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Old July 22nd, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Default First Time Cruiser - Mother/Son...Lots of Questions

Hi Everybody!

I am very excited that my first cruise is right around the corner (8 days to go). My 13 y.o. son and I are going to set sail on Fascination. While I know that we will have a blast, I keep worrying about everything from getting to the port on time, wearing the right clothing, keeping him entertained, etc.....

I know that you have gone over these questions many times before, but I am going to ask again. First of all, what are the most essential items that we should bring which aren't published in the brochures (i.e. - multiple plug outlet)? Is there one formal night on a 4 night cruise? I was hoping that my son could wear a black tweed sport coat with black dress slacks? Is there any leeway on the formal attire? Will he have any difficulty making friends and/or keeping busy? He is very mature for his age, but not very sociable! He spends most of his time on the computer and X-Box 360. Will he be able to go into the Vegas style shows? He loves stand-up comedy. I am hoping we will have that as an option. What are some of the unexpected costs which we might not be aware of?

OK - OK - enough questions. If you have suggestions for a mother/son who are traveling together, please let me know. I appreciate your input on the questions I posed.

Thanks!

OzzyMom
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 07:20 PM
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Hi OzzyMom,

Welcome to Cruisemates!

You and your son will have wonderful time! Here's the link to Camp Carnival if you haven't seen it yet:

http://www.carnival.com/CMS/Static_Templates/Teens.aspx

Be sure to go to the Camp Carnival orientation the first day. Your son will meet the others in his age group and find out about all the activities.

We do take a power strip, but if you don't have a lot of things to plug in (camera charger, cell phones, hairdryer, etc.) you probably won't need one. Also take a small first aid kit with band aids (for those foot blisters!), antibiotic cream, something for diarrhea ( ), and anything else you think you'll need.

We take a hanging shoe bag to put "stuff" in (including shoes!).

There should be one formal night on a 4 day cruise. I think your son will be fine in what you described (with a tie).

The only show he won't be allowed into will be the adult comedy show. (Although I've heard that this is not very well enforced.)

We haven't been on Fascination, but generally the only extra costs will be soda, bar drinks, shore excursions, the spa and gambling (including bingo).

I'm sure I've left out something, but someone else will be along to give you more info !

Have a wonderful cruise!
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 08:46 PM
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Your son will be very busy. I have a game cube son too, and he was even involved. You have been given some very good advice, so there is not much else to add. Don't sweat the formal night. If your son is dressed nice, but not quite formal, he will be just fine.

Have a great cruise, and let us know if we can be of anymore help.

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Old July 23rd, 2006, 07:36 AM
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Only expenses I can think of and not mentioned would be pre-paid gratuities ($10 per day per person I think) and parking at pier ( also usually $10-12 per day). The gratuities are just automatically posted to you sail-n-sign card. Make sure you have all the necessary documents. You'll have a blast!
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Last, but not least, mom has to relax and leave the worries at home. hope you have a wonderful cruise.


