Saving money with Drink Packages

IMG_0470 At home Diana and I drink both water and soda pop.  We don’t drink a whole lot of alcohol, maybe one bottle of wine every one to two weeks when the mood hits us.  On the cruise we wanted to enjoy ourselves with alcohol a little more often.  The idea was to continue with what we do at home and embellish with alcohol where appropriate.  To save you money they offer packages.

If your a big soda drinker like I am… be sure to sign up for a soda package!  Oh, and on the first day of the cruise.  This will save you a fortune… for about $48 for the entire week you can walk up to any bar on the ship, even any of the dining areas and flash the little sticker they put on your SeaPass (I talked about this in a previous post.).  No receipt process is involved with this little sticker and saves you time and money.  Just walkup and ask for a soda, flash the card and your golden.

If your a big water drinker like Diana is back home, be sure to signup for the water package.  On the second day of the cruise they’ll bring you huge bottles of water straight to your cabin.  Use the mini fridge to keep them cold and take with you on every excursion off the ship… even around the ship to save tones.  This package only costs $42 for 12 20oz bottles… yes more expensive than home but much much cheaper than buying them individually around the ship.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as an alcohol package.  Nope… don’t even bother asking, we did and were told they used to have that but due to underage drinking or something like that they were forced to get rid of that one…

The one package they do have as far as alcohol goes is a Wine & Dine package.  For about $140 you will recieve 5 bottles of wine for the week which you can use at your choosing.  More bottles are available.  This package gives you a choice of a few dozen types of wine at any meal.  We purchased the 5 bottle and during our main dining area meals we had them bring us one bottle on 5 different days.  On one of those days we even ordered wine, and had them bring us a soda as well… and because of the soda package we had… that was “free”.

The main idea here, is there are ways to save money.  Think ahead and bring about $300 for packages plus what you might order for mixed drinks… They run anywhere from $5-9 each.  So be careful here, they are very happy to provide you with a mixed drink where ever you are… pool deck, dining hall, shopping promenade, shows, etc…  We opted for only getting the drink-of-the-day which included a fancy souvenir glass.  We collected 4 of one kind and two of another.

Buy All your Jewelry during a Cruise

IMG_0148 Yes, you heard me right… never buy jewelry at home.  The discounts for name brand and high end jewelry is soooooo much higher in the Caribbean islands than at your home town jeweler.

The best tip I can give you is this… before your cruise, visit your local jewelers and get an idea of what your wanting to purchase.  Take pictures, brochures, and get lots of details on the size, design and other things that distinguish the piece(s) of jewelry your wanting to buy.  Also try to work them down to their best absolute bottom price.  Act like your leaving for another jeweler right after this visit and your intent on buying today.  This will get them to their lowest prices which usually involves a manager getting involved.  Write that price down and go on your cruise.  During the cruise they’re will be lots of seminars to remind you of the four C’s of diamonds, jewelry shopping and more.  They will also give you all kinds of free coupons for jewels, jewelry, etc… Collect all the free stuff and while there look for the pieces you are really after.  Use the same tactics they teach you in the seminars as well as what I mentioned above.

If you’ve done your research ahead of time, you’d know for sure if your getting a good deal.  This is the exact same thing we’re going to be doing on our next cruise vacation.  For this one we used the price lowering tactics and we’ll be visiting our home town jewelers when we get back to see what similar pieces would cost us.

The moral here is do your research before your cruise to ensure you get the best deals!!!

Lounging on the Beach in St. Martin

During our third island adventure, we docked in a port in St. Maarten (the Dutch side), then jumped onto a bus headed to St. Martin (the French side).  Along the way we learned all kinds of information about the island like the war that IMG_0263separated the island into two halves and the rich history and culture of the area.  In this picture we’re waiting for our tour to begin.  We were to meet on the pier then be transported to the beach.

IMG_0300Although we visited the beach in St. Thomas, we liked the one on St. Martin much better.  In this one we arrived at the beach with a lounge chair, cushion, and a beach umbrella (the umbrella was a $3 rental… but well worth it!!).  Diana got to read her IMG_0349book, and I took pictures of the pretty girls “for the guys at work”.  Here’s a picture for all those “guys at work”.

