VERY IMPORTANT: IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LOW CARB GROUP SEMINARS, YOU MUST BOOK THROUGH THE LOW CARB GROUP. We apologize if you have a favorite travel agent that you regularly use, but the cruise line will only allow us to reserve a meeting space for the total number we show BOOKED with our group. Also, your favorite agent will not be allowed to add you to the Low Carb group. International Tours of Houston, agents Debbie Hubbs and Becky Gandy, are the only ones allowed to do that (contact information below). Thanks for your understanding.
The cruise line has the authority to revise & change their procedures at any time. We do our best to keep up and inform the group as we are given the updates from the cruise line. MOST, IF NOT ALL of your general questions about cruising can be answered at the cruise line’s website (currently http://www.royalcaribbean.com in their FAQ section.)
General Cruise Information and FAQ:
Becky Gandy – firstname.lastname@example.org (Cruise Coordinator)
Debbie Hubbs – email@example.com (Travel Agent)
Jimmy Moore – firstname.lastname@example.org (Host and Coordinator of Guest Speakers)
Ailsa Marshall – email@example.com (Guest Services, International Travel Assistant)
Kim Eidson – firstname.lastname@example.org (Guest Services, Speaker Assistant)
Debbie Hubbs at email@example.com
All group reservations must be made through agent Debbie Hubbs, LC Travel (International Tours of Houston). You may call Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines directly for general information about RCCL or the ship, but they will not give you any information about our group. You will be referred back to DEBBIE HUBBS (LC Travel) as the travel agent for the Low Carb Cruise (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Becky Gandy will be assisting Debbie so you may also direct any questions to her at email@example.com
This is for pre-planned group excursions. As it gets closer to sailing we will be announcing group excursions that you can join if you choose. Prices will vary according to the excursion. This is optional and there are a lot of other excursions you are free to take.
Contact Ailsa Marshall at Ailsamarshall@live.com.
Ailsa Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to http://www.porteverglades.net/cruising/. You will see a “cruising” tab and a “parking” link. You will be directed to a page that shows transportation, parking, hotels, things to do, and MUCH more. There are coupons, events, and even a list of parking lots with the prices listed.
Convenient parking for cruise passengers is available in the Northport and Midport Parking Garages and the Midport Surface Lot between Terminals 18 and 19. All Port public garages and surface lots:
- Provide disabled parking with unimpeded access to crosswalks and elevators.
SPECIFIC prices for the group are listed under the “reservations” tab, but the BEST WAY to get a specific quote is to contact DEBBIE HUBBS (email@example.com) or by phone (480) 326-8210.
There is a $75 per person seminar fee that will be added to the total registration.
The exact cost depends upon the cabin category you choose. The rates are locked in for the group until our allotment is filled. After our group allotment is filled, more reservations can be made in the group but at the current cruise line rates. Sometimes, as demand increases, these rates can be subject to change. The cruise line can adjust the rates depending on how they need to fill the ship. For example if all of the inside cabins are getting close to being sold out, they may drop the rates of the window cabins to get people to book those instead. We have no control over that.
The price of each category is based upon its deck level. The higher decks cost more; lower decks cost less.
If rates should drop for your cabin type, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will let us submit an upgrade request, but only if there are cabins available in our reserved allotment. It is subject to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’s discretion.
Registration payments must be made by debit or credit card. If for any reason a refund is required, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will refund to the original card on file. IF you have changed credit cards, you may have to wait 6-8 weeks for a refund check to be mailed to you.
WHAT IS THE DEPOSIT NEEDED TO BOOK A CABIN? WHEN ARE THE REGISTRATION DEADLINES FOR 2014? HOW LATE CAN I WAIT?
1st deposit is $250 per person (certain cabin types (suites) may require 50% deposit). This money is due immediately when cabin is booked ($500, if booking as a single).
If you register any time BEFORE the FINAL payment is due, you will still be included in the group rates for the allotted cabins (that are available at that time).
