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Old November 6th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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Default Tips, Tricks & secrets?

We've been reading about duct tape, power strips and two entrees for dinner...lets get to the nitty gritty...what are the REAL power tips and best advice new cruisers? How do we maneuver quickly on board the ship, advice about when and what to order from room service, how early should you hit the pool, can you get "automatic" room service if you ask your room steward, what on board tours should be avoided...c'mon veteran cruisers...give it up to us newbies!

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Old November 6th, 2004, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Research, research, research. <VBG> This websiite has all the reviews, and topics and articles that should answer most of your questions but nobody can answer them all at one time in all instances.
Jim

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Old November 7th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

One suggestion I have, purchase disposable underwater cameras at your local Target or discount dept store before you leave....what we paid $7 for on dry land was $20 on the ship...

Enjoy!

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Old November 7th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Jean,

I can vouch for that tip. The best piece of advice I received before my last cruise. Family friends were "burned" getting underwater disposable cameras. $24.00 in port. They let everyone know when they got back from their cruise. My son took some great pics with one. He is a "free style diver", meaning he dives deep underwater without oxygen equipment. Scares the heck out of me, but he is trained and knows what he is doing. Once in a lifetime pics. Terri Ann
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Old November 7th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

My best advice. Take a pair of binoculars AND don't eat yellow snow.
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Old November 7th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Cruiseguy...valuable advice for the tropics! hahahaha We are flying in the night before our departure...is there a better time than others to arrive at the port for embarkation? I've read a lot about long lines....

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Old November 7th, 2004, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

The easiest way to fin your way around the ship is to study the deck plans ahead of time......know what is on which deck know names/deck number.....example lido is deck 9.....Have a great cruise!
JoAnn
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Old November 7th, 2004, 04:14 PM
Deege24
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Default Re: Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Hello, as far as waiting on line to get on the ship you have two choices. You can get there 3 hours early and be the first person(s) on line and wait 3 hours to start boarding or you can get there a couple hours after boarding time starts and maybe wait 3 hours to board I find the later the better as far as boarding goes but if you are hungry be early to get some food. And remember if you are there early the sun may be at it's hottest point ( pending boarding time) so I hope you have a shaded area to wait.
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Old November 7th, 2004, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Our best tip . . . if you are a soda drinker (like we are). We don't take the "included" airport to pier transfer (most the time it is less expensive and easier just to take a cab). When we first pack, we pack a medium size bag in side of a larger bag and when we get off the airplane with remove the large outside bag and have the cab driver stop at a convenient store or grocery store. We buy many plastic bottles of diet coke and some bottle water. We put the plastic bottles in the larger bag with some beach towels around them to secure them and then check that bag at the pier. It's a mighty heavy bag! This saves us so much money cause (even with the soda card) we still save money this way - plus we can take the bottle water and diet coke on shore in a collapsible cooler that we packed in our luggage too. This is nice to fill with ice and take on deck by the pool to keep some sodas ice cold too.

The room steward in all of our cruises (last 6) kept our cooler filled with ice and a few bottles in it too. Carnival has some rules on how much soda, six cans per room . . .whatever, they've never stopped us. If they did, we'd just have to buy the soda card but if this works for you it's mighty nice to have the cold diet coke at any time versus with the card having to go get it filled, etc.!
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Old November 7th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

bring a nightlight if you have an inside room
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Old November 7th, 2004, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Elationismyship - did you tip your cabin steward the first day and make that request (ice in your cooler) or was it something he did daily to get a tip? I've heard if you tip them a little something early on - the service is better and they are likely to help you out a lot more... I plan to brink my six pack of diet cokes with me...DH is terrified that the soda police will confiscate them and make me walk the plank! I think he'll buy the soda card, but I love lemonade...happy to drink it as long as I can get a diet fix later in the room.

