I am planning on cruising for the first time next June. With all the information out there it is very overwhelming. I figured I'd ask people who've been what their experiences have been to perhaps help me in making the best decision.
My current questions/concerns are (and I'm sure the list will grow
I'm going with Carnival cruise lines FYI. This will be a trip for a family of 4.
Is it better to purchase the shore excursions before cruising or once on the ship? Also, is there a way to book the excursions through carnival before cruising if I decide to go that route?
What kind of expenses can I expect on the ship? I have heard $10-12 per day per cruiser for gratuities. Alcohol is a seperate expense. What else?
We are going to talk to a travel agent (my husband is prior military and still can use the travel agent on post). Is there anything we should be asking specifically when we go talk to them?
We are planning on going to the Caribbean, 5 day cruise. I'd like to do a snorkeling and/or dolphin excursion. Thinking about just lying on the beach and doing nothing at one of the shores. I want to balance relaxing and experiencing something new. I want to mix new experience with relaxing so as not to feel overloaded.
For a family of 4, how much money is recommended to plan to save/spend? I know it varies depending on shore excursions etc, but a general idea is nice. It seems the more I read the more I need to be saving for. I'm thinking about $5000 for a 5 day trip (tickets included).
Any extra advice will be gladly received!