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Old 12-15-2013, 09:55 PM
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My first cruise - advice sought!

In a few weeks I will be going on my first cruise. It leaves from Baltimore and stops in Florida and the Bahamas. I am traveling with friends that have been on cruises before, but not in the wintertime. What I'm struggling with is how to prepare to dress on the boat while it's at sea, before we hit the warm weather. Do I want to bring sweaters as if it's cold outside, or am I likely to be comfortable in a tee shirt since I don't imagine I'll go on deck in those first two travel days? I am an anxious packer as it is, and I need guidance! Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:54 PM
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One big concern on cruise ships is norovirus. Not to scare you but here are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
Quote:
The good news about norovirus is that it does not multiply in foods as many bacteria do. [5, 31, 33] In addition, thorough cooking destroys this virus. [5, 25] To avoid norovirus, make sure the food you eat is cooked completely. [5, 9, 10] While traveling in in areas that have polluted water sources, raw vegetables should be washed thoroughly before being served, and travelers should drink only boiled drinks or carbonated bottled beverages without ice. [9, 16]

Shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) pose the greatest risk and any particular serving may be contaminated with norovirus; there is no way to detect a contaminated oyster, clam, or mussel from a safe one. [5, 31] Shellfish become contaminated when their waters become contaminated—e.g., when raw sewage is dumped overboard by recreational or commercial boaters). [19, 33] Shellfish are filter feeders and will concentrate virus particles present in their environment. With shellfish, only complete cooking offers reliable protection; steaming does not kill the virus or prevent its transmission. [19] Some researchers suggest that norovirus monitoring in shellfish areas could be a good preventive strategy as well. [22] Waterborne norovirus outbreaks are ubiquitous, but difficult to recognize. Improved analysis of environmental samples would have the potential to significantly improve the detection for norovirus in shellfish waters. [20]

Finally, and as briefly mentioned earlier, outbreaks of norovirus infections have become synonymous with cruise ships. [7, 8, 36] Healthcare facilities also experience a high incidence of norovirus outbreaks. [6, 30, 35]The CDC has published information regarding the prevention of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships and in healthcare facilities on its website. [6, 7] Once a case has occurred, even more stringent hygienic measures than normal are required in order to prevent an outbreak, particularly on an enclosed space such as a cruise ship. [17]


Last edited by deltasigma; 12-15-2013 at 10:56 PM.
Old 12-15-2013, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramamalana View Post
In a few weeks I will be going on my first cruise. It leaves from Baltimore and stops in Florida and the Bahamas. I am traveling with friends that have been on cruises before, but not in the wintertime. What I'm struggling with is how to prepare to dress on the boat while it's at sea, before we hit the warm weather. Do I want to bring sweaters as if it's cold outside, or am I likely to be comfortable in a tee shirt since I don't imagine I'll go on deck in those first two travel days? I am an anxious packer as it is, and I need guidance! Thanks in advance!
I presume you'll be cruising on Royal Caribbean. Even if you don't plan to go on deck, bring some warm clothing. The doors to the decks get opened and closed all day and you will feel the cool (cold?) breeze as you're walking up and down the steps in the corridors. Also, your muster station may be outside. If your stateroom has a balcony, you may have occasion to open it. It is not that much of a hassle to bring a few extra pieces of warm-wear, and you may be happy you did.
Old 12-15-2013, 11:01 PM
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I'd bring something. Just the ocean mist being kicked up and the speed of the boat in motion is enough to give a chill in pretty much any weather. Normally, however the top decks are walled off so common areas such as the pool decks are usually pretty calm. More unprotected areas, however, can get quite windy.
Old 12-15-2013, 11:15 PM
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I would bring a wind breaker or something like that. The weather will vary quite a bit.
Once you get close to Florida, it'll be t-shirt and shorts weather, most likely - We hit 85 degrees today. Of course, it'll be cooler in a few weeks.

So yeah..I'd plan for some cold days, and some really nice days. But you can typically get anywhere you need to by staying inside, if that's your preference.
Old 12-16-2013, 01:44 AM
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Advice: Don't be late getting back to the boat after excursions. The boat waits for no one.
Old 12-16-2013, 03:00 AM
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Bring some warm clothing, because going out on a nearly deserted deck is fun.

