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What is the one valuable lesson you learned on your first cruise 🚢

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Travel insurance is very important!  I fractured my left foot in the very first port of call on my very first cruise.  Travel insurance reimbursed the cost of my two visits to the ship's medical facility.  Great peace of mind....

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Prior to my first cruise I had hardly ever experienced motion sickness so I didn't think anything about it.  On my first cruise I got seasick around lunchtime on the first sea day.  I missed the first elegant night that evening and the lobster that was served.  The lobster was one of the things that i was looking forward to the most.  Now I apply a Transderm-Scop prescription patch behind my ear before boarding a ship.  I haven't experienced seasickness again.

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On our first cruise, we tried to do it all. Woke up before dawn and hit the ground running. Did everything and didn't get to bed until very late. Repeat that 5 straight days.  Then came time to pay the piper. We get off the boat and have a 7 hour drive home from NOLA. I only made it to Slidell before I got sleepy. So I turned driving over to my wife. She made it less than an hour while I napped. We bounced back and forth, changing driving and napping all the way home. It took an extra hour with all the stopping.

 

So here is what I learned: Relax. Don't do it all. Take time to nap every day, especially the last sea day. No problems driving home since that first cruise.

 

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I wish I'd been brave enough to book my own excursions! We could have saved a ton of money and done some more exciting things. 

 

Also I wish I had known how dark it would be in an inside cabin. The first day, my husband and I kept waking up in what we thought was the middle of the night. We finally turned on the light to check his watch, because we just couldn't go back to sleep (this was before smart phones). It was almost 1 p.m. No wonder we weren't tired anymore!

 

(Now I love the dark of an inside because it makes my kids sleep in, lol. But we've kind of outgrown that space and are in balconies now.)

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I learned that people will randomly put their finished room service trays outside of your room and you will most likely never know the reason or figure out who is doing it.    WHY????????

 

edited to say, this is not a valuable lesson, but it did teach me that little things that I never know would bother me *could* in fact bother me, and the lesson is just to let it go and don't sweat the small things.  go with the flow . 

Edited by pyropoodle

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If you don't buy a drink package find the deals.  I found several on my first (and only so far) cruise, like $2 mimosas in the casino daily for an hour, etc. And read the cruise newsletters, you can find out stuff like the $2 mimosas. 😉

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Take a mini humidifier for your cabin, the air can be really dry and you can easily develop a 'cruis cough'! 

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1. Making assumptions I know where I'm going

2. Relying on the GPS too much

 

Here's my story: first cruise, leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale. We just drove down from Jacksonville. I put "Eller Drive" and "Ft. Lauderdale" into the GPS. We drove all over Ft. Lauderdale, looking for Eller Drive. The clock ticked away. At last we found it, but it was some small, tucked-away residential street. No cruise terminal.

 

After a lot more driving and recurring waves of panic, we stopped at a gas station for directions and had that "Ah-ha" moment: the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood airport is actually in Hollywood. And the Eller Drive we wanted was not in Ft. Lauderdale at all, but in Hollywood.

 

We board the ship at 3 p.m.--nearly the last folks on--panting, nervous wrecks, but very, very relieved! - Musing About Cruising

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37 minutes ago, pyropoodle said:

I learned that people will randomly put their finished room service trays outside of your room and you will most likely never know the reason or figure out who is doing it.    WHY????????

 

Oh my gosh...this is so aggravating.  On our last cruise, someone had put a dirty tray of half eaten food outside our door.  It was so gross.  We had to slide it over to get out of our cabin.   What makes it so annoying is that we were not in a long hall of cabins but around the corner in a front facing cabin.   Our own kids were across the hall (door right around the corner) so someone had to physically take their tray around the corner to put it in front of our door.
 
I can understand trays in the hall that are pushed away from someone's door and end up closer to another cabin... but for someone to physically take their tray around a corner to leave it in front of someone else's cabin door is intentionally rude and disgusting.

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Our First cruise taught me to pack 1/2 of what I thought I’d need/want. And also to bring 2X the $$$$ we thought we’d need! 

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A few things we learned on our first cruise:

 

Travel the day before. Can get to the port earlier and not be so tired on the day you set sail.

As somone already said: You can get multiple apps, entrees, desserts in the dining room.

You can request a table in the dining room for only your party in the dining room (we've done this for a 2 seater and 4 seater).

As someone also already said: pack less. Definitely!

Read CruiseCritic boards to help research the next cruise. :-)

Edited by laststop

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31 minutes ago, jeff92k7 said:

 

Oh my gosh...this is so aggravating.  On our last cruise, someone had put a dirty tray of half eaten food outside our door.  It was so gross.  We had to slide it over to get out of our cabin.   What makes it so annoying is that we were not in a long hall of cabins but around the corner in a front facing cabin.   Our own kids were across the hall (door right around the corner) so someone had to physically take their tray around the corner to put it in front of our door.
 
I can understand trays in the hall that are pushed away from someone's door and end up closer to another cabin... but for someone to physically take their tray around a corner to leave it in front of someone else's cabin door is intentionally rude and disgusting.

I KNOW!!!!! at first, I thought maybe it was an accident, or perhaps the steward was cleaning rooms and pushing trays along or something, but it kept happening ...almost every day throughout my very 1st 7 night cruise. I never found out who did it...it also happened on subsequent cruises as well, so it wasn't just a bad traveler.  there are people who actually DO this. I would never do it.  I don't get it.  it's not like they have to pay someone to take their tray away....

