Smooth Sailing: How You Can Cruise Through Embarkation Day

The day is finally here! Your ship has arrived and it's time to head for the port. You should be able to cruise through embarkation day, right? While embarking on your cruise is something people look forward to for months, it can also be a little stressful. Last minute packing, transportation snafus, unexpected issues, and long lines can turn an exciting day into chaos. If you are anything like my husband, all you'll want to do once you are in your stateroom is take a nap (and yes, I bugged him about shoes on the bed). However, there are some things you can do in advance to make your sail-away day more enjoyable and less tiring. It just requires a bit of planning, being prepared, and a good sense of how embarkation day works!

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Cruise Formal Night Dresses for Under $100!

I am an unabashed bargain hunter, but I also love a glamorous dress! Consequently, I am excited to share my tips for finding a gorgeous cruise formal night dress for under $100! There are many places you can find quality on a budget, but it requires work. I've scoured discount stores, sale racks of department stores, and even catalogs. I've even gone the eBay route which is a little hit and miss. If you go that route, you ideally know the brand, are positive the dress is flawless, and the seller has a solid return policy in case it doesn't work for you. Also, I want to see photos of the actual dress, not the one they found online from the original retailer.
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What to Wear on Formal Night

Planning for formal night aboard your cruise can be both challenging and a little intimidating. You want to feel great, but you also want to fit in. Also in consideration is suitcase space and budget. After attending many cruise formal nights, viewing photos, and reading every major cruise line's attire guidelines, I've come up with three recommendations that should cover what to wear on formal night. There are even options for those on a budget!
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What We Spent on Our Last Cruise

I remember seeing the final cruise charge statement awaiting our attention the night before debarking from our last cruise. As usual, I snatched the statement out of the mail slot and played the "Guess How Much We Spent" game with my husband Don.  Clearly, we aren't ones for keeping an eye on our expenses during the trip. I knew his guess of $800 seemed low to me, but I was still a bit shocked when I saw that the grand total was about twice that: $1660. Over the course of 11 days, all of those little purchases, drinks at the bar, and pulls at the slot machine can add up and become a bit of a blur.  Also, it's sort of easy to lose track when everything is paid for with an innocent-looking little piece of plastic that doesn't even bear the name Visa or MasterCard. I mean, it's just a room key, right? In all seriousness, we had a wonderful time and collected memories and had experiences that we will never forget. For first-time cruises or just the curious, read on to learn what we spent on our last cruise as well as get our opinions on what was totally worth it, what was just a necessity, and what we regretted.
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Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: The Buffet

Believe it or not, the buffet is actually a great place to save calories on your cruise. You control what you eat, how much, and when. In part two of our series "Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise", we will show you how to be smart and make the buffet your best bet for controlling your weight on a cruise with healthy options.
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Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: The Dining Room

If you are new to cruising, you are probably not aware that every night, in the dining room, you will be treated to a four (or more) course meal. Generally, you select from an appetizer, a selection of soup and salads, an entree, and a desert. Factor in the basket of rolls on the table and the periodic appearance of a palate-cleansing sorbet and you are looking at a whole lotta calories. Using popular calorie-counting sites like Fat Secret and Calorie King, I put together calorie content of a typical dining room meal using counts from restaurants. A typical dining room meal of a dinner roll with butter, escargot, side Caesar salad, prime rib, a baked potato, and cheesecake will set you back about 2300 calories. Yikes. What can you do to stop the caloric insanity? In part three of our series "Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: The Dining Room" we give you our best advice for keeping those extra pounds away.
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Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: Tips

In 2008, after struggling with my weight for most of my life, I finally found something that worked for me and lost 70 pounds.  Since maintaining weight loss can be just as hard, if not harder, than losing it, I have developed my own strategies to keep it off and still enjoy my cruise. And trust me, I am not one for deprivation and definitely love my food and drink. Food is everywhere on a cruise, it's unlimited, it's free, and you are encouraged to overindulge so it's not that surprising that the average cruiser gains about 8 pounds on a week-long cruise. That's as much as the average adult gains over the entire course of the holiday season. So, how can you avoid gaining weight on your cruise or at least minimize the damage?
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