Yes you can get sick, but you can get sick anywhere. Cruises are kind of paranoid in making people use hand cleaners before going into eat. I've been on five and have only gotten sick once - but that was from Greece in the cold rain, nothing from the ship.

And have fun.
Old 12-16-2013, 03:32 AM
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They nail you on the cost of drinks. If you plan on even a moderate amount of drinking, it's worth it to smuggle your own aboard.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Advice: Don't be late getting back to the boat after excursions. The boat waits for no one.
People always say this but it is not true. The Captain will hold the ship a reasonable amount of time after the scheduled departure for late-returning passengers.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
They nail you on the cost of drinks. If you plan on even a moderate amount of drinking, it's worth it to smuggle your own aboard.
This is bad and potentially devastating advice to give someone. Yes, the drinks on board are somewhat overpriced but if you know you are going to have alcoholic beverages more than simply occasionally, then you should consider a drinks package, which will lower your costs.

Many cruise lines have strict policies regarding smuggling alcoholic beverages aboard and increasingly effective measures for detecting smuggled contraband. If caught, a passenger can suffer confiscation, which would be a best case scenario, fines, and, in some cases, ejection from the ship.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
...in some cases, ejection from the ship.
This guy was caught with a fifth of tequila on my last cruise.


mmm
Old 12-16-2013, 07:14 AM
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Have a look at the cruise critic forum, you will find the answer for every question, and more.http://boards.cruisecritic.com/

Can someone tell me how to put the link in a highlighted word please?
Old 12-16-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Duke of York View Post
Can someone tell me how to put the link in a highlighted word please?
Here's how to create an embedded link that refers to the website xyz:

Here's an example of an <url=xyz>embedded link</url>.

(But instead of '<' and '>', use '[' and ']'.)
Old 12-16-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Duke of York View Post
Have a look at the cruise critic forum, you will find the answer for every question, and more.http://boards.cruisecritic.com/
Use Cruise Critic with your eyes fully open and mind fully engaged. They have a tendency to remove posts and delete whole threads if they contain either too much negative information, factual or not, or too much criticism of a cruise line or its practices, warranted or not, Costa Concordia notwithstanding. There's information certain cruise lines don't want put out for public consumption, or emphasized, and Cruise Critic toes that line.

The above stated, Cruise Critic is a very good resource for cruising information. Just don't go in believing you will get the whole story on controversial issues.
Old 12-16-2013, 10:37 AM
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Cruise critic was a great source of information for me when planning our first cruise last year.

Keep in mind that everything expressed there is a single persons opinion but when reading them all you can get a pretty good sense of what to expect. There are roll call forums so you can connect with people who are actually going to be on your sailing.

I would definitely bring a sweater and a windbreaker so you've got options as you move around the ship. At this time of year you also need to understand that although warm sunny days are normal for the Caribbean they are not guaranteed and you may find a use for that sweater after the sun goes down even when you're there.
Old 12-16-2013, 11:24 AM
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Cruise Critic is a good resource to get an idea of what's going on on your ship and for notices about little things that you should try (or avoid).

I've not been on the ships out of Baltimore, but I assume the shows are fairly similar to the ships out of Boston. There is one stage show (Broadway to West End, or something like that) that is… um… unique. It is terrifically bad. So much so that on our second Royal Caribbean cruise we absolutely had to see it again!

The food on the ship is good, not great, but good. My tip would be to try one of the up charge restaurants on the first night. In my experience, the first night in the main dining room is very very slow. It kind of makes sense since all the waiters need to greet everyone and make a bit of small talk (and try to sell wine packages). Also, for some reason, most people avoid the up charge restaurants on the first night, so if you do go on the first night, you get great service.

