How to Choose the Best Cruise for You – Part 3

Part 3 of 3

Thinking about taking a Caribbean cruise? There are so many choices to make and the decision making process can become a bit overwhelming. There are a few things you should consider when taking a cruise. Here is a list of things that will help you decide which cruise is best for you.

  • When to go
  • Where to go
  • What kind of cruise

Answering these three questions is a great start to planning a cruise. However, these aren’t easy questions to answer and with so many options for each question it is easy to understand how someone could become overwhelmed. So I have provided some information that might help make answering these questions a bit easier. For this article we are going to address the question “what kind of cruise?”

Are you looking for a romantic getaway for 2 or a family friendly ship that will accommodate your whole family? You may be a young adult looking for a singles cruise or a retired couple celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary. Although no matter what cruise you take, there will be a mix of young, old, single cruisers and families, but believe it or not some cruise lines have a reputation for catering to a certain clientele. For example, while all cruise lines are going to be family friendly, Disney Cruise Line is the first cruise line that comes to mind when I think of cruises for families with younger children.

Singles and young adults may want to turn to Carnival Cruise Line, also known as the “fun ships” for their cruise ship, while seniors may be better off choosing Royal Caribbean or Holland Cruise lines.

If you love to cruise but the thought of wearing a penguin suit makes you cringe, the Norwegian Cruise Line may be for you. Dress is always resort casual even in the main dining room and guest can dine anytime they want.

So when you find an destination you love, do some research to make sure the ship you are going to be on for the next week is going fit your lifestyle as well.

Your itinerary is another thing to keep in mind when trying to decide what type of Caribbean cruise to take. For those of you who want to visit as many islands as possible you may want to take an Eastern Caribbean cruise. These islands are very close together which makes the time to get from one port of call to the next very short. On the other hand if you want to spend some relaxing days at sea, a Western Caribbean cruise may be the cruise for you since the ports of call are a greater distance apart. Although you have total control over how active or laid back you would like your cruise to be, no matter what cruise you take, some cruises will have more ports of call than others and less days at sea.

Another way you can narrow down some of your cruise choices is by the length of the cruise. If this is your first cruise and you are not even sure if you will like taking a cruise, it may be best to book a 3 or 4 day cruise. This way if you find out cruising on a ship with 3000 passengers in not your thing you are not stuck for 3 more days. The down side of this would be that you discover that taking a cruise is the best vacation you have ever had, you may be kicking yourself all the way home for not booking a longer cruise. Like people always say, better safe than sorry, and hey, there’s always next year!

The Laid Daughter

There has been a lot of publicity lately centered on the issue of child molestation. Child molestation is a horrific form of child abuse that leaves its victims with a deep loss of self and the inability to cope with life’s challenges.

Another form of child abuse, that leaves its victims powerless and confused, is incest. Incest is a topic that most families refuse to discuss and sometimes deny that it ever existed. The Laid Daughter, by Helen Bonner is such an example.

In this riveting novel, the author discusses her own issues with incest. What is so unique about the novel itself is that the author has been journaling her strange feelings and dreams for over 20 years before she realizes that her journal entries depict her true life experiences.

The author takes us on her journey through self discovery and healing by allowing us to see her daily struggles in life. She is plagued with failed marriages and her inability to have honest and open relationships with others. She cuts herself off from her family and friends. There is however, something very striking about Ms. Bonner’s character. She is able to hold down a job and build herself a lucrative career while dealing with the incest issue.

Going through the healing process was not an easy road for Ms. Bonner. Early on, she was given erroneous advice from some early therapist. She found herself dropping out of therapy with the belief that somehow she could conquer her demons on her own. She then seeks therapy through a wonderful therapist by the name of Glenda Parkinson who discovers that Helen was not just a survivor of incest, but she also suffered from a Multiple Personality Disorder.

Glenda Parkinson also expresses how quickly Helen was able to work through her demons as shown by the following excerpt:

“Helen spent only a year in intense psychotherapy with me. The average length of treatment time is somewhere between five and ten years. She was highly motivated and followed her gut instincts in making therapeutic decisions for herself. She read. She wrote. She practiced suggestive directives. She attended a national conference for adult survivors. Her art work was another vehicle for self-understanding. She used relaxation techniques when feeling panicky. She begin to fill her new “house” by acknowledging and fulfilling the needs of her integrating selves. Decisions Helen made for herself rather than against herself were the catalyst toward wholeness.”

As you can see by the above excerpt, healing from incest or any other form of childhood abuse can be done with hard work and determination. I would recommend this fine piece of work to anyone who has suffered the pain and anguish of child abuse or to anyone who wants to discover how they can make changes in their own life that can help them move forward to living life to its fullest.

ISBN: 1884178235

Author: Helen Bonner

Publisher: Kairos Center

Aging Out of EPSDT – Part VI: HCBS’ Collapse

One of the most-favored ways for states to deal with youths with disabilities that are aging out of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment program (EPSDT) is to move them into the Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. The HCBS provides those newly-adult folks with disabilities the opportunity to obtain Medicaid waivers that can be used to pay for health care services either at home or in a privately-run community dedicated to their particular kind of disability. It has two major problems: it can’t handle the existing caseload, and it’s in the middle of getting reformed because it’s already too expensive.

Waiting for Health Care

Those much-vaunted HCBS waivers only pay for a certain number of people; everyone else goes on a waiting list. That doesn’t sound dire at first, until you realize that waiting lists only move when someone currently receiving HCBS coverage passes away — and most of these spots are being filled with young adults who have decades of life in front of them!

There are currently more than half of a million Americans on such waiting lists, trying to figure out how to make ends meet until their coverage kicks in. In some states, you can get a child with special needs put on the waiting list for adult HCBS services the day they turn 14… and then still watch them wait for 5 or more years past their 19th birthday until they actually receive the coverage they need, paying for their health care out-of-pocket the whole time.

HCBS’ Frantic Reforms

The HCBS system started gaining popularity in 1995 as a less-expensive alternative to institutional care (i.e. nursing homes). In that year, HCBS spending was $5 million for the entire country. Since then, however, the cost has risen significantly every year, to $44 million in 2014. Medicaid’s administrators are panicking, because they can’t afford the rate of increase. Because they don’t want to appear to be attacking the disabled community directly, their strategy of choice has been to attack the privately-run communities that have cropped up around the country to serve the special-needs population.

They’ve done so by massively broadening the definition of “institutional,” so suddenly thousands of nonprofit communities that served the disabled populace and were paid via the HCBS waiver system are no longer eligible for those waivers. It’s not a matter of any given young adult with special needs being unable to qualify for HCBS — it’s a matter of the government systematically declaring the ‘communities’ of the ‘community-based services’ to be no longer officially ‘communities,’ but rather ‘institutions.’ So now, when you age out of EPSDT, even if you qualify for Medicaid, you might be told that the only people allowed to take care of you are your family members.

According to the Center for Medicare Services, the Medicare/Medicaid system will begin to consume 100% of Federal revenue by 2050 if nothing changes, so these restrictions are absolutely necessary. But there’s another option that makes far more fiscal sense, if only people would open their eyes to it — we’ll discuss that in the next post.