Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Elvis is on to something

Another Sixth Man production, The Elvis Cruise, has some sweet info on its booking site.

Check out how they manage seating for the headlining show:
"The main shows will be ticketed, and you will select your seating preference when you book your cabin. You can either choose an assigned seat within a specific zone of the theatre or you may choose the General Admission Zone. When you select this option, you will select either the early or the late show, but you are not assigned a specific seat. Instead, you may sit in any seat within the zone once on board. In addition to having the flexibility to sit in a different seat each night, guests that choose the General Admission zone will receive a $50 discount per person off of their cabin fare."
Like the VH1 Best Cruise Ever, The Elvis Cruise divides the theater into 20 zones. By contrast, the NKOTB Cruise had nine zones in 2009. If you don't want the security of an assigned seat, you get $50 back! That's pretty sweet. (I'd pick the assigned seat over the money though.)

More helpful info on the Elvis site: pics of the stage from each zone of the theater. The boat is the Carnival Inspiration, not the Imagination that we'll be sailing on, but the only real difference is the color of the upholstery. Should give you a good idea of what the view from each seat looks like.

Overall, I've been a proponent of Rose Tours. I thought they were lovely on board last year and did a great job during the cruise. But after seeing more and more of these awesome Sixth Man events, I would be crossing my fingers for a Sixth Man takeover in 2011.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rose Tours waiting till November to do roommate matches

Thanks to Vanessa (@V_nkotbgirl) for filling me in on her conversation with Jen at Rose Tours today.

Vanessa says that she was told roommate matches won't happen until after the second payment is due in November. According to Vanessa, Jen said that so many people drop out after the second payment, they want to wait for the wave of drop outs before matching roommates.

Vanessa says Jen told her that if you request to be with someone and she has the information, she will make sure she matches those pairs first. If you make payments before November 2, make sure to tell Jen who you want to be paired with.

To be paired, you must have the same cabin category, e.g., inside cabins won't be matched with outside cabins. No more than 2 people to a room.

Vanessa said that Jen also mentioned wait listers will get "lots of calls" after the second payment is due.

I think this is kind of nice. Instead of instantly being paired up with a stranger, this will give single travelers a bit of time to find each other and pair off on your own.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If you missed the boat on the NKOTB Cruise

Maybe this alterna-cruise is for you!

Set sail on the Carnival Elation this December 4-7 from San Diego to Ensenada for the world's first. . . Cougar Cruise!

I'm not kidding; this is a real thing. I just read about it in USA Today's Cruise Blog. From the article: "Singles Travel Company promises three days of singles meet-ups, dancing, and partying."

Prices start at $125 per person double occupancy. Unfortunately, Efron will probably not be on board (or, as some may hope, Jesse McCartney), but I'm thinking for three days on a cruise, a cocktail party, a bottle of wine, and potentially lots of eye candy, it could be a fun girls' weekend.

Here's the travel company's description of the cruise if you want to check it out. Or, if you want a laugh, read the comments on the USA Today article.

(How old do you have to be to be a cougar anyway? Or is it like that episode of 30 Rock where Jenna decides she's a cougar and gets a 10th grade boyfriend?)

Kidding aside, there really is a thread on ning for non-cruisers looking to meet up in Boston the weekend of the cruise.

By the way, if you're not on the boat, don't forget to post your wanted ad in the Looking to Cruise thread. 87% of poll respondents said they'd hand pick a replacement if their roommate backed out, so let them know you're looking!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Carnival's Rumalicious Rum Runner

My 2009 cruise roomie Malina (@anilam18) gets the Carnival e-mail newsletter, and this month's issue included a drink we can't wait to try on board!

Who wants to toast us with one of these? Yum!

Carnival's Rumalicious Rum Runner
  • 1/4 oz. Dark Rum
  • 7/8 oz. Blackberry Brandy
  • 7/8 oz. Banana Liqueur
  • 5/8 oz. Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Blend all ingredients with ice. Serve with a swirl of dark rum on top. Recipe serves two.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

To insure or not to insure, that is the question.

This morning, @insearchofnkotb linked to a great article on travel insurance that may help some decide what to get for the cruise.

First, it's helpful to understand the types of insurance available. Contrary to what some believe, insurance will not help you if you decide later that you can't afford the trip.

