Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Interesting Cruise Information

Newsletter - Oct.  2013
Vol. 2,  Issue #5

        Travel & Cruise News and Items of interest
               A Newsletter from Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC
                       Business Opportunity: http://rosswintravelthecomoxvalley.blogspot.ca
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Contents     
Make Your Cruise An Enjoyable One
Secrets The Cruise Lines Don't Tell You
11 Ways to Get Booted Off a Ship
Artist of the Month

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                        Make Your Cruise An Enjoyable One

   Cruising can be a an enjoyable experience, especially if you do not go with a preconceived idea of what to expect. That way you will accept what is available and will not be disappointed.  If you have previously cruised before and are trying a new cruise line try not to compare the both lines, each cruise line is a bit different and must be accepted as such. 
    A cruise is what YOU make it, if you do not, at least try to join in some of the the activities planned, then you will a sitting wallflower.  My husband and I are inclined to take part only in the activities that interest us, so I shouldn't talk. We have, at times taken part in some that we thought would not be of interest and they have been a lot of fun. They were a great learning experience. 
   On the last few cruise's we have discovered the Art auctions, we have found a wide variety of interests that are available to art lovers, something to suit everyone's taste in art. We enjoy the activity and of course the free champagne and the free print given out at the end of the auction. 
   If you are a reader there is usually a good selection of books in the ship's library. On some of the cruise lines there is a section or box where passengers leave their own books that they have read (or can be exchanged)  
   Check out each floor of the ship, you might be surprised at what you will find.  On one cruise we found a movie theatre tucked away that did not have much signage to advertise it. Lots of small cubby holes if you want a private corner for yourself. 
    You do not have to buy a drink to check out the bars etc and enjoy the entertainment offered.  Check out the various sports activities offered. 
    Chat with someone sitting or standing in line next to you, many new friends can be made on a cruise.
Read your daily bulletin and plan your day.
    I have included some tips and comments in the following articles from cruisecritic.com, 
Enjoy your next cruise. 
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Secrets The Cruise lines Don't Tell You
http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1485&src=tocc
With thanks to Cruise Critic for the following articles

Cabins
  1. Most cabins are made of metal…and therefore they're magnetic. Bring along some magnets (or buy some as souvenirs) and you can keep all your cocktail party invites, alternative dining reservation notices and daily planners hung up on the walls and doors.
  2. Inside cabins have no natural light. At all. Turn your TV to the bridge cam station, turn off the sound and -- voila! -- you've got an instant nightlight and a way to see if the sun is up.
  3. With all of the electronics we tote around with us these days, most people find cruise ship outlets to be insufficient. You can bring your own charging station or power strip (check to see if these are legal on your cruise line), but you may also want to ask your cabin steward. Sometimes there's an extra outlet hidden behind the TV or under the bed.
  4. Picky about your bedding? Some lines will provide egg crate mattress toppers, top sheets and alternative pillow types by special request. Feel free to ask, before or during your cruise.
  5. Cabin designers are pretty smart about creating as much storage space as possible. Do a little exploring or ask your cabin steward for a tour. You may be surprised to find extra storage under the bed or couch, inside an ottoman or behind a mirror.
  6. If you're feeling queasy, don't run out to a pharmacy before making some calls. Room service can bring you green apples and bland crackers (crewmembers swear by the apple remedy), and often you can get seasickness meds from the purser's desk for free.
Food
  1. You are not limited to one of each appetizer, entree and dessert in the main dining room. You can order two entrees or three desserts if you choose. You can also order appetizer-sized portions of entrees as starters or order a few appetizers for your main meal. It's a great way to try new foods you're not sure you'll like (escargot, anyone?).
  2. Room service is free of charge, except for late-night hours on certain lines, such as Royal Caribbean. It's recommended you tip your delivery person, but in-room dining is not the splurge it is at a hotel.
  3. Most people dine in the main dining room or buffet on the first night of the cruise, and many haven't discovered the specialty restaurants yet. If you book an alternative dining venue for the first night of the cruise, you may get a discount on select lines (like Celebrity Cruises) or have an easier time getting a reservation for a popular venue. Carnival Cruise Lines passengers who dine in the Steakhouse on the first night get a free bottle of wine.
  4. Specialty coffee at the designated coffee shops onboard comes with an extra fee, but the pastries, sandwiches and other food at these venues are often free. While some specialty items (like chocolate-covered strawberries) will have a charge, don't assume all the small bites do.
  5. Like ice cream? Cruise lines will charge for branded licks like Ben & Jerry's and Celebrity's gelato. However, there's always a free version -- whether soft-serve machines on the Lido Deck or hard-serve stations at the buffet. And do your reconnaissance -- Cruise Critic members report that soft-serve machines on either side of the deck can have different flavors.
  6. On embarkation day, most people head straight to the buffet to have lunch and wait for their cabins to open. It's a mob scene. But many cruise ships have alternative venues open -- the main dining room or a mini-buffet in the solarium or atrium area. Ask a crewmember or check your daily newsletter to find an alternative for a calmer first meal. For example, on Princess Cruises, the International Cafe, Pizzeria and Grill are open; on Royal Caribbean ships, Sorrento's, the Solarium and Park Cafes, Giovanni's Table and Starbucks are open on embark afternoon.
  7. Don't know which night to make specialty dinner reservations? The main dining room menus are planned for the week, and the purser's desk often has access to those menus. Ask to see them so you can decide which nights are less appealing and which you don't want to miss, and plan your cruise accordingly.
  1. Drinks

