Category Archives: Cruising

IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part VIII – The End

Read about the final heroine in the The Love Boat Bachelor at Write Integrity: Chapter Eight Port of Call: St. Maarten

We’d love to know which chapter you liked best. You can vote for your favorite heroine starting Wednesday at noon on February 4th  through end of the day on Friday, February 7th. The creator of the heroine receiving the most votes gets to pen the final chapter of the book.

Find out who wins Brent’s heart! The Love Boat Bachelor is set to release on Valentine’s Day (February 14th), and for a limited time you can download the complete novella for FREE from (February 14-17). Thanks for sharing out journey!

Weight Gain 2So you gained a little weight. So you got a little too much sun. So you have a suitcase full of dirty clothes. So you bought too much stuff and now you can’t figure out how to pack it all.

As all good things do, cruises come to an end.

Tip 1: A day or two before the last day, you’ll receive legal documents to fill out for reentry into the United States. The Cruise Director will likely give a talk on the last sea day and walk you through the process. Most cruise lines also provide a looped television program with detailed instructions.

Baggage TagsTip 2: Your cabin steward will provide bag tags for your luggage. These come with a number that specifies your Zone Departure number.

Tip 3: The night before the ship is due to dock, you’ll be asked to pack and leave your bags outside your stateroom door. They’ll be collected sometime during the night and staged in the customs area on the dock for inspection. Anything you do not set out, you are responsible to transport yourself. No porters available on the ship.

Tip 4: The ships typically dock early in the morning. This allows current passengers to disembark, cabin stewards to clean the rooms, and new passengers to board before the late afternoon sail time. It’s a well-oiled process. Follow directions.

Bags in hallwayTip 5: If you plan to set all your luggage out the night before – REMEMBER TO KEEP A CHANGE OF CLOTHES and any needed toiletries for the morning!

Tip 6: For those who have casino winnings in the casino bank, you’ll be notified to clear your account by a certain time.

Tip 7: If you purchase alcohol while on your vacation, it will be held for you during the course of the cruise. You’ll be notified to either pick it up, or it will be delivered to your stateroom.

Tip 8: On your in-room television, you can access your account at any time. Check it regularly. Don’t wait until that last time to dispute or question a charge. The lines will be long at the Purser’s Desk and the Information Desk.

Tip 9: Be aware that most cruise lines levy gratuities for your stateroom team and your dining team. They deserve it. They earned it. In fact, if they’re really good (as they most often are), we get envelopes from the Information Desk and leave additional tips in cash for them. You can always dispute the standard amount levied, but remember, just like wait staff in the US, these workers depend on tips. It is also customary to tip the Maitre ‘d on the last night. A token, tucked into an envelope, and handed to him when he greets you at the door is how we do it.


Tip 10: The disembarkation (or debarkation) is designed to get current passengers off as quickly as possible. Don’t buck the system – you won’t win. Those who are “Self Assist” (meaning they didn’t put any luggage out the night before and will carry all their stuff themselves) usually get to leave first. Those with morning airline connections come next, followed by afternoon airline connections. All others are usually dismissed by deck. Be patient. Go wait on the Lido Deck. Enjoy a last leisurely breakfast.

Goodbye 2Tip 11: Once you ding your Sail and Sign card in the security kiosk for the last time (yeah, it’s kind of bittersweet), you’ll traipse down the gangway and into the terminal building. There you’ll find and collect your bags (yes, you can get a porter there if you need – for a fee), and queue up in the customs line. It’s a madhouse. Be patient.

Tip 12: If you made arrangements through the cruise line for airline transportation, find your way to the buses. If you need a taxi, find the taxi queue. If you have someone picking you up, the security staff will direct you to the KISS-ride area.

Ship at nightTip 13: Last, but not least, when you arrive back home, take time to bask in the pleasure of your trip. If you had a great time, leave a comment on the cruise line website. (Some cruise lines will send you an email survey soliciting your feedback.) And tell others. Show them your souvenirs and pictures. Share your memories and excitement. Like I said in the first blog, cruising is not for everyone. You either love it or hate it. I sincerely hope you had a cruise of a lifetime!

