruise. What a fantastic time you will have !!

First Time Cruise – Caribbean Cruises Considered

There are significant choices for Caribbean Cruises and some of the mega ships are truly incredible, entire cities afloat, with everything you could ever want or think of. 5-Star service, recreation, gyms, pools, massage, games, sunbathing, top restaurants, and well you name it. Plus, just take a look at some of the wonderful destinations on…

There are significant choices for Caribbean Cruises and some of the mega ships are truly incredible, entire cities afloat, with everything you could ever want or think of. 5-Star service, recreation, gyms, pools, massage, games, sunbathing, top restaurants, and well you name it. Plus, just take a look at some of the wonderful destinations on some of the cruise choices, it's enough to make your head spin. Sometimes it is so strenuous to go through all the choices that by the time you are done, well, you'll need a cruise.

The Caribbean is considered one of the best places to take a cruise and the islanders love the tourist trade which thrives on shoppers and travelers. Worried about getting sea-sick? Do not because these ships are so awful that you feel like you are in a huge building, after all it is literally a city afloat. The most awesome thing about these cruises is the costs are so low, in fact, it is almost cheaper to go on a perpetual cruise than to live anywhere, especially if you shop for the best deals, that include the most features.

If you are going on your first excursion and get-away and you are not sure where to go, I would like to recommend that you try a Caribbean Cruise from one of the larger cruise lines and pick one with the best cruise reviews online from former cruise customers, then consider how much you can budget for your first time cruise, sign-up, show up and enjoy the spectacular beauty known only to the Caribbean!

Caribbean Cruises – Selecting a Caribbean Cruise that Suits You

Often considered the vacation of choice for a certain age group, the demand for Caribbean cruises is increasing; This has got to be the easiest way to see a variety of Caribbean islands in a short space of time. It should be on everyone's list of vacations with tropical Caribbean islands, clear, clean beaches and…

Often considered the vacation of choice for a certain age group, the demand for Caribbean cruises is increasing; This has got to be the easiest way to see a variety of Caribbean islands in a short space of time. It should be on everyone's list of vacations with tropical Caribbean islands, clear, clean beaches and of course a fun filled time on board the cruise liner. Some people only take a short break and visit despite only a couple of islands as part of a larger vacation but most people are doing a tour of as many islands as they can with some lasting over two weeks.

Vacations like this are about enjoyment and it what these companies do best irrespective of weather or environment, it is your choice; enjoy the on board entertainment or that at each destination. Never worry that there will not be enough to keep you occupied as cruise liners are past masters at ensuring their travelers have everything they need.

It is always a pleasant use of your time to see what vacations on ships are available and see what choice of packages there are so why not start at the local travel operator for some advice. Almost every Caribbean island will receive cruise liner guests but they can not call on each one each trip as it would take to long so you need to look for a package that will call at the islands you want.

Some cruise vacations to the Caribbean are for people that like to party with plenty of discos and non-stop entertainment and may not be the ideal place for families. Do not forget that more and more information is put online these days and whilst the travel agent will be helpful, there is every chance you can take a virtual tour of the Caribbean cruise ships if you visit the website directly.

Remember that a vacation on board a ship allows you more opportunity to dress up as there are more functions than you are probably used too. These are the sort of times when you will need to have a tuxedo for men and evening gown for women as part of your attire.

The great thing about cruise vacations is that if you take your children along you can be sure they will have a fun filled time. You can even take time off for a little quality adult time as there is fully trained staff to look after them.

Some Caribbean cruises are specifically for adults only, which ideal for couples, honeymooners and people that would like to have a child free vacation. There is no end to what you can actually request on your cruise liner vacation so if you have just gotten married or are celebrating your fifteenth wedding anniversary, something special can be arranged.

If you let the staff on your Caribbean cruise do their job, all you will have to do is enjoy the vacation, after all is not that what it's all about.

