Kitting Retreat and Cruise!
We have secured our dates for the Cruise!
Cruise Dates: January 9th – 14th 2013
Cruise Ship: Carnival Fantasy
Itinerary: The cruise leaves Charleston at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9. Thursday is a full day at sea and our first full day of knitting! Friday is a "free day" in Nassau, Bahamas and Saturday is a "free day" in Freeport. Sunday is our second sea day and our second full day(!) of knitting. On Monday at 8 a.m. we return to Charleston Harbor for the trip home.
Costs: The cost of the cruise portion will be determined by when you register (earlier is better) and what other discounts you may qualify for with the cruise line (AAA, Military, prior cruiser, etc.). Gary & I got a rate of $329 per person for the Empress Deck (our most preferred) with an ocean view, near the stairs. Each person is responsible for making their own cruise reservations and you will need to have your roommate(s) lined up. There is no "group rate" this year, but there is also no limit on cabin availability. If they have the cabin available, you can book it! We have included some additional information below to help you book your reservation, make sure you are associated with our cabin and group seating.
The cost of the Knitting Retreat will be $495 per knitter. This year I am working on a little different format based upon feedback from participants. We will be scheduling retreat activities and classes on the "at sea" days from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our current plan is to focus on some smaller projects and techniques that will have some relationship to our cruise. We have some beaded necklaces, purse projects and "sun hats" on the drawing board. I often hear "I haven't finished my projects from the LAST retreat!" so we are trying to decrease the size of the projects so that they are more achievable. Since we supply all the yarn, beads, supplies for the retreat, and almost everything you need other than your preferred needles, this probably means we will be reducing our costs in that area. So, I am searching for more items for your "goody bag!" We always have a new bag and new T-shirt for each cruise and lots of great door prizes that we solicit from our vendors. This retreat I am adding items to the goody bag to treat and spoil you! These items will be anything new and fun and "what's hot" that you see in many of our fine magazines. We will also be searching out some great luxury yarns for you to take home with you and suggested pattern to most effectively use them (you won't have to figure it out for yourself!) I promise you that you will feel that you got your money's worth!
Who can come? Everyone! Since this is a "family affair" for us, it has become much more of a family affair for many of our knitters! Last year we had 24 knitters and 45 total group participants (this includes the companions who came and our staff.) So, feel free to bring your significant other, mother, best friend…all non-knitters are welcome! Obviously, the non-knitters do not pay the retreat fee.
What else will we do together? For our group activities outside of the 2 "at sea" retreat days, we invite you to participate, but they are not mandatory. If you had a big day in Nassau and you just want to grab food from the buffet and go to sleep, that is what you should do!
We will have group dinner reservations in one of the main dining rooms, for an 8:15 seating. We found these dinners together to be so much fun each night! Although there is only one of these dinners that is usually "formal," it is a great opportunity for us to wear our knitted finery and out-shine the "store bought" guests!(He He) I am also looking for a project that we can all finish during the cruise and wear to the last night together! (Yes, I am a knitting geek)
Departure Night Party! Last year we were able to use the credits that we received from the group bookings to have a 2 hour, private, free alcohol party for everyone. This year, we are getting NO credits from the cruise line at all, but, we are still going to try to secure a Friday night party location and it will probably be a BYOB type affair, but it will still be tons of fun!
Other activities during "port" days: In general, those of us who have been to these ports a few times may just be on the cruise to "cruise" and we do not even leave the boat! We will usually secure a location to "hang" and knit or enjoy the sun together if you would like to join us. The cruise line also provides many activities including some (surprisingly) good movies during the day and lots of entertainment at night. We will have as may "shared" activities as possible and hope that you will join us in the fun!
Roommates: Non-knitting companions are, as we've said, very welcome to come on the cruise with you, so bring your family or a non-knitting friend along, or better yet, bring another knitter! If you're paying for your travel companions you will need their names and date of birth when you call Carnival.
If you're not paying for your companion and you know whom you want to room with you can work out booking between the two of you. One of you should call the cruise line first and book their cruise. At that point you'll be given a personal cruise reservation number. Give your intended roommate your personal cruise number and then they can use that number to book themselves in the same cabin.
If you need a roommate, call us at the shop (704-733-9053) before calling Carnival. We'll be keeping a list of "singles". We will not be pairing people up but we'll be happy to facilitate your roommate search.
Cabins: Most participants have stayed on either the Upper or the Main deck. Take a look at the deck plans at http://www.cruisecritic.com/carnival-fantasy-deck-plans/dp/ before you call to help you decide if you want to upgrade to another deck or a suite.
Booking: When you're ready to book your cruise call 800-819-3902. Select option "2" to create a new booking and an agent will come on the line to help you. Tell the agent that you want to create a new booking and ask them to reference our booking number (40GPW0). This will give them the date, ship, dinner reservation and other information. Please be sure to double check that they have all the correct information before finalizing your booking. When you receive your booking confirmation email please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and he will secure your Retreat spot as well.
Final notes: We plan these retreats to foster camaraderie and friendship among our knitters and for us to get to know you better. We limit our participants to 24 so that the group does not get too big. Although we do not want to lose money on the retreat, we don't do it to make money either. We know that your participation in our shop and our future activities will more than "pay off" for us. This is our MOST FUN activity all year and we hope you will come and join us and our family for the best vacation EVER!