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First Time Crusier......last minute questions


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My wife and I are taking our very first cruise ever on Carnival in two weeks. Our cruise leaves Miami and sails to Grand Turk, HMC and Nassau.

 

We have a couple of last minute questions that we are hoping someone could answer:

 

1) Do you pack your own beach towels or use Carnival towels on excursions. We have a Cabana booked at Margaritaville in Grand Turk and also on Half Moon Cay. We will also be spending the day at the Bristish Colonial Hilton in Nassau (but they provide towels).

 

 

2) Is it worth packing a little medical kit like bandaids, advil, Imodium etc?

 

 

3) We have FTTF sailing out of Miami. We have our check-in time of 10:00am and I was wondering if there is a special place we go in the terminal or are terminal staff good in making sure you get to the right location?

 

 

4) Any tips or suggestions for first time cruisers?

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

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Welcome to cruising! If you're anything like me, you're going to be hooked! I haven't been on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary but I am sure that I can still weigh in accurately on most of your questions.

 

1) I have never packed my own beach towels. I pack only carry-on and towels would be a massive waste of space. Carnival's are available either on the lido deck by the main pool, or, generally, in your cabins. The blue towels are the ones you can remove from the ship. I believe you are charged for them if you misplace them but that seems a very unlikely possibility to me.

 

2) I've always brought a mini first aid kit with me. On the last trip I saved space by putting several gravol (bromine), benedryl, pepto, advil, tums etc in one container. I only used a few but it was nice to have those on hand as the medicine on the ship is expensive. I also usually bring band-aids and hydrocortizone. They don't take up much space and would save unnecessary expense.

 

3) Can't help with this, sorry.

 

4)

* Have fun! I know this gets repeated a lot but attitude weighs heavily in your enjoyment of a cruise.

* One very random recommendation I would make is that if you are bringing any alcohol on board (or purchasing it legitimately through the Fun Shops), an excellent mix for things like vodka and rum is the guava passion fruit juice offered ONLY at breakfast. I usually fill up a water bottle early in the day to save it for mix later on. I've literally had people ask me where I got the drink and what it was. It's very yummy.

* Don't forget that breakfast is also oferrerd in the MDR most of the time, not only on the sea day brunch.

* Take the stairs! Obviously assuming you don't have any mobility issues that would prevent this. Saves you waiting in line for elevators and gets in a bit of exercise to help work off those extra sandwhiches, slices of pizza and warm chocolate melting cakes ;)

* Speaking of dessert, don't miss out on the chocolate extravaganza! I believe this usually takes place in the lido restaurant on the final afternoon of the cruise but I could be wrong about that. IMHO the lido desserts are generally not worth the calories (not very flavourful, dry etc.). The chocolate extravaganza has always been worth it though and it isn't particularly highlighted so you could easily miss out if you didn't know about it.

 

Enjoy your trip (here's hoping it's the first of many cruises!)

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No need to pack beach towels...you can get them by the pool to take off the ship with you. I ALWAYS pack a medical kit because that stuff gets pricey! The boarding staff will point you in the right direction for FTTF. Have a great trip

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No need to pack beach towels...you can get them by the pool to take off the ship with you. I ALWAYS pack a medical kit because that stuff gets pricey! The boarding staff will point you in the right direction for FTTF. Have a great trip

 

Thank you!

 

How does getting towels at the pool work, do you use your sign and sail card to sign them out?

 

 

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Welcome to cruising! If you're anything like me, you're going to be hooked! I haven't been on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary but I am sure that I can still weigh in accurately on most of your questions.

 

1) I have never packed my own beach towels. I pack only carry-on and towels would be a massive waste of space. Carnival's are available either on the lido deck by the main pool, or, generally, in your cabins. The blue towels are the ones you can remove from the ship. I believe you are charged for them if you misplace them but that seems a very unlikely possibility to me.

 

2) I've always brought a mini first aid kit with me. On the last trip I saved space by putting several gravol (bromine), benedryl, pepto, advil, tums etc in one container. I only used a few but it was nice to have those on hand as the medicine on the ship is expensive. I also usually bring band-aids and hydrocortizone. They don't take up much space and would save unnecessary expense.

 

3) Can't help with this, sorry.

 

4)

* Have fun! I know this gets repeated a lot but attitude weighs heavily in your enjoyment of a cruise.

