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AARP Rewards Online Community Cruise Contest 2023

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Community Manager

AARP Rewards Online Community Cruise Contest 2023

Want to set sail this summer? Share some of your best tips for making cruise travel easy and fun, and how AARP Rewards can help you travel, for a chance to win!

 

The contest runs from July 10 through Aug. 6, 2023. We will choose three (3) winners to receive a $500 Carnival Cruise Gift Card! 

 

To enter, reply to this post before August 6, 2023, with your tips for cruising and how you use AARP Rewards to help you travel.  

 

Official Rules for the contest are posted here -   AARP Rewards Online Community Cruise Contest 2023

 

Example for a Post Entry:

When my family and I travel on cruises we always arrive at port at least one day earlier so we don’t have to rush the morning of and can explore the area. Last year we used AARP Rewards to purchase a discounted Hotels.com gift card to save on our hotel stay in Port Canaveral, Florida the day before our cruise.

AARPTeri
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I have never been on a cruise before. I imagine the great food & putting on my dancing shoes. I definitely will find the right outfit for dancing! Deborah Gonzalez

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On my last cruise we arrived a day early so that we were sure to be ontime for the cruise and to not have any travel tie ups.  Take a reusable straw, and reusable water bottle.  You can take magnetic hooks or an over the door shoe organizer for extra storage, and a clothesline with hooks will be helpful as well.  

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Bronze Conversationalist

I have never been on a cruise, but many of my family members have enjoyed cruising different continents of the world.  I have lived vicariously through their adventures over the years and thought that a cruise would be the perfect celebration for my 50th wedding anniversary.  I have heard that the food is amazing, shows are entertaining, and there are so many different activities on the ship for all ages.  Because the cruise ship has so many food choices, it is a good backup plan for meals when you are hesitant to eat the local foods when touring different ports.  The one thing that I find appealing about taking a cruise is that you don't have to worry about packing and unpacking at each destination, and most everything is prepaid in advance to make the trip more enjoyable.

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Periodic Contributor

When we cruise we usually park at a offsite parking secured lot (Park Port Canaveral) that is much cheaper than the port. They shuttle you right to the porters at the port to take your luggage. However, the last time we went to Port Canaveral we stayed overnight at a hotel across from the offsite port parking lot the night before embarking. They offered 5 nights free parking included with your stay. We were on a 10 day cruise and the additional parking fees would be almost half of what we prepaid to the offsite port parking place. Great savings! Also, remember the port side of the ship is the left side. To easily remember this, both have four letters : )   Also, if you're traveling down the hallways, the fish on the carpet are swimming towards the front of the ship, so you know which way you are walking. And, depending on what ship you are taking, AARP has a discounter gift card for most cruise lines. We've bought Carnival cards at a nice discount to use on the ship (do not use a debit card when you check-in at ship, the hold they place can send your account into oblivion) and for booking. Have a super cruise!!!

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Periodic Contributor

I also want to add that most of our cruises we've gone on are through AARP/Expedia. We always got the best deal and would also receive onboard credit for each cruise. I do have to say that the AARP travel site with expedia isn't so operational lately. You enter specific information and it doesn't capture it, ie" cruise length, cruise date, etc. But I'm pretty sure they'll fix that. But always at great savings!  For years nobody can beat their price. Last November was the first time we actually booked with NCL directly cause it was last minute and AARP wasn't offering any onboard credit. We currently have 122 days at sea : )  I have a lot of tips learned over the years  lol!!!

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Periodic Contributor

I love the private islands in the Bahamas. Can relax on the beach and enjoy the beautiful weather safely. Most lines have a destination and these islands are free. 

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Regular Contributor

Cruising is my favorite way to vacation! My family and I have gone on more than a dozen cruises together and the following are some of the things we have learned along the way:

 

It is a luxurious way to travel on a budget. You can save a lot of money with the discounted gift cards that are available on the AARP Rewards web site. I purchased two $100 Carnival Cruise Lines gift cards for $180 before my last cruise and converted them to a $200 on board credit which I used to purchase shore excursions while we were on the ship.

 

You can also save money by paying for your cruise with discounted gift cards from AARP or booking your flight and cruise through the AARP Travel Center!