Bon Voyage!

 P.S. Here are the “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog: E-mail to Roselle: From St. Maarten

Fay Lamb’s Interview with St. Maarten Heroine, Mercy Lacewell

Write Integrity: Voting Now Open YOU Decide the Heroine

IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Park VII

Be sure to read the next chapter in The Love Boat Bachelor:  Write Integrity:  Chapter Seven Port of Call: Barbados

What is the one thing common to every conversation you’ve had or heard about cruising? FOOD! That’s right, and I saved the best for last.

Tip 1: You could conceivably eat 24/7 on a cruise ship: Room service, early morning continental Dining 6buffet, full breakfast buffet, brunch, lunch, grills, afternoon tea, tastings, dinner in the formal dining room, buffets in the casual dining room, midnight buffets, pizza 24/7, ice cream machines, dessert bars, salad bars, deli’s, specialty stations, a steakhouse, bars where you can get snacks, a cappuccino bar – you want it, you can find it.

Tip 2: Cruise statistics claim the average cruiser will gain 1-2 pounds for each day of their cruise. Believe it. BUT, once you get past the overwhelming Dining 1gluttony stage of the first couple of days, dial back. I mean, the human body can only process so much! Be reasonable. Figure out what and where you like to eat, and keep the other meals reasonable. Just because it’s right in front of your nose doesn’t mean you have to open your mouth and shove it in. I usually keep my breakfast light—juice, milk, oatmeal, fruit. When I choose an omelet instead, I go lighter at lunch.

Tip 3: My opinion only, but the coffee they serve on cruise ships will take the enamel off your teeth! I mean, wow! Can we say strong? I tend to stick with the juice, milk, or water.

Tip 4: Sodas cost money. If you can’t live with your soda, buy the soda package. You only get sodas at the bars or through a waiter.

Dining 7Tip 5: Speaking of waiters, when you order a drink, they’ll need your Sail and Sign card to charge. (That’s why I recommend a lanyard you can wear around your neck.) Give them a tip. It’s expected. Just add it on the credit card slip. $1-$2 is sufficient, depending upon the amount.

Tip 6: Passengers are assigned an evening dining time (or you can choose “anytime dining”) in one of the more formal dining rooms. (I talked about appropriate dress in an earlier blog.) We love this experience! A 3-course, 5-star dining experience. I mean, for a whole week you geDining 4t to eat Lobster, Shrimp, Chateaubriand, Prime Rib, Ribeyes, Surf & Turf, just about any kind of seafood you can imagine, and some you can’t! And the deserts, oh my. Baked Alaska, Cherries Jubilee, Bananas Foster, Black Forest Cake, Crème Brûlée, and other specially created delicacies. This, I highly recommend.

Legend - Vernon-Andrea-BagusTip 7: When you dine in the formal dining room, you’ll have a team of 2-3 waiters to take care of you. After every cruise we’ve taken, and there’ve been a few, we come away saying the dining room staff was best ever! Wonderful people. Thoughtful, perceptive, friendly, personable, and all focused on you and your dining experience. You want two lobster tails? No problem. Want to substitute something? No problem. Something from the bar or a bottle of wine? They’ve got you covered.

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here’s today’s “Shore Excursions” connected to The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog: E-mail to Roselle: From Barbados

Fay Lamb’s Interview with Barbados Heroine, Lacy Dickinson

Betty Thomason Owens: The Love Boat Bachelor Needs You!

IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part VI

Be sure to check out the next chapter of The Love Boat Bachelor:  Write Integrity: Chapter Six Port of Call: Bonaire

You swiped your Sail and Sign card and they let you through security. Remember that feeling when you first walk on board. It’s a keeper! You find your cabin and inspect everything—from

Carnival Funtimesthe Ship Newsletter lying on your bed, the pocket-sized map that will help you find your way, closets, in-room safe, and the bathroom. Be forewarned. It’s tiny, and the shower is even smaller. And yes, the shower curtain will try to become intimate with you! No worries. You’ll tame it.