Here are the types of insurance:

  • Cancellation insurance. This is the most common type of travel insurance and will cover charges incurred if your trip has to be canceled because of a serious illness, injury, or death. If you become too ill to travel, or a member of the traveling party or a family member has died, your expenses may be refunded. This insurance will typically cover the non-refundable deposit and payments that you have already made toward your trip.
  • Delay insurance. This will cover the charges incurred for non-refundable costs if your trip has to be delayed. (Wouldn't help in this case.)
  • Medical insurance. This covers the costs of medical care if you get sick or have an accident while traveling.
  • Medical evacuation insurance. If, because of accident or illness on vacation, you have to be transported by an emergency vehicle or even flown to another country with higher-level healthcare facilities, this insurance will cover those costs.
  • Baggage insurance. If you lose your baggage or other personal items on vacation, this insurance will cover the cost of those items.
  • Supplier default insurance. If your airline, hotel, or other travel vendor goes out of business before your vacation, this insurance will cover costs that you have paid toward your trip. (Let's hope not!!)
Rose Tours offers a cancellation policy for $99. The policy covers you if you have to cancel for the following reasons (from their website): "Illness, Injury, Death, Unannounced Strike, Hijacking, Jury Duty, Court Ordered Appearance or Traffic Accident."

You aren't obligated to use Rose Tours' provider. Google "Travel Insurance" and you'll get thousands of hits so you can compare costs and options. Depending on your situation, the cost may be worth the peace of mind.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cruising Ethics: What would you do?

Imagine that you are confirmed on the cruise and for some terrible reason your roommate cancels. You have two choices. Do you let Rose Tours assign the next person on the wait list to take your roommate's spot, or do you find someone on your own and arrange a name change?

Two people from the wait list got confirmed this week, but I don't know if it was from cancellations. However, I also know of at least two instances where remaining roommates found and selected a person on their own. (One was on the message boards, and some of the responders were offering to pay for both their own spot and that of the vacancy poster. Don't know if they succeeded.)

On the surface, the hand picking seems completely unfair and wrong. You're barely in the room anyway; who cares if you are BFF, right? But on the other hand, this person will have access to all your stuff. There's only one safe in the room. Most people on the wait list are probably not thieving scuzzbags, but do you take the chance?

@knlsmom also pointed out that if you do a name change, you only pay $100, but if you have a cancelation, you forfeit at least 25% of your payment. That seems to discourage using the wait list too.

Please let me know what you think in the comments.

UPDATE: Early poll results show that most people would hand pick. So I've started a thread for people looking for cruise spots to post their wanted ads and tell us about themselves. We're a calmer group, I think, than ning, so please take advantage of this space to find a roomie if you need one.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Uh oh, this doesn't sound good

It's been quiet on the wait list front. After hearing about the two who received confirmation e-mails out of the blue early this week, things seemed to be looking up. But this post by Sarah is definitely not.
"Just thought I would tell everyone I called Rose Tours today -my friends and I are on the priority wait list as well- a few weeks ago a lady there told me that all priority wait list people should get on the cruise and that they should have us all called by the 7th. So I called today b/c we hadn't heard anything and this time a lady told me that the cruise is diffentally soldout that there is no more open cabins AT ALL (she stressed the at all part) but that in Nov there is a small chance that a few cabins will open up from people not being able to pay......which is a totally different story than what I got the last time. I'm a little aggravated b/c the other lady was so positive and was like oh yea all the priority people will get on... we have tons of open cabins from all the people that got double booked it will just take us a few days to get the stuff organized. So who knows what the real story with RT is but that is what I got today."
The news was confirmed by Stacy:
I just called to verify the info and they also told me that the cruise is completely sold out! I am SOOO bummed but hopefully something good will happen for the rest of us!
The only light I can see here is that the stories have been inconsistent, and at least two people DID get confirmed this week, so all cannot be lost. Wish I had better news to report!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Half Moon Cay: How will we fit everything in?

Thanks to @DEWz_pingpong for sending me this video of Half Moon Cay! As she says: "BANANA BOAT! WATERSLIDES! HORSEBACK RIDING IN THE OCEAN?!?!" Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another priority wait lister makes it on the boat!

Just when we all thought it would be another two months before wait listers got placed, another priority wait lister gets the good news!

Posted by Erika on ning:
"I'M ON THE BOAT!! Long day yesterday, just checked email. I got an email from RT at 3:54pm est with my statement. I was like WTF, no way?? I checked my CC and the $300 deposit is pending. No call, they just booked me!! Confirmation # too! I need to start my to-do list!!!"
This one is different from anything I've heard so far, because she didn't get a call. She just got the receipt in her email. So keep checking, and don't forget to look in your spam folder just in case!

Erika, if you're out there, don't forget to start following @NKOTBcruise to plot with your fellow cruisers.

UPDATE: A second cruiser got the sneak attack email yesterday! Congrats Kimberly!
"I just made it to the cruise too. I was one of those that on the day of booking my card was charged, but no reservations made. Later RT called to confirm my info and then I got the e-mail yesterday that I was finally on the boat. I got a single match booking.....I can't believe it. "