 

The AARP Rewards site also offers discounted gift cards for car rentals, hotels and restaurants that may save you money getting to or from the ship. We have used our AARP Membership to get discounted rates on hotels and restaurants many times and if you also pay with discounted gift cards you save twice!

 

If you have to travel very far it is a good idea to stay at a hotel near the cruise terminal the night before you sail. You should check in as early as you can on the day of departure. There is usually a very nice lunch buffet on the pool deck available as soon as you board the ship. You will not be able to get into your cabin until late afternoon so if you want to go in the pool you should either wear a bathing suit under your clothes or put one in your carry on.

 

The cruise line will probably invite you to the theater before they get to the first port of call so they can advertise the merchandise that some of the vendors will be selling at the upcoming ports. You can watch it on the TV in your cabin but if you go in person you may win some of the merchandise or prizes that they raffle off! I once won dinner for two at the ship's specialty steak house! It was a wonderful treat!

 

If you are able to carry all of your own luggage off of the ship when it is time to leave, the cruise line will probably allow you to walk off the ship early in the morning, otherwise you will be directed to a public seating area where you will have to wait until they call your section to leave. That could take hours. It is so much nicer to walk off of the ship right after breakfast and be on your way home!

 

Relax and have a great time and remember to be kind and generous to the people who serve you. They work very long hours and many of them are there so they can support their families back home.

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Periodic Contributor

One way I learn about helpful tips for my cruise is to go to You Tube and look up blogs from passengers who were on my exact cruise - same ship and same locations.  Most of them have videos of the ship and places you are going and they give great advice.

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Contributor

My husband and I love cruising.
Years ago, I made a grid (in Excel) that captured day-to-day what port we were in, if we had an excursion, etc.
I bring "Command" plastic clips and affixed a couple to the mirror nearest the door. The cruise planner, excursion tickets, and our cruise cards all got their own clip. It made it so easy to find things. At the end of the cruise, pull them off and reuse them on your next voyage.
Once on board, we head straight to the adult-only area (on Princess ships) and book deck chairs for the whole cruise. The quiet places on board are a little bit of heaven each day.... some offer noise cancelling headsets if you want to catch up listening to music on board. 
We purchase cruise line-specific gift cards through AARP for a bit of savings. 
Now that some lines have gone digital, cruise cards are going by the wayside.... so if your chosen cruise line has done this (like Princesss Cruises), be sure to bring your smart phone so you can take advantage of digital ordering and other features. 
We bring two suitcases which we cross-pack so if one bag gets lost, we both have clothes in the second bag. Also, we bring a carry-on with one change of clothes and bathing suits, meds and other essentials. That one doesn't leave our side through all pre-cruise travel... but we check it in on the way home.
We love using the baggage check service that the cruise line offers. We leave our bags outside the cabin and don't have to deal with them again until we deplane back home. Well worth the additional cost.
Lastly, we get to the departure port 1-2 days ahead of time to start relaxing.
#keepcalmandcruiseon

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Contributor

Pack medications and a swimsuit in your carryon and get your muster drill out of the way first thing.

Use the AARP rewards to get discounted cards for excursions, WIFI, Cheers etc.

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Contributor

i know this isn't such a big thing anymore as it used to be, but I still try to take travelers checks with me as a form of backup payment.  The plastic cards if lost/stolen or compromised aren't redeemable for any valid should they be suspended if compromised while traveling .. especially abroad.

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Periodic Contributor

We just scheduled our first cruise ever, and already have been given a lot of tips through carnival cruiseline and through delta vacations! My only tip I can offer is to read all the information sent to you to learn all these little tidbits! Also make sure to read current reviews of any excursions you’re planning to schedule.

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Newbie

Bring a bathing suit in your carry on bag. Most ships allow you to board early but the rooms are not ready until after 1pm. This is a great time to jump in the pool...most people are not prepared for this so the pools are rather empty.

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Contributor

Check out the ship on embarkation day to see what is there.  Just a quick look around to figure out what/where you want to go/see during your cruise!

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Periodic Contributor

Check the Members Only area for rewards every day, sweepstakes, discounted gift cards, etc. to make your trip even less costly!