So, what’s next?

LifeboatTip 1: There will be a mandatory safety drill. All ships have them. No, you can’t get out of it. Your Sail and Sign card will indicate your Muster Station. (That’s where your assigned lifeboat is located.) Don’t worry. Crew members are strategically located to show you where to go. Be patient, and take the stairs. The drill lasts only about 15 minutes.

Tip 2: Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin and left outside the door. I recommend you take the time to unpack completely because, honestly, once you’ve settled in—you’re home! Shove the suitcases under the bed or in the closet where the life vests are stored.

Tip 3: Go exploring. Use the map provided. Find your dining room. Find the theater. Find the casino, pools, bars, spa, gift shops, library, internet café, the kids camp (if you have kids), the Promenade deck where you can walk the length of the ship without detouring, the Information Desk, Shore Excursion Desk, elevators, and anything else that strikes your fancy.Deck Map

Tip 4: Read the daily Ship Newsletters. Your cabin steward will turn your bed down each night, Bedtimeand will leave the newsletter with the next day’s activities (along with the requisite square of chocolate!). Figure out what you want to do for the next day, where and when the activities take place.

Tip 5: There’s as much or as little to do on a ship as you want. The first few cruises my honey and I took we tried to see and do everything. If that’s you—go for it! We’ve settled down over the years, and now we tend to go into “seaclusion” while aboard. That’s the beauty of sailing. You can do or not do, as you wish.

Activities 1Tip 6: If you’re a sun worshiper, there are pools for just about everyone—a fun park that kids love, and adult (serenity area) where under 18s are not allowed, and just about anything in between. Hot tubs abound, as do lounge chairs. You can find a monstrous outdoor movie screen near the main pool area, where they show poolside movies during the day (kid-friendly movies) and night (more suited to adult tastes). There are bars and grills co-located, too.

Tip 7: For the fitness lovers, there’s usually a small gym with a few pieces of equipment, a walking track (you’ll have to make a lot of laps to build distance), and several sporting-type venues (basketball, shuffleboard, etc. Some offer ice skating or wall climbing – each ship offers something different.

Welcome to BarbadosTip 8: The Cruise Director will give a “talk” on what to expect at each port of call. If you are new to cruising or new to a particular port, I highly recommend you attend these sessions. He gives some really good information about the area, shopping, shore excursions, money, do’s and don’ts, etc. The more information you have, the better your experience.

Tip 9: Onboard activities never end. Games, contests, bingo, demonstrations, tastings, lessons, auctions, sales, trivia, karaoke, sing-a-longs, dancing, drinking, swimming, sunning, eating (more about that tomorrow), and other impromptu get-togethers. They even have a library where you can read, check out books and games, or just find a tiny slice of quiet. There’s an internet café where you can use their computers (for a price), get help from a techie, and/or buy internet minutes if you have your own device (for a price). There’s also a chapel. Short worship services are often offered on Sundays and holidays.

CasinoTip 10: For you gamblers, check out your in-room TV for information about the casino. Sometimes they run different lessons for Blackjack, poker, and other table games offered. Casinos will not open while the ship is in port, only once you set sail and pass the 3-mile maritime mark. In addition to the table games offered (complete with dealers), there are a large number of slot machines. You’ll know when you get the casino because of all the ding-ding-ding, whirring, bells, and yells. And smoke. Hard to miss the smoke.

No SmokingTip 11: Speaking of smoking … there is no smoking allowed in most of the common areas of the ship—dining rooms, eateries, the theater, promenade areas, bathrooms. Mostly, it’s okay outside, in a few of the bars, and in the casino. Since fire is a real concern for any ship, you’ll hear over and over: don’t flick cigarettes over the rail!

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here’s a few more “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog:   E-mail to Roselle: From Bonaire

Fay Lamb’s: Interview with Bonaire Character, Sadie Graham: 


IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part V

(Read The Love Boat Bachelor: Write Integrity Press: Chapter Five Port of Call: Aruba)

At last, the day has arrived. Your bags are packed and tagged. Now, giddy with excitement and wide-eyed with all the new sights, sounds, and smells, you arrive at the pier. What’s next?

