Cruise lines have different policies with regards to bringing liquor and wine on board.  Some ban it altogether, while other lines allow certain amounts.  Although I am a cruising veteran, I did not do my homework before our 2011 cruise on the Allure of the Seas.

It was already several hours after boarding and we were still missing one piece of luggage.  We thought it was either lost, or the tag came off, so therefore being held.  We “heard” that we were allowed “one bottle per passenger,” so we didn’t think there were any other issues.  We came back from eating to find a note in our stateroom, indicating that we needed to go to deck 1 (I think) to pick up our bag.  That’s when it hit us…they knew to contact us, so we then realized it had to be the booze!  So, we headed to the elevator bays that went to that depth of the ship.

A couple of decks down the elevator stopped and a man walked in.  He saw we were going to deck 1, and apparently he was too.  He asked, “booze or iron?”  I said, “booze, you?”  “Iron,” he said.  We both played along, and at the same time, he, my wife and I just looked down in shame, slightly shook our heads, and then shared a laugh.  When we saw each other two other times during the week, we would just bow our heads in shame as we walked by, before greeting! Ah, the elevator ride of shame!

So, enhance your cruise experience and do your homework before you set sail!  Here is a link for alcohol “smuggling” guidelines for many of the major cruise lines.


More important today than ever (thanks iPhone, iPad, smart phone and camera) is having enough electrical outlets in your stateroom (or hotel).  There are a few items out there like the one pictured (this one from 360electrical), and it is something that we don’t so much forget to bring, but many do not think of owning a travel-sized version in the first place.

You’re onboard with your iPad, iPod (or phone), digital camera, and whatever else that requires charging.  This little beauty allows you to plug in two of the items via USB.  Be sure to check specifications for charging time when you use any in-wall USB charging device, as they do vary.

Remembering an item such as this can only enhance your Cruise Experience.

It was February of 1992 and I was in my second year of college in New York.  I had just finished an exam from a night course (in broadcasting).  I raced downstairs to catch my ride…okay…my parents in their car, with my brother, picking me up so we could leave New York (it was snowing) and drive to South Florida to take a cruise.  It would be the first for all of us.  I remember listening to the Jerky Boys CD a couple of time during the drive.  Sometimes I can still be heard imitating the Sol Rosenberg character!

We arrived in Florida the next evening and after one night at my grandparents condo…a very small condo…we drove down to the Port of Miami to board Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of the Seas.  At the time, the second largest cruise ship in Miami, trailing the SS Norway (of NCL) because they added to the top of the ship, changing the face of what others knew as the former SS France.  I remember a rather long and tedious boarding process.  Heck, Windows 3.1 didn’t debut until March, so I could (now) understand “why” the long process!!

soveriegn02The next thing I remember is coughing, because I ate a bug.  That’s because something flew into my mouth as soon as we entered the ship.  I WILL NEVER FORGET the first impression when I first walked into the Sovereign of the Seas…my jaw hit the floor.  I mean, I watched “The Love Boat” and everything, but I don’t ever remember seeing glass elevators and a brass (looking) staircase and lobby in The Pacific Princess!  I could not believe that we were standing in a ship.  This was like being in a hotel that we could not afford.

The weeklong cruise was just fantastic.  I couldn’t get over the service…it was so much better than the Sizzler and our local diner!  After one night, the waiter, Ibrahim (I still remember his name…THAT’S how good he was) knew our tastes exactly.  He also knew what we would want to drink.  Two huge pools and a full service fitness center with so much more…you get the point.  It was also so much easier to meet girls, but that might have just been because it was a captive audience and choices were limited.  I was a late bloomer!

The Sovereign of the Seas looking ghostly, off the shores of Labadee, Haiti.  It's only fitting, since the Sovereign of the Seas is no longer with RCCI.

The Sovereign of the Seas looking ghostly, off the shores of Labadee, Haiti. It’s only fitting, since the Sovereign of the Seas is no longer with RCCI.

Fast forward to the end of the week…I knew I was hooked, and I couldn’t wait to go on another cruise.  Little did I know at the time that this would be the first of nearly 40, before my 42nd birthday!  In 2006, my wife and I revisited the Sovereign of the Seas and sailed on a three-night Bahamas cruise out of Port Canaveral.  While it wasn’t as awe-inspiring, it was nice to be back, and to reminisce.  There were many updates, but she had the same impressive lobby.

Today on our Facebook page, Royal Caribbean posted about the retiring of Sovereign’s sister ship, the Monarch of the Seas, and this is what prompted me to think back about my first experience.  The Sovereign of the Seas is no longer with Royal Caribbean (since 2008), and now sails as the MS Sovereign, for Pullmantur Cruises.

The Promenade on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas.

The Promenade on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Water slides, Internet Cafes, Freestyle Options, Condo Living at Sea, Water Parks, Bowling, Cruise Line Craft Beer.  I know I’ve missed a BUNCH.

It seems like cruise ship innovations evolve as quickly as the latest consumer electronics.  By the way, what is a compact disc?

Anyway, what do you think the next great cruise ship innovation will be?  What do you WANT it to be?