Now I'm jealous. Have a great trip!
Old 12-16-2013, 11:27 AM
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I went on my first ocean cruise this year (I had done a Nile cruise a couple years ago, and there are some similarities, but really a lot of differeneces). It turns out that cruises aren't my style of vacation, to each their own really. But having said that, it was still a good time. Here are my suggestions based on my one cruise (maybe more experienced cruisers can amend these):

1) Pack motion sickness items. I get motion sickness just reading a paragraph in a moving car so I got Dramamine before I left. It wasn't just the slight rocking of the boat, it was that our view was just above the waterline and there was enough bobbing that could've caused a problem. I ended up being fine though.

2) Dress in layers. It's easier and allows you more variety. Pack a similar color/style so you can mix and match as needed.

3) Get your budget in mind. Understand that, depending on the ship, there are lots of extras that are not really known in advance. Are you OK drinking water for the whole trip or do you want a soft drink package? Or an alcohol package? Even for those who get the all-you-can-drink special, it can mean long waits to get to the bartender. Then there are tips and excursions and more tips. There are also things like casinos and photos that will add up more money. And tips.

4) Make all communications at the ports while you can. Calling from the ship is really expensive.

5) Manage your expectations with regards to the food. The regular restaurants were buffet style and the fancy restaurants were waiter served. Most of the food I had was pretty basic food that was not adventurous. (That's the nice way of saying bland.)

6) Bring something to do. Yes, the ship is full of lots of things like eating or sitting by the pool and eating, or walking back and forth to the room between eating. I brought a couple books and some board games that saved the cold and rainy afternoon at sea.

7) Pack some earplugs if you're a light sleeper. There are some long hallways and there are some rooms right by the elevators. If you're in a room by the elevator, you'll probably experience a noisier time.

8) Expect lines boarding and exiting the ship. These are floating cities with narrow people funnels.
Old 12-16-2013, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
People always say this but it is not true. The Captain will hold the ship a reasonable amount of time after the scheduled departure for late-returning passengers.
It is true:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=B-yrsXsJmbw

http://youtube.com/watch?v=B-yrsXsJmbw

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TG7odVonYhU
Old 12-16-2013, 11:55 AM
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Make sure that the lifeboat drills are done. look at what happened on the "Titanic"-wear warm clothing if your ship hits an iceberg!
Old 12-16-2013, 11:59 AM
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Your videos aside, I can tell you from personal experience on more than one cruise line that ships will hold for a reasonable amount of time, at captains' discretion of course, for late returnees from excursions.
Old 12-16-2013, 12:06 PM
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I did a Carnival cruise out of Baltimore this year. Had a great time. (Our was the one that went to Half Moon Cay, and Grand Turk. If your ship goes to Half Moon, my main bit of advice would be to RUN not walk to the Excursion desk and demand a cabana. It'll set you back $250 but it will make your whole vacation.

Don't be afraid to try new things - go ahead and order the escargot (or whatever) at dinner. I usually held myself back to one fancy alcoholic drink per day, just because they do get expensive.

Last edited by Sarabellum1976; 12-16-2013 at 12:07 PM.
Old 12-16-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Your videos aside, I can tell you from personal experience on more than one cruise line that ships will hold for a reasonable amount of time, at captains' discretion of course, for late returnees from excursions.
Yes, late returners from the cruise line-endorsed excursions. NOT Joe Blow who was bad with time management and is late back to the ship. They will leave without you. You need to be at least in line to get aboard by sailing time.
Old 12-16-2013, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
People always say this but it is not true. The Captain will hold the ship a reasonable amount of time after the scheduled departure for late-returning passengers.
I once saw some irrate people left behind - the boat was still there, but the doors had closed and they wouldn't open them back up. They pulled out, embarked, whatever, a minute or two after I started observing the scene, so I'm sure they had already waited, but they definitely left with 2 women screaming at them from the pier.
Old 12-16-2013, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Your videos aside, I can tell you from personal experience on more than one cruise line that ships will hold for a reasonable amount of time, at captains' discretion of course, for late returnees from excursions.
What I seem to remember is that the ship will wait for a cruise-sponsored excursion, but not folks who go off to do their own thing. It was touted as one of the advantages to booking the $50 snorkel excursion instead of getting a cab to the beach and renting your own equipment for a fraction of the price.

