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Rita Talks (An Open Journal)

Posted Aug 12 2008 4:21pm

(Our ship “Fascination” docked beside the “Legend.”)

I got home on Saturday after vacationing aboard the Carnival ship “Fascination.” I want to share a few cruise tips with you. Things that you might find helpful in the event that you should decide that you also want to take a cruise sometime in the future.

Cost: The first thing to keep in mind is that the price varies depending on the cruise line, time of year, and your vacation destination. Shop around and find the best deal.

Clothes to pack: Again, I packed way too many clothes for this cruise. Basically, you are only going to need a change of clothes for each day. Keep it casual. Shorts and shirts suffice, and maybe one nice casual outfit, and one dressy outfit for Captain’s night. Oh, and don’t forget your bathing suit! Pajamas? Who needs them? Sleep in the buff. *laughs* Unless, of course, you are sharing a room with children or someone else of the same gender. Then, by all means, bring your pj’s. I am sure your room mate would appreciate it. :)

Shoes: Flip flops or sandals work well while onboard. You would be wise to wear tennis shoes for better support during the onshore excursions. In fact, depending on the excursion you choose, many will not allow open toe shoes. You will also need dress shoes to go with your dressy outfit.

Personal items: The ship will provide you with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and a razor. Be sure to bring your own tooth brush, and hair conditioner. (My hair simply won’t behave without hair conditioner.) You will also need to bring your hair dryer, hair brush, styling gel, or hair spray, deodorant, sunscreen, and any feminine products you might need. (Just in case!)

Packing your suitcase: There is an iron on the ship, but unless you want to wait in line for one, it’s best to “roll” your clothes versus “folding” them. Folding your clothes leaves creases and your clothes are more likely to come out wrinkled. However, if you roll your clothes, your clothes will come out virtually wrinkle free.

Laundry: You can do laundry on the ship, but who wants to spend an hour or two doing laundry on their vacation when you could be having more fun doing something else? The ship will provide this service for a small fee, and you won’t even have to go near the laundry room. Better yet, pack enough clothes that your dirty laundry can wait until you get home.

Swimming: No need to pack beach towels. The ship provides those also.

Onshore Excursions: You can prepay for an excursion of the ships choice, or you can be adventerous, get off the ship, and find your own way around. Trust me, there are taxis, and tour guides waiting at the dock for tourists who are looking for a better deal. I have gone both routes and was equally satisfied either way.

Going onshore: In Key West, we found a free shuttle service that took us into town, and back. In Cozumel, there was a means of transportation for all of those who preferred not to walk the long pier up to Customs. They only ask for a tip.

Food: For all of you dieters out there: BEWARE! *laughs* You are much stronger person than I am if you can resist all the temptation placed in front of you all day long. There is food and more food, and all kinds of food imaginable. Of course, there are lots of healthy choices available at all times as well.

Exercise: The ship is equipped with a gym, a deck where power walks take place in the morning, all kinds of exercise classes, if you are so inclined, and a couple of swimming pools too. Depending on your exercise regimen, you might find that the walking you are going to do, getting from one place to the other on the ship, might exceed the amount of exercise that you do in a normal day at home anyway. *laughs* (And since you are going to be eating more than you normally do- Be glad of it! :) )

Activities: There is something for everyone on board: games, contests, gambling, karaoke, dancing, shows, etc. If you are bored while on the ship, then it’s because you’re asleep in your cabin. *laughs*

Getting off the ship to go home: By all means, hail a Porter to help you carry your luggage. That simple act alone will move you from the back of the line, to the front, and through Customs very quickly. It’s well worth the tip!

Interested in booking a cruise, or checking on some prices? Then I strongly recommend, Pam Boyette. A travel agent who has helped me find some unbelieveable good deals on cruises. You can reach her through email by putting in the subject line: “Your best deal on a cruise, plz.” Her email addy is: pamboyette@usa.net . Tell her that Rita in North Carolina sent you. And no, I don’t get a fee for putting in a good word for her. She always gave me a fair shake, and so I want to pass that along to you.

I will close this entry by leaving you with a few pictures from my cruise vacation:

(The Fantastic Four. Andy, Rita, Deb,and Jim.)

(Rita and Andy by the Coconut Tree.)

(A beautiful sunrise. So glad I didn’t miss it!)

(Sunset in Cozumel,Mexico. There was something so spiritual about watching this sunset. I wasn’t the only one that felt it. When the sun finally dropped out of sight, people actually gave it applause.)

(This man played bag pipes at Sunset every night while we were at Deerfield Beach,Fla. Another experience that I really treasure.)

(Key West, Florida)

(Key West,Florida)

(Key West,Florida)

(Key West,Florida)

(The crystal blue water at the port of Cozumel,Mexico.)

(Mexican Dances and Festivals are held here.)

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