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Here's a few tips:

CRUISE LINES. There are many Cruise Lines from which to choose and over the years we have used Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess, but now we mostly use Celebrity. Each cruise line has their own uniqueness and selection of a cruise line is dependent on the destinations and shore excursions available and of course the costs. Using an individual travel agent has several benefits, one of which is that they do all of the option searching on your behalf but they are not responsible for any trip interruptions that may occur along the way. You're on your own. You can call them for assistance, but we found we are better served by dealing directly with the carrier involved. Once you find a cruise line you like, it is prudent to use that line as often as possible. That way you build up loyalty points and get increased perks as the points accumulate.

COMMENTS There are several companies that coordinate cruises, but we subscribe to a company called Crucon at There are no booking fees and subscription is free. This company services many cruise lines where you can shop through their offers, destinations, shore excursions, dates and so on and select the one which you feel would meet your desires. Most cruise lines usually offer some enticing perks ($200 or more on-board credits, free gratuities, free drink packages, free WI-fi and more). Crucon usually adds a bit more to the cruise line perks so one can end up with some good deals.

Stateroom selection can be touchy because you probably won't want to spend more money for a balcony on an Alaskan or Repositioning cruise where there is really nothing to see but the sea. But that's your choice.

Most departue destinations require transportation either to the cruise port, return home from the cruise port or both, so many cruise lines offer Choice Air, who provide reduced air fare as an add-on to the cruise. You can normally select the carrier (Air Canada, Westjet or whomever they offer) and your departure and return dates. This has the benefit of having the cruise line responsible for any interruptions and it's less expensive. BUT they may not allow seat selection or upgrades.

Once we have decided on the cruise in which we are interested, we call Crucon at 1-800-493-6609 and speak with one of their agents. We try to use the same one each time.

We subscribe to and became members of many Hotel chains (it's free), so we book all our own hotels by dealing directly with the selected hotel. CARP offers reduced prices with the Wyndam chain of hotels. Wherever possible select hotels that have an Airport and/or cruise port shuttle.

To avoid the stress of harried or missed connections, we also suggest that you book to arrive at least one day earlier and at least one day later than the departure and arrival dates.

Along with medical and trip interruption documents, always carry an up to date list of phone numbers for each provider. Travel insurance can be very costly, so we use Johnston (Medoc). It's a group plan so no pre-existing conditions apply for travel under 40 days per trip. Go to and check it out for your individual status, cost and coverage.


Flights. You can book a multi-city flight which provides you the option of spending some time in a variety of cities. For example, we are booked on a flight from Victoria to Winnipeg where we will spend a few days, then off to Kingston for a few more days (reunion) then onward to St Johns NL for a few more days and then back to Victoria. All on one itinerary. Cool!

For you tall people, if you can, select an exit seat on the plane. More leg room. Also moving up one notch from peon class makes the trip more comfortable, but more expensive as well.

Baggage. Because you are a veteran, Air Canada and Westjet will permit one free bag per flier. Advise the carrier of this perk when you book. Some cruise lines will give some additional room credits for veterans, but it is usually for US vets. Let Crucon know your status and try it anyway!

Cell Phones. If you don't have roaming on your cell, you can purchase a roaming chip for about $10 from London Drugs which will last for a year, but as long as you use it during that year, it will not need to be replaced. We've had ours since 2014. By logging in to Roam Mobility you can purchase selected plans and days for use in the USA for about $4 per day. We normally only select the arrival and departure days.

Money. When you check in, you will be issued with a Sea Pass card which is directly accounted to your credit card and any on-board credits you may have been given. It is used to pay for all purchases you make while on board and is also used as an ID for departing and re-boarding the ship. Some photo ID (driver's license for example) is sometimes also needed to re-board the ship.

At the end of the cruise all expenses are automatically charged to your credit card or you may settle using cash.

Nearly all countries will accept your credit card or US dollars, but before we go we try to purchase pesos and other local funds as necessary for day excursions and purchases while ashore.


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