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First cruise - I need your HELP!

First cruise - I need your HELP!

Old 09-19-2013, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Standing in front of Walmart begging for fat quarters
Posts: 1,056

Michelle, super helpful! Not sure I would ever go on a cruise...super Howard Hugh-ish about germs and stuff. Super neat that heronfan asked those questions...great questions!
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: central Indiana
Posts: 1,166

Michelle, Thank you so much for your information! We have never cruised but I hope we do once I retire next year. In the meantime, I will pass your info on to our youngest DD (24). She has been invited by her boyfriend's family (he is soon to be her fiancÚ ) next June. I know she will appreciate all your suggestions! And congratulations to the original poster of this thread! Maybe you can let us all know how the cruise went when you return?!!
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 311

I was on a Royal Caribbean at Halloween....the seasoned veterans all know to dress up for the dance party. The winning couple, and elderly couple, dressed as NUDES...seemed that they won year after year. So go wild: my suggestion, start making your costume: THE QUILT POLICE....now if that wouldn't make the BEST costume!!!!

Congratulations on your marriage to your HS Sweetheart. Aren't funerals interesting and memorable!!!
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 6,237

I love cruises, there a lots of activities on board, pools, usually some type of sporting activity like golf (mine had a rock climbing wall) they have entertainment, lounges, nightclubs, theater performances, good food. They also have daytime actvities. The excusions off the boat can be fun. Drinks and pictures, and tips will be the main added expense. I spent close to 500 dollars in just those things and I didn't drink much or buy a package. Can't help with location as I went to mexico but they are so much fun, one of the best times I have had in my life and look forward to another
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:05 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 489

We have taken 17 cruises, so I have learned a lot. Now I pack very little. A sport coat and several pairs of dress slacks for my husband, cargo pants or shorts when you get off the ship, and several pairs of comfortable shoes. For me t-shirts, shorts, cover-ups, black and white dress slacks and blouses for dinners and one "fancy" dress or as my Grandma used to say "Sunday go to meeting" dress or pant suit, white shoes, black shoes and a couple of swim suits. With the airlines charging for baggage now, we try to get most everything in one suitcase and a couple of carryons. You can if you choose rent evening clothes and tux on board. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:35 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 174

Lucky you! We've been on over 15 cruises and loved every one. As far as attire for formal night, almost anything goes, from nice pantsuit/dress to formal sparkly-all-over. We aren't "dress-up" people, so usually just wear what I consider Sunday church clothes, maybe with a jacket with some bling.

For excursions, we only go our own way if we know the island and know exactly what we want to do. Safety factor and punctuality factor as noted above. Beach excursions usually take you to a nice resort with amenities. On your own, you are limited to public areas that may/may not have amenities. We decide between beach, water activities like snorkeling, land sight-seeing (make sure the vehicle is air-cond and comfortable), and shopping on each island. Sometimes a combination. Each of these 4 islands have walk-to shopping at the port.

On board, be as active or lazy as you want. Learn a little about each island before you go. We put our tips on our ship account; drink tips are added to each drink purchase. We inform our credit card company that we will be out of the country so they won't question any charges we make. Be aware most cc's charge a foreign transaction fee. Last tip--you will have to pick up your bags to go thru customs. There are hundreds of black/gray bags, so put something distinctive on yours--like neon ribbons--to make it easy to locate them.

Bon voyage!
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 1,465

You are on a relocation trip where they are bringing the ship back south for the winter. Be aware that those first days at sea are going to be quite cool outside. We did this when they brought to ship North in May, for the summer and, I think you will have cooler weather in October coming from the North. Ship speed is faster on this leg, also. You cannot count on spending a lot of your time out on deck those first few days, except to hot tub. Not to worry there is plenty to do inside, or not. These are great trips. Do take advantage of the spa, at least one massage. Relax during the massage, though it will seem odd, at first. DO NOT get sucked into buying their very expensive spa products.
Coffee, tea, iced tea and iced water are free and always available up on buffet floor. If you are soft drink lover, I think the drink packages are worth it. My husband usually has a few beers in the evening and that is not enough to buy that package.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:38 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Greenwood, AR
Posts: 456