I love these boards...I hope all the veterans keep these ideas coming. Here's another one - if only two of in a stateroom - do we really need an organizer for the bathroom? I can travel light - it's DH who has to be the "princess" before he goes out. hahahaha

Sheryl

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Old November 8th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Hi! When it comes to boarding, the best tip is to have all your documents filled-out in advance, and have them at the ready, and get into the correct line. We like to be at the terminal around noon. That way it gives us a chance to explore the ship and get to know the layout a bit. Grab a bite to eat. . . Those pocket deck plan maps are a must!!
When it comes to the pools, most of the activities are centered around one main pool, during lunch time, Your chances of finding a lounge chair are better if you get away from the "hub" go up a deck or go to one of the other pools.
You don't have to be the first person in line to get off the ship in port, wait a bit and you won't have half the lines.
The nightlight is a good idea if you have an inside cabin
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Old November 10th, 2004, 11:19 AM
octcruise
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Default Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

We purchased an underwater on the Carnival Pride just before getting off in Cabo to head to our snorkeling excursion and it was $12.95. I just got the pictures back and really don't feel that I got pictures that justified the purchase. They were mostly just blue and the fish were all the same color. Maybe it depends on the quality of the camera purchased too.
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Old November 10th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

1. Research: Ship: Deck plans, ports, what you want to do and see. If you are comfortable; do things on your own. If not plan what excursions you want to do and pre-book them online.
2. Fill out all documentation before getting to pier. Including online registration.
3. Have all identification needed. PASSPORT
4. If the airport is close to the pier use a taxi and forget the transfer.
5. Fly in a day early if you have the time and can afford it.
6. Compare cruise air to what you can buy it for. You will probably buy your own.
7. Get insurance.
8. Get a passport
9. Get to the pier around 11:00 AM or around 2:30 PM. Either be first or after the first rush.
10. Fill out your luggage tags before you leave home.
11. Put your cruise luggage tags on your bags AFTER you claim your bags at the airport and BEFORE you get to the pier.

All of these things are to get you prepared and started on cruise with minimal stress. Once onboard you can kick back, relax and have fun. If you forget to pack something you can buy it if you have to.

Take care,
Mike

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Old November 11th, 2004, 07:15 AM
evie
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Make a copy of your passport or photo I.D. and keep in a seperate place. Just incase something happens to the original Also, lots of $1.00 bills for all the extra tipping (cab, baggage handlers, room service).

Don't let the little things upset you. Just sit back and enjoy your cruise.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Mike M is absolutely right to get to the pier first or last. We arrived at Tampa port at noon and were onboard by 1:15. The lines moved along pretty well. I liked getting on early and having lunch onboard.
My main tip is to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room. It is so much nicer than standing in line for the buffet on the lido deck.
I only got room service 1 time at around 9:30 pm. I ordered the veggie sticks w/bluecheese and the tuna salad on english muffin. It was alot better than I thought. It arrived in about 5 minutes. My friends ordered room service for breakfast almost everyday and said that room service got it wrong every time, so it might be hit or miss with room service.
We didn't do any cruise excursions. You can book through independent companies in most ports and they are cheaper and very good. We booked a sunset sailboat cruise in Cozumel through Cozumel Sailing and it was great. The cost was $160 for 4 people for 4 hours, plus $1 per drink (either soda, water or beer). They treated us great and it was more intimate, not 100 of your closest friends. I would research for an independent excursion company.
If you want to sit at the main pool, poolside, then you need to get a chair around 9:30 am. Once everyone has had breakfast the pool chairs will fill up quick. Plus the drink specials always start at 10am on the pool deck.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 02:54 PM
DENISE H
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?





put somebright poms on your luggage put them on each side so you can see them
so you can spot them at the airport and when youget your luggage at the port go
to carnival.com and go shor tours and see what they offer so when you get on the
ship go to tours desk on went you want to also if you want to have a glass of wine
at dinner buy a bottle of wine and have glass each night they will keep for you
and bring out each night ther will be dancing in the dinning room join in have
a great time its your vecation hope this helps you
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Old November 11th, 2004, 08:23 PM
Big Craig
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Passport? We do not have one and cannot afford it at this time for the 3 of us, we are US citizens and will use our birth certificates and driver licenses as we always do.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

I agree w/you, Big Craig, altho you will find a LOT of people insisting that you need a passport, at this is just not true, at least not at this point in time. Why spend the extra cash and time to get one when a license & birth certificates work the same? We've been traveling for many years with just that, and have NEVER had a problem...

