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This is an archive of e-mail sent out from The Home Office - official communications.

2011 Sailing

Unofficial JoCo Cruise Crazy 2011 DVD (Thu, 30 Jun 2011)

Hello attendees of JoCo Cruise Crazy 2011! How have you been? So listen, sorry to bother you, but this is the last time I will email this list. (I will certainly email you again if you are on another of my lists, but this list is now DEAD TO ME.) I just want to say two things.

First: you all probably know by now that booking has begun for JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, February 19-26, 2012. Check out for all the details (if you haven't already, and I bet you have).

Second: I have a message for you from some of your Sea Monkey(Δ) friends. Said message is below. Sea you later…

A message from the Sea Monkey(Δ)s:

A group of Sea Monkey(Δ)s, led by Jason Roop, are beginning to compile footage for the “Unofficial JoCo Cruise Crazy 2011 DVD set” (my, that's a mouthful–we'll have to find a catchier name.) This collection will include recordings of all concerts, the Q&A, the quiz show, and as many other cruise events as we can pack on there. The final product will be available for FREE download, and possibly in hard copy on request.

Here's where you come in:

  • Did you record any video during the cruise?
  • How about quality audio recordings?
  • Did you take great photographs?

Share them with us! We'd particularly love any record of non-concert events, so we can capture the full JoCo Cruise Crazy experience. Email Jason ( to find out how to contribute.

Of note: The Unofficial DVD project is a labour of love–it is NOT sponsored by Jonathan Coulton or any of the cruise organizers. This is being made entirely by volunteers on our own time, so at this stage we don't know how long it will take to finish. The only thing we're sure of is that it'll be done before JoCo Cruise Crazy 2012.

If you just can't wait till 2012 to talk to Sea Monkey(Δ)s again, join those of us who are staying in touch via Facebook and Twitter:

To learn more about the Unofficial DVD project, check out the thread on the JoCo forums:

Hope to see you next year!
-Sara Chicazul, fellow Sea Monkey(Δ)

JoCo Cruise Crazy group photos (Fri, 21 Jan 2011)

Hi All,

I have two versions of the group photo taken on the bow. Feel free to download and reproduce.

Hope you all had little difficulty getting your land legs back … I, for one, am now ready for another cruise … sadly, I must wait 6 weeks or so

Kind regards,

Neil R. Bauman, CEO
InSight Cruises
264 S. Meridith Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106



“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

An Open Letter to the Sea Monkeys - Posted on website January 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

That was amazing. Don’t believe me?

Somewhere in between when we decided to do this and when it actually happened, I started to get a little freaked out. It felt like maybe this time I had gone too far, asked for too much. What were we thinking setting up a thing like this? We talked a bunch of our professional entertainer friends into giving up a week of their time, and then suddenly people were plunking down large sums of money to attend, and the whole thing was a big unknown. Would it be fun? Would the ship lose power and need to be towed back to port while we all suffered from gastrointestinal distress? Would I be stabbed by a crazy fan? (yes, no and no). But the main source of my anxiety was wanting everyone to have a good time, and that anxiety disappeared the moment we were all together. That’s all because of you guys. I’ve said it before, and I need to say it again here: I have the greatest fans in the world.

For me the strongest illustration of your awesomeness was the JoCo Karaoke nights. Person after person got up there to sing their favorite song in front of me and everyone else. Some of them were great, some of them were, let’s just say, “not great,” but every single person without exception was strongly supported and loudly cheered. I’m pretty sure the worst singers got the biggest response.

That inclusiveness and enthusiasm covered everything like delicious buttercream frosting. The Paul F. Tompkins mustache formal was a ridiculous idea that everyone embraced wholeheartedly in a way that made me absolutely giddy. The gaming room was stuffed full whenever I saw it, and stayed active until the early morning hours. The swing dancing, the iPhone handbell concert, the Fancy Pants Parade – all the little unofficial things that came directly from you guys made the whole thing special in a way that I did not anticipate.

Of course all of the performers were wonderful, as I knew they would be. I was delighted to watch some of you hear and see a few of them for the first time, but it was even more exciting to watch them meet YOU. Everyone felt welcomed and loved, and I was not surprised, because that’s how you make me feel all the time no matter how much I suck (witness: you loudly applauded the very worst performance of The Presidents I have ever done). It’s a great pleasure to have such complete trust in an audience, and it makes me very happy to put some of my favorite performers and you in the same place together.

So thank you for everything. I hope you had as wonderful a time as I did. Too much to say. In no particular order:

Paul F. Tompkins: I hope you will not take offense to the various ways we joked about your absence on the ship, we were only trying to make ourselves feel better about missing out on your company and talent. His website is, his twitter is @PFTomkins, his podcast is

Paul and Storm: Thank you for all your hard work and anxiety sharing, I could not have done this without you. Their website is, their twitter is @PaulandStorm, their podcast is

John Hodgman: Thank you for your mustache, which is growing on me even more than it is growing on you. His website is, his twitter is @Hodgman, his podcast is

Wil Wheaton: You are an inspiration, and I hope you don’t take offense, but the main reason I’m glad you were there is that I finally got to meet the famous Nolan and Ryan. His website is, his twitter is @WilW.

Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy: You are as warm and fun as you are talented, I’m a bigger fanboy than would make you comfortable if you knew. Their website is, their twitters are @kwmurphy and @BillCorbett.

