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Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

For the next sixteen days follow my Twitter and Instagram feed from Holland America Line’s Noordam as she sails from Sydney to Auckland. Have a question?

Tweet me or post a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Windstar Cruises tells you how to swill at sea

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 30 - 2017

Let’s face it: Many guests who vacation on cruise lines like to lift a pint or have a drink or cocktail while escaping the rushing, worried world. But the days of bringing your own on board or stocking up in a foreign port have changed over the years, mostly for the safety of the guests themselves. Yes, people are still trying to get that vodka on by putting it in a mouthwash container and coloring it with blue food dye, but the cruise lines are onto that trick.

And while there are many myths and misperceptions about cruising in general, there are any number about drinking on a ship.

So while others may not want to talk about this, Windstar Cruises, which says that it’s “180 degrees from ordinary” will. And why not? It’s great customer / guest service. So we asked the person in the know, Peter Tobler, the new director of marine hotel operations for Windstar Cruises. With more than 30 years of experience managing beverage operations for brands like Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as luxury lines Seabourn and Cunard, Peter shared his words of wisdom. Here are Windstar’s/Peter’s tips for finding your sea legs:

  1. Order a Bottle/Save it For Later. On many cruise lines, you can order a bottle of wine at dinner, and if you don’t finish it, have the wine steward save it for another evening. Check with your cruise line for specific rules and fees, but this is a great way to save money for light drinkers, rather than purchasing everything by the glass.
  1. Plan on Throwing Back a Few? Invest in a Beverage Package. Beverage packages vary, so make sure you purchase one that fits your needs. At Windstar, for example, our packages are now available on a per-guest basis rather than a per-cabin basis (so if one person drinks and the other does not, you only pay for the one package). We also are adjusting our packages to accommodate those who just drink wine and those who would like a more comprehensive beverage option with liquor, beer, and wine. It’s all about options, so make sure your cruise’s beverage package matches your preferences and you’re not paying for what you don’t want to sip and savor.
  1. Buy the Beverage Package Before You Get on Board. As a rule, there is no savings gained by purchasing your beverage package once onboard. In fact, sometimes it can be cheaper or even included in a special cruise rate in advance. This is really about psychology. Throwing down $10,000 to book your vacation? It’s not that big a deal to add an extra $300 to your bill for the beverage package and just be done with it. If you wait and purchase the beverage package months (or even years) later when you’re actually on your cruise, that $300 on its own suddenly seems like an unnecessary luxury. Do yourself a vacation favor and just buy it early and enjoy.
  1. Bring Your Own. A lot of cruisers don’t know you can bring a certain amount of alcohol onboard (during the first day of your cruise only) and consume it in the dining room with a corkage fee – or in your room for free. At Windstar, you can bring aboard two bottles of wine or champagne (750ml) per cabin for a seven-day voyage or three bottles for an eight-or-more-day voyage. Check with your cruise line to figure out what is allowed, but don’t try to sneak extra booze onboard. (X-rays will catch you, and it’s embarrassing.)
  1. Consider a Themed Cruise. Really into wine? Consider a designated wine cruise. (There are beer- and tequila-themed cruises, too – options abound.) At Windstar, we have an incredible food- and wine-themed voyage through France, Spain, and Portugal, which includes a variety of expert-led wine tastings and an evening in a private chateau in Bordeaux included in the cruise price.
  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Alcohol in Port, but Don’t Expect to Consume It on Board. I love visiting local wine shops and bringing home special souvenirs for friends and family. But all alcohol purchased at ports of call along your cruise route will be kept by the ship’s crew and delivered to your room the last evening of the voyage. You’ll just have to wait to pop the cork when you get home, and remember your journey with each glass.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Cruise blues: How to complain

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 2 - 2017

You’ve just returned home from a disappointing experience on your cruise vacation. Maybe the soup was cold or your hall mates were rowdy. Maybe bad weather knocked out your favorite port call. You tried to solve the problem on the ship, but you didn’t get anywhere. What do you do now?

You put your complaint in writing, that’s what.

A letter can go a long way in voicing your dissatisfaction with your cruise. A letter makes your complaint official and pretty much requires a response from the cruise line. It’s your best shot at resolution, so you need to make a good case. Here’s how to do it.

