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First-timer, loads of Qs


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Hello,

 

I have several questions. I’ve never been on a cruise before so I’m curious as to how everything works. I see that there’s a complimentary breakfast. Besides that, are we paying for every other meal? On the Enchantment of the Seas, it showed Ben and Jerry. I’m assuming we are paying for each ice cream?

I plan on getting the deluxe drink package. It’s priced at $56 right now. I read through some threads and saw that it gets down as low as $40. How often does this occur? I won’t be traveling until August 10th. Let’s say I purchase it now and the price decreases, can I request the difference or no? Is it true that everyone of age in the same stateroom has to buy a deluxe beverage package? I find that rule highly unreal, especially if one person doesn’t want to purchase it (traveling with friends). Are there really no exceptions besides medical?

Besides the drink package, I’m trying to cruise as cheaply as possible. I saw that some of the cafes are open 24/7 and can deliver to the room for a charge. Am I paying for each item I want or is that free and I’m just paying the service charge? Do I have the option of going to that café directly?

How does payment work on a cruise? I assume I’m carrying my debit card everywhere I go.

I saw that some ships had a murder mystery dinner. I love those things. How can I find out what my ship’s events are? Do I need to wait until it gets closer? I tried searching the cruise planner but no luck.

Thank you for putting up with all my questions. I’m very excited! Any tips you have for a first-timer?

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Welcome to the message boards!

 I see that there’s a complimentary breakfast. Besides that, are we paying for every other meal?

    All meals are included.  More food than you could possibly eat.  There are some options to purchase specialty dining but I rarely do that, I'm quite happy with the included dining options.  Sometimes for a special occasion I'll splurge and buy a specialty dinner.

   Ben & Jerry's is not included and works much like any ice cream shop.  There is self serve soft ice cream available at certain times (not 24 x 7) which is included.

I plan on getting the deluxe drink package. It’s priced at $56 right now. I read through some threads and saw that it gets down as low as $40. How often does this occur? I won’t be traveling until August 10th. Let’s say I purchase it now and the price decreases, can I request the difference or no? Is it true that everyone of age in the same stateroom has to buy a deluxe beverage package? I find that rule highly unreal, especially if one person doesn’t want to purchase it (traveling with friends). Are there really no exceptions besides medical?

   There are sales periodically.  Not always for every ship or all sailing.  US holidays are popular times for Royal to offer sales on their website.  Last weekend was a random sale weekend.  The creator of this site @Matt will often post a blog when a sale event occurs.  Keep checking or follow him on Twitter and/or Facebook.

   If you purchase and the price drops after purchasing,  you can simply refund the original purchase and re-purchase at the new lower price up to around 4 days before sailing when all "Cruise Planner" sales are suspended.  After this point you must purchase on board at higher prices.

   Everyone over 21 in a cabin must purchase the deluxe drink package if any one does.  All the major cruise lines have this policy.  Royal was the last to implement it.  The problem is that people were sharing a drink package which was expressly against the rules.  If people didn't abuse it, they would not have had to change the policy.  In some cases four people were intentionally sharing one package.  Royal is a business and they can't lose money because people cheat and break the rules.  

Besides the drink package, I’m trying to cruise as cheaply as possible. I saw that some of the cafes are open 24/7 and can deliver to the room for a charge. Am I paying for each item I want or is that free and I’m just paying the service charge? Do I have the option of going to that café directly?

   There are many different areas to eat each meal on board.  The Main Dining Room is included and offers a sit down full service experience.  The Windjammer Marketplace is a buffet style restaurant.  There are other smaller venues that offer lighter fare like sandwiches at Park Cafe.  All of these are included in your cruise fare but you have to visit them.   

   Room service has a $7.95 fee per order.  The menu for room service is different compared to the dining venues.  It's quite good actually.  For people in Grand Suite or above the fee is waived.  You can order as much food as you want for that $7.95 as long as it is one order.  There is a complimentary continental breakfast with coffee from room service in the morning hours. 

How does payment work on a cruise? I assume I’m carrying my debit card everywhere I go.