IF you register with the group AFTER the final payment is due, you will be subject to whatever rates and cabins are available to the general public at that time. This is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’s policy. This means that you must still register WITH the group, but the rates will be what is available to the public.
I FOUND CHEAPER PRICES ONLINE. CAN I JUST BOOK THOSE MYSELF? WHY DO I HAVE TO REGISTER THROUGHT HE GROUP? WHY IS THE GROUP RATE A LITTLE HIGHER THAN OTHER PUBLISHED RATES?
In order to PARTICIPATE in the Low Carb Cruise, you MUST sign up through the group. Access to the Low Carb Meetings is limited to those who booked with the group and have an official “Name Badge”. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines allows us to reserve the meeting spaces according to the number of guests listed with our group. This also applies to seating for dinner – in order to sit with the group you must have registered with the group.
Sometimes throughout the year, you may see advertised specials that appear cheaper than our rates. If there is an actual “sale”, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will notify us of fare changes. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Group Sales has already discounted our tickets to the lowest available price. There are special fares that pop up occasionally that do NOT apply to our group – these are non-refundable, not transferable, etc.
What is NOT included in those “cheaper prices” you see are some of the group amenities that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines rewards us such as the free private cocktail party, the on-board cabin credits which can range from $25 to $50 per cabin, and the right to reserve the private meeting spaces for the seminars. You are also getting to attend the seminars during the day and have dinner with the group every evening.
Full Deposit – Full deposit is “$250” per person. Full deposit is required for reserving specific cabins, special rooms (adjoining or 3-4 people), & handicap rooms. Special suites may require a 50% deposit (half down). A $500 deposit is due if booking as a single.
For triples, quads, & handicap rooms — We are NOT allowed to HOLD any of these cabins in our group allotment, but we can reserve them as requested. If you would like one of these types of rooms then you have to contact Debbie Hubbs to get a current “quote” for the room rate – Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines reserves the right to book these on a “first come, first serve” basis because they are very popular. Deposit needed to hold special or specific cabins are “Full deposit” (see above.) On some of the cabins that are considered popular (Spa Suites, Grand Suites, etc), Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines MAY request ½ of the total fare as a down payment to reserve.
IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC CABIN THAT YOU WANT TO RESERVE, DEPENDING UPON THE CATEGORY, FULL DEPOSIT ($250) OR ½ DOWN MIGHT BE REQUIRED BY ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES.
Deadlines for deposits:
FULL deposit: ($250 per person) Due immediately upon reserving cabin
Final payment: (balance) FEBRUARY 24, 2015
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s policy changes – Please know that any changes that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines might make to their policies are beyond our control. We will do our best to keep you informed in a timely manner of any changes that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines may require.
For U.S. Citizens a copy of your birth certificate and a valid U.S. government issued photo identification card (including driver’s license) is acceptable for a “closed loop” cruise (departing and returning to the same port), HOWEVER passports are strongly recommended. Please check the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines website before registering to make sure this policy has not changed. If you only have the birth certificate and govt photo I.D. some shore excursions may be limited. This is why PASSPORTS are recommended for all travelers.
Non U.S. Citizens must have a valid passport.
It is extremely important that your name and your birthdate match your I.D. Please be sure to review your confirmation receipt and inform us if any changes need to be submitted to RCCL.
MUST have your name exactly as it appears on your passport / I.D.
MUST have your full birth date – month, day, AND year
MUST have a valid emergency contact phone number (best place to reach you)
MUST have the Credit Card Authorization in writing
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the Low Carb Cruise, and Debbie Hubbs do NOT choose or “assign” your cabin mate. We only book the reservations, so you will have to arrange your OWN cabin mate. If you need a cabin mate, we suggest you ask a family member, a friend, or post at a forum site you frequent and trust. WE will not accept the liability for putting you together with a possible felon, or worse – someone who snores! NOT that we have ever had any problems with that, but it is just better that YOU find someone you are compatible with for the week long cruise. We can assist you by posting your request on the group Facebook page, but it is up to the individual to screen the responses. Again, we do not accept the responsibility for your choice.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines prices the cabins “per person” but assumes there will be TWO in the cabin. Example: IF the rate is $900 per person, it will cost $1,800 to book the cabin!!!
