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Cruise Help

My family is going on a family reunion cruise and we're going on RCL's Freedom of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean the week of Thanksgiving.  I know all the big questions are solved, but I wanted to see if anyone had any first time tips/tricks/etc. for new cruisers.  This is my first cruise and DH's first since he was a kid. 

TIA! 

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Re: Cruise Help

  • i prefer to carry my own luggage on and off of the ship. it takes FOREVER to get it the first day.
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • 1) You don't need much for clothes.  During the day I wear a bathing suit and cover-up (bring 2 of each).  At night I change into a dress and have a sweater.  1 pair of jeans and a top for traveling to and from the ship.  1 athletic outfit for any *exciting* excursions.

    2)  You don't have to book all of your excurions through the cruise line.  When you get off the ship there will be plenty of taxis waiting to take you where ever you want.

    3) Drinks are not covered.  They can add up fast - be aware!

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  • 1) Head over to cruisecritic.com (if you haven't already) and check out both the RCL board and your ship's "roll call" it helps to get familiar with at least a few cruisers and lots of people will have great private excursions planned that might inspire you

    2) Pack 1/2 as much clothes and 2x as much cash!

    Have an amazing cruise!

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  • imagealithebride:
    i prefer to carry my own luggage on and off of the ship. it takes FOREVER to get it the first day.

    How does this work?  Is there a size limit?  Also don't we have to carry it around until our room is ready?  

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  • I had the worst cruise experience ever so I am a little harsh on them but overall these were our 2 biggest downfalls: 

    1. If you can- stay at your port city overnight the night before your cruise. Fog delayed our flight coming in by a few hours and we completely missed our cruise takeoff. We had to spend alot of $ last minute to find a hotel and stay the night in a foreign place and also catch a flight the next day and meet up with the ship at the 2nd stop. It was terrible.  

    2. Make sure to bring any meds you may need for any stomach or other contagious-type illnesses. Also, if you feel sick at all dont tell any crew members unless you are really dying! Not to freak you out but I had some bad shrimp and had a bout of mild food poisoning. If I just had some Pepto I would have been fine as it only last a few hrs. However, I was dumb and send my husband to the nurse and they tricked me and made me come down. Then they told me it was Norowalk virus and confined both me AND my husband to our rooms for 4 days. I was fine after a few hours and miserable in confinement and upset I missed my whole cruise basically. I understand thier cause for concern and keeping contagious diseases from spreading, but they refused to accept I didnt have that and ruined our trip all over nothing. So just be cautious with advertising and illness as they mean business with any sickness.

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  • imagealithebride:
    i prefer to carry my own luggage on and off of the ship. it takes FOREVER to get it the first day.

    I disagree with this....we usually carry a small bag on with things we need right away.  Otherwise it is usually a 2-3 hour wait to get your room so you would have to shelp your lugage with you.

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  • I agree with researching before you go. Check out cruisecritic and google your ship and reviews.  They will give you great info so you know what to expect and and little things aren't disappointments.  They will also give you advice on excursions.  Many times there are companies that run excursions that are much better and less expensive than the cruise ship excursions to the same place.  You can check trip advisor too. 
  • imagekristinp36:

    imagealithebride:
    i prefer to carry my own luggage on and off of the ship. it takes FOREVER to get it the first day.

    I disagree with this....we usually carry a small bag on with things we need right away.  Otherwise it is usually a 2-3 hour wait to get your room so you would have to shelp your lugage with you.

    LOL you disagree with what I like to do? really? come on. i've done it many times and it works out better for me. you can do what you like.

    there is no wait for the room if you board when you're allowed to. There's always been a multi-hour wait for luggage if you let them do it. you do not have to schlep anything around.

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • imagetribalgrl22:

    I had the worst cruise experience ever so I am a little harsh on them but overall these were our 2 biggest downfalls: 

    1. If you can- stay at your port city overnight the night before your cruise. Fog delayed our flight coming in by a few hours and we completely missed our cruise takeoff. We had to spend alot of $ last minute to find a hotel and stay the night in a foreign place and also catch a flight the next day and meet up with the ship at the 2nd stop. It was terrible.  

     

    Something similar happened to us too.  Our flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems, but since we had trip insurance the flight to the first stop and our hotel were paid for.  It was actually a blessing in disguise since we had an extra day on Grand Cayman... and there were no cruise ships there that day! 