Molly Lewis: You continue to kick ass in a way that makes the rest of us kind of hate you a little, in a good way. Her website is, her twitter is @Molly23, her YouTube channel is

Mike Phirman: See above. You killed, as I suspected you might. His website is, his twitter is @phirm, his amazing album is and you should please give him money for it.

Stepto: Thank you for stepping in at the last minute and thanks for protecting us all from douchebags. His website is, his twitter is @Stepto, his book is

John Roderick: And you thought you didn’t belong there. Thanks for letting us do Commander with you. His band is called “The Long Winters” (which I think I failed to mention even ONCE), their website is, his twitter is @johnroderick, and there is plenty more where that came from.

Peter Sagal: Doing that quiz show with you reminded me that I am not quick-witted enough to ever do what you do – you have a superpower. His website is, his twitter is @petersagal.

David Rees: Your enthusiasm is infectious, your talents are vast and difficult to describe, and your pencils are very sharp. His website is, his twitter is @letsgetshort, his many projects are to numerous for me to link to here but all wonderful.

Liz: I am speechless, and can only croak out “Thank you.” Her twitter is @Dammit_Liz, her skillz are mad.

Finally, I just want to link here to the winners of the video contest, which for technical reasons could not be shown onboard as planned. Thanks to everyone for spending time on this, your videos were all great.

The winner:

The runners up:

ENOUGH! Thank you one and all, I hope to do this again, and I’ll let everyone know as soon as I know where and when and how.

Whew - Posted to website January 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

That was fun.

JoCo Cruise Crazy Schedule Update (Wed, 22 Dec 2010)

Dear JoCoCruCra's:

The sea is a harsh mistress. Even now the sails of our anticipation flutter and snap in the breeze of the sea’s blah blah blah, and scattered whitecaps appear on the waves of our etc. and so on. We see heavy weather ahead, but our crew is hearty and stout and something something something about the ocean. That’s how I see it anyway. News for you:

It is with great disappointment that I tell you Paul F. Tompkins will not be able to join us on this cruise. He was offered a good part on a hit TV show that shoots the same week, and believe it or not, that takes priority over hanging around in the sun drinking fruity rum drinks with a bunch of nerds. Apparently his career is important to him. WHATEVER. The rest of us don’t care about that sort of thing (obviously). He wanted this to be a murder cruise, well guess what, he got his wish because now he is dead to us. Actually we are not mad, we totally understand, and we wish him luck with the TV thing. Rest assured we have plans to fill his stage time with something else awesome. BY WHICH I MEAN: we will have some storytelling by none other than Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse, Director of Policy and Enforcement (read: Banhammer) for Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE gaming service. Plus another last-minute, late-addition mystery guest who is known only as “The Spoiler,” about whom the less is said the better.

On the good news front, we have a couple things that are being added to the schedule. Here they are in no particular order:

1. During the Opening Reception for the first 250 cruisers in the Crow’s Nest, we will also be offering free beer and wine in the Northern Lights Disco for everybody else (who is with JoCo Cruise Crazy). Because we care. That’s 6-7 PM Sunday January 2, right after the ship departs.

2. By popular request, the Rock Band session on Tuesday January 4 will be turned into a JoCo Karaoke session – we’ll have all the JoCo karaoke songs that exist on this page, and you will be able to sign up to sing your favorite (or whatever is left). If anyone has other non JoCo karaoke files they’d like to bring along on a thumb drive, we can add that to the mix as well, just make sure it’s MP3+G format because that’s what we need for the software we’ll be using. There is also likely to be an official karaoke night in one of the ship’s clubs, but that will be controlled by The Man and definitely free of JoCo music.

3. The Paul F. Tompkins Mustache Formal is still happening, just without that awful turncoat Paul F. Tompkins. Later, perhaps he will sue us for using his name. Place to be determined, but plan for 10 PM Monday January 3rd. We’ll have drinks and twirl our mustaches. Formal wear optional, mustaches required (mustaches will be provided).

4. Movie Nights: still working on this, there are a couple of issues with getting permission from the boat to do it, but we’re hoping to show something at 11 PM in the Culinary Arts Center on Sunday January 2 and Monday January 3. Movies to be determined/announced.

5. Group Photo: we have to work this out once we get on the boat, but we’re planning for somewhere between 11 AM and 1 PM on Tuesday January 4, somewhere near the front of the boat. Or something. We’ll announce the details the night before during the January 3rd evening performance, so you’ll have plenty of time to get ready.

6. There are a few things being organized by people in the JoCo forums including:

  • The Unofficial Dance Soterius Johnson Dance Dance, in which we descend on the Northern Lights Disco all at once some night and overwhelm them with our disco dancing. Time and day to be determined.
  • The As Yet Unnamed Swing and Ballroom Dancing Lesson, in which we hijack the Northern Lights Disco during the day and forum member “tiguh” teaches everyone how to swing and ballroom it to JoCo songs. Time and day to be determined.
  • The Fancy Pants Parade, in which David Rees organizes some kind of thing with pants? Or something? Everyone wears fancy pants? Dunno. All of the above to be determined.
  • JoCo Jam Sessions, in which people who have brought acoustic instruments on board get together and play music. Time and place to be determined, but the ship people tell me the Piano Bar is empty and unstaffed during the day and available for hostile takeover.
  • Werewolf sessions (in which people get together to play Werewolf). Time and place and werewolf to be determined.

All these semi-official/unofficial things are being organized over at the JoCo Forums, so if you’re interested in getting involved that’s the place to do it. We’re going to let you all work these things out, leaders will emerge, consensus will be reached (that always happens on the internet right?). But we’re also happy to enable these things when we can, so if you have questions about what’s allowed on board, where it might be best to gather for such and such a thing, just let us know through and we’ll see if we can help. We will post things to the calendar as they get scheduled, and if things don’t happen until the last minute we’ll also see each other every night for the big show and will happily make announcements there.