Get organized

The first key to achieving satisfactory results is getting organized. Here are some key points:

* Calm down. For many people, this is the hard part. But if you don’t put anger and disappointment aside, you will just end up ranting or whining — and that won’t get you anywhere.

* Make notes. Write down exactly what happened (“Just the facts, Ma’am.”). Include a record of each attempt to remedy the situation, along with the names and positions of those you have dealt with, if you know them.

* Gather documents. Copy any receipts, incident reports, photographs, witness statements or other documents that explain and support your case. Never send original documents, only photocopies.

* Put away the poison pen. You have to strike the right tone. You don’t have to suck up, but you mustn’t indulge in name-calling and derogatory commentary. You’re trying to resolve a problem, not start a new one. The correct tone conveys respect for the company and an expectation that the matter can be resolved.

Keep it simple

Alan Wilson, editor and publisher of Cruise News Daily, says it’s important to keep the letter brief, clear and concise. “Don’t go into a whole laundry list of issues,” he counsels. “Highlight the one or two main issues but don’t write a 12-page letter of every issue you may have.”

Here are some composition helpers:

* Type your letter.
* Give your reservation number.
* Keep the narrative of events in chronological order, but explain all the details.
* Specify how you would like the issue resolved; offer solutions.
* At the end, give a brief summary and a cordial sign off.

When you finish the letter, sleep on it and then reread it in the morning. Better yet, have someone else read it.

Most importantly, don’t be belligerent.

“Don’t even hint at threatening legal action or adverse publicity,” Wilson says. “If you do, the cruise line will be a lot less willing to help you and more interested in giving you exactly what you deserve under the cruise contract — which usually is nothing.”

To whom it may concern

Some people don’t agree with me, but I firmly believe you should address serious complaint letters to people as high in the chain of command as possible. Why? Because if the letter is very important to you, it should be important to the company’s management, too. Cruise lines are in a service business, and their executives sometimes need to be reminded that their business rises and falls with customer satisfaction. So, never address your letter to the anonymous “Customer Service Department.” Instead, direct it to the manager of customer relations, director, vice president — or even to the president of the cruise line. I am not deluded. I don’t think every letter is being read by the big cheeses, but on more than one occasion, I have been pleasantly surprised.

Resolution takes time

Don’t expect an immediate reply to your letter. The average response time is between 30 and 60 days (shocking, but true).

“They don’t just sit down and write a reply,” Wilson explains. “They research what you’ve told them and usually wait to reply until they know that some action has taken place on what you’ve reported.”

But what if you’ve calmed down, gotten organized, written a good letter, waited patiently and still aren’t getting anywhere?

Sadly, it’s often only dogged persistence or the timely threat of legal action that finally yields results — or public exposure in online columns such as this one. Thanks to the Internet, there is now a great deal of help for customers wishing to take a stand against a company. Recently, I helped Carol and Arnie Rudoff, a couple from Arizona, settle an issue with Princess Cruises after they had gotten nowhere for five months. It took third-party intervention, but in the end, Princess did the right thing.

So, if you aren’t getting anywhere with your cruise complaint, e-mail me. I’ll do my best to find out why you aren’t getting the response you deserve.

Helpful links

Travel Cheat Sheets, Christopher Elliott’s Web site has addresses and e-mail listings for major travel companies.

Microsoft Word travel complaint templates are a great resource for helping you compose a professional letter.

Filled Under Advice, Blog

Cruise-onomics: 12 money-saving tips

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 31 - 2017

Cruising is one of the best vacation values going. The all-inclusive fare includes accommodations, meals and entertainment. But did you know that cruise lines get most of their revenue from the things passengers buy aboard ship? Yep. That’s why they aggressively peddle their photos, spa services, art auctions, shore excursions, jewelry, casino and drinks of the day.

Do you really need that faux-gold-by-the-inch jewelry or another souvenir cocktail glass? If you’re not careful, you can easily spend more for onboard extras than you did on the cruise fare. The key to avoiding a bank-breaking bill is knowing what to expect.

