1. A list of your friends and families mailing addresses so that you can make them jealous by sending post cards.
2. 26 cent post card stamps if you'll be sailing to US ports such as San Juan or USVI.
3. Static Guard or dryer sheets - I wore a new dress and the taffeta stuck to my undergarment. The photographer didn't say a word. My favorite formal photo was ruined because of this oversight.
4. Downy Wrinkle Remover
5. Walkie Talkies - don't be afraid to use them, don't be embarrassed to use them.... they're invaluable if you're traveling with friends. Just remind them to leave them on even if they're in their cabin.
6. After sun or a very good body moisturizer.
7. Conditioner - ships have shampoo but no conditioner and there wasn't any in the sample baskets. I did have my own but I thought I'd mention this.
8. Digital photographers: buy a memory stick that you can fit your sandisk into. The ships have ports so that you can transfer your pictures to the memory stick to free up your san disk space so that you don't have to carry multiple disks. It's also worth it to get the pics developed on board. CVS here charges 19 cents per print and the ship runs specials such as 20 cents a print. I'm not sure if they can generate a cd or not.
9. Carnival professional photos: I haven't tried to do it as a test but it appears that if you attempt to scan their photos now, there' a Carnival water mark that runs throughout the picture.
10. Weight Watchers and Cruising.... I only gained .4 and was thrilled at weigh in. However, just a note - melting chocolate cake is 19 points per serving....
11. Snorkeling and St. Thomas: Take the taxi to the ferry from the pier as soon as you arrive, take the ferry to St. Johns, take the taxi to Trunk Bay. Keep an eye on the bay for sea turtles along the way. You will not be disappointed at all and you'll have more time to snorkel than on the excursion. There is an underwater trail around the little island set out from the beach. St. John also appears to have some quaint shops but we didn't have the time to explore. We were at the beach for just over three hours. Even if you're a novice, you can snorkel and swim at Trunk Bay. There are also certified lifeguards there since this is a National Park as well as shower and changing facilities, a snack bar and someplace to rent equipment. The taxis are always waiting to take you back to the ferry. Try to get back to ship no later than 3pm to give yourself a chance to browse the shops. Jewelry and perfume are very good deals there (I love Jadore).
12. San Juan is much bigger than you imagine and very artsy. There is no way you can do everything without taking another cruise or coming back for a longer stay. Say a prayer in one their gorgeous churches. Think Wuthering Heights when visiting San Cristobal. There are free trolleys at various stops. Be sure to take the handout they give you getting off the ship. Contrary to what others say the Senor Frog's near the Sheraton is newer but a lot of fun. A nice place to take a break. We devoured their nachos. We danced on our chairs. We will go back to San Juan some day.
13. Grand Turk - what can I say.... I lovvve their Margaritaville. Three beautiful pools, a swim up bar, beautiful views, etc. Some good shopping there too but I don't cruise to shop. Reef and rays is well worth doing the excursion too. You will still have time to enjoy Margaritaville.
14. Triumph - Carnival needs to improve the air circulation in the casino area and at the bar there as well as in the piano bar.... that was the only thing that bothered me. Otherwise, I was thrilled with Triumph and their shows were absolutely outstanding except for the standard opening show. They need new routines for that show. Our steward and waiter were outstanding.
15. We saw Liberty and can't wait to be on her come May 2008! Glory was there too. That will be the next ship for my husband and me. I want to be in one of their aft balcony cabins....
16. We took advantage of the laundry special. I was thrilled to not have to come home and immediately do wash. We also used the drycleaners for pressing my husband's dress shirts and a pair of my slacks, worth every dime and it was still cheaper than drycleaning here. The next time I'm not knocking myself ironing my favorite cottons, I'll just have it done as soon as I get on the ship!
17. Take advantage of the port day spa specials.
18. I took one large suitcase and a smaller suitcase, way too many clothes. Really think through your clothes before going. Preplan your outfits. Don't forget a nice shawl or sweater for during dinner as well as a sweater or sweatshirt for other times in case the ship is cold.
19. Last but not least, we should have taken the shuttle from the ship to airport even if it included an excursion. The hassle of getting a taxi from the ship to the Miami downtown rental car agency, wait and wait some more because it was so busy, to drive a car to a place we wanted to see, back to airport rental car agency, to the rental car shuttle to the airport..... it isn't worth the aggravation or the cost of some tips you lay out. If you take the Carnival shuttle, you load your luggage once and that's it until you get dropped off at the terminal for your flight home. We loaded and unloaded four suitcases of ours and four of our friends at least SIX times!!
20. My biggest moneysaving idea besides the cost of renting a car: if you don't have to stay at a hotel the night before a cruise, don't. We spent $154 for seven hours sleep. I would have preferred to have been in my own bed, get up early, drive to Philly, park the car, go to the terminal, have breakfast, get on the plane, sleep another 2-3 hours and take the shuttle directly to the ship.... live and learn....
21. Non-Drinkers: it's worth it's weight in gold to buy a fountain card for a seven day cruise. If there's any way for you to carry on a case of water, do it. If you like iced tea or lemonade, take a medium insulated pitcher or jug, pack your jewelry and/or socks inside of it, empty it when you get on board, ask your steward to keep you well-stocked with ice or fill the pitcher at the Lido with their delicious lemonade or someplace similar and keep it in your cabin. You can take a jug or cooler on board. We filled ours with our camera equipment because it's so sturdy. My jug was filled with what I mentioned above.
22. Allow yourself a photo budget so that you get at least a photo from each of your port stops.
Ok - enough of my novel. HAVE A WONDERFUL CRUISE and WRITE BACK!
ps: if you swim, take at least three swimsuits unless they are quickdrying. There was one day I actually wore two different suits because I didn't want to be inside walking around for a little while in a wet suit. Also, take a cover up even if you've never used one before, much classier and they dry quicker than jean shorts....