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skidawg79

Taking a 1st timer...advice!

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Ok, so I booked the 6 night Carnival Horizon on 3/29 out of Miami.   I am actually surprising my mom with this as a Christmas gift.   This will be my 7th cruise, but her first (she will have turned 66 by the time we are on the cruise).   It's been a while since I was a first timer so wondering if there is anything I should prepare her for haha...I know she has a passport, I can give advice on what to pack, probably take the motion sickness patches (i think she will be fine, but never know), What am I missing that would be awesome for a first timer?

 

Also, she's pretty adventurous for her age...LOVES to swim and would love snorkeling, we are going to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica.....I'm thinking Cozumel...beach day.   Grand Cayman...sting rays.  But no clue what to do in Jamaica.... I know this isn't a port page, but any advice would be great!  Thanks!

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42 minutes ago, skidawg79 said:

... (she will have turned 66 by the time we are on the cruise).  ...

 

Also, she's pretty adventurous for her age...

 

 

 66 is not that old...  😂😂😂🤣

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Mystic mountain lift is great in Ocho Rio we went there. Stingrays awesome in Grand cayman 

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If she doesn’t have a history of motion sickness I wouldn’t bring the patches. I’ve used patches and Bonine and would definitely recommend taking bonine for a new cruiser that was nervous about motion sickness. The patches are prescription for a reason, they carry more numerous and significant side effects. I have to take motion sickness meds on every cruise and don’t even mess with the patches any more because of the side effects.

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first timer advice is to make sure she understands she will not have time to experience everything on the ship, even with six days. If your other cruises were on carnival, just select some of the highlights you think she may enjoy, maybe plan a few must-do activities and then consider just allowing the other events to unfold as the mood strikes. My parents went on their first cruise recently and their biggest hurdle was learning where to go. By the end, they were almost self sufficient, which made their experience much better. 

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Remind her to have a carry on bag with everything she will need for that first day onboard, as you may not see your luggage until evening. That includes all medications, swim suits, change of clothing for dinner time, and all personal products. Make sure her passport is up to date, and she has her photo ID with her. I have heard stories of people turned away at the port for lack of proper or expired documentation. I agree with the poster that said to leave the sea sickness patches home. The side effects are not worth it. If she’s ordinarily not bothered by motion sickness, I’d just bring Bonine just in case, and perhaps some Sea Bands (just a wrist type band that uses pressure on pressure points to prevent motion sickness). I have seen those on Amazon, but have bought them at Walmart, as well. Oh, and don’t forget little bottles of hand sanitizer. Although you will usually find some sanitizer at restaurant entrances, I carry some with me to use every time I use a hand rail or touch anything onboard, especially elevator buttons. I also buy on Amazon a 24 hour hand sanitizer called Zoono, that works differently than the alcohol based sanitizers, and by this method will kill Norovirus. Alcohol based sanitizers do not. Now, I know there are people out there in the camp of “never use hand sanitizers, only wash, as hand sanitizers do more harm than good”. Let me just say, as a retired RN, we literally bathed in hand sanitizers (JK) every day, and know the value in them. I also know their limitations, hence the Zoono. And a sink with water and soap is not available every time you touch something, where a small pocket size hand sanitizer is. It’s just a small effort that can prevent a big problem on a vacation. Enough of a lecture—LOL—just go and enjoy. Oh, and as a 66 year old woman myself, I don’t think your mom thinks of herself as old yet. Lol! I walk 4 miles a day and ride a stationary bike for 40 minutes, as a post bilateral TKR. 😎🛳🏖🌴

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One more hint. Buy strong magnetic hooks from Home Depot, for your metal cabin walls. They are great for hanging swim suits, etc on. And have a magnetic sign made up for your cabin door or wall next to door if door not metal. It will be a big help for you and your mom to recognize your cabin. I bought one on Etsy for my last cruise, and I loved having it there. 

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grandmarnnurse is on to something. A small backpack or travel bag full of essentials for the plane and cruise could be a very cool and fun way to present your wonderful gift to her.

 

It would also be a good idea to get together with her several months before the cruise to ask her what her likes and preferences are. Does she want to eat dinner at a set time or anytime or mostly at the buffet, etc. And go overall of the potential activities onboard and shore you both could partake in. Because there are so many options, it's helpful to have a game plan that you certainly can deviate from. 

 

Based on what you've shared, here are some of my recommendations for ports ...

 

Cozumel - For a beach day, consider Paradise Beach. It's a short taxi ride from the pier and gives you the all-inclusive or ala carte option. They have many inflatable water toys like trampolines and pyramids and slides. And besides a beautiful beach and swimming area, they have one of the largest pools and pool areas on the island. Lots of great food and drink options. 

 

For snorkeling, consider Money Bar Beach Club. There's really no beach here but a stairs down into the water with great snorkeling right off the restaurant/bar which is very nice. Tables and loungers with umbrellas. No cover charge here. You're just expected to buy food and drink. Again a short taxi ride. 

 

Or consider Carnival's Fury excursion operated by the Fury company. It's essentially a catamaran cruise with drinks and food included to a variety of snorkeling and beach stops. I did this last year and it was a blast. 

 

I've also done many different snorkeling excursions in Cozumel that include a stop at El Cielo, which is stunning. Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. I may be a bit biased but have spent 4 weeks there these past two years on land-based trips. 

 

Grand Cayman - We've been there many times but Stingray City is still one of our favorites. I would recommend this excursion above all else. 

