Why Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas may be the perfect cruise ship for a first timer

Are you someone that has never tried a cruise because you think cruise ships just aren’t for you?

Wonder of the Seas aerial photo

I have friends and family that have felt this way for years out of concern that ships are overcrowded, isolated in the ocean, or otherwise bored. Regardless of the reason, they haven’t tried a cruise yet because they believe it would not be a fun vacation.

Royal Caribbean (and the entire cruise industry) has worked for years to undo those beliefs, and one of the best ways has been to design and build new cruise ships that defy the notion of what you can do on a ship.

When I hear from new cruisers, many are astounded by how much there was to do onboard. Any fear of not having enough to do or feeling “trapped” are almost always brushed aside after they get home.

Wonder of the Seas aerial rear

If I had to pick a cruise ship for a non-cruiser to try, Wonder of the Seas is that ship because I think it has so many amenities onboard that they never expected.  If your idea of a great vacation is heading to a sandy beach, laying out by the pool, enjoying high-class entertainment, and plenty of food and drink options, then I think Wonder of the Seas may be the perfect first cruise ship for you.

The best suite experience in the fleet

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

If you elect to book a suite, you can look forward to the best end-to-end suite program on any Royal Caribbean ship.

When you book a Royal Caribbean suite, you’re not just getting a large cruise ship cabin. You’re also getting access to a number of services that other passengers do not have.

Suite guests have access to their own complimentary restaurant, suite lounge, and entire suite sun deck.

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

Known as the Suite Neighborhood, this area is at the top of Wonder of the Seas and is where you’ll find the suite lounge, Coastal Kitchen restaurant and pool area.

I think the sun deck is particularly compelling, because it is a sprawling space with loungers, bar, plunge pool and sweeping views.

Someone that hasn’t cruised before may be drawn to booking a suite because they tend to stay in suites in hotels for bonuses that come with those rooms. Similarly, a cruise ship suite is about rewarding guests with added service that make the entire experience easier to enjoy.

Dining and food galore

Couple dining at Giovannis

Regardless if you’re on a cruise ship or your hometown, everyone can enjoy a great meal.

Someone that has never cruised probably imagines a dining hall and buffet as what the cruise dining experience is like, similar in some regards to an all-inclusive hotel. While there is a buffet and main dining room on cruise ships, there is so much more than just that.

Royal Caribbean designed Wonder of the Seas so that there was a wide assortment of dining choices. First and foremost, they cannot have everyone onboard the ship eating at just a couple of restaurants. Moreover, Royal Caribbean knows they are competing against land resorts that have a variety of food.

Mason Jar chicken sandwich

On Wonder of the Seas, you have over 40 restaurants, bars and lounges to choose from, which means you can can visit six different places each day of the week.

There’s Japanese hibachi, custom-made salads, New England style seafood, and a new Southern American restaurant that has barbecue pulled pork, fried chicken and crab beignets.

Hibachi

This isn’t microwaved and/or pre-prepared food. Rather, chefs prepare all the food each day.

Fears that you will be stuck eating just at the buffet will quickly disappear once you discover all the choices on a ship like Wonder of the Seas.

Cocktails at the Vue Bar

If you enjoy a cocktail or two, Royal Caribbean offers over 400 different cocktails, wines, beers and zero-proof cocktails available. Of course, the bar staff can create almost any drink you like that isn’t on the menu, so you just have to ask.

Teen club on Wonder of the Seas in Social100

Teens will love the fact there are zero-proof cocktails available in their own teen club area of the ship.

Known as Social100’s Patio, teens can check out the bar there that includes jumbo-size games, a private whirlpool, loungers and nooks.

The places you’ll visit

Ship at CocoCay

Another fear new cruisers have is that they will feel trapped. Friends usually say, “I’d hate to be stuck at sea” and the reality is a cruise on Wonder of the Seas will take you to some gorgeous places.

On a 7-night cruise, you can expect to visit at least three ports of call, if not more. That means on most days of your cruise, you’ll have to opportunity to disembark for the day and explore ports of call in the Caribbean.

When I first started cruising, I loved days we were in port because you would wake up and be somewhere new each day.

