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#21
57 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by KULPN
.

take a power strip and air freshener. (yes, it is a small bathroom)

He, hee! But I'm glad you reminded me to add an air freshner to my list. Not necessarily for the same reason, but I hate the smell of hotel type rooms and any familiar scent makes me feel more comfortable.
#23
Eastern Connecticut
278 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by HattieCR
OK. Almost everybody recommends taking a power strip - this is because....??
very limited power points/outlets available, so if you need to charge a camera, and have an alarm clock, and a cpap/sound generator ... and so forth.

Most cruise ships do not take into account how "electrified" people have become lately.
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#24
Atlanta, GA
148 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
1. As a VERY rough guide to how much extra you'll spend--pretend like you're taking a 3rd passenger. In other words, if your 7 day cruise costs $700 per person, budget roughly $700 for tips, excursions, drinks, parking at the port, souvenirs, etc. Obviously very inexact (and probably on the low side for many if you drink more than one drink a day gamble, use the spa, or fly to the ports). I think some people with a $2000 vacation budget might blow their budget significantly when they book a cruise at $1000 per person thinking everything is included.

2. Don't hesitate to switch tables at dinner if you don't like your dining companions. It's your vacation.

3. Research the ports ahead of time. Some places are excellent to do on your own (Key West, San Juan). Other are not (Belize, Jamaica). Others have superb private tours (Costa Maya, Grand Cayman). The ports of call boards on cruise critic are an excellent place to start. Frommers and Fodors also have excellent guidebooks to the ports of call.

4. Don't hesitate to cruise an older ship, especially if it's your first time cruising. Our upcoming cruise will be the first time we take a ship that was built in the new millenium! They're almost all beautiful in their own ways. The only time we were ever actually disappointed with the ship itself was the Norwegian Majesty.

5. Skip the formal photos. They're way overpriced. And beware that some are not standard sizes. On our honeymoon in 2004, we bought a photo (the only one we've ever gotten), and didn't realize it was 6 x 8. We only found an appropriate size frame a few months ago!
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May 2003 Carnival Inspiration
December 2004 Celebrity Horizon (honeymoon)
December 2006 HAL Veendam (2nd anniversary)
December 2008 Norwegian Majesty (4th anniversary)
December 2009 Celebrity Summit (5th anniversary)
August 2011 Norwegian Dawn (with baby in tow)
March 2013 Disney Magic (with a toddler and baby)
November 2014 Disney Fantasy
May 2016 Disney Fantasy
December 2016 Disney Fantasy (12th anniversary)
July 2017 Disney Wonder (1st to Alaska!)
April 2018 RCL Oasis of the Seas
#25
Phoenix, Arizona
6,306 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by croozymooner
1.

5. Skip the formal photos. They're way overpriced. And beware that some are not standard sizes. On our honeymoon in 2004, we bought a photo (the only one we've ever gotten), and didn't realize it was 6 x 8. We only found an appropriate size frame a few months ago!

I disagree. I've had family formal portraits taken at Department stores and OlMi and always spent $200 plus some, whether I liked them all or not. At about $22 a pop, and never buying the ones you don't like, I think they are a bargain. I usually decide I have enough and won't buy, but get them taken everywhere. Then I usually find one that I like enough to buy--it's just over the price of a bingo card! Have them taken everywhere. Only buy the one(s) you want. Remember when you are 80 you will wish you had a picture of the younger, better looking you at THIS age.

Carnival sells frames that match, but any craft store sells matte. I've never had a problem with that.
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Unofficial Team Captain,
2018 CRUISE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
and member
of the.......

197 days at sea so far:
Mexican Riviera, Carnival Jubilee, 1992

Southern Caribbean, Carnival Fascination, 1997

Mexican Riviera, Carnival Elation, 1999

Alaska & Denali, Dawn Princess, 2002

Ensenada & Catalina, Carnival Paradise, 2005

Western Caribbean, Carnival Conquest, 2007
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural, Carnival Dream, 2009
Grand Mediterranean 2nd sail, Carnival Magic, 2011
Hawaii, Sapphire Princess, 2012
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural , Carnival Breeze, 2012
Alaska, Diamond Princess, 2012
Transatlantic, Carnival Sunshine, 2013
Panama Canal, Carnival Legend, 2014
Eastern Caribbean, Carnival Breeze, 2014
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2015

Alaska, Carnival Legend, 2015
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2016
Last Mediterranean, Carnival Vista, 2016
Transatlantic, Carnival Vista, 2016

Ensenada, Carnival Imagination, 2017
Alaska Back 2 Back, Carnival Legend 2017
Western Caribbean, Carnival Dream 2017
Southern Caribbean, Carnival Sunshine 2018








#26
Phoenix, Arizona
6,306 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by HattieCR
OK. Almost everybody recommends taking a power strip - this is because....??

