Monday, February 11, 2013

Cruise Travel Planning & Packing Tips

Over the years I've been asked a number of times how I got started in the travel writing business. Trust me, it wasn't easy to become established. However, with a focus on cruises it's been a labor of love. I began quite simply with a packing list that I shared on a one-page website hosted by the old, defunct Prodigy service after I was overwhelmed by sending it out to all those who requested it in email.

From that humble beginning, I co-authored a cruise advice column entitled "Ask the Cruise Queens" in Porthole magazine and was contracted by the Mining Company to be their cruise travel guide. After moving to the job of content editor with eCruise, a cruise marketing company, I began freelancing again in 2001 and was born—and has just celebrated twelve years online! Yes, Cruise Diva was on the Internet for years before those other big websites with message boards launched.

In addition to maintaining the website singlehandedly, I've published a monthly newsletter, which I replaced with this blog in 2007, and have authored Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises—now in its 4th edition and soon to be revised again—as well as contributed the cruise content to ten other Fodor's guidebooks and the Cruises section of the Fodor's website.

With a lot of travel inked into my calendar, the past twenty years have been busy and fulfilling. Everything aside, though, one of the tasks I enjoy best is sharing information about cruises, ships, and the how-to tips I've gathered over the years. You'll find some of the best tips at Favorites from & Friends—where you'll find out what the photo above is all about—and even more useful hints for your comfort and safety by visiting HOT Tips for Cruisers. Some of the ideas came from my first-hand experience and others were contributed by fellow cruise travelers. has often been called "Cruising 101" and I hope you find it helpful as I move into my third decade of cruising and writing about it.

Image © Linda Coffman,

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