first time cruiser, lots of questions

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Not voo-doo...but what do YOU do?
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48 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
my wife and i are thinking about taking our first cruise. the problem i am having is that everywhere i look/read, all i see are things that do not interest us. i know that we would like the destinations and enjoy lounging by the pool while at sea and getting some exercise on the track or gym. but it seems like everything else is for people not like us. i want to know are there other people like us who have cruised and what could they find to do?

we are a heterosexual couple
we are married
we are not swingers
we have one child who will not be on the cruise
we do not drink alcoholic beverages of any kind
we do not smoke
we do not dance
we are not looking to meet people
we do not "go clubbing"

i am sure some of you that read this will wonder why we want to go on a cruise, since it seems to me that the things listed above are the most popular things on a cruise. like i said, i know we will enjoy going to new places, going to the beaches, lounging by the pool, and getting exercise on the track or in the gym. i just don't want to have to deal with smoke being blown in my face, the smell of alcohol, etc. we don't consider ourselves prudes, we just don't enjoy some of the things that so many do.

can anyone like us help us with cruise selection or on-board activities?
46 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Noobie, my husband (DH) and I sound a lot like you two! Except we are tagging along with a large friendly family group (we're the pastor and wife of some of them.) I am now limited physically from being able to hike for 45 minutes to get to the cave tubing, or walking six blocks to the best shopping in a port city. Just keep searching the sites and boards and you'll find things that interest you. Playing minigolf in Cozumel sounds great now. We have missionary friends in Belize City I hope we can visit. I keep reading about the CSI school in Roatan, and think we may try to help deliver things to them or even visit a school. We're going on the NCL Sea on May 28 (05), and there don't seem to be lots of things listed like tours on ship, vegetable/fruit carving demos, afternoon teas, but some of those just appear on the ship's daily newsletter, not on the websites. I am concerned about reviews that say the public rooms are very smoky, and the entertainment is Las Vegas style, but we'll check it out. We just might enjoy something new. We're don't eat huge meals, but we love the variety in the dining rooms. What can I say--avocado salad or lamb chops would be fancy food for us--things we don't have at home. It is certainly not original, but "a bad day on a cruise is better than a good day anywhere else." Our one previous cruise was a close to heaven on earth as I can imagine for one week of my life. Happy cruising!
Chicago, Il, USA
1,246 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Plan your cruise around some new and exciting ports that you are interested in.

Perhaps take a shorter cruise the first time so you can see if cruising is for you.

The shows are usually good and there is an abundance of food. (There is no smoking in the theaters or in the dining rooms and you can ask for a table for two in PC dining).

A balcony room offers privacy when enjoying the views.

Golf? Read a good book and Relax? Take one of the classes? Art Auctions? Tour the galley? Use the spa services? Swim laps? and on and on.....

Anyone else?

Ann Arbor, MI
7,759 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
have a wonderful time. My husband and I don't do many of those things. I have a once in a while drink and love to dance but he would rather have his teeth removed. We found plenty to do. We are not swingers (actually that could kind of be construed as a negative comment, I am sure there are swingers on cruise ships but they are not sex parties by any means).

Just lie around and read and talk to one another about adult things and you will have a wonderful vacation.
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Plano, Tx
609 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
noobie, I would echo Kaye's comments.
Pick a destination that sounds attractive to you....I highly recommend the Mediterranean and Alaska. While the 'at sea' days can be fun and relaxing, it is the port calls and shore excursions that 'make' a cruise. Book a balcony cabin or mini-suite if it fits within your budget that way you will always have a private area to watch the ocean and the ports. There are plenty of activities and entertainment aboard.
Yes, you will encounter people who smoke (but not in the dining area or the theaters). If smoking really bothers you, you will generally be able to avoid it.....stay out of the casino, stay out of the bars. Yes, you will also encounter people who are drinking.....that would be me, but I generally fall asleep early so I won't bother you too much . Just relax and enjoy yourself; cruising is a really easy and low-stress way to see new parts of the world.
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Northern Indiana
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Joined Jan 2004
There are many, many, many, fun things to do on a cruise and many, many, many great ports to go and explore..... The good thing is you can do as much as you want or as little as you want, the choice is yours.... there is wine tasting, art auctions, ceramics you can paint, pools, great food, entertainment, casino, boutiques, movies, library, lectures on many subjects, pool games, hot tubs, great ports, great excursions, alone time on your balcony, room service, spas, ship tours, bingo, great passenger games throughout the cruise, portraits, depending on what kind of ship you are on, rock walls, ice skating, movies under the stars. See how much fun you can have. Just some of the things that are available.....

