Wedding Etiquette Forum

Cruisers, please enter

I've only been on one cruise, and this will be H's first.  Does anyone have any super helpful tips or tricks for cruising/packing for a cruise/whatever?  We're going for a week, and I'm a notorious over-packer.   
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Re: Cruisers, please enter

  • I've been on 5, and I still feel like I overpack.  On the last one though I definitely utilized all my sundresses the most becuase i would wear them over my bathing suit, or just as a dress for the day.  Plus they were "dressy" enough for dinner yet casual enough for everyday.  Also, I don't know what cruise line you're going on, but people never dress for dinner like they are supposed to.  For the formal night I just bring a little bit dressier of a dress, and H wore a shirt and tie.  In the past I made the mistake of bringing all different shoes and heels and stuff for dinner, but this past time I just brought my leather flip flops and one dressier pair of sandals.  

    If you have a time for dinner, I highly suggest picking the later time.  Even though port calls always end before the early dinner, you never have time to get ready without rushing or going back to the ship early.  The late dinner gives you time to do what you want without rushing.  

    Do you have excursions planned in every port?  I personally only like doing 1 or 2 excursions and then the other days just doing our own thing around the pier.  Places like Cozumel have a ton of shopping and bars and restaurants right near the pier, so I never book any excursions there.  I like to shop and then get hammered and walk the 500 yards back to the ship.  

    Hmm, any other specific questions?  


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  • We chose the option to eat dinner at any time.  We're doing excursions in two out of the four ports, and Habs gave me a bunch of recs for Cozumel since her dad lives there.  Do they let you carry your own luggage onboard, or do you have to pay one of the guys to do it?
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  • the one i took we went to bag drop and then we were able to carry our stuff off.
    i was told to bring a small bag with stuff like your bathing suit since you dont always have access to your state room or luggage right away.
  • MattsPenguinMattsPenguin member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited March 2012
    Adamar - I think you're doing the same cruise that we did 2 years ago (Carnival through Cozumel, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Isla Roatan).  I don't have any packing suggestions.  We were in a room with a king size bed and a balcony (our ship had tons of balconies so it was cheap to get one).  We had plenty of space for our clothes.

    Along what DNB said, we did the flexible dining plan where you can eat whenever.  We had no problems getting seated at a table for two.   We would go between the early and late seating, and I think that we waited once.

    Are you doing excursions?  The only place that I would highly recommend doing one is Belize.  We opted to just walk around Belize City, and it's a scary place.  I'm surprised we didn't get mugged (hence why I didn't bring my engagement ring on the trip).

    We also did the unlimited soda thing, but we felt like we needed to drink a bunch of soda for it to break even.  Look at the rules for what you can bring onyourselves.  I think it's a bottle of wine per person and some amount of soda (if you want it).  That could save a bit of money.
  • Bring your own bottled water and other drinks like soda if you want. The water is good to take with you on excursions or off the boat. Having to buy it (or anything) from the ship is very expensive.
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  • MattsPenguinMattsPenguin member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited March 2012

    You have to drop your bag off at the check-in when you first get there.  I think that we needed to make sure that our bag tag (which states your room # on it) attached, so make sure you do that.  Our bag was actually waiting for us by the time we got to the room, but I've also heard to pack a small bag with your swim suit if you want to make sure you have it right away.

    Another random tip, take the stairs!  We never, ever, ever took the elevator, just the stairs the entire time.   My calves hurt the first day, but we also didn't gain any weight on the trip.

    Oh yeah, and we were on the Legend also out of Tampa.  Be sure to be up on deck as you go out of the port and under the Sunshine Skyway!  We were so excited, but we're engineering dorks.

  • I think the only drinks we'll need to buy are alcoholic ones.  Neither of us really drinks soda, so that's not a big deal.

    MP, it is that same cruise!  One of the excursions we're doing is in Belize, so whew!  That's a good point about the engagement ring.  Maybe I'll leave that at home and just wear my band.

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  • I was really nervous about my ring falling off in the ocean.  It's kind of loose and gets slippery when wet.  (TWSS).

    Although there is a safe in the room, and we put all of our passports, telephones, etc. in there.
  • If you are at dinner and you really want to try 2 main courses or 2 desserts, just order it. They will bring you whatever you want. It's a good way to try different things.
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  • Here are my blog recaps of our cruise if you have time on your hands:

    http://strawberryjampackedlife.com/category/cruise/

    Also, in skimming, I read a tip that I wrote:  GET THERE EARLY!  I think by getting there early, we had our bags much earlier.

  • i met 2 girls on the cruise i took too that swore by buying a soda card, and ordering bottle service to their room, then mixing drinks.  drinks average around $8 so even tho the bottle service was not cheap, overal, they were convinced it was cheaper and probably was.  
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_cruisers-please-enter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:2137ab93-6ef5-4cd6-a460-da51aa1e7586Post:ed4b6a69-003d-49eb-a1a0-04f4e050750a">Re: Cruisers, please enter</a>:
    [QUOTE]I was really nervous about my ring falling off in the ocean.  It's kind of loose and gets slippery when wet.  (TWSS).
    Posted by MattsPenguin[/QUOTE]

    My dad metal detects and he finds enough rings in the ocean to make a living metal detecting.  He made me swear up and down I wouldn't ever wear my ring in the ocean. Be careful!
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  • I'm going on that same cruise in June.  If you don't have to fly to the port, then you can pack as much as you want.  I find that the flight is the limiting factor for me.  They will take your luggage from you as you check in at the pier and it will show up at your room at some point, so it is a good idea to keep a small bag with a book or bathing suit with you. 

