Tips sought for 4-night Bahamas cruise on Sensation
Hi Everyone, I'm about to go on my first cruise in 19 days on Sensation and want to thank EVERYONE here, as you have all provided tips by either answering my questions or providing answers to other people's questions about Carnival and cruising in general.
Now, I'm looking for any general tips you lucky experienced cruisers can provide for my trip to the Bahamas with my 14 year old son, Ian.
Some of the tips I've received include:
Check balance of on board account daily via the tv in your cabin to make sure all charges are acurate and that there are not any unknown charges listed.
Before you retire for the night, leave the television tuned to the channel with the "view from the bridge"
Check out the little patios on the side of the suip outside the rear Lido buffet doors as a great place to watch the sunsets.
Get a Foundain Fun Card for Ian for sodas during the cruise.
Keep all airline tickets, cash, passports, credit cards and traveler's checks in the cabin safe. Only take one credit card with you and minimum cash on excursions.
Join the former passengers' club.
Attach cruiseline-supplied luggage tags to binoculars, totebags, etc. so anything lost can be returned to you.
Bring along a collapsible cooler and order room service sandwiches, etc. and ice to be delivered 30 minutes before your excursion so you can bring along a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and not have to pay hiher prices on shore.
If you feel safe doing so, take more cash than you think you need. The ATM's on the ship charge about $5 for a transaction and that's in ADDITION to what your bank charges you. Pretty steep!
I only took a certain amount of money off the ship and kept the remainder in the safe.
I also made sure I had about $25-$30 worth of 1's for tipping room service, porters, cab drivers, etc.
You are hands down the most prepared cruiser I've ever seen, so I KNOW you will be fine! :wink:
That seems like enough already - but if you get more, I've subscribed to this thread so I can see them too - by the way, no matter how many cruises you take, each one is (almost) like the first one.
Michele, I don't think that you will be able to review your account on the Sensation. I think it only applies to the newer ships.
Be careful taking food off the ship. Not only a chance of spoilage, but some countries have rules like we do.
The rest looks good.
Re: Tips sought for 4-night Bahamas cruise on Sensation
Best thing I took was the collapsible cooler! Steward filled it up every morning so I always had cold bottled water on hand.
The Collasible Cooler from Walmart has wheels, I used it as my carry on and immediately emptied it once in the room for the steward to fill with ice.
since the Sensation does not have your sail & sign card info on the TV you can simply check at the purser's desk each morning or evening; just don't go down at peak times as it can get pretty busy.
re: taking food off the ship; it seems to me at each port of call they were NOT letting anyone take food of the ship; the only thing you could take off the ship was bottled water but they were NOT checking the bags
I think you can take foods that are pre-packaged like boxes of cereal to feed the fish.
Re: Tips sought for 4-night Bahamas cruise on Sensation
1) No interactive TV functions on the Sensation to book excursions or check your sign and sail account.
They will leave you an updated sheet each night in your cabin while they make your room while at dinner.
2) No view from the bridge channel to watch. (plenty of free, not even on PPV movies to see each day though)
3) The little patio seating sections are out the back doors of the Red Sail (Lido) buffett, next to the Pizzeria and the bar on the other side.
You can also go up the stairs right there, which takes you right up to the aft pool area, where you can grab a lounger and enjoy the sunset. (or a much less crowded pool area during the day)
4) never bothered with the fountain card, since I am always happy with the free fruit punch, iced tea or juices available 24 hours a day.
(you can also pack some sodas in your luggage and if you are bringing a collapsible cooler, just get your cabin steward to keep it full of ice all week.) (they were happy to, on both of our cruises)
5) keep all of your stuff in the safe.
All you need to get back to the ship when in port is your sign and sail card and a photo ID. (passport or drivers license)
Maybe take a credit card as a backup while in port, but I would NOT use it except in an emergency. Use cash for any purchases and have plenty of small bills for cabs, Jitney (bus) rides, tips etc...(it is usually difficult to get change from cabbies or you'll get Bahamian change)
6) You don't have to join a former passengers club.
You will get a past guest number automatically a few weeks after you return home.
7)The old style luggage tag idea is a good one. (if you do the new e-docs, they will not work)
8) Do NOT order room service to take off the ship with you.
It is illegal in the Bahamas and the majority of ports (from what I have been reading for our Western Caribbean cruise) to remove any non-packaged food from the ship.
You will see big trash cans positioned at the gangplank as you debark in Freeport and Nassau, where they will make you dump any sandwiches, fruit, etc... as you exit the Sensation.
