Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cruisin' on a Sunday afternoon...

After returning home from the family reunion in Virginia, I was charged with the task of planning the family cruise next year. We made the dates and destination decision and I threw myself into finding the perfect cruise to match what everyone wanted. I am a stay at home mom, I have the time to get things organized. I have been on a cruise before, and am a master at planning vacations(Read: Vacation nazi) It is the perfect fit for me, and I am happy to do it.

We knew we wanted the Caribbean. But we had half the people who wanted more snorkeling and beachy related activities.

The other half wanted Mayan ruins and Lamanite History.

We found the perfect cruise to suit everyone and make both parties equally happy. We start out in Miami and head to Grand Cayman(snorkeling and beach), Cozumel (snorkeling/beach/ruins), Belize City(ruins/beach) and roatan Island (Beach etc) So it is a really great mix for both sides.
At first I was leery of planning for so many people and wasnt sure if I would be able to make it work and kind of doubted the vacation nazi's abilities. however I have been pleasantly surprised.
I have found that throughout the past few days I have really enjoyed planning for this. I have a special talent for finding deals, bargains and dickering people down into giving me what I want(Lindsey, Busia will be so proud)
. I talked them into the maximum cabin credit that can be used towards excursions, used for tipping etc. Originally they wanted the entire $250 deposit per person by September 3rd. I talked them into 25$ per person by september 3rd and the remaining 200 by April 16th. I haggleddown an already low price of $389 per person(minus taxes fees and fuel surcharges) to $310 per person. Those poor people at the cruise agency didnt know what hit them by the time I was done talking to them. (Brother in Law)Brandon e-mailed me with a great quote from his travel agent and I used it as leverage to get more goodies for our group. So I do have to tip my hat to Brandon whose quote gave me some bargaining room and allowed the dickering goddess in me to shine forth. I would like to thank Lindseys Grandmother Busia who taught me to "dicker with them" on our last cruise and to NEVER pay brochure price or full price for anything. Without her I would be paying way more than I should. She is one shrewd gal!!

Did I mention I am planning for a group that may possibly include 40+ people??
We have a confirmed "I am paying my deposit right now" 24 people(12 rooms) and an additional 18 possibly's.(9 rooms)
Every day I am getting emails from family saying "Oh we want to come too, can you include us, or "Can we extend the invitation to so and so?"
Heck yes. The more the merrier. The more people we book, the more free cruises we get, the more cabin credits we get and the better stuff they throw in. You dont have to associate with us...just let me use you for more goodies.

Charles and I will be celebrating our anniversary together as well. Nothing more romantic than 40 McBrides stuffed onto a boat!!
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