My husband and I and our 2 girls ages 4 & 12 will be crusing on the Inspiration out of New Orleans on Sept 9th. This will be our 1st cruise. I am wondering about formal night, exactly how formal? Do the kids need formal attire as well? Any advice on tipping? How about shore excursions? Any recommendations?? Thanks in advance!!
My first cruise on the Inspiration this past January. You will have a great time. I really loved the intinerary. In Cozumel, we took a cab to Chanakaab Park for snorkling and swimming. In Grand Caymen, we took a excursion to Stingray City, NOT to be missed. You actually get in the water and pet and feed these very tame creatures. In Jamaica, we took a ship excursion called the Pirate Boat, they took you to an area for snorkling and then over to Margaritaville where there is a swimming area and a place for eating and drinking. I loved the ship and I think you made a great choice for your first time. Everyone was wonderful and the ship was very clean. As far as formal night is concerned, I saw a wide variety of clothing..everything from long ball gowns to fancy pantsuits to cocktail dresses. There weren't many children on this cruise and I didn't take any so I can't comment on formal night dressing for them. I did notice that on the second formal night that it was a tad less formal. At the time I went, the tips were handled at the end of the cruise. They gave you envelopes and you hand them directly to the staff. Carnival has implemented on some ships, where they charge your tips to your sail and sign card. I don't know if they have done this on the Inspiration yet. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me!
Rest assured that you will have a wonderful time. In fact, your worry will be that you will become a cruise addict like so many of us here are. <G> As for formal nights, no the kids need not get all dressed up. I am sure the 12 yr old would like to dress very nicely and by all means you and the hubby should wear formal wear is at all possible. It makes for a great family photo! If you choose to forgo the Tux and Gown route a long dress and dark suit also are approprate. As for tipping, what we always do is take enough cash to be able to tip the recommended amount and set it aside. At ther end of the cruise we either add or subtract the amounts according to the level of service we received. You can also have the tips automatically taken out of your sail & sign account if you choose. Some people even tip half the recommended amount right away and inform the staff that the rest will depend on the service received. On shore excursions, Cozumel is a great place and very safe. You might wish to go horseback riding or take the Jeep Safari or just go to the lagoon. Shopping is lots of fun and haggling is wonderful! In Grand Cayman the one thing that is not to be missed is StingRay City where you and the kids can actually feed and pet the stingrays!
Thanks for the info! Everyone says not to miss Sting Ray City...it must be awesome! Are there any other not to miss excursions? How much does it cost to rent a tux on the ship? I hope there will be other kids on the ship on Sept 9th!