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Contributor

When my family and I travel on cruises we wear our swimsuits the day we board while our bags are being delivered to our room. That way we can immediately hit the pools and slides. I always buy Gift Cards through the AARP rewards system saving me 10% on the cost of the entire trip. I l love cruising and mostly do it through the Long Beach port. Also make sure you have copies of all the excursions, credit cards, passports, birth certificates. Be prepared!
-MatthewA443367

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Periodic Contributor

Two weeks ahead of time I gather all of my paperwork and have it ready to go. Remember to use all of the deals at AARP Rewards to make your trip even better!

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I am 52 and I have never been on a cruise. I have always wanted to go on one. I'm a little worried that being out to sea where you can't see any land at all might kind of freak me out and I get nauseous extremely easy so I'm not sure about it,  but if anybody has any tips or hints I would love it because I would like to try to take a cruise sometime in the near future!

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Trusted Contributor

Typically, the lower the deck you're on and the closer you are to the center of the ship (called mid-ship), the steadier it is. You have a tendency to feel more motion the higher you go and towards the front & rear (forward & aft). Keep this in mind when booking a cabin. The ships are so huge, you often don't feel much motion at all. While laying in bed, I can feel the bed rock ever so gently. It's actually quite soothing. There's a motion sickness med called Bonine. Similar to Dramamine, but sometimes one works better than the other for some people. I only took some at the very beginning of our first ever cruise, then didn't need them after that, but know people who do get a little motion sickness and Bonine helps them. You can start with a shorter cruise to see if you like them, but keep in mind, on some cruise lines, 3-4 day cruises tend to be filled with a lot of people who like to party because they can easily be done on a weekend when people want a short trip to cut loose.

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Periodic Contributor

Never pay full price, there may be the rare exception, but you can always find a deal somewhere.  Also, I can do a 7 night cruise with just a carry on and my backpack.  You really don't need everything you plan on taking.

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Contributor

I've never been on a cruise. My children have, they are grown. I've always provided for them never doing anything for myself. I would like to win a cruise but like all contests I never win so it's a fun gesture to try.  I would like to travel have an adventure see new places experience new things. Being disabled has its limits. If I win I would love the experience of doing and seeing something I never have.  I use my AARP for discounts locally but to actually go somewhere would be a dream

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Newbie

My best cruise tip is to always arrive a day before sailing. You never know when obstacles.will pop up. I always take my AAPR card with me for use on all their discounts. 

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Contributor

AARP has helped us pay off our cruise with discounted gift cards. The best deal around. We can enjoy more with the savings. We like to use magnetic hooks to hang hats, lanyards and to dry out clothes.  We store our suitcases under the beds. Inside cabin to save money.

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Newbie

Cruising is one of the best vacations you can take!! They are relaxing, exciting and fun all at the same time. Just looking out into the ocean is one of the most peaceful things to do it takes you away to a far away place in your mind! Taking your AARP card with you gives you an advantage to get your discounts and be able to accumulate points 

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Contributor

When cruise and cabin booked we examine deck plans.  We look for best routes to main venues from our cabin.  Locate best elevator to use (mid ship, forward or aft).  Locate stairs to use as option if elevators are crowded.  Also determine which decks allow guest to go from forward to aft.  Many decks have obstructions like galley, mechanical rooms etc in center of deck/ship.  We also locate the public bathrooms in main venue areas so when needed we will not be wandering aimlessly.

 

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Contributor

Avoid long lines when dining by eating your meals at off hours.

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Newbie

My cruise tip is to always prepay for activities and staff tips before I cruise.  It’s one less thing to worry about, just go and not think about money.  Always check to see if AARP has Carnival gift cards available for sale at a discount. It’s a great way to stretch your dollars.

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Contributor

the best time to go through you muster is as soon as you get on the boat. Most people seem to wait and the lines can be longer. Always check with AARP first, when booking your next cruise.

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Periodic Contributor

If you're into swimming. Pack or wear your swimsuit on day 1. Pools are empty and you'll have them to yourself, as well as the hot tub. Sea day pools are a nightmare!!

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