YES, you MAY use a different credit card from your cabin mate. We will need the CREDIT CARD AUTHORIZATION & information on a separate form for each person in the cabin.
IF you are looking for a cabin mate, but have not found one by the time the first deposit is due, you can reserve the cabin with a single, full deposit ($250 or 1/2 down depending upon the cabin type). When you find a person to add as your cabin mate, they will pay the other half of the deposit when they are added to the reservation. Please be aware that you might be subject to a “Single Supplement” fee. This fee can be removed once a cabin mate is secured for the reservation.
Please be aware that the financial arrangements with your cabin mate are between the two (or three) of you. We will only make changes as you request them. We cannot be responsible for the individual bookkeeping. Be sure to keep your statements & confirmations that show your payments.
YES, there are cabins called Triples, Quads, and even Quints! These require FULL deposit at time of booking. These cabins are limited and subject to availability. (Some cabins require 50% down) ** See the room descriptions for the cabin types and they number of guests they can accommodate.
IF there is to be 3 to 4 people in a cabin the price is NOT simply divided by that number. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will charge full fare for the first two people and a slightly discounted rate for the 3rd person. Example: 1st person $900, 2nd person $900, and 3rd person $450 (plus taxes & fees). IF you want to split the total fare between your cabin-mates that will be up to you to handle on the side, but for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines the rates must be charged by 1st person, 2nd person, & 3rd person. HOWEVER, we can submit specific amounts charged on credit cards, as long as the total amount paid is correct (in other words we CAN submit split payments for you, but on the confirmation it will reflect the total charge). Also, we will not keep these records for you – please take care of your own bookkeeping. We assume no responsibility for these transactions between cabin mates.
You may travel as a single, but a double fare will be charged. Debbie will give you an exact quote when your cabin is booked.
Once I have filled out the form, what happens next? How will I know when my reservation is complete?
After you have filled out the form, you should receive an emailed confirmation within 5 days. If you have not heard back from anyone within 5 days, please contact Debbie Hubbs by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are encouraged to look over the confirmation for accuracy of your names & dates. Notify Debbie Hubbs if there are any changes that need to be submitted. This is important to do in advance. It would be unfortunate to discover an error at embarkation!
You can receive a FULL 100% refund up to the final payment deadline. AFTER the last payment date, refunds are pro-rated, depending upon the time left before the sail date.
A full explanation of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines refund policy is available at http://www.royalcaribbean.com
If you have a cabin mate and they have to cancel, you will be held responsible for the balance on the cabin (i.e. their part). The best thing would be to find another cabin mate!
You can change cabin mates up to 2 weeks prior to sailing, without penalty. (*some exceptions may apply)
The first “guest” on a reservation cannot be CHANGED. If the first guest must cancel, then the second guest will be ‘rebooked’ and will become the lead name on the reservation.
All of this information can be found here:
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has addressed many of these questions, divided into 5 parts: Planning, Reserving, Preparing, Onboard, and Afterward.
You will need a Boarding Pass to get on the ship. You will get more information on this AFTER your reservation has been paid in full. Boarding Passes are printed from the Royal Caribbean website.
The “SeaPass” card is a card that will be given to you when you check in. It serves as your room key, I.D. and your “credit card” while on the cruise. After your reservation has been paid in full, you will go online with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and “register” your specific choices, including what debit/credit card you want to be associated with your “SeaPass” card, etc. (Once on board the ship (not before), you may go to the purser/information desk and put cash down on your account, instead of using a debit or credit card).
Each person is responsible for making their own flight and travel arrangements.