Tipping. Except on a few luxury cruise ships, which have no tipping required policies, you are expected to tip your cabin steward, dining room waiter and assistant waiter. Don’t fight it. These crew members work very hard for low wages, and your tips are necessary to their livelihood. Many lines recommend that each passenger tip on average about $13 per day, as follows: cabin steward, $5.50; dining room waiter and assistant waiter, $6.50 (shared); bistro service waiter and cooks, $1. Bar bills are automatically charged a 15 percent gratuity for the bartender. Special service personnel such as the maitre ‘d, deck stewards and bellmen should be tipped as service is rendered; for other crew tips, payment at the end of the cruise is customary.

Airport transfers. The cost of a round-trip airport transfer purchased through the cruise line is often $60 per person or more. A better (and often faster) way to get to and from the ship is by local taxi or Uber or Lyft. The fare is usually around $30 for a cab and less for Uber and Lyft.  Best of all you can take up to four people.

Photo opps. It starts before you even set foot on the ship, with the obligatory pose by the S.S. Life Preserver. Ship photographers are everywhere — in the dining room, on the pool deck, in the showroom. You’ll feel like you are being stalked by paparazzi before you sit down to your first dinner. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to have your picture taken and you don’t have to buy any photo taken of you. Considering that prices range from $20 to $30 for each picture, you can certainly save a lot of money by bringing your own camera and asking fellow passengers to snap photos for you. On the other hand, professional portraits do make nice souvenirs, especially when you’re all gussied up for the formal night of the cruise.

Art auctions. Shipboard art auctions can be a lot of fun, and they do offer free champagne and that’s the problem. If you’re not careful with the cheap bubbly, you could end up owning a picture that resembles four dogs playing poker. I’ve seen this happen a number of times, and I’ve seen the remorseful bidder go home hundreds of dollars poorer. If you see something you really like, take a picture of it and see if a local art gallery can find it or something like it for you. You usually get better art deals on land, where you can play the competition among art galleries.

Bar bill. Soft drinks, bottled water and alcoholic drinks can really add up. These refreshments are seldom included in the cruise fare, except on luxury cruises, so you have to think ahead. Find out if your ship offers a soda package — a deal that offers unlimited sodas for $44,  a real boon for people traveling with kids. Cruise lines prefer that you buy alcoholic drinks directly from them, but you can bring your own wine aboard to be served to you at dinner. The catch is that you will be charged a corkage fee usually around $10 per bottle. (Do not try to bring bottles of liquor aboard; the cruise line will confiscate them, though they will return them to you at the end of the cruise; however, you might get away with a flask.) One of the easiest ways to save beverage money is to bring a water bottle or coffee mug on board and fill it up in the self-serve buffet. Instead of plopping down $2 for a bottle of water, I fill up a few of my own.

Specialty restaurants. Many mainstream and premium cruise lines now have onboard alternative restaurants, which offer specialty menus with prices ranging from $15 to $75 per person. Sure, the food is interesting, but is it any better than what’s served in the ship’s dining room for free? It depends on your taste and what the cruise line is offering. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a variety of excellent alternative dining choices, including an amazing teppanyaki table experience at a reasonable cost of $25.

Internet access. Most ships have Internet access, but they often charge a fee. Some cruise lines like Viking River and Viking Ocean offer unlimited internet access whereas most offer package deals for a set fee. You can save a lot of money by visiting an Internet facility in port. Ask a crew member where to find an Internet cafe on shore, or check out the local public library, where you can sometimes check your e-mail for free.

Gambling. Shipboard casinos are getting bigger and bigger, which means that more and more money is being lost at sea. If you decide to roll the dice, set a limit on how much you are willing to risk, then leave as soon as you lose it.

Spa services. While pampering should be part of every cruise vacation, frequenting the ship’s spa can be costly. A massage can range anywhere from $80 to $180 per hour not to mention the 18 percent tip. You can save money on spa treatments by looking for discounted spa specials, which are usually offered when the ship is in port. Keep in mind that the spa staff works on commission; this means you will often get a sales pitch for their products after your treatments. Unless you really like the products, don’t feel obliged to purchase them. Many shipboard spas feature products by Steiner Leisure. If you like them, check out the prices on TimeToSpa.com; you can often get a better deal there than on the ship.