Tips for First Time Cruisers

Cruise holidays are becoming more and more popular these days. Actually, with the hectic lifestyles that many people are leading these days, cruise trips are a great option for them to take a break from the pressures of their work life. These trips are tailor to offer great relaxation and entertainment to ensure that cruisers…

Cruise holidays are becoming more and more popular these days. Actually, with the hectic lifestyles that many people are leading these days, cruise trips are a great option for them to take a break from the pressures of their work life. These trips are tailor to offer great relaxation and entertainment to ensure that cruisers will feel totally refreshed at the end of their vacation. If you are going on a cruise for the first time, sometimes a three or four day cruise is the best option for you. Such a trip is affordable, and it is ideal for people who want to experience what a cruise trip is all about.

Things you have to know before you go on a cruise trip

For first time cruisers, it is mandatory that you have to be aware of the following factors:

o The methods of preventing sickness at sea

o The amount of money you should bring on the trip

o Type of luggage required for the cruise

o Proper planning for shore excursions

First time cruisers often get too excited before their trips, and they may even forget their travel schedules. It is important that you remember the schedule of flight, train or other transportation that you will be taking to catch the cruise. Before you go on your trip, make sure you have everything you need with you.

Essential things that first time cruisers should bring

It is best that you bring a hand luggage to carry your essential things, such as bathing suits, medicines, cameras, sunscreen lotions and necessary toiletries. It is indeed necessary that you have a clear idea about the dress code that is required for your cruise. You should check whether the cruise requires casual or formal wear. If casual wear applies, it is wise to bring a jacket and a pair of pants. It may be essential that you have your travel document with you as well, depending on the destination of the cruise.

What to do when you are onboard the cruise boat?

After getting into the boat, it is necessary to explore the cruise boat, so that you will know the locations of all facilities in the boat. This way, you will know what facilities and activities are available for your convenience and entertainment.

Seasickness can be a major problem, but instead of letting it ruin your vacation, it is advisable to use sea bands and acupressure wristbands. You should also carry some medications for emergency purposes. Although first aid facilities are usually available on cruise boats, it is better to bring some essential medicines of your own too.

Cruises usually have laundry facilities, but you should still ask your cruise provider to confirm. Babysitting facilities are also available in most cruise boats, and you should check the cruise line policies if you want to avail of these facilities.

Finding the right cruise vacation

To enjoy the ultimate cruise vacation, it is advisable that you do some research on the cruise packages that are available. Many of the cruise lines offer toll free customer care numbers, and you can contact the customer care executives to get some information about the cruises they offer. These executives can give you a very comprehensive explanation on the different types of cruises they have. It is also possible to find information about cruises on the internet. Online articles and journals on cruises provide many tips that you may find helpful. For first time cruisers, it is wise to go for a more affordable cruise trip first. If you find that you enjoy the Toronto Cruise for example, you can go for longer ones later.

A “Nice” Cruise Liner Must-Have List

Planning to go on a cruise? While your type of cruise will depend on the kind of budget you are willing to shell out, there are some important considerations which you bought to take seriously to ensure that whichever type of cruise you land on, you get to have a good time without worrying about…

Planning to go on a cruise? While your type of cruise will depend on the kind of budget you are willing to shell out, there are some important considerations which you bought to take seriously to ensure that whichever type of cruise you land on, you get to have a good time without worrying about any potentially upsetting disaster – mini or otherwise.

First off, the nicest cruise liners always have the best health care features. We are not just talking about a little box filled with medicines and band aids. We are talking about full blown health care center which has clean and sanitized beds for any sick patient to lie in, a twenty four hour doctor and health service crew to assist you in any ailments or accidents while on board, and emergency equipment which can help you get through your discomfort till the next dock. Connected to health care features is also the wellness aspect. The nicest cruise liners often have a complete gym room with enough equipment to make your must-do-every-single-day gym routine more exciting and easier to fulfill. After a long workout, indulge in the cruise's on board service spa and let experienced and talented massage therapists and reflexologists work out the kinks in your body.

The nicest cruise liners can also be able to offer its passengers with a bevy of gastronomic delights to tickle any type of discriminating palate. From simple appetizers to delectable desserts, the food on board must be as memorable and unforgettable as the trip itself. Therefore, such cruise liners often only employ the most talented chefs who can easily flambé a dory codfish or satisfy your midnight taste buds with a tasty prosciutto and truffle sandwich. Fine dining side, the nicest cruise ships should also be able to offer their guests home cooked favorites that can answer the call of any type of craving – from cheesy pizzas, to crunchy and salty fries, satisfy your immediate foodie yearning with a simple call to the kitchen.