We like a night light and they don't fit usually. The outlet behind the nightstand is taken with the lamp and hard to get to. The one on the vanity is often hard to access due to location and the odd size plugs that come with many chargers.

I don't use my cell phone or BBerry on the trip very much, but I turn them on to check for text messages once a day so they need to be charged. I charge everything up on the last night for the return trip.

The curling iron doesn't work in the bathroom, so someone can plug in a curling iron at the vanity and not worry about unplugging phones or laptops. Some people bring little fans for white noise if they have problems sleeping. Not me--but I've never taken a power strip and not used it.
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Unofficial Team Captain,
2018 CRUISE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
and member
of the.......

197 days at sea so far:
Mexican Riviera, Carnival Jubilee, 1992

Southern Caribbean, Carnival Fascination, 1997

Mexican Riviera, Carnival Elation, 1999

Alaska & Denali, Dawn Princess, 2002

Ensenada & Catalina, Carnival Paradise, 2005

Western Caribbean, Carnival Conquest, 2007
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural, Carnival Dream, 2009
Grand Mediterranean 2nd sail, Carnival Magic, 2011
Hawaii, Sapphire Princess, 2012
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural , Carnival Breeze, 2012
Alaska, Diamond Princess, 2012
Transatlantic, Carnival Sunshine, 2013
Panama Canal, Carnival Legend, 2014
Eastern Caribbean, Carnival Breeze, 2014
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2015

Alaska, Carnival Legend, 2015
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2016
Last Mediterranean, Carnival Vista, 2016
Transatlantic, Carnival Vista, 2016

Ensenada, Carnival Imagination, 2017
Alaska Back 2 Back, Carnival Legend 2017
Western Caribbean, Carnival Dream 2017
Southern Caribbean, Carnival Sunshine 2018








#27
Phoenix, Arizona
6,306 Posts
Joined May 2008
Think about "what if":
What if my luggage never arrives and I am left with only my carryon? Take 1 bathing suit, one formal outfit+shoes, a couple of daytime outfits (suitable to wear to dinner, too) and one pair of your shoes. Also your makeup that is not liquid. Then, if your luggage is lost or late, you will have enough to get by.

Another thing:
Consider taking half the clothes and taking the new Purex 3-in-1 strips. They are detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheet in one sheet and will pack so flat it's like they aren't there (a few in a zip lock bag). Then you are ready to take your quarters and run a quick load in the washers/dryers on board ($3 for each washer/dryer).
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Unofficial Team Captain,
2018 CRUISE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
and member
of the.......

197 days at sea so far:
Mexican Riviera, Carnival Jubilee, 1992

Southern Caribbean, Carnival Fascination, 1997

Mexican Riviera, Carnival Elation, 1999

Alaska & Denali, Dawn Princess, 2002

Ensenada & Catalina, Carnival Paradise, 2005

Western Caribbean, Carnival Conquest, 2007
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural, Carnival Dream, 2009
Grand Mediterranean 2nd sail, Carnival Magic, 2011
Hawaii, Sapphire Princess, 2012
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural , Carnival Breeze, 2012
Alaska, Diamond Princess, 2012
Transatlantic, Carnival Sunshine, 2013
Panama Canal, Carnival Legend, 2014
Eastern Caribbean, Carnival Breeze, 2014
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2015

Alaska, Carnival Legend, 2015
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2016
Last Mediterranean, Carnival Vista, 2016
Transatlantic, Carnival Vista, 2016

Ensenada, Carnival Imagination, 2017
Alaska Back 2 Back, Carnival Legend 2017
Western Caribbean, Carnival Dream 2017
Southern Caribbean, Carnival Sunshine 2018








#28
Tennessee
19 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I am a mom traveling with my two daughters and my daughter's friend (25, 16, 13). Is it safe to book excursions that are not linked to the ship? Also, while on an excursion such as snorkeling, are your personal items (money, passport, etc) safe?

Do most people hit the pool on the first day while the passengers are coming aboard? We board in Tampa...wondering if the weather will be that warm at the end of Dec?

Are there are full length mirrors in the rooms?

Do you usually come back onto the ship for lunch when the ship is in port or do you just get something while off the boat? In Grand CAyman, there is a tender to the port...wouldn't that be a pain to come back for lunch?

Anything to avoid in either Key West, Grand Cayman or on the ship (Grandeur of the Seas?)

Thanks for any and all comments.
#29
Tennessee
19 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I am not flying. We are driving to the port. Is there even a slight chance that when I check in my luggage at the ship, it will never arrive in my room? Just wondering if I need to pack several things in my carryon.

also, do you think it is best to get the luggage tags in advance?