   Everything on board is charged to your onboard account.  No cash or credit cards are used at any of the on board stores or venues that cost extra.  Your SeaPass card works as your cabin key card as well as what you use to make purchases on board.  For example at Ben & Jerry's when you order you hand them your SeaPass card.   I simply put a credit card down when I check in for the cruise and everything I purchase on board eventually will be charged to my credit card.  You can visit guest services on board and put cash down against your on board account.

I saw that some ships had a murder mystery dinner. I love those things. How can I find out what my ship’s events are? Do I need to wait until it gets closer? I tried searching the cruise planner but no luck.

  Not all ships offer the mystery dinner experience.  This site has a section called "Cruise Compass".  Look at the very top of this page.  Previous cruisers have kept the on board daily newsletter that is left in your cabin each day.  They scan them in and Matt posts them for all of us to use.  They may not be exactly the same for your cruise but you can filter by ship and find a similar itinerary to see the type of events that are offered each day as well as when all the restaurants are open or activities and shows will occur.   

Plan to go to all the shows - they are included too.

All questions are welcome.  We were all first timers once and even after many cruises I still learn from others on this site.  There is no dumb question.  Ask away.

If you go to the main RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com website there is a search box in the upper right.  Search for "first time" and you see many blogs Matt has created and even some podcasts as well - a wealth of information on all things Royal Caribbean.  Rest assured Matt is not an employee of Royal, he is a cruiser just like us and takes his family cruising often when his real job allows him to.

Welcome and enjoy planning your first cruise - that's half the fun!

 

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49 minutes ago, Joeyaziz said:

Is it true that everyone of age in the same stateroom has to buy a deluxe beverage package? I find that rule highly unreal, especially if one person doesn’t want to purchase it (traveling with friends). Are there really no exceptions besides medical?

 

Welcome to the boards!  We are all learning together here!

Even if you are exempted you will have to purchase the refreshment package (the non-alcoholic one).  I am not sure what the "official list" of exemptions are right now.  Medical and religious reasons is two for sure.  Others will probably know more.

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5 minutes ago, twangster said:

Welcome to the message boards!

 I see that there’s a complimentary breakfast. Besides that, are we paying for every other meal?

    All meals are included.  More food than you could possibly eat.  There are some options to purchase specialty dining but I rarely do that, I'm quite happy with the included dining options.  Sometimes for a special occasion I'll splurge and buy a specialty dinner.

   Ben & Jerry's is not included and works much like any ice cream shop.  There is self serve soft ice cream available at certain times (not 24 x 7) which is included.

I plan on getting the deluxe drink package. It’s priced at $56 right now. I read through some threads and saw that it gets down as low as $40. How often does this occur? I won’t be traveling until August 10th. Let’s say I purchase it now and the price decreases, can I request the difference or no? Is it true that everyone of age in the same stateroom has to buy a deluxe beverage package? I find that rule highly unreal, especially if one person doesn’t want to purchase it (traveling with friends). Are there really no exceptions besides medical?

   There are sales periodically.  Not always for every ship or all sailing.  US holidays are popular times for Royal to offer sales on their website.  Last weekend was a random sale weekend.  The creator of this site @Matt will often post a blog when a sale event occurs.  Keep checking or follow him on Twitter and/or Facebook.

   If you purchase and the price drops after purchasing,  you can simply refund the original purchase and re-purchase at the new lower price up to around 4 days before sailing when all "Cruise Planner" sales are suspended.  After this point you must purchase on board at higher prices.

   Everyone over 21 in a cabin must purchase the deluxe drink package if any one does.  All the major cruise lines have this policy.  Royal was the last to implement it.  The problem is that people were sharing a drink package which was expressly against the rules.  If people didn't abuse it, they would not have had to change the policy.  In some cases four people were intentionally sharing one package.  Royal is a business and they can't lose money because people cheat and break the rules.  

Besides the drink package, I’m trying to cruise as cheaply as possible. I saw that some of the cafes are open 24/7 and can deliver to the room for a charge. Am I paying for each item I want or is that free and I’m just paying the service charge? Do I have the option of going to that café directly?

   There are many different areas to eat each meal on board.  The Main Dining Room is included and offers a sit down full service experience.  The Windjammer Marketplace is a buffet style restaurant.  There are other smaller venues that offer lighter fare like sandwiches at Park Cafe.  All of these are included in your cruise fare but you have to visit them.   

