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Tampa Bay
34 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
1 Bring your passport. (not a birth certificate etc. Your passport!)
2 Have lots of $1 and $5 bills handy,(about $250 worth), change them at your local bank a week before you leave.
3 Buy the underwater camera's at your nearest Wal-mart.
4 A few strips of duct-tape.
5 A waterproof case, that will go around your neck and will hold your ID, cruise card, credit card etc. while swimming/snorkeling in port.

2 more tips:
- Have fun, be open minded. It is what you make of it.
- Unfortunately, expect rude behavior from your fellow passengers, no matter what cruise lines you are on. Never, retaliate, you are better than them.

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1996 Majesty of the seas - 1998 Fantasy, Fascination - 1999 Inspiration - 2000 Paradise - 2001 Triumph, Paradise - 2003 Inspiration (Jan/Nov) - 2005 Dawn Princess - 2006 Miracle - 2007 Victory - 2008 Fortuna, Tahitian Princess - 2010 Atlantica - 2014 Legend - 2015 Epic -2016 Veendam
Santa Clarita, CA
6 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Thank you sooooo much for reminding me to bring sunscreen....we are in winter and it has totally slipped my mind.

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Santa Clarita, CA
6 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Thank you sooooo much for reminding me to bring sunscreen....we are in winter and it has totally slipped my mind.

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Omaha, Nebraska
314 Posts
Joined Sep 2007

Quick search on "duct tape"... http://boards.cruisecritic.com/searc...rchid=15039241

There are quite a few threads and comments on duct tape, pro and con, being a part of your packing list... have a good read
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"Don't be TOO optomistic, The LIGHT at the end of the tunnel - MAY be an oncoming TRAIN"
CCL Fantasy - 09/27/07.. First of many future cruises ?
Tampa Bay
34 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
To Laweezy,
The use of duct tape is endless.
I usually tear off 5 or 6 strips which are as wide as the inside of one of my hard case suit cases. I just stick them on there. If and when I have a need, I know where to find it.
Imagine what you may have to hold together for a short period of time for whatever reason, (until a more permanent solution can be found) and you will see that the uses are endless. Think of all the things in your cabin, your stuff, your luggage, etc.
Try it and take some with you the next time you go on any trip.
Go ahead and rip.
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1996 Majesty of the seas - 1998 Fantasy, Fascination - 1999 Inspiration - 2000 Paradise - 2001 Triumph, Paradise - 2003 Inspiration (Jan/Nov) - 2005 Dawn Princess - 2006 Miracle - 2007 Victory - 2008 Fortuna, Tahitian Princess - 2010 Atlantica - 2014 Legend - 2015 Epic -2016 Veendam
Derby , uk
216 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
What a fantastic outlook to have! thanks, that will be my mantra for my cruise :-D
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Mandy & Tony

79 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by simplelife
5. Save all your change during the months/weeks prior to the trip
- trade it in for $1 bills just before you leave to use for extra tips and incidental spendng. I had over $150 last cruise from doing this.

I love this tip. Hadn't even thought about that. My husband saves his coins so he can buy a couple of snickers at work each day. Wonder if he'd be willing to give up his snickers for an extra drink on board?
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Celebrity Infinity 2002
Disney Wonder April 2008
Freedom of the Seas September 12, 2010
Allure of the Seas May 12, 2013

Northwest Indiana
22 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
take your shoes off when walking ANY WHERE thats wet! Every pair of shoes I brought( way too many!) slipped! I even saw a waiter fall on their butt & you know they have shoes that arent supposed to slip!!!
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329 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
thanks for this thread, please keep contributing

nekah, thanks for your response, I must agree with with fredr (who will have me doing a world cruise if I don't stay alert LOL!!! ) it is really lovely to hear a 1st timer's point of view. Thank you for sharing! (and fredr thanks for asking)

I'm keen to hear from any other first time cruisers? Is there a thread going for that?
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"tech support - I'd like to report a farmer in the dell"

egg n lettuce @ 12
Vietnam 2007
Aus Road trip 2008
Western Freeway 2009
Eastern Qld Road Trip 2010
NZ (Sth Isle only .... Of cause LOL!) 2010

130 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I wish I'd known how tiny the bathroom counters are, bring clear over the door shoe holder for everything. I wish I'd known if you want a soda card- wait till your in international waters to pay no tax. I wish I'd brought battery back-up alarm clock, my own soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Now I know to make the kids bring their school backpacks- great for getting off ship to carry their own things..snorkle...mask..and keep the collected shells separated I have older kids that can roam the ship, I find walkie talkies VERY handy. This year is the first yeat we bought something to decorate the door with and ribbons to put on our suitcases.. the suitcase thing sounds dumb..until you see everyones suitcase in one room and your trying to find yours! no kidding! I wish I'd brought...big cups, thermal cups, mugs, something to keep my BIG wine discreet and cold
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Happy Cruising!!

166 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
I am leaving on my third cruise in May. I have one tip that may be helpful to some. I know looking at the Carnival capers can be very overwhelming with all the times and things to do. I bring a highlighter with me so I can highlight the things that I don't want to miss. Makes it so much easier to go through the day
Dallas area
179 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I wish I knew on my first cruise to bring an empty beach bag (or something similar).. It's nice to have on excursions and even when you're just walking around town so you have a place to put all your purchases. Plus, if you're like me, when you pack your stuff back, there never seems to be enough room. So you have an extra bag for the excess.