My husband and I do not smoke, do not drink, do not go to the clubs, and we have never had a problem with inconsiderate smokers. We do like to meet new people but do not go on the cruise to specifically do this, we like our private time.

I second the motion about the balcony. We loved having the balcony. There is nothing like sleeping with the door open and listening to the waves hitting the side of the ship as you drift off to sleep....

I think you would have a great time but I am parital, to me there is no better way to vacation then a cruise. Many people go on a first cruise and realize it is just not for them and there is nothing wrong with that. At least you tried it...

If you decide to go have a great time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
48 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
you have given me insight to things i did not know about. i really feel that the onboard activities you mentioned, except for the wine tasting, are something that we can enjoy. i don't think a balcony is in our budget, but it does sound nice. we are thinking about a caribbean cruise sailing from galveston sometime in may 2005. i appreciate any additional input.
Howell, New Jersey, USA
70 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
The wife and I will be taking out 7th cruise in June, and not soon enough. But I rembember the trepidation I had before the first one, and the wife still dreads the first night's dinner (meeting the tablemates). In the end she usually winds up friendler with them than I. Not that I have ever had a problem.

As for your concerns, that you don't drink, don't smoke, are not a swinger, good for you, and should that preclude you from giving cruising a try. So what if others do those things ! There are plenty of people on cruises just like you. I do drink, I just gave up smoking (5 weeks plus without one and counting) and I am no swinger. Maybe I will do a slow dance with the wife, OK (she gets real surprised when I do). I tend to be on the shy side but have had many enjoyable times and discussions with other cruisers. It's what you make of it. As I type this it is like deja vu all over again, thanks YOGI. I was so concerned the first time too.

Here is a suggestion if you decide to take the plunge so to speak. Do either a short 3-5 day cruise but definately no more than 7 days. Bring a book that you really want to read with you (for the pool). Enjoy the beverage of your choice (iced tea, lemonade, water, whatever, it is your cruise, your time to relax). Your child will have a great time, all my friends and neighbors who have gone on cruises with their kids tell me the kids want to go on another one more than they do. Most of all consider the sea days as recharge time from your work and/or for your adventures in port.

If I knew what cruise lines or itinerary you are considering, maybe I would comment more. But for now, I will shut up. Best of wishes regardless of your final decision.
Howell, New Jersey, USA
70 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Guess I take too long to type. You mentioned Galveston. That's Texas country. The Rhapsody of the Seas (we took her on our first cruise homeports there year round , I think. A Greatship, we took her in 1998, Januar 3rd, she was only in service about 4-5 months. I think she does 7 day cruises to the Western Caribbean. But since RCCL keeps the Rhapsody there, I would guess that either Carnival or NCL has a ship based there too. The various lines do run promotions so you may find something in your budget.

Good Luck with your decision, and the others who responded were right on the money.
Portage, WI
212 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
For some, it is all about the ports of call, for others it is all about the activities on the ship, for me and my family it is all about being on the ship. If we wish to participate in an activity or shore excursion then great, otherwise we are content to just relax and enjoy the wonderful ocean and people watch. There are plenty of quiet areas on a ship where you can just enjoy being away from the every day routine of home, you do not have to be involved in any of the activities onboard, it is really your choice.

Take a look at what each line has to offer and go from there, I think you will find exactly what you are looking for. Then, when you get onboard, just relax and have a great time.

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Victory 10.23.2005

Fantasy 10.17.2004
Atlanta, GA USA
194 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Originally posted by noobie
we are a heterosexual couple
we are married
we are not swingers
we are not looking to meet people

i am sure some of you that read this will wonder why we want to go on a cruise, since it seems to me that the things listed above are the most popular things on a cruise.
Have I just been on the wrong cruises????? LOL
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Charlotte, NC
3 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
My husband and I laughed out loud at your posting. You guys are just like us and we are getting ready to take our 4th cruise. A couple of suggestions...skip the short "party" cruises -- especially around spring break time! We prefer Princess and have enjoyed their Alaska and Mediterranean cruises. We also took a Northern Europe cruise and enjoyed the ports of call but not the cruise line -- they seemed more in line for the Caribbean party cruises w/ beer chugging contests by the pool...