One more thing: Judge John Hodgman is still looking for cases to settle on stage during the cruise, email him at hodgman at if you have a dispute. See here for more info:

That’s all for now. Twelve days!

JOCO Crazy Cruise registration (Tue, 21 Dec 2010)

Hi All,

I have been notified that about 25% of the group has not checked in online. If you're one of them you don't want to delay any further. Indeed, a number of people have discovered minor typos in their name and if this is not corrected prior to arriving at the pier you may have problems boarding. Further, if you do not check-in online and show up at the pier after 3pm you may be denied boarding.

If you have checked-in online, you should print your boarding pass NOW.

To do either of these things, please visit the Holland America website ( and look for the large button that reads “FOR BOOKED GUESTS”.


Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy Schedule (Tue, 14 Dec 2010)

Hey, Sea Monkey(Δ)s! (For that is what you have elected to be called) We know, we know; you all want answers regarding things like the cruise concert and activities schedules. Well, we are here to provide you with SOME OF THEM!

The current schedule of all confirmed JoCo Cruise Crazy activities is currently available in the following Google calendar:

It can also be found on the JoCoCruise Crazy website, on the “The Cruise” page:

In the run-up to the actual cruise, this calendar is your best source for a comprehensive listing of official scheduled activities, and will be updated with any new events and/or changes. Please note that the events are listed for EST. In addition, you will receive a complete schedule printout when you get to the on-board JCCC registration (see below), since many of you may not have Internet access while on board. We will also announce any last-minute schedule changes/additions during each evening's main concert.

And now, an onslaught of details…


Once you get on the ship, make sure you come by the Hudson/Half Moon Salon (located on the Promenade Deck) sometime between 1 pm and 3:30 pm to officially check-in for the JoCo Cruise Entertainment events, and receive your SUPER AWESOME JOCO CRUISE CRAZY LAMINATE, which will grant you access to all shipboard JCCC events. You will also receive a printout of the complete events schedule, and…wait for it…A FREE TOTE BAG WITH SOME COOL STUFF IN IT! (Including some complimentary doodads from ThinkGeek; thanks, ThinkGeek!) Already you've gotten your money's worth, and the ship hasn't even left port!

To reiterate: make sure you hang on to your laminate, as it will be your ticket into all JCCC events. If you lose your laminate at any point during the trip, we can arrange to get you a replacement. Also: not everyone necessarily has to show up at 1 pm on the dot; we'll make sure everyone gets registered, no need for a massive crush right at the start. Just make sure you get there before 3:30. Thanks!


The main performances will be held every night in the Mainstage Theater. Here's the lineup for each night:

  • Mon. Jan. 3rd @ 4:30 pm: Paul and Storm / Wil Wheaton
  • Tue. Jan. 4th @ 4:30 pm: Jonathan Coulton / John Hodgman
  • Wed. Jan. 5 @ 5 pm: Molly Lewis / Mike Phirman / Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy
  • Thu. Jan. 6th @ 5 pm: John Roderick / Peter Sagal / Paul F. Tompkins
  • Fri. Jan. 7th @ 4:30 pm: Jonathan Coulton - ALL-REQUEST SHOW

Note: we plan to start the shows on the 3rd, 4th & 7th as close to 4:30 as possible. They might start a wee bit later, as we can't start load-in/sound check until 4 pm.

Other Note: because of the size of the theater compared to the number of JCCC attendees, preferential seating will no longer be necessary for any of these concerts. We have been assured by Holland America that no one will have any problem finding excellent seats for the performances.

Don't forget: during the first concert, we will be selecting the “Monarch of the Seas”, who will receive appropriate regalia (crown and/or scepter), and will occupy, along with a companion/consort, THE TWO BEST SEATS IN THE THEATER for every show. In addition, whenever the Monarch is wearing their regalia while on board, they should be addressed as befitting royalty (“Your Highness,” “Your Majesty,” etc.).


We have reserved several spaces on board to cover all your dice-rolling, card-battling and pretend-musicianing needs.

TABLETOP GAMING: The Hudson/Half Moon Salon will be devoted to tabletop gaming for the following dates/times:

  • Mon. Jan 3rd: 1-4 pm
  • Tue. Jan 4th: 1-4 pm
  • Wed. Jan 5th: 9-11 pm
  • Thu. Jan 6th: 9-11 pm
  • Fri. Jan 7th: 10 am-4 pm

We heartily encourage you to bring any and all games you wish to–board games, D&D, card games, handheld games, games of thrones…you name it. You might also want to coordinate on the forums (as some folks have already begun to do) to see who is bringing what games, who might wish the be the Master of the Dungeons (or whatever), etc. (You are, of course, more than welcome play games at other times as well, anywhere onboard that you can find an adequate space.)

Another Note: Yes, we're aware that the 9 pm start times on the 5th & 6th may overlap with the tail end of your dinner seating, for which we apologize. Those who are truly devoted to their gaming will either eat fast, or go without food.