Ship in Cozumel

You could enjoy the sandy beaches of Cozumel, Mexico, or walk the streets of Old San Juan. You might be able to drive an ATV, snorkel with marine life all around you, or learn about the history and culture of the people that call the port you are visiting home.

In short, there are a lot of amazing things you can do during your cruise while in port. Having more than half the days of your cruise include a port visit substantially helps reduce the feeling that you’re relegated to the ship only.

Wonder of the Seas in CocoCay

No cruise aboard Wonder of the Seas is complete without a visit to Royal Caribbean’s private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay. Other cruise lines have private islands, but none compare to the amazing upgrades Royal Caribbean has invested at CocoCay.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is not just a beach reserved for cruise ship guests. There’s a water park, upgraded beach club, giant freshwater pool, and island food you actually want to eat.

Oasis Lagoon pool

And after a day of fun ashore, you get to come back to the cruise ship (just like a hotel) and enjoy evening dining and entertainment.

All this fun onboard and on shore means the time will pass quickly, and you’ll find the week-long cruise flying by.

The best selection of activities on any cruise ship

Zip line on Wonder of the Seas

I’m going to make the bold statement that Wonder of the Seas has the best variety of entertainment and things to do of any cruise ship right now.

Royal Caribbean has a reputation for being the cruise line that packs their ships with the most “I can’t believe you do that on a cruise ship” sort of activities.

Playscape on Wonder of the Seas

Families can choose between water slides, an open-air play area for younger children, 10-story dry slide that has lights and sound effects, and aqua park.

At night, there’s three different venues performing various shows that are included with your cruise fare.

inTENse show

Studio B has professional ice skaters that perform 365: The Seasons on Ice.  Using projection technology, the cast tells the story of Earth’s changing seasons.

Moving to the AquaTheater on the back of the ship, you’ll be able to see an all-female cast perform inTENse that includes acrobatics, slacklining, high diving, tumbling, and synchronized swimming.

The Royal Theater has two shows that have Broadway-style performances to enjoy.

If that isn’t enough, there are comedy shows, a piano bar, live musical performances around the ship, and even movies by the pool to watch.

Women at the pool in a casita

The takeaway here is that there is so much to do onboard, and it’s up to you how much (or little) you do. If you’re worried a cruise ship means you’ll be bored because the expectation is you alternate between sitting by the pool and eating, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more there is to do.

Kids? No problem: Lots for adults

Vue Bar

Royal Caribbean is the best cruise line for families, and whether you have kids or not, there is lots to enjoy for adults on Wonder of the Seas.

If you do have kids, there is supervised kids programming in Adventure Ocean that is available for children as young as six months old, all the way up to 17 years old.

The nursery is available for kids between 6 and 36 months old for an addition cost. As a parent that has used the nursery extensively, it’s worth every penny.

Adventure Ocean

Kids between 3 and 17 have their own supervised space, where they can play, dance, draw, and have fun with other kids their age. It’s not just an enclave for children, it’s an opportunity for them to do what they want, while you enjoy time alone to do what you want.

Besides the amazing restaurants you can choose from for date night, there’s lots more you can do without any children on Wonder of the Seas.

First and foremost, there is an entire area of the pool deck reserved just for adults. The Solarium is an enclosed pool area with upgraded loungers. Because it’s climate controlled, it’s always the perfect temperature!

You’ll also find arguably the best wine bar across any Royal Caribbean cruise ship with Giovanni’s Wine Bar. Located in Central Park, Royal Caribbean revamped its wine bar experience with a new motif, and the added bonus of being able to enjoy many of the same foods you’d find in nearby Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen without getting up from your seat.

You can visit the casino throughout the day or night, where you’ll find plenty of slot machines, poker tables, blackjack, roulette, craps and more table games. For a lot of people, the casino fun is another way Royal Caribbean caters to parents while the kids are away.

If you prefer to pamper yourself, why not take a visit to the Vitality Spa, where you there are some truly amazing treatments to choose from, along with a full salon.

While not adults only, if you’re cruising without kids, you might consider buying a pass to the Coco Beach Club at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The Coco Beach Club is an upgraded beach day experience, complete with its own restaurant and infinity pool. Kids are allowed here, but most families end up elsewhere for the variety of things to do around the island. This means a great spot to spend your day and splurge a bit.