    FI has the problem that his bathing suit would still be wet the next day and he would have to take the hairdryer to it.  So try to bring at least two bathing suits.  We would get kinda dressed up for dinner, like business casual dressed up.  I have heard that they will sometimes turn men away if they are wearing jeans or denim shorts.

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  • Heh, H has a million sets of board shorts.  It's me that has to get a new bathing suit or two this weekend. 

    MP, I'm reading your blog now :)  Thanks!
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  • I am so excited for you!  We loved our cruise.  It was the week after we took the professional engineering exam, and I loved that you didn't have to plan anything.  Just show up and let the boat take you away.
  • That's the same cruise that H and I did last time too!  We did a fishing excursion in Belize.  I've been there twice on cruises, but never actually gone into the city.  The first time I was there I was way too hungover from Cozumel to get on a little dinghy boat to go to the city, and then the second time we did the fishing excursion.  The water near Belize gets too shallow so they don't pull up to the pier.  They anchor a bit out and you have to take a small ferry/dinghy boat over.  Our fishing excursion boat just pulled right up to the ship and we got on that way.

    Isla Roatan is pretty sketchy as well.  That is one place I recommend doing an excursion, or just don't leave the fenced in area at the pier.  H and I only did the Belize excursion on that cruise, and then walked around the other ports.  Grand Cayman has a lot of shopping within walking distance and bars so that was fun.  We spent most of our day at Margaritaville.  In Roatan we walked around the small shops, then attempted to walk out the gate to where the little huts and market were set up.  They have guards with AK-47's at the gate which is kinda freaky.  But then we walked like 20 feet and had little kids running up to us wanting to give us tours, a la Slumdog Millionaire.  We turned around and went back to the ship.  But talking to people who did excursions they said they loved it and it was beautiful.  

    You drop your luggage off when you check in, similar to an airline.  You can bring a carry on with you, and I suggest making sure you have bathing suits, sunblock, and a camera in your carry on if you want it.  You can't get into your room until like 4 usually, so you'll just be walking around the ship.  Your luggage will be delivered to your room later that day/night and left outside your door.  The night before your cruise ends you have to leave your stuff out for the next day and put your luggage outside your door before going to bed.  Again you can carry out a bag and personal stuff.  After going through customs and getting off the ship you pick up your luggage.  

    I never do the pop card because I don't drink enough pop on the boat to make up for it.  We drink plenty of alcohol which adds up quickly though.  If you're beer drinkers it's usually cheaper to do their "buckets" of beer at the pool.  Also, if you ever get the drink of the day, tell them you don't want the souvenir glass when you order it.  Unless of course you do want the glass.  But if you just do the throw away glass it's usually a couple dollars cheaper.  Plus, i wouldn't buy the glass because if you really want to keep them you can take a stroll around the deck at night and find the souvenir glasses that people left.  

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  • Holy eff I just wrote a lot.  And yes I agree with MP to get there early.  I like to fly in the night before to the area so I can get to the terminal first thing in the morning.  Since you don't have to fly you're even better off.  But the earlier you get there the more time you have on board the first day which gives you an extra day on basically.  
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  • In Grand Cayman, I did the stingray city excursion and love love loved it.  It was one of my favorite things I have ever done.  The stingrays were huge and swam right up to you. You could even feed them squid.
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  • We're doing horseback riding in Belize and snorkeling in Roatan.  I'm really glad I picked those two now!  I think we're just going to wander in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  I'm looking forward to Mexican tequila.

    I appreciate the wall o' text Beachy :)
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  • DNB, when did you go?  In Isla Roatan, we caught a cab over to the other side of the island and paid $10 each to sit on a gorgeous beach (at a beach club) for 2 hours.  It was really nice.  There were still people walking along the beach trying to sell us stuff, and little kids asking us to take pictures with their iguanas (and pay for it), but we really enjoyed Isla Roatan.  Our cab driver was this really sweet guy who spoke only a few words of English, so between that and Matt's high school Spanish, they had a good discussion.  The people of Isla Roatan are extremely poor, so we way over-tipped our cab driver. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_cruisers-please-enter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:2137ab93-6ef5-4cd6-a460-da51aa1e7586Post:88420b71-fda8-410d-9f92-d8976c8074ff">Re: Cruisers, please enter</a>:
    [QUOTE]We're doing horseback riding in Belize and snorkeling in Roatan.  I'm really glad I picked those two now!  I think we're just going to wander in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  I'm looking forward to Mexican tequila. I appreciate the wall o' text Beachy :)
    Posted by adamar15[/QUOTE]

    Those sound like great ideas!  You should be fine in Cozumel just seeing the sights.  It's full of tourists, especially near the port.

