While sitting on the beach last week in Princess Cays, Bahamas, I turned to my mother (my guest for the cruise) and said, "Dreams really do come true."
In December 2008, I couldn't stop thinking about my desire to travel.
As luck would have it, a good friend had just recently met Daniel Hall. She shared his contact information with me and I downloaded his ebook about cruising for free a few days later.
I followed Daniel's directions and before I knew it I was approved to sail with Princess.
By May 2009, I had my trip scheduled!
What a fabulous experience. Everything about the ship and the crew exceeded all my expectations. And besides that, except for port excursions, cocktails and add-on services, my cruise was free.
Below I have included some tips for anyone cruising with Princess:
1. Speakers are housed in staterooms or in captain's quarters (with crew). If you do find yourself in the crew area, it is important to understand you will not have the typical "stateroom" amenities like soap, shampoo conditioner and/or blow dryer. Because you will not know your assignment until boarding, it is suggested you pack with the assumption you will be with the crew.
My mother and I were assigned a room with the crew.
2. If you are assigned a crew's cabin and have any difficulties with your keys, you must visit the Crew Supervisor (not Passenger Services).
3. Be prepared to speak in large venues. Although they do have smaller conference rooms, on my cruise the smaller rooms were occupied by card players. I spoke in the theater (holds 800) and then in one of the clubs (holds 400), even though audiences for scholarship programs (as they call them) are typically less than 100.
4. Bring an up-to-date laptop with you and a remote. If you have problems with your equipment, they have one on board (at least they did on the Emerald). Also make a backup copy of your presentation (on CD or memory stick) just incase you have to use their equipment.
5. Site all your photos and sources. Good practice for any presentation you make!
6. If you need pencils or pens, this request will need to be made to the Cruise Director staff. Your contact, the person assigned to you on the first day, can help you with "special" requests like this.
7. Recommend taking 50 copies for handouts. I ran out of handouts for one presentation. It's possible to ask for more or have them available at Passenger Services (later), if you run out during the presentation.
8. Practice, practice, practice. You do not want to use your cruise time rehearsing! Preparing destination lectures is time intensive. Give yourself plenty of time to create detailed, as well as entertaining slides. Use pictures, maps and other attention-getting additions to your PowerPoint slides.
9. If you have never used a microphone (hand held or headset), you might want to find a way to practice doing so before you step foot on board. Unless you are placed in a small conference room, you will need a microphone.
10. Be aware of the schedule. You might have events booked immediately ahead or behind you. Understand the time limits you have and make adjustments. For example, during one lecture, I was given 40 minutes (due to set up time). The lecture could have gone on for one hour. The night before, I cut slides and made adjustments. If you have an event booked in front of you,take your equipment early so that the technician can set up when it's convenient for him or her.
Personally, I can't wait to get back on board! Thanks for creating your program, Daniel. It works!