Welcome Aboard 4

Tip 1: Dress in comfortable clothes, especially the shoes. The first thing you’ll do is drop your bag(s) at the terminal building’s entrance—all except your carry-on(s), that is. A porter will  load your bigger stuff for delivery to your cabin later that afternoon.

Cruise TerminalNext, you’ll follow the masses inside the terminal building and line up in a queue. Remember, the cruise ship is a small city with anywhere from 1,800 to 4,000 passengers. On-boarding registration takes time. And patience.

Tip 2: While you’re in line, one of the cruise line personnel may hand out a health questionnaire. Anyone exhibiting or admitting to a recent illness will likely be examined by the ship’s doctor to determine the health risk, and if you can proceed. This is an important commitment to the health of passengers and crew alike.

Sail and Sign CardTip 3: At last, you reach the administration desk and are called forward by one of the agents. This is where you present your cruise ticket, passport, and credit card. (If you preregistered online, you might get to skip some of this part.) This is where you’ll receive your Sail & Sign card – the most important thing you’ll need while on your sailing vacation. Each cruise line has their own name for this card, but they all function the same way — as your Lanyardidentification, your credit card, your dining room table assignment, your room key, and your entry/exit card to get on and off the ship. I recommend you purchase an inexpensive lanyard in the gift shop, attach the card (and maybe your driver’s license when you go ashore), and wear around your neck. You can get the corner punched at the Information Desk, or get one with a plastic pouch.

Photography 2Tip 4: You’ll get your picture taken (it will be embedded into the Sail & Sign) card, and then you’ll pose for a whole gamut of “scenic” photos.  And finally, you’ll wind your way up the gangway to the ship. Be advised, the place will be a madhouse of confusion. Those who managed to board earlier will already be imbibing in their favorite beverages. Loud, boisterous, and packed is the name of the game.

Tip 5: Cabins are typically ready for you by the time you board. You can make your way there and drop your stuff off before you go exploring. If it’s not ready, find your way to the buffet deck (called the Lido on many ships), and enjoy a delicious lunch.

Tip 6: A mandatory safety briefing will be held before the ship sets sail. All passengers and Safety Briefingmany of the crew are required to participate in this drill. Your Sail & Sign card will show your emergency station. Your cabin steward will also advise of it, as well as the many crewmembers along the way. It’s a short, but necessary event, so be patient. Not long after, the ship’s horn will sound and you’re on your way!

Welcome AboardTip 7: It’s usually a pretty amazing sight to watch the departure from one of the upper decks. With a setting sun and a receding shoreline, your adventure is about to begin.

Bon Voyage!

Here’s a few more “Shore Excursions” I think you’ll enjoy from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog: E-mail to Roselle: From Aruba

 Joan Deneve:  Interview on Quid Pro Quills

 Julie Arduini:  Least Likely Cruise Heroine Part 2

Fay Lamb’s On the Ledge: Port of Call: Aruba with Alyssa LaRoche


IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part IV

Another heroine awaits on The Love Boat Bachelor: Chapter Four Port of Call: Limon, Costa Rica

Okay, what do I pack? How much can I take?

It’s taken me thirty years to figure out that when it comes to packing — LESS is BETTER!

BaggageTip 1: You can take as much stuff as you want, but remember – if you fly, excess baggage costs. A lot. And if you’re driving, excess baggage can be a bear to manage. My advice is, keep it simple. (Don’t be this person in the picture.)

Tip 2: Sandals rule on cruises. Flip-flops, too. Especially while you’re on the cruise ship. There’s carpeting aboard, but also slick tile and marble, Flip Flopswooden decking, and don’t forget the wet areas. Add in occasional rolling seas, and … well, save the killer stilettos for the dressy dinners. Heels do NOT fare well on slick surfaces, and most of your ports of call will have pot-holes and unimproved roads/sidewalks. Keep it simple. Wear sensible, comfortable shoes. You’re on vacation. There’s no one you need to impress. Relax. Enjoy yourself.

