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Cruising into 2020 — Part II

The following is the continuation of an interview with Brooke Wilson Jones who is organizing a cruise for lung cancer patients, survivors, advocates, and caregivers.

Additional costs

Dusty: Are there any additional costs to take into consideration?

Brooke: The gratuities cover any gratuity you pay to your room steward. It’s also going to cover your wait staff at those complimentary restaurants. So, when you go to dinner, you don’t have to leave $5 for your waiter because you already prepaid your gratuities.

One of the benefits we get by traveling as a group is we get to pick two amenities off their menu options. One of those amenities is a beverage package which is an all-you-can-drink package. It includes alcohol drinks, smoothies, specialty coffees — basically any drink up to $15 is included. Some people say, “I would like to do that, but I can’t drink alcohol.” I want to stress that it’s not just alcohol. If, for example, you’re sitting on the deck sunning and you want a virgin pina colada, that’s going to cost you $9, whether it has alcohol or not. So if you have that beverage package, you get that complimentary.

People who choose that beverage package as one of their amenities will have to pay a 20 percent gratuity on that. So, again, if the bartender pours you a drink, you don’t have to tip him at the bar. I’d like to build that cost into their room package so at the end of the cruise when they get that bill slid under their door, that doesn’t pop up as a surprise charge because they already knew that was coming.

Airfare to/from New Orleans is not included. Our lung cancer friends are from all across the country. If someone wants us to include airfare or have me provide a quote for airfare, just include that in your email to me. I would be more than happy to do that.

We’re also going to book a block of rooms in New Orleans so we can get a good rate for those who want to fly in early. I’m going to keep it close to Bourbon Street, between the French Quarter and the port, so they can access everything.

Having fun and relaxing

Dusty: What about entertainment on the ship?

Brooke: They have some fabulous shows which are complimentary. All you have to do is show up. You don’t have to register. They also have games and a movie theatre. There’s really a lot on the boat that’s included, enough to keep everyone busy.

They have a casino and a full-service spa on the ship. Mind you, there are extra charges that apply to casino and spa.

Exploring off ship

Dusty: Will there be any shore excursions?

Brooke: At every port of call you have the option of getting off the boat or staying on the boat. One nice thing about staying on the ship in port is that the crowds disperse. If you stay on the ship in port, you still have access to everything.

If you choose to get off the ship, at several ports there is a nice beach nearby with a swim-up bar. You also have the option of doing shore excursions. We are in the process of getting quotes from tour operators in the different areas that will allow us to get cheaper shore excursions than the ones Norwegian offers. Of course, we’re happy to offer the ones Norwegian offers, they’re usually almost double the price of the tour operators that my travel agency has access to. Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks we’ll have a list of some optional shore excursions that we can book you into.

To learn more about the cruise, check out Part I and Part III.

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