Last edited by SmellMyWort; 12-16-2013 at 12:19 PM.
Old 12-16-2013, 12:39 PM
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Back to the alcohol. Every cruise line is different, but usually you can bring a bottle of wine each in your luggage and you will be okay. If you have a flask on you I doubt they will take it, but maybe. My real advice is to order wine from their bon voyage selection. You can often get a good bottle for $25 and have them delivered to your stateroom, you can also order a bottle of scotch or whatever. This is much cheaper than buying drinks by the glass. Also corkage has always been included, meaning you can have the wine delivered to the dining room for your meals, and there will be no extra charge.
Old 12-16-2013, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Your videos aside, I can tell you from personal experience on more than one cruise line that ships will hold for a reasonable amount of time, at captains' discretion of course, for late returnees from excursions.
So your recommendation to the OP is to get chummy with the ship captain during the first evening, and then not worry about departure times but to do their excursions at their leisure? Sage advice...ignorance fought.

"your videos aside..." What does that mean? Please, ignore actual evidence of people being left behind, just because you said it was untrue?

Last edited by Omar Little; 12-16-2013 at 01:18 PM.
Old 12-16-2013, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
This is bad and potentially devastating advice to give someone. Yes, the drinks on board are somewhat overpriced but if you know you are going to have alcoholic beverages more than simply occasionally, then you should consider a drinks package, which will lower your costs.

Many cruise lines have strict policies regarding smuggling alcoholic beverages aboard and increasingly effective measures for detecting smuggled contraband. If caught, a passenger can suffer confiscation, which would be a best case scenario, fines, and, in some cases, ejection from the ship.
Yeah, if you've got no smuggling skills.

Fill an empty Listerine bottle with gin or vodka and add a few drops of blue and green food coloring. They are not going to quaff your mouth wash. Or fill a camelbak and keep it in your backpack/purse when you board - preferably in a hard to find pouch, in a stuffed bag, with loose tampons next to it. This isn't SDMB-banned criminal advice; you're breaking policy, not law. The staff is concerned with weapons and hard drugs. Worst case scenario, you've lost a fifth of something. The Love Boat is not going to keelhaul your ass.
Old 12-16-2013, 01:50 PM
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Maybe people who go to extreme lengths to avoid buying booze at ship prices can't really afford a cruise? Everything does get X-rayed, and I rather suspect they've seen it all before.

As for restaurants, it depends on the line. For NCL there is a buffet with mediocre stuff, but the main dining rooms are reasonably good, with fast service. If you reserve and come early you get seated by the aft window, especially good when we left Malta.
We looked at the charge restaurants, but none of them seemed worth it. I suppose some are exotic if you come from Idaho, but in the Bay Area we can go to excellent restaurants for all types of food.
Old 12-16-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
This is bad and potentially devastating advice to give someone. Yes, the drinks on board are somewhat overpriced but if you know you are going to have alcoholic beverages more than simply occasionally, then you should consider a drinks package, which will lower your costs.

Many cruise lines have strict policies regarding smuggling alcoholic beverages aboard and increasingly effective measures for detecting smuggled contraband. If caught, a passenger can suffer confiscation, which would be a best case scenario, fines, and, in some cases, ejection from the ship.
Check with the cruise line. We were on a Celebrity Alaska cruise in July, that was preceded by a land tour. The land tour guide told us explicitly that they allowed 2 bottles of wine per cabin to be brought onboard. No hard liquor and no beer, but wine bottles were ok. We brought a couple of 750ml bottles of hard cider, and had no problem.

And the drink prices were not ridiculously high, IMHO. About what you pay in a mid-priced restaurant--more than a dive bar, but much less than, say, Disney World. All the available pre-paid drink plans would have required us to drink non-stop from dawn to dusk (and this was Alaska in the summer) to make them worth it.
Old 12-16-2013, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Maybe people who go to extreme lengths to avoid buying booze at ship prices can't really afford a cruise? Everything does get X-rayed, and I rather suspect they've seen it all before.

