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Shipboard Activities

Some people who haven't cruised are worried that they'll be bored during a Day at Sea. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Every day on a cruise ship is filled with choices - things to do, people to meet and places to go. Whether you pack your days with activities from sunup to sundown or prefer to take things at a more leisurely pace, a cruise can provide just the type of vacation you are looking for.

A Day at Sea - A Floating Resort is Yours to Discover

You awake in the morning with the sun streaming in the window and the deep blue sea stretching out before you, to the horizon. Will you head to the promenade deck to meet the fitness director for a brisk morning walk or jog around the ship, or place a call to room service and indulge yourself in a leisurely breakfast in bed? You slip on your exercise clothes and you're off, but half an hour later you realize those walks through your neighborhood will never measure up to the open-air laps you just took around your sleek ocean liner.

Back in your stateroom, you shower before heading to the formal dining room to enjoy a full-service breakfast. It's white table cloths and impeccably dressed staff, attentive to your every whim, but your casual dress is the norm for breakfast. By now, your waiter knows you by name and has prepared your coffee just the way you like it. The main dining room is rarely more than half full for breakfast, as many passengers choose the more casual, buffet-style restaurant. Will you try the Eggs Benedict today, or have the chef whip up an omelette? There's no need to check the price - all your meals are included.

You glance at your copy of the ship's daily program, which was slipped under your stateroom door the previous evening. This is your guide to the world of activities and events offered onboard for that particular day - and there is something for every style and age. Perhaps you'll take part in the games and contests happening outside by the pool, or join an aerobics class or work out in the state-of-the-art gym. Perhaps you'll attend a lecture about the culture and history of the ports you'll be visiting, take a cooking or computer class, or sign up for a ballroom dancing lesson.

If the kids have come along, they'll be plotting their very own schedule of activities for the day - treasure hunts, T-shirt decorating, and pizza parties at the Kid's Camp.

Later this afternoon, you could play a game of bingo or take a gaming lesson in the ship's casino. Perhaps you'll drop by the art auction (if still offered) or visit the ship's boutiques and duty-free shops. You and your shipmates can take part in a fun (and funny!) passenger game show in the ship's main show lounge. Try a Swedish massage or a relaxing and revitalizing spa treatment. Or, if you are in a more leisurely mood today, just laze in the sun by the pool, or find a quiet spot in the library and curl up with a good book. There are cozy and private places to read on even the largest ships.

Think that cruises have a lot to offer during the day? When the sun goes down, shipboard life is just heating up! Before dinner, you may enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while mingling with fellow guests. Single guests will enjoy meeting others who are on their own at the singles cocktail party or social. Then, enjoy a world-class meal in the main dining room, where the service and cuisine are exceptional. Of course, the buffet restaurant is still an option for dinner, and on many ships there are other specialty restaurants from which to choose.

After dinner, head to the main show lounge for a Broadway or Vegas-style show performed by the ship's talented entertainment staff. The kids won't be left out of the fun at night; they may have their own dinner engagement this evening with some of their newfound friends. Later, while you are at the show, the older kids will have a blast at the teen disco, while the little ones watch movies and eat ice cream sundaes at the kids-only slumber party!

After the show, you can try your luck at the slots or gaming tables in the ship's lively casino, or sit back and listen to a live jazz band or chamber music in one of the ship's lounges. Maybe you'll dazzle your fellow passengers with your vocal talents during karaoke or at a sing-along in the piano bar! Or just dance the night away to the pulsing beat of the disco. Whatever you do, don't forget the midnight buffet!

After a day custom-made to your tastes, you'll wonder what you ever did for excitement on dry land.

Onboard Casinos

I love the noise, the action, even the smoke.  I've learned to have a good time, win or lose.  That's the secret, actually... budget yourself and if you should lose, just consider it an excursion.

