Jump to content

Feeling Overwhelmed


CruiseBliss04
 Share

Recommended Posts

My husband, myself and our 2 school age kids are all taking our first cruise later this summer.  We are going to Alaska on Royal Caribbean and I am completely overwhelmed.  I have no idea where to start.  I thought cruising was to be easy, but there are so many decisions to be made.  Where do I even start?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes to both.  I booked about a year ago, and kind of pushed it out of my mind.  Now, it is only a few months away and I'm panicking.  We do leave (and return) to Seattle.  We fly in the night before and gave ourselves an extra day in Seattle at the end.  I know I need to look for lodging and transportation in Seattle, look at all the various tours - and then all the other on boat options like beverages, internet, dining etc.  Never cruised, and to a unfamiliar area for us - it is just starting out a bit much.  Oh, and then there is what to pack!  I just don't know the best way to begin!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please make sure that you have the correct travel ID for the adults and your children (Passports, or certified birth certificates assuming that you are US citizens).  Make sure you have them with you, as you will need them for check-in.

 

If you have enough time to explore Seattle before your cruise, it may make sense to stay closer to the DT core of the city.  That will give you more time for sightseeing.  Getting to Pier 91 where Ovation of the Seas will sail from, I would suggest an Uber XL to carry a family of four.  If you kids are small, a regular Uber would probably work fine. 

 

For clothing, layering is the best.  Alaska had record high temps last year.  For outerwear: a rain coat, a fleece vest; hat, gloves.  Good waterproof walking shoes would be helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ferry_Watcher
typo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, CruiseBliss04 said:

My husband, myself and our 2 school age kids are all taking our first cruise later this summer.  We are going to Alaska on Royal Caribbean and I am completely overwhelmed.  I have no idea where to start.  I thought cruising was to be easy, but there are so many decisions to be made.  Where do I even start?

Welcome to CC. Join your Roll Call for your cruise. Also post on the CC RCI main forum page for questions. 

Edited by davekathy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which cruise line are you going with?  There are separate boards for each one and you will find lots of helpful advice on the cruise line boards. Including the beverage and internet as well as kids club.

There is also a "family cruising" board.

I find  that cruising with my kids its easier for us to have anytime/freedom dining rather than a  fixed  dining time.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, CruiseBliss04 said:

Yes to both.  I booked about a year ago, and kind of pushed it out of my mind.  Now, it is only a few months away and I'm panicking.  We do leave (and return) to Seattle.  We fly in the night before and gave ourselves an extra day in Seattle at the end.  I know I need to look for lodging and transportation in Seattle, look at all the various tours - and then all the other on boat options like beverages, internet, dining etc.  Never cruised, and to a unfamiliar area for us - it is just starting out a bit much.  Oh, and then there is what to pack!  I just don't know the best way to begin!

What exact dates do you need a hotel room?  What is your budget range?  What size beds do you need with 2 children?  IMO this is the first thing to do.  I would be looking for rooms at the airport for the first night.  With 4 people Uber or Lyft to the Cruiseport is probably you best option.  For post cruise you want to look in downtown Seattle if it’s within your budget.

 

Dining should be straightforward - you should be assigned to early, late, or my time dining.  Post back with your assignment for suggestions and strategies.

 

Register your children for the kids club as soon as you board. What are your internet requirements?  Your cell phones will work in the US ports.  One internet package can be shared by everyone, but only one person at a time.

 

Free drinks are water, iced tea, lemonade, and flavored water in the Windjammer.

 

Everyone should have layers of clothing and some sort of rain gear.  At least one pair of solid shoes.  Alaska cruises are very casual.  No need drag along formal clothes unless you’re really into that.  You can get away with slacks and a nice top for the ladies and slacks and a polo shirt for the men and feel like you’re dressed up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just some basic FYI:

 


R-E-L-A-X. Seriously. Don't stress.
95% of of the information you receive from others is just opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. The other 5% is fact based answers you could honestly just Google to find. Don't get caught up in the 95%.


Take the time to know what documents you need to have with you and have a system on where to keep them so they are accessible at all times. NOT, your checked luggage. Set reminders on your phone for any time sensitive things you need to do, for example online check in for your flight - dealing with pets - light timers/house sitter...


On packing. Don't fall into the 'I might want to have this' trap. Your essentials will take a lot of room. I know it's easy to grab a lot of clothes and shoes and so on, because your on vacation. Unless on a cooler weather cruise/trip, you will most likely be in shorts or a swim suit for most of the day. Start a packing list and when you get home look at what you really wanted (or should have packed) and the stuff that was not needed and adjust your list.