Tip 3: You’ll need something nicer for the dining room. There are many dining Cruise diningoptions on a cruise ship (more about that later). In the main dining room where dinner seating times are assigned, casual attire is frowned upon. Long pants/collared shirt/nice shoes for men and slacks/dress/no flip-flops for ladies. (Guys, don’t forget your socks!) There will also be one or two “formal” nights during the cruise where the passengers and wait-staff dress up. This can be as fancy as tux/sequins, or just shirt/tie and Sunday best. It’s all good. Just don’t show up in cut-offs and deck shoes and expect to be served. Bad taste.Caribbean - Bird

In the more casual dining areas, anything goes. People filter in and out from the swimming pools to the buffet dining area all day (and night) long. Just do everyone a favor. If you’re in a swimsuit, put on a cover-up before you parade through where people are trying to eat.

Tip 4: So in addition to sandals, something nicer for evenings in the main dining room, and swimwear, casual wear rules: shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, etc. Just remember to dress in relation to the locale. Our favorite purchase is a t-shirt from each port of call. We’ll wear Panama and St. Thomas while in Curacao, or Jamaica and Key West while in Barbados. S’all good!

Tip 5: Most cruise ships have washers/dryers available on each cabin deck for passengers to use. Bring coins to run the machines and purchase detergent/fabric softener. Or you can choose valet service. (Check with your Cabin Steward.) There’s an extra charge for these services which will be applied to your account. (More about this later.)

Tip 6: Check your cruise line’s website for their dress code and recommendations. A small medicine kit can be helpful, as well as sunglasses, hats/visors, and sun screen. Hair dryers are typically provided in each stateroom, as well as shampoo, body wash, and soap. Some ships offer free samples of toothpaste, shaving gel, razors, etc., but these vary.

Tip 7: There is a small sundries store available (usually part of the gift shop) where you can purchase a few common amenities, but be aware the selection is extremely limited.Baggage 4

So, you ask, what do I do? Depends on the length of the cruise, but typically my husband and I take one large suitcase (get the ones with four wheeled base; they’re easier to maneuver) and one carryon bag each. In my carryon I’ll pack a change of clothes, jewelry, medicine, money, important documents, electronics, and my computer. Who knows what he carries in his—this is what I need to get by in the event my big suitcase doesn’t show. This, by the way, has never happened.

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here are some other “Shore Excursions” you might enjoy from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog:  E-mail to Roselle: From Limon Costa Rica

Fay Lamb’s On the Ledge: Port of Call: Limon, Costa Rica with Renee Kessler


IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part III

Reminder: Be sure to read Chapter Three of The Love Boat Bachelor today for free. Once you’ve read about all the neat ladies in this story, you can help Brent choose his love.

Today’s Port of Call: Grand Cayman Chapter Three Port of Call: Grand Cayman

Biggest cruise shipThe day has finally arrived. You’re at the pier. You handed off your luggage, made it through registration, and now you’re winding your way along the gangway … only to stop and stare at the biggest ship you have ever seen. Awe inspiring! So, what do you do on a cruise ship?

Tip 1: The cruise line will send you a packet of information within a month prior to your sail date. BE SURE YOU GO THROUGH THIS INFORMATION. READ ticket

This packet can include everything from your tickets, dining times, stateroom number, baggage tags, and basic information about the cruise and ports of call. There will likely be paperwork to be completed, also. Some cruise lines offer an online submission form (for things like passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc.). BE SURE YOU COMPLETE EVERYTHING.

Tip 2: Make paper copies of your passport, driver’s license, and credit cards. Leave one copy at home. Keep another copy with you while on your cruise – but not in your wallet. The idea is, in the event you lose your wallet or purse, you’ll need these copies to report the numbers. (You should do this for any type of travel. Imagine having your purse stolen in say, India. You don’t speak the language. They’ve take your passport, credit cards, and likely any money you had. Can it get any harder?)

Tip 3: Check out the shore excursions offered by the cruise line. Review them. Decide which, if any, you want to take. Often, the more popular shore excursions offered sell out in pre-Shore Excursion Ticketsregistration. If you see one you like – book it. Otherwise, you can always wait until you board. Ship-sanctioned shore excursions can be purchased via your in-room television, or at the Shore Excursions Desk (look for posted hours).

