Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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Costco offers a wide variety of
cruises, from one or two nights
to 15 days or more, with more
than a dozen different cruise
lines and destinations that
include Alaska, Asia, Australia,
the Bahamas, Bermuda, the
Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the
Mediterranean, Mexico, New
Zealand, North America, the
Panama Canal, South America
and transatlantic. Members
can prebook shore excursions through Costco Travel’s
co-branded site with Shore
Excursion for a better price.
Look for Kirkland Signature™
and Buyer’s Choice sailings for
extra value and amenities.
For more information
or to book, go to
or call 1-877-
Cruise tips for
or call 1-877-
CRUISING IS one of the most popular forms
of vacation travel. Yet a majority of Americans
have yet to take a cruise. Here are some of my
tips and secrets to help travelers make the most
out of their first cruise.
Begin with an appetizer, not the main meal.
Try a short cruise first to see if you like the overall experience. There are numerous three- and
four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Florida,
or to Mexico from California. The price is right,
and you get to sample just about everything most
cruise ships offer in a short amount of time.
There are now many more “drive-to” ports
in the U.S., where you don’t have to fly long distances to get to your ship, including Seattle, Los
Angeles, Galveston, New Orleans, Baltimore
and New York–New Jersey. But if you do have to
fly to get to your ship, don’t fly there on the same
day the ship departs. Give yourself at least one
day in your departure port city. If your plane is
late and you miss your cruise, it’s an expensive
lesson, as you then need to chase the ship by air.
Or, if your baggage is delayed or lost, you may
make the cruise, but your luggage then needs
to play a losing game of catch-up. Getting to the
departure port a day early lets you adjust better
to jet lag, and the stress factor is reduced.
Are you prone to, or worried about, getting seasick? It comes down to center of gravity.
Certain areas on the ship are better than others
for seasickness. Booking a midship cabin on a
lower deck can help, as it’s less prone to the pitch
and roll of the ship, even if the seas get rough.
Budget accordingly. You paid for your
cabin, but there are many extras you might want
to pay for, such as shore excursions, premium
dining experiences, gift shops and the bar.
Many cruise lines offer special drinks packages:
For one total price, you get unlimited drinks
throughout your voyage. If the cruise line offers
a package for soft drinks and you are traveling
with children, you might consider that as well.
Cruise ships offer a variety of shore excursions. While you don’t have to go on every one,
it’s a good idea to research in advance, decide
which ones you are interested in and book them
in advance so you don’t miss out.
Cruise lines have come a long way in regard
to the internet. Investigate their internet packages. Sometimes they offer a discounted rate if
you prebook your internet package.
Before you take the cruise, get a good international calling plan from your cellphone service provider. Keep your phone in airplane
mode when not in use to avoid roaming charges.
If you want to use your cellphone, wait until you
get off the ship and you’re at least four or five
blocks away from the dock. Cellphones look for
the nearest signal, and if you’re near the ship,
the nearest signal could be the ship’s marine
satellite. You could be hit with excessive roaming charges.
Cruise lines typically are not forgiving if you
cancel your cruise, and most won’t refund your
money if you want or need to cancel close to the
departure date. Regardless of the length of the
cruise, you should have medical evacuation and
repatriation coverage—if you need to leave the
cruise due to illness or some other emergency,
the costs can be astronomical. And, if it’s a longer cruise and your investment is more than
;;,;;;, buying trip cancellation and interruption insurance is also a good and recommended option. C