ROCK BAND: The fine folks at Harmonix are providing us with a full Rock Band setup and pretty much every Rock Band game and song available. (Yes, including the Jonathan Coulton songs.) Come and be a Fake Rock Star in the Culinary Arts Center (located on the Lower Promenade deck) at the following dates and times:

  • Tue. Jan 4th: 9-11 pm
  • Wed. Jan 5th: 9-11 pm
  • Thu. Jan 6th: 9-11 pm

(See above note re: 9 pm start times)


In addition to the above activities, the following special events are on the schedule:

  • OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION - Sun., Jan. 2nd, 5:30-7 pm - Crow's Nest Lounge. The first 250 attendees who signed on for JoCo Cruise Crazy are invited to join Jonathan and the other performers for a kickoff party. Those eligible to attend have been notified via e-mail; if you are unsure of your status, ask us now.
  • JOCO Q&A - Tue. Jan 4th, 9-10:50 am, Mainstage Theater. Jonathan (as well as any other JCCC performers willing to wake up before 9 am) will sit down in the Mainstage Theater to answer whatever questions you have for him. Moderated by pencil sharpenist David Rees.
  • “MY MONSTER”: A PLAY BY BILL CORBETT - Wed. Jan. 5th, 11:30 pm-1:30 am, Culinary Arts Center. So you want to be a famous screenwriter! No? Well, you should. In this mix of comedy / lecture / theater / MIND-BLOWING REALITY CHANGER, Bill Corbett of MST3K and Rifftrax fame explains it all for you… with the assistance of cowriter Joseph Scrimshaw. Listen, learn, laugh, love! (Well, maybe not that last one.)
  • “HEY HEY…I'M CLEVER!” QUIZ/PANEL SHOW, HOSTED BY PETER SAGAL - Fri. Jan 7th, 9-10:50 am, Mainstage Theater. Public radio's Peter Sagal will host a freewheeling (a.k.a. “loosely organized”) quiz/panel show featuring the many JCCC performers, obscure trivia, laffs a-plenty, and at least one awkward onstage physical altercation.


There are a number of additional events on tap for which we are still nailing down the schedule details. But here are some spoilers anyway:

  • GROUP PHOTO. At some point–our guess is on Tues. Jan. 4th sometime between the Q&A session and lunchtime–we'd like everyone to gather together for the Official JCCC Group Photo, taken by the shipboard photographer. This photo will then be available for purchase in the ship's photo store. We're also looking into making a digital version available post-cruise. Details as to where/when this will happen are coming as soon as we get them.
  • MOVIE NIGHT(S). We are working to find a space to screen one or several movies (TBA), probably late at night, possibly near or in one of the swimming pools.
  • THE PAUL F. TOMPKINS MOUSTACHE FORMAL. A gathering for fancy people in fancy clothes (optional), wearing fancy moustaches (required), convened in defiance of Holland America's announcement that there will be no traditional “formal night.” Moustaches will be provided. Hosted by actor/comedian/moustache wearer/sharp-dressed man Paul F. Tompkins.
  • THE FANCY PANTS PARADE. Because there *has* to be one. And we want YOU GUYS to organize it! Just like the “flash mobs” the kids are so fond of today, we want all of you who have the World's Best Pants to decide where and when you want to do this. Our official Artisanal Pencil Sharpener David Rees will happily help coordinate plans on the JCCC forums. Also: there will be a trophy. Go to it, you crazy kids!
  • THE GATHERING OF THE BEARDALOS. Not to be outdone by the Paul F. Tompkins Moustache Formal, all JCCC attendees rocking facial hair will gather for a meeting of their secret society to talk about beard-related matters. Also, probably to drink beverages and pose for a group photo.
  • ONBOARD JAMMING/FILKING/PLAYING AND PERFORMING OF MUSIC. We are told that the Piano Bar (located on the Lower Promenade) is usually freely available until 7 pm most days, and is a perfect venue if anyone would like to bring instruments with them on the trip and jam with each other. (That's what it's called, right? Jamming?) People are already starting to organize this on the JCCC forums. Do Jonathan and any of of the other performers plan to stop by at some point to join in the fun? Answer: yes.
  • ARTISINAL PENCIL SHARPENING. How many times have you been in the middle of a Caribbean cruise, and suddenly realized that all your pencils are so poorly, inexpertly sharpened as to ruin your entire trip? Well, not this time. In addition to being a talented writer, David Rees is one of the world's foremost manual pencil sharpeners, and he will be practicing his craft on the cruise. Each JCCC attendee will receive a free No. 2 pencil in their tote bag, along with a certificate for a complimentary sharpening. We will announce at each night's show where and when David will be holding office hours for you to redeem your certificate for an authentic professionally-sharpened pencil.


* Do you folks have any other ideas for possible events you'd like to make happen? A marathon session of Risk? Informal JoCo trivia contest? Another facial hair-themed gathering? Go for it! Again, the JCCC forums will be the best place to find like-minded individuals and come up with ideas. David Rees will again be happy to help folks help coordinate and act as general liason with us here at JCCC Central Management.

We have pretty much exhausted our use of “reserved spaces/rooms” for this trip, so we unfortunately cannot ask HAL to, say, turn over a lounge or meeting room to us exclusively for any of these events; anything you put together will have to be on an “informal” basis, in any of the ship's public areas. Don't worry, we're told the cruise line loves such gatherings, especially if there's a bar nearby (so, you know, they can make money off it). But we do ask that you please bear in mind that most people on the ship are *not* there for JoCo Cruise Crazy, so please be mindful about planning anything potentially loud/disturbing to other passengers.