As for restaurants, it depends on the line. For NCL there is a buffet with mediocre stuff, but the main dining rooms are reasonably good, with fast service. If you reserve and come early you get seated by the aft window, especially good when we left Malta.
We looked at the charge restaurants, but none of them seemed worth it. I suppose some are exotic if you come from Idaho, but in the Bay Area we can go to excellent restaurants for all types of food.
If it's passingly condescending, teetotaling, elitist I must be on the SDMB.
Old 12-16-2013, 02:05 PM
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Personal experience leaving from Fort Lauderdale just last week. The port authority confiscated my liter "water" bottle because it had been opened. The cruise line (Carnival) did not check my replacement liter bottle at first port of call, so I was out about ten dollars worth of gin and missed one day of drinking on my own supply. (My vermouth was in a mouthwash bottle with my toiletries kit.)

I am accustomed to departing from New York and have never previously had an issue with my smuggling.

My Wife packed her extra in "Rum Runners" plastic flasks in our checked luggage, no problem. The line allows us one bottle of wine per adult in the cabin, carried in our carry-on luggage. The regulations state a 750ml bottle each; we have been carrying on 1.5 liter bottles without incident.

Most lines will confiscate unopened bottles and return them at the end of the cruise. Opened contraband will be disposed of. Don't act or look like a jerk and you can get away with a lot.

For the cruise itself? Eat somethign different, play the trivia games. go to tea, sing karaoke, go to the show and the comedy club, go to the sing-a-long at the piano bar, sleep on a deck chair, and play a game of putt-putt on the top deck while underway in the wind. bring soem nice clothes to play dress-up for dinner, spend the rest of the day in your bathing suit or the robe from the cabin, bring a windbreaker for wandering the decks at night. Take advantage of room service, eat at the fancy restaurant for breakfast, and avoid the casino.

Have fun.
Old 12-16-2013, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Many cruise lines have strict policies regarding smuggling alcoholic beverages aboard and increasingly effective measures for detecting smuggled contraband. If caught, a passenger can suffer confiscation, which would be a best case scenario, fines, and, in some cases, ejection from the ship.
Or you can book at a level above steerage and get waved through both boarding and port inspection lines. I've never been hassled over bringing a bottle of my preferred bourbon or bringing purchases back on board.
Old 12-16-2013, 03:00 PM
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As someone who's never been on a cruise - and is unlikely ever to be - I ask the following:

On what basis can the ship prevent you from carrying wine, etc. that you bought and own to a stateroom you have paid for? Is there anything more to this than "If we make you agree to be searched as a condition of boarding, and if we confiscate your wine, we can make more money" ?
Old 12-16-2013, 03:08 PM
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On what basis?
It is part of the contract you sign when you book the cruise. A private business (which a cruise ship is) has every right to restrict the behaviour of its customers, especially in a closed environment, in the interest of safety for all.
Old 12-16-2013, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Xema View Post
On what basis can the ship prevent you from carrying wine, etc. that you bought and own to a stateroom you have paid for?
They own the boat and the stateroom. You are a guest. Owners make the rules. If the guest doesn't like the rules, you don't have to be a guest.
Old 12-16-2013, 03:47 PM
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Shuffleboard, on a ship, takes on a whole new dimension. You can actually hit something is blocked by another by timing the 'swinging' side to side of the ship! Was great fun but YMMV as the seas were rougher that cruise and the shuffleboard was up on the highest deck of the ship.
Old 12-16-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickG View Post
All the available pre-paid drink plans would have required us to drink non-stop from dawn to dusk (and this was Alaska in the summer) to make them worth it.
So it sounds like it is worth it then.
Old 12-16-2013, 05:20 PM
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On the don't miss the boat - don't miss the boat - they will hold the ship for a ship sponsored excursion - but they pay heavy fees to the port for sitting there, so they aren't holding it unless they are going to be responsible one way or the other. They aren't responsible because you decided to have one more margarita at Señor Frogs and then stopped because you saw some lovely emerald earrings you HAD to have on your way back.

On alcohol - some lines care more than others. Disney LETS YOU bring your own booze on board. They also have free soda. So know your ship.

