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puppydogeyessc April 30th, 2009 08:18 AM

Can someone give me a play by play for the first day...?
Hey all - my first cruise is in 3 weeks! It will be me and my husband and I am taking my mom (65) and my aunt (63). They of course will have their own room. LOL Anyway - none of us have ever been on a cruise.... so I feel like I need to get my ducks in a row.

Can someone give me a play by play for the day of arrvial and the morning we depart.

Starting with - after we park our car at the parking place...

Also - when do they so the little drill thing?

We are going on the Fascination out of Jaksonville.

Thanks in advance!!

dina April 30th, 2009 08:51 AM

You will drive/ride to the cruise terminal. The first thing you will see are the cruise ships sitting at port getting ready for you. You get dropped off/park at the terminal and hand your bags over to the porters. If you don't have your tags on the bags, they will put them on for you. You walk into the terminal and depending on the time of day.... you wait in line. Every one is happy.. not cranky because everyone is excited to get on the ship. You make it to the counter and hand over your fun pass as well as your identification/drivers license/credit card. The counter person will bring up your information and you will get checked in. They will hand you your information back and you will get your sign and sail card. You proceed to the boarding area. They are there to take the first of a gazillion pictures. You make your way on board. You finally get to the ship security where they will take your sign and sail card and pop it into the computer. they will take a picture of you that links to your card so they know exactly who you are and then you are IN. The next part is up to you. explore the ship.. get some lunch.. you will be handed a Caper that has all of the events for your first day. Look on your sign and sail card. that has your dinner table on it and which dining room your eating at. If your table number does not match the rest of your party, you can have it coordinated with the matride'. You can find the time for this on your Capers... The time for your muster drill will be on your Capers. After thats over, there is always a sail away party on the Lido deck. Go up and enjoy while your ship pulls away from the dock. Check at your cabin every once in a while. your luggage will be waiting by your door at some point. don't stress. When it shows up you can stash it in your cabin. I prefer to unpack.. others live out of their suitcases. You do not have to "dress" for dinner on the first night. Its your choice. Your on vacation. Go play...

green_rd April 30th, 2009 08:54 AM

I'll take a shot though I've not cruised from Jacksonville

It actually begins before you park - you should be able to drive to an area and drop off your luggage. Be sure everything is tagged. You will see it again outside your stateroom several hours later. Anything you may want to have over the next few hours (swim suit, meds, etc.) is in your carry on.

After you park you will proceed to the terminal. There you will verify the information on your Fun Pass, arrange payment for on board expenses and have your picture taken for your sign & sail care (the picture is not on the card - but is checked each time you embark & disembark). The Sign & Sail is your room key and your on-board money (for the most part - not sure about the casino).

As you embark you will have a group photo taken that you will have the chance to purchase later.

Once you actually embark you will plug your S&S card into the little bing bong machine that security uses to be sure you are aboard and that you are you. You can go check out your stateroom and the rest of the ship. The buffet on the Lido deck will be open, so you can start eating right away.

There will be a life boat drill very close to sail away time, and then there may be a sail away party on the Lido.

You will have a good time for several days

The last night you will be provided customs forms and need to pack your suit cases and have them out by midnight. Sometime overnight they will be taken down to the hold. You will be given new luggage tags that will have a number that indicates your order of disembarkation. If you are driving you will probably have a high number, so you can relax and enjoy your last morning aboard.

After the ship clears customs they will be begin calling groups by number to disembark. This keeps the customs lines shorter and makes it easier to find your bags.

Alternately you can drag all your bags off yourself, but I doubt your mother & aunt would be too interested in that.

skymaster April 30th, 2009 08:59 AM

Dina has got it exactly correct. You'll have to go to the "lifeboat drill" and that happens usually right after sailing. There will be announcements, and on the back of your cabin door it'll tell you where you need to go for that experience. Don't stress over it, as it's a necessary event. Just visit with those around while waiting for the announcements, and take pictures of each other in your life jackets. :wink: If you board the ship very early, you probably won't be able to get into your cabin. They usually open those up somewhere around 1:30 in the afternoon. If that's the case, just head up to the Lido deck, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Above all,,,,HAVE FUN.


puppydogeyessc April 30th, 2009 09:17 AM

Thank you - thank you- thank you! 8)

I am going to be a dork and print this page to carry with me!! lol

colorcrazie April 30th, 2009 02:08 PM

Be a dork! I sure am. And, have fun! That's an order from one dork to another.

cruisermeg April 30th, 2009 02:57 PM

well not much to add....just have fun.

get to the pier early if you's nice to be able to orient yourself to the ship before the majority of passengers show up.

while there is no "dress" requirement for the 1st dinner, do have to BE dressed....clothes are preferable to a birthday suit! (sorry, couldn't resist!)

you only have to do 2 things....the boat drill and, well, they make you get off at the end of the cruise, which i think is pretty rude! i mean, why can't you stay??!?!?! OH YEAH, and you can NOT bring home your cabin attendant and/or waiters in your suitcase either! the nerve!

Have a great time!!!!!

valleytwin May 1st, 2009 03:54 PM


Originally Posted by cruisermeg
well not much to add....just have fun.

get to the pier early if you's nice to be able to orient yourself to the ship before the majority of passengers show up.

