I am going for my first cruise on the crown princes in march this year following my retirement.
I fly from England to san diego , where i board ship I then cruise for 18days , mexico,panama and carribean.
I have lots of questions but the main ones are ,what sort of dress will be required in the evenings and do i need to take cash or are cards sufficient. Any other advice is appreciated. Ps i am a single traveller
Maybe I can answer a couple of your questions. I have never sailed on Princess Lines but from my experience on three other line you will probably have 4 or 5 formal evenings. This is the traditional approach to cruising. Princess has a relaxed dining policy as to appropriate dining dress and it differs from my traditionl cruising experience.
Formal dining requires a Tuxedo or dark business suite. Next dining category is semi-formal. Here a jacket is required, but it can be with a shirt and tie or opened collar shirt such as a golf shirt (with colar). The most casual attire is a golf type shirt and a kaki or Chino type of casual slacks, and no jacket is equired.
Blue jeans are never acceptable for evening dining. More casual shorts and t-shirts are acceptable for breakfast and lunch dining(in the dining room),but never for evening dining in a traditional setting. Tuxedo's are available to rent on board ship if you do not want to pack a Tux or suit.
Onboard ship, a credit card account is established in the beginning and all purchases on board and for shore excursions purchased through the cruise line are charged to your credit card account. For every on-board purchase you will sign a receipt with your cabin number-keep your copy. At the end of the cruise, a copy of your bill will be slipped under your cabin door for your review. If it is all OK, you do nothing and the bill total is charged to your credit card. If there is a problem, then you visit the front Office to discuss the discrepancy.
You will need cash for small off-ship purchases and to tip tour guides and tour bus drivers, if you so desire. You will need cash to tip the cabin steward, and your dining table staff at the end or the cruise. U.S.Dollars are accepted throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. You should exchange your UK pounds for U.S. dollars unless you will be visiting a British island like Barbados. Otherwise, you may have difficulty getting an exchance on site.Youmay be able to exchange your UK pounds on-board the cruise ship. American Express Travelers Checks are also recommended for shore purchase. Credit cards are also accepted. Hope this answers some of your questions.
Ask any questions now to relieve any apprehension you may have. When you are armed with knowledge you are in control and it is easier to handle any other issues that come up.
Your cruise sounds like a winner. Hope you plan to take a lot of photos. You will love the Panama Canal. Here is a web site for a camera at the Miraflores Locks-the first set of locks you will enter on the Pacific side of the canal. The camera is a stop-action camera that takes a photo about every 5 to 15 seconds so you can watch the ships coming through the canal locks. It is facinating to watch. The camera is on 24 Hrs a day. The Panamaa Canal is on Eastern Standard Time. Enjoy.