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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:16 PM
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MercedMike MercedMike is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Default Welcome to cruising!

Originally Posted by flaggies View Post
We have booked the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise for next May 2012.
We have NO experience with cruises and are a little bewildered reading all these forums.
Well these forums are full of very opinionated people who love to go over every little detail of every possible question! It is a lot of fun but can indeed be bewildering to a newcomer.

The honest fact is that you will be given lots of information by the cruise line, in advance and when you get on board. Iif you just fly to the port, get on the ship, and roll with what goes on you will have a GREAT cruise! You don't have to obsess over details.

Being Australian, we are not used to tipping and it concerns us a little of how much tipping seems to be expected
it is you Aussies and the Brits which have lead to the "automatic tipping" situation on board. In fact I think on some cruise lines, Aussies and Brits pre-pay tips with their fare. If not, there will be a certain amount (currently U$10 I think) added to your shipboard account daily and distributed among the crew. In all the bars, 15% is automatically added to your tab. The easy thing to do is just leave it at that.

On shore, for half day tours tip $5, for a full day tour tip $10 to a good guide. (I think the AUD is almost equal to the US$, isn't it?)

It's easy!

What sort of power supply is on the Ruby Princess, European or American?
I know there is American power on all Princess ships. I disremember whether there is also European power but I think there is.

How long before the ship sails is one expected to be on-board?
On embarkation day you can normally begin boarding as early as 11 AM, and should definitely be on board two hours before sailing. In port there will be a time posted but normally half an hour to one hour before sailing. Don't cut it too close! The ship can and will leave without you.

Does one HAVE to do tours organised (and pay for them!) by the ship?
Positively NOT. However, it is a very easy and convenient thing to do. Our usual practice is to look at the ship's tours and see if they do what we want to do. Then we research independent tours and see what we can arrange. In some ports we use the ship's tour, in others independent. You can see good examples of this at Grand Princess Mediterranean Cruise Review, Mike and Renée's Greek Isles Cruise 2007, and "Black Sea Cruise 2009"

Some people, especially in Europe, thrive on just getting off the ship and walking, hailing a taxi, or taking public transportation. In most cases this is a little more adventurous than we want to be.

Look forward to hear from experienced 'cruisers' any advice you feel we might need on our first cruise.
My very best advice ... relax, let the crew pamper you, and "play rich"!

Check out our reviews and pics of our 41 cruises at
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