Author Topic: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?  (Read 2890 times)

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POF

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Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« on: January 19, 2013, 07:38:14 PM »
We have a lot to celebrate this year :


Big year this year, I received an unexpected major promotion 2 weeks ago. See my boss is retiring in 2 1/2 years. I was hoping I would be ready for his position then. They promoted him 2 weeks ago and offered me his position and he offered to mentor me as I gro into it !  A really really generous increase - about 20% raise in pay.

I turn 50,

DH and I celebrate our 20th anniversary

DS turn 16.

So we booked a Royal Carribean cruise on the Freedom of the seas, 7 day Eastern Carribean.  We also splashed out for 2 balcony rooms so the kids have a room and DH and I have a room.

We've never cruised, we have a great travel agent - but would love to hear your tips, advice or anything.

I am a little concerned about motion sickness ... - so any ideas there would be helpful ( I am will work with my Dr. as well )

I am sooooo excited to go.

tjika

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 07:13:35 AM »
check out http://boards.cruisecritic.com/index.php

I read that forum for my first cruise and found lots of good information and tips.

Venus193

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 07:35:08 AM »
Congratulations on all the above!

Watch out for the fact that food is available 24/7; it's very possible to gain weight on a cruise and you don't want to do that.

Bring formal clothes for the Captain's Dinner (typically late in the trip). 

Thipu1

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 10:27:15 AM »
Yup, cruise critic is the place to go.  Check on the 'roll call' board for your ship and sailing date.  Through that we've met many nice people and made arrangements to meet for Pre-sailing dinners and on-board activities. 

We've sailed on RC but only on the Explorer class ships.  The line is high energy and, although we're not party people, we enjoyed the ships very much. The food is very good and plenty of healthy options are always available so, with a little care, you needn't worry about gaining a lot of weight. 

In the Eastern Caribbean you should have no problem with seasickness unless you're very susceptible to motion sickness in general.  In 37 cruises we've only been seasick twice.  Both times it was due to a combination of tropical storm and bad champagne.  It's probably a good idea to bring candied ginger in case you start feeling a little queasy.

A word of caution or two.  The Eastern Caribbean is a popular route and the Freedom of the Seas is big.  Once, in St. Thomas, there were seven ships in on the same day.  Charlotte Amalie was like Times Square on New Year's Eve.  It was almost impossible to move around town. 

Also, even if the voyage is very calm, you may find yourself lurching around when you get back on land.  The effect can last several days when you get home.  If you know to expect it, the feeling can almost be fun although strangers may look at you a bit oddly. 

Most of all, relax and enjoy your celebration.  You certainly have plenty to celebrate.

Cz. Burrito

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 11:09:33 AM »
I am going on that exact cruise (same boat, same itinerary) in three weeks.   :D

  • To avoid weight gain, I avoid the elevator and use the stairs all the time.  This helps a lot.
  • Pack a bag that has all of your overnight necessities (meds, change of clothes, toiletries, etc). You will need this for the first and last day of the cruise, as checked luggage will be delivered to your stateroom (hopefully) on the first day and taken away on the last night.  You just want to make sure that you have everything you need on the first day in case there is a delay with your luggage.
  • I never had an issue with sea sickness until my third cruise, so I recommend bringing something for sea sickness even if you're not prone to it. I'm planning on bringing ginger on my next cruise.
  • Suitcases fit under the beds.  This makes it very easy to save space by unpacking and stowing your luggage.
  • If you anticipate drinking wine with dinner every night, it may be worth your while to buy a "wine package" in advance to save some money.
I think the biggest tip is to keep an open mind have fun.  :^)

Thipu1

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 11:45:30 AM »
Something just dawned on me.

First-time passengers tend to do too much.  Every night you will receive a schedule of activities planned for the following day. We have met passengers who have something scheduled for every hour.  If you succumb to this temptation, you will not come home relaxed. You will be literally be running from meeting to meeting.  Each activity may be fun but it can feel like being at work.

Plan one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Leave plenty of time to enjoy your balconies, hang out with a cup of tea or just loll around the pool.  Yes, you will miss some things but your memories of the cruise will be happier.

We thoroughly agree about bringing on a roll-aboard bag with all the essentials for a weekend.  Before the rest of your luggage arrives, you can set up the bathroom, put on a better pair of pants for Dinner and start to feel at home.

         

PastryGoddess

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 06:10:14 PM »
As someone who gets motion sickness, I would recommend going to your doctor to see if they can prescribe you a couple of skin patches to take with you on the trip.  It helps with the headaches and I hear it also helps with nausea as well

wheeitsme

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 07:00:03 PM »
Don't risk the sea-sick.  If you can, either the patches or the over-the-counter.