Infinity pool

If an adults-only beach area sounds like heaven, don’t worry, because Royal Caribbean has your back.

Scheduled to open in late 2023, Hideaway Beach will be a new expansion area that will only allow adults in and offer yet-to-be-announced things to do.

Convinced yet?

Wonder of the Seas night lit up

If you gravitate towards booking a beach vacation or prefer to stay in a new hotel, and have not tried a cruise yet, Wonder of the Seas might be the perfect cruise ship for you.

Wonder of the Seas has the latest and greatest innovations and things to do, which rival much of what you can find on a land vacation. Better yet, a cruise includes much more in your base cost than a land vacation.

You’re going to find plenty for everyone in your family to do. Other lines tend to cater to either mostly kids or mostly adults, but Royal Caribbean is far more even keeled at a price families can afford.

If you are one of those people that never considered a cruise vacation, Wonder of the Seas is the ship that could change your mind.

River Cruising : Did you know?

River Cruising : Did you know?

River Cruising : Did you know?

River Cruising is one of the fastest growing businesses in the travel business. While big ship cruising grows every year by 3%, River Cruising is growing every year by as much as 13%. Once looked at as the vacation for seniors, the age of river cruisers is getting younger. This is largely because the retiring baby boomers are taking the entire family on a river cruise.

River cruising through Europe allows you to enjoy the peaceful and scenic countryside and offers a smooth ride along the world’s most remarkable waterways.  Castles and fortresses tower on both sides, as if you could reach out and touch them. When your ship docks in the heart of town, you get to stroll ashore for included excursions or set off to explore on a complimentary bicycle. Here are some of the reasons why you would want to do a River Cruise with AmaWaterways if you are going to visit Europe:

1. All-Inclusive Cruises

Contrary to big ship cruises, River Cruising is all-inclusive.  Your cruise, meals, drinks, transfers and excursions are all included in one neat package. No surprise bill at the end of the cruise other than tipping.  You get mimosas for breakfast and wine and beer are included with every meal.  You get to taste some of the finest beers and wines that the region has to offer, and it’s all included in your cruise package.

life onboard a river cruise is all inclusive      Amazing service

2. Unpack Once and Get Comfortable

Like the big ship cruises, you only have to unpack once.  This is really helpful for people who don’t want to be dragging their luggage around with them and unpacking and repacking at every destination.  You get to visit different cities and countries and your hotel travels with you.  The amenities on a river cruise can compare to a first class hotel. You will get to leave the ship with ease as only 150 passengers are on the ship.  No long waiting lines to get on or off of the river boat.  Your stateroom is very stylish and comfortable so you can relax after returning from an excursion.  And while you can go topside, you can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your balcony as you leisurely sail to your next destination.

River cruising allows you to dock in city

3. Dock Right in the Heart of Historic Cities

Enjoy the excitement of waking up in a new town, docked just steps from markets, museums and landmarks. Ships rest close to the town center so you can easily sample local culture and favorite past times. Simply walk off the ship and into the heart of the city. Take a guided excursion or instantly blend in with daily life. And if you do have to travel to a destination further from the shore, we include transportation in your package.

Enchanting Rhine

4. Discover the World’s Most Scenic Waterways

You get to cruise through some of Europe’s oldest cities or on the world’s most scenic waterways. These were the original highways between great cities built along the water’s edge. Over the course of your journey, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling vineyards, hilltop castles and time-honored cities. Vibrant locales not accessible by sea or that can take hours to reach by motor coach are up close and personal on a river cruise.

www.dreamtravelescapes.com5. Intimate Environment, Inclusive Value

 With river vessels accommodating a mere 150 passengers, you will never wait in a long line to board or disembark. Smaller tours and intimate meal settings with open seating create a warm, personal atmosphere accentuated by five-star service. Your inclusive vacation provides incredible value from the champagne breakfast and free-flowing hand-selected European wines with dinner to a fleet of bicycles, free Internet access, included sightseeing excursions and live cultural entertainment onboard. On a river cruise, your vacation’s price tag doesn’t keep adding up. Compare this to a big ship cruising.