If you are lucky enough to win, there are some tax liabilities... This is a quote from Publication  529...from the Internal Revenue Service:

Gambling Losses Up to the Amount of Gambling Winnings

You must report the full amount of your gambling winnings for the year on Form 1040,[ex.  line 21]. You deduct your gambling losses for the year on Schedule A (Form 1040), [ex. line 27]. You cannot deduct gambling losses that are more than your winnings.

Caution You cannot reduce your gambling winnings by your gambling losses and report the difference. You must report the full amount of your winnings as income and claim your losses (up to the amount of winnings) as an itemized deduction. Therefore, your records should show your winnings separately from your losses.

Records you should keepDiary of winnings and losses. You must keep an accurate diary or similar record of your losses and winnings.

Your diary should contain at least the following information.

  1. The date and type of your specific wager or wagering activity.

  2. The name and address or location of the gambling establishment.

  3. The names of other persons present with you at the gambling establishment.

  4. The amount(s) you won or lost.

Proof of winnings and losses.   In addition to your diary, you should also have other documentation. You can generally prove your winnings and losses through Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, Form 5754, Statement by Person(s) Receiving Gambling Winnings, wagering tickets, canceled checks, substitute checks, credit records, bank withdrawals, and statements of actual winnings or payment slips provided to you by the gambling establishment.   For specific wagering transactions, you can use the following items to support your winnings and losses. 
These recordkeeping suggestions are intended as general guidelines to help you establish your winnings and losses. They are not all-inclusive. Your tax liability depends on your particular facts and circumstances.

Keno.   Copies of the keno tickets you purchased that were validated by the gambling establishment, copies of your casino credit records, and copies of your casino check cashing records.

Slot machines.   A record of the machine number and all winnings by date and time the machine was played.

Table games (twenty-one (blackjack), craps, poker, baccarat, roulette, wheel of fortune, etc.).
The number of the table at which you were playing. Casino credit card data indicating whether the credit was issued in the pit or at the cashier's cage.

Bingo.   A record of the number of games played, cost of tickets purchased, and amounts collected on winning tickets. Supplemental records include any receipts from the casino, parlor, etc.

Racing (horse, harness, dog, etc.).   A record of the races, amounts of wagers, amounts collected on winning tickets, and amounts lost on losing tickets. Supplemental records include unredeemed tickets and payment records from the racetrack.

  A record of ticket purchases, dates, winnings, and losses. Supplemental records include unredeemed tickets, payment slips, and winnings statements.