 

Ochos Rios - If you want a beach day, I would do it here at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville next to the pier. There's a cover and you have to pay a little extra for the VIP section that includes two loungers with an umbrella and cooler/safe combo. But it comes with two free drinks and it's a safe, short walk there from the ship. 

 

Have fun and safe travels!

 

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Have not sailed on Carnival but on HAL, the "handy ship map" they have is about the size of the palm of your hand! I print letter-size deck plans of all public decks (well not the basement with the infirmary) and the one cabin deck where we are -- for myself and any family members we take.

 

The three "accessories" I take that aren't always mentioned are a dresser-top tray (that unsnaps to travel flat), a waterproof neck wallet for my phone because it is also my camera, and a small but comprehensive medical bag that I hang on the back of the bathroom door. 

 

Some form of ginger plus Dramamine or Bonine are more suitable seasick remedies, unless she has history of extreme motion sickness -- and then her own doctor would be the one to prescribe Transcope (transdermal scopalamine) if indicated.

Edited by crystalspin

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Give her the website, so she can "read up".  Do not try and tell her how "wonderful" cruising can be...it usually backfires if you "build it up" too much.

 

Tell her to pack for whatever the weather may be in your destinations. 

 

There are no specific things you need to do for a cruise.

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Explain how her ship account will work.

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On 11/22/2019 at 8:52 PM, VentureMan_2000 said:

 

 66 is not that old...  😂😂😂🤣


lol. You are right. Sorry if I made it sound that way 😉

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On 11/23/2019 at 6:58 AM, LakeWobegon said:

grandmarnnurse is on to something. A small backpack or travel bag full of essentials for the plane and cruise could be a very cool and fun way to present your wonderful gift to her.

 

It would also be a good idea to get together with her several months before the cruise to ask her what her likes and preferences are. Does she want to eat dinner at a set time or anytime or mostly at the buffet, etc. And go overall of the potential activities onboard and shore you both could partake in. Because there are so many options, it's helpful to have a game plan that you certainly can deviate from. 

 

Based on what you've shared, here are some of my recommendations for ports ...

 

Cozumel - For a beach day, consider Paradise Beach. It's a short taxi ride from the pier and gives you the all-inclusive or ala carte option. They have many inflatable water toys like trampolines and pyramids and slides. And besides a beautiful beach and swimming area, they have one of the largest pools and pool areas on the island. Lots of great food and drink options. 

 

For snorkeling, consider Money Bar Beach Club. There's really no beach here but a stairs down into the water with great snorkeling right off the restaurant/bar which is very nice. Tables and loungers with umbrellas. No cover charge here. You're just expected to buy food and drink. Again a short taxi ride. 

 

Or consider Carnival's Fury excursion operated by the Fury company. It's essentially a catamaran cruise with drinks and food included to a variety of snorkeling and beach stops. I did this last year and it was a blast. 

 

I've also done many different snorkeling excursions in Cozumel that include a stop at El Cielo, which is stunning. Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. I may be a bit biased but have spent 4 weeks there these past two years on land-based trips. 

 

Grand Cayman - We've been there many times but Stingray City is still one of our favorites. I would recommend this excursion above all else. 

 

Ochos Rios - If you want a beach day, I would do it here at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville next to the pier. There's a cover and you have to pay a little extra for the VIP section that includes two loungers with an umbrella and cooler/safe combo. But it comes with two free drinks and it's a safe, short walk there from the ship. 

 

Have fun and safe travels!

 


thank you!  El Cielo looks amazing!   Definitely some great advice. Going to run a few of these by her after Christmas (when I Finally tel her about it haha). Thanks again! 

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El Cielo is amazing. Beside the crystal clear waters and blinding white sand bottom where you'll essentially be allowed to swim around and offered drinks on most tours, there are stingrays gliding around the edges of the sand bank and on the way in, many tours allow you to snorkel through huge fields of hundreds if not more than a thousand starfish of all sorts and colors. Its really cool.

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On 11/26/2019 at 6:32 PM, skidawg79 said:


thank you!  El Cielo looks amazing!   Definitely some great advice. Going to run a few of these by her after Christmas (when I Finally tel her about it haha). Thanks again! 

HI , Im a  mom and two sons heading out on this trip!

 

you can look at a lot of excursions through shore excursions and trip advisor/ viator as well  lots of cool things to do

 

Such a nice Idea to take your mom I'm sure she will love it and spending time with you!  

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5 minutes ago, sorrynameistaken said:

HI , Im a  mom and two sons heading out on this trip!

 

you can look at a lot of excursions through shore excursions and trip advisor/ viator as well  lots of cool things to do

 

Such a nice Idea to take your mom I'm sure she will love it and spending time with you!  

oh also they have an app that corresponds to the itinerary paper copy they will place in your room everyday

she can look through it and easily add her activities that she is interested in and it will send reminders

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On 12/5/2019 at 11:19 AM, sorrynameistaken said:

HI , Im a  mom and two sons heading out on this trip!

 

you can look at a lot of excursions through shore excursions and trip advisor/ viator as well  lots of cool things to do

 

Such a nice Idea to take your mom I'm sure she will love it and spending time with you!  

 

Thanks!   good call on Trip advisor.  I've been going through shore excursioneer and the Carnival excursions websites.    I'm probably putting too much thought in it, she'll have fun doing anything lol.   I've done most of the types of excursions (ziplining, snorkeling, swimming with stingrays etc), so I'm up for anything.    Cant wait to surprise her on Christmas!

Edited by skidawg79

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