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-   -   First cruise - I need your HELP! (https://www.quiltingboard.com/general-chit-chat-non-quilting-talk-f7/first-cruise-i-need-your-help-t230587.html)

heronfan 09-19-2013 06:40 AM

First cruise - I need your HELP!
Hi everyone,
After being married for 25 years and divorced for 12, I met my high school sweetheart at his dad's funeral about 4 years ago. On June 29th I married him. He has surprised me with a cruise that leaves the end of October and goes from Boston to Aruba, Barbados, Curacao and St. Kitts and finally goes to Tampa where will fly back to San Antonio, TX. I have never been on a cruise and he has only been on 1 other many years ago.

We are sailing on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. I've heard some things about wearing formal wear, always needing to wear a dress or pants suits for dinner. What else do I bring to wear? Oh, and we will be on board ship on Halloween.

We also want to get off the ship and look around but aren't sure of any of the trips the boat "sponsors". We would just like to go to the beach and maybe walk around the towns.

If you don't buy an alcoholic drink package what is the cost of an average drink? Have you ever had any of the services like massage on board? Spending money? Is there really much to do on board while we are sailing (first 3 days are at sea)?

If anyone has recently been on a cruise or been to these locations I could really use your help! Any suggestions, tips and hints would be appreciated! Thanks...Pat

Tartan 09-19-2013 07:25 AM

You can't go wrong wth a black dress for formal with sparkling accessories. If you can find a fabric witches hat that can be folded flat, it can also double as your Halloween costume. I've never been on a cruise as I get sea sick on the Great Lakes.:D

tessagin 09-19-2013 07:36 AM

Sorry can't help you. I prefer to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. I hate flying and have only done it for very special/bitter sweet occasions. Have fun though.

sall 09-19-2013 07:51 AM

Hi, it always depends on the cruise line you go with. Formal nights are dressy nights, with gents always wearing jacket and tie. Some cruise lines have a dress code, others do not. Your booking agent should be able to help you, I have found that in the back pages of the cruise brochure it will suggest what to wear on formal, casual, or semi formal nights. \tours bought on board are always quite expensive, and a lot you can do yourself, but always remember, that if you are on a ship tour, you will always get back to the ship before it sails. On DIY tours, if you are not back at sailing time, the ship has no obligation to wait for you.
Treatments at the spa are usually expensive, but there is always plenty to do on sea days, this is always my favourite part of the cruise.
Just enjoy yourself, and remember nobody is going to turn you away from any event because you are not dressed to their recommendations.
Have a great time.

DogHouseMom 09-19-2013 08:02 AM

Lucky girl!! Congrats on your recent marriage!

You really need to check with the cruise line about the specific cruise you are on. It should tell you if there is a formal night, a halloween costume night, and the port excursions they offer (either free or paid).

It's been a number of years since I've been on a cruise, but all of the above information was available at that time.

I have not heard of a purchasing a "drinks package" ... this must be something new to provide a lower fare for those that will not partake in alcohol beverages. Good idea as why should they foot the bill for the drinkers. As such, I have no idea how much drinks would cost if purchased as our package was all inclusive. Again though ... the cruise line should be able to provide this.

Have fun!

francie yuhas 09-19-2013 08:04 AM

I love cruising! You unpack once...and your time is your own. I take a black pants outfit and jazz it up with sparkles for dress night...there is always an alternative casual place to eat those nites. We usually take the ship- based excursions...they are regulated and have great opportunities. Ship board days are my fave..there is an activity of some sort all day long,a chance to read a good book( sew hexxies for your GMFG), nap,hang out. The best time to get spa stuff done is while ship is in port- less expensive. Have a great time!

ptquilts 09-19-2013 08:13 AM

Instead of signing up for an expensive tour that the ship offers, it is often cheaper to hire a cab to take you to the same places. On your own, it is much easier to meet local people, if that is what you like to do.

