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Jay Herring May 4th, 2009 10:02 AM

7 Tips for first timers
I used to be a senior officer for Carnival, and here are a few things that may help:

1 - Sail with your age group. If it's cold, they're old. Alaskan cruises typically have an older crowd and in general, the longer cruises have older passengers. Any cruise that is longer than seven days will typically have an older crowd. Younger passengers usually can't afford longer cruises nor do they have vacation time to take them. Three and four day cruises are party cruises and typically have a younger crowd, especially in the Caribbean. Two day cruises to nowhere are especially popular with the party crowd. If you are looking for an older more relaxed crowd, look for longer voyages especially in colder climates. If you want to party with a younger crowd, look for shorter voyages in warmer climates.

2 - If you have assigned seating in the dining rooms, then the secret about the people you sit with is that they are likely very similar to you. The Maitre'd intentionally seats similar people together. Couples with couples, singles with singles, seniors with seniors. Realize that these people may become your new best friends on the cruise.

3 - Remember to set your watch to “ship time” which may or may not change when you cross time zones.

4 - Don't be late. The ship will only wait about fifteen minutes after its scheduled sailing time. Each cruise line has a port agent that can help if you do miss the ship. Most people fly to the next port to meet the ship there, but you'll pay for all extra expenses.

5 - Bring ear plugs. They make sleeping on the airplane easier. They also allow you to sleep through all the noise that happens in the corridors and from the neighboring cabins. If you plan to be loud, bring some to distribute to your neighbors.

6 - Remember that the captain has the authority to kick you off the ship if he thinks you're a danger to his crew or the other passengers.

7 - To strike up conversation with a crewmember, don't ask lame questions like,
“Do you live on the ship?”
"How long is your contract?"
“Can you get off in port?”
Crewmembers get these questions everyday and they get sick of hearing it. The crew do live on the ship. Contracts are typically six months followed by six weeks of vacation and they can get off in port. Remember that the first question or comment that comes to mind is usually one that countless others have already asked or said. So go deeper and ask these kinds of questions:
"How long have you worked on ships?"
"What do you like most about working on the ship?"
"How well do you get along with your roommate?"
"What food do you miss the most from back home?"

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green_rd May 4th, 2009 10:45 AM

Nice tips - Thanks Jay

worthew8 May 4th, 2009 04:46 PM

Number 4
Does #4 apply to those who purchase shore excursions through the cruiseline? I was told if you were late to the ship because of the excursion, they will either wait for you or get you to the ship at the cruiseline's expense.


green_rd May 4th, 2009 08:40 PM

Re: Number 4

Originally Posted by worthew8
Does #4 apply to those who purchase shore excursions through the cruiseline? I was told if you were late to the ship because of the excursion, they will either wait for you or get you to the ship at the cruiseline's expense.


Typically not. That is one of the advantages of booking a shore excursion through the cruise line. If you think you are going to be time pressed, that is a good idea.

cfwright6 August 6th, 2009 01:20 PM

Good Tips!

StormKat August 10th, 2009 07:52 PM

I can absolutely tell you that the ship is responsible for you if you are late returning from an excursion booked through them and they take their responsibility seriously. Six of us were one hour late returning and the cruise staff of the NCL Sun figured out we were all on the same excursion. They did wait for us and we got cheers from the starboard side when we were dropped off. They pulled in the gangway behind us!

Since we're sailing on the Sun again next month, I guess it worked out okey.
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Triton October 16th, 2009 05:56 PM

Great tips, but I heartily disagree about "lame questions", that's a gross generalization. Passengers don't know, and I don't think there is anything wrong in asking that.

In our line of work (those who are not retired) we are asked questions like that, and I wouldn't think it lame or inappropriate.

Ask away. Nothing at all wrong with an honest question.

kelleigh1 January 17th, 2010 07:41 PM

Thanks for the tips. We're thinking about venturing out on our first cruise later this year and I was told that this is the place to learn everything we'd want to know about cruising.

Moiraine February 21st, 2010 04:05 PM

Thanks. Good tips. I just can't wait for next month.......

AF1 May 20th, 2010 07:34 PM

Thanks for the tips; nice to know.

mystro June 29th, 2010 09:12 PM

tips what to expect from the crew
:!: It'd be nice to see our *senior officer comment on what the paying customers should also expect from a crew and what to seriously complain about if it doesn't happen? TIA

amyd1972 September 9th, 2010 08:26 PM

some good tips, except about the lame questions thing. People asking those questions aren't intentionally being 'lame' or trying to be annoying. I would say repeat questions like that generally go with the territory for that kind of job.

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