6. A Smooth, Relaxing Way to Cruise

Constant, soft-flowing river waters are always peaceful and smooth, so leave any fears of motion sickness behind. Take a dip in the pool or sink into the bubbling whirlpool, get pampered with decadent spa services or enjoy live music in the lounge. The deck invites you with a fresh river breeze and unforgettable changing scenery.
 Theme Cruises Available

7. Themed Cruises

 Amawaterways offers themed cruises.  If you love to paint, or even if you only love to admire art, this cruise is for you. An artist on board will help you paint a masterpiece you will be proud to take home.  There are themed cruises for beer lovers, wine lovers and Jewish heritage lovers. Whichever river cruise you pick, be it themed or not, you are going to be talking about this vacation for a very long time and you probably will not want to travel any other way!
Mardi Gras Feb 22

Mardi Gras Feb 22

MG at sea

Carnival’s newest ship, XL class MARDI GRAS is almost ready to launch, and we want to invite you to come.

We are not going in a travel agent capacity, we will not be doing much hand-holding, (this is our vacation too), but y’all are welcome to come. ?

The ship has some features worth pointing out:

Ultimate Playground

Summer Landing

Cool stateroom features

Red Frog

 

 

Street Eats

 

Big Chicken

 

Being its Carnival’s flagship, and bringing back the first cruise ships name, they have high ambitions for this ship.

I have expectations for it to be less of a Booze cruise, and more of an experience.

MG lobby

MG pool

 

MG attrium

Info from Carnival….

Mardi Gras sails in 2020 with a nod to where we’ve been and a salute to where we’re headed. Our vision involves inspiring you to have a great vacation! When we launched our first ship, 1972’s TSS Mardi Gras, we knew we were shaking things up. We made cruising a lot less stuffy, a bit less fancy, the kind of fun everybody could enjoy. Nobody expected this ship to change the cruise world, but here we are! In 2020 we’ll be launching a brand-new ship with a familiar name. You guessed it: Mardi Gras. We aren’t just paying homage to our first ship — in cruising circles this name suggests innovation, signals the start of something big. And it shouts “fun!” at the top of its lungs. Everybody can enjoy Mardi Gras, sailing from Port Canaveral in 2020!

“The new Mardi Gras will follow the trailblazing lead of her predecessor, introducing features and technological innovations that have never been seen before on a cruise ship while setting a new standard for seagoing vacations.” – Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line

 

MG pool deck

Carnival Cruise Line announced some details about the ship, including that it will have 20 decks and six themed zones.

 

MG attrium

The themed zones include Grand Central (Decks 6-8, midship), French Quarter (Deck 6, rear), La Piazza (Deck 8, midship), Summer Landing (Deck 8, rear), Lido (Decks 16-17, rear) and The Ultimate Playground (Decks 18-20, rear).

The Ultimate Playground will include the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park in the fleet, as well as an expanded SportSquare. It also will feature BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first roller coaster at sea, where riders will travel along an 800-foot-long track as speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.

 

The accommodations on Mardi Gras will include more than 20 stateroom categories and multiple levels of suites.

 

Carnival said the Mardi Gras also will include the most expansive open decks on any Carnival ship, and an atrium that will serve as the hub of the ship.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtAZY0LXGgs

Pricing:

Itinerary

 

Double occupancy, with taxes and fees included.

Pricing is per couple.

We have several categories booked at a special price.

Balconies start at $2300

Interior start at $1675

Includes a $100 OBC per cabin

Suggested deposit is $250 P/P

Rest due by Nov 29, 2021

There may be other rates available as well.

Contact me for other room categories for more, or less, than 2 people, or any other questions.

 

We only have Limited space at these prices which will go up as they sell out

Other categories may be available to be booked into the group as well. Email

[email protected]

for more info.

The benefits of booking as an Apollo Travel group are free On board credits, dining together and customized excursions.

