I know many people who have
enjoyed this type of vacation, but I'm amazed how so many people I've spoken to
have said, "I got a great deal", when in fact....they didn't get one at
Just how do you get the "best
Simple...use some common sense AND do a little homework before you book one.
Right off the bat...you SHOP AROUND and become familiar with the market.
A cruise is a cruise, no matter
where you buy it.
Here are some common beliefs.....
through the cruise line is best".
travel agent gets me the best deal".
"Booking early gets you the best price".
Let's clarify those
I started cruising about 30 years
ago and at last count, I've been on over 50 cruises. Only two of them...the
first two, did I book through a travel agent.
Then I became familiar with the
internet...and got the shock of my "cruising"
...and since that time, I've used
the internet ever since...and have never regretted
The moral of
that story....don't be afraid of the
Booking directly through the cruise
line "early" normally gets you a "brochure rate" that is well above what you may be paying at a later date.
The only advantage in booking early is choice of cabin
location and a specific dining time.
Many cruise lines will offer "past
passenger specials"...they'll show you the "brochure" price, but "because you're
such a valued customer"...and of course, if "you act NOW", they'll give you the
deal of a lifetime".
So...my first suggestion is determining where you want to go...and
Are you looking for that "once in a
....are you just looking to "get away" for a
Many seniors fall into the second
category. They no longer work, and are available to go whenever the right time
and PRICE appears.
...and if you're in that "I just
want to get away " category, I'm going to explain just how to get that "best
So....considering where you live, it's not that far to Los Angeles or San Diego, nor is it all that far to San
And...if it's a "get away" trip, check out a cruise that departs from one of these ports and...
..don't fly...drive to
Think about this for a moment. From
Las Vegas to any of the above cities, the round trip airfare is at best...once
you add on all the extras, a minimum of $250 p/person.
So..before you even get to the port,
if there are two of you, you've "kissed off" $500.
If you MUST
DON'T BUY THE
AIRFARE from the travel agent or cruise line.
The only advantage if you do, is
that they guarantee the ship won't leave without you.
...and we haven't even discussed the
"fun" of flying !
...weight restrictions on luggage
and having to place the "explosive" toothpaste and
mouthwash in plastic baggies...
...getting there 2 hours early,
waiting in line, being frisked, and waiting and waiting and waiting...to take
...only to get there and wait again
for the luggage...
...and pay for a cab or shuttle to
That "quickie" flight, when all is considered, will take about 5-6
Here's an alternative.
DRIVE...but don't drive your own car.
Rent a one-way drop.
Pick up the
car at about 3:30pm in the afternoon the day before you leave, go home, get a
good night's sleep, and then instead of going to the airport for that
"early" flight...leave home about 6:00am-7:00am getting to San Diego or Los Angeles
in about 4-5 hours...
...about the same time as the plane
would have taken to arrive.
Cost of a one way "drop" is about
$50-$75 each way (if you start to search early, as prices change daily on car rentals) plus about $50 in gas for a total of about $125. Round trip is
about $200-$250...for both of you.
You drop the car near the pier and
the car rental agency either shuttles you to the port---FREE of charge...or you
cab it for a few bucks.
Other than saving you
.... you pack whatever
... put it in the
...and casually see the sights
on the way, stopping...when you have to stop...and eating what you want to eat
and where you want to eat.
Same (or probably less) amount of time than flying...but with
When is the best time to get the best deal?
Usually about 90 days prior to the sailing.
Why? Most travel agencies have to turn in their unsold inventories about that time, and it's the last date for payment to avoid a cancellation fee.
...the cruise companies no longer have to honor any "lowest price guarantee" because the final date of payment has passed, and the travel agencies will have to return their unsold inventories back to the cruise company.
So what happens ?
The real deals begin !
Price reductions, on board ship credits, prepaid gratuities, specialty dinners on the ship often come in bunches....to fill up the ship before departure !
