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Contemplating Taking a Cruise? Here are Some Myths and Facts

Shore excursions booked through the ship are safe and scheduled, but cost more. Most ports have cabbies lined up waiting to take you to the same places for less.

(We got a 3-hour tour of St. Maarten for $10 pp instead of $50pp.) However, think twice before you hop into a cab alone. Try and hook up with fellow passengers, even dance hosts. 

If you can avoid the gambling and liquor, a cruise can be very affordable. Cruise lines make their money off the gambling and liquor. That's why they can feed you fabulous food 24 hours a day at those low last-minute rates.

Sail from a port that doesn't require airfare, and you can live in luxury for around $80 a day. You couldn't stay in a hotel and eat steak and lobster for that.  Cruises have been proven to be good for our health. For instance, don't you think at least 25% of our daily stress comes from car hassles?

On a ship there's no parking problems, traffic jams, or road rage to interfere with your relaxation.  

Shopping? Wait till the end of the cruise to shop onboard; they reduce prices. Check with friends or the ship's shopping expert on what to buy where. Each island has its specialities. For instance, braids are $150 in Key West, $75 in Cozumel, and $35 on Grand Cayman.  

Prescription drugs are sold cheaply OOT in Cozumel, etc. Bring CASH so you can stock up on Keflex and avoid doctor's fees. Many of the best bargains require CASH or TRAVELER'S CHEQUES. For other items, get off the beaten track. Stores that pay for space in the port generally charge that privilege back to you. 

Check with friends who've actually been on these ships to see what your fellow-passengers will be like.

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