* As has been discussed in the JCCC website FAQ, regarding the question of “how much access will I have to the Famous People?”: as a general rule, the performers were selected as much for their personableness/affability as for their talent. That said, different people's approachability will vary according to numerous factors–tiredness, when they last ate, degree of sunburn, etc. All the Famous People on board are friendly and gregarious, and there will be numerous opportunities for socializing and even occasional hobnobbing. Just please use common sense and judgement; for example…sitting at a bar chatting with folks: good time to approach. In the middle of dinner with spouse/kids: bad time. Asleep: *really* bad time. Just, you know: BE COOL.

That's plenty enough for now, don't you think? More details coming soon, we promise.

19 days and counting!

Team JoCo Cruise Crazy

JoCo Crazy Cruise (Wed, 1 Dec 2010)

Hi all,

Just want to confirm one last time … I'm ordering the WIFI service tomorrow. Below please find the list of people that have signed up for service.

[list redacted]

Also, if you are a strict vegan would you please stand up and raise your hand (actually, an email is probably better) … we want to make sure there's plenty of food for all of you!




JoCo Crazy Cruise -- WIFI packages (Sat, 27 Nov 2010)

Hi everyone,

Just a quick reminder that Wednesday, Dec. 1 is the final date to sign up for one of our discounted WIFI packages.

The list is below represents everyone that has signed up for one of the discounted packages. If you signed up and are not on the list, please shoot me an email.

Here's the deal: You can purchase WIFI onboard, albeit at a more expensive rate, so don't feel compelled to pre-purchase a package. The WIFI service is available in virtually all of the cabins and virtually all of the public spaces throughout the ship. The least expensive (by the per-minute charge) package you can purchase onboard is 250 minutes for $103.95 (that's over $0.41 per minute). They also offer, onboard, 100 minutes for $78.95. If you're looking to save a few bucks, I can get the following WIFI plans for you:

  • 250-minute plan at $90 ($0.37 per minute)
  • 500-minute plan at $140 ($0.28 per minute)
  • 1,000-minute plan at $240 ($0.24 per minute)

Plus a $3.95 credit-card processing fee.

Be forewarned, if you use the service during peak times the service is slow. The corollary is that the service is reasonably decent at odd hours (like before 9am or after midnight or when we're in port).

[list redacted]

Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy online registration/check-in (Sun, 14 Nov 2010)

Dear JoCo Cruise Crazy participant,

Your “Express Docs” – as Holland America calls them … cruise tickets are now available online.

Back in the good old days cruiselines used to mail out cruise tickets. They no longer do. To obtain your tickets one must go to the Holland America website, check in, and then print your tickets.

If you have checked in online, all you need do now is print your tickets. If you have not checked in online, please do so now at: If you have difficulty with that URL, you can also use

CHECK THE SPELLING OF YOUR NAME If there is a typo in your name you could be subjected to a “change ticket” fee by the cruiseline. In many instances this is at least $100 (*one letter* changes are free, however) and could cost – depending on when you make the change and the severity of the change – nearly the entire price of your cruise ticket. Your cruise ticket FIRST and LAST names must match, exactly, how they read on your passport. Middle names are (currently) not required for cruise tickets. Obviously, full names, as opposed to nick names, are required. If your passport reads “Michael Smith” your cruise tickets CAN NOT read “Mike Smith”. Suffixes (like “Jr.”), if on your passport, must also be on your cruise ticket.

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, TSA RULES STATE THAT YOUR MIDDLE NAME IS REQUIRED FOR ALL DOMESTIC AIR TICKETS. (Side note: I can not imagine they'll enforce this day 1, but going forward you will want to use your middle name, as it appears on your passport, for all travel … which also means you'll want to travel with your passport too.)

Here are a couple of common questions (and the answers) we get about the check-in process:

  • Should you print your Express Docs out even if you don't have a cabin assignment yet?

Yes. Your cabin assignment is meaningless in terms of your Express Docs. When you arrive at the pier, Holland America will have your cabin assignment in their computer system. While most JoCo attendees will get cabin numbers, sooner than later, there will be a few people who are not assigned cabin numbers until they reach the Holland America pier. Generally speaking, the longer it takes for you to get a cabin assignment, the better it is for you – i.e., these bookings are often upgraded. So, “no news is good news!”

  • What do you mark on your bag tags if you don't have a cabin number yet?

Do not worry if you do not have a cabin number to put on your baggage tags. The cabin number you put on your baggage tag(s) is ignored if it is conflict with the name on the tag. That is, the baggage handlers go by your name first and foremost. If you do not know your cabin number, you can safely leave this field blank on your baggage tag. For those not comfortable with this level of uncertainty, there will be people at the pier with all cabin numbers for all passengers … those pier employees will be holding clipboards. If you want to put your cabin number on your baggage tags, ask them for your cabin assignment. But for certain, don't worry – in my 50+ cruises I have never heard of anyone, ever, losing a bag that was deposited at the pier.

Finally, for those looking to get their hands on everything they can about getting ready for your Holland America cruise, please look at this document:

Kind regards,

Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy (Wed, 10 Nov 2010)

Hi everyone,

This morning I received the attached notice of a change in our itinerary.

“In order to enhance our guests' cruise experience, the port call at Falmouth, on January 5, 2011, has been replaced by a port call to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Arrival and departure times have been adjusted accordingly. Please see the attached, revised itinerary.”

SUN 02JAN11 Sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 5:00pm
MON 03JAN11 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas 1 8:00am 4:00pm
TUE 04JAN11 Sea Day
WED 05JAN11 Ocho Rios, Jamaica 8:00am 5:00pm
THU 06JAN11 Georgetown, Cayman Islands 1 8:00am 5:00pm
FRI 07JAN11 Sea Day
SAT 08JAN11 Debark Ship Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 7:00am

Ocho Rios is a lovely stop … particularly for those wanting to visit Dunn's River Falls (really, a fabulous experience!) since the pier is so close the Falls.