   Room service has a $7.95 fee per order.  The menu for room service is different compared to the dining venues.  It's quite good actually.  For people in Grand Suite or above the fee is waived.  You can order as much food as you want for that $7.95 as long as it is one order.  There is a complimentary continental breakfast with coffee from room service in the morning hours. 

How does payment work on a cruise? I assume I’m carrying my debit card everywhere I go.

   Everything on board is charged to your onboard account.  No cash or credit cards are used at any of the on board stores or venues that cost extra.  Your SeaPass card works as your cabin key card as well as what you use to make purchases on board.  For example at Ben & Jerry's when you order you hand them your SeaPass card.   I simply put a credit card down when I check in for the cruise and everything I purchase on board eventually will be charged to my credit card.  You can visit guest services on board and put cash down against your on board account.

I saw that some ships had a murder mystery dinner. I love those things. How can I find out what my ship’s events are? Do I need to wait until it gets closer? I tried searching the cruise planner but no luck.

  Not all ships offer the mystery dinner experience.  This site has a section called "Cruise Compass".  Look at the very top of this page.  Previous cruisers have kept the on board daily newsletter that is left in your cabin each day.  They scan them in and Matt posts them for all of us to use.  They may not be exactly the same for your cruise but you filter by ship and find a similar itinerary to see the type of events that are offered each day as ell as when all the restaurants are open.   

All questions are welcome.  We were all first timers once and even after many cruises I still learn from others on this site.  There is no dumb question.  Ask away.

If you go to the main RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com website there is a search box in the upper right.  Search for "first time" and you see many blogs Matt has created and even some podcasts as well - a wealth of information on all things Royal Caribbean.  Rest assured Matt is not an employee of Royal, he is a cruiser just like us and takes his family cruising often when his real job allows him to.

Welcome and enjoy planning your first cruise - that's half the fun!

 

twangster, 

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions!! I truly appreciate it. I definitely will check out the podcasts. You're a lifesaver! 

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Just now, Sabrinaklai said:

Welcome to the boards!  We are all learning together here!

Even if you are exempted you will have to purchase the refreshment package (the non-alcoholic one).  I am not sure what the "official list" of exemptions are right now.  Medical and religious reasons is two for sure.  Others will probably know more.

Sabrinaklai,

If I'm understanding it correctly, 3 of the 4 people could purchase the deluxe and the 4th would have to purchase the non-alcoholic one, provided that they can prove they are exempt. I feel like this question was answered, but I need it explained differently. If we don't purchase the deluxe package, get on board, and then decide to purchase it, everyone within the stateroom STILL has to purchase it altogether? 

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7 minutes ago, Joeyaziz said:

Sabrinaklai,

If I'm understanding it correctly, 3 of the 4 people could purchase the deluxe and the 4th would have to purchase the non-alcoholic one, provided that they can prove they are exempt. I feel like this question was answered, but I need it explained differently. If we don't purchase the deluxe package, get on board, and then decide to purchase it, everyone within the stateroom STILL has to purchase it altogether? 

Yes. Exactly.  If all 4 of you are in the same cabin and if you are all over 21 then you will all have to purchase a drink package of some kind.  That is provided that you can prove that you can be exempt from the alcoholic one.  It is my understanding that even if you wait till you purchase on board, the same rules apply.

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4 minutes ago, Joeyaziz said:

twangster, 

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions!! I truly appreciate it. I definitely will check out the podcasts. You're a lifesaver! 

No problem.  This site has an incredible amount of information.  A regular user here is @JLMoran.  He hasn't cruised yet either but he has learned so much from this site he can answer most questions like a pro.

3 minutes ago, Joeyaziz said:

Sabrinaklai,

If I'm understanding it correctly, 3 of the 4 people could purchase the deluxe and the 4th would have to purchase the non-alcoholic one, provided that they can prove they are exempt. I feel like this question was answered, but I need it explained differently. If we don't purchase the deluxe package, get on board, and then decide to purchase it, everyone within the stateroom STILL has to purchase it altogether? 

Be aware if you wait until on board you pay higher prices for the drink package.  I'd think it through and try to decide before sailing so you can buy it cheaper in advance.  It's also one last thing to pay for on board.  I'm not sure if they will allow exemptions on board.  The new policy recently went into effect so we are all learning a bit on it.