Shore excursions. Shore excursions can be pricey, especially on such destination-intensive itineraries as Alaska, Europe and Hawaii. In most cases, it’s easy to arrange your own excursions and save money. Visit the port’s official tourism Web site for up-to-date information on tour operators and pricing. You can find a comprehensive list of worldwide tourism sites at JohnnyJet.com.

Companies that specialize in planning tours for cruise passengers include Viator and Shore Trips. Both allow you to book your shore excursions before you leave home, and the savings can be significant.  If you are going to Alaska, try to get your hands on Alaska TourSaver.  You can order the book or download the App, both offer coupons for free admissions, two-for-one tours, flight-seeing, whale watching, free car rentals, second night free hotels and much more.

Despite the cost, there is one very good reason to purchase your shore excursions through the cruise line: If your excursion runs late, the ship will not leave port without you. Anytime you schedule an independent trip, you lose that safety net, so be sure to leave enough time to get back to the ship before departure because, believe me, the ship will leave without you.

Laundry. Laundry and dry cleaning charges on a cruise can be exorbitant. For example, a T-shirt can cost $4 to wash and a pair of underwear $2. Check to see if there is a self-service launderette. That will be much cheaper typically $3 to $5 per load. If you don’t feel like doing your own laundry and need some clean clothes, don’t despair. Most cruise lines set aside one day on each voyage when they will wash a bag of laundry for a set fee, usually $15 to $25 per bag (the cruise line provides the bag).

Film and sundries. Buy plenty of film and other camera supplies at home, because once on board, the price doubles.  The same can be said for pain relievers, sunscreen and many other small, personal-use items.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating spending nothing aboard ship, just that you stay the course within your allotted budget. If you don’t, your next hard-earned cruise vacation could be at risk.

By Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.comYour online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under Advice, gallery, What's New?

Avoid this on your next cruise

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 18 - 2015

What’s the worst place on a cruise ship? If you ask regular cruisers, they might tell you to avoid the cigar bar or the Lido Pool area. But for me, it’s the art auction area.

Why? Quite frankly, I think art auctions are a misuse of space on cruise ships — not to mention a complete waste of time and money.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate fine art. It’s just that most of the so-called art displayed for cruise ship galleries and auctions isn’t so fine and borders on tacky.

I am not alone. I’ve heard the groans amongst my fellow passengers upon encountering art displays around the ship. These art roadblocks force cruisers into a weaving obstacle course just to get from one part of the ship to another.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there was something interesting to look at. I mean, how many paintings and prints of cottages should one be inundated with? Even worse, the neon-colored glossy fliers heaped upon guests in their staterooms touting the auctions and free champagne are offensive, not to mention far from being a green-friendly practice.

Offensive or not, art auctions and galleries on cruise ships generate revenue and that’s music to most cruise executives’ ears. Still, off the record, many cruise line managers admit they aren’t big fans of the practice. Nevertheless, in the age of shrinking corporate balance sheets, any revenue source is a bright spot.

What’s not so bright is deceptive practices heaped upon some cruise passengers.

Art job

While on a recent cruise I decided to do a pre-dinner stroll of the art gallery and came upon a Picasso “painting.” I use the term “painting” because that’s exactly how several art gallery personnel described it.

They were using this “painting” for a contest. Guests had to estimate its value. The passenger who guessed closest to the actual price would win hundreds of dollars in credit to use towards an art purchase.

The Picasso in question was a man holding a cat. I knew it wasn’t a painting, but a print. I decided to play dumb and asked a lot of silly questions just to see what would happen.

I asked one of the gallery workers if this was a real Picasso painting worth millions why wasn’t it guarded? The worker laughed and said in a heavy Eastern European accent that there were plenty of them watching the “painting.”

I asked why this expensive “painting” was on a ship? Then I got the Park West Gallery spiel that they were the largest art gallery in the world with an extensive original art collection and had the most expertise on selling art at sea.

Indeed, Park West Gallery is the largest player in the high-seas art stakes. The Southfield, Mich., company has galleries onboard Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Regent and Oceania vessels. When Park West makes a sale, the cruise line takes a percentage of that sale.

I walked out of the gallery shaking my head, wondering how many gullible passengers would fall into this art trap and wishing the cruise lines would give this whole concept the heave-ho.

So, it was no surprise when I read that some passengers shared my misgivings about these art auctions in general and Park West in particular.