* One very random recommendation I would make is that if you are bringing any alcohol on board (or purchasing it legitimately through the Fun Shops), an excellent mix for things like vodka and rum is the guava passion fruit juice offered ONLY at breakfast. I usually fill up a water bottle early in the day to save it for mix later on. I've literally had people ask me where I got the drink and what it was. It's very yummy.

* Don't forget that breakfast is also oferrerd in the MDR most of the time, not only on the sea day brunch.

* Take the stairs! Obviously assuming you don't have any mobility issues that would prevent this. Saves you waiting in line for elevators and gets in a bit of exercise to help work off those extra sandwhiches, slices of pizza and warm chocolate melting cakes ;)

* Speaking of dessert, don't miss out on the chocolate extravaganza! I believe this usually takes place in the lido restaurant on the final afternoon of the cruise but I could be wrong about that. IMHO the lido desserts are generally not worth the calories (not very flavourful, dry etc.). The chocolate extravaganza has always been worth it though and it isn't particularly highlighted so you could easily miss out if you didn't know about it.

 

Enjoy your trip (here's hoping it's the first of many cruises!)

 

 

Thanks!!

 

Our stateroom is on the Empress Deck, so we do plan on using the stairs to get around.

 

 

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1) Happily, you don't have to pack your own beach towels. They are provided by the ship and you can take them with you on your ports of call!

 

2) We always pack a small first aid bag.

 

3) You will be directed to the correct line for FTTF.

 

4) Look forward to having a GREAT time! :D

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1 - You use the ship's towels if you want. I see people do it all the time.

 

2 - YES! I always bring those things, heartburn meds, Imodium, sunburn stuff, all of it.

 

3 - Don't use FTTF.

 

4 - Don't try to do everything. Go with the flow, don't stress if plans change. Look, I LOVE planning details of my cruises, but my vacation is not "ruined" if things change. You are on a ship, at sea and things happen. ROLL with it.

 

Don't let things that annoy you ruin your fun. Have a blast!

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1. Sometimes I take those cheapo skinny towels from walmart @ 2.88 so if it gets lost then hey 2.88 instead of 26 bucks or whatever it costs now if you lose your blue Carnival towel

 

2. TAKE THE MED KIT

 

3. FTTF does have dedicated areas in each port

 

4.Have a blast..tip your steward extra , do things you wouldn't normally do!

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3) Absolutely! The things like that are super expensive onboard.

 

We had to go to the medical office to get Imodium for my husband. We forgot to pack his at home. Not only did he have to pay $3 per pill but we had to go into a private little room to "have a talk" with the doctor. After explaining that this is normal when he travels, she kindly asked for his Sail & Sign and was more than happy to apply the outrageous charge of $12 to it. Lesson learned. It now gets packed first. :)

 

Band-Aids - 2 for $1.50. Found that out on the same trip. A little girl had cut her leg on something in the play area on the ship. "Sail & Sign card, please". The doctor didn't even ask if she was okay or where did it happen so what ever cut her leg could be fixed.

 

I recommend taking anything with you that you might need if you were at home. Better to have too much and not need it than to spend a lot more than necessary.

 

Congrats on your first cruise. You will love it!!!!

 

4) Find the ships coins. Wish I had known about them 20 years ago on our first cruise.

Take lots of small bills for purchases on the islands. Sometimes they use the language barrier to try to not give you back the correct change. It happened to me in Mexico.

Edited by KBCruiseLover
Adding to it.
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3) Absolutely! The things like that are super expensive onboard.

 

We had to go to the medical office to get Imodium for my husband. We forgot to pack his at home. Not only did he have to pay $3 per pill

 

Band-Aids - 2 for $1.50. Found that out on the same trip.

 

I recommend taking anything with you that you might need if you were at home. Better to have too much and not need it than to spend a lot more than necessary.

 

Congrats on your first cruise. You will love it!!!!

 

 

Wow.....$3 per pill for Imodium is crazy!

 

 

Thanks for the comments, we are very much looking forward to it! My parents encouraged us to go on a cruise saying we would love it. They sail only on Celebrity and were taken aback that we didn't take their advice and booked Carnival instead. We preferred the Carnival ports of call better and others mentioned that we have to go to Half Moon Cay as it is heaven 'in their words'.

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Just a thought, is it ok to leave any un-used medical supplies like advil, Imodium, band-aids etc for the Cabin Steward?

 

On almost every trip we have ever taken, we always tip our maid/housekeeper daily and the last day leave all of our un-used medical items.