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1 minute ago, Sabrinaklai said:

Yes. Exactly.  If all 4 of you are in the same cabin and if you are all over 21 then you will all have to purchase a drink package of some kind.  That is provided that you can prove that you can be exempt from the alcoholic one.  It is my understanding that even if you wait till you purchase on board, the same rules apply.

Hi @Joeyaziz, welcome to the boards and our little family!

@Sabrinaklai already answered your question, I'll just add the detail that you can call the 800 number for Royal that's used to buy any excursion, drink package, etc. and plead your case there. I personally had to do this as my wife cannot drink due to medical reasons, and they were quite reasonable about it. No formal documentation from her doctor was asked for in my case (although they may change this as time goes on), and once they accepted the exemption for her, it was simple enough to then purchase the Deluxe Package for myself and the Refreshment Package for her.

Even better, when another cruise planner sale came along that dropped the price of the Refreshment Package even further, it was super-easy to just cancel her drink package and re-buy at the lower rate. I called in to do it, as I didn't want to take a chance on trying through the Cruise Planner and finding my Deluxe Package canceled as well.

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19 hours ago, Joeyaziz said:

On the Enchantment of the Seas, it showed Ben and Jerry. I’m assuming we are paying for each ice cream?

Ben & Jerries should be available at Cafe Latitudes. This ice cream is priced a la carte and all you need is your Sea Pass card. The pastries at this location are compliemtary. The coffe is a la carte unless you get a Cafe Select card or it is a feature of the drink package.

19 hours ago, Joeyaziz said:

Besides the drink package, I’m trying to cruise as cheaply as possible. I saw that some of the cafes are open 24/7 and can deliver to the room for a charge. Am I paying for each item I want or is that free and I’m just paying the service charge? Do I have the option of going to that café directly?

Park Cafe is located in the back port side part of the Solarium and has hours to cover the munchies when the Main Dining Room and the Windjammer may not be open. It has a nice menu, and all of the offerings are complimentary. It is the easiest place on board to get a glass of water, juice or iced tea most times of the day.

Room Service is $7.95 per order for anything but continental breakfast. There is no limit to how much you can order. You can always go to any of the restaurants on board, order what you want and take it to your room, so yes, you can go directly.

 

19 hours ago, Joeyaziz said:

How does payment work on a cruise? I assume I’m carrying my debit card everywhere I go.

I saw that some ships had a murder mystery dinner. I love those things. How can I find out what my ship’s events are? Do I need to wait until it gets closer? I tried searching the cruise planner but no luck.

You will need your SeaPass card wherever you go. It is your room key and form of payment on board. When you check-in at the cruise terminal, you can leave a credit or debit card number on account for on board charges. You can also leave cash at Guest Services in the Centrum.

Mystery Dinner theater has been available on board Enchantment. If it is available on your sailing, you should be able to find it in the Cruise Planner under Entertainment and Activities. You could also check when you get on board if you can't find it. Here is a link to the most recent Enchantment Cruise Compass that is posted elsewhere on this site:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compasses/enchantment-of-the-seas/fri-2017-11-03-0000

 

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Welcome!  Looks like your questions have been answered by the good cruisers on this site.  One of the most important things that needs to be covered is the proper IDs to get on board.  If you dont have the right paperwork all these questions are moot because they wont let you on board without the correct IDs.  A current passport is ideal.  If you dont have a passport then you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and a government ID with a picture(drivers license) 

Dont be late getting on the ship!  That includes stops at the port.  They will leave you if your late.  The only exception I m aware of is if you are on a RC excursion and its late coming back. You will get a Cruise Planner in your room when you get on board and every evening that tells you the next days activities.  It will also tell you what time you need to be back on board on port days.     Most of us on here that have been on a number of cruises usually get back early at the port stops just to be sure not to be late.  Dont wait till the last minute!

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Welcome !

Just as a side comment, I do not recommend that you use a debit card to pay for ANYthing on a cruise ship.  The ship will place a "hold" on funds a number of times during a 7 night cruise and this hold can last until well after your cruise is completed.  It can really screw up your account while these funds are being held.

