As a first-timer, which mistakes did you make?

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Here I am
3,320 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
On my first cruise ever I tried to pay cash in a gift shop, and was surprised they only want my key card

Of course it was way before Cruise Critic
Boise, Idaho
217 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Biggest mistake was taking too many clothes.
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Ed, the Idahobaker

"Never eat spinach with a stranger."

Celebrity Millennium Sept 19, 2011 Panama Canal

5,747 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Not knowing that we could eat somewhere else, as well as the main dining room, which gave us no time between coming back from snorkelling expeditions and 1st sitting....
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20 cruises; 11 ships; 8 lines; 94 ports
Ontario, Canada
2,340 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Definitely booking ship excursions, and expecting the ship's excursion staff to know intimate details about the excursions. All I needed was CC
I also wish I would have toured around the ship more on the first day so I had a better idea of the general layout. It took me almost the whole week to figure out how to get to the dining rooms Fortunately, NCLs ships have the same basic layout, which is helpful for this directionally-challenged cruiser.
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Anthem of the Seas 2-1-2017 12 day Eastern and Southern Caribbean


NCL Sun 1-1-2011 Eastern Carribean
NCL Star 1-1-2012 Western Caribbean
NCL Jewel 30-12-12 Florida and Bahamas
Disney Dream 14-3-13 Bahamas
NCL Breakaway 9-3-2014 Florida and Bahamas
NCL Gem 22-12-2014 12 day Christmas and New Year's
NCL Pride of America 28-3-2015 with a week in Kona
NCL Star 31-1-2016 Western Caribbean
NCL Breakaway 13-3-2016

Land trips to Italy, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Colombia, Venezuela, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, most of the eastern US and all the Canadian provinces.
Fredericksburg, va. USA
84,666 Posts
Joined May 2001
Not knowing (on our 1st cruise) that the "Welcome aboard" drinks were NOT free! I was only $3.50 or so (long time ago!) buy it still irks me! And, it wasn't even a GOOD drink!
Vancouver, BC
1,282 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Not doing enough research on the ports of call.

Not knowing I could have as many appys or entrees as I wanted.
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2010 - Oceania, Insignia - Lisbon to Rome (12 days)
2008 - NCL, Norwegian Star, Vancouver to Seattle (3 days)
2007 - NCL, Norwegian Pearl, Cruise to No Where (3 days)
2004 - Royal Caribbean, Voyager of the Seas, Alaska (7 days)
Burlington, Vermont
973 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Not paying attention to cabin selection advice. We ended up with a very noisy cabin on a full ship, making moving impossible and leaving us bleary-eyed due to lack of sleep.
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First Cruise- Norwegian Sky 08/09/10-08/13/10
Norwegian Jewel 11/05/11-11/12/11
Norwegian Dawn 11/1/13-11/14/13
Norwegian Dawn 8/14/15-8/21/15
Norwegian Breakaway 3/6/16-3/13/16


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5,785 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Idahobaker
Biggest mistake was taking too many clothes.
Us too. I think it's a fairly common thing for first-timers to over pack. Also, as first-timers, there was a tendency for us to want to participate in as many on board activities as possible on sea days. Cruising was new to us, and we were so intent on trying to take it all in. We didn't want to miss anything. But we sure wore ourselves out pretty quickly. By our second cruise, we learned to be more selective about what we wanted to do (or not do) on sea days.
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Carnival Conquest May 2016
Carnival Breeze May 2015
Carnival Liberty May 2013
Carnival Liberty May 2012
Carnival Sensation Feb. 2008
Carnival Destiny Feb. 2007
RCCL Explorer of the Seas March 2002
RCCL Majesty of the Seas Dec. 2000
Carnival Imagination Sept. 1999
RCCL Enchantment of the Seas Feb. 1999
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas Feb. 1997
Toronto, Canada
4,133 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
My mistake on my first cruise was not exploring the ship well and only really knowing the "highlight" locations - it was half way through the cruise before I discovered some wonderful places for viewing, or for a serene place to chill.
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1,291 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We didn't know we should tell someone if we weren't eating in the MDR so our table mates had to wait a while one or two nights.
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Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- May 2018 (Baby #2's First Cruise!)

