If you are sailing the Caribbean or Mexico watch out for the sun(burn). If you spend a lot of time outdoors or on open decks. I ruined serveral early cruises by being burned so badly that I couldn't enjoy or partisipate in all the outdoor activities.
there are so many great tips, i will touch on a few of mine
Bring: Travel Alarm clock, Water-proof Sunscreen, Aloe Vera Burn Gel ( put it in the fridge), Sunscreen for the lips. Baseball or some type of hat for everyone. Fanny pack for carrying around basic daily cruise essentials, good pair of walking sneakers, water sandals or aqua shoes(decks & beach sand is hot), collapasible bag for beach & souveniors, Prescription and over-the-counter drugs - bring them in their original-marked bottles/containers. If you have snorkel gear and plan on snorkeling, bring it. Bring all your basic daily essential toiletries(enough for the duration), if you run out of something you will pay $$ for it at the ship's store if it can't wait until you hit a port.
Try something new and exotic on the dinner menu. Get to know the ship the first day or two so you just aren't wandering around. Take the stairs instead of the elevators if you don't want to add a few pounds during your cruise
Bring a pair of binoculars and a strip outlet for all you appliences. Ware what you would be comfortable eating in the 1st night. Your luggage may not be delivered by dinner time. If its anyware near chilly in the evenings bring a jacket in your carryon for the same reason.
On our first cruise we traveled with our teen aged children - we brought a shoe organizer with pockets for the bathroom door - this kept everything organized and out of the way for such a small bathroom space and less confusion - as three of us wear contacts, all different sololutions - and different daily essentials. I'm not sure if it is necessary with just two. Am cruising with my niece in March - might try it without the organizer and see how we make out.
Thought of one more thing - we were unable to port one day due to rough seas - it was a little chilly on the ship as well, wish I'd had brought a pair of pant or something a bit warmer, just in case (also because I tend to be colder rather than warmer)
Thomas is right on the money (so to speak): bring 1/2 the clothes and twice the money!
My other tips (from a one time cruiser, keep in mind...):
1. Bring a couple of sweaters (I was freezing anytime I was inside).
2. Go right to the gift shop the 1st day and buy one of their HUGE tote bags ($11.95). It saved my life shopping in Freeport and Nassau. It also makes a nice little beach bag (it's nylon) for future cruises and beach trips.
3. Arrive early for the shows to get a good seat, but BEWARE, they usually play Bingo before the shows and it's soooo tempting to play!!
4. Remember, you are on vacation - leave the world behind!
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
You have all been wonderful and very generous with your time and advice! Thank you so much!!! I appreciate everything. We are a group of families going from thos eof us who have cruised only once or twice and those who have never cruised. It is so helpful to get someone else's ideas of good tips.
Please feell free to add more if you think of them. Again, thank you!