Like many other newbies on the board, I've enjoyed this thread immensely and have learned so much. Thanks to everyone for your cruise wisdom. I'm beyond ecstatic for my first cruise next week, and just thought that a reposting of the following tip, courtesy of Roboat, was in order. After reading all of the reviews, both negative and postive, I thought this was the best thing to keep in mind:
"-For first time cruisers, here's the best tip i've ever received and I'll pass it along: there will be some things that don't meet your expectations, and some things that surpass them. Someone will get a better deal than you did, someone will not follow the guidelines, somebody will cut in front of you, someone will let their kid be unruly -
....BUT... someone will show you an unexpected kindness, some shore excursion or shipboard event will be much better than you expected, and some moments will really hit the spot. This is probably not the only chance you will ever have to cruise, so don't go expecting perfection; instead, just expect a very nice time overall. "
p.s. tinmanswife - i went to highschool in malvern! (villa)