Norwegian Breakaway -- Bermuda -- May 2016
Norwegian Star -- Western Caribbean -- March 2016
Norwegian Epic -- Western Caribbean -- January 2015 (Baby's First Cruise!)
Norwegian Gem -- Bahamas and Florida -- May 2013
Caribbean Princess -- Southern Caribbean -- March 2013
Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- June 2012 (Wedding Cruise Review)
Grand Princess -- Eastern Caribbean -- March 2012
Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- July 2011
Norwegian Star -- Alaska -- May 2010
Norwegian Dawn -- Western Caribbean -- March 2010
Majesty of the Seas -- Bahamas -- June 2004
178 Posts
Joined May 2011
Not taking advantage of the exercise equipment, sauna, and steam room because I thought they were managed by the spa and subject to additional charges. Now that I know better, I use these facilities regularly.
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Booked: ...... . Panama - Island Princess - Jan, 2018 . . . Panama - Pacific Princess - May, 2018 . . . California Coastal - Ruby Princess - Sep, 2018 . . . Mexico (b2b) - RubyPrincess - Jan, 2019

Completed: .. .. Mexico - Ruby Princess - Nov, 2017. . . New England- Crown Princess - Sep, 2017 . . .Alaska (b2b) - Emerald Princess - May, 2017 . . . Hawaii - Star Princess - Feb, 2017 . . . California Coastal (b2b) - StarPrincess - Oct, 2016 . . . Alaska (b2b) - RubyPrincess - Sep, 2016. . . Transatlantic - QueenMary2 - May, 2016 . . . Transatlantic - CaribbeanPrincess - Apr, 2016 . . . Mexico (b2b) - CrownPrincess - Feb, 2016 . . . Hawaii, Tahiti & Somoa - Crown Princess - Oct, 2015 . . . Alaska(b2b) - Ruby Princess - May, 2015. . . California Coastal (b2b) - CrownPrincess - Apr, 2015 . . . Panama(b2b) - IslandPrincess - Feb, 2015 . . . California Coastal (b2b) - Crown Princess - Oct, 2014 . . .Alaska(b2b) - Grand Princess - Aug, 2014 . . . Alaska (b2b) - CrownPrincess - Jun, 2014 . . . Hawaii, Tahiti & Somoa - Golden Princess - Apr, 2014 . ..California Coastal (b2b) - SapphirePrincess - Oct, 2013 . . . Alaska(b2b) - DiamondPrincess - Aug,/Sep, 2013 . . . Alaska (b2b) - Golden Princess - Jun, 2013 . . . Mexico - Grand Princess - Mar, 2013 . . .Hawaii - Golden Princess - Jan, 2013 . . .Panama(b2b) - Coral/Island Princess -Oct / Nov, 2012 . . . Alaska (b2b) - IslandPrincess - Sep, 2012 . . . Mexico (b2b) - SapphirePrincess - Feb, 2012 . . . Hawaii - GoldenPrincess - Nov, 2011 . . . Alaska - SapphirePrincess - Sep, 2011 . . . Hawaii - GoldenPrincess - Mar, 2011 . . . Mexico - SapphirePrincess - Nov, 2010 . . . Alaska - GoldenPrincess - May, 2010
740 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
I made quite a few mistakes, including overpacking, being unaware of the corkage fee for wine at dinner, packing a travel iron (not allowed--it was confiscated and returned after the cruise) and mixing a little too much sun and tequila on one particular day.

I brought so much stuff that I thought I would need, and ended up using very little of it. That taught me a very important lesson (and helped lighten my load).
1,245 Posts
Joined May 2010
Taking a bunch of water on board. Thankfully, the ship water is fine for us, so I just bring an empty sports water bottle and refill it with water and ice at the buffet. Less of a hassle.
Pigeon Forge, TN
2,122 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
1st mistake, not signing our passports! Scared the b-geebers out of me when the security guy handed them back and said, not valid passport Jerk, still not over it!
2nd mistake, not wearing board shorts on the FLO rider....
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October 2, 2011- Our first time on RCCL FOS! It was AWESOME!!!! My review:
April 2014 Jewel of the Seas, Southern Caribbean cruise video:

June 2016 Liberty of the Seas, Western Caribbean cruise video:

June 2017 Oasis of the Seas, Western Caribbean Video:

Durham, NC
147 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Not realizing the Cafe Promenade or Sorrento's were free until the end of the week.

Not packing enough of my hair products. Curly hair and ocean breezes don't mix well.
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RC Independence of the Seas 2016
RC Brilliance of the Seas 2014
RC Liberty of the Seas 2014
RC Liberty of the Seas 2013
RC Liberty of the Seas 2012
RC Oasis of the Seas 2012
RC Navigator of the Seas 2011
RC Liberty of the Seas 2011
RC Liberty of the Seas 2010

2,125 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I made the mistake of thinking a Mexican Riviera cruise would be warm. It was when we were in port, but I froze on the ship. Should have tossed in some sweats.

2nd mistake was I bought some cute little sandals for the cruise, but didn't wear them until ON the cruise and ended up with blisters all over my feet.
Southeastern Va
7 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Not staying up late to take advantage of all of the events happening after 12 am. Buffets, shows,etc....not this time!!!
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6/5/2005 - Carnival Triumph
6/1/2008 - Carnival Victory
5/30/2010 - Carnival Glory