Set your expectations appropriately on dining in terms of quality, but be prepared to eat like hobbits if you want. Get up and have room service, stroll up to the breakfast buffet, have a mid morning snack, go to the buffet for lunch, the snack bar at two and again at four, make your dinner seating, and then have room service at midnight. Most likely none of the food will be great, but there will be enough of it for you to be able to hibernate for the rest of the winter.

Look at your cruise schedule every day and bring a highlighter. If you are the type of person to wants to play trivia at two in the prominade lounge, see the magic show at seven, do a wine tasting at four, learn to swing dance at nine, learn to fold towel animals at eleven - you'll have plenty to pick from - some free, some charged. Its fine to sit on deck or in your room with a book as well.

Agree on some way to contact each other onboard - using your cell phone will be expensive - even for texts. So if you want to split up so you can go to towel folding and they can go play bingo - and expect to meet up - agree that you will leave notes in your room or something with where you went. These ships are huge.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
If it's passingly condescending, teetotaling, elitist I must be on the SDMB.
If you drink a lot, you'd never be able to sneak enough booze on board to make a difference. If you drink a little, the money you'd save is trivial.

But I plead guilty to insulting Idaho haute cuisine.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post

Agree on some way to contact each other onboard - using your cell phone will be expensive - even for texts. So if you want to split up so you can go to towel folding and they can go play bingo - and expect to meet up - agree that you will leave notes in your room or something with where you went. These ships are huge.
Which reminds me - I don't know about Caribbean cruises, but in Europe shipboard internet service is absurdly expensive and slow. Tell people you won't be available. That's a plus for me.

*grumble grumble* It ain't like the pre-Falklands QE2 anymore.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:08 PM
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Here are a few more tips and notes. I used to work for one of the big cruise ship companies, and have spent a lot of time on the ships.

1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. The elevators on the ships are often slow, and people who need to take the elevators everywhere often make them even slower. There are stairs everywhere, and you'll get exercise and save time getting around the ship.

2. Read the shipboard newsletters and communications. There are always special activities, promotions and drink specials, and reading these gives you good information.

3. Be friendly and personable with the shipboard staff, especially your hotel and dining staff. They have to face mean, demanding people all the time with a smile, so being friendly, having conversations with them, etc. often results in perks and extras since they like to reward their 'favorite' passengers. If you're dining in the sit-down dining rooms, the dining staff often prepares special things for selected passengers.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for pretty much anything, but ask nicely. If you like a particular menu item, drink, activity, the ships' staff has resources available to help you enjoy your stay that much more.

5. Make an event of it - I always loved getting dressed up for Formal Nights and really enjoying the elegance of the cruise. Get formal portraits taken looking all dressed up.

6. Take advantage of port specials if there's nothing on shore that appeals too much - if the ship's in port, but you're not especially into debarking, or you get done early and you are sick of the touristy stuff, come back onto the ship and see if the bars, dining rooms, salons or spas are running a port-day special. Chances are they are half price for many things.

7. Behave yourself - ship security guards are usually highly trained professionals. On most ships the guards were all Gurkhas, very serious business.

8. Pack your own toiletries and any meds you think you might want. Shipboard sundries are ridiculously overpriced. If you are only mildly seasick or queasy, try drinking ginger ale or get some ginger pills before you sail. Gentler than most seasickness pills, and just as effective.

9. It doesn't always work, but if you're nice about it, when you check in, ask if they have any cabin upgrades. A ship always wants to fill all of its cabins - any vacant cabins are a financial drag on the voyage. If they have any cancellations last minute, or any unsold suite/balcony cabins, you should be able to upgrade without spending too much.

10. Have fun, try new things. Buy travel insurance.

Tim
Old 12-16-2013, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
On what basis?
It is part of the contract you sign when you book the cruise. A private business (which a cruise ship is) has every right to restrict the behaviour of its customers, especially in a closed environment, in the interest of safety for all.
Come to think of it, I've never noticed an unpleasantly smashed person on any of the five cruises I've been on. All they need is for some bozo to get drunk and fall off the side, or worse, screw up the enjoyment of others. Pretty much the same reason airlines don't let you take your own booze onboard.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimToyGeek View Post