Many people prefer to not take shore excursions. Some prefer to amble about on their own. Be assured, the ship’s Cruise Director will offer several talks about what to see/buy in each port. The crew will also offer maps of the immediate area around the port.

Others prefer to book excursions outside of the ship. There will be many local options available, usually at a much reduced price than what is offered by the cruise line. While you will more than likely save money on these tours, be advised the cruise line takes no responsibility. With their sanctioned tours, the cruise line will watch over you like a mother hen.

Besides the various local tours offered, many taxi drivers can be incented to give you a “guided tour.”

Tip 4: Activities on board range from dining, dancing, shows, gambling, art auctions, wine pairings, towel-folding demonstrations, tours of the bridge and galley, dance classes, bingo, swimming, spas, sports, sports bars, card games, yoga, fitness, movies, cocktail parties, DJs, karaoke, talent shows, drawings, giveaways, cooking demonstrations, internet café, library, board games, and I could go and on. The main thing to remember is—this is your time. You can do as much or as little as you want!!

Activities 1Activities 2 Activities 3


Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here are some more “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog: E-mail to Roselle: From Grand Cayman

Julie Arduini:   Least Likely Cruise Heroine Part 1

 Fay Lamb’s On the Ledge:  Port of Call: Grand Cayman with Eliana Grayson


IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser – Part II

(Don’t forget to read the daily chapter from The Love Boat Bachelor at Write Integrity Press:   Chapter Two Port of Call: Cozumel

So, you did your research, found a crazy good deal, and booked your first cruise. Now what?

PassportTip 1: Get a passport. Most ports will require you present a passport and, if you don’t already have one, you need to get started right away. These things take time.

Apply for a Passport

Tip 2: If you’re flying to the port of embarkation, book your airfare.

Most ships begin the boarding process the day of departure in the early afternoon. They typically allow a window of 3-4 hours to move 1,500-4,000 passengers through the lines in anticipation of a late afternoon or evening sailing. Be sure to check with your cruise line for this information.

Many cruisers fly in the morning of departure. This works fine—as long as you have no airplane boardingwoes or other unforeseeable travel delays. Lost baggage can also be an issue. And because we missed two sail dates due to mechanical issues, we now try to fly in the day before. The cost of a night in a hotel near the pier more than offsets the anxiety of too-tight deadlines.

In fact, when distance allows, we like to drive in a day or so before, and do some sightseeing in the home port area. Many hotels around the piers will offer a Park & Cruise package that allows you to leave your vehicle in their secured parking. The hotels also offer transportation to and from the pier.  It sure makes embarkation more enjoyable!

Cruisers with luggageTip 3: Examine your luggage. Do you have what you need? If not, now is the time to purchase. Larger baggage items are tagged, taken, and will be delivered to your stateroom sometime after boarding. Determine what items you need to keep with you, i.e., electronics, money, cameras, medicines, etc. I recommend a carry-on bag of some sort, something that is easy to handle without being a weighty burden. And add a change of clothes, shaving gear, and cosmetics … just in case.

Bon Voyage!

Here are some more “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Betty Thomason Owens:   Behold I Am Doing a New Thing

Marji Laine’s blog:   E-mail to Roselle: From Cozumel

Fay Lamb’s On the Ledge:     Port of Call: Cozumel with Nora Laing

IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser – Part I

CruiToday begins the promotional launch for a new multi-author novella called The Love Boat Bachelor. As part of this joint effort, I thought I would explain some of the process and offer a little cruising advice for those new to the sport … and hopefully take some of the mystery and angst out of your dream vacation!

Cruising 101Cruising is not for everyone. Some love it. Some hate it. But very few are ambivalent about the experience. And until you try it, you won’t know.

Below are a few suggestions to help you make the decision to set sail … or not.

Tip 1: If you are a first-time cruiser, I encourage you to learn everything you can about cruising BEFORE you sign on. After all, anticipation is half the fun! And Google is your friend.