My cruise documents state that we board at 2....is that earliest I can arrive? When I booked my cruise, the person from RC said we could board at noon.

Also, I booked during a time when they had a special and I am supposed to get $50 on board credit. That is not stated anywhere on my cruise documents. Should I inquire about that now to ensure I get that credit?

Thanks!
#30
Erial, New Jersey
2,002 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by TNTwiggy
I am a mom traveling with my two daughters and my daughter's friend (25, 16, 13). Is it safe to book excursions that are not linked to the ship? Also, while on an excursion such as snorkeling, are your personal items (money, passport, etc) safe?

In many cases you are safe on independent excursions. I would consult the boards for the individual ports where CC members comment on such tours and make recommendations. Remember the ship will wait for delayed excursions booked through the cruise line, you are on your own on an independent excursion. I do not take a passport on shore with me, however that point has been hotly debated. Safety is pretty much up to you, leave wallets on board take id, cash, your cruise card and maybe 1 credit card. Inexpensive waterproof containers can be purchased that fill the bill nicely.

Do most people hit the pool on the first day while the passengers are coming aboard? We board in Tampa...wondering if the weather will be that warm at the end of Dec?

Good chance that it will be warm enough, allthough Tampa can have cool days in the winter. Varied answers possible here, many folks have lunch, get settled into their cabins and explore the ship. Some make a beeline for the pools (since the pools are adjacent to the buffet on most ships they combine that with lunch).

Are there are full length mirrors in the rooms?

All the ships I have been on have.

Do you usually come back onto the ship for lunch when the ship is in port or do you just get something while off the boat? In Grand CAyman, there is a tender to the port...wouldn't that be a pain to come back for lunch?

It depends on the port and what excursion we have planned. It would consume a bit of time to lunch on the ship on a tendered port. In a port like St. Thomas, USVI we generally do somthing in the morning (usually shop), lunch on the ship and then go to a beach,

Anything to avoid in either Key West, Grand Cayman or on the ship (Grandeur of the Seas?)

Never sailed on the Grandeur, however the time in Key West is usually short. We walked over to Mallory Square (about a block from dock) and caught the tour trolley that goes around the island. You can jump on and off at any stop. The drivers give a good narrative as you go along. After making a round trip and wandering around a bit, it was sailaway time.

Grand Cayman is a great port. I highly recommend a swimming with the sting rays excursion. Seven Mile Beach is a fine beach. You can also visit Hell while you are there. It is a silly thing but fun to tell everyone you were there.

Thanks for any and all comments.
Have a great cruise!!!
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Doug


NCL Escape May 2019
NCL Getaway March 2018
Crown Princess March 2017
Explorer of the Seas October 2013
Caribbean Princess November 2012
Caribbean Princess May 2010
Monarch of the Seas November 2008
Crown Princess November 2007
Caribbean Princess July 2006
Celebrity Zenith November 2005
Enchantment of the Seas August 2004
#31
96 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
We did our first cruise in September:

1. Half - Take half of what you think you will wear (wearing the same outfit to dinner twice is NOT a crime and no one will even notice!)

2. Relax - I was so nervous about all the last minute stuff and the what if's that I was way to stressed leading up to it!

3. Ask - If you want something ask for it...everyone really wants to make this a great trip for you.

4. Know - Get to know your room steward...you never know when you might need a little something extra!

5. Bring - Drinks or wine on board...it can save you a TON of money.
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NCL Sky - Bahamas - Sept 2009
One Little Cruise Has Started An Addiction

#33
Ontario, Canada
227 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
No kidding! We are going on our 1st cruise on NCL Dec. 14th and all this info is sooo helpful. I am nervous about booking an excursion with a private group rather than with the cruiseline due to hearing horror stories of the cruiseline not waiting for you if you are late whereas they will wait if you book thru them. My real problem is finding a park sleep cruise deal in Miami the night before we leave! If anyone has any info please please let me know.
#34
10 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Just returned from my first cruise two weeks ago (Ruby Princess)

1. Its true - bring fewer clothes. We did a load of laundry on the ship.

2. Tip well. We are just regular income people. So are the people serving you - treat them as you would like to be treated.

3. Bring more sunscreen than you think you will need and a higher SPF. If you are from a northern climate you'll be surprised how fast you burn in the Caribbean sun. Spray on is worth the extra money because you have to re-apply it often.

4. Be extra polite to the natives in port. Remember you represent your country and all tourists to them. In many cases they are very poor and see you as very wealthy. Try to make at least one locals day in ever port.

5. Remember vacations are for catching up on life. Have a blast and don't sweat the small stuff.
#35
57 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by GORDONCHICK
Read the daily paper to know what's going on board the ship the next day.