Happy cruising to all;
David
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Sailed the fascination 1 1/2 wks ago. his dress for formal night will be fine, are you doing the 5 day? if so formal night is the 2nd night and the ship will put you with people like yourselves the best they can ie: mother/son, mother/daughter. we traveled with our 3 boys and were seated with a couple with 3 also. my 14 yo loved the camp he is somewhat what you described your son to be like and all the kids had fun running all over the ship. being he is 13 he can sign himself in and out. we almost never saw him. he would come in at like 2-3 in the morn. when you board get him the soda card first thing and your done with him. parking: be prepared to prepay your parking $48. when you are going to your cozumel day make sure you get your tender tickets early I think the last tender came in an hour after we did I would say that whatever excursion you are doing give yourself an hour on each end for tendering. Boat leaves at 8:00last tender I think was 7:00 or 7:15. If your looking for tee shirts in coz, as soon as you get through the customs area look to your left you'll see a 4.99 t-shirt place I got a couple of nice t- shirts there and after washing them appear to be good quality. Never had a problem with chairs by the pool, got there at 12:30 and boarding and debarkation were a breeze. hope this helped. ask more if you need to.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 10:45 AM
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OzzyMom....I cruise often with just my grandson and he is a "Gamer". He wouldn't be caught dead at Camp Carnival in a group structured environment, he would be miserable. On a cruise ship, he is a much happier person when he is with adults enjoying adult things. The game room on the Fascination is very small and geared towards younger children, the only game they had that peaked my grandon's interest was "Hydro Thunder". He brings his Nintendo DS and lots of games, portable DVD player and CD player and all his rechargeable batteries with him on every cruise. He should enjoy the Vegas style show, the stand-up comedian (not the x-rated show), the 24 hr. pizza and ice cream, mini-golf course on top deck forward, karaoke, audience participation events, etc. You don't indicate how long your cruise is or where you are going. If you need help with shore excursions, write back.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Just a quick thought...are you divorced and have custody of your son?If so, you will need a notarized statement from your son's Dad giving him permission to travel outside the US with you.
You both are going to have a great time!!! He'll never want to go anywhere else on vacation after his cruise.
His outfit sounds perfect
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 06:45 PM
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Just to add to Judy's GREAT reminder, even if you're not divorced you should have a notarized statement from your husband that your son can travel outside the US!

I'm sure you'll both have a great time!
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 07:09 PM
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Thank you to everyone for your responses. We are doing the 4 night Western Caribbean (Leaves out of port of Miami; goes to Key West and Calica/Playa Del Carmen and back to Miami).

I do have a few more questions.... Are Walkie-Talkies OK to use to keep in touch with my son on board (if he should decide to leave my side)? When you are in one of the ports, can you get off and on as you please? How long does the debarkation process take? My flight out of Ft. Lauderdale is 12:45 pm. The ship is supposed to get back into Miami at 8:00 am. I thought that would be ample time to get to the airport, but the brochure from CCL says not to book a flight before 2:30 pm. Do you think it will be possible to still make my flight? How much faster is the debarkation process if you don't "check" your luggage? Don't know how much luggage we'll have, but thought I would ask. I really am trying to pack light.

I will have a notarized letter from my husband allowing me to take our son out of the US. My husband is a party-pooper and didn't want to come so, we are going alone!

Thanks for all of your help. One Week to go!!

OzzyMom
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 11:45 PM
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Walkie-Talkie's - Yes, there good. Try to get the ones with the sub- channels. Unless you've already got a pair.

Flight- If at all possible, do the self -assist debarkation. Thats where you take your own luggage off . That may get you off alittle quicker.

Don't know about Fort Lauderdale, but the Miami airport is a madhouse around 11.45.
May you have sunny skies and smooth seas; 8)

Happy Sailing;
David
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Old July 24th, 2006, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzyMom
My flight out of Ft. Lauderdale is 12:45 pm. The ship is supposed to get back into Miami at 8:00 am. I thought that would be ample time to get to the airport, but the brochure from CCL says not to book a flight before 2:30 pm. Do you think it will be possible to still make my flight?
My friend just got back from her cruise on Saturday. She came in on the Triumph thru Port of Miami and was also flying out of Ft. Lauderdale. As long as you let them know you have an early flight (you might have to show documentation) and you keep your bags with you it will be fine. She did that, and was waiting on the bus for the airport by 8:45. I believe her flight left at around 12:30 and they were pretty early getting to the airport. Bon Voyage!!!
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Old July 24th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzyMom
Thank you to everyone for your responses. We are doing the 4 night Western Caribbean (Leaves out of port of Miami; goes to Key West and Calica/Playa Del Carmen and back to Miami).