The cruise I was on, drinks were fairly expensive. I did not indulge.

michelleoc 09-19-2013 08:25 AM

Oh, congratulations on your first cruise!! You will love it! We've cruised Royal Caribbean numerous times and really liked it. A nice dress for formal nights is fine. You'll see the whole gamut, tuxes, suits, dresses, pant suits. One one of the cruises we took, we decided we didn't want to do formal nights so we just went to the buffet those nights. Comfortable shoes are the most important thing - you'll be walking a lot on the ship, as well as on shore. Shorts/pants and t-shirts during the day.

The advantage of taking a tour sponsored by the cruise line, if you are late getting back for any reason, the ship will wait for you. If you go with an independent cruise company and your bus breaks down or something, the ship will leave without you. Look through all your options and decide what you are most interested in. If you are into snorkeling, etc. the packages are pretty much the same for each island. Or you could take an island tour, just to get the flavor of the places you are visiting. Most of the cruise ships dock close to the town, so you can go walk around on your own.

The cruise ships are all "cashless" now, meaning everything gets charged to your room and you get a surprisingly ginormous bill at the end of the cruise! Two years ago, when we traveled Royal Caribbean, was the first time we had to pay for soft drinks, that was surprising. You used to only have to pay for alcohol, but they want to get money from you whenever they can. If they offer a drinks package, sit down and figure out how many drinks you might drink in a day and compare it to the price of the package. Usually, if you buy the package ahead of time, you don't have to pay the 15% gratuity. They automatically add that to each drink when you get them separately on board. Sometimes the cruise line lets you bring your own bottled water on board. We've done that and it saves us a lot of money.

Massages - they are fabulous on some cruises, so-so on others. It just depends upon how good the masseuse is.

Keep some money aside to pay tips at the end of the cruise - wait staff, dining room manager, room stewards, it seems everyone has their hands out. That NORMALLY ensures you get treated well. We are taking a cruise in November on a line that doesn't allow tipping. Should be interesting to see how we are treated on that ship.

Things to do on board. Aside from the regular stuff like swimming, sunbathing, shopping on board, they usually have a lot of stuff to do. Bingo, cooking demonstrations, island information meetings. But my favorite? TRIVIA! They usually have two or three trivia games a day, sometimes they are themed. Play by yourselves, join groups - whatever your heart desires. We have met some of the nicest people that we played trivia with all week. Let me tell you, people take their trivia playing seriously! All for a Royal Caribbean key chain! you can do as much, or as little, as you want on board.

Will there be a costume party or something for Halloween? If you can fit something in your suitcase, great. Play on words are easy costumes: Write BOOK on your forehead (Facebook), use face paint to paint a black eye and color a large letter P on your shirt (black-eyed pea), wear a slip and put a nametag on that says Freud (Freudian slip), glue cotton all over yourself and carry a small spray bottle of water (cloudy with a chance of showers. Squirt people when they ask what you are), print a picture of a past or the present Queen, put it on a piece of cardboard to make it last longer, attach a string to it and drag it behind you (drag queen), wear scrubs and borrow a pepper mill on the ship and use a string to tie it around your neck (Dr. Pepper), put a cereal box around your neck with ribbon. Stick a fake knife through it (serial killer). Wear a hat with a leaf hanging on it in front of your face. Blow on it when people ask who you are (leaf blower). Attach random clothing articles all over you (static cling). Buy a pig nose at a costume shop - borrow a sheet on board and wear it like a toga (pig latin - speak igpay atinlay all night). Just a few thoughts.

Packing for the trip - I've found that I never wear everything that I take. Sometimes you'll put on something just to wear to dinner. You can certainly wear that again another evening. I pack and then take out 1/3 of what I've packed. Make a copy of your passports just in case they get lost. You usually have a safe in the room that you can keep them in, along with any other valuables. You can usually empty your suitcases and hang things up/put them in drawers and store the suitcases under the bed and out of the way.

Things to bring - an over-the-door shoe hanger has been our lifesaver. The rooms are so small and there is never any storage in the bathroom. I put all our medications, suntan lotions, combs, razors, etc. in the hanger over the bathroom drawer. Bring a power strip. There are never enough plugs for things in the rooms, especially if you want to keep Kindles, Nooks, iPads, iphones, etc. charged. A small sewing kit (just in case). Bonine in case you are afraid of getting seasick (better than Dramamine because it doesn't make you tired). Febreeze. If you are a big coffee drinker - bring your own giant bubba cup to fill up and carry around with you.

