• James D. Morgan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- So you’ve done your research to choose a cruise line that suits your personality and selected a specific ship and itinerary that looks perfect.Before your dream vacation commences, however, there are still several final details that require your consideration. These are some of the most crucial questions to ask yourself prior to stepping aboard.1. Do I have the proper documentation?Aside from a few rare exceptions, most cruise ships are foreign-registered and thus, by law, must sail to at least one international destination. This is true even of cruises, say, to Alaska roundtrip from Seattle; they have to make a stop in Canada.That means passengers need to have proper documentation for travel between countries. It’s always best to consult with the cruise line to know exactly what is needed for a particular cruise, but requirements could include passports and/or additional visas.2. Is everything included that I think is part of the package?Hopefully, this one came up during your research of the cruise line itself, but in case it didn’t, be sure you fully understand exactly what is included in your fare. Cruises are generally a rather inclusive form of travel, but the degree to which they are varies, with luxury ships often including more than the more mainstream cruise lines.Accommodations and most food and entertainment are usually included in the fare cost, but drinks outside of nonalcoholic basics are typically not. The more you pay upfront, the more will be included. Some luxury lines do cover alcoholic beverages as part of the upfront price.3. Have I budgeted for gratuities?Speaking of what is included, gratuities or service charges are either among the extras or bundled in. For those cruise lines that tack it onto the bill -- while these technically remain discretionary, they may be automatically added to guests’ accounts per day.It’s wise to know what the daily service charge may be to avoid surprises at the end of the cruise. Alternatively, the option is usually available to prepay the total so as not to have to worry about costs once onboard.4. Did I pack the right clothes?Cruise lines are becoming more and more casual, but formal nights are still sometimes held. Check the dress code for your cruise and be certain you have enough for elegant and relaxed affairs.Of course, with airline weight limits on luggage to consider, you must also be efficient about packing. Check to see what self- and full-service laundry is available onboard. It might be better to pack lighter and send some clothes out to be cleaned on the ship.5. Should I purchase shore excursions ahead of time?As much as cruise ships are becoming destinations themselves, they still seek to take us to actual places, and shore excursions are the best means of discovery. But there’s nothing worse than getting there and finding out that a tour has been sold out already.It’s always a good idea to pre-plan as much as possible and book shore excursions before a cruise to avoid upset. In some cases, you may be able to save some money by buying them independently. Just be mindful: If there's ever a delay in returning onboard, the ship will only wait for tours reserved through the line.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street marked a second week of losses as U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76.22 (-0.35 percent) to finish at 21,674.51.The Nasdaq slid 5.39 (-0.09 percent) to close at 6,216.53, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,425.55, down 4.46 (-0.18 percent) from its open.Crude oil was 3 percent higher with prices under $49 per barrel.Winners and Losers:  Shares of Foot Locker, Inc. tumbled 27.92 percent after the athletic retailer's quarterly earnings report fell below investors' expectations.Snap Inc. climbed 4.94 percent after Axios reported Snapchat's joint news show with NBC, "Stay Tuned," has had more than 29 million unique visitors since its launch a month ago.
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  • Fayette County Public Schools(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- After spending seven years working as a custodian at a Kentucky high school, Lowell Outland walked back into the same school as a full-time teacher on Wednesday.Outland, 59, is now teaching many of the same students who saw him cleaning the campus and helping them on field trips at Tates Creek High School in Lexington.“It gives you a whole different feeling,” Outland told ABC News. “The kids would come up and say, ‘Hey, weren’t you a custodian last year?’”Outland said his career change prompted one of the school’s approximately 1,800 students to tell him, “Man, I think that’s cool.”Outland wasn't able to finish high school himself in the 1970s, but he earned his GED while in the military. He went on to earn an associate's degree.Outland said when he started at Tates Creek after being laid off from a local electronics company that was downsizing, he had no interest in working in the classroom.He dropped out of high school in the 1970s and earned his GED while in the military. He later went on to earn an associate’s degree.Then, while working at Tate’s Creek at night, he took college classes in the morning and earned his bachelor’s degree from a nearby university.He said being around the high school students led him to change his career path and go into education.“I got to know the kids and there are some of them that are absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed being around them,” he said. “I felt like it was time for me to start contributing a little bit.”Lowell said he studied before the start of his 1 p.m. custodian shift. When Lowell left his custodial job in July, it marked the end of his 12-year educational journey from associate's degree to teaching certificate."I think my past experience will give [students] something to think about,” said Lowell, who is teaching digital photography and graphic communications. “I’m showing them what they can do with their lives.”The school’s principal, Marty Mills, said he had no hesitation in hiring Lowell, whom he said has a natural rapport with students.“I’m just happy that we’re able to keep him here,” Mills said. “I just believe it’s a great story for our kids and for everybody -- that when it gets hard, you don’t just give up.”Lowell, 59, said he “can’t comprehend” his age and so is undaunted about starting a new career at a time when many of his peers are considering retirement.When asked whether being around high school students gives him energy, Lowell replied honestly: “Sometimes it does and sometimes it just wears me out.”
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Even though parts of the U.S. will be in partial darkness thanks to the total solar eclipse on Monday, consumers across the country will be able to score some shining deals both inside and outside of the eclipse's path of totality.Check out the list of businesses rolling out specials and savings.Denny'sThe diner chain is offering $4 all-you-can-eat "moon cakes" on Monday, an eclipse-worthy take on their classic pancakes.Krispy Kreme DoughnutsThe doughnut shop announced on their site that they will "eclipse" their original glazed doughnuts by covering the traditional treat in "a mouth-watering chocolate glaze." Customers can try the limited-time doughnut from Aug. 19-21.Dairy QueenThe fast-food chain will feature a buy-one, get-one-free Blizzard deal, so two of the desserts will cost customers a cool 99 cents until Sunday, Sept. 3."We love any excuse to celebrate with our fans," Maria Hokanson, American Dairy Queen Corporation's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "What better way to watch the eclipse or enjoy the last lazy days of summer than with a Blizzard BOGO?"MoonPieThe brand has a celestial body in its name, so the company is giving customers 15 percent off all online orders through Aug. 21.
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  • Inspired By A True Story Photography(NEW YORK) -- One Target-loving mom decided to return to the store to celebrate her third child.
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  • Leon Neal/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A 17-year-old high school student from Uruguay who taught himself computer programming was awarded $10,000 from Google for discovering a security bug.
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