Cruise Advice! HELP!!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by iloveschool, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 15, 2011

    I am going on a cruise with my daughter (19) at the beginning of August. What advice do yall have? We have never been and do not really know what to expect. It is a 5 day cruise to Mexico. We will leave from Galveston.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Take a look at what shore excursions are available. The good ones sometimes tend to fill up fast.

    Be careful of sunburn!!!!
     
  4. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2011

    :celebrate::celebrate::celebrate::celebrate::celebrate::celebrate::celebrate:I love love love cruising!! I am excited for you and jealous!! :p

    Take a "carry on" bag of sorts. You will check your luggage so I always pack a dufffel bag with a swim suit, change of clothes, and things you will need for dinner the first night. Some times it is late before your luggage makes it to your room. Also put any medications in the carry on.

    Take your own drinks. We just went on a cruise in April and everyone was taking cases of waters and soft drinks. We took a few bottles waters and bought the soft drink card. In the past I have not taken drinks but we did take a few this time and will load up next time.

    If you like soft drinks the coke card is a good purchase.

    Check ahead of time for excursions you may want to do. You do not have to use the excursions through the cruise line. Our last crusie we booked an excursion through Orbitz.

    Set a limit of money to spend in the casino. Allow yourself however much you feel is appropriate and spend that amount and no more. I use my winnings to contiue to play. We make sure we walk away at the least breaking even.

    Take lots of pictures... they last a lifetime.

    Go to the travel section of your local super store (Walmart??) and grab that stuff. Its small and packs nicely. Also grab one of the 1 load worth or laundry detergent in case for some reason you need to wash something. They do have detergent and washing machines on the boats but it is all expensive. So you can save some by buying the detergent at home.

    Pack some Downy wrinkle releaser.

    Wait until you are in international waters to make any purchases. Drinks, gift shop, coke card, anything ... it is duty free on international waters. You will know when you are in international waters when the casino opens.

    Where are you cruising to in Mexico? Ive been to Cozumel a couple of times, Calica, and Playa del Carmen. If you are going to any of those places I can suggest some activities....


    I know Im forgetting some advise and it will come to me later but I think that is a good start.

    I hope yall have a blast!!!!! :celebrate:


    Oh, if you are planning on having adult beverages, I do have some advise there too. :spitwater:
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jul 15, 2011

    I've gone on a few cruises & I love them. Yes, do check out & book excursions early. One thing I don't like about cruises is eating at the table w/ strangers at a specified time, otherwise, you're stuck w/ a cafeteria style dining area & the food there never tasted too great to me. I want to try Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) where there's several nice restaurants to choose from & you eat whenever you want.

    Have fun!
     
  6. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Yay, so jealous! My husband and I went on our first cruise this past December for our honeymoon! Best decision because now we're hooked!

    I agree with HWilson about bring a small carry-on bag with you when you board the ship because your luggage will be delivered to your room later on in the day. And make sure you have things you may need for an emergency in the bag (as I did not and had to ask guest relations for assistance...embarassing!).

    Which cruise line are you going on because that can help tailor advice. I've only been on Royal Caribbean and can give suggestions for that line, specifically. Do check out the entertainment options available to you at night. We had a great time at the shows offered (some were better than others) and loved the activities planned by the Cruise Director Staff. Check out the excursions available at the ports. I found that some ports definitely needed excursions while others did not. We also booked our excursions before we left because I hate scrambling to get something I want.

    Most importantly, have soooooooo much fun!
     
  7. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Yeah, but a good thing about some of the cruise lines is that you can choose to sit by yourselves. My husband and I sat by ourselves every night, by choice, and we were able to pick what time we wanted to eat each night with MyTimeDining.

    We were looking into NCL but I found that all of that restaurant variety comes at additional costs.

    OP, check out www.cruisecritic.com. They've got tons of information about the cruise lines, ports, excursions, and there is also an extensive forum with tons of advice from fellow cruisers.
     
  8. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 15, 2011

    cruisecritic and other sites offer great advice through active message boards.