MG side

Sailing March Feb 26, 2022

 

Itinerary

 

Misc facts:

Ship: Mardi Gras (First ship to not be named CARNIVAL something)

Year Built: 2020

Class: XL

Length: 1130

Guest Capacity: 6,630

Cruising Speed: 17 knots

The 180,000-ton “XL-class” Mardi Gras will have a maximum capacity of 6,500 passengers and about 2,000 crew members. It will be the first cruise ship based in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

 

Port Canaveral is building a two-story, 188,000-square-foot cruise terminal that will be used by the Mardi Gras. It is part of the port’s largest single construction project in its 65-year history – the $163 million Cruise Terminal 3 complex on the port’s south side that also will include a 1,800-space parking garage.

 

—————————————–

Basic Suggested addons:

Gratuities: $98 pp

Cruise Insurance : $129 p/p

 

Hidden Cruise costs

Hidden Cruise costs

Let’s face it. Money doesn’t grow on trees and cruising, however fun, can be a costly experience.

You have finally saved up enough money to take your family on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise. With your heart excitedly pounding in your chest, you call Apollo Travel Orlando, and say “Lets do it”!

Cruising, here we go!

Next, you look and see “what are my options”, they bombarded you with a myriad of options to bump up your cruise experience. You’re on vacation, so why not indulge, right? You picked a few excursions and maybe a beverage package to spice things up on your cruise. These things add up to a hefty sum. Unless you have budgeted for these hidden costs, you might end up with a substantial credit card bill on the next billing cycle.

Especially for first-time cruisers, the final bill at the end of your cruise can be jaw-dropping. Hence, we came up with a list of 18 hidden costs of cruising that bumps up your cruising budget and leaves a dent on your savings account. Ouch!

23 Things That We've Learned From Our Royal Caribbean Cruise

Automatic Gratuities

Most cruise lines automatically add a $14–$18 gratuity charge to your account per person per day. In addition, an automatic 18% gratuity is added to all bar bills and spa services. They pool together and divide gratuities among all crew members.

Note:
a. If you think you have received sub par service, you can have the amount changed at guest services.
b. Some cruise lines will allow you to prepay your gratuities before your cruise.

c. You can always give a little extra to your favorite crew member for exceptional service.

Port Excursions

Excursions are fun, but they’re not cheap. Depending on the type of excursion activities you are into, excursion fees can quickly add up, especially if you have a sizeable group.

How to save:
a. Shop around and find the best deals. You don’t have to book your excursions through the cruise line. However, be wary of the schedule and transportation availability. You don’t want to be left behind when your ship leaves.
b. Save on dining by eating your lunch on board the cruise ship.
c. You can skip them. There are enough fun activities on board the cruise ship to keep you entertained.

Dining Onboard Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas

Specialty Dining

Some people (like myself) savor a little bit of culinary luxury on board a cruise ship. However, cruise ship specialty dining options charge an extra $40- $60 per person. Sometimes, even higher.

Here are a few things you can do to save:
a. Purchase a dining package.
 It is like prepaying for specialty dining offerings at a discounted price. You’ll end up paying roughly $25 per person instead of paying full price.
b. Skip specialty dining options. There will always be an abundance of complimentary dining options onboard.

Alcoholic Drinks and Beverages

Your throat will never run dry on a cruise ship. For meals there will be water, coffee, iced tea, juices and milk that are all complimentary to your cruise fare. However, alcoholic beverages, premium coffee and tea, soft drinks, beer and wine are not, and can quickly add up especially with the automatic 18% gratuity added to bar drinks.

How to save:
a. Purchase a beverage package. Just like dining packages, most cruise lines offer prepaid options for premium beverages. Depending on your personal preferences, beverage packages are priced differently, so you can pick what you want.
b. Purchase wine by the bottle instead of by the glass. You can always save what’s left for your next meal. Note: Some cruise ships allow you to bring a few bottles of wine on board. Be sure to read cruise policy and take advantage of it.
c. Check your daily cruise newsletter for drinks specials or something like a “Drink of the day” and take advantage of reduced prices on some drinks.

18 Hidden Costs That Bumps Up Your Cruising Budget

Internet Connectivity

If you would like to stay connected on social media, or stream movies and videos at sea, you can pay for your ship’s Wi-Fi service. This would typically cost around $15–$20 per day for unlimited access, depending on the cruise line. Some lines charge based on the amount of data you use. Take the time to read about what they offer on your cruise.

How to save:
Some cruise lines have a free access area that may come with a coffee purchase. Some even have internet cafes that offer free or discounted internet service on board.