Finally, I learned this week there will be no “formal night” on our cruise so there's no need for anyone to bring fancy clothes (i.e., not even a sports jacket for men). Of course, if you want to be dressy, by all means feel free. But there are no dressy requirements imposed by Holland America on our sailing.


Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy (Sun, 7 Nov 2010)

Dear JoCo Cruise Crazy participant,

As you may recall from my last e-blast to everyone, I said I'd gather up your questions and send out one email addressing everyone's questions. So here it is!

However, first, a quick update on the WiFi. Only four people have signed up … I do understand you have until December 1 but if we don't get 20 people I will have to withdraw the offer … these “group rates” are subject to group minimum of 20.

Holland America offers WiFi onboard. It's available in virtually all of the cabins and most of the public spaces throughout the ship. The least expensive (by the per-minute charge) package you can purchase onboard is 250 minutes for $103.95 (that's over $0.41 per minute). They also offer, onboard, 100 minutes for $78.95. If you're looking to save a few bucks, I can get the following Wifi internet plans for you:

  • 250-minute plan at $90 ($0.37 per minute)
  • 500-minute plan at $140 ($0.28 per minute)
  • 1,000-minute plan at $240 ($0.24 per minute)

Plus a $3.95 credit-card processing fee.

Yes, it's expensive … their excuse is it's “over satellite.” That's pretty lame. Sadly, the internet provider on any cruise ship has a monopoly. If you want to use the internet onboard a cruise ship, one is stuck using the one and only supplier the cruise line provides.

Please let me know if you'd like one of these plans no later than December 1. These must be ordered in bulk, are prepaid (no refunds for any unused minutes) and our order will be placed on December 1 – which means you can not get these after December 1 or onboard the ship.

If you're addicted to the internet, you'll want a 500- or 1000-minute package. Trust me on this.

Where and when do I get on the ship?

Port Everglades, January 2, as early as 11am but no later than 3:30pm.

How and when do I get from the ship back to the airport?

You have two options. Buy a transfer from Holland America ($17 each way to the Ft. Lauderdale airport … $30 each way to/from the Miami airport … one does not need to buy a roundtrip so you can just get the pier to airport trasnfer) or take a taxi. See more on this further down.

Should I tip my waiter? Steward? Bartender?

Tips are either built in or automatically added. You will be charged, onboard, $11 per day per person. This gratuity fee covers your cabin steward and the dining room staff. When you order a drink at a bar a 15% service fee will automatically be added. However, I've found that leaving an extra dollar at the bar, when you sign out, pays off after the 2nd or 3rd time you do that.

The cabin steward is not well paid, and you'll find, very hard working. I often leave an extra tip when I've received good service. How much I leave depends on how good/exceptional the service was.

Is soda free?

No. Coffee (in the dining room), tea, juices, and milk are free. Soda is extra. If you drink a lot of soda, consider getting a “soda beverage card”. That'll bring the price down to about $1 a soda (though only from the fountain) vs. $1.50 or so for a can of soda.

If we're going to be placed with strangers at dinner seating, can we at leat request to be seated with other JoCo Crazy participants?

You will ONLY be seated with JoCo Crazy participants. The first night there will be assigned seating but after that it'll be opening seating and you can sit wherever you like so long as the table is for our group. This'll be quite obvious once you are there.

I'm a huge fan of the entertainers, but I don't actually know them. Do they actually want to talk to me?!

YES … depending on everyone's mood of course ;-)

I'm especially interested in the post-cruise excursions, since my flight home leaves in the evening and I will have plenty of time to kill between disembarking the ship and needing to be at the airport. If I purchase one of the post-cruise excursions with an airport transfer, will it include “Luggage Direct” service, or do I need to arrange that separately?

Luggage direct is “special service” that is available for most, but not all, airlines. With this service you put your bags outside your cabin the night before we get off the ship and the next time you see them is in baggage claim in your arriving airport.

If you elect to not purchase this service, and you take a post-cruise excursion, your bags will stay with you (on the bus, that is).

Will cell phones with US providers work on the cruise or on any of the islands?

Yes and yes … but this will be expensive. If you have a smartphone that receives data you will want to turn this feature OFF before we head out to sea … otherwise you will come home to a large phone bill. Phone calls, either initiated or received on the ship, are around $3 per minute. Off the ship (in port), the plans vary by carrier and island. You will need to speak with your phone carrier to find out where you can use your phone and what the charges will be.

My wife and I are looking to book a hotel and we were looking for recommendations of what hotels or what areas would be convenient so that we don't have to taxi too far or get a rental car.

ANY hotel near the Ft. Lauderdale airport will put you near Port Everglades as they are adjoining properties. However, from baggage claim to the pier is a few miles as the crow flies (these are LARGE properties), so don't plan on walking. But given the proximity, if there are two of you, it's cheaper to taxi over (and back) than take the Holland America transfers.

How many formal nights dinners do we need to plan for and what days will those be?

Typically the “formal nights” are the days we're at sea. But the Captain can change the days.

Also when do you think we will get the schedule of the joco events ?

Soon. I know they're working on it.

I would love to book excursion but don't want to miss out on any events due to an excursion.


I have one question about Wifi packages – would it be possible for my wife and I purchase a package together, for example 250 minutes between the two of us? (If so, obviously I assume we can't both be signed into the Wifi at the same time). Thanks!