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Old November 12th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

I agree with Jean and Craig about the passport. Haven't needed one in seven years...may be required someday but not now for cruises.

I recommend that you kind of plan your day and what clothes you will need each day...it really stops the over packing. You should pack with a little room left for gifts etc. that you will bring home. I think early dinner is best. Then you are free to fly for the night. I get sleepy with a late dinner and am ready for bed too soon.

If you like casinos, don't stay at one machine or one table for too long. Odds will get you. If you have good luck for a little while and it starts to turn, go somewhere else.

Don't wear yourself on excursions. Many folks do two the same day. Unless your motor runs none stop and you never tire, you can burn a ton of energy in the heat and feel like you need a vacation from your vacation by the time the week's over.

If you are going to shop on board there are two things to consider. If you shop early you may buy more things than you intended because of the excitment of the cruise. If you shop later in the week you may decide to spend less and not get all you intended because the sign and sail bill is higher than you expected. I make a list of things that I want to buy and for who then that's it. Save some bucks for sure. We never bring toothpaste, razors, soap and mouthwash because they are already in the room. We don't pack towels either.

Whew!!! Getting windy!

Best advice ever is to RELAX and ENJOY!!!! What a way to see new things. Cruises are wonderful ways to travel.

Rick
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Old November 12th, 2004, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

Buy one of those small coolers (10-15 gallon) on wheels at Wally World.
Use it instead of a piece of checked luggage. Pack anything you want in it.
Pack your sailaway champagne in your carryon, and use the rollaway
cooler in your room all week. The room dude will be more than happy to keep
it full of ice of you let him know early. A small gratuity wouldn't hurt either.
We have even used those $2.00 styro coolers, bought them when we arrived in the departure city (or first port) then left them in the room when we left.
I am not suggesting you bring your own drinks onboard, but wherever you
obtain them, they can stay really cold in the corner of your room, or on the balcony.
If you do bring your own drinks, don't carry them out of your own room.

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Old November 12th, 2004, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

You are absolutely right. You do not need a passport, at this time, if you are cruising to most destinations in the Caribbean or Mexico. You also don't need insurance, do pre-cruise research or fill out your documentation or luggage tags beforehand. It sure does make things easier if you do.

A passport also allows you to cruise or travel somewhere other than the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada. If you don't think you will be traveling outside of these areas you can wait until it becomes a requirement before obtaining a passport. The decision is yours and so are the ramifications when things change.

Remember the panic on the boards when Barbados was going to require passports. Carnival put pressure on the government to get a last minute exemption for cruise passengers. I don't think that will work every time, especially with French and Dutch islands.

Take care,
Mike

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Old November 12th, 2004, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

WE got our passports over a couple of years one at a time. $85.00 for 10 years is not a bad deal. sooner or later everybody will need one.
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Old November 13th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

we did the same thing eoconnor got one passport a month over the summer last year. Much easier on the pocketbook!!

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Old November 13th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

What are cruise luggage tags? Do they send them with the tickets/ First time cruiser.

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Old November 14th, 2004, 08:47 AM
Scott C.
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

For what it is worth. We always found the Ship was a great place to be when in port. It was always quite and you can get good deals on massages. We always seem to book cruises that are in 3 different ports 3 days in row. By the 3rd day you're wore out and quite possibly to tired to visit the best port of the cruise. Also, research and prebook your shore excursions. You'll save lots of money and usually there will be less people on the excursions if you book outside the cruise ship.
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Old November 16th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

I have read stories where folks who missed the boat etc.. and needed to travel between places needed a passport. ..so in some cases a passport could come in handy. Especially if you have tight connections..
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Tips, Tricks & secrets?

The one thing I am bringing this time around is a very small folded up duffle bag--to bring home my souveniers in. Last cruise We shoved, literally sat on the suitcase to make everything fit. I am buying a dufflebag I bought that lays flat and is very small. Then when it comes time to come home--I can pack it and use it as a carryon the airplane.

Also--would bring more film.

Ben Gay--cost me 11:00 for a tube in the gift shop.

Flip flops --cost me 14.00 in the gift shop.

Also for souveniers I am bringing back a bottle of white white sand and putting them in small bottles as gifts for xmas......a little bit of bahamas for everyone!

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