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The only way it could be better would be to not sail solo.  Having someone to share the cost of the cabin as well as the memories is priceless.

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3 hours ago, queenpailhead said:

If you don't buy a drink package find the deals.  I found several on my first (and only so far) cruise, like $2 mimosas in the casino daily for an hour, etc. And read the cruise newsletters, you can find out stuff like the $2 mimosas. 😉

That is some good advice right there lol

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5 hours ago, schazzy said:

On my first cruise I learned:

 

You should take a minute to freshen up and change clothes before going to dinner.

 

That little plastic card they give you actually uses real money.

 

Taking a "booze cruise" on a party boat in Nassau is not the best idea in the world.

 

 

Somehow I think there is a very interesting story behind each of these points. 😉

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16 minutes ago, LuckyStar said:

You can drink too much tequila in Cozumel.  And you can break your arm falling in sand.  :classic_blink:

Oh nooooooo

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Not to pack so much!!!!!!!!!!

 

If your cruise is a long way from your home, fly out early.

 

For flying out early: Our first cruise was to Alaska. We were scheduled to fly out of NC at 3:30 pm. Our plane had mechanical problems so they wanted to put us up for the night and fly us out the next morning. Nope we'd miss the cruise. Then we finally made it out of NC, only to be stuck on the tarmac in Minneapolis during a thunderstorm for 6 hours. We landed in Vancouver at 6 am (about 20 hours later than our original flight was supposed to leave). We had to board at 11 am that morning. We missed the entire first night of activities because we fell asleep since we'd been up for well over 24 hours!

 

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2 hours ago, silvercrikhix said:

Our First cruise taught me to pack 1/2 of what I thought I’d need/want. And also to bring 2X the $$$$ we thought we’d need! 

 

I'd bet almost everyone over packs for their first cruise. I know we did. Back when we went on our first cruise, there were no home computers, no internet, no places like Cruise Critic where you could get helpful information. Just travel agencies, and travel agents that didn't always tell their clients what to do and not do when packing for a cruise. The only thing we had to go by was what we had seen on "The Love Boat". An entertaining television show, but not very factual. Thanks a bunch Hollywood!

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My first cruise I learned that taking the stairs burns a lot of calories especially when you are waaaayyyyyy in the bottom of the ship. 

 

My husband's first cruise, he learned that you don't feel trapped on the ship, and they don't "force you" to have fun. (He is quite an introvert and forced participation is his worst nightmare.) 

 

A few other first lessons over the years, things you wouldn't expect to pay more for sometimes are. (Like popcorn for the movie on Royal when it's free on NCL Carnival and Princess.) Taxis in St Thomas are freaking expensive. The $10 pp each way for our family of 5 created a serious hit to the $150 I brought ashore. There are always quiet places to get away to for some quiet time, but your own balcony is the best option. Bring more sunscreen than you think you need. Also aloe or solarcane. And make sure the spray sunscreen is really spraying sunscreen not some weird residue.

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4 hours ago, pyropoodle said:

I learned that people will randomly put their finished room service trays outside of your room and you will most likely never know the reason or figure out who is doing it.    WHY????????

 

edited to say, this is not a valuable lesson, but it did teach me that little things that I never know would bother me *could* in fact bother me, and the lesson is just to let it go and don't sweat the small things.  go with the flow . 

This has given me a great idea: I'm going to put our room service trays in front of random people's rooms so they can wonder, too!

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4 hours ago, rjgdjg said:

1. Making assumptions I know where I'm going

2. Relying on the GPS too much

 

Here's my story: first cruise, leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale. We just drove down from Jacksonville. I put "Eller Drive" and "Ft. Lauderdale" into the GPS. We drove all over Ft. Lauderdale, looking for Eller Drive. The clock ticked away. At last we found it, but it was some small, tucked-away residential street. No cruise terminal.

 

After a lot more driving and recurring waves of panic, we stopped at a gas station for directions and had that "Ah-ha" moment: the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood airport is actually in Hollywood. And the Eller Drive we wanted was not in Ft. Lauderdale at all, but in Hollywood.

 

We board the ship at 3 p.m.--nearly the last folks on--panting, nervous wrecks, but very, very relieved! - Musing About Cruising

Glad you made it!

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3 hours ago, jeff92k7 said:

 

Oh my gosh...this is so aggravating.  On our last cruise, someone had put a dirty tray of half eaten food outside our door.  It was so gross.  We had to slide it over to get out of our cabin.   What makes it so annoying is that we were not in a long hall of cabins but around the corner in a front facing cabin.   Our own kids were across the hall (door right around the corner) so someone had to physically take their tray around the corner to put it in front of our door.
 
I can understand trays in the hall that are pushed away from someone's door and end up closer to another cabin... but for someone to physically take their tray around a corner to leave it in front of someone else's cabin door is intentionally rude and disgusting.

OK, I won't do it! I was actually kidding, anyway!

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4 hours ago, queenpailhead said:

If you don't buy a drink package find the deals.  I found several on my first (and only so far) cruise, like $2 mimosas in the casino daily for an hour, etc. And read the cruise newsletters, you can find out stuff like the $2 mimosas. 😉

My favorite drink deal is the free champagne at the art auctions. I always enjoy the presentation, and on my last cruise even won a bottle of champagne to take back to my room!

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