  1. There's no "open beverage" rule onboard. You can bring drinks from a bar or buffet to your cabin or elsewhere on the ship and no one will bat an eye. (Same goes for food.)
  2. It's often cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than a few glasses -- but what do you do if you don't finish the bottle? Cruise ship waiters can mark the bottle with your room number and save it for another night, even for dinner in another onboard venue.
  3. Groups of beer drinkers can save by ordering buckets of beer. You get four or five beers in a souvenir bucket at a per-beer cost slightly cheaper than ordering individual bottles.
  4. On most lines, soda is not free -- but iced tea in the dining room usually is. Save on soda by buying a soda card, offering a set price for unlimited soft drinks.
  5. Most lines let you bring a reasonable amount of nonalcoholic drinks onboard. Save on pricey shipboard sodas and bottled waters by bringing your own.
  6. Some cruisers use their stateroom Bibles for more than spiritual counsel. Cruise Critic members report that they will leave unused drinks cards or coupons in their Bibles. So be sure to flip through yours to make sure a surprise isn't waiting.
  7. Enticed by all those special drinks in a souvenir glass? You can refill those glasses at a discount -- or ask to have the drink of the day in a regular glass to save money. Also watch your daily program for drink specials or happy hours with reduced price beverages.

                         Entertainmentroyal-caribbean-spa
  1. Casino frequenters can get a hole punched in their room card and a free lanyard from the casino staff for easy play without forgetting your card in the slot machines.
  2. Many lines offer free minutes if you sign up for an Internet package on the first day of the cruise.
  3. Cruise ship spas often offer discounts for first-day and sea-day treatments. Stop by the spa, or check your daily newsletters to find out about deals.
  4. If the port talk is at the same time as your massage, don't worry. Presentations and audience-participation shows are often re-broadcast on the ship's channel on your in-room TV. You can still catch the recording if you miss the live show.
  5. Use of the showers, saunas and stream rooms not located in fancy thermal suites is free. Showering in the spa can often mean access to more clean towels, fancy toiletries and bigger shower stalls -- and prevents fights over who gets cabin bathroom access first. Using the free saunas is also a great remedy for that inevitable vacation head cold that stuffs you up.

Line-Specific Secrets
  1. Celebrity's buffet secrets include delicious ship-made hard-serve ice cream (for free) in the buffet and made-to-order waffles with a choice of toppings. You can also order a cup of candy toppings with no ice cream if that's your treat of choice.
  2. On Holland America, many cruisers don't know that the Pinnacle Grill is half-price

     at lunchtime, and free chocolate truffles make an appearance in the Explorer's Lounge each evening.
  3. Princess ships serve up cookies and milk at 3 p.m. on the pool deck and in the Piazza.
--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor



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                     11 Ways to Get Booted Off a Ship http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1554&et_cid=951173&et_rid=16812849

Only drug smugglers or murder suspects get kicked off cruise ships, right?

Wrong! Ordinary people like you and I can also get the boot off our hard-earned, much-anticipated cruise vacation. Perhaps it's because we lose control and do something stupid. Maybe it's the result of a simple mistake or -- and this stings the most -- is actually through no fault of our own. While it's rare to be debarked mid- or even pre-cruise, it happens more than you think. And if you're the one escorted down the gangway, don't expect a refund for the days you missed onboard. 

To make sure your cruise does not end prematurely, here are 11 things you absolutely should not do. 

1. Get sick. We mean really sick, like a heart attack or stroke or a serious injury that shipboard doctors and medical facilities don't have the ability to treat. If you need hospital-level care, the ship's doctor will have you whisked off the ship at the next port of call and taken to the nearest hospital. It might not be the best hospital, and you might not be able to speak the local language, but if you're quite ill or hurt enough for immediate surgery, you will be booted off quicker than you can say "liability." 