While the water on which the boat floats is certainly the focal point of the entire cruise experience, it is also necessary to have a man made pool on board which is almost as breathtaking as the brilliant blue you can see outside. The nicest cruise ships have infinity pools and wading areas for their guests, complete with a wide poolside deck and enough sunbathing chairs to accompany any sun-loving girl and guy in search of the perfect cruise-kissed tan. Ideal for happily splashing about and giving parents a much-deserved time off from the kiddies, wading pools must be present in order to have a sort of deposit area for kids who are tired of roaming around and simply want to have fun while staying cool. Imagine not having these amenities on board – sooner or later, you might be tempted to jump off the side of the boat to experience that beautiful blue all around you!

In addition, the cruise liner which you want to be part of should most definitely have a twenty four hour service staff that can accommodate your every need. Imaging need something as trivial as an ice cream sundae or as important as a fax machine (for vacationing workaholics who are perpetually married to their jobs, never mind the whole point of the entire cruise) and not being able to get either at any time. While the ice cream sundae may seem too little to be fretful about, you probably get the point. You paid good money for great service, and you should expect to receive it. Whether you are simply looking for a way to satisfy a spontaneous craving or needing a solution to a tricky situation or dilemma, the cruise ship of your choice should be smart enough to foresee your craving or emergency.

Fun On A Cruise Ship – Onboard Activities For the Whole Family

For the landlubbers among us the thought of staying on a ship for 7 days or more may seem a little boring. But folks let me tell you if you get bored on a cruise ship then you must be the sort who is only happy hanging off the edge of a 300 'cliff by…

For the landlubbers among us the thought of staying on a ship for 7 days or more may seem a little boring. But folks let me tell you if you get bored on a cruise ship then you must be the sort who is only happy hanging off the edge of a 300 'cliff by your fingernails.

From the moment you step on board for the first time your senses tell you that you are in for a ride. The air is electrified with excitation as you enter the main atrium and are greeted by ship staff (one ship we stayed on informed each family over the ship PA system as you stepped off the gangway into the atrium – wow, talk about making you feel special ).

Here are some of the activities you can experience on board as well as on shore and I think you will agree that boredom is not an option while cruising through the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Pool Deck

Poolside is always a boisterous place with people swimming, hanging out in the hot tubs, sitting at the bar enjoying a drink, or just sitting around a table with friends talking about what's next. This is where the band is setup and it is common to see people being lead into some sort of dance by a crew member. Our days typically start and end around the pool deck.

Through the day there will be organized events on the stage by the pool. This could be a special dance, a hairy chest contest – usually for the men, a men against the women challenge which usually involves some silly activity that both parties attempt, or some other fun event. Mind you that these activities are always tasteful and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Sports Deck

Up top there is usually a basketball court where you can shoot a few hoops or play a full game in an event arranged by the crew, play some volleyball or as on one ship get a chance to ride a Segway – a two wheeled upright people mover . On the sports deck you can usually find a few ping pong tables, mini golf, or even an inline skate track. On Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, as well as other's in their fleet, they have a 30 'Rock Climbing Wall. The ship provided all the safety gear including helmets and harnesses and trained crew members took care of belaying for each climber.

SPA and Gym

If you feel like working out you will find a well complimented gym containing various pieces of exercise equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, weight machines and free weights. They offer aerobic classes and for any who decide to start an exercise regimen onboard you can have one of the personal fitness trainers guide you through a program designed for your fitness level.

For the ultimate in pampering – hey that's what cruises do best – you can sign up for special spa treatment such as a facial, pedicure, neck massage, back massage, or even a full body wrap. They even offer the full cosmetic treatment so you can spend the day getting ready for the formal night.

Bars and Lounges

Need a break from the sun and heat then you can head indoors to one of the many bars and lounges that your ship will offer. Do you fancy sports then head to the sports bar and watch the latest game. On our last cruise we watched the Super Bowl game on a big screen set up on the pool deck.