2015 Airport information – FLL (Broward County) Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
More information — http://www.broward.org/Airport/FAQs/Pages/CruisePassengers.aspx
There is no free shuttle to Port Everglades. There are three transportation options: shared ride, luxury sedan, and taxi cab.
1. Shared Ride – Shared “van” rides offered through GO Airport Shuttle cost $11 per person to Port Everglades. A van will hold a maximum of ten passengers.
2. Luxury Sedan – GO Airport Shuttle also offer exclusive car rides to Port Everglades for $40 (for up to four people).
For more information, visit GO Airport Shuttle or call 800-244-8252/ 954-561-8888.
3. Taxi Cab – Taxi cabs are also available at $12 (estimated) based on the meter reading. Cabs accept up to five people for the fare stated on the taxi’s meter. They accept cash or credit cards.
This is a possibility that the hotel will have a shuttle available, but that information will be announced once the hotel arrangements for the group have been finalized.
(There will be a “Pre-Cruise” dinner at a hotel near the cruise port. See details on the “Hotel” tab.)
As a convenience, we are arranging a block of rooms at an area hotel. Please see the “Hotel / Precruise Dinner” tab for details. You may call the hotel to reserve a room in the “LOW CARB CRUISE” room block under your name. You are free to stay at the hotel of your choice. This will just be an option.
HOTEL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND UNDER THE HOTEL TAB
Evening meeting/dining – Saturday, May 23rd, 6:00 pm – we have arranged a “get acquainted” dinner the night before we sail.
PLEASE GO TO THE “HOTEL” TAB FOR MORE DETAILS
WHEN: Saturday, May 23rd, 6:30 pm
WHAT: Special Low Carb Dinner and presentation
DRESS: Business Casual
These arrangements are booked separately from the hotel reservation!
When it is completed, you will receive a copy posted in the Facebook group. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure.
Why does it take so long to complete? We have to have all the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines meeting rooms approved and reserved; then we have to line out the biographies for each guest speaker. THEN it takes time to gather their photos and to do the layout design. After that it goes to a few people for review & changes. FINALLY when everything is done, we will release it to the group. This will be sometime before we sail, but there is no deadline for these. This is a courtesy, and we reserve the right to make adjustments to this as needed.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ schedule takes priority (formal nights) – In the event that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines changes their schedule, especially for the formal nights, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Schedule takes priority over our schedule. (One year we were told by the cruise line AND by someone who had taken that exact same cruise that the formal nights were on Monday & Thursday. When we got on board and received Monday morning’s Cruise newspaper, we saw that the formal night was not listed and had been changed to Tuesday. We tried to spread the word, but missed a few people. They look extra fabulous at dinner that night!!)
Low Carb Cruise T-shirts will be available from an online source. You will be instructed when and how to place your order. Debbie Hubbs will let the group know when these are available. You may contact Debbie at email@example.com
If by car, you can park at one of the available facilities for their fee (payable in advance), and they will shuttle you to the Cruise Terminal.
If someone is dropping you off, they can drive up to the Cruise Terminal – much like picking up and dropping off passengers at the airport.
Guests may begin boarding the ship after 1pm, or when the previous guests have all been disembarked. The very last allowable time for boarding is 1 hour before departure (3pm).
Each piece of luggage will need to have the special Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines luggage tags on them. You will be able to print these out after your ticket is paid in full. (I usually “laminate” mine with packing tape and staple them around the luggage handles.) They will have the information on them needed to get them to your cabin!
You will need to have your PASSPORT/I.D. and your “SeaPass” in your hand as you enter the terminal and go through the stations. (You will not need the other printed information)
Once you get on the ship you can either go get a bite to eat at the grill, explore the ship, chat with friends, or check out your cabin. Your Luggage will NOT be in your cabin until later (between 3-5pm), hopefully before dinner.
Muster is a safety drill in which all passengers must participate. You will be instructed which location by posted Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines employees. This will occur around 4pm, before we pull out of the dock.