I would recommend using either use a credit card with a high enough limit to accommodate all of your projected expenses or establish a cash account (this is something I know nothing about but it is an option and I'm sure there are some here who can explain how the cash account works).

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3 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Welcome !

Just as a side comment, I do not recommend that you use a debit card to pay for ANYthing on a cruise ship.  The ship will place a "hold" on funds a number of times during a 7 night cruise and this hold can last until well after your cruise is completed.  It can really screw up your account while these funds are being held.

I would recommend using either use a credit card with a high enough limit to accommodate all of your projected expenses or establish a cash account (this is something I know nothing about but it is an option and I'm sure there are some here who can explain how the cash account works).

Thank you! That's good to know!!

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 10:28 AM, MikeK said:

Welcome!  Looks like your questions have been answered by the good cruisers on this site.  One of the most important things that needs to be covered is the proper IDs to get on board.  If you dont have the right paperwork all these questions are moot because they wont let you on board without the correct IDs.  A current passport is ideal.  If you dont have a passport then you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and a government ID with a picture(drivers license) 

Dont be late getting on the ship!  That includes stops at the port.  They will leave you if your late.  The only exception I m aware of is if you are on a RC excursion and its late coming back. You will get a Cruise Planner in your room when you get on board and every evening that tells you the next days activities.  It will also tell you what time you need to be back on board on port days.     Most of us on here that have been on a number of cruises usually get back early at the port stops just to be sure not to be late.  Dont wait till the last minute!

That's very true! My passport is current and GTG! Just have to ensure the others are as well! I am entirely nervous about stepping off the boat for the excursion with the fear of missing the ship upon return.

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On ‎1‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 10:21 AM, DunkelBierJay said:

Ben & Jerries should be available at Cafe Latitudes. This ice cream is priced a la carte and all you need is your Sea Pass card. The pastries at this location are compliemtary. The coffe is a la carte unless you get a Cafe Select card or it is a feature of the drink package.

Park Cafe is located in the back port side part of the Solarium and has hours to cover the munchies when the Main Dining Room and the Windjammer may not be open. It has a nice menu, and all of the offerings are complimentary. It is the easiest place on board to get a glass of water, juice or iced tea most times of the day.

Room Service is $7.95 per order for anything but continental breakfast. There is no limit to how much you can order. You can always go to any of the restaurants on board, order what you want and take it to your room, so yes, you can go directly.

 

You will need your SeaPass card wherever you go. It is your room key and form of payment on board. When you check-in at the cruise terminal, you can leave a credit or debit card number on account for on board charges. You can also leave cash at Guest Services in the Centrum.

Mystery Dinner theater has been available on board Enchantment. If it is available on your sailing, you should be able to find it in the Cruise Planner under Entertainment and Activities. You could also check when you get on board if you can't find it. Here is a link to the most recent Enchantment Cruise Compass that is posted elsewhere on this site:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compasses/enchantment-of-the-seas/fri-2017-11-03-0000

 

I checked the entertainment on the cruise planner and the only thing they had available was a cruise explore behind the scene type of thing. Can I safely assume that they will be adding more entertainment or is that all that will be offered?

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1 hour ago, Joeyaziz said:

I checked the entertainment on the cruise planner and the only thing they had available was a cruise explore behind the scene type of thing. Can I safely assume that they will be adding more entertainment or is that all that will be offered?

60-75 days out they will usually show up for the Oasis class ships. Sorry, didn't pay attention to what ship you are booked on. Smaller ships, read old Cruise Compasses for the ship you are on, they are posted on the main blog page if they are available.

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18 hours ago, Joeyaziz said:

I checked the entertainment on the cruise planner and the only thing they had available was a cruise explore behind the scene type of thing. Can I safely assume that they will be adding more entertainment or is that all that will be offered?

They only provide pre-booking for entertainment on Oasis and Quantum class ships. I have seen Mystery Dinner Theater available on Enchantment's Cruise Planner in the past, and it may show up closer to sailing if they run it. All ships run behind the scenes tours which you can pre-book.

As far as other entertainment, you won't have any problem at all just showing up to what is on board whether it is in the Orpheus Theater, the Centrum or any of the bars like Schooner, Boleros, etc.

