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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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What to Wear on a Cruise: Sail Away

What to Wear on a Cruise: Sail Away


What to Wear on a Cruise: Sail Away

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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Should I Go On a Cruise?

Over the years, my husband and I have been asked this question countless times. As much as we love to go on cruises, cruising is not for everyone.

  • Are you OK with just sampling a new location? If you are the type who wants to thoroughly experience a new city, cruising generally just gives you a taste. However, some look at a cruise as a way of sampling a new potential vacation destination.
  • Does the idea of laying around doing next to nothing for a whole day (or more) appeal to you? While the crew does their best to keep passengers engaged on days at sea, the activities might not always appeal. For me, watching the waves go by while I soak up the sun with a good book is the epitome of vacation bliss. If you are someone who enjoys a more active vacation, simply look for cruises that offer limited sea days and back-to-back port visits.
  • Do you get seasick? While cruise ships have structural and engineering innovations that lessen the feeling of a ship’s movement, you are still going to know you are on the water. And, if the swells are high, you are going to feel a substantial amount of rocking. There are patches, supplements, and medications you can use to mitigate nausea, but they may not work for you.

The bottom line is that you probably won’t know if a cruise is something you will enjoy until you actually experience one for yourself. There are shorter duration trips you can take that will allow you to experience a cruise without committing to a seven day sailing. Three and four day coastal trips are common on the west coast and you can book five day trips to the Caribbean out of Florida and Texas.


What to Pack for a Cruise: My List of Essentials

Whether you consider it a dream or an inconvenience, much of what we consider normal or take for granted on land is  stripped away on a cruise ship. You can’t drive to the corner store to pick up something you need, your cell phone’s only real function is as a camera, and neither your cash nor your credit cards have any value on board (but I still would recommend keeping those safe). Weird, right?

Consequently, cruisers have come up with lists of items that make life on a ship just a little bit more like home. While I don’t claim to have anything truly innovative, the following items are on my list of what to pack for a cruise.

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