Sailing with a group and have several first timers out of Galveston for a five day on Valor. A couple members of the group want some tips, etc. This is what I have put together. Appreciate any other ideas.
Before you leave home
· Print your luggage tags before you leave forGalveston because they really don’t have them at the port (your luggage tagsare located on the cruise planner portion of the Carnival website and the tagswill include your cabin number).
· It’s too busy at the port to be putting onyour tags there. You will need a stapler to fasten the luggage tag to your bag.Do this at home before you get to the port.
· There’s no limit on the number of taggeditems.
· Before you get to Galveston, download theCarnival Hub app. This does not require you to buy the internet package onboard and it will have the ship map, dining info, schedule and more for you toaccess for free. You can sign into the app on the ship and it does have amessaging feature that is $5. Downloadthis at home to get it out of the way.
· Print out your boarding passes.
· Buy Bonine for motion sickness. Dramamine willmake you drowsy. Get the chewables. Take one before bed the night before, onewhen you wake up the day of the cruise and one at 3PM (one hour before sailtime). You can take another four hours after the 3PM dose as a precaution.
· Pack a wine opener if the wine you are briningon has a cork.
· There’s lots of paid parking lots inGalveston. Some are covered or have the option to add a car cover to your car.
· The Galveston port parking is the cheapestamong the US cruise ports and ranges from $50 to $60 for the week.
· The parking places will drive you and yourluggage in a shuttle to the port. Allow up to 30 minutes for this. There’s noreason to drop anyone off at the port with the luggage and then park. Have a few bucks ready to tip those driverguys for handling your luggage.
At the port
· When you get dropped off at port by theparking people, it might be a little crazy. 1,900 people are getting on and offthe ship. Be patient because you are almost on the boat and there are drinks onthe ship.
· The parking shuttle will drop you off andporters will be there to take your tagged baggage. Have a few bucks to tipthese guys.
· Your luggage will appear later in yourstateroom before dinner (usually 1:30PM or after). Check as many bags as youcan to limit carry-on luggage and bags.
· Trust me on this on limiting the amount youcarry on. I don’t recommend carrying large things because there might be adelay of your room being ready and you will have to carry that damn bag everywhereincluding when you get your lunch and having an adult beverage... and everyoneis taking the elevator and you will have to lug that bag up and down stairs.
· If you insist on bringing your pillow fromhome, put that in a duffle bag and slap a luggage tag on it. If you arecarrying that pillow around on the Lido deck with a drink, we will make fun ofyou.
About carry-on bags
· Bring a carry-on bag, backpack, etc since thisthis important to transport your bottle of wine or champagne. Each adult cancarry on one bottle of wine.
· Make sure you wrap your bottle of wine orchampagne in bubble wrap but make it easy to unwrap because after it’s x-rayed,security wants to look at it to make sure it’s not Jack Daniels or some otherhootch.
· You can buy two reusable wine bottleprotectors on Amazon for nine bucks. I have used mine quite a bit after buying.
· Some folks pack a swim suit in the carry on soyou can hit the pool or hot tubs right away on deck 9 (one pool and two hottubs midship and a 18+ pool and hotub in the back of the ship (aft)) or theover 21 Serenity hot tub on deck 14. You can change when you get access to yourroom (probably 1:30PM) or change at the fitness center.
When you get on the ship:
· Make sure you get a ship map at guest serviceslocated where you enter the ship on deck 3 (if you didn’t get a map at checkin).
· Staff members on deck 3 will also have thecruise bulletin called the Fun Times with activities and other info (theschedule will also be in the Carnival Hub app).
· It’s now time to relax and explore. Don’t tryto go to your room quite yet. It won’t be ready until about 1:30PM. Go aheadand have some fun by going to the Lido deck on deck 9. Elevators might be verybusy so give the stairs a try.
· On deck 9, you will find Guy’s Burgers (byFood Network’s Guy Fieri), the buffet, a couple bars, a taco bar and Mongolianwok, bbq (up one level from buffet).
· There will be music by the pool. After lunchand chilling out, it’s a good time to explore the ship starting at the very top(deck 14 serenity area is a fun place to relax.). Now make your way back downthe ship and look at decks four and five then check to see if your room isready. There’s a mandatory drill at 3:30pm and after that the sail away party begins.It’s fun to go back to deck 9 or find a place to watch the ship sail off.
· Watching the ship sail off and looking outtowards the horizon will help orientate your body to the movement of the shipand prevent seasickness.
· When you get to your stateroom and you broughton wine… let your cabin steward know you need a wine bucket with ice and wineglasses.
· If you have anytime dining, the earlier you gothe less the wait but usually the wait is not too bad other times. If there isa wait, get a drink at the bar. It’s also good to go to dinner early becauseyou get to see more entertainment.
· For your dinner in the main dining room, youcan order multiples of any course. I usually do an appetizer and soup/salad forthe starter.
· For the main course, I might get a second itemif the first was not what I expected or I get a second item that someone elseat is willing to share.
· If you liked your table and waiter, and you’reon Anytime dining, make sure to remember their name and table number andmention to the hostess the following nights.
· The first night of the cruise, dinner attireis casual since you’re just getting on the cruise.
After dinner first night
· Most entertainment starts at 8PM with the pianobars and karaoke.
· The welcome show will be around 10PM.
· Nightclub will start popping after 10:30PM
· The R rated comedy show will be around 11:30PM (based on the Fun Times bulletings from this summer)
· Pizza is open 24 hours if you need some afterevening activities.
· Several bar choices. The Alchemy bar is funwith craft cocktails.
· Adult area hot tubs close at 12AM.
First sea day
· If you have the Cheerspackage, it begins at 6AM. Start your day with a bloody mary, mimosa, etc.
· Sea Day Brunch in theWashington Dining Room beings at 8:30AM. If brunch is not your thing, the Lido buffet is open with breakfastuntil noon.
· Lunch on deck 9 startsat 12PM.
· First sea day dinneris considered “cruise elegant”. Nothingtoo fancy, just look nice. Don’t miss dinnerif you don’t like to dress for dinner because the food is better. For guys,nice shirt and pants. For women, cocktail dress, nice pants/blouse type stuff.
· After dinner, therewill be several comedy show options at night and shows in the theatre withdifferent showtimes. More than the first night. There will also be the music, pianobar sing along and karoke in the bars.
· If youhave the CHEERS alcohol drink package program, it includes sodas, bottledwater, milkshakes and specialty non alcoholic frozen drinks and specialtycoffee and it does NOT count towards your 15 daily drink max! It also includes drinks like RockStar energydrinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water and Honest Teas and those can be found near theJava Café on deck 5. Hydrating helps with your cruise buz!