    Mexico was just not my favorite.  There were people trying to harass you the entire time.  At the Tulum Ruins, I took a picture of these Mayan guys doing stunts, and was then harassed to pay them money for it.  It just felt sketchy to me.
  • The biggest tip I always tell my friends when they go on a cruise is on the first day they have a "Shop Info" type meeting. Where you go to the theater and some people hand out a bunch of pamphlets on which shops you get the best deals at, which shops are safe and reputable, and which shops Carnival will insure your stuff through. I know it's an hour out of an awesome vacation, but it's completely worth it IMO.

    My 2nd cruise I went to this shop and got all kinds of freebies, discounts, and whatnot. I also got a free "call home" card if you went inside a certain jewelers. I didn't think much about it until we got to that port of call and what do you know, my debit card expired. I had received a new one a few months ago, but thought I could just let this one expire first before I switched. Welp, that bad boy cancelled right in the middle of my cruise. I ended up using that "call home" card to talk to my bank for over an hour and it ended up saving our asses.

    This "shop info" meeting is amazing and I make sure to go to it every cruise. Before I even get off the boat I have a map of the island, the top stores to shop at, top places to eat, biggest discounts on jewelry and alcohol, everything. That meeting is wonderful.
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  • strlzfan11strlzfan11 member
    First Anniversary First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited March 2012
    Make sure you bring a sweater or something for the dining room, because it can get cold in there at times.
  • Beachy730Beachy730 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited March 2012
    MP we went in August 2009.  I did hear that the beach areas were absolutely beautiful, but H has like Casper fair skin, so the beach thing doesn't work for him.  Especially in the Caribbean.  

    Adamar great choices for on where to do ecursions.  I have never done one in Cozumel and always had more than enough stuff to do and had a blast.  The bars do drinking contests and stuff, and a lot of them have pools to.  

    Also, not sure how you and your H are about making friends with random people, but H and I made friends with a couple about our age that we met at the casino the first night and we had a great time with them.  We hung out with them in Cozumel which was a blast, and then the girl and I hung out at the pool a few times while the guys did putt putt and stuff.  Some people prefer doing their own thing which is totally cool, but we liked having someone to hang out with sometimes too. 
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  • We have a couple of friends going on the cruise, but I'm sure we'll end up making friends with random people too!  I'm a chatty drinker.
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    Way cooler." - anna.oskar
  • DNB, that makes sense.  Matt and I also have fair skin and wore SPF 50 the entire time.  We would also only stay out in the sun two hours at a time.  The Caribbean sun is hot!
  • Haha. When I read the title, all that I thought of was Al Pacino in Cruising, fisting scene and all. I was relieved to find out that you're talking about the boat :-)
  • If you like shopping definitely go to the shopping info meetings.  FI and I made fun of the presenter on our last cruise, but we remember his catch lines.  They will tell you were to pick up some free trinkets in each port, if you like  that kind of thing. 

    If you get cold easily, bring a sweater or 3.  I get cold really easily and I can practically wear a light/medium sweater to dinner and if we go to a show or the casino. 

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  • I did that same cruise fro my honeymoon in October.  It was great!  Belize was by far the sketchiest place we visited.  We did the Beliken brewery tour, which was fun.  If I didn't have an excursion booked there I wouldn't even get off the ship.  Roatan was the best!  We did a city tour excursion thing from Vic Bodden tours.  Stopped and saw the monkeys and played with them. 

    Packing - shoes - 1 pair sandals, 1 pair sneakers, 1 pair dress shoes.  Shoes take up a lot of room and you don't need a million pair.

    Cruisecritic.com - GREAT site!  They also have a "roll call" and you can make friends before you get on the ship.

    Dining room - ask for whatever you want and you will get it.  The first night our table mate ordered the fruit & cheese platter that is offered as a dessert as an appetizer, and they gave it to her.  Every night when we got to our table her & I both had the fruit & cheese platter waiting for us.

    Booze - you can order alcohol from Bon Voyage services, and the bottles will be in your room when you arrive.  It is more expensive than buying in the liquor store, but it is cheaper to make your own drinks than to pay bar prices.  Lemonade & Iced tea are free all day.  I ordered chambord & absolute citron - mixed that with the free lemonade.

    If you go to the shopping info, you will get tons of info about Carnival sponsored stores.  It can be good, and it can be bad.  You will have to be your own judge.

    SPF 50!
  • If you like or will drink hard liquor, I would recommend sneaking a bottle of something in your luggage. H and I did this on both of the cruises we went on, and we saved so much money on drinks. We just wrapped the bottle in a towel and packed soft clothes around that in the suitcase, and it worked fine.

    Also, the last time we went on one, my friend Googled stuff to do at each stop. So we didn't do (or pay for) any planned excursions, we just split a cab four ways if we wanted to go further than walking distance.

    One stop, I forget which island, we took a cab to a beach on the other side of the island from where the ship was docked. The cab driver warned us that the sea was rough on that part that time of the year. It ended up being completely empty because of it, except for the bartender at the outdoor bar. And he told us a bunch of stuff about the island we wouldn't have learned otherwise. It was our favorite part of the trip!
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