In your cabin each evening you will find with some sort of Ship's Newspaper which outlines the activities scheduled for the following day.  It may be also posted in convenient locations around the ship for easy reference.  You will have to opportunity to partake in (or not) many relaxing or active and exciting activities.  (I have indicated alternatives for port days like this.
  • Rise early and watch the ship pull into port...a breathtaking view
  • Enjoy breakfast (or lunch or dinner) in bed, in the dining room or out on deck
    • On port days breakfast is served early to accomodate passengers with early excursion departures
  • Sign up for the Talent Show (passengers are the talent)
  • Check your email
  • Ports of Call Lectures or Excursion Talks (re-run on TV all day)
  • Go ashore or stay on board...your call
  • Pose for the Ship's photographer (who is everywhere)
    • at dinner and parties
    • at activities
    • out on the Lido
    • at formal portrait sittings
    • at embarkation and port stops
  • Learn about the ship:
    • lifeboat drill (mandatory)
    • galley tour
    • bridge tour
  • Ship facilities (except casino and gift shops) are uncrowded and at your disposal all day
  • Try the Cocktail/Mocktail of the Day
  • Pamper your body
    • Health & Fitness Center
        • eucalyptus wraps
        • jacuzzis
    • Beauty Shop (get ready for formal night)
      • hair styling
      • manicures
      • facials
      • workout equipment
    • Jogging (on the Promenade)
    • Aerobics
    • Sports
      • volleyball
      • basketball
      • tennis
      • shuffleboard
      • table tennis
      • skeet shooting
      • snorkeling or SCUBA lessons
      • swimming
  • Sharpen your skills
    • Demonstrations
      • napkin folding
      • scarf/sarong tying
      • ship-building (that's where all those straws went...)
      • wine and cheese tasting
      • crafts
      • dance class
  • Soothe your soul
    • religious gatherings
    • meet with:
    • just relax
      • with a good book
        • on the Promenade in a deck chair
        • in the peace and quiet of the library
        • play bridge, chess, checkers or board games
      • in the Jacuzzi
      • with new friends in one of the many lounges
      • over a game of cards or board game
      • watch "the big game" in the Sports Bar
    • stroll the Promenade and watch an incredible sunset
    • phone Home ($8-15/minute or pay roam charges on your cellfone)
  • Surf the Net
    • Most newer ships and some older ones have an "Internet Cafe" where you can browse or send E-mail for a fee (a flat rate + about 75 cents per minute), which is charged to your shipboard account.  On some ships the fee for E-mail is quite high, and it may be better to get a free HoTMaiL account so you can send/receive your E-mail through the browser.  There are no floppy or CD drives.
  • Wine Desk--order in advance for the evening meal
  • Dine as you like
    • dinner is usually informal on port days
    • Instead of paying in a restaurant on shore, come back and dine aboard
    • afternoon tea
    • ice cream parlor
    • enjoy drinks and hors d'oeuvres
    • Cognac and Cigars Under the Stars
    • lounge entertainment (string quartet, steel drum Island style, piano bar) & cocktails or coffee 
    • Midnight Chocolate Extravaganza
  • Have a Party
    • for new friends in your own cabin
    • the Captain's Welcome Aboard cocktail party (a formal affair held just before the evening dinner seating) offering hors d'oeuvres and drinks, an introduction to the Master and his officers, and a formal portrait/photo session.
    • Masquerade Party
    • theme Party
    • Sail-away Party (poolside)
  • Play games
    • Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game
    • Sea-Quest (treasure hunt)
    • The Match Game
  • Visit the Casino (afternoons and evenings in international waters)
    • blackjack
    • craps
    • poker
    • roulette
    • slots
    • casino quiz/raffle
  • Bingo (snowballs to a gigantic pot on the last night if not won earlier)
  • Horse Racing 
  • Mileage Pool
  • Shore Excursions
    • museums
    • historical sights
    • parks or natural wonders
    • helicopter tours
    • boat tours
  • On your own:
    • hire a taxi and personalize your tour
    • explore shops at your leisure (see haggling tips below)
    • play a round of golf
    • tennis
    • wind surfing
    • SCUBA
    • snorkeling
  • Dance, dance, dance
  • Karaoke
  • Live Stage Shows
    • broadway or Las Vegas-style shows
    • magicians
    • ventriloquists
    • acrobats
    • comedians
    • singers
  • First-run movies (in the Theater or on TV)
  • Children's Programs
  • Gift Shops (usually a different "special sale" every day
    • Sundry Shop
    • Duty-free fragrances and jewelry
    • Clothing and souveniers
    • Photo Shop/Gallery
  • Laundry (have it done or do it yourself)
My, my...there's so much to do!  The hardest part sometimes is figuring out how to do it all...well, you can't.  Some activities are only offered once, some daily or all day.  My husband takes along colored markers and diligently highlights what he wants to do, and no matter how hard he tries, he can't do it all, either.  Some things will have to put off until your next cruise  ; )

Haggling for bargains:

...as posted in r.t.c. by Donna
  1. You ask how much, and listen, and then shake your head no. 
  2. Then you listen as he drops the price and keep shaking your head no.  Then you start to leave.
  3. He shouts a price at you, but you keep going. 
  4. He shouts another price.  You're about to turn the corner. 
  5. He shouts one last price as you disappear from view. 
  6. That last price is as low as the merchant can go and still make a profit.  You now know the price you should pay for the item. 
  7. You go to the next vendor, who has the exact same merchandise, and offer that price.

© 1996-2009  Candy Brock