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Helping a first timer without overwhelming


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We have a group cruise coming up (typical Caribbean 5 day on RC) and one person on our group that has never cruised. She is a seasoned traveler otherwise.

Without overwhelming her, as my personality tends to do, what are so good basic tips we should relay to her?

Anyone have anything put together thats a crash course style?

 

 

I'm tempted to sit her down with a power point but I also don't want to scare her 😆

 

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Since everyone else in the group has cruised before, the only things you need to worry the newbie about are those things to do before the cruise

- what stuff to pack & where to pack it (carry-on or checked, bearing in mind docs etc to register at the terminal, and valuables, medications & a change of clothes in carry-on), any converter to fit ship's elec. sockets plus a short extension lead, what drinks are permitted or not-permitted to take aboard. And what not to pack - usually beach towels, basic toiletries

- phones/I-Pads etc, the pros & cons & pitfalls aboard & in port.

- advice on booking shore excursions - ship's or local tour operator's, or DIY. And that's likely to differ in different ports.

- info about amount & currencies of cash to take, & use of credit or debit cards (? a card with no currency exchange fees, probably not worthwhile for just 5 days in the Caribbean, but worth getting one now if further foreign travel is anticipated).

- any pre-bookable entertainments on-board.

 

A newbie solo or couple could benefit from knowing about so many other things, but yes - that leads to overload - and with so many in the party to hold her hand there's no need, and its all so much easier to understand when aboard. And even if not part of a group, sociable newbies can learn so much on-board from seasoned cruisers.

 

Just returning to the topic of overload, some Cruise Critic threads are comprehensive enough to frighten newbies. Worse, some is out-of-date and some is specific to the responder's cruiseline and not relevant to the OP's (well done for mentioning it's 5 days on RC in the Caribbean)

 

JB  🙂

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47 minutes ago, John Bull said:

any converter to fit ship's elec. sockets plus a short extension lead,

Reminder that any extension cord or splitter/power-strip must not have a surge protector.

 

Just make yourself available for your friend's questions? Although sometimes a newbie doesn't know what to ask, but as she's a seasoned traveller, she probably knows how to pack and what.

Edited by crystalspin
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Most of us figured it out w/o group help.  Just tell her that if she has any questions or worries she should ask you.  After all she us a seasoned traveler.  Also it is only a 5 day cruise.

 

DON

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I would add that maybe you give them information as things come along in the process. I.e. if you're four weeks out, you start talking about checking in online, three weeks inform about formal nights, two weeks coordinating travel planning beyond basic details, etc.

 

One step at a time, and no more than what is actually needed at that time. The reality is is that while a lot of information on these boards and youtube reviews is great, cruises are supposed to be easier vacations that most folks just "show up" to with only the info given by the cruise line.

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11 hours ago, John Bull said:

Since everyone else in the group has cruised before, the only things you need to worry the newbie about are those things to do before the cruise

- what stuff to pack & where to pack it (carry-on or checked, bearing in mind docs etc to register at the terminal, and valuables, medications & a change of clothes in carry-on), any converter to fit ship's elec. sockets plus a short extension lead, what drinks are permitted or not-permitted to take aboard. And what not to pack - usually beach towels, basic toiletries

- phones/I-Pads etc, the pros & cons & pitfalls aboard & in port.

- advice on booking shore excursions - ship's or local tour operator's, or DIY. And that's likely to differ in different ports.

- info about amount & currencies of cash to take, & use of credit or debit cards (? a card with no currency exchange fees, probably not worthwhile for just 5 days in the Caribbean, but worth getting one now if further foreign travel is anticipated).

- any pre-bookable entertainments on-board.

 

A newbie solo or couple could benefit from knowing about so many other things, but yes - that leads to overload - and with so many in the party to hold her hand there's no need, and its all so much easier to understand when aboard. And even if not part of a group, sociable newbies can learn so much on-board from seasoned cruisers.

 

Just returning to the topic of overload, some Cruise Critic threads are comprehensive enough to frighten newbies. Worse, some is out-of-date and some is specific to the responder's cruiseline and not relevant to the OP's (well done for mentioning it's 5 days on RC in the Caribbean)

 

JB  🙂

 

 

Good stuff, especially the last paragraph.   No need to overwhelm the first timer.  The OP's mention of a powerpoint kind of scares me.  Pack -- Show up on time -- Have fun.  Well, maybe a little more than that, but no need for a powerpoint.   

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My most important advice is:

  • Don't worry what hundreds of your fellow passengers think of your clothes, dining preferences, actions, or words.  You will never see them again. 
  • There is so much amazing food and If you try to eat everything, your clothes will become tighter quickly.  Sample everything in moderation.  Eat only half your dinner and half of two different desserts.
  • When you return home, your friends will have lots of questions, so keep a notebook of what you experienced and try to get copies of all of your menus.  Your friends will ask about them. 
  • Talk to the crew.  Ask about their families that they work so hard to support and are away from for months at a time.  They will take extra care of you.
  • Bring a bunch of dollar bills for tips.
  • Take lots of photos.
  • Cruising is addicting, so start planning for your next one, while you are onboard.
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On 11/22/2022 at 10:39 AM, auntie.emily94 said:

We have a group cruise coming up (typical Caribbean 5 day on RC) and one person on our group that has never cruised. She is a seasoned traveler otherwise.

Without overwhelming her, as my personality tends to do, what are so good basic tips we should relay to her?

Anyone have anything put together thats a crash course style?

 

 

I'm tempted to sit her down with a power point but I also don't want to scare her 😆

 

 

We have a "First Time Cruising 101 Primer" on our website that might be helpful and it's probably akin to the PowerPoint you want to create. 🙂

 

whereswaltertravel.com. Go into the Research Library and search "First Time Cruise."  It'll come up. I'm not permitted to share the direct link on these forums. But it's easy enough to find. 

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I think if I was bombarded with a bunch of "must do's", which are in reality someone else's personal preferences,  I would start to consider cancellation.   No disrespect to the previous posters, but the last thing I would ever want to hear is I should collect menus or keep a diary.   

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  • The only advice I will give to your " first time cruiser" is......Pack a beach bag ( or tote bag) for when you go ashore.  You can put your cabin pool towels in them and other essentials.  Also, get an old fashioned waterproof wrist watch.  Back on board time is VERY IMPORTANT, and your cell phone clock may not be in sync with the ships clock.  My first cruise ( way back in 1999) was a transatlantic crossing on QE2.  It took 10 days.  The first three days at sea, I was very anxious to get off the ship and do something.  By the 4th day, I figured out what cruising was all about.  Relaxing on sea days, doing what you want when you want, and meeting people from all over the globe.  Talking to other passengers about their far away homes made me want to visit those places in the future.    Just tell your friend to think of cruising as A NO BRAINER VACATION.  You just go when you get there, and until then, enjoy the time on ship
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If she's used  to travelling independently then cruising is easy!  The only things I though were weird was the absolute fixation that some have on talking lots of gadgets on board,.  Tell her  to pack as normal, expect to maybe need an extension  cord or a USB extender. The main surprise will be how expensive and bad the  internet is. 

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