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Should we take an almost-free cruise?

13 years ago

While attending a ballgame in Philadelphia recently, DH completed an entry form for a sweepstakes. This morning, we got a call saying that he had won a 6-day, 5-night cruise to Bermuda! The trip is on Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" and is sponsored by Sundance Vacations. Cabin, meals, nonalcoholic drinks, and entertainment are included. The sales rep spoke glowingly of the entertainment: Ice Capades, Las Vegas revues, restaurants, shops, etc. We would have to drive from Baltimore to Harrisburg, PA, on Saturday to listen to a 1-hour sales presentation for the Sundance travel agency before picking up our info packet, but the trip could be scheduled later, for any time in the next year.

While I was on the phone, I thought it seemed like an "out of this world" experience, but I'm having second thoughts now. We are so NOT the kind of people who take cruises! We're homebodies in our late 60s who never go anywhere, except to visit family. We're not athletic, so we probably wouldn't use the swimming pool, skating rink, etc. And we're not sun-worshipping hedonists (in fact, I've had skin cancer, so I try to stay out of the sun). I don't even LIKE luxury or glitz, so I wouldn't care about the Las Vegas shows. The kind of travel we enjoy entails exploring new places (other cities or nature sites), not sitting in a deck chair. We have heavy family responsibilities right now, and money is tight, so we'd have to stay out of the shops and restaurants. Still, our 40th wedding anniversary is coming up, and it would be great to have some kind of special (but less expensive) experience.

Please help me figure out whether this is something we'd really enjoy anyway. The travel agency admits that it's not a "free" trip, as there are taxes, port charges, and fees (totaling around $450), and probably 1-week parking charges. We'll need passports, too, if we get off the ship in Bermuda. And I have no suitable vacation or dress-up clothes (and no need for them after this trip). Say an outlay of $700 minimum to take advantage of this prize. (We could probably afford it, but our priorities are elsewhere.) What other hidden costs am I forgetting? Or the hidden benefits? Is the experience really worth it, considering the kind of folks we are? Also, if anybody has had good or bad experiences with this travel co. or similar cruises, I'd like to hear about then.



Here is a link that might be useful: Sundance Vacations

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