2. Skip the muster drill. It's embarkation day. You're at the pool, cocktail in hand, and you just can't be bothered to get dressed, pick up your lifejacket and proceed to your muster station for a briefing on emergency procedures. You might have heard the spiel 100 times, but if you don't go to muster 101, you could be saying sayonara before you even set sail. Don't believe us? Ask the couple that was kicked off Seabourn Sojourn for failing to attend the second muster drill on their back-to-back sailing. 

3. Bring drugs or other illegal items onboard. You might be approached by shady characters in Jamaica or Belize looking to sell you drugs, but they aren't cruise line-approved vendors. Get caught smuggling drugs, weapons or other illegal items onto the ship, and your glamorous cruise vacation could turn into a drawn-out stay at a local police station. We hope you didn't spend all your cash on the illicit articles because you might need money for bail, lodging (though jail stays are free, we hear) or a plane flight home. 

4. Refuse to go through screening. On a similar note, don't refuse the pre-embarkation security screening because you're worried someone will notice your contraband. If you don't comply with security officers, they do not have to let you board. 

5. Make a bomb threat. No cruise line wants its ship to be the victim of a terrorist attack, and bomb threats are taken seriously. Don't joke about blowing up the ship or releasing harmful viruses into the swimming pool. You could get booted off the ship in custody of the F.B.I. Don't even let anyone joke about it pretending to be you: In 2012, Dr. Jack Kruse (a diet guru) was kicked off a Low-Carb theme cruise because someone posted on Twitter, pretending to be him, that he was threatening a bio-terrorist attack on the Carnival ship. Even after security staff realized it was a prank, he was still refused boarding. 

6. Fail to show correct travel documents. Left your passport at home? Forgot to get a necessary visa? We're sorry to say that your cruise will end before it has a chance to begin. Cruise lines must abide by official rules regarding travel documents. While in certain cases the ship can procure a collective visa so you don't have to get an individual one, if it's your responsibility to have your papers in order and you don't, the only thing cruise staff can do is show you the door. 

7. Buy a minor a drink onboard. Your niece might be a good girl and turning 21 in six months, but if you buy her a few drinks or let her borrow your ship ID to buy her own, your family vacation could come to a sudden end. Cruise lines will not tolerate anyone aiding and abetting an underage person to acquire alcohol. If caught, both the adult and minor involved could be debarked. 

9. Organize your own tours in public. One of the things we love most about Cruise Critic's Roll Calls is meeting other travelers and teaming up to book independent excursions. While a cruise line doesn't mind if you book a private tour with a few friends, they do frown upon passengers booking a 30-person bus and advertising onboard for other cruisers to join them in shunning ship excursions. If you don't want to get forcibly debarked for soliciting, please be discreet in your tour arranging, and do not exchange money at Cruise Critic Meet and Mingles in front of senior officers. 

10. Steal items from the ship. We know that spa products are overpriced, but if you slip some unpaid-for lotion in your beach bag or, worse, make off with some diamond rings or precious art from a boutique, the authorities will not be kind to you if you're caught. So if you'd rather not terminate your cruise mid-trip, we recommend exercising your sticky fingers in more harmless pursuits, such as sneaking another chocolate chip cookie from the buffet or grabbing one extra travel-size bottle of the ship's shampoo as a souvenir. 

11. Be abusive to the captain or his crew. The captain is the king of his ship; the onboard world is not a democracy. Tick off the captain or abuse his staff, and he has the right to send you packing. So be polite. The ship's staff is there to ensure your safety and comfort; there is no reason not to be grateful for the work they do. 


--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor

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 Artist of the Month

Mary Osborne Reed
e-mail: bandmreed@shaw.ca





Mary was born and educated in England. In 1965 she settled in the beautiful Comox Valley which has provided inspiration for most of her artwork.  She took her art training at North Island College.  Over the years she has won several awards at juried shows around Vancouver Island.  Mary's work can be found in local gallery exhibits and in private collections in Canada, Germany, England and USA.
beautiful Comox Valley which has provided inspiration for most of her artwork.  She took her art training at North Island College.  Over the years she has won several awards at juried shows around Vancouver Island.  Mary's work can be found in local gallery exhibits and in private collections in Canada, Germany, England and USA.

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I will be glad of any comments or corrections or if you wish  to  see something that is of interest to you please let me know. Thanks, Rhoda

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Rosswin Travel,  
1 250-338-6334 / 1 866-517-2113
e-mail: rosswin@shaw.ca
420 Harmston Ave, Courtenay, BC, V9N 2X2
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