I do have a few more questions.... Are Walkie-Talkies OK to use to keep in touch with my son on board (if he should decide to leave my side)? When you are in one of the ports, can you get off and on as you please? How long does the debarkation process take? My flight out of Ft. Lauderdale is 12:45 pm. The ship is supposed to get back into Miami at 8:00 am. I thought that would be ample time to get to the airport, but the brochure from CCL says not to book a flight before 2:30 pm. Do you think it will be possible to still make my flight? How much faster is the debarkation process if you don't "check" your luggage? Don't know how much luggage we'll have, but thought I would ask. I really am trying to pack light.

I will have a notarized letter from my husband allowing me to take our son out of the US. My husband is a party-pooper and didn't want to come so, we are going alone!

Thanks for all of your help. One Week to go!!

OzzyMom
I brought my walkie talkies but didn't feel the need for them with him. As a matter of fact I don't recall seeing or hearing anyone with them. My experience with my 14yo, who sounds alot like your son, was that he was always with at least 1 or 2 kids just like him (similiar personality kids gravitate toward each other) running around the ship. Most of the places they were were somewhat noisy( I know this from the places I happened to pass and see him in) and I didn't think he'd hear me calling. and again after seeing the stuff he was doing didn't feel the need to call him. He was having a good time and being well behaved. Plus imagine calling him and not getting an answer! then you'll be worried and not enjoy yourself. We just told him what time dinner was he he seemed to just show up. Believe me after you cruise you'll realize you wasted to much effort on this subject. You will find out that all the kids will be out late so expect him to want to stay out late and hang out with his new friends and by the time you leave the cruise he will have exchanged a few email addresses. After seeing all the teen kids having fun on the boat I am convinced that being 13-18 is probably the best age to cruise! You have all the fun but don't pay a penny!

Do the early self debarkation thing if you want. But I will tell you that we stayed on board, at breakfast and then got off the boat, found our luggage, had to get the car and load it then had an hour drive home to WPB area. We got home at about 11:00. My neigbors took the same cruise and did the early debark and were home at 9:30! FLL is about a 15-20 min ride with no traffic which there should be none at this time. your only problem will be if the boat comes in late, which it probably wont. Hope this helped! look at me the big cruise guy now!!
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Old July 25th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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My first cruise was with my son who turned 13 at sea! He says it was the most memorable birthday ever. You two will each discover what you like about cruising and hopefully spend some good time together AND apart.

Walkie talkies - we decided we didn't want to bother with them. We always arrange a "meet back" time. We'll meet back somewhere and have lunch together, meet back in another couple of hours, etc.

My son LOVED all the game shows, contests, shows and trivia on his first cruise. By his 3rd he was 15, discovered other teens onboard but none of them participated in the Camp Carnival. He spent most of his time with the teens when we were at sea, with us at the ports.

He'll have a blast and so will you!

dorothy
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Old July 26th, 2006, 02:14 AM
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Since this is your first cruise, I think you will feel much happier if you bring the walkie talkies with subchannels. Our son was 13 on our first cruise and was gone from morning to around 1am. We saw him for dinner and excursions. I can't tell you how many couples we have run into looking for their teens and wishing that they had brought walkie talkies.

Our son, now 15, is also into computers/video games but has no desire for them while on a cruise because he's to busy having fun! Our last cruise was during spring break and he found tons and tons of kids his age. Also, the teen director had so many activities for them that he looked forward to going. He didn't do all of them, just the ones that interested him. He had a blast. The teens love the freedom of being able to have full run of the ship and the late night curfew.

Your son will also love the shows and the comedians. The midnight show won't be appropriate for him at 13 but the other shows are fine. He will love the 24 hour pizza and ice cream, the freedom of being able to roam the ship without you, and making tons of new friends.

Make sure you get a picture of you and your son on formal night. When else are you going to get a picture of the two of you dressed up!

When in port, you can get off and on as you please.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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I forgot to mention that the other reason we quickly decided against using the walkie talkies we brought was the annoyance factor.

So many people were using them with their kids (and of course eveyrone had to SCREAM their conversations to make sure they were heard) that it was worse than being around all those cell phone conversations out in the real world!

Meeting up at various times really worked for us.

dorothy
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