If you aren't sure about the on board activities, you could look for a cruise w/ fewer at sea days, although we always enjoy our at sea days. There are tours of the galley, shows, trivia contests w/ prizes, bingo, casino, shops, spa, virtual golf (some have putting courses), internet cafes, movies, comedians...I could go on. Our biggest question is usually which ******** to attend because there are so many options.

We felt the same way you did and started w/ a one week Alaska cruise. We enjoyed it so much, our next 3 cruises have all been 12 days or longer. I think you'll find more people like yourselves on board than you think -- especially if you enjoy itineraries other than the typical Carribean.

Good luck!
South Jordan, UT
5,214 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
I felt the same way you did prior to our first cruise -- my DH wanted to go but I really didn't. We don't smoke or drink any alcohol, I don't think I've EVER been able to get him to dance, and we're definitely not the kind for a "party ship" atmosphere.

Just a couple of suggestions -- I've never been on one, but I would also avoid the shorter 5 day cruises -- from what I've read and heard from friends, you're more likely to have the younger, heavier drinking crowd on those ships.

Do you have friends that would like to go with you? Our 1st cruise was with a large group of friends and family -- we enjoyed taking along games that we enjoy playing together, and spent quite a bit of time in the library playing games.

I know you mentioned a Royal Caribbean ship -- I've never tried that line, but have you considered either NCL for their freestyle dining (or Princess, which has a similar option)? Part of what I really didn't think I'd like about cruising was having a large table full of dining companions I didn't know. With freestyle cruising, you can choose your own time to eat, as well as choosing to be seated either by yourselves or with others. I'm not fond of following a set schedule, so for us, the freestyle has worked particularly well.

As far as on-board activities, we enjoy watching other people participate in the Karaoke tournaments -- we would NEVER do it ourselves, but have fun laughing at people who can. Most of the lines have "game show" type events -- newlywed type games, trivia contests, etc. We also enjoy those.

I particularly enjoy just relaxing with a book and looking at the ocean. If you're planning on a Western Caribbean cruise, we really enjoyed the Mayan ruins at some of the various ports.

We're not experienced cruisers -- we've been on 2, with a 3rd planned in May -- (5/14 on the NCL Sea out of Houston, care to join us???), but we've never experienced any problem with obnoxious drunks. I don't think I'd ever plan on cruising during spring break, partly for that reason, but so far we've not had any trouble. Also, the smoke hasn't been bad, except possibly in the casino, or if you're walking past one of the bars.

The only downside I've experienced so far with cruising is that it only took one cruise to become totally addicted . I really enjoy seeing the different ports, as well as experiencing the great food and service. My retirement balance, however, would probably be increasing at a faster rate if I could just manage to avoid planning that next cruise.
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46 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Can anybody give info about preventing seasickness in a toddler? The adults are taking Bonine/Dramamine/patches etc., but what is safe for a 3-year-old? We will be on a smaller ship, the Norwegian Sea, in May/June.
1,153 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I think you ought to talk to your pediatrician for advice about drugs for a 3 year old. Some people recommend drinking ginger ale, which should be okay. I wouldn't be overly concerned - my daughter who easily got carsick has never had any problems on a plane or cruise. I think a lot of the seasickness that adults get is due to overeating and rich foods, which your toddler wouldn't be drawn to as we are. You might want to start teaching him/her how to chew gum for the plane ride or just bring along a drink.
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12 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
You sound a lot like us, though we do like to drink. We just went on our first cruise, we returned on Saturday. We went on Radisson Seven Seas Navigator which was a fantastic experience. The ship had some good entertainment, such as comedians and a great piano player, and not once did I see anyone smoke a cigarette. Im sure that people did, I just never saw it. They have a great selection of excursions. We went to Key West and did some museums, Cozumel where we swam with Dolphins, and in Belize and Progreso we went on some Mayan ruin excursions. We also lounged by the pool and went to the spa on the sea days.