This information is posted in the FAQ section at http://www.royalcaribbean.com.
Access / Login – You will be given an instruction sheet when you get onboard the ship with the details of how to purchase internet time and how to log in.
Costs – varies depending on the number of minutes you purchase.
Wireless connections or Internet café – printing available
Be SURE you know the policy of your individual carrier before using your phone on the ship.
We recommend that you DO NOT use your cell phone on the ship. It is a good idea to turn them off or put them on airplane mode. Roaming charges are VERY costly on the ships – firsthand experience!
Where can I find more information about the Low Carb Cruise? Is there a place to get to know other guests before we sail?
A. General Information:
– www.lowcarbcruiseinfo.com (specific low carb cruise info and registration form)
– http://www.royalcaribbean.com (specific info about the ship / excursions)
Is there a dress code on the cruise? What do we wear on formal night? What if I do not want to dress up for formal night?
WE are on vacation. Please feel free to dress accordingly!
At meetings – There are absolutely NO special requirements other than “clothes” for the meetings. It can get a little cold in the meeting rooms so a light wrap is advised.
On ship – You will see ALL MANNER of dress. You are on vacation – be comfortable.
At dinner – NOW this is the only place with a dress code. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines asks that no one wear shorts, t-shirts, or bathing suits into the dining rooms. These are totally acceptable on the Lido Deck and in the grill – but NOT in the dining room.
On excursions/shore – The important thing here is safety. Please wear sun protection, appropriate shoes, & carry your I.D. close to your body.
On formal nights – These can be as simple as your “Sunday” dress or as formal as a ball gown. We have seen an array of fashion on these nights. (Personally, it is the ONE time of year that many of us get to dress up so we take full advantage!) Even tuxedos can be rented online https://tuxedorentals.rccl.com/tuxedo/tuxrental.nsf before we sail. It is also a time to get some GREAT portraits taken.
NO formal night for you? – not a problem! The grill & café will also be serving food. It is your vacation and your choice!
LOW CARB Group:
Cocktail party – As part of the amenities for our group, we will qualify for a “free” cocktail party which will consist of free beverages & appetizers. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines always tries to accommodate us, but not everyone completely understands the Low Carb lifestyle. Please be kind and just ignore any high carb appetizers that might be served.
Low Carb Meetings – These will take place in a specified conference room. This is usually not decided until closer to our sailing date and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines sees how many guests are in our group. The meeting place, along with the schedule of speakers, will be on your itinerary.
DOOR PRIZES – Donations from the speakers and various Low Carb vendors will be available. (Vendors & Guest Speakers: IF you have items you would like to donate for the door prizes, please contact Jimmy Moore – firstname.lastname@example.org or Becky Gandy – email@example.com )
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines events (Daily listed in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines newsletter delivered to your room each evening):
Bingo – money & free cruises are given away
Ice sculpting – beautiful to watch
Movies – shown throughout the evening on the big screen, outdoors
Trivia – various trivia games throughout the ship.
Spa – ooh la la! Get a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, or a fancy up-do for the formal night.
An excursion is a “reserved” event or destination that you plan in advance – something to do while on shore. This includes snorkeling, sight-seeing, hiking, and more. These range in price from $35 and up.
The excursions that are available for our cruise will be listed on your reservation after you have paid in full. You will be able to go online and register your information and pick your excursions from a long list that will be available. You can sort these by type of activity, cost, or strenuousness.
IF you don’t know which excursions you want do, you can always wait and book these on the ship. Sometimes it is good to find out what other people in our group might be doing and go with them!
IF you prefer NOT to book an excursion, that is totally fine. There is PLENTY to do right off the ship. It is up to you. Some people have rented a taxi, scooter, or car and done their own thing. Others have spent the day shopping in the port.
You can either prepay the gratuities when you register, or you can wait for them to be charged on your bill the last night of the cruise. At this time the rate is $12 per person, per night (7 nights). This tip is split between the room steward, the waiter, & the wait staff. It does NOT include room service or the Maitre’d, or the porters.