Just a suggestion - Loooonnnnnggggg hallways of doors. I always go to the dollar store before a trip, pick up some magnets and some decorations to decorate our cabin door. Or you can make a clever sign and put it on the door. It makes it easier to find your room.

That's all I can think of right now. Sorry it's so long-winded, but mention 'cruise' to me and I'm off! Have a safe and wonderful trip!

Grandma Bonnie 09-19-2013 09:15 AM

Michelle ~ I'm not even planning on going on a cruise and I enjoyed ready your response!! Thanks! It'll come in handy if I ever do go!

QltrSue 09-19-2013 03:07 PM

The best advice someone passed on to us was to relax and have fun. Don't worry about what others are thinking of you because you will never see them again!!! Have a great time! We LOVE cruising....the fort on St. Kitts is neat with breath-taking views.

sew_Tracy 09-19-2013 03:12 PM

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!

Pam B 09-19-2013 04:41 PM

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?!!

SmickChick 09-19-2013 05:00 PM

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!!!

Dolphyngyrl 09-19-2013 06:31 PM

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

kyquiltlover1942 09-20-2013 03:05 AM

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.

mimim 09-20-2013 04:35 AM

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!

alwayslearning 09-20-2013 04:50 AM

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.

DebbieG 09-20-2013 07:38 AM

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!!!!!

CDimiceli 09-20-2013 10:12 AM

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.

borntoquilt 09-20-2013 11:01 AM

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......

T. 09-20-2013 12:31 PM

Wow, I have never been on a cruise because I get sea sick. But I love your suggestions; if I ever brave enough to try it. Thanks a million!

busygranny 09-20-2013 04:06 PM

I've been on many cruises and I love them all, Alaska being our favorite. The first thing I do when I get on board, is head for the consiers (I think) desk and have the 18% gratuities taken off my bill, I will tip according to service. Some that they charge you gratuities for is you don't even see them. I've had no problems having the charges taken off. And they do not question you or try to keep them on. All cruise lines have been very acomadating to my request.

heronfan 09-20-2013 08:26 PM

I can not thank each of you enough for all your suggestions. I promise to use them all. For me this is a trip of a lifetime as I have always wanted to go on a cruise. Each of my 4 children were lucky to have this experience with their high school band. I was more than jealous. Can't wait and thanks again.

susanlh 09-20-2013 08:45 PM

I have been on quite a few cruises. Some of them have had very strict dress codes for dining room (Holland America for Alaskan cruise) Most are not as strict. I have done many on Royal Caribbean and never had an issue with the dining room attire as long as not shorts and flip flops. Even on "formal" night, my husband and I have gone to the dining room in casual clothes. I would recommend that you take some anti-nausea meds with you just in case you experience seasickness. They do sell bands you can wear on wrist if you don't want to take meds. Have fun and just spend time relaxing and renewing your love :)

Sandi 09-21-2013 03:35 AM

These are great suggestions and clever ideas. I'm going to make a copy of this to save..
Thank you. { not cruising yet}

mjsylvstr 09-21-2013 03:49 AM

Love cruising.......

And go on at least one a year. Yes, be assured, there is more to do onboard than you will be able to fit into your schedule.

We do not sign up & take the scheduled trips but usually get off the ship and do our own thing. We have taken some on-island trips by the local residents and have found them to be less expensive and also found them to be more interesting. The locals seem to know the places to go that the bigger trips can't get you into......

There is usually one big formal dinner evening but a lot of people don't do the "black tie" dress code.......if some evenings, we want to "just stay as is", we go to the lido deck and enjoy the "ever so large" buffet.

I don't believe all cruises offer the drink package, but we have never purchased one. We do enjoy our "wine time before & at dinner but just buy it at the time.....we have found that the prices are very much the same as the locals restaurants. The daily specials are something else or if one prefers a special brand, the price sometimes rises about that!!!