Maybe you are in the mood for a stogey so why not head to the cigar club, or if music is your thing head off to the piano bar for some soothing sounds and if you feel like joining in, why not, the pianist always loves a little company as you get a chance to sing one of your favorite melodies.

Once night hits you can pull out your dancing shoes and head off to the disco and for a little boogeying.

Casino

With the exception of the Disney Magic every other ship we have been on had a casino. Now I am not much of a gambler but even I tried my hand at roulette – and won! Before stepping onto a cruise ship the only gambling I did was buying the Friday night lottery ticket so needless to say I was a little intimidated to take part in anything other than the slots. Now I wanted to try one of the tables, blackjack, roulette, poker, whatever but did not know the rules so I hung around the tables and just watched people playing trying to pick up the rules. Well the dealers are more than willing to help with the rules so you can ask them questions and they will explain the rules as you go. They even offer training sessions throughout the cruise so that you can have a chance to try your hand at a game without having to pony up any cash. Just think about it for a moment why would not they want to help you after the odds are in their favor that they will end up with your cash anyway. Now me and my buddies are regular fun gamblers and will head to the casino for a night or two to have a bit of fun and try to win a few bucks at the same time. I have a limit so I put aside $ 100 to gamble with and once it's gone I'm gone. But you know the three times I played roulette I came out a winner each time – it feels good to go home with the casino's money.

Kids Club

The Kids Club is a fun filled place for the younger cruisers to hang out with friends of their own age. Qualified cruise staff are always in the club to supervise the children and lead them in various activities such as games, crafts, tours, and sports. There is a separate club for each age group so you do not have to worry about your 6 year old hanging with the teens. At some point during the cruise they usually have one night classified as a late night where the kids get a chance to stay up late with their pals. This also works great for the parents as they get a chance to dine at one of the private dining rooms sans children.

You can give permission for the older kids to sign themselves in and out of the club but youngger children must be signed in and out by a pre-approved parent or guardian.

So there there is no need to worry about the younger set being bored lounging by the pool all day with mom and dad. Instead you may be wondering why they seem to be having more fun than you.

Library

Did you forget to bring a book, no problem, head off to the ships library and take out novel to read or just take a break and sit in the quiet of the library and flip a few pages.

Internet Cafe

Just because you are cruising does not mean that you have to be disconnected from the rest of the world, although for many, me included, that is the idea. You can head to the Internet Cafe and send an email to all your envious friends back home or just surf the net for a while and catch up on the latest happenings.

Chapel

You will find a chapel on board that can accommodate a small group – did I hear someone say they wanted to get married! On our last cruise one of the members of our group got married on board just before the ship sailed on our first day. Now that's a romantic wedding!

Restaurants

Food will probably be one of your most memorable experiences onboard. There is lots of it and the variety will suit even the pickiest of eaters. Most will agree that the quality and quantity of food alone pays for the cruise as you could not afford to eat on land like you do on a cruise ship and spend less money than the cost of the cruise. It's great to be able to order off a menu that does not have any prices.

While the food in the main dining rooms and buffets is nothing short of fantastic for those who might like to experience more romantic dining in a quitaire atmosphere there is usually separate dining rooms that you can reserve for a small fee (usually around $ 20 per person) . I have never found the food any better but the atmosphere is certainly more romantic.

Entertainment

There is no shortage of entertainment to be enjoyed onboard. You have the pool deck band, the piano bar, karaoke, but the best of all is the evening entertainment in the main theater. After a great meal in the dining room you can head to the main theater where every night you get to experience a broadway like show with singers dancers and a live band. What a way to end your day!

Shopping

Did you forget something at home hey do not worry because you can head to the shopping deck and browse around for a new shirt or dress, or buy a new sun hat. If you are in the mood to splurge you can head to the jewelry store and pick out a new diamond ring or the latest Tag Heuer watch. Most ships even offer price guarantees that protect you if you find the same item in one of the port of calls at a cheaper price.

Shore Excursions

Probably one the best parts of cruising is having the opportunity to explore some of the many islands scattered through the Caribbean. So not only do you get to experience great dining and entertainment on board but you also get a chance to get off the ship and head off to some exotic island for a day trip. Imagine yourself lounging on a beautiful sandy beach in St. Louis. Martin or zip lining through the jungles of Belize, my favorite. Maybe you just want to hop a cab and do some site seeing around the island.