I'm going on my 4th cruise in June, but bringing my neice for her 1st cruise. I love these tips so I can share with her the things that I already knew, but will probably forget. Please keep them coming!
Southern Ontario, Canada
853 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
[quote=GlendaleCruiser;22106135]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.[/quote

I agree. You don't have to buy them in the end if you don't want them, but it is fun to be photographed in the many different background options nightly, and the fun ones especially, (dressing up in the 1800's clothing--holding bags of 'money' as if you were big a casino winner).
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NCL Epic - Mediterranean - Spain, Italy, France - May 2018
NCL Gem - Canada/New England - September 2016
Carnival Victory - Southern Caribbean - May 2011
Carnival Liberty - Eastern Caribbean - May 2010
Carnival Destiny - Southern Caribbean - May 2008
Carnival Victory - Eastern Caribbean - May 2006

16 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
1. Set your expectations realistically. Doubtless you’ve heard stories of how magical cruising is or how awful it can be. The reality is that it will have a few great moments, lots of good ones, and a few bad ones. The secret to getting the most out of your cruise is to remember that this is a vacation and vacations are not about stress. The staff and crew of a cruise ship have one goal in mind: make sure you enjoy yourself. If there is something wrong, tell someone immediately; someone will try to fix things right away. My wife had heard so many stories about the five-star gourmet food, she felt let down on her first cruise. We never actually had a bad meal. Most were as good as you’d get in a very good restaurant and a couple were outstanding. But her expectations were based on the service you see in old movies and modern ships simply can’t do that when carrying 3,500 passengers rather than 500. Do your homework and set a realistic expectation and you will have a memorable time.

2. Get your documents in order before you leave home. All cruise lines offer online registration these days. USE IT! When you have completed all the documents, print two copies. One you keep on you to check in, the other is in your luggage as a backup. We usually do three so that each of us has a copy in-hand. Make photocopies of your passport, medicine prescriptions, return airline tickets, and emergency contacts to put in your luggage as well.

Some cruise lines allow you to print your luggage tags from home as well. If you are concerned that they are too flimsy, you can get regular tags at the departure terminal. Just make sure you put your name and cabin number on them before you let the porters take them. And tip the porters $2/bag and they will make it to your cabin instead of going to Aruba without you.

3. Study the ship’s layout before boarding. These ships aren’t just big, some of them are HUGE! The key landmarks you want to have a mental map of before boarding is:
  • where your cabin is (which deck, side of the ship and side of the aisle),
  • where your dining room or other eating spots you’ll want to frequent are,
  • where the gangway is (for exiting in port), where the elevators and stairwells are, and
  • where the Purser/Guest Services Office is.

As soon as you board, don’t go straight to your cabin. Depending on how early you arrive, you may not be able to go to the cabin anyways as the hotel staff may still be cleaning it. Instead, head to the spa to make any reservations you didn’t make online before boarding (hint, hint). Head to the buffet deck for lunch and, about an hour before sailing, head for the open deck to get a good spot for watching your sail away

4. Stock up on batteries, memory cards, film, and videotape before sailing. Even if they have those items on board or in port – which isn’t guaranteed – you’ll pay 3x the cost. If your camera can use rechargeable batteries, bring a supply of them and a charger. Remember, everything has to go in your luggage and the airlines have gotten mercenary about both how many bags and the weight allowance for each (50 lbs). Don’t waste your weight allowance on a ton of batteries if you can help it. Don’t forget the chargers for your other electronics as well. A small netbook computer can do multiple duty as a place to download your camera and as a charger for devices that have USB interfaces (e.g. cell phones, GPS units, MP3 players, book readers). A must bring item is bug repellant! We were on an excursion to Mayan ruins in Costa Maya, 20 miles out in the jungle. When we realized we hadn’t brought any we ran down to the ship store – who didn’t carry bug repellant. As soon as we docked, we ran to the first store we could find since we only had 10 minutes before the bus left. None to be found. Diamond bracelets yes, bug spray not a drop. Fortunately, the tour guide had some when we arrived at the ruins or there were going to be a lot of cruise ship mosquito snacks that day.

5.Use two credit cards for your cruise: one for your shipboard account and a separate one for shopping. The reason is authorizations. When you check in, the credit card you use for your onboard account will get an authorization request for about $200 per day for however long your cruise lasts. This authorization freezes that much of your available credit line so an 8-day cruise has just frozen $1,600 of your available credit – even if you don’t spend a dime. The authorization will expire some time after your cruise has finished and you are home. Oh yeah, remember that hotel room you stayed in the night before sailing? They did the same thing when you checked in. So did that rental car company. Regardless of the actual charges, all those authorizations have sucked up your credit line and you may get that embarrassing ”I’m sorry your card was denied” when you try to buy that absolutely darling sapphire and diamond necklace in Grand Cayman.

When you’re using a credit card in foreign countries you may also get charged a currency conversion fee and a 2-3% processing fee. Check with your card company before leaving as not all cards charge this. Make sure you bring cash with you for incidental expenses and shops that don’t take your credit card. MC and Visa are pretty universal but AMEX and Discover are not. Don’t put all your money in traveler’s checks because you’ll have to find a bank to cash them in port. What do you do if the banks aren’t open or you don’t have time before the tour leaves to find a bank? Cabins have safes in them if you’re worried about taking a lot of cash with you.
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Barry McConnell
37 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
My top 5 cruise must-haves:
1) $3 blow up water float - perfect for those beach days (instead of paying $10-15 to rent one)
2) Power Strip
3) Highlighter
4) Travel Alarm Clock (no clocks in the staterooms) & cheap waterproof watch (perfect for by the pool or the ports)
5) water bottle

Also, I call my credit card company and tell them I'll be traveling so they don't put a freeze on my card when they see non-traditional charges.

Lastly, just like any beach trip, sunscreen and aloe vera!
13 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
This thread is AMAZING! We head on our first cruise in less than 2 weeks! I am so excited! This thread has been invaluable. Please keep any and all ideas coming.

I am definitely bringing a powerstrip and over the door shoe holder!


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