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TJ!

Genuine curiosity of your lifestyle

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I own my own business and my wife gets ~4 weeks of PTO per year.  We prioritize that time off for cruises.  We are firmly in the "experiences" vs. "stuff" camp, so we put our money towards cruising.  Part of why we opened our own business was so that we can have more time to take off and cruise.  My old job had me very limited with how and when I could take time off.  While not the only reason we started our company, it definitely played a large role.  Soon our daughter will be in school, which will somewhat limit when we can take time off.  

Luckily for us, we live about 15 minutes from Lambert Airport in St. Louis.  With this being a large SWA hub, we can fly to cruise ports relatively inexpensively.  So while we don't have the luxury of living in FL like a lot on the boards, it's pretty easy to find cheaper non-stop flights to MCO, FLL, etc.

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You know what's frustrating?  

We live about 10 minutes from the Charleston terminal, yet all that sails from here is the tugbo....I mean, Carnival.

It's like the Howard Jones song - "you can dip your foot in the pool, but you can't have a swim..." as I drive across 

the bridge or am downtown and see that hulk docked.

 

April will be our 5th cruise, all with RC.  I LOVE this company, and unless someone comes along (not CCL, though) with 

an offer just too good to be true, I will only ever sail with RC.  We have only sailed out of Port Canaveral, since it's right

at the edge of my driving comfort zone (6 or so hours).  We stay overnight (so far, only at the Radisson) so if anything

happens on the way down, we have flexibility.

 

The hard thing for me is booking so far out from the cruise.  So much can happen in life that might preclude the trip

from coming true.  Not to mention the severe bouts of "OMG when will embarkation day ever get here?"!!

 

Great topic, and enjoyable replies.

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On 11/8/2019 at 1:47 PM, GrandmaAirplane said:

Not 100% accurate, but pretty close...

 

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This reminds me of the best advice I ever received, and my wife and I try to live by: Own memories, not things. Spend your money on experiences, and not material objects. 

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11 minutes ago, SteveinSC said:

This reminds me of the best advice I ever received, and my wife and I try to live by: Own memories, not things. Spend your money of experiences, and not material objects. 

Similar to being able to take memories/experiences to the grave with you but not your materialistic items.

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On 11/9/2019 at 6:59 PM, MinnesotaCruiser said:

I recently discovered that I can do conferences through work on cruise lines (mostly paid for through work).  Otherwise cruising has never been on my radar.  I have a feeling this is going to become an addiction and we will start saving for self-funded Cruises.  

If you are in Minnesota you really need winter vacations with the weather you get, and it will become an addiction.

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We took 4 cruises before we had kids (1989-1993) when we were in our 20’s. All were RCI. (I took 2 booze cruise type cruises for college spring breaks on an old military supply ship turned cruise ship lol) 

We took a very long break while our kids were young plus we live on a horse farm and it’s not easy (or cheap) to find farm sitters. 

In 2011 we came back with our kids and did Oasis. Super fun! We wouldn’t cruise again until 2017. I was diagnosed with stage 4b cancer in 2015 and that cruise in 2017 (again on Oasis) was to celebrate 6 months of NED (no evidence of disease) and my 50th birthday.

Since then we sailed Oasis a third time in 2018, Freedom in 2019, Mariner 3 weeks ago and have Symphony booked for May 2020.

After our Freedom cruise, we achieved Diamond status. 

I’m now down to 2 horses. Our oldest is 26 and engaged and out on her own. Our youngest is sophomore in college. 

Hubby sold our business back in 2012 and now is semi retired. I have learned the hard way that life can be taken very quickly. I’m not as picky about farm sitters and have let go of my anal retentiveness when it comes to my animals. They are still alive when I get home! Lol 

Getting ready to book 2 cruises (another quick Mariner next October and a Mediterranean probably for 2021) over Black Friday. 

We have a wedding now to pay for so the Mediterranean may have to be pushed to 2022. 

Paying off my car this month and youngest daughter’s last month freed up a nice sum that we are putting some towards wedding and some towards us. I also may take in an additional boarded horse to help fund the addiction. 