Plan to catch at least one sunset and one sunrise.

Meet at least one new person each day.

As others have said, take half the stuff, twice (or more) the money.

Above all else, decide to have a good time before you even go.

Gordonchick- I just cut and pasted this onto my packing list. It's great advice, thank you!
#36
2,874 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Nekhabet,

Did you have a nice time on your cruise?

What surprised you the most?

Did you spend more or less than your budget?

How was formal night?

Do you want to go on another cruise?

The reason for these questions is that I try to answer questions based on our (DW and I) 30 cruises. And it is always very helpful to hear from someone who has gone on their first cruise.

Thanks
#37
Atlanta, GA USA
215 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Don't Miss:
Formal Night
The boat when it's leaving a port
The ice show
Having a frozen drink in hand during sail-away

Don't...just don't
Buy every photo they take
break in line at the buffet
Knock people down trying to be first to get off at the ports
miss the waiters with the drinks around the pool.
#38
Gulf Coast of Florida
9,044 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Oh man, I just love this thread.. It brings back many a memory of our first cruise.. All the stress about the unknown..

There is plenty of great advice here..

A few to add...

Remember you are on a cruise ship, some of the usual rules do not apply..

At dinner, DO NOT BE LATE!! It is considered rude to keep your table-mates waiting.. If you are going to be late or are not going to eat in the dinning room at night, just let your table-mates know..
You are handed a menu, like others have said already, if you want 2 of something, just ask.. If nothing on the menu floats your boat, ask for a steak.. It will be done.. They are there to make YOU happy..

The half the clothes, twice the $$ suggestion.. Yup I agree.. However we did do pretty good at the casino and payed off our sail and sign bill on Saturday so that was a big help.. (Can't guarantee you will do good at the casino though) We came off the ship over $500.00 up and only had a $53.00 S&S bill.. (For the charges after the pay off)

Smile at all the staff.. Even the guys and gals in the semi-dirty coveralls that work deep in the ship.. It does make their day..

Room service is great.. A couple of bucks each delivery works wonders..

On the ritual thing. An Irish Coffee every night on the balcony before bed.. A time to relax and reflect..

Make new friends.. We did and are cruising with them in October..

Keep an open mind while relaxing around the pool.. You will see things that you never thought you would see...

Above all, relax, don't stress, and do enjoy your vacation..
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The Patient One
AKA

The Crazy One
AKA
Mike in the real world

Ensign "Master" Galley Tech - Fire & Ice
Proud Member of the WGIG # 73-F





Veterans... All gave some, some gave all..
"Courage is being scared to death- but saddling up anyway."

"The only easy day was yesterday"
Navy Seal Philosophy.






Past Cruises
CCL Triumph 06/2006
CCL Valor 11/2009
CCL Liberty 10/2010
CCL Miracle 11/2011
CCL Fantasy 11/2013
CCL Liberty 05/2014
CCL Conquest 11/2014



To be able to list more than one, PRICELESS..
#39
10 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by Fredr
Nekhabet,

Did you have a nice time on your cruise? We had an amazing time. It was like living in fantasy land for 10 days.

What surprised you the most? Well as awful as this may sound - I was very surprised at the number of guests that treated the staff as something like slaves. As a percentage it was probably a very small group. I witnessed this (for the first time) during the embarkation process. ( I thought it was very fast and efficient. I arrived at the terminal at 10:45 and was taking pics from my balcony at 12:15)
By the second incident (just of the gangway) I decided that I would not be one of those cruisers who expect to be treated like visiting royalty every second of the voyage. I believe witnessing a few tantrums actually enhanced my experience. I really enjoyed my interactions with the crew and staff - because I decided that Iwould!

Did you spend more or less than your budget? As this was a special occasion we planned to be able to spend a lot. We didn't deny ourselves anything we truly wanted. Having had one experience now I know that I could cruise with less spending money. We are simple people and enjoy the beautiful water and ocean air more than any entertainment.

How was formal night? We chose not to involve ourselves in formal night long before we embarked. Getting dressed up isn't a vacation to us. We planned to stay away from events on formal nights so that we wouldn't ruin the experience for others. For instance we ate dinner by the pool and did not go anywhere near the MDR.

I would do it differently next time. I can see now that formal nights add a little something extra to the overall experience.

Do you want to go on another cruise? Oh my god yes! In fact I spent a great deal of time when we got home looking at future cruises online. It was part of my therapy for the post cruise depression

Thanks for taking an interest in our cruise experience - its been a pleasure to answer your questions.

The reason for these questions is that I try to answer questions based on our (DW and I) 30 cruises. And it is always very helpful to hear from someone who has gone on their first cruise.

Thanks
Hi Fredr:

I have posted my responses inline. Thanks for asking