Right … you can't both be on at the same time. Otherwise, you're just given a user name and password. Any one could use it!

Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy Cruise Giveaway Contest Winners (Thu, 7 Oct 2010)

Hello from JoCo Cruise Crazy Command Central!

Unfortunately this email is going to be bad news for most of you. But here's the thing: winners have been chosen by random drawing, and one of you has won passage for two on JoCo Cruise Crazy! Remember, until you click on this link you are all still winners (in a Schrodinger's cat kind of way):

OK, now most of you are not winners. But hey, at least you had fun filling out a form and receiving a couple of emails, right? If you are one of the winners, please contact us so we can get you your stuff. The rest of you, thanks for entering. Love and kisses from all of us here at JoCo Cruise Crazy Command Central.



JoCo Crazy Cruise (Sun, 3 Oct 2010)

Dear JoCo Crazy participant,

This is the first of a few emails you will be getting from me. My next e-blast, no doubt, will be a distribution of everyone's questions – and my hopefully-helpful answers. So if you ask me a “typical” (or maybe even the atypical!) cruise question – a question that I believe others in our group should know the answer to – well, please don't be surprised if you see your question and my answer in another one of the e-blasts.

The subjects of today's email are: Shore Excursion, WiFi, Name Spelling, and Pre-Cruise Hotel arrangements.


This link should take you to a place on Holland America's website where you can pre-book shore excursions, spa treatments, dinner in the fancy private restaurant ($20 or so, pp), and other “indulgences”.

If the link gives you trouble, you can navigate to this page directly by going to and selecting BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS (etc.) from the FOR BOOKED GUESTS pull-down menu (top right area of the homepage).

My recommendations? I have highlighted a few things in this pdf Dunn's River Falls is a must in Jamaica. Half Moon Cay is really an ideal beach day. I like the cabanas (any color) … get a group together and share! As for Georgetown, it's a small but interesting island. Here's what I will do there:

Hertz Renta Car in Cayman: 345-949-2280/7861 ( [Note: that contact info is very old … it's been four years or so since I've been here.]

2) WiFi

Holland America offers WiFi onboard. It's available in virtually all of the cabins and most of the public spaces throughout the ship. The least expensive (by the per-minute charge) package you can purchase onboard is 250 minutes for $103.95 (that's over $0.41 per minute). They also offer, onboard, 100 minutes for $78.95. If you're looking to save a few bucks, I can get the following Wifi internet plans for you:

  • 250-minute plan at $90 ($0.37 per minute)
  • 500-minute plan at $140 ($0.28 per minute)
  • 1,000-minute plan at $240 ($0.24 per minute)

Plus a $3.95 credit-card processing fee.

Yes, it's expensive … their excuse is it's “over satellite.” That's pretty lame. Sadly, the internet provider on any cruise ship has a monopoly. If you want to use the internet onboard a cruise ship, one is stuck using the one and only supplier the cruise line provides.

Please let me know if you'd like one of these plans no later than December 1. These must be ordered in bulk, are prepaid (no refunds for any unused minutes) and our order will be placed on December 1 – which means you can not get these after December 1 or onboard the ship.

If you're addicted to the internet, you'll want a 500- or 1000-minute package. Trust me on this. FWIW, the speed isn't great (except at odd hours of the day and night) and the time flies.


It's printed on your invoice or can be pulled up on Holland America's website around November 1. Come November 15 if you discover a typo in your name you could be subjected to a “change ticket” fee by the cruiseline. In many instances this is at least $100 (one *letter* changes are free, however) and could cost – depending on when you make the change and the severity of the change – nearly the entire price of your cruise ticket. Your cruise ticket FIRST and LAST names must match, exactly, how they read on your passport. Middle names are not required for cruise tickets. Obviously, full names, as opposed to nick names, are required. If your passport reads “Michael Smith” your cruise tickets CAN NOT read “Mike Smith”. Suffixes (like “Jr.”), if on your passport, must also be on your cruise ticket.


This is not your standard hotel reservation. You can not cancel this 24 hours prior and get a refund. Indeed, come October 15, if you cancel your Holland America-reserved hotel you will be subjected to cancellation penalties by the cruiseline. The penalties go up, rather dramatically, as time marches on. The initial penalty (on October 15) is 50%. The following people have reserved a pre- and/or post-cruise hotel with Holland America:

[List redacted]

I look forward to meeting you in just three short months … you can't miss me once onboard: I'll be the guy sipping a drink with an umbrella!

Kind regards,

Neil R. Bauman, CEO InSight Cruises

JoCo Cruise Crazy 250 Club (Wed, 18 Aug 2010)

Ahoy there!

This is an email to let you know that you are one of the lucky 250 people who booked first on JoCo Cruise Crazy. This means you'll be invited to attend the exclusive first night cocktail reception, and you'll get preferred seating at both JoCo shows. You should feel very good about this.

A quick note: there may be some members of your party who did not have emails attached to their names during booking - rest assured, they are also in the Magic 250 provided they also bought the entertainment package at the time of booking. For goodness sakes, why do they not have emails? That's the question you should be asking yourself.


Thanks so much for being an early adopter, and we look forward to partying with you soon - ON A BOAT.

“The Management” JoCo Cruise Crazy

JoCo Cruise CONFIRMATION & Other Info. (Wed, 28 Jul 2010)


Warm Caribbean breezes … exotic ports of call … white sand beaches ringed by crystal clear water. Experience all this and much more aboard the Jonathan Coulton Cruise, sailing the E. Caribbean January 2-8, 2011. WELCOME ABOARD the ultimate entertainment venue and trip!