Through my cancer journey I also found out I have a hereditary cancer gene (Lynch Syndrome) and have an 80% chance of developing another cancer so we are YOLO’ing as much as we can. 
 

**edited to add that we do live in Florida and can drive to ports although Miami is a bit far. (5 hours). When we flew to San Juan for our Freedom cruise we drove 2 hours to Orlando and flew Southwest. About $650 total. 

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@TJ! if I were you.....I’d get a credit card that has airline miles. Go to Clark Howard.com and see what he suggests as the best card for miles. He’s a former travel agent who is now a multimillionaire that has a radio show for consumers. 
 

Id also consider doing b2b out of Florida to get a good bang for your buck. Catch a ship that is changing itinerary so you get 2 different itineraries on one ship (eastern Caribbean first week/western second week). 

Also if you book a suite, you get double points for Crown and Anchor so if you book super early in a Junior Suite, you’ll get double points and move up more quickly. We’ve never done a suite, but just upgraded our May Symphony to a Junior Suite for about $900. That now gives us access to Coastal Kitchen for dinner which is like specialty dining. 

So book early and get a credit card for miles. 

Which Symphony are you on? We’re May 2. 

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56 minutes ago, Jill said:

I was diagnosed with stage 4b cancer in 2015 and that cruise in 2017 (again on Oasis) was to celebrate 6 months of NED (no evidence of disease) and my 50th birthday.

WTG on your NED!  My cancer surgery was Jan. 2017 and my oncologist keeps giving me good reports. Wishing you the best!

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On 11/8/2019 at 1:22 PM, melmar02 said:

I home school our kids and don't work a 9-5 job. I do live in a state that has a generous cottage food law though, and I make wedding cakes from my home kitchen. I've been in business for 10 years now, and while I don't produce what a commercial bakery does, I generally have a wedding 3 weekends of every month and run my business like a business. DH's salary covers the ordinary expenses (bills and savings), so we can use my business profits for fun stuff like cruising. Since I set my own schedule (and the kids for that matter) we can cruise when it's cheapest. We took a long 9 year break from cruising and started back just this past September. We want to cruise twice a year now that we've started again, and we like to stay in suites, so I don't see me closing shop in the foreseeable future. Right now we have a 5 day booked for February,  a 7 day in November 2020, and are for sure doing Alaska in 2022 for DH's 50th birthday. We want to save for flights, excursions, and a land tour in Alaska, so we think will do just do a 5 day sometime in the spring of 2021 as well. If those plans all hold, we'll be diamond after the Alaska cruise so we can take advantage of greater discounts too. 

Fellow homeschooling family too! I don't work a 9-5 either. I do transcription work at night a few hours a week for fun money. We live below our means so we can spend life doing things and experiencing life and adventure with our three boys! Because we home school our vacation time is not restricted and we can find some great deals not only with  cruising but with vacationing in general (ie hotel rates, theme parks, flights) So we tend to vacation on the off season or shoulder seasons. So we like to chose times such as second/third week of September (when most people are in traditional school and back to work after labor day) , first week of December (just after thanksgiving rush and just before Christmas craziness) and this next cruise will be in January (well after new years but before spring break crowds). 

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18 hours ago, Jill said:

@TJ! if I were you.....I’d get a credit card that has airline miles. Go to Clark Howard.com and see what he suggests as the best card for miles. He’s a former travel agent who is now a multimillionaire that has a radio show for consumers. 
 

Id also consider doing b2b out of Florida to get a good bang for your buck. Catch a ship that is changing itinerary so you get 2 different itineraries on one ship (eastern Caribbean first week/western second week). 

Also if you book a suite, you get double points for Crown and Anchor so if you book super early in a Junior Suite, you’ll get double points and move up more quickly. We’ve never done a suite, but just upgraded our May Symphony to a Junior Suite for about $900. That now gives us access to Coastal Kitchen for dinner which is like specialty dining. 

So book early and get a credit card for miles. 

Which Symphony are you on? We’re May 2. 

Those are definitely some very helpful advice i'm going to do some research on, thank you!

We're on Jan 4th!!!! Which will come extremely quick since thanksgiving and christmas are right behind!

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