Whatever your fancy you are bound to find it somewhere along your Caribbean cruise.

What Should I Wear On A Cruise – Advice For The Whole Family

What To Wear This is a different common question that is on first time cruisers minds – “What should I bring to wear?” The largest concern here is for the evening meal times and especially the formal nights or those nights where you are expected to where your Sunday best. Now for the women that…

What To Wear

This is a different common question that is on first time cruisers minds – “What should I bring to wear?” The largest concern here is for the evening meal times and especially the formal nights or those nights where you are expected to where your Sunday best. Now for the women that is usually not such a concern as most women love to dress up but when it comes to putting a tie around a guys neck while on vacation then the whining usually starts.

Formal Nights

Now let me start by saying that while when you are planning your vacation and the topic of dressing up for supper pops up a common reaction is “Hey I'm on vacation, not at work, so I do not want to get dressed up” . Well coming from a guy who does not wear a shirt and tie very often I must say that I do not mind getting dressed up for a couple of nights because it makes me feel a little special. I find that after a great day of hanging out in the sun wearing shorts and tees all day it actually feels good to head to your stateroom, get shaved up and throw on a nice outfit to wear to supper – it's a great way to end your day. It's like having a night on the town where you wear your fancy duds, go out for a great meal, and then head off to the theater for some great entertainment. Aboard the ship these nights are very exciting for men and women alike and even the children like it as most do not get this chance when at home. Also these times are a great chance to get a family picture taken as there are always photographers scattered through the ship who will take your photo and you do not have to pay for it unless you like it.

All of the ships I have been on have had two formal nights where you are expected to dress up a little more than usual. Women usually wear your typical long evening dress but you do not have to run out and buy the latest Christian Dior outfit to fit in as you will see a wide variety of dresses and styles including many off the shelf $ 30.00 dresses. For the men a dark suit with tie is perfectly acceptable but you will see some men wearing tuxedos which can usually be rented aboard the ship (that would have to be arranged before you set sail – do not go looking for a tux one hour before dinner). So guys if you want to go all out and really impress the women here's your chance.

Regular Evenings

For the nights that are not classified as formal you are not required to dress up but there is still some code that the ship would like you to adhere to for the evening meal. Shorts, tees, and jeans are not acceptable in the dining rooms for supper. This does not apply during the day as you can head to the same dining rooms for breakfast or dinner and the only restriction is that everyone must wear footwear and the men must wear a shirt and women must wear a coverup over their bathing suits. Now there is no need to be concerned about forgetting these rules as they are always posted just outside the door of any dining room that these rules apply to and if you forget then one of the dining room staff will very politely take you away and explain the rules.

Daily Wear

During the days pretty much anything goes (as long as you are wearing something – and of course there are cruises available for those who might like to bend those rules). Treat being on deck in the daytime the same as heading to the beach, swim suits are the norm here. Make sure you bring sandals to wear on deck because in 30 degree weather the deck can get very hot to walk on barefoot. Please note that if you want to go to the dining room and even go to a buffet during the day you still have to wear a shirt and / or a coverup – hey it's only common courtousy.

FreeStyle Cruising

The last ship we vacationed on was the Norwegian Sun and Norwegian has a concept that they call FreeStyle Cruising which is designed to provide an option for those of us who do not want to get all gussied up. FreeStyle Cruising also allows you to eat in any dining room whenever you like – you do not have a set time that you have to get ready for. So if you are having a great time up on deck there is not any need to stop at 5:00 pm and head to the cabin to get cleaned up for supper at 6:00. You can eat later if you like. Also they do not require you to dress up for formal nights but they still do have two formal nights where you can pull out the shirt and tie if you like and on those nights the majority of folks were wearing dresses, shirts and ties – even though it was optional.

When we all first booked this cruise this idea seemed very appealing but the funny thing was that we unanimously determined that we actually missed the dressing up part. As a matter of fact I would say the major of people aboard our ship dressed up anyway for evening meals even though it was not required. As I said before this part of the evening is special and a great way to end the day.