InSight Cruises has processed your booking and paperwork. We are mailing you a confirmation shortly (a copy of which is attached). You'll receive your invoice and receipt in that confirmation packet. Please look over the invoice for any necessary changes or additions.

A few words about trip insurance – buy it.

When you book an InSight Cruise, we include a couple of trip insurance brochures* in with your invoice. Please carefully consider buying this or other travel insurance.

We've never had a guest cancel because they won the lottery or had a brilliant stroke of fortune. More often than you would expect, we have had guests cancel because of pre-cruise illnesses, sports injuries, broken bones, death in the family, unexpected surgery, emergency surgery, stolen passports, and general family uproar.

Life does throw curves. Spare yourself financial disappointment if your trip must be cancelled or is interrupted.

Look at all your options for trip insurance, and make certain your vacation investment is protected.

* We offer three options:

  1. 1) Travel Guard Platinum is best for those with limited health health insurance as it's “First Payer” insurance. This product is ideal for those who rely on Medicare, for instance, or others who do not have healthcare coverage outside the United States. In addition, for those looking for “cancel anytime” coverage, for virtually any reason, Travel Guard's Platinum insurance offers it. For a 50% premium surcharge, they'll provide cancel-anytime for-any-reason insurance. However, they do not reimburse 100%. Please study the details in the brochure we'll be mailing you before you're certain you need this additional coverage. Travel Guard's Platinum product, M.H. Ross' Advantage Bridge protection (see just below), and CSA's Sail Safe (again, see below) will reimburse you 100% for covered reasons. Travel Guard's Cancel Anytime must be purchased within 10 days of your initial deposit. Please read about it here: <>
  2. 2) Another company we have very high regard for is M.H. Ross. Read about their Bridge product here: <>. While they do not offer the advantage of “First Payer” (i.e., you will need to submit to them any during-the-trip medical expenses after you have submitted these expenses to your primary medical insurance carrier), they will reimburse you for your out-of-pocket health expenses plus about two dozen other potential loss items. In our opinion, M. H. Ross' Bridge product is the most cost-effective “trip cancellation and interruption” if you're 55 and under so we we heartily recommend it. YOU CAN GET A QUOTE AND PURCHASE THE INSURANCE HERE:
  3. 3) For those 55 years of age and older, we highly recommend CSA's Sail Safe Cruise Program plan. <>. Unlike the two policies above, CSA Sail Safe is not priced based on your age. The cost of the insurance is based solely on the trip cost. Also, like TravelGuard and M.H. Ross, for about a 50% premium surcharge, they, too, will provide cancel-any time-for-any-reason coverage. CSA's cancel-any-time-for-any-reason reimburses more than M.H. Ross and Travel Guard. However, you must purchase this insurance within 24 hours of booking to get this additional coverage. YOU CAN GET A QUOTE AND PURCHASE THE INSURANCE HERE:
  • NOTE: The products mentioned above are only available to U.S. and Canadian citizens. For those living outside North America we do recommend buying insurance from any local travel agency.
  • NOTE: All of the above policies will waive pre-existing conditions if you purchase the insurance before a certain period of time. THEREFORE, YOU WILL GET MAXIMUM COVERAGE AND BENEFITS IF YOU BOOK THIS INSURANCE TODAY.
  • NOTE: It is important you read the brochures and/or talk to the companies directly (we're happy to provide phone numbers) to fully understand the coverage and limitations. We're happy to discuss the options, too.

If you purchase M.H. Ross' Bridge or Travel Guard's insurance, you must purchase your insurance within 10 days for it to cover any pre-existing conditions you may currently have (including those you are unaware of).

To help answer questions about your upcoming cruise, Holland America (HAL) has created a section especially for their booked guests at The area of their site, “For Booked Guests,” allows you to book shore excursions online, check-in for your cruise online, access Frequently Asked Questions, and more. We've provided a few links below to help address commonly asked questions about cruising with Holland America Line:

For a travel checklist, identification requirements, and flight information: <>

Online check-In: <>

Planning & advice (Passports, visas, and immunizations): <>

Booking shore excursions: <>

If you like wine here's some info on Holland America's “Sommelier Wine Packages”: <>


You will need to check-in via these web pages to retrieve your tickets. For $50 per person or $75 per booking (whichever fee is lower), InSight Cruises can do this check-in for you. Included in the price would be the printing and mailing of your tickets.

Pre-booking shore excursions: <>. Shore excursions can also be purchased onboard. If InSight Cruises does your Online Check-In we will also pre-book your shore excursions, if you would like.

PLEASE NOTE THAT HOTEL STAYS AND AIR BOOKED THROUGH THE CRUISE LINE ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME CANCELLATION PENALTIES AS THE CRUISE ITSELF. Also note that the cruiseline reserves the right to change the hotel; though if they do so a comparable hotel will be provided.

NOTE: The Fuel Supplement has been suspended for this sailing. Holland America reserves the right to reinstate a fuel supplement for all guests at up to $9 USD per person, per day should the price of light sweet crude oil according to the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index) increase above $70 USD per barrel. (It now just about $75 per barrel, so it's possible this surcharge will “kick in.”)

Thanks for booking the Jonathan Coulton Cruise. I look forward to seeing you in Ft. Lauderdale!

Warmest regards,


InSight Cruises

email_archive/email_archive_2011.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/15 13:27 by nessa