In one example, a passenger paid $19,468 for three Dali prints, only to come home and have them appraised from $850 to $1,000. Another passenger went to a German art fraud detective with his purchases and was informed that they were photomechanical reproductions and not lithographs. The German detective referred to the pieces as “poster art.”

Beware of buyer’s remorse

Shipboard art auctions can be a lot of fun, and they do offer free champagne. And that’s the problem.

Lured by the secure environment onboard the ship, many passengers are more likely to believe the value claims made by the art auctioneers. If you’re not careful with the cheap bubbly, you could end up owning a painting of four dogs playing poker.

I’ve seen this happen a number of times, and I’ve seen the remorseful bidder go home hundreds and thousands of dollars poorer.

Case in point: John and Helen Finch of Pittsburgh took their first cruise several years ago, a seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruise on Princess. Seeing attractive art every day on the ship, Helen decided to attend one of the onboard art auctions. Before she knew it, she’d paid $800 for two lithographs — not something she had planned for. Even worse, the sale was final – the Finch’s were stuck.

My advice, if you see something you really like, take a picture of it and see if a local art gallery can find it or something like it for you. You usually get better art deals on land, where you can play the competition among galleries.

Better yet, take a photo of a beautiful landscape on your cruise and frame it. That will be a far better value and a terrific memory that will always remain priceless.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under Advice, Blog, Ombudsman

9 strategies for cruising nirvana

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 10 - 2014

Why are some cruise travelers smarter than others? Simply put, they’ve been there, done that, and through trial and error have concocted strategies that avoid travel mishaps. Here are some tips that guarantee smooth sailing from cruisers in the know.

1. Loyalty=perks
Los Angeles area resident Janice Williams loves to reap the sweet rewards of being a repeat cruiser. On her last repeat cruise, she saved more than $1,000 from a single coupon. That coupon was from Princess Cruises’ “Captain’s Circle,” the line’s program for past guests. Williams is loyal to Princess because she feels the line offers the best past passenger perks in the business.

Most cruise lines confer membership in a loyalty program as soon as passengers complete their first cruise. Members then receive mailings urging them to book another cruise at a special discount. On board, members also receive special treatment; perks can include gifts, upgrades, credits, cocktail parties, in-room bar set up, complimentary laundry service, free Internet, dinner with the captain and free shore excursions.

2. Plot for the perfect stateroom
One thing smart cruisers know is that picking the right stateroom is essential to truly enjoying the cruise. Laney Adams of Ocala, Fla., always studies the ship’s deck plan before booking a stateroom. “It’s the only way to prevent problems with noise along with finding a stateroom with easy accessibility around the ship,” says Adams.

Passengers with disabilities might want to book near elevators. Watch out for staterooms with obstructed views – usually the lifeboat deck and those with close proximity to noisy areas like lounges, discos, theaters, pool areas, room service and steward service areas. Staterooms midship on lower decks are best for those prone to seasickness.

3. Keep watching your fare
The cruise line will never call you if they have lowered the price of your cruise. Therefore, it can really pay off to keep tabs on the price of your cruise after you book. Just ask Scott Larsen of Fairfax, Va.

Last year, Larsen booked a September cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. He went for the least expensive option: an inside cabin. In July, Larsen was thinking about upgrading his cabin, so he checked the Internet for the current cabin rates. He discovered that the prices had dropped quite a bit. In fact, an outside cabin was now going for $1 less than the price he booked for his inside cabin.

Larsen called Royal Caribbean to see if he could upgrade to the outside cabin. The cruise line told him the upgrade was possible, but he would need to make arrangements through the travel agency that handled his booking: Travelocity. Larsen then contacted Travelocity and the changes were made. Larsen notes that had he chosen to keep the inside cabin, Royal Caribbean would have refunded him $200. He says, “I really prefer the upgrade and I am really happy with the outcome.”

4. Book shore excursions, spa services before you sail
Shore excursions often fill up quickly, and services like spa appointments can be overbooked in the blink of an eye. Savvy cruisers surf the Web long before they sail. When cruising to Alaska last summer Gerry Altmire booked his family’s shore excursions on Holland America’s Web site prior to sailing. “We avoided a lot of disappointment by booking early because the popular flightseeing tours sell out quickly,” said Altmire.