 

The best pool waiter we ever have had was in Cuba and he literally cried and couldn't thank use enough for everything we gave to him. He said it mention so much to he and his family that he gave us his address and we continue to write to each other and it has been 4 years since that trip.

 

 

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Just a thought, is it ok to leave any un-used medical supplies like advil, Imodium, band-aids etc for the Cabin Steward?

 

That's a great idea. I told my husband last week that I want to start taking them a gift related to Tennessee.....a coffee cup, GooGoo Clusters, Moon Pie, etc. in honor of where we're from. Last cruise I left packs of gum and canned drinks we brought from home and didn't use for them. They seemed very happy.

 

I really like the idea of leaving the items we don't use. They probably could use the meds and other things that we take for granted. Thanks for the idea.

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Just a thought, is it ok to leave any un-used medical supplies like advil, Imodium, band-aids etc for the Cabin Steward?

 

That's a great idea. I told my husband last week that I want to start taking them a gift related to Tennessee.....a coffee cup, GooGoo Clusters, Moon Pie, etc. in honor of where we're from. Last cruise I left packs of gum and canned drinks we brought from home and didn't use for them. They seemed very happy.

 

I really like the idea of leaving the items we don't use. They probably could use the meds and other things that we take for granted. Thanks for the idea.

 

 

Thanks!

 

I like the idea of given them something from where we live. Maybe I'll take some Canadian Maple Syrup with me to give to them too. We have a local sugar bush that just started making syrup last week.

 

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Anything you leave behind will be thrown out. They have no way of knowing if the "meds" you leave are "as labeled" or been tampered with....not that you would, but they don't know that!

 

No need to pack beach towels...the ship supplies pool/beach towels.

 

Yes...you should ALWAY bring a mini medicine cabinet with you!

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Anything you leave behind will be thrown out. They have no way of knowing if the "meds" you leave are "as labeled" or been tampered with....not that you would, but they don't know that!

 

 

 

 

Regarding the pool/beach towels. Do you sign the towels out somewhere on ship or on HMC using your sign and sail card?

 

 

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My wife and I are taking our very first cruise ever on Carnival in two weeks. Our cruise leaves Miami and sails to Grand Turk, HMC and Nassau.

 

We have a couple of last minute questions that we are hoping someone could answer:

 

1) Do you pack your own beach towels or use Carnival towels on excursions. We have a Cabana booked at Margaritaville in Grand Turk and also on Half Moon Cay. We will also be spending the day at the Bristish Colonial Hilton in Nassau (but they provide towels).

 

Since others have already answered your towel question, I'll tell you about the ports.

 

We loved having the cabana at Margaritaville. It had a door that locked so we kept our belongings safe while frolicking in the pool or going for a walk along the beach. There was a button inside by the door jam. When we pushed it, magically a server came to ask if we would like to place an order.

 

Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful places we've ever visited. There was a full buffer lunch set up, no extra charge. Make sure you play with the sand. I was in my early 50's last time we were there. The sand was finer than flour. I literally could not stop touching it and running it through my fingers. Hey, it's the little things in life, right?

 

BCH was great when we were there. It was only a 10 minute walk from the ship. Part of our $60 entry fee included $40 food and drink credit. We ate a drank and ate and drank and ended the day with $5 credit left over for each person.

 

2) Is it worth packing a little medical kit like bandaids, advil, Imodium etc?

 

We always pack a few Band-Aids, pain relievers, and Gavescon.

 

 

3) We have FTTF sailing out of Miami. We have our check-in time of 10:00am and I was wondering if there is a special place we go in the terminal or are terminal staff good in making sure you get to the right location?

 

The port staff will direct you.

 

4) Any tips or suggestions for first time cruisers?

 

My advice is to relax and have fun.

 

Thank you!

 

Have a great cruise. May you become as addicted as we are.

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Don't try to do everything. Bring a highlighter and mark a few things on your Fun Times you might like to do. (I say this, because, if the "cruise bug" bites you, you WILL be back for more!)

Next, bring your own OTC meds, candy bars, etc. When you see what the ship charges, you'll thank me!

DO get lost and explore the ship!

Last, check what you want to pack, then cut it in half. Take that and reduce it some more!

There's more, but finding out is half of the fun!

(Trust me, I'm still learning!);)

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Carnival's towels are big. We bring towels we don't mind if they get lost or forgotten. Someone already mentioned this, but Walmart has inexpensive towels.