We also did not want to sit with others. The good thing about Radisson, or at least the Navigator for sure, is that you can request a table for two. We did that for every meal and did not have any problems. We really wanted to spend time with eachother, and as a social worker, I only socialize with others for a living and did really not want to do a whole lot of that. Though, we did meet some nice folks on our excursions, so that was a positive.

I would suggest Radisson because its an upper scale cruise line, and not the "party" boat atmosphere that I have heard friends talk about from when they cruised the mega-ships.

They also have a gym and fitness area, where they offered interesting classes like yoga or pilates, as well as a room with weights, treadmills, bikes, etc. My husband particularly liked the track on the top deck so that he could walk in the open air. We often did that after the big meals!

That is my suggestion to you. Have a great trip if you decide to go!
377 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by noobie
you have given me insight to things i did not know about. i really feel that the onboard activities you mentioned, except for the wine tasting, are something that we can enjoy. i don't think a balcony is in our budget, but it does sound nice. we are thinking about a caribbean cruise sailing from galveston sometime in may 2005. i appreciate any additional input.
Hi Noobie,

Last year was my husbands first cruise - my second. One thing we found was the things we enjoyed doing - we kept running into the same group of people doing the same things. We did not set out to meet people - but as it turned out made some great aquaintances and enjoyed saying hello and occassionally attending the same events together. We loved the ports of call and experienced many things that we would never have encountered at home. Diving in a helmet, going underwater in a submarine, games and activities onboard.

Looking back at the pictures my husband was most thrilled that I seemed to be laughing and smiling all the time. I work in a very high stress environment. This can be a very easy to plan carefree vacation.

Each day you get a new guide to the day - do everything, or nothing! It was especially decadent to just order room service in the morning and enjoy our time together with no jobs to rush off to.

We thought the balcony out of our range - and did an outside stateroom. This year we found a great rate on a Junior suite and leave in about a month for the next adventure.

You'll love it!
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1,458 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by noobie
we are a heterosexual couple
we are married
we are not swingers
we have one child who will not be on the cruise
we do not drink alcoholic beverages of any kind
we do not smoke
we do not dance
we are not looking to meet people
we do not "go clubbing"
Sounds like me and my fiancee. Ok, we aren't married yet, but will be by the time of our next cruise. And we don't have a child, but since your kid isn't going, it doesn't matter.

I recommend Alaska. (Possibly one out to Tahiti.) Here are my reasons why:

1) Scenery. The scenery from the ship is often amazing. You can just lounge out on the deck and snuggle together (or apart) and just watch the incredible scenery. Marvel at the sheer size of things. Or, find one of the public rooms with big windows if it's too cold outside.

2) Food. Alaskan cruises just seemed a bit more upscale than the other places I've been to. Not a lot, but seemed slightly so. Maybe it's cuz it's more relaxed or something so you are around enough to get pampered by the staff. Enjoy those meals. Order everything on the menu. When it's cold, I seem to get hungrier and can eat more.

3) Watch the shows. After a big fat meal, relax at whatever show the cruise puts on.

4) Shore excursions. Alaska still seems to have a Wild Wild West feel to it. Not everyone is into that. If you're not, just avoid the mining town excursion stuff. Otherwise, it can be kinda fun. I met a giant huskie dog on one that was like 6'6" (if it stood on its hind legs) and probably 250 pounds or more. If you can afford it, getting a helicoptor ride and checking out a glacier is cool. I went kayaking with a friend and that was incredible. Had a bald eagle with a HUGE wingspan fly about 5 feet over me. Went near an island and watched a giant bear (grizzly?) hunting fish. If kayaking is too much physical activity for your wife, look for other stuff where you can see the wildlife/scenery. Everything is just bigger in Alaska. Texas likes to say that, but it's Alaska that has the really big things. I took a bike ride that stopped by a salmon farm. I've never seen such big salmon or their eggs before.

Alaska just didn't seem to make you want to rush out and do that much stuff (even if it's to rush off the boat and lie on the beach of whatever tropical island you're at). Just more relaxed, letting you pig out, enjoy some shows, do some excursions if you want. When you come home, you'll feel really refreshed (cuz that air is so crisp and clean).