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  • imageangiem33:

    1) Head over to cruisecritic.com (if you haven't already) and check out both the RCL board and your ship's "roll call" it helps to get familiar with at least a few cruisers and lots of people will have great private excursions planned that might inspire you

    +1 to this. Both sites are a great resource, especially for excursion /ports of call info.

    I've cruised many times. Some tips and my opinions:
    1. Trip insurance can be a life saver (as PP said).
    2. A TA can also be a life saver. If anything comes up, RCL won't be of much help, but your TA can re-book excursions if you're rerouted, etc. Even if you've already booked your cruise, I suggest looking into getting a TA. Sometimes they can take you on even if you already booked.
    3. Don't book your excursions through the cruise line. They're more expensive, and more likely to cancel with any threat of bad weather. There are plenty of amazing third-party vendors. They know what time your ship leaves, so don't worry about not making it back on time.
    4. Bring motion sickness meds. I don't get it, but just in case. If you forget, just ask the info desk. They usually have single servings on hand.
    5. Get on the ship as soon as you can. RCL usually says you can board at 12:00, but my family always gets to the port at 11:00 and we're typically on board by 11:30. You beat the rush and can have lunch!
    6. Pack a day bag with your bathing suit, sunscreen, and anything you want with you for the first few hours on the ship. Check your bags - it's easier than dragging them around until your room is ready (not until 3:00 or 4:00).
    7. Carry your bags off with you. That way you don't have to wait for them to be unloaded. You just sit around in the morning waiting for your color group to be called, so it's no hassle.

    It's too bad about the PP who got sick and was quarantined for Norowalk. Stomach viruses are not uncommon on cruise ships and spread like wild fire. Be wary of seafood, but don't avoid it completely. Wash your hands as much as possible, especially after visiting the buffet. (They also have antibacterial soap stations in the food areas.) I've never gotten sick, but it definitely happens.

    The big thing is - relax and have fun!  

    image
  • which cruise lines are you people going on that the rooms aren't ready? after 6 cruises on different lines (given all were balcony rooms-maybe they make3 sure those are ready and work ont he lesser ones after?) i've never gotten on the ship where room wasn't ready. and we go early!
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • imagealithebride:
    which cruise lines are you people going on that the rooms aren't ready? after 6 cruises on different lines (given all were balcony rooms-maybe they make3 sure those are ready and work ont he lesser ones after?) i've never gotten on the ship where room wasn't ready. and we go early!

    I've been on RCL, Princess, Disney, and Carnival.  Our rooms haven't been ready before 2:00 at the earliest. More likely 3:00 or 4:00.  

    image
  • imagealithebride:
    imagekristinp36:

    imagealithebride:
    i prefer to carry my own luggage on and off of the ship. it takes FOREVER to get it the first day.

    I disagree with this....we usually carry a small bag on with things we need right away.  Otherwise it is usually a 2-3 hour wait to get your room so you would have to shelp your lugage with you.

    LOL you disagree with what I like to do? really? come on. i've done it many times and it works out better for me. you can do what you like.

    there is no wait for the room if you board when you're allowed to. There's always been a multi-hour wait for luggage if you let them do it. you do not have to schlep anything around.

    defensive much?  I was giving a different opinion not going agianst what you like to do.  I have been on 8 cruises and usually the halls to the rooms don't even get opened until 2.  We usually get on board by 11 and eat a nice relaxing lunch with no bags.  We did try it once and it sucked...for us.  There is nothing in those bags that I need until it is time to get ready for dinner.  Again this is my opinion.  As OP asked for.

    image Happy B-day Little E.
  • i'm sorry-then I misread what you meant.

    odd. never have i not had the room ready and the hallways have always been open. go right in, put bag in room, unpack and go do whatever. I jsut dont like to wait. when dh and i were on our med cruise there were about 15 people who's bags were just lost-never to be found again-and it was a 2 week cruise. i just dont like to wait the 7 hours to get my bags. but hey-if you like to do it that way-it's ok with me :)

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • I don't remember having to really wait for my luggage.  We got on the ship, went to the pool for a few drinks and I never noticed if it took forever.

    I also got food poisoning, so my advice is to avoid the Captain's Midnight Buffet on Carnival, HA! 

  • Thanks for all the help on this - we really appreciate it!  My parents booked the cruise for all my siblings (and their families) so they are in charge of the trip insurance.  We're just covering drinks, excursions and tips. 
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