3. Be friendly and personable with the shipboard staff, especially your hotel and dining staff. They have to face mean, demanding people all the time with a smile, so being friendly, having conversations with them, etc. often results in perks and extras since they like to reward their 'favorite' passengers. If you're dining in the sit-down dining rooms, the dining staff often prepares special things for selected passengers.
Our last cruise was with my parents. My Dad didn't realize that a tip was already added into the bar tab, so tipped twice - he kept commenting on how stiff the drinks were mixed - word got around fast that my father tipped

Most people think cruise drinks are pretty watered down. If you are drinking for the alcohol, drink drinks with ALCOHOL in them and no mixer - not Rum and Cokes or the frou frou ice cream drinks (you'll get fat before you get drunk). A cosmo on a cruise is often a lot pinker and more cranberry flavored than I tend to make them at home.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TimToyGeek View Post

7. Behave yourself - ship security guards are usually highly trained professionals. On most ships the guards were all Gurkhas, very serious business.

Tim
Cool! I've never seen any on a cruise, only as part of the Indian UN contingent in the Congo. In fact I've never noticed any obvious shipboard security, but I haven't been close to any incidents.
Old 12-16-2013, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
... in the interest of safety for all.
Sounds like it's pretty clearly not done in the interest of safety for all - if that were so, there'd be comparable tight restriction on what you could buy on board (something I've never heard of).
Old 12-16-2013, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Sounds like it's pretty clearly not done in the interest of safety for all - if that were so, there'd be comparable tight restriction on what you could buy on board (something I've never heard of).
I'd suspect that any person causing trouble would soon find that he couldn't buy any more alcohol - and he could have what he has in his cabin confiscated for the duration of the trip. Just a guess, but I doubt they'd fool around.
Old 12-16-2013, 08:09 PM
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We spent plenty of money on alcohol at cruise ship prices. One of the main reasons we smuggled some onboard was so we could have a drink or two in our cabin (say, before dinner or before one of the shows) without going to one of the bars.

Dangerosa mentioned onboard communications and the high cost of cell phone use or texting. A good way to stay in touch with other members of your party is to get a set of walkie-talkies.
Old 12-16-2013, 09:27 PM
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just want to + 3 or 4 or whatever on the getting back to the ship on time issue. if you are on an excursion booked through the cruise line, and it runs over, they'll hold the ship. however, they do not:

Quote:
hold the ship a reasonable amount of time after the scheduled departure for late-returning passengers.
they will leave on time, and if you're wandering around and lose track of time, you will get left. i think the closest i ever cut it was getting back on board 20 minutes before depature, and that was at a port where the ship docked at a pier that was a 5 minute walk from the margaritaville we spent the day at. and i would never count on there being late-running excursions, because IME that tends to be the exception, not the rule.

anyways, i know other posters have pointed this out already, but i wanted to reiterate because i don't understand why anyone would tell a first time cruiser otherwise.
Old 12-16-2013, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
If you drink a lot, you'd never be able to sneak enough booze on board to make a difference. If you drink a little, the money you'd save is trivial.

But I plead guilty to insulting Idaho haute cuisine.
Famous Potatoes, darling. Famous Potatoes.
Old 12-16-2013, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimToyGeek View Post

3. Be friendly and personable with the shipboard staff, especially your hotel and dining staff.
7. Behave yourself - ship security guards are usually highly trained professionals. On most ships the guards were all Gurkhas, very serious business.

Tim
All our cruises have been on princess cruises, so I write from that experience. A very high percentage of the waiting and cabin staff are Filipino's, as is my wife. She always chats to them and after a few days practically knows their life story. As a result we get treated like royalty with lots of added perks, such as free drinks, special cooked meals, extra stuff in our cabin etc. We try and be as pleasant as possible to all staff regardless of nationality and it pays off big time. People miss out on so much by being rude and impatient to crew members.
When we sailed around the Suez canal area there was a lot of security staff on pirate watch. They say they don't have guns on board and were planning to fight off pirates with fire hoses. All of the security were from the Philippines, definitely not Gurkha's, although I must admit I would feel safer with Gurkha's around.
It was said that the speed of the ship and its maneuverability made it a difficult target for pirates.
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