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Old 07-18-2008, 02:39 AM
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What a great forum! I'm on my first cruise next week on 'Brilliance of the Seas' around the med & Greece.

I've heard of 'diy' port excursions - can anyone point me to the right place to read about these please.

I see we can't take alcohol on board! The cruise cost us enough - what tips can experienced cruiser give us for keeping costs down?
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:01 AM
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Hi landladyJan, welcome to Cruise-Chat! I posted a couple of things in response to your reply to dougie. A few tips to keep expenses down: 1.) Take a few bottles of water with you and fill them with ship's water for shore excursions. 2.) Stay out of the casino 3.) Purchase a bottle of wine at the dinner table. What you don't finish they will cork and serve it the following evening. 4.) Don't purchase every picture they take of you, just the ones you want for a remembrance. I like the pictures from the boarding, formal night, and a few from the ports. 5.) Don't purchase drinks in their souvineer glasses. 6.) Watch for the drink specials or purchase the Bucket-o-Beer. You can take the bucket back to the cabin.7.) Don't drink a bunch of soda pop on board, drink the free stuff: ice tea, coffee, juices in the morning, hot tea, milk, etc. 8.) Stay out of the boutiques on board.

Now with that being said, don't follow them and have a ball
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:24 AM
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Thanks Penny, some great tips.

I understand on some ships you can purchase wine 'packs' for the whole voyage when you board? Anyone got any info on these? Are they worth getting rather than ordering at the table?

We are used to enjoying a bottle of wine with our dinner - well, we do live in Spain.

Another thing - do they have fridges in the staterooms? Just wondering as if they did we could bring a water filterer and keep water in our room nice and cool for middle of the night time drinks.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:42 AM
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RCI has a "wine and dine" package you can purchase. There will be stations set up on embarkation day with dining room staff pushing the program. You can get a pamphlet from them that explains it. They have three levels - diamond, platinum, and gold. The diamond is the most expensive, then the platinum, and the gold is the cheapest. Each level has a list of wines you can pick from. The list gets smaller as you go down the price levels. For example, the diamond has 11 reds to choose from, platinum has 9, and gold has 5. They also have sparkling wines and whites. You can buy 5, 7, 10, or 12 bottles of wine in each plan.

On our recent cruise with RCI the prices for 7 bottles were: $217.35 for diamond, $198.95 for platinum, and $181.70 for gold. This may sound expensive (it is) but it is still cheaper than buying by-the-bottle. The prices I listed include the automatic 15% gratuity.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:55 AM
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Thanks Dave,

At those prices I think we'll keep our wine drinking to a few glasses in a nice cafe/bistro on-shore before returning to the ship, and just order a bottle at dinner on special evenings only!
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:02 AM
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If you buy a bottle of wine they will keep it for you if you don't drink all of it, and serve the remainder the following night. So it is possible to only buy 2 or 3 bottles and have it last for the whole cruise.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:25 AM
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They have fridges in the room, but you won't need a filtering system. The water on board is better filtered and better tasting than any bottled water you can buy. The prices Dave listed are very reasonable. I believe the least expensive bottle of wine is $22.00 + 15% gratuity.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:49 AM
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Great news about the fridges & water - I'll just take on a couple of water bottles for re-filling then.

I only drink Rose wine, which doesn't seem to be on offer in the drinks package. $22 + 15% is very expensive for us, we can get a bottle of nice wine in restaurants here in Spain for about 10 euros, (not house wine) Obviously the mark up is a LOT higher on the ship. Think we'll stick with the water most evenings, better for us anyways

Thanks for your responses
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:38 AM
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You are allowed to bring 1 bottle of wine per person on board with you. At least you can in the states. Sonny, are you allowed a bottle of wine per person in Europe?
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:45 AM
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I'm not too sure about the wine with RCI. I think the policy has been changed so nothing with alcohol is allowed to be brought aboard. They may be more slack in Europe though.
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