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Old September 27th, 2011, 08:43 AM
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Default What to expect

So First off, great thread! I am only on page 10 and have a lot of reading to go. My question is being that I have never sailed, can someone explain what happens after you board? Do you have your bags with you? Can you go right to the pool or grab a bite to eat?? How long are you at port typically waiting for everyone on the ship to board? When is the muster, is it right away?

I know there are a lot of questions here but I guess I just want to know if my fun starts right away, I have seen all the photos of guests standing with drinks waving as the the ship sails out of port, just looks like so much fun. I appreciate the input here, its so helpful.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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On most ships, you will be carrying your carry-on along with you, till your cabin opens up, usually around 1pm.

You can expect your welcome aboard picture to be taken, right before you walk onto the ship.

Once you walk onboard, you can head up to the lido deck to have your lunch, then you can explore the ship.

Depending on how early you get to the ship,and their sail time, once your cabin opens, you can unpack, check out the spa, your dining room, etc. Unless something out of the norm happens, you sail on the dot. Muster will come shortly thereafter. On many ships it is not up on the open deck anymore. Sometimes it's in the theater.

Make sure you are up on deck with a foo foo frink in your hand for sailaway. If you are leaving from Lauderdale, as you exit the channel, there are people from the condos, waving and cheeering you off. Some with horns,and your ship will blare it's horn. A nice exchange.Once our ship set off their car alarms, it was really funny. As this is your very first,expect butterflies. It's a great experience.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Not staff, but I would echo what Trip said, except sometimes there may be a slight delay getting the 'checked' bags to your cabin. Usually they are very prompt, but I did have one cruise where my main bag didn't show up until just before my early dinner seating. I was in shorts and had no time to get ready, so I opted for the buffet.... no biggie, but I think it's wise to keep essentials such as meds and the like, as well as maybe a swimsuit for a bit of afternoon pool time in your carry on...
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Old September 27th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Here's a link to an article I wrote for CruiseMates more than a decade ago, but most of it still applies today.

First Cruise; what to expect.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 02:57 PM
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That first taste of the cruise can be awesome. You should have med's, jewelry, camera and essential doc's in your carry-on. I.e. all of your valuables. The rest of your luggage you will have checked in to the baggage handlers at the pier as soon as you arrived. They will deliver it to your cabin later. If the cabins aren't ready yet, you will be directed up to the Lido deck. We will always grab a table asap. This is one of the very few times, if not the only time, not all passengers will be at the Lido at once. And it can get very crowded. One of us stays at the table with both carry-ons while the other goes to raid the buffet, then we switch off.

After we eat, as soon as they announce that the cabins are ready, we go to our cabin, check it out, then leave our carry-ons there and set out to explore the ship. Sort of a self-directed orientation. If we have assigned seating, we go to the dining room and see where our table is. Keep in mind that the casino and shops are closed in ports. But, exploring a new ship is a really fun thing for us.

The muster happens when the ship sails. So, if you boarded early, which we always do to squeeze every minute out of the cruise, you have a bit of time to roam around. But, they will announce that the muster will happen shortly before it does. Your life jackets are in your cabin;, so we go back to the cabin to get them. But, on our last cruise, we were not required to get them. I liked that, because usually you have to haul it back to the cabin right when you are setting sail. I will already have my camera in my pocket! I always have and always will get a thrill out of hearing the ship's horn. Yep, it is LOUD, but it means the vacation has officially started.

Hope this gives you an idea of what to expect. Happy sailing and welcome aboard our group!
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Old September 27th, 2011, 07:25 PM
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When you first arrive at the pier, you will hand over all your checked luggage to the handlers there, also include a few dollars per bag. Make sure you have attached your luggage tags, with your cabin number on each one. You will take with you, all your carry-on bags, purse, etc. All those will have to go through a scanner, very much the same as in the airports.

Some time a few hours after you board, your checked luggage will arrive at your cabin. Either wear something or have something in your carry on that you can wear to dinner that evening. It will be a casual evening, so no need for the fancy clothes, those are still sometimes not in your cabin yet.

After you board, you can have lunch and explore the ship. They don't have the guest cabins ready till at least 1:00, so you will have some time, unless you board later in the afternoon.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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You will have fun until the last morning then you get booted off like old luggage.

Seriously: Kuki's article is a good one to let you know what to expect.

Before you get to the port make sure your luggage tags are on your bags. If, for some reason, you don't have luggage tags the baggage handlers will have them and your cabin information so you can do it at the pier.

You will be direct to the check in area. You can basically follow the crowd and know which way to go. You will go through a metal detector and your carry-on luggage will be scanned. It is similar but not quite as intense as airport security. When you get to the check-in area make sure you have your boarding pass, passport/ID/birth certificate and credit card ready. They will check you in and give you your cabin key card that will get you into your cabin and is your onboard charge card.

Depending on when you get to the port you will either be directed to a waiting area and may or may not be assigned a boarding zone number. Once the ship is ready to board you will be direct on board by the announcement of your zone or a basic cattle call.

Once on board the cabins won't be ready until around 1 - 2 p.m. so you can just wheel your carry-on around and go to the buffet, have a cocktail, check out the ship or all of these. There will be an announcement when cabins are ready. At that time you can go to your cabin and unpack your carry-on, check out the cabin and wait for the muster drill. The muster drill is usually about an hour before sailing. After the muster drill it's PARTY TIME and you are on your own.

Have a great time and just go with the flow and you'll enjoy yourself.

Take care,
Mike
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Old September 27th, 2011, 10:56 PM
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I love leaving out of Miami...The people are lined up waving and watching you go by...This cruise we are going out of Port Carnival on the Dream......I don't have say a word everybody here nailed it on the nose..By the time you come back, You'll be on the phone booking another cruise.....As the same as we do when we get back everytime....Good Luck!! Happy Cruising!!!!
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Old September 28th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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Thank you all, this is very helpful. I am sailing out of Ft Lauderdale and hear its fun to sail out of there. My cruise is not until next October, so I'll be hanging out here soaking in everything until then!
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Old September 28th, 2011, 08:39 AM
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You are correct Kerr, it is something else sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale, the people in the condo's give a great send-off. I will witness it in about 3 weeks or so.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Nothing like your first cruise!
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Old September 28th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Here's a link to an article I wrote for CruiseMates more than a decade ago, but most of it still applies today.

First Cruise; what to expect.
Oh Kuki you've gotten me so excited reading this and itís our fourth cruise! 59 days until we sail!
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Old September 29th, 2011, 08:27 AM
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Kerr Met,
I would pull the avatar. The sox did their usual thing this September.

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Old October 1st, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
You are correct Kerr, it is something else sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale, the people in the condo's give a great send-off. I will witness it in about 3 weeks or so.
Have a great time Donna, my cruise is right about a year away from yours, October 27, 2012. Can't wait to read your posts!
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Old October 9th, 2011, 11:45 AM
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I loved your blog entries, too, Kuki! I'm not even sailing until May next year, but I just booked my air today, so I'm all excited!
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