I've heard this "get there early" from a lot of people. If your scheduled embarkation is 1:00 pm, how early can you get there?

cruisermeg May 1st, 2009 04:50 PM

i haven't cruised CCL yet, but generally on our RCCL cruises, we get there by 11. Last cruise, IIRC (in feb) we started boarding before noon.

They will start boarding as soon as the ship clears from the previous won't be able to get to your cabin most likely, but there will be food.....(in the buffet-and maybe elsewhere)......

you're paying for that day, so you may as well get on the ship ASAP!!! :-P

Nothin but blue skies May 4th, 2009 02:13 PM

If you on board a little early and want lunch go to the Lido deck and look around at all the options. Our first cruise, we jumped into the first line and fixed our plates, then realized that there were a lot of other stations that we could choose from (salad bar, deli, pizza, sometimes a fish and chips, grill etc.). After lunch you might also want to take a tour of the ship before it gets too crowded. This will help you become famililar with the different areas and help you find your way around.

If you are not handed a "deck plan" and "Caper" when you board, you should pick them up at the tour desk counter. They will help you get around even before your cabin is open. We like to carry a highlighter and highlight the events that we want to attend the next day, then take the little tear off column from the Caper and stick it in our pocket for easy reference. The less you have to tote around with you the better.

Have a great time - take things in stride - and remember everything will not be perfect but it will be as fun as you make it. There is nothing like the "First Time" in Love and Cruising.

JoeMo May 4th, 2009 11:59 PM

The folks above beat me to it. All good advice.A couple more things.
It is customary to tip the porter at the terminal $1-$2 per bag.
Don't worry about your cabin, you will have all week to find it,
Explore the ship, go up to the Lido and have some lunch.
I always skip breakfast on sailaway morning so I'm ready for the feast.

brad813 May 5th, 2009 02:47 AM

Carnival you should be able to get there between 11 and 12 and do fine.

Cruisermeg, while I applaud your attempt to steal their employees, I don't think that is exactly legal or wise. Lol.

dina May 5th, 2009 08:12 AM

Yeah.. the cabin steward does put up a fight when you try to pack them. LOL

brad813 May 5th, 2009 01:49 PM

I would imagine so. Apparently everyone typically gets an excellent steward?

Just do not let me get drunk then go to a stage show. I may end up trying to hug all the female dancers on stage. Lol.

badknees May 7th, 2009 11:18 AM

Things start going pretty quickly once you get near to actually getting on the ship. The picture thing is about the last thing before getting on. I'm talking about actual photographs here not the ID. Be sure and remember where you put the little piece of paper that has a number or something like that on it that tells you where your boarding picture will be in the photo area. We swore we didn't have one and then my husband found it in his pocket. Decide ahead how you want your pictures done. The whole group would be nice and then do one of just you and your husband if you want. Do it even though they are trying to keep people moving. I always like to get the boarding photo. Be careful about photos. You can end up paying a fortune. They take photos every where. Formal night is a good night for pictures. Go ahead and get in all the picture taking opportunities. That way you can find one you like. Oddly enough one of my favorites of my husband and me is the quick one the roving photographer takes in the dining room. Then you check out the photo shop at intervals to look at the pictures they have taken of you and see if you like any.
Make sure you look cool for boarding. I've got a couple I wish I could do over. But they still bring back that great memory of starting the cruise.
Go up to Lido and look at all the food offerings before getting something. There will be plenty of time.
Oh yes! Remember this. The waiters up on Lido on the outside seating are walking around passing out really good looking tall drinks with fruit and little umbrellas. Don't grab and say thanks. THESE ARE NOT FREE!!! I've seen several people get a shock after they've handed out a table full of drinks. Oops! I hate to think they are trying to trick people but..... On the other hand if a tropical drink will go along with your sailing mood go for it just remember you're paying for it. If you're not used to sailing or drinking you might want to take it easy until you get your sea legs.
Before long you will be standing at the rail sailing away waving to anyone on land and you will never be the same again. You are just too cool.

Pocono Pug May 7th, 2009 11:52 AM


Originally Posted by valleytwin

Originally Posted by cruisermeg
well not much to add....just have fun.

get to the pier early if you's nice to be able to orient yourself to the ship before the majority of passengers show up.

I've heard this "get there early" from a lot of people. If your scheduled embarkation is 1:00 pm, how early can you get there?

Ive gotten on as early as 10:30. I couldnt get in my cabin but we were on board and loving life :D

llb May 7th, 2009 12:30 PM

BTW, you CAN use your sail and sign for the casino...just don't forget to pull the card out like I did. Thankfully, a good samaritan turned it in for me.

FYI, I found the Bursar's Desk to have an extremely long line day 1. Hopefully you can avoid it! I used cash to set up my sail & sign and had to wait in this line to do so for quite some time. I'll be using my credit card next time.

I've only sailed a couple times, but I do remember both times I didn't pack a sufficient carry on. You won't see your suitcases for a while so pack the swimsuit, suntan lotion, camera, necessary meds, etc...AND, don't over pack it because you will be lugging it around until you have access to your room.

It's so exciting pulling away from the dock, enjoy it! All the boaters around you will be waving; they are use to the cruise ships coming and going.

I hope you have a really nice time!

brad813 May 7th, 2009 03:32 PM

Those tropical drinks might just help some people get their sea legs. I personally plan to have one or two at sail away, but I do not have any intention of overdoing it. Will probably try to prepay as much as I can before I leave.

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