Airfare

For the most of us, we do not live near embarkation ports and would need to fly to get there. This can be an enormous expense depending on where you’re at.

How to save:
a. Purchase your plane tickets as soon as possible. Airfares typically go up the closer you are to your planned date of departure.
b. Go on a road trip. Driving is a lot cheaper than flying as long as you don’t mind getting behind the wheel for hours on end. Yikes!

23 Things That We've Learned From Our Royal Caribbean Cruise

Ground Transportation

Now that you’ve arrived at the airport, you still need to get to your Port of Embarkation via ground transport. There are several options to choose from, but depending on how far the port is from the airport, it can cost over $100 per person back and forth.

How to save:
a. Go for a third party shuttle service around the area. This is a cost effective option. Paying for taxi or Uber can be costly depending on the distance between the nearest airport and your cruise’s embarkation port.
b. Ask a friend or family member who lives around the area to drive you to your embarkation port.
c. You can always take the bus (most economical)

Spa and Salon Services

Getting a massage on your cruise can be quite a luxurious experience, but paying for it afterwards can quickly pile up on your final bill especially with the automatic 18% gratuity added to the cost.

How to save:
a. Check your daily newsletter for special discounts on spa and salon services.
b. Some cruise lines offer bundled services at discounted prices. Watch for special discounts on embarkation and port days.

Onboard Shopping and Souvenirs

Cruise ships offer a lot of fun activities including duty-free shopping on board your cruise. With so many cruise memorabilia to choose from, it is at times tempting to buy that little figurine, or maybe that nice-looking T-shirt you’ve been eyeing as a souvenir. Remember that for the most part, cruise ship prices aren’t exactly deals. From spending $10 on souvenir key chains to spending thousands of dollars on jewelry, there are enough things to buy on a cruise ship that might burn a hole through your wallet.

How to save:
a. Research and compare prices online.
b. Have a budgeted amount for shopping. (Okay this doesn’t really help you save, but it helps you avoid overspending.)

Souvenir Photos

For immortalizing precious moments, souvenir photos are great and it might tempt you to buy a few prints to take home. However, 8×10 photos can easily cost over $20 each.

How to save:
a. Ask for deals and discounts. Some would offer discounted prices if you buy a certain number of prints.
b. Learn to take better photos on the cruise ship. You can take the photo yourself, or ask a fellow cruiser to snap a photo for you.

Gambling

Gambling on a cruise ship can be costly. According to some sources, the odds of winning slots on cruise ships are lower than that on land because some gambling and gaming laws don’t apply. I am not a gambler myself, and I have no way to prove the above statement. But if you rack up gambling losses, you’ve just made your cruise a whole lot more expensive than you budgeted for.

Tip:
Only tip I have on gambling is to have some gambling money set aside and stop playing once it is gone. Set limits and stay with them. Some cruise ships even give out free onboard gambling credits just to get you hooked into playing big.

Travel Insurance

Getting sick on a cruise ship can be very costly. This is completely optional, but purchasing a short-term travel insurance is the one thing you can do to offset unforeseen health care charges on your trip. Get you a travel insurance quote here

How to save:
Shop around and try to find the best deal for your state of health. Always read the fine print and read what’s covered or not. Travel insurance can cost as low as $20 for your trip to $400 depending on its terms and conditions.

 

 

Onboard Activities

Part of the allure of cruising is the plethora of activities on board the cruise ship. Although most of them are free of charge, some activities do incur additional charges. Some of these “non-free” activities include fitness classes, cooking classes, wine tasting events, and other fun activities like laser tag, Go Karts, IMAX movies and even ice skating.

How to save:
a. Watch for deals on your daily cruise newsletter. Some cruise ships offer discounted rates if you bundle.
b. There are others things to do on a cruise ship that will not cost you extra. You can watch Broadway-like productions, exhilarating game shows, comedy shows, trivia games, BINGO, karaoke showdowns, and other fun-filled activities to keep entertained.

Port Fees and Taxes

The cruise line pays for tax and port charges on every port the ship docks. These charges usually translates into a 12%–15% on top of your cruise fare depending on the cruise line.