Some tips from our experiences.
1) If you go all the way forward in either corridor on the Verandah deck, there will be a double set of unmarked doors, which lead out to an observation area under the bridge. Great views, but VERY windy.
There is also a similar area all the way up, in front of the jogging track and the mini-golf.
2) Bring a collapsible cooler and a 12 pack of your Son's favorite soda.
Ask or leave your cabin steward a note to please fill your cooler with ice.
Our stewards refilled ours each day for us.
Was nice having a soda in our cabin anytime we wanted a quick drink.
3) Bring a large insulated mug to fill at the buffet with Iced Tea, Fruit Punch or juice. (the staff in there told us how smart we were on both cruises, not having to keep getting up and refilling the small glasses provided next to the machines.)
Was also nice, for my wife to fill up, then head up to the aft pool area to lay out and get some sun each day.
Let me know if you need any tips for extremely inexpensive, yet full days in Freeport and Nassau. Don't know what your budget is. We enjoy cruising on a tight, but fun budget.
Unless you definitely want to snorkle or swim with the Stingrays, booking Carnival excursions in either port are a HUGE waste.
Luanne: Thanks for the tip about food. I'll leave my cooler at home them!
Nomadbgk: thanks, I am planning to bring 2 credit cards.
Bill: Thanks for the tips. We are flying to Florida so I won't be bringing cans of soda. He'll be happy with the soda card. I have an insulated mug on my list for my morning coffee, cold drinks, etc. We'll be doing the glass bottom boat in Freeport and the Atlantis resort in Nassau. Will not be taking taxis or busses anywhere on our own.
msblackjack: thanks, I will check with the pursur office every couple of days to make sure my account is accurate!
Just one suggestion for you in Nassau.
You can do the exact same things at Atlantis, as you would do on the excursion, by yourselves, after 6PM, for $20-$21 roundtrip cabride to Atlantis for two.
The ship excursions only take over to Atlantis and take you through the Digs aquarium, shopping area and Casino. (plus, lobbies etc..)
After 6 or 7PM (depending on the time of year), the guards at the Dig, go home for the evening, but it remains open, for free (instead of $29pp) until around 11PM.
The rest of the things you see on the excursion are free at anytime you go over there.
We did this on our last cruise in January and some friends we met in the Polo Lounge each night were upset, when they found out we saw all the same things they saw on their ship excursion, for a mere $21 roundtrip for both of us. (the ships excursion does NOT go anywhere near the pools or waterslides, which are reserved for guests use exclusively. Which to me seems kind of cruel taking a kid to the world famous waterpark, but not let them ever go in.)
Plus, by doing this, you leave your morning and afternoon in Nassau free to see the many, many, many more interesting things to see in Nassau, other than the Vegasy Atlantis.
You could do Ardastra Gardens and Zoo (which I think we are going to do on our next trip to Nassau in September)
See any of the sites on this walking tour (which we did on both trips to Nassau, right after docking, while it was still reasonably cool in Nassau)
(especially the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle, right at the top of the stairs. The view from inside the Fort is great)
The British Colonial Hitlon right at the end of the pier and the Wyndham over in Cable Beach, both offer great daypass deals to use their pools, beaches, facilities, towels, etc... for a mer $15 pp.
We have taken advantage of the BCH and its proximity to the ship (15 minutes from our pool loungers, back to the ship for dinner0 on both previous trips.
Most people with kids, prefer the bigger beach and pool with slides at the Wyndham.
There is also the Pirate museum right near the BCH.
It would be a shame to be docked in Nassau for 24 hours and only see Atlantis and maybe the shopping on Bay St. or the Straw Market, which IMO, are the 3 least enjoyable parts of a trip to Nassau.
Thanks, I think we're happy wtih our plans for the Atlantis tour excursion in the morning, lunch on board the ship, then checking out the walking tour area as you said, I'm not comfortable with the idea of being off the ship at night, so we'll be back on the ship after the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle, pirate museum, straw market and perhaps some time at the Hilton's beach with the day pass for a couple of hours. We'll be enjoying the ship entertainment after dinner. However, we will probably get off the ship when it's just getting dark, just so we can walk far enough away to get a few great photos of the ship all lit up at night!
We did the walking tour of Nassau (our own made up primarily from Frommer's) and the glass bottom boat that leaves from the same pier where the ship docks.
My then 13 yo LOVED it. It goes over a reef or two and a shipwreck and was cheap.
Have a great time...
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