Advance bookings are convenient, and they make for a personalized vacation. Best of all, they save you from rushing around the ship trying to nail down reservations in the first hours of your cruise. Instead, you can actually sit back and enjoy your cruise from the minute you step on board.

5. Notify your credit card company
As credit card fraud has become more global and more sophisticated, so have efforts to ferret out illegitimate charges. Sometimes large purchases will raise a red flag, as I found out when I purchased an emerald in Cartagena, Colombia. The bank called my home to make sure I was the one using the card. Fortunately, a family member was there to let the bank know that I was indeed in Colombia, thus preventing my card from being put on hold.

A stamp of approval in advance of departure will make charging much easier overseas. If you are planning to travel to far-flung destinations, call your credit card company or the bank that issues your card and let them know your travel itinerary — both dates and destinations. Make a note of your card number and the overseas customer service number, and keep them in a safe place separate from the card. That way, if the card is stolen, you will have the necessary information to make a report.

Even with advance notification, you may not be able to spend as you please while you are abroad. Certain charge patterns will still arouse suspicion, and your card may be subject to spending limits, so you should always carry a second credit card.

6. Get to the port a day early
If you live far from the embarkation port, get there a day early. I’ve heard too many stories of people traveling on embarkation day, arriving late and literally standing at the pier, watching their ship sail off without them. That was literally the case for Dini and Tony Saponara of Toronto whose flight from Canada was delayed due to bad weather. Sadly the Carnival Sensation sailed off without them and they were unable to catch up to the ship. Padding your travel time may cost a bit more, but it pays off in the assurance of a stress-free start to your vacation.

7. Carry-on savvy
Upon boarding, you’re separated from your luggage for an indeterminate amount of time. Until then, you’re stuck wearing what you’re wearing. “I always bring a change of clothes and a swimsuit in my carry-on bag so I can change and start enjoying the ship,” says veteran cruiser Nina Lewis of Miami. A lot of first-time cruisers don’t realize it sometimes takes hours for luggage to be delivered to your stateroom. So, take Nina’s advice — bring a change of clothes so you won’t miss any ship time stuck in your traveling clothes.

8. Don’t skip travel insurance
Robert Smith and his wife were on the trip of a lifetime. The couple flew from Arizona to their destination in Europe to embark on a cruise tour of the Baltics. During the cruise Robert injured his leg and thought things would be fine – unfortunately his condition gradually worsened. Eventually Robert needed immediate medical attention. The ship had to disembark the Smiths in St.Petersburg, Russia where Robert was quickly admitted to the hospital.

His wife immediately called their travel insurance company, Travel Guard, to inquire about their coverage for the missed portions of their trip and other expenses they incurred. Upon their safe arrival home, Travel Guard reimbursed them for missed portions of their cruise, medical bills, a hotel stay for his wife while Robert in hospital, and upgraded plane tickets for the medical evacuation home so his wife could sit by him. The Smith’s were fortunate they had excellent travel insurance coverage.

Most cruise lines offer travel insurance, as do several independent third-party insurers like Travel Guard. It’s important to understand that ordinary medical insurance coverage doesn’t travel the same way aboard ship as it does within the United States. Sometimes coverage doesn’t extend to foreign travel at all. Medicare beneficiaries should always purchase travel insurance when they cruise, because they do not have Medicare coverage outside the country.

9. Affordably staying in touch
“I can send text messages from the middle of Caribbean!” marveled teen Amy Green, who was thrilled to have full coverage for the majority of her Disney Cruise Line voyage. Her cell phone looked normal and didn’t indicate it was roaming. Her, provider, it turns out, charges $2.49 a minute while roaming. When Green’s bill arrived a month later, her parents were horrified to see that she owed $225! Using the phone in your stateroom can be even worse as the service can cost between $2-$10 a minute. Internet access onboard is the lowest cost option to stay in touch from the ship; however, to reap the best savings you need to purchase in blocks of time – 60 minutes can cost $25 on up. The most economical way to stay in touch is when you get into port – phone rates are much cheaper on land.

Don’t be vexed when planning your cruise. If you do a little research on options and pricing you can board the ship without a care in the world. And that’s the only way to cruise.

© www.expertcruiser.comYour online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.