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Go Guide: Cruising the Caribbean

Choosing a cruise: If you decide to do a cruise, there are almost too many cruise lines and cruises to list. Check with a travel agent or on the Internet. A quick Google search using the words "Cruise" and "Caribbean" uncovered 6,660,000 listings.

The Tom Milo Band: The Band has done a half dozen cruises, not always with the same cruise line or travel agency and not every year. One couple from Detroit, who spent two years taking dance lessons, said they surfed the Internet to find a cruise featuring dance music--and found Tom Milo. Fran Milo claims it's too early to know if they'll cruise again next winter. Check the Tom Milo Big Band's Web site. Or call Fran in LaPorte, Indiana at 219/362-9011.

Compatability: If you don't like overeating, drinking and gambling, are cruises for you? We don't participate in those activities, but found plenty to enjoy, and sometimes not doing anything is fun. Most people we spoke to said they didn't realize how much they would enjoy a cruise until they did one. Some cruises cater more to kids; some more to adults. Ask your travel agent.

Dressing Up: Our cruise had two nights identified as "formal." Some wore tuxedos or elegant gowns. I wore a coat and tie; not everybody else did. If you want to dine in your swimming suit, you can do that too, but in one of the buffet areas, not the main dining room.

Costs: Being our first cruise, we decided to spend extra for a room with a veranda and later were glad we did. You can save money by getting an inside room. Prices vary greatly from hundreds to thousands of dollars per person. Bargains exist, but you often get what you pay for.

Would You Do It Again? After having spent all our lives cruiseless, we've already sent our deposit in for a cruise next winter.

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