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Things to Know for First Time Cruisers (Am I missing anything?)


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It's great that you are taking the time to outline some of the pertinent aspects of cruise travel for your novice sailors. 

 

I agree with others who have said to keep it short and sweet. I would hesitate to mention the Embarkation "will be a long wait". I think when you put something negative into people's heads it becomes stressful. 

 

Embarkation is not bad at all, you arrive at the port, go through security,  check-in, then wait for your deck to be called. 

 

Online Pre-Check In 

Make sure your party understands that they have to complete an online check-in with their basic information and credit card even before they arrive at the pier. 

 

Travel Folder

I find it extremely helpful to put all of my important boarding papers in a plastic folder with see-through pages. This way when you need to boarding pass you can grab it right away. You will also keep information on any on board events i.e. specialty restaurants, excursions, plus other important travel information and contact numbers. 

 

Keep it light, keep it simple and have a wonderful cruise. 

 

Jonathan

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  • 3 weeks later...

My tip for the one thing I will do differently for embarkation after my second cruise is make sure to take a deep breath, relax, and find the luggage porter. 😛 We left from New Orleans on Carnival Dream, and once we got out of the Uber drop off at the port and were trying to just get our bearings standing on the sidewalk with our luggage for a minute reading the signs, when one of the employees outside the doors began yelling at everyone to go inside and check in - YES, yelling. I think we were just too flustered by it we hurried inside. So many of us had our bags that would have been taken to our stateroom stuck with us until the rooms were ready. Really limits what you can do once you board.

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Posted (edited)

1) don't forget your passport(s)

2) don't forget your medications (all of them. Especially important if traveling with a child or somebody with chronic medical issues). We usually end up with 3 gallon-sized zip bags full of meds: ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea, poop inducing, cold meds, prescription meds, dramamine, thermometer, all the kid's meds, bandaids of various sizes, antiseptic sprays, first aid stuff, echinacea and vit C, zinc, etc. Yes, most of the time we end up using most of that. Less before the kid, of course.

3) don't forget your toothbrush (the cheapest $0.50 toothbrush will be at least $4 on the cruise ship).

4) don't forget flip flops (even if in Alaska - we wear them in the shower as well)

5) don't forget your hair brush (I now have a small traveling hairbrush that stays in the suitcase) and a sun hat

6) don't forget cash for use in ports. An average taxi driver/beach chair renter/taco stand seller in Honduras or Mexico will not have credit card terminal access.

7) don't forget your prescription glasses/sunglasses

8 ) don't forget SPF lotion (cruise specific)

9) feminine hygiene products

 

Since we fly in to the port, each of us has a backpack with medications, 1 bathing suit or swimming trunks, flip flops and a sun hat, a couple of pairs of underwear, electronics and documents. In case the suitcases get lost, we can still make the best of it with just the necessities. We only sail the Caribbean at this time, so the necessities include bathing attire. It would be different for, say, European or Alaskan cruises.

 

The embarkation was pretty bad only once - on our very first cruise. Indy came from abroad and had to be checked by the customs for several hours past the expected time. The port itself has changed quite a bit overtime, so, perhaps, it wouldn't be as bad now as it was then.

 

We also have a list of what to pack for the cruise which we have perfected over the years pinned to the fridge. All I have to do is check things off as I pack.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)
On 6/25/2021 at 9:27 AM, Itchy&Scratchy said:
On 6/25/2021 at 9:27 AM, Itchy&Scratchy said:

 

6) don't forget cash for use in ports. An average taxi driver/beach chair renter/taco stand seller in Honduras or Mexico will not have credit card terminal access.

 

 

Presumably you mean local cash -  or do you assume they will take US$? I'd make sure I had a card I could use in  a local ATM (and have told my bank I'm travelling ) so I can withdraw local cash 

Edited by lissie
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9 hours ago, lissie said:

Presumably you mean local cash -  or do you assume they will take US$? I'd make sure I had a card I could use in  a local ATM (and have told my bank I'm travelling ) so I can withdraw local cash 

no, they ALL take dollars. Happily. I am just trying to say - take CASH with you from home, because they will have no credit card terminal on the beach/taxi/taco stand/etc.

 

We started cruising in 2009 and always bring USD cash with us - to pay for taxis, chaises, umbrellas, tips, small things. Most of the beach clubs will, of course, have a credit card terminal for your food and drinks, but I am talking about much smaller, stand alone vendors.

 

Some of those locations (Roatan, Honduras for example) have armed guards at gas stations. Do you really want to venture out in search of an ATM to withdraw money? I see that you are not from the US and I don't know if you are planning on sailing in the Caribbean, like we do, but when we cruise in the Caribbean, Mexico, South America - US dollars (cash) are happily accepted by everyone.

 

It could be very different where you cruise - I have definitely projected our personal experience on the situation.

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9 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

no, they ALL take dollars. Happily. I am just trying to say - take CASH with you from home, because they will have no credit card terminal on the beach/taxi/taco stand/etc.

 

We started cruising in 2009 and always bring USD cash with us - to pay for taxis, chaises, umbrellas, tips, small things. Most of the beach clubs will, of course, have a credit card terminal for your food and drinks, but I am talking about much smaller, stand alone vendors.

 

Some of those locations (Roatan, Honduras for example) have armed guards at gas stations. Do you really want to venture out in search of an ATM to withdraw money? I see that you are not from the US and I don't know if you are planning on sailing in the Caribbean, like we do, but when we cruise in the Caribbean, Mexico, South America - US dollars (cash) are happily accepted by everyone.

 

It could be very different where you cruise - I have definitely projected our personal experience on the situation.

Armed guards aren't that uncommon in central and southern America - in fact in many countries.  I've travelled that part of the world - years ago - and although I carried Us$ cash - it was to convert in places that didn't take travellers cheques (OK quite a few years ago). No one was taking US$. Certainly nowhere in Nz/Australia/Asia/Pacific takes US$ - unless they can get a really stupidly good deal out of you - and even then sometimes no - because its  hard to  bank foreign cash. In fact post covid in NZ the vast majority of banks will no longer accept foreign cash even for account holders - so its got a lot more restrictive. 

 

We have a cruise next year  with stops in: Cabo, Punta Arenas,  Panama, Aruba and Bahamas - are you saying that all of those will take US$?   That could be useful - we will be  doing independent tours and not just lying on beaches - first time we've ever been to the Caribbean or Panama 

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1 hour ago, lissie said:

Aruba and Bahamas - are you saying that all of those will take US$?   

We've been to Aruba and Bahamas - yes, they definitely take USD.

Punta Arenas - I found google referring to this port in Chile and Costa Rica. We haven't been in either, but I am 95% sure anyone will take dollars there. You could look up the boards for these ports of call and see what people are saying.

Cabo is in Mexico - yes, they will take US dollars.

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