    DON'T take excursions with independent people. 9 times out of 10 it probably works out okay, but my experience with an independent diving business in Cozumel was terriifying and dangerous!! (VERY dangerous!) The independent excursions are less crowded and less expensive, but I would never take that chance again. In my case, my ex, myself and another family were in serious jeopardy and I spent the rest of the day upset from the experience and alone with nothing to do because my ex needed to lie down because he felt sick from the whole experience. We had to pay money to the overpriced cruise infirmary after the experience as well. NOT RECOMMENDED!

    Late in the cruise, I discovered how wonderful the early breakfast is (on Carnival) . I found the view amazing, food delicious, and it was so peaceful somehow. This was the breakfast that is only served early and you order off the menu. In general, the buffet style dining was only so-so. I much preferred the formal dining even if it was more structured and with other people.

    Have fun!
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Oh, do enjoy the fabulous midnight buffets!
     
  10. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Thanks for the advice! We are going on Carnival. Progresso and Cozumel are our stops. We are excited, but I am a little scared of getting off the beaten path without my husband being there!! Any advice on specific excursions? My friend said to do one in Progresso because there is not much to do. What about Cozumel??
     
  11. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    We went to Cozumel last year and did not do a planned excursion. It's a pretty built up port and we decided (after I did research beforehand) to get a cab to one of the local beaches. We went to a beach that cost like $12-14 each way via cab and $2 to rent the chairs on the beach. We were going to go to another beach but they had a pretty high entry fee per person ($20, I think) and the cab driver suggested the beach we ended up going to. I definitely think Cozumel is a stop that you can go without paying $40 and up, per person on an excursion. Have lots of fun!!!


    And after speaking with my husband, he thinks the cab ride was even cheaper.

    And the beach we went to had a bar and restaurant that we were able to get beachside service of chips and guac! Remember to keep your watch set to boat time. We allowed ourselves plenty of time to get back to the pier and had plenty of time. We even stopped at Senor Frogs before we got back on the ship.
     
  12. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Jul 15, 2011

    Just FYI.
    If we do shore excursions, we always book them through Carnival. It's way more expensive, but they won't leave you behind if you are on a Carnival Shore Excursion. I was once on a Carnival shore excursion that came back an hour and a half late. They certainly would have left us there if we weren't on a shore excursion. The bus we were on kept stalling, and we were already late.

    Cozumel is awesome, but I've never been to Progresso. I agree that you don't need a shore excursion for Cozumel, but they have a lot of really cool ones there. Good luck!
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 16, 2011

    Some cruise stuff that I did not know until I cruised:

    You use a ship issued credit card to card most purchases on. You pay before you leave the cruise.

    Alcohol and soda are extras (except at meals) and you pay extra for them.

    While the shore excursions are fun, nice, and expensive, it is the best time to stay on the ship as it is not crowded.

    Do attend the entertainment. I loved the cooking demo and the napkin folding demos.

    I also loved room service. Our ship had an adults only swim pool, and that was nice.
     
  14. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 16, 2011

    Thanks for all the advice!! Question on the adult only places on the ship. I told one of my teacher friends that my daughter and I were going to use the adult only part. Don't get me wrong- I love kids, but I'm on vacation with no kids!!YEA!! Her husband laughed at me. Then she told me that tops were optional in teh adult only part of the ship. I do not want to hang with my daughter if tops are optional!!!
     
  15. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2011


    Carnival does cost to have a drink other than water, lemonade, or whatever their juice of the day is, oh or unsweet tea too, at meal time. :(
    The room service is no charge and we loved doing this late night... just because it was an option and it was free.!!:)
     
  16. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    Im pretty sure on ALL the adult sections of Carnival (its the only cruise line we've used) there is not a pool. Just hot tubs. The last cruise we went on you could over look the adult only section from the pool area above it. It was kind of small. I went there only a few times. I tried to find pool areas that didn't have kids around and believe it or not it was not that hard to find those areas. The adult only section of our last cruise was NOT a topless deck. If you pull up your cruise ship you can find a map of the ship and virtual tours (usually including pics of the adult only deck) and you may be able to figure it out that way.
     
  17. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Jul 16, 2011

    Remember you have to tip the maitre' d and the waiter and bus boy as well as cabin steward. There is a formula for how much to pay, but I don't remember off hand.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jul 18, 2011

    Yes, tip generously. They depend on it.

    My friends went on carnival, and there was an adults only topless deck. So just be on the lookout.