So...there you have it....little common sense thoughts travel agents will never mention that can save you big bucks...and...avoid some of the more common hassles in your cruising experience.
Been retired and feeling
like life is passing you by too quickly?
From USA Today
Five Top Stressors in Retirement
How to Cope
Amit Sood, author of "The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free
Living", says the keys to lowering your
stress include creatively tackling your stressors, having an attitude of
gratitude, accepting people, especially your spouse, for who they are, and being
kind to others and yourself.
Socialization is also a great way to ward off stress, says Steve Brody, a psychologist in Cambria, Calif., who works with retirees. He's the co-author of "Renew Your Marriage at Midlife" written with his wife, Cathy Brody."We are social creatures, so we need to stay connected with others."
It's important to deal with stressors because your chances of a heart attack, stroke, cancer or early death are lower if you have less stress, says Sood, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Five common stressors in
retirement and ways to cope with them:
experience stress from living on a fixed income, Brody says. They worry that
they won't be able to take care of themselves or their
Beware of "awfulizing and "catastrophizing" your
situation," Brody says. Change your way of thinking. Instead of telling
yourself, you won't be able to make ends meet, think, "I don't have as much
money as I'd like, but I have $2,500 a month, and I can live on
Adds Sood: Be grateful for what you have, and if
necessary, simplify your life. You might consider getting a smaller home — it's
less expensive and easier to maintain. Consider getting a part-time
2. Health worries.
Health problems and changes in insurance coverage can
create enormous stress, Sood says.
Take care of your body by eating a healthful diet,
exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and getting preventive care, Sood
says. Don't become overly focused on your health and spend all your time
obsessing about it, he says. Play the hand you have. Embrace life's
uncertainties by letting go of the uncontrollable, he says. "We have to accept
the changes happening in the body and be grateful for the good health we have
and the medical care we have received."
You may have to deal with the ill health of your
spouse, a parent or other relative. Being a caregiver, particularly for
illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease that involve cognitive impairment, has
been shown to be extremely stressful. The stress tends to accumulate for long
periods of time, years typically, and affects the health and functioning of the
The No. 1 strategy is getting help from others,
including relatives, friends and professionals. You should become informed about
the condition and how to deal with it. On the positive side, you know you are
easing the suffering of someone close to you.
have not reconciled their differences with their spouse or learned to accept the
other person for who they are, Sood says. Some retirees feel lonely and isolated
after leaving colleagues, and others don't get to spend as much time with their
kids and grandkids as they'd like, Brody adds.
Learn to accept your spouse and others for who they
are, Sood says. Work on forgiveness. You don't want to close your life with lots
of hurts, he says. "The magic of retirement is having the time to nurture
One of the keys to interacting with kids and grandkids
is give them space, and when you are with them try to help and support them with
their daily chores, he says.
Adds Brody: Adult children have a lot going on in their
lives. Being aware of that can help you adjust your expectations so you don't
end up nagging them or getting depressed over not seeing them
This is a time
of enormous change. You are leaving your job and friendships with colleagues and
finding new things to do, Sood says.
Realize that your brain's reward center likes variety,
so give yourself a variety of experiences, Sood says. "Let your best friends not
be the TV, refrigerator or couch. Let your best friends be real people, books
and sports shoes."
Treat your first year in retirement as if you are
"interning" to give yourself time to readjust and set new expectations, he says.
Find meaning in new passions, including possibly using your work skills in a new
job or volunteer work.
Brody says three keys to a successful retirement are
finding a sense of purpose for yourself, structuring your day and replacing the
social connections you lost when you retired. Also, if you can retire gradually,
going to a half-time job for a year before fully retiring, it's easier to
acclimate, he says.
Nurture your spiritual values, which may mean
developing a deeper connection with your faith, Sood says. "Live your life
fully, and say your 'I love you' every day." Most importantly, do not postpone
joy and do not bypass kindness."