Hotel Accommodations

To avoid the possibility of airline delays and the eventual outcome of missing your cruise, Apollo Travel always advise for would-be cruisers to arrive a day ahead especially if you’re flying in. However, that also means you’ll be staying overnight in a hotel.

 

Parking Fees

Whether you fly or you drive to your port of embarkation, deal with long-term parking fees is a real possibility. This will usually run around $8–$20 dollars per day depending on the location and the level of security they provide.

How to save:
The only way to save on parking fees is to shop around for the best parking rate in and around the area. If you have someone who can take you to the port, that’s even better.

Room Service

Most major cruise lines will now charge a small fee for room service to your stateroom account. For instance, Royal Caribbean charges around $7.50 per room service order. Carnival has recently announced that they are now charging a nominal room service fee per item effective mid January 2019.

How to save:
You can always enjoy the cruise’s complimentary dining options whether buffet style or at the main dining room. If you prefer, you can take some food items from the dining room to your stateroom as a snack for later with no extra charge.

Babysitting Services

In-stateroom babysitting services are no longer available on some of the major cruise lines. However, late night babysitting are still offered so parents can enjoy some late night activities while someone looks after their little ones. Typical charge is around $8 hourly.

Conclusion:

One of the few things I adore about cruising is the way you can define your own cruise experience. For the true cost of cruising, it all depends on how much you want to indulge and spend money on. Except for automatic gratuities, port fees and transportation costs, you can choose to spend nothing more than the cruise fare you’ve already paid for. There are plenty of things to do, food to eat, activities to enjoy and sights to behold on a cruise ship that makes them worth your while without having to pay anything extra.

This list should not discourage you from cruising. Rather, it should encourage you to plan your next cruise, calculate your expenses ahead of time and have a better perspective of what to expect from your cruise to get the biggest bang out of your buck. Bon Voyage on you

 

Travel tips

Travel tips

Your trip is booked and the anticipation of your upcoming adventure is building. As you plan and prepare for your upcoming trip, review these tips to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

  • Visit the tourism website for your destination country and review any new requirements they have due to Covid-19. Many countries have requirements in place for Covid-19 testing, minimum travel insurance coverage and more. You can also check the CDC or WHO websites for information. This website is a handy resource for finding Covid-19 testing locations all over the world.
  • Make copies of the endorsement page of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member. Take another copy with you, in a separate part of your luggage from the actual passport, or take a photo of it with your smart phone.
  • Take a small amount of cash ($100-300) in local currency for ease of transition at your destination. Many international currencies can be purchased from your own bank (if it’s large enough) or through a large, corporate bank.
  • Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. Most European banks have switched almost entirely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology. Fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. You may also want to find a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, as this can save you a lot of money.
  • Acquaint yourself with the electrical voltage requirements in the country/countries you are visiting. If the voltage is different from the US, purchase a converter and/or adapter. Your best bet is to buy an adapter with different settings that adjust to most outlets, so you only have to bring one adapter instead of one per country.
  • Check with your cell phone provider about plans and pricing for international calling, texting and data.
  • Place any liquids (soaps, shampoos, etc.) that will be in your carry-on in clear 3 oz. bottles, together in a clear quart size Ziploc bag.
  • Make note of the telephone number for the phone number of services in your travel protection plan.
  • Call your debit and credit card companies to advise them of your travel dates and destinations. You can also do this by logging onto your online account.
  • Keep any prescription drugs in their original containers and pack them in your carry-on luggage.
  • Learn a few key phrases in the local language of your destination. (Simple things, like “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Thank you”, “Where is the bathroom?“)
  • If you have any food allergies or severe medical conditions, it’s important to learn how to inform others about those issues in a foreign language. If you don’t feel comfortable with your language skills, print out a document with relevant phrases or make flashcards to carry with you.
  • Do not pack your travel documents (itinerary, passport, paper tickets or vouchers) in your checked luggage.
  • Unless you are planning to attend a black tie or similar event, leave your valuable jewelry at home.

 

Safe and happy travels!

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

Safe-Travel

If you’re like us, here’s how you prepare for a big trip: You pack way too much, realize your suitcase won’t close, then start taking stuff out. The snorkel gear, the sarong, that second jacket… you don’t really need those. But there is one thing you definitely, absolutely need to pack: Travel insurance.