If you have a kindle - take real books, too.  My screen broke on the 1st day of a 10 day cruise.

Ask about where to eat off the ship.  The best meal I had in the Carribean was a conch salad in a small place land-side.

Do some (only some) of the ship-board events that you wonder about.  We met lovely people and had a great time at some of the trivia contests and other events. 

Compliment the ship workers that deserve it.  If you can, put it in writing.  It makes a difference to them.

Don't be afraid to talk to friendly ship-mates.  You might never meet them again, but we really enjoy the conversations and the window into other's lives.

If you do get an onboard spa treatment - don't be pressured to buy anything.  It's okay to say "no".

Enjoy yourself!


...and if you have a day in St. Thomas:  http://www.rumbabacharters.com/      Awesome.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 07:04:25 PM by wheeitsme »

Morticia

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 07:10:26 PM »
That is my favourite ship and itinerary. Pod to not trying to do it all. 
Now our mom says she's changed her mind about the devil's brood, they may be evil so she thinks, but at least they're never rude...
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My travel blog: http://www.stepmonster.ca

Seraphia

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 08:32:34 PM »
Definitely don't try to do everything. Sometimes, it can be fun to stay on board in a port and do one of the trivia games with a smaller crowd, or paddle in the pool without having to hunt for a chair.

There is food *everywhere,* so make a note of the things you absolutely must try, whether it's a cupcake from the cupcake shop, or a fancy mixed drink, or a steak from the specialty restaurant. Make those things the priority.

I second the wine or pop package if you think you'll probably have some at most of your meals.

The slots in the casino are really tight - it's more fun to watch people play blackjack.
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Rohanna

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 09:33:08 PM »
I've been on that ship , and I'm going back on it in Oct :)

It's a lovely boat, and the staff are usually very friendly and helpful
The food is awesome (and yes, everywhere) - if you don't like something, make sure to speak up and they'll fix it or bring you something else- cruises are not the time to eat things you aren't enjoying :)
Make sure to check the daily bulletin in your cabin- it gives you all the times of events- if there's something you really want to do that needs reservations/tickets- book it asap, because there are a LOT of people on the boats- this goes for shore excurions too
You can book shore excursions at the reservations desk, online before you go, or on your TV in the cabin
You can also track your bill on the TV- I strongly advise this so you don't let your bill "sneak up" on you- I've seen FAR too many 1st time cruisers getting "card happy" and cheerfully charging drinks with souvenier cups, knick-knacks, shore excursions, fancy coffees, specialty dining reservations, etc- without sitting down and adding it all up. Don't get carried away with it - check it every night and remember that charging to the room is as bad as handing over cash. You might think you "know" that, but first-cruise syndrome can suck you in. This goes double for kids- you should also be able to "lock down" the account to a certain limit, if I remember rightly.
Make sure your kids (and you) know that the offered drinks at poolside, etc, are NOT free- they'll often word that a little sneakily "would you like to try a mango tango smoothie"... then ask for your charge info.
This isn't meant to be a downer- there's TONS to do and eat that's included- I just like to warn people to watch out that they don't mess up a fun vacation with pricy extras they don't realize add up fast onboard :)
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katycoo

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 10:28:57 PM »
If you have a kindle - take real books, too.  My screen broke on the 1st day of a 10 day cruise.

FYI: The ship I went on had a library.  I must preferred to use that than lug books around.

KenveeB

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 10:38:53 PM »
If you have a kindle - take real books, too.  My screen broke on the 1st day of a 10 day cruise.

FYI: The ship I went on had a library.  I must preferred to use that than lug books around.

Yeah, but they don't necessarily have good books. The last two I've been on didn't have many I was interested in. But I must admit I bought my Kindle specifically after a cruise where I ran out of books too soon. :)

wheeitsme

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 10:42:02 PM »
If you have a kindle - take real books, too.  My screen broke on the 1st day of a 10 day cruise.

FYI: The ship I went on had a library.  I must preferred to use that than lug books around.

Yeah, but they don't necessarily have good books. The last two I've been on didn't have many I was interested in. But I must admit I bought my Kindle specifically after a cruise where I ran out of books too soon. :)

And that's what a kindle is good for!

I did get a few books out of the library, but they weren't the ones I wanted.

Dazi

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Re: Just booked a cruise ! first time ! any tips ?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 11:31:00 PM »
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  You'll be walking a lot.   :D

Dramamine or some other motion sickness medication.

A tip I learned from my MIL...mostly pack underthings that are on there last leg, socks, underwear, bras and just toss them after you wear them.  Makes for more souvenir room and less laundry when you get home.

Don't overeat.  There is food everywhere.

Don't try to do everything or you'll need a vacation from your vacation.
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