I absolutely LOVE cruising!! THE BEST vacations EVER!! The staff on the ships have one job (not really, they work like dogs), but they make sure you have the best adventure possible!! Always book ship based excursions, they make sure you are back to the ship in time and they are safe (or they wouldn't be offered) I love formal nights (Captain's dinner, etc) and make sure I have several formals with (I get mine at resale shops). The only cruise my husband went on with me (I usually go with my sister in laws) he ordered the Tux rental for formal nites and wore a sport jacket and slacks for the other dinner nights. We always ate in the dining room because I love being pampered (right down to placing your napkin on your lap as you sit down). By eating in the dining room each night your waiter knows your preferences and really makes an effort to see you have everything you want!! We also enjoyed sharing a dining table with "new friends", and getting to know people.
I have small manila envelopes and put tip money in each one and then give the envelopes to everyone on my last day on board...room steward, waiter, etc. I load all these envelopes ahead of the cruise and then add or take $$ out as I see fit based on their service. Google "cruise" books to read to get an idea of what it's like...they are really fun to read and give you an idea of what the staff really deal with.
I like to purchase a drinks package because it's so much cheaper...don't bother with a soda package because you can get drinks at the buffets. Read up everything you can find on cruises to make your first one your BEST EVER........ALSO get sea sick patches from the Doc...don't even attempt to go without them, no sense risking a rough voyage! ENJOY!!!!!
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Lena, Illinois
Posts: 25

I could only thing of two items you didn't mention. Some staterooms have a refrigerator. You could by soft drinks , liquor shoreside and keep in your fridge for drinks while in your cabin or on your balcony - if your cabin has one. The other would be to make sure you have a passport and it will not expire while you are on your trip, if so, get it renewed ahead of time.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Blaine, WA
Posts: 955

Congrats on your marriage and honeymoon cruise. We have cruised a lot.. My advice is to lay out all you want to take, then put half of it back in your closet. Seriously!! THEN, take a good look @ what you have left. If you don't plan on wearing it a least 3 times (per Rick Steves-BTW take a look at his website for all kinds of cool tips!) don't take it. NOBODY on the ship cares that you have worn the same shirt on day one, then day 4.... take at least 2 bathing suits, a cover up (you are not allowed in the lunch buffet in just your suit!). As far as Formal nights.... they aren't as formal as they used to be back in the "DAY"!! So you will see everything from ball gowns/tuxedos to street clothes. Your husband will need one sports jacket, (some lines won't let men in dining if they don't have jacket and tie!on) a tie (reversible would be fine!) and 2 dress shirts in case one gets lobster butter on it. A nice pair of black dress slacks and a few glitzy tops, maybe cute little black sweater for you will be just fine. That little black cocktail dress with some accessories will work too! Casual is great for excursions, make sure you have comfy shoes or sandals. a light weight fleece and rain jacket is a must. You never know when that tropical rain is gonna hit. Plus the air conditioning on the ship can be dern COLD.. If you plan on Zumba, Pilates, or ?? in the gym - take appropriate wear. The key is to pack LIGHT and wear the same clothes at least 3 times. Don't overpack! My husband & I flew from Seattle to Dulles then to London for 3 days, bused to ship then on to Paris, Lisbon Portugal then to Tenerife Canary Islands.. We were gone for 14 days and we each had ONE carry on bag each... We were traveling with a group of friends and they were amazed that we just had that one suit case each.... They all wanted packing lessons.... You can always was undies or socks etc in your cabin sink if necessary. Many cruise lines only have PAY FOR laundry services. Holand America does have washers and dryers on each deck but they are ALWAYS busy! You are there to have FUN! You don't want to be balancing lots of luggage, especially getting on and off the ship! As far as alcohol - it is expensive now matter how you look at it. Not sure about discount cards. I know they have punch cards for soda pop. you'll just have to ASK. Some lines will allow you to bring beer and wine aboard @ no charge. Check with your line! have a great time and if you need some more advice please PM me......
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