Be smart with your excursions and getting back on the ship. People get stressed about this, understandably so. They are expensive and you don't want to miss the ship. I personally book non ship excursions (usually much cheaper and less crowded). I always make sure that I do my due diligence on the company and schedule it so we are done and back to ship with plenty of time for any issues that might come up. How much is plenty of time? I try for 3-4 hours early. If not possible based on how long I am in port, I will just do a walking tour or maybe even stay on the ship.


You know those people who talk about their perfect vacations? Their secret? They didn't let any issues ruin their vacation. It takes effort to let things roll of your back, but it is so worth it. EVERYONE has some hiccups. Have you ever read a travel review and the people hated their trip? When you read what they are complaining about, you think, 'my god how do you get through life?' My favorite is a woman who hated the Caribbean resort she went to because it rained every afternoon. Oh, and she went during hurricane season. 😕 Like Elsa says, "let it go - let it go". And it helps you to...


R-E-L-A-X


Lastly, slow down and enjoy the experience. It's so easy to try to cram in as much as you can on vacation. Give yourself time to slow down and smell the salt air, do some wonderful people watching and think about how far removed you are from your normal day to day life. Oh, and if you can figure out how not to get a bit depressed on your last day, please share.


I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Cruise Critic...you'll be fine.

By now, you should have completed or close to finishing your online check-in on the Royal Caribbean website.

Once you complete this, you'll be able to print your SetSail Pass along with your luggage tags.

Are you on the Ovation?...if so, you and your kids will have a wonderful time on this beautiful ship.

Happy Sailing! 😊

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to think about now is what you want to do in the various ports in Alaska.  Take a look at the cruise planner on RC web site to get an idea of what is available. Booking private excursions in Alaska is easy but some of the small ones, small whale watching boats for example, are probably sold out by now. 

 

As someone said, take a look at the Alaska boards for excursion ideas and tips for packing.  Heavy coats are usually not necessary, think layers with a waterproof outer layer.  Hats and gloves are good for a sailing day at a glacier.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do what you want to not what you feel you have to.  My approach to cruising and travel in general is "less is more."  

 

Book ship excursions because while more expensive they will get you back on time. Accept that you aren't going to be able to see everything but if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed you won't enjoy the things you do see. Less is more. 

 

It is the same with packing.  Rain gear and sturdy footwear are desirable.  Realize the "dress codes" are suggestions other than those items that are specifically prohibited.  My last Alaska cruise on Princess a collared shirt and casual trousers were not a problem on formal nights.      

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also recommend that you join the roll call for your sailing. There will be lots of info there from  cruisers that will be on your particular ship  - many will be looking for others to share tours with them.

Edited by dogs4fun
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One bit of advice.  Avoid packing too much.  There's a great compulsion to take far more clothing and stuff you think you may need.   

How to pack:

Layout everything you think you need to pack.  Put at least half of it back in the closet.  Go to bank and get more money.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did an Alaskan cruise and we way overpacked!  Follow the advice of everyone on here and pack less!  Just take a few laundry pods and do a load or two.  Also, we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express near the airport and they (for a small fee) provided transportation to and from the cruise port.  I think other hotels had similar transport.  So, you might want to check the hotels in and around the airport to see if they still offer this.  Way cheaper than staying downtown and it was so easy!  They picked us up at the hotel and dropped us off right at the port.  When we debarked, they were there to pick us up right on time.  Took us (and our luggage) back to the hotel and then we caught the free airport shuttle to the airport.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Royal Caribbean cruise ships don't have laundry services, so you can't plan on your own washing. Pack wisely, wash out underwear in the sink and send a bag or two of laundry out for cleaning. It's pricey, but you have no other choice. 

 

Spend most of your time planning excursions by using the Alaska port board.  Whale watching and seeing Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and the railway/van with Chilkoot Tours in Skagway are my top recommendations.  Try NOT to use the ship excursions. Harv and Marv for whale watching- there's another really good one, but maybe someone could help me remember their name.

 

We stayed at the Sleep Inn at Sea-Tac and took the shuttle service they recommended to the airport.  I think it was Seattle Express (NOT Shuttle Express.)  If you want to stay a few days in Seattle, the hotel has a shuttle that takes you to the Metro.  Easy Peasy to get to downtown Seattle.  No need for the super expensive downtown hotels unless you can truly afford it.  

 

 Google all the companies I have bolded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...