The main thing is when you arrive at the terminal, there will be a pre-boarding cruise compass that will tell you everything that is open on embarkation day (Windjammer for sure, some of the bars too). When you board, if it is before your room is ready around 1:00 pm, the Day 1 Cruise Compass will be available at Guest Services in the Centrum on Deck 5. That will have the most current information. You board on Deck 5, and enter near the Centrum, so you can't miss it. If they are running MDT on your sailing, and it wasn't in your Cruise Planner, they can clarify for you. You could also check in the Main Dining Room on Deck 4 to see if they know if it is being run. You can also check out your table while you are there. I am pretty sure they have run MDT in the back of Chops on Enchantment, but I could be wrong. They could also answer your question.

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23 hours ago, Joeyaziz said:

That's very true! My passport is current and GTG! Just have to ensure the others are as well! I am entirely nervous about stepping off the boat for the excursion with the fear of missing the ship upon return.

We cruisers call them "pier runners" or apparently (according to @twangster) there are "pier swimmers" too lol.  And there are almost some every cruise!  Don't be nervous.  Just check the cruise compass for the all aboard time and make sure you leave enough of a cushion.  To be really safe, do excursions through RC.  That is what we did our first few cruises until we felt more comfortable on our own.

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On 1/13/2018 at 3:52 PM, Joeyaziz said:

 

I plan on getting the deluxe drink package. It’s priced at $56 right now.

As a first time cruiser, it's great that you are using this forum to answer your questions.  I'm a newbie as well, and it has been a treasure chest of answers to my questions!   Be sure that you understand that the drink package you plan on getting is going to cost ($56 + 18% gratuity) $66.08 PER DAY for EACH DAY of your cruise, whether you drink on any given day or not.  You mentioned that you were trying to cruise as cheaply as possible.  Although cocktails/beer/wine are priced higher than we are all used to regularly paying, are you sure you will drink enough on the cruise to cover the cost of the deluxe drink package?
 

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On 1/17/2018 at 10:42 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

Welcome !

Just as a side comment, I do not recommend that you use a debit card to pay for ANYthing on a cruise ship.  The ship will place a "hold" on funds a number of times during a 7 night cruise and this hold can last until well after your cruise is completed.  It can really screw up your account while these funds are being held.

I would recommend using either use a credit card with a high enough limit to accommodate all of your projected expenses or establish a cash account (this is something I know nothing about but it is an option and I'm sure there are some here who can explain how the cash account works).

We worked long and hard to eliminate all credit cards from our lives and now pay with cash (rarely) or debit card only (mostly).  After reading the above post, I started thinking about ways around the "really screw up your account" part of using our debit card.  The 'all cash' option involves bringing a fairly large amount of dosh with us while we travel ("No, Mr. TSA agent, we are NOT drug mules!") plus I'm not even sure of how much we'd need at this time.  It's been a while since we've cruised and back then, we still used credit cards.  I don't know if Traveler's Checks would be accepted but then again, how much to bring is the question. dunno.gif

I am thinking that if we open a second "primary" account at our bank (if possible, I need to stop by and ask), I can get a different debit card for THAT account and then link our REAL account as a secondary.  That way, we can deposit only enough in the new account to cover on board spending and still have the option to move more from the real account if one of us simply HAS to kiss a dolphin or something. sloppy.gif

So, does this make sense and just how much is enough on a 7 night cruise these days.? 

We only play penny slots whenever we're in the casinos, BTW. how-to-win-at-slots-jackpot.gif 

 

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2 hours ago, Digmenow said:

So, does this make sense and just how much is enough on a 7 night cruise these days.? 

Thats a tough question.  Some will say $0 and others would say $1000 so it depends.  The biggest determination is what have you prepaid....gratuities, excursions, drink package, specialty restaurants?  Those are the biggies. If no drink package, how many drinks per day? I think you should figure out what you plan on spending onboard and then add an extra 20% to be safe.

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In regards to the Murder Mystery, I will be doing it on my March 3rd cruise on Freedom so I will be doing a bit of a review (may have to do a non-spoiler and a spoiler version). I am not sure if photos will be allowed so not sure if I'll be able to share that or not yet. I'm not sure if it is available on your cruising though.

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