And last but not least....when at sea, casino is almost always open !!!!!!!!
And that can be very rewarding or then again, it may not, but is always fun.

Hope this helps........

grma33 09-21-2013 03:57 AM

lots of good advice. I`ve been on 2 not rc but hope to take rc out of Baltimore next year for our 45th! the first year took a suit coat for hubby {he hates dressing up} only used it once sec one din`t take it as long as he had long pants and a polo shirt he was fine to go in dinnig room as mjsylvstr said there is alternatives if you don`t want to eat at the dinning room every nite. they are so much fun have a blast and let us know how you liked it. Gale

sandy1953 09-21-2013 04:19 AM

yes there is a drink pkg... get one for the pop... or you will pay $4. a drink... the pkg is unlimited for only one person....lots of things to do. bring swimsuit,shorts, I found 2 long reversible dresses that worked great...4 outfits...for dinner...only one night is formal....(I think)...dress code was for men, dress pants, no jeans, you can wear shirts with collar, no tie if not formal...have fun and go to all the stuff they have... fun night, go esp.. to the last nite stuff.. at midnight... was wonderful

sparkys_mom 09-21-2013 05:01 AM

I've only been on one cruise and had a great time. I was seated with the same people every night for dinner. There was an additional charge for alcohol but a number of my dinner mates had brought bottles of their favorite beverage on board and had their cocktail in their cabin before joining us for dinner. The last night of the cruise one of them brought a bottle of wine to the table (also brought on board) to share a final glass of wine with all of us. I don't know if some cruise lines forbid that - kind of like not bringing your own snacks to the movie. :)
There was plenty to do on board at night with movies and broadway sketches and those were all free. This was an Alaskan cruise, so we were mostly sailing at night and staying in port all day. The days were long and it was never really dark but you have to sleep sometime. :) There were plenty of excursions that were included in the price of the cruise and I took some of those as well as some 'extras' and was pleased with both.
As far as dressing up, there wasn't all that much of that. The men wore suits and ties in the dining room but a nice dress or pant suit is fine for the ladies. And, as someone mentioned, there are alternatives to sitting in the main dining room where the 'dress code' is less restrictive.

coopah 09-21-2013 06:03 AM

We just finished our first cruise. We purchased a spa package on the first day and that allowed us to use the whirlpool/hot tub/sauna area as many times as we liked. We took formal wear for the two nights of such, and only dressed for one. We've eaten at plenty of formal dinners, so we only went to one of the formal nights. (The buffet food was just as good, but without the silver and china and servers.) With our cruise line, we paid (included in the package) a gratuity for each day, so we didn't need to tip anyone. You can easily spend money. There was a ship's store, art gallery, photography gallery. Trust me, you need to set a budget before ever stepping on the ship. There were entertainment shows, casinos, and lots to do while we were at sea. Our ship also had a library. I wore dressy slacks most days. Hope this helps! :-)

Jackie R 09-21-2013 10:35 AM

Originally Posted by heronfan (Post 6305560)
I can not thank each of you enough for all your suggestions. I promise to use them all. For me this is a trip of a lifetime as I have always wanted to go on a cruise. Each of my 4 children were lucky to have this experience with their high school band. I was more than jealous. Can't wait and thanks again.

You have received many terrific tips on cruise travel. One that I didn't see is when taking a side excursion trip on shore, it's usually better to book it through the cruise ship's service. Because if the side excursion runs a bit late, they will hold the cruise ship from sailing off since it's one of their sponsored side trips. Have a terrific time!