    I would say pack light. Have fun. My DH and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon, and have gone on a few since. Each time, once we get on the ship and have our ID cards and stuff, DH went right to the maitre'd and asked for a private table. It was very important to us that we have that alone time. And we always gave the maitre'd a 20-50 dollar tip once he found us a private table. Once the man said he couldn't do it for us, DH pulled out a $50 and he found us a table quickly. We have never had to share a table. Our friends sat at a table for 8 and had a blast - they are just the kind of people who love to meet people.

    And justs for security, treat it like a vacation in a city. Your daughter shouldn't be wandering around alone late at night. If she meets some young people and wants to go to the disco, go with her. I actually recommend the disco - it is a crack up and lots of fun at night. Most of the entertainment is pretty good and gives you something to do for free!
     
  19. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2011

    I just got back from a 7 day cruise on Carnival's Conquest! It was awesome. Last year, we took the cruise you are taking on the Ecstasy.

    Both ships have adult only sections with pools, and the Conquest had a pool and hot tub. That is a separate section from the topless area (where the show girls hang out).

    My daughter is 16, and we met another couple with a 15 year old daughter. The two hung out together and I gave her a lot of freedom. She just had to check in every hour and stay with her friend. She also wasn't allowed in anyone else's room. My daughter's a good kid, and I can trust her not to blatantly break rules. I will say she was offered alcohol many times, by staff and fellow cruisers. There is no way to indicate on the sign and sale card that the person is a minor. That's one BIG thing that I wish Carnival would correct. Again, I'm lucky that my daughter is honest and refused the alcohol, but I know several other underage kids were drinking.

    We didn't have an assigned dining time, so we weren't forced to sit with people we didn't know.

    Make sure you take something really nice to wear for the formal evening. Some people will go full out and dress like they're going to a prom. Others will just dress semi-formally, but almost everyone will dress up! Many people dress up at least semi-formally every evening.

    Definitely go to the trivia, karaoke and other activities. They are tons of fun! Don't miss the "hairy chest" contest! My mom was one of the judges on the last cruise. It was hilarious.

    Do you know which ship you'll be on?

    In Progresso, we did the dune buggy tour and then went to a beach resort. It was fun, but you have to be able to drive a stick. You travel in a caravan of dune buggies, so it's safe!

    In Cozumel, we went on a tour of the Mayan ruins. It's definitely worth seeing. This time, we just shopped because there is a HUGE shopping center right off the dock when you disembark.

    If you buy any alcohol in the ports, you have to turn it in to the ship. They'll hold it until the night before you return to Galveston.

    I can't think of anything else! If you have questions, let us know. I've been on 4 Carnival cruises and my parents have been on 17! We've never had a problem (except for the year when the hurricane chased us... lol)

    As for tipping, Carnival includes that in the price of everything. It is NOT expected that you tip unless you want to give them above and beyond what they've already been given. It is built in that they will receive a certain amount from you already. (I think $70 for the steward and head waiter... not for sure).
     
  20. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 18, 2011

    Thanks so much guys!!! I feel more confident in what I am doing now~ We "pre-paid" our tips? I will still probably tip for good service though. We also have anytime eating. We thought about the Dune Buggy tour. i can drive a stick, but do not want to ride with others so I think that is out. Everyone is saying to do a tour at progresso because there isnt much to do there. What do yall think?
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    You don't have to ride with anyone else on your Dune Buggy tour. I mean, you'll be in a caravan of cars, but it can just be you and your daughter in your buggy!
     
  22. royalfamily

    royalfamily Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2011

    Radios

    You can rent 2 way radios on board or bring your own. They are a great way to stay in touch with each other on the huge ship.
     
  23. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 19, 2011

    2 way radios!! What a great idea! WE probably won't be seperated much, but if we are i want to be able to contact her. I was under the impression if another two people signed up they would fill the jeep up with the four of us. I'm glad to know we can have our own.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2011

    iloveschool, that's not what they did when we took the tour, but I don't know if things have changed. Gas prices and all...

    We used the 2 way radios a few years ago with moderate success. Last week we tried them and we were NEVER able to find a channel that worked for us. We gave up trying after day 3 and a million channels in... lol. We just used watches and had meeting points (usually on the Promenade deck by the casino!)
     

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