Andrea & John were born for travel and entertainment.

Come watch what we do, what we've done, where we've been, and what we suggest you do, too. Everyone should have a bucket list. We only have one life to live, so go out there and find a way to enjoy it -- on any budget! Our motto has ALWAYS been: life's short, play hard! See our YouTube site!

Although we always had fun, we have now learned how to travel at wholesale or below or FREE HERE.

See for yourself ... We used to book on many travel sites, but now we save a LOT of money on all our online travel through this low-cost booking engine: SAVE $$$ (Hotels and Flights are LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEED or you get back 150% of the difference!)

Happy Travels!

Leisure Travel Consultants
WorldVentures Double-Directors and $100K LTE Earners
~Andrea Feldman Walen & John Walen

Vacation King and Queen helping you become a Vacation Ninja, too!


Cruise Tips

Taking a cruise?  Here are some tips for you!

To date, including our December 2015 cruise, Andrea will have been on 32 -- 36 total for John-- so we know our way around cruising.  

  • Bring a power strip.  On most ships, there's only one outlet in the whole room.  (Keep in mind that some ships are now cracking down on these, as it could be a possible fire hazard, so it could get confiscated!)
  • Don't forget your passport!  Some cruise lines don't require one, but should you "accidentally" get stuck in another country, you'd want to be able to get back home!  Accidents can happen!  (Should have at LEAST 6 months left on it to be considered "valid.")
  • You may want to drive or fly in the night before.  Cruises will NOT wait for you if you're late or forgot your ID.  (That goes for when you're in port, too.  If you miss the ship, you'll have to fly to the next port and could face big fines, too!)
  • Pack a small carry-on bag for the last day. On the last night of the cruise, you have to leave your luggage out in the hallway, so you'll need an overnight bag to walk off with the next day.
  • Check each cruise line's rules ... some of them allow you to bring on water, soda, and/or wine and champagne.  Carnival just started NOT allowing you to bring on water, but you can buy it in advance and have it shipped to your room for a good price.  That's easier, anyway!
  • The childcare is an awesome option for parents to be able to have some alone time.  The kids will love it!
  • If you want a good seat at the shows, you need to arrive at LEAST 30-45 minutes early.
  • If your ship doesn't offer freestyle/anytime dining, you'll have a choice of early or late dining.  Early dining is typically 6pm with shows at 8pm.  Late dining is typically 8:15pm with shows at 6pm.  (We prefer early dining, as it leaves the whole evening open for FUN!)
  • It's convenient to carry a large insulated mug with a lid.  Then you can enjoy carrying hot or cold drinks around with you, instead of using their little 8-ounce cups and mugs.
  • Men must have pants for some dining rooms.  Cruising has gotten more and more casual, but a few fine dining options have a dress code.  Some formal restaurants require a jacket for men.
  • If you want to sit with friends at dinner, make sure to arrange that AT LEAST a week BEFORE you sail.  You will need to send each of your booking numbers to your travel agent to link all your bookings together.   Seating changes are near to impossible to change after boarding.
  • If you want to leave some stuff home, the bathrooms are stocked with soaps, shampoo, and conditioner.  There is a blow-dryer "somewhere" in the room -- usually hidden in a drawer or desk in the main room near a mirror.  You can't use your own blowdryer anyway, as it will short out the electric!
  • Don't bring an iron or any sort of electric heater, as it WILL be confiscated.  There are laundry and ironing facilities on most, if not all, ships.  Carnival usually charges about $3 for laundry detergent and $3 for drying.  (You may want to bring your own small detergent, if laundry is important to you.)
  • Short cruises typically have 1 formal night; longer cruises (7 or more days) have 2 formal nights.  You can dress up as much as you want.  Anything goes ... business casual, right up to evening gowns and tuxes.  Many cruise lines are opting out of formal nights altogether.
  • Cruise lines now have you print your own luggage tags.  I suggest putting them on and/or inside EVERYTHING you own, in case you misplace a bag (put one in your purse, briefcase, beach bag, camera bag, iPad, etc.)
  • You now MUST check in online.  Once that's done, print and bring your boarding passes along with you.  Don't forget your passport!
  • Children do NOT travel free on cruises.  Makes no sense, but even infants count as passengers.  Almost all cruise lines have a 6-month-old minimum age restriction.  There are 4 people maximum to a cabin.  (Some inside cabins are only configured for a maximum of 2, so you can't even add a person later on if the cruise is sold out.)
  • Each night, you will receive a custom newsletter listing the next day's activities.  There's lots to do, so plan your day ahead so you don't miss anything.  Great tip:  If you carry your cell phone for picture-taking, circle all the things you want to do, and then take a picture of your itinerary, so it's always handy.
  • Turn your cell phones to "Airplane Mode" and "WiFi Only" so you don't get charged roaming fees.  Even though there is no cell service at sea, the second your phone "can" connect, you don't want to be charged.  It can easily and quickly run in the the hundreds of dollars if you forget!  (Many ports have free WiFi, so you can check Internet stuff like Facebook and email, but not texts, as that's the phone line.)
  • Plan your shows and excursions online before boarding.  Many events sell out.  (But ... if you choose your excursions first, you have to pay for them up front.  If you choose your excursions while on-board, you won't pay until you leave.)
  • You will be charged a per-day, per-person charge for gratuities.  Typically, $11-$12 per day will be added on to your bill at the end of the cruise.  These people work HARD for that little money.  Most of their income is tips.  Feel free to give your cabin steward and Maitre'd a little extra in an envelope at the end of your cruise.  (Envelopes are available at Guest Services in the main lobby.)
  • If you bring your own wine, open it in your room and bring it with you to dinner.  If you bring it to dinner, you will be charged a $15 "corking" fee -- even if it's a cheap screw-top.  Go figure!
  • The walls are made of metal, so you can bring magnetic hooks with you, if you want to hang your lanyards and hats, etc.
  • There's no clock in the room.  If you're still in the prehistoric ages and don't have a cell phone clock, bring a little clock and/or nightlight with you.
  • There are NEVER enough hangers in the closets.   It's easy and lightweight enough to pack your clothes ON the hangers.  Then just pull them out, and you're already unpacked!
  • The beds are raised so you can store your empty suitcases under your bed.  The rooms are TINY, so you need all the space you can get!
  • Make sure to call your credit card companies and banks to let them know all the States, Cities, and Countries you'll be traveling in so as not to have your cards denied for fraud.  Set up a "travel alert" with your banks.
  • Bring a credit card or debit card or cash (handed in before the cruise -- no cash onboard) to keep on file for all your charges.  You can then leave it in the room safe, as your room key will be your charge card, too.  (On that note, you may want to "turn off" charging abilities for kids in case they misplace their room key.)   
  • You need CASH for the islands and taxis and tips.  Bring lots of SMALL bills!  
  • You may opt to bring a lanyard/holder to wear around your neck to carry your room key/charge card for convenience. 
  • Many excursions are WAY cheaper (sometimes 50% or more) to book on your own versus booking through the cruise lines ... BUT keep in mind ... the cruise line is then NOT responsible for you ... AND if your excursion comes back late, they will NOT wait for you.  So, it's at your own risk (but, you DO save a LOT of money).  Some of your activities can be booked at a discount here: -- click on the "activities" button.
  • Towels easily blow away on lounge chairs on the decks and beaches.  You can find beach hooks or giant clips to hold them down. They sell some cute ones online, like ones that look like flip-flops or flamingos. 
  • Pack bug spray if you're going to go horseback riding or hiking or anywhere on grass. 
  • Take lots of pictures and HAVE FUN!  

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