KathyKat 09-21-2013 06:02 PM

I've been on 7 cruises over about 25 yrs. I've never heard of an alcohol drinks pkg. The drinks are usually quite expensive but I don't drink much so I don't care. If you like wine some cruises let you purchase the bottle at dinner, then they'll store it for you and bring out at dinner when you want another glass. Some allow you to bring wine aboard and charge a corking fee to serve it to you. That's handy if you find some wine in a port that you'd like to try. I've known people to pack a bottle of booze in their suitcases and mix drinks in their room. It's not usually allowed but they are so busy trying to get everybody's luggage to the staterooms that I've never heard of anyone getting caught.
Usually there's one or 2 formal nights. Even a nice dressy pair of slacks with a dressy looking blouse or sweater and jewelry is acceptable on most cruises. Usually the cruise's website will have a link to "What to Wear". Most cruises have a meeting on the first full day to discuss the itinerary and things to do while ashore and most will sell various tours but you don't need to buy one if you are comfortable exploring on your own. You often get maps of the ports and good guidelines to keep you safe.
If the ship is large there will lots to do on board. Most will put a daily schedule of events in your room each night for the next day or have it on the TV monitor so you can choose what you would like to do.
If there's a chance you'll get seasick, go to a DR. beforehand and they'll give you something to prevent it.
And don't overpack. Plan your clothes so that the colors go with each other so you can mix and match and make several outfits out of few clothes
Most of all, relax and have fun!!

renee765 09-21-2013 07:00 PM

You have gotten a lot of great suggestions. My husband and I had gone on 9 cruises before I lost him, mostly on Royal Carribbean and Holland America. The only thing I can add to the great replies already made is my memory of our very first dinner in the dining room on our first cruise.

My husband and I were feeling intimidated, as we'd never been on a cruise before and assumed that the other 6 couples sharing our dining table were rich and did this kind of thing all the time. When we were seated at the table we saw so many knives, forks and spoons that we were worried we would do something wrong. As we were getting to know the other couples at the table, one of the other husbands said 'I have no idea what to do with all this silverware'. Well, that comment broke the ice, and we discovered that all of us were on our first cruise; two couples had won their cruises in a contest, another couple was gifted the cruise by their children, and the rest of us had saved for a very long time to go on a cruise. Everyone relaxed after that, and we had a great time talking about our day's experiences every night at dinner with this group.

Thankfully, the service staff would remove unneeded silver when you made your selections from the menu, and if you were still confused you just had to give them a look and they would discreetly point at the correct silverware to use for a particular dish when they placed it in front of you.

I guess the moral of the story is that most people worry more about how they appear to others than they worry about how others appear to them. So please don't avoid the elegant dining experiences - you'll have great company and a lovely experience.

PS: On another cruise, the two couples sharing our table weren't as open or easy going, but it became a lot of fun for my husband and I to take bets before we went to dinner on who would complain about what first, etc.

Jannie 09-21-2013 08:03 PM

I am not planning a cruise in the near future, but my daughter and son-in-law have their first one planned for next spring. I am passing on these suggestions knowing this will help them.

Lynnc 09-21-2013 11:56 PM

I have been to Aruba and Curacao both twice. Plus the other 2 places once. I love cruising. I am physically challenged. I use either a scooter or wheelchair. The cruise staff treat me like I'm special. The first time I was in Curacao in 1999 I took a jeep ride around the island. I picture the island all green and lush. Not this island. Because it is in the shadow of South America they don't get that much rain fall. so the interior has cactus and looked like a desert. We stopped for lunch and on the menu was iguana. I didn't get it but kick myself now just so I can say I tried it. The main town is so cute. It was a Dutch Island so it looks Dutch. Every building is painted brightly. Go on the internet and look these places up. You can even have them send you stuff. Enjoy.

nstitches4u 09-22-2013 12:10 PM

The only cruise I have been on was on our 45th anniversary 3 years ago. We flew to Los Angeles and then to Honolulu where we boarded the Norwegian cruise ship, Pride of America and cruised from island to island. That cruise was "freestyle" so there were no formal requirements. The ship had 4 nice restaurants and 2 large dining rooms, so we had our choice of where we wanted to eat and what kind of food we wanted We did dress up for a special dinner in one of the nicer restuurants on our anniversary. Different cruise lines have different dress codes. Your travel agent should be able to tell you. You will love cruising. Enjoy!

The only thing I would do differently is not book so many day trips at port stops. We had a day trip every day except the last day (7 day cruise) and we were exhausted. They also had a lot of daily activities on the ship that we missed because we left the ship early in the morning and returned in time for dinner in the evening. (and the onboard activities were included in the price of the cruise---the day trips were extra.


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