A lot of people weigh the additional expense and ask, “Is travel insurance worth it?” Most of the time, the answer is an all-caps YES. This is why.

Reason #1 travel insurance is a must: Most of us can’t afford to lose our vacation investment.

Let’s say you pay $7,000 for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury cruise around the Mediterranean for your 25th wedding anniversary. The day before sailing, your mother suffers a serious fall and ends up in the hospital. When you call the cruise line and explain what happened, they’re sympathetic — but you’re not getting your money back. Company policy clearly states that there are no refunds if you cancel within 14 days of departure.

Situations like these are why travel insurance is a must. When you have travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits, you can get reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs when you must cancel for a covered reason. Covered reasons can include situations like the covered serious illness or injury of the insured person, a travel companion or a family member; the death of the insured traveler, traveling companion or a family member; a natural disaster or other event that renders your destination uninhabitable; etc.

Reason #2 travel insurance is a must: Medical emergencies overseas can be really expensive.

Consider this scenario: On a driving tour through Argentina, a truck slams into your rental car, leaving you with a broken leg and other serious injuries. When you arrive at the hospital, you summon the strength to pull out your health insurance card. The staff just shake their heads. You’ll need to pay up front for treatment — and your medical bills rapidly climb into the tens of thousands. If you require medical evacuation, that cost can hit $200,000 or more, depending on the country you’re in and the proximity to the nearest hospital.

As the U.S. State Department notes, “many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front and do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the United States.”1

When you have travel insurance with emergency medical benefits, it can pay for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. Emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility, as well as the cost of getting you home following a covered injury or illness. The Allianz Global Assistance hotline staff may even be able to arrange payment in advance for covered emergency medical care. The upshot: When you’re wondering “is travel insurance worth it?”, weigh the small cost of buying insurance against the massive costs of a medical emergency overseas.

Reason #3 travel insurance is a must: You don’t want minor mishaps to ruin your trip.

A vacation is really an investment in your happiness. And when that vacation starts off with a canceled flight, a missed connection, a missing bag or another travel hiccup, that happy travel feeling fades.

Travel insurance can help make these situations better. Travel delay benefits can reimburse you for additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a covered departure delay of six or more hours. Baggage delay benefits can reimburse you for the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if a common carrier delayed or misdirected your baggage for 24 hours or more. Several more benefits address other common travel mishaps, so check your plan to see what’s included.

Reason #4 travel insurance is a must: The U.S. Department of State says so!

What’s the first thing you should do when you experience an emergency overseas? Most American travelers call the local U.S. embassy for help — but they often disappoint those travelers to discover that embassy staff’s powers are limited. They can help you replace a stolen passport; contact family or friends in the U.S.; find medical care or legal assistance; communicate with local police; and connect you with various resources. But an embassy cannot pay for your medical care, provide emergency transportation (except during rare, major catastrophes), or otherwise take care of any financial losses you suffer while traveling.2

That’s why the State Department advises American travelers to carry travel insurance — specifically, travel insurance that includes emergency medical benefits, emergency medical transportation benefits, and coverage for other unexpected expenses, like trip cancellation and lost or stolen luggage.

Reason #5 travel insurance is a must: It’s easy to find affordable travel insurance.

Cost is probably the number one reason people don’t buy travel insurance. We understand! If you’re already paying thousands for a long-awaited cruise or resort vacation, it’s tough to spend even a little more on insurance.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: Insurance can be really affordable. When you get a quote for travel insurance, we’ll present you with multiple coverage options, so you can pick the best one for your trip and your budget. Our least expensive plan, OneTrip Cancellation Plus (formerly the Essential Plan), offers three key protections — trip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay benefits. If you know you’ll be taking more than two trips this year, your most cost-effective travel insurance option may be an AllTrips plan, which protects all your travel in a 365-day period.

The best way to find a low-cost travel insurance plan is to get a quote for your next trip and then compare plans. Remember: If you’re not completely satisfied, you have 10 days (or more, depending on your state of residence) to request a refund, provided you haven’t started your trip or initiated a claim. Premiums are non-refundable after this period.

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