Exhaustion in St. Thomas

IMG_0167

Our adventures in St. Thomas was near exhaustion.  We went on the Ultimate Island Experience… and it sure was.  First thing in the morning (10am, LOL) we jumped onto an IMG_0183open-air tour truck and headed into town.  We passed by lots of cultural land marks and learned all kinds of history.  We stopped by several scenic overlooks on our way to the beach.

Our beach visit was in Megan’s BayIMG_0193.  The bus stopped at an overlook where we got to take a wonderful photo of it before going down to the beach.

IMG_0210

The beach was nice except for one problem… the people.  There were way too many people at this beach.  It was obvious that this was the most popular beach destination on the entire island.  Not only was it crowded… but it was expensive.  it would have cost us $40 for 2 hamburgers, fries and drinks.  Luckily we were able to wait till we returned to the ship where the food was “free”.

IMG_0227

Our final stop on the tour was a visit to Black Beards Castle.  A wonderfully refurbished home, pools, and sanctuary for pirates… LOL.

IMG_0246

This place also has the largest number of life sized pirate statues in the world. 

Finally we got to go shopping… free stuff for sure.  We used the “Port & Shopping” tips we received on the boat to get all kinds of wonderful jewelry and other gifts completely free.  We also purchased one or two items to add to Diana’s jewelry collection.  Jewelry was the one thing we’ve bought the most of on our cruise…  Diana’s definitely loving that 😉

We’ll post more later… Love you all.

NetBook Madness

mini1000 I have recently purchased and currently await arrival of a brand new HP Mini 1000 Netbook. That’s right… this years "hot" product is on it’s way to my house. I will provide you with a video intro to this new product once it arrives. In the mean time I figured I’d share some of the features and what I’m planning to do with it.

I fell in love with HP’s style back when I had my old 17" laptop. Back then it was my second laptop intended for my desktop replacement device. At that time I needed a desktop replacement because of my need to be ultra mobile. I used it for programming, video encoding, website design, remote administration and more. When I closed my business in 2008, I found it sat on my desktop all the time. So I sold it and purchased matching HP Pavilion desktops for me and my girlfriend.

My intention with this new NetBook isn’t to replace my desktop but rather serve as a portal device into my desktop, servers, and the internet.

Here is the specs sheet from my order:
HP Mini 1000 XP edition series
Genuine Windows XP Home with Service Pack 3
Intel(R) Atom(TM) Processor N270 (1.60GHz)
10.2" diagonal WSVGA HP LED Brightview Infinity Display (1024 x 600)
FREE Upgrade to 1GB DDR2 System Memory (1 Dimm)!! – For Integrated WWAN products
Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 950
60GB 4200RPM PATA Hard Drive
HP Mini Webcam with HP Imprint Finish (Swirl) – For 10.2" Display
HP Color Matching Keyboard
Wireless-G Card with Bluetooth
3 Cell Lithium Polymer Battery
HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope

As you can see it will have many wonderful features. I plan on adding a 3G internet card later so in anticipation i purchased the special WWAN memory and was forced to choose the larger 1.8" 60GB PATA hard drive instead of a SSD drive.

At the end of February my wonderful Fiance and I will be on our honeymoon. We are taking a cruise around the eastern Caribbean islands for 7 full days. I’m hoping that wireless internet will be provided, but if not I’ll be sure to post as much as I can before and after.
Anyways… after we get back from the cruise, we’ll be on our 7day road trip along the eastern coast. We could get as far north as New York if the weather permits. Either way we’ll be taking full advantage of the NetBook and the 3G capabilities… Just image, driving down the road with the NetBook open and streaming a movie from your home server 5 states away. 😉

Another nice feature we’ll be taking full advantage of is the Streets and Trips program I purchased last year, which also came with a Microsoft GPS antenna. I plan to purchase an inexpensive bluetooth transmitter for it and will throw it up on the dash to provide us with GPS tracking for our trip.

Ok, the $500 I spent for it is also well justified because it will fit nicely into one of my motorcycles saddlebags… yes, you heard right. Full RDP access into the servers I manage, video streaming, 3G internet access and more anywhere I might ride.

On a side note I will need to upgrade the OS on my home desktop to allow for RDP access… I’m currently running Vista Home Premium and we all know something more is needed.

Well closing this post for now… but I’ll be sure to let you all know when it arrives. They are set to ship it out on the 7th and I’m checking the order status almost daily now… LOL