More information on tipping can be found here: RCCL FAQ Gratuities
Tipping can be quite daunting. It is recommended to carry one and five dollar bills on you.
Embarkation – it is customary to tip the luggage handler a few of dollars
Debarkation – it is customary to tip the luggage handler a few dollars
Room service – it is customary to tip a couple of dollars for this free, 24/7 service
Room steward – not mandatory or expected, but a nice gesture for someone who has kept your room clean & tidy. Go to breakfast – Come back – room clean. Go to meetings – Come back – room clean. Take a nap, go to dinner – Come back – room clean. It is wonderful!
Waiter / wait staff – This is not mandatory, but a nice gesture. IF you have received exceptional service, you might consider tipping your waiter an extra little amount on the side.
You have the option for prepaid gratuities and/or travel insurance (insurance for USA only). If you did NOT mark it on the registration form, it will NOT be assumed. You MUST let me know if you want travel insurance or to include pre-paid gratuities.
We HIGHLY recommend travel insurance. In addition to unseen emergencies, insurance usually covers lost luggage too.
NO, all of the food will NOT be low carb, but there are plenty of low carb options. The ship holds 3,600+ passengers so Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will not change the menu just for us, however, it has been our experience that the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines chef will go out of his way to make sure we have plenty of options.
Fresh berries & cream – they have a limited amount of fruit, but will provide this for dinner upon request (if possible & available).
Also, there are unlimited amounts of protein rich foods always available!
If you have food allergies be sure to let us know and we can put your name on a list that will be given to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Even with that list though, be sure to let your individual waiters know about your allergies. If your allergies are severe enough to require bringing your own food, please get a note from your doctor. This will help get your food items through the port customs.
My spouse (or friend, sister, brother, etc) would like to go with me, but they do not follow a Low Carb diet. Would this be a problem?
No Carb Police! – We have a LOT of different people in our group. Some of them are Paleo / Low Carbers and some are NOT. Some are just family members along for the vacation.
None of us have reached perfection. We encourage everyone to resist the urge to compare and evaluate what is on other people’s plates. Everyone is at a different place on this journey. Please be loving and kind to those in our group that may not eat exactly what you eat. What we NEED is someone to listen, care, and share about how they overcame the obstacles in this journey, not a critic or judge.
I am following a Low Carb lifestyle, but I have not reached my goal. Will there be any other guests like me?
You should feel right at home! We are a diverse group of health conscience people on the journey. You will see young, old, tall, short, wide, and narrow people on this cruise. There are NO judgments allowed. You are welcome just like you are. We all choose not to critique the plates or the diners, and always try to see things in perspective. Love relieves a lot of stress. Choose to let go, relax, and enjoy the trip. It can be very beneficial for your health! AND with the same measure we extend mercy, it will be extended back to us. Enjoy the time and take advantage of all those things that are positive!
Debarkation is explained in detail via the television in your room. There will also be printed flyers & custom forms delivered to your room the day before we return to port.
Debarkation usually begins by 8:00am, and it can sometimes take a couple of hours to get through customs. If you are flying out, PLEASE be careful to allow enough time to get through customs AND make the long drive back to the airport. It could take less time, BUT to be on the safe side, you might want to consider allowing about 4-5 hours for the entire process.
Luggage for Debarkation:
Self – IF you opt to carry your own luggage off the ship, you will be directed to the times each deck is released. Usually “Self Check” guests are allowed off the ship first. This is essential if you have an early flight.
Luggage check – IF you have your luggage checked the night before (by 11pm), it will be waiting for you in the terminal when you get off the ship in a special, marked section. You will be instructed to wait until your deck is released. This allows time for a leisurely breakfast, last hugs, and to sit and rest. You will, however, still have to carry your luggage through customs after you pick it up in the terminal.
New to cruising? – Great kindle/eReader books by George Harkness: