Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Take my daughter on a one week cruise in March

Take my daughter on a one week cruise in March

Jan 19th, 2015, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,302

I totally agree with you.

Actually I was surprised that anyone could or would travel without a passport, but they do, especially those short cruises from Florida to Bahamas. I would not. I am not advising it either, just saying it is possible.

It does limit your choices too. Now that the whole thing has been brought up and discussed, I am going to get onto DD so we can cruise from SJ to islands like Barbados that do require it.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 19th, 2015, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 495
I am in agreement w/ Eschew also about passports. Doesn't make sense to take chances in today's travel world w/ no passports.

We always take passports no matter where we travel as it is easier and safer w/ them. I was browsing a recent travel thread that talked about this very subject and some didn't see the need for passports and others concurred getting passports. To take this one step further, what if someone didn't have passports and became ill in that foreign port in Caribbean and had to fly home? Would be much more difficult w/out passports than having them trying to get flights back home. It is better to err on the side of caution than take a chance w/out passports.

I can see the other side of the picture in not having passports if the parties are not going to be traveling or cruising again. JMO....
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2015, 09:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 69
Hi Again,

We haven't chosen a cruise yet though have narrowed it down to eastern Carribean in March. Length of the trip will likely be 5-7 nights.

In response to your questions, my daughter has her passport and mine was sent in for renewal two weeks ago. We should be OK by cruise time. I will look into the handicapped accessible room. She is able to walk most of the time needs the chair at unpredictable times during the day. PD is a roller coaster ride with hourly changes. Especially if you are only 36.

My biggest challenge now is figuring out what this is going to cost. The agent from AAA told us that we should plan on spending $7/day/pp for water, coffee, tea. Checking a couple of cruises it was surprising to find all the restrictions on non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks that cost extra. Neither of us are interested in alcohol. It makes me wonder if I should be packing cans of tuna and a backpacking stove (just joking).

With the exception of drinks and pp gratuities for cleaning staff, what other unexpected charges may we be confronting?

Also confusing, websites indicate different prices - for what appears to be the same cabin - on different decks. What decision criteria should be considered when cabins are available on different decks?

There sure is a lot to learn about choosing the best cruise. At least it is a nice thing to be doing while a major winter storm is happening. Ah, beautiful snow. Gotta love it living up here.


Thank you.
jjtravel is offline  
Jan 27th, 2015, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,754
You don't have to spend a single cent on beverages if you don't want to. I don't. There is always water, hot coffee and hot tea available and depending on the cruise line at breakfast there are cartons of milk, juice and hot cocoa, lunch and dinner will have things like lemonade, iced tea, fruit teas, etc. These are all available in the buffet area and during sit down meal service.

You can choose to drink only the free offerings or purchase soda by the can or a card that gives you unlimited soda. You purchase this only on the 1st or 2nd day of the cruise and must purchase for the length of the cruise. Some cruise lines allow you to bring on some soda and even a bottle of wine per adult. It sounds like your TA is not giving you the best information so I would call the 800 number of the cruise line you may be interested in to speak with someone or use the FAQ of their official website for better information.

There is usually a daily service charge of about $12 per person/per day for cabin stewards, dining room staff and a couple of behind the scenes folks.

Many people attribute a higher deck with better service (think Titanic) hence the pricing difference as you go up. Your cabin choice may also depend on what you want to be close to. My preference is a Lido deck cabin which is the same deck as the pools and buffet since I travel with kids this is preferable. Lower deck cabins will usually be closer to the dining rooms, shows, shopping and casino.

Hope this information has helped!
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Jan 27th, 2015, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 495
You do not have to pay for water, coffee and tea on cruise ships. If you like to drink the specialty coffees then you do have to pay for those and you can buy a card at the beginning of the cruise. Otherwise, there are beverage stations located on the lido decks (the deck where you go for your buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners too.) Also at your evening dinner table there are no charges for these beverages. I don't know why they told you that, not true. We usually go for an afternoon snack (ice cream, cookies and coffee or tea) and there is no charge. They usually have an ice cream station where you can get soft serve ice cream and toppings.

As indicated, you will be charged approx. $12. pp each day for the stewards, dining room staff, etc. This is typically charged to your shipboard account so you don't need to worry about having to pay the attendants for this. The cruise line will split the service charge among all those involved. Most of the cruise lines have adopted this policy as it insures that the personnel receive the "tips" they should get. We prefer to have it put on our shipboard account and we will often give extra money to those who we feel have done an outstanding job for us. Personal preference and everyone does it differently.

When you get on the ship and do your check-in, they will give you a plastic shipboard card that is just like a credit card and you use this for anything you need to pay for on the cruise. It is also your cabin room key. No cash is involved on a cruise and then you will be given a final bill the night before you disembark w/ what you owe. They will also ask you for a credit card when you do your check in. They will process your final bill to this card. Your daughter can charge to your cc also if she doesn't have her own card. My husband and I usually use one cc and both can "charge" onboard the ship to the same cc. Up to you.

I personally do not think that AAA always offers the best rates and advise you to check different agencies. There are many agencies out there that you can contact for prices. There is one agency that lots of people book cruises thru and they are able to offer incentives for booking w/ their agency. I get their emails and they do have great prices, have not booked anything w/ them yet tho. This agency is located in Moultenboro, NH. I just checked their website and they have some nice Caribbean cruises listed.

I have often used Cruise Compete which is a booking agency that will give you bids on the cruise you are interested in. You have to sign up with them, find the cruise and date you are interested in and then wait to hear from the cruise agencies that submit bids to your email address. You can either select the agency that gives you the best bid or don't have to accept any bids. I've had great success using this agency. I will often call the bidding agency if I have questions before I complete the booking. Here's the website: www.cruisecompete.com

If you don't drink alcoholic beverages then you don't have to worry about paying for anything.

We are your "neighbor" in MA, still snowing here but it will stop eventually. LOL We have about 1 1/2 ft. so far and still snowing. Boston got murdered, everthing at a standstill there. There is no place to put the snow in Boston. Good luck. Give a holler if we can give you any more advice. However, you do have to book something soon.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2015, 01:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 69
trvlgirlmq thanks for the clarification.

Luv2travel15, I will check on cruise complete as soon as this email is sent. We came across a seven day cruise out of Miami stopping at Nassau, Bahamas, St John and St Marteen. There are two days at sea during the trip. Are these interesting ports to visit?

We got about 21"of beautiful powder snow. Luckily, the temps stayed about 15F. even with the high winds there was little tree damage and few power outages. Roads are open and most of life is back to normal - except the skiing is better. Thanks for your guidance.
jjtravel is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1
I been on this cruise before and I loved it. Check it out. http://www.blountsmallshipadventures...view=itinerary
The only thing that might not suit you will be the timing of these cruises. Most of them are in June-July periods. Anyways try checking for special cruise.
SalmaJoh is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 495
Hi jj, got any snow up there? LOL Just saw the weather and looks like you guys got bombed. We got about 3" today and another foot coming tonight into tomorrow. It's unbelievable how high the snow mounds along the road are, no place to put any more. We don't want any more. lol

We've been to most of the Caribbean islands. We've been to St. Thomas several times but not St. John's. Think it would be a nice island to visit. Nassau is very "British" and we did enjoy our stop there. Been to St. Maarten several times and spent time there w/ a friend of mine. Love those sea days, very relaxing!

Wherever you go it will be warmer than ME. LOL Have you made a choice yet?
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 03:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 69
Hi All,

Good news, we finally found a cruise we liked on Celebrity to the south Caribbean. We got a good deal on a HA room with balcony. Bad news, due to circumstances beyond our control, we can't go on the cruise this year.

As a consolation, we are going to Florida and will play tourist for a week.

Thank you all for your help. Hopefully, we can do the cruise next year.

jjtravel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,302
Oh, so sorry. At least you learned a lot and will be all set when you start looking for next year.
Sassafrass is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:37 AM.