So What CAN’T You Do on a Cruise?

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Cruising is my favorite kind of vacation.  You can enjoy the four corners of the world in small, bite sized chunks.  I push cruising to anyone who asks (and even people who don’t), and I am always touting the best things about cruising. So here’s the question most people always ask back – What can’t you do?

I had to think about this.  You really can do a ton of stuff, but there are some things you might want to be aware of if you’re embarking on your first cruise.  So here’s my list of things you CAN’T do on a cruise:

EXTEND YOUR PORT STAY

I assumed most people would know that when the ship sails, you’d better be on it, but honestly, this is a great question.  If your activities cause you to miss your set sail time, you’ll be on your own to get yourself to the next port of call.  The cruise line may be able to help arrange transportation, but you will have to pay the all expenses.

GO ON A PICNIC IN PORT WITH FREE SHIP FOOD

Some veteran cruisers will tell you that you can order a room service sandwich to take with you on excursions so you don’t have to pay for a meal. Or head to the buffet and grab a few extra pieces of fruit to take to the beach with you. That may end up being the most expensive free picnic you’ll ever enjoy.  Fines can soar upwards of $5,000 for taking food off of the ship, introducing produce or meats and cheeses to foreign soil.  Don’t risk it.  Enjoy the local cuisine, or head back to the ship when you feel the hungry coming on.

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GO HUNGRY

I’ve had conversations with people who have said they don’t want to cruise because they don’t do a midnight buffet on cruises anymore.  While it’s true that most cruise lines have done away with the nightly midnight food fest, you can get food on a cruise ship around the clock. Room service is always available, and there are lounges with snacks, deck parties late into the evening, and even late night pizza or burgers.  If you go hungry while on a cruise, you are wandering around with your eyes closed.

NOT VACATION YOUR WAY

Some people want to find a chair by the pool on Saturday and stay put until they have to go home the following Saturday. And some people don’t know you can do that on a cruise. You can board your ship, find your deck chair, and still have your cheeks in the seat when they kick you off a week later.  You do not have to leave when the ship is in port, you don’t have to go to any of the shows, you don’t have to dress up and go to dinner.  This is your vacation – have it your way.  Cruising gives you that flexibility!

Ready to book your cruise? Just remember to take me with you!

 

 

The Sad Business of Dying

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MedsMy family has always been exceptionally lucky when it comes to medical insurance.  Jim had a great job with a company that not only offered free healthcare benefits, they were the best healthcare benefits money could buy.  We never paid a copayment, deductible, or a percentage of treatment.  No money ever went out of our pocket for prescription drugs or durable medical equipment.  Everything was always covered, everywhere we went.

We no longer have that insurance, since Jim’s retirement due to disability from that awesome job.  However, we are lucky enough to still have health insurance coverage.  Gone are the days when everything medical was handed to us.  My last kidney surgery was not going to be performed unless I showed up at the surgical center with $500 to cover my percentage of the procedure.  The medications I needed following the multiple procedures cost us more than $100 out of pocket – a huge discount over what they would have cost if we had no insurance at all, but at the same time, that $100 is a big chunk of money to families struggling already to make ends meet.  Let’s not even speak of trying to come up with $500 to unblock a kidney – ridiculous.  What if a family doesn’t have that money?

I read an article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the family of Luis Rodriguez.  Diagnosed a year ago with acute myeloid leukemia, Luis and his family just made the bittersweet journey to Florida, where Luis will live out his final days surrounded by family after losing his home of 13 years due to the cost of his illness, combined with his inability to work and his wife’s need to cut her hours back to care for her dying husband.  This family went from being comfortable, able to provide things for their children, enjoying life to losing their home and barely scraping by – all due to illness.

I don’t claim to know the answer.  I’m not a huge fan of Obamacare, but this isn’t about politics.  There is a huge business in treating sick people – from the doctors and hospitals to the drug companies and pharmacies.

Maybe dying should be more about dignity and less about dollars.

 

It’s expensive to be dying.  It’s an expense so few of us are prepared to take on.  The bank doesn’t necessarily care that you have cancer and can’t go to work when your mortgage payment is due.  Walgreen’s doesn’t want to know that you have a life insurance policy that will more than cover your prescription medications when you die – you have to come up with the money now if you want to die comfortably.

Even if you can afford the medications you’ll need, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t going to cover the rest of your bills.  Sure, you might qualify for Social Security disability, but you’ll have to live at least three months to see it kick in, and by that time, many families are already drowning in debt.