 

Bring any meds you think you may need, and others you don't use very often. Medicine, shampoo, water bottles, anything else you buy on the ship is expensive. Bring a small first aid kit, we bring bandaids, spray neosporine, and wet wipes. We also take a plastic bag for wet items.

 

Have fun!

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1. We always bring our beach towels as the Carnival ones cost a ton if you lose and they are very thick, which is nice, but hard to fit in our small port backpack.

 

2. We bring all regular medicines that we might need and my travel bag always has band-aids.

 

3. There are FTTF signs and the employees will help.

 

4. Definitely relax. Don't feel like you have to participate in EVERYTHING and remember that it's a VACATION! :D

 

Only port on your list that we have been too is Nassau. We walked through the straw market, walked to Junkanoo beach for a bit but didn't really feel safe. It may have just been the day we were there but there were about 15 policeman walking around, appeared to be looking for someone. We headed back to the boat and stopped in a restaurant on the water. Went back to the boat early and we probably wouldn't even get off if we went back.

 

Enjoy your cruise! :D

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I was "lurking" on Cruise Critic long before I joined. I have gotten so many helpful hints through the years and so have you on this thread. I will just agree or add mine.

 

The 1st time I heard of using a highlighter, we took it a bit further. We ask for 2 Funtimes and each of us, highlight what we want to do. Some things we do together, some not. And you don't have to carry the whole thing around with you as there is a a small sheet on the side that can be torn off and has the days activities. This is only one of the extra things your room steward will do for you. After only asking once, we had 2 delivered every evening. Plus, we bring a collapsible cooler that he/she keeps filled up with ice for us. Please don't take off the automated tips and please tip extra when it is warranted. They don't need "gifts", they need cash. Most are from 3rd world countries, and the little bit you spend on the gift might feed their family for days if it were in cash. I drink fat free milk that is usually only offered at breakfast, or room service, and I get extra and put in the cooler, plus what another poster mentioned the guava juice, is only offered at breakfast. It really is yummy!

 

My husband has to remind me every time that we have found the day and night of departure the buffets have some awesome desserts! And you will never see them again. So, check it out.

 

As to 1st aid kits I highly recommend. And also that you buy trip insurance. We never did until my dad was in bad health and was afraid we would have to cancel. Thank goodness we did! My husband had a slip and fall beside the water slide. Over 40K surgery. Which also reminds me to tell you, Carnival Dr's, are contract labor, so if they give you a wrong diagnosis, Carnival is not responsible. If you do indeed have anything happen, make sure you get a copy of xrays and diagnosis.

 

Gee! Rereading this I sound very grim! I don't mean to be, just letting you know how things COULD go. We have always had a wonderful cruise through Carnival. Even the one that my husband fell. And we even sued them and still was on a cruise with them the next year. Hope you have a wonderful cruise! :D

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Thanks!

 

 

 

I like the idea of given them something from where we live. Maybe I'll take some Canadian Maple Syrup with me to give to them too. We have a local sugar bush that just started making syrup last week.

 

 

 

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Bring Imodium. Leave the syrup at home.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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Thank you!

 

How does getting towels at the pool work, do you use your sign and sail card to sign them out?

 

 

.

 

They will have towels in your room for you to use on or off the ship. If they aren't there when you leave its $26(?) a towel. You can also sign out towels from the pool area with your sign and sail card. Same idea they check off when you have returned them or you get charged. We never touch the ones in our room and we do bring our own for using off the ship. The towels are really nice but if I wanted to spend $26 I would want new ones and I would want to keep them. We got towels on clearance at Walmart at the end of the season for $2 and they are great quality. Its a personal thing I think but we have kids and I just don't want the to worry about extra charges if they aren't returned.

 

The other things we always bring besides first aide and highlighter/pens is a power cord. There is usually only one outlet so having a power strip is great. Enjoy yourself cruising is wondering!

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback......it is very helpful!!!

 

We will bring some decent Walmart towels that will fit it our port backpack and will also bring some pens and highlighters.

 

If there are any other tips anyone wishes to provide that you think would be helpful, please let me know!

 

Cheers!!!

 

 

.

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Our medical cal kit isn't so little, lol. I think I cover about every possibility. Tylenol, ibuprofen, Imodium, bodine, eye drops, ear drops, allergy medicine, sinus medicine, tums, band aids, gauze, butterfly band aids, etc. We fill a gallon size zip lock in our carry on. Probably a little excessive, lol

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