Tip 2: There are tons of blogs out there. Read them. Check Trip Adviser. Talk with friends who have cruised, and ask them to recount their favorite cruise memories … and their worst.

Here are the Top Ten Travel Blogs as voted by USA Today:

John Heald               

Matt Hochberg       

Anita Dunham-Potter

Scott Sanders          

Chris Gray Faust      

Jim Walker               

Fran Golden             

Chris Owen              

Danielle Fear           

Sherry Laskin           

Tip 3: I highly recommend you start out with a short cruise. If you determine you don’t like vacationing on the high seas, it’s easier to grit your teeth and bear it through 2 or 3 days than 7 or 8. Shorter cruises generally cost less, too, so you won’t feel like you have wasted your time and money. And if you decide you do like cruising, hey, you’ll be raring to go!

Tip 4: Figure out where you want to go. A cruise to Alaska will offer a vastly different experience than one to the Southern Caribbean.

Tip 5: Pick the right cruise line. If you bring kids along, they’ll be bored to tears (and you might be a little embarrassed) on a romantic cruise. Likewise, if you’re honeymooning, stay away from the cruises that pander to kids.

Tip 6: Be sure to check the cruise line website for “Things to Know before You Go.”

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here are some “Shore Excursions” for The Love Boat Bachelor (TLBB):

Marji Laine blog: E-mail to Roselle: Day 1 At Sea

Fay Lamb:  AuthorJerusha Agen Discusses Her Brainchild, The Love Boat Bachelor

Julie Arduini: Cruising Experiences

Marji Laine: Interviewed on Lena Nelson Dooley’s Blog

Marji Laine: Interview on Carole Towriss blog: 8 Reasons Romance is a Joke


TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS – Final Sea Day (Drat!)

Sunday, September 21st – Almost to Sydney

We booked this South Pacific cruise a year ago. A dream cruise. A vacation of a lifetime. How much fun it has been waiting for the departure date to arrive. Anticipation. Sometimes it can be more fun than the real thing. But not this time.

This trip—from the airplane ride Atlanta > Salt Lake City > Long Beach; boarding the ship in Long Beach; a stop at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico followed by 7 straight sea days (I think I love these the most); crossing the equator (Pollywog to Shellback); crossing the international date line and skipping September 15th; our stops at Tahiti, Moo’rea, and Bora Bora in French Polynesia; Fiji and New Caledonia; another 2 sea days and tomorrow–Sydney.

Every one of these destinations deserve a month spent exploring and learning about the different cultures, seeing all they have to offer, getting to know the people. Maybe a year. Alas, we take what we can get. It’s been special.

But enough of “over” talk. We’ve still got 5 days in Australia. For now, G’day Mate and bring it on!Towel -

Today’s cool towel creature … hmmmm … a dog?

(Amazing. Twenty-three days at sea and our cabin steward never repeated a single creature!)


Saturday, September 20th – Almost to Sydney

Today and tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to savor them. Enjoy them. Live my “sea day” routine again. Alas, not to be.

The Australian Immigration Department came aboard in Noumea. This afternoon will be spent standing in line, awaiting our turn to present our passports and customs declarations to these officials. Aaarrrgg. Our deck (Level 7) is scheduled from 1:00-2:00pm. In reality, we hung out in the nearby lounge, reading, until the line finally dissipated around 4:00pm. We joined the end of the line and breezed through. Not my first choice of reading locations, but not bad either.
My honey, of course, is … how do I say this … chatty. Doesn’t know a stranger. He met his match this afternoon, but I have to say it was very enlightening.

An Aussie sat down with us. He didn’t think much of standing in line for two hours either. We learned quite a few do’s and don’ts while visiting Australia. Very friendly chap. Most of the Aussies we’ve met tend to be a little on the acerbic side. Not really caustic, but with a very (very!) dry sense of humor. This gentleman had been with Americans too long, because he was mellow to the nth degree! Very enjoyable.

Today’s towel creature … a bathing beauty?


Towel - Bathing Beautyature …