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  #1 (permalink)  
Old November 12th, 2003, 04:15 PM
AMG57
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Default First time cruisers!

Hi everyone,
My husband and I are taking a cruise Jan. 4, 04 to the Carribean on Celebrity (the Mellenium. I've been checking out all the info provided here and let me say, it's terrific, but I was wondering what the temperature is like in January in the Carribean? And also, how involved is the process of getting on the ship?? Do they search all of your belongings, etc.?? How much time is involved in this whole process, etc?? I'd also like to hear from anyone who's been on this particular ship. I'm a little nervous, but can't wait to go!

Thanks for the feedback!

Angie
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old November 13th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie, first off congrats on booking your first cruise!! you will love it. What are your ports of call? IF you let us know we can give you a better idea of what to expect weather-wise. Check in is usually fairly painless, I don't know if Celebrity has pre-registration on line or not, if they do, use it. It saves time having all your paperwork filled-out beforehand. Security will scan your carry-on baggage before you board the ship, same type of scanners that they use in the airport. It all depends upon when you arrive at the cruise terminal how long it will take for you to board.(lines or no lines) Have all your documents handy and it will be a breeze.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 09:34 AM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Lisa,
Thanks for the input.....we're leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale..ports of call will be Dominican Rep., San Jaun, PR, St. Thomas, VI.,and Nassau, Bahamas...My husband's company offered us this cruise and initially I wasn't going to go because I don't fly (under any circumstances!)....I know, I know...it's stupid, but it's just the way it is for me BUT rather than say no again (we've been offered 2 other cruises), we reached a compromise and we'll be driving down to Florida from Connecticut over New Years weekend...some would say that's pretty extreme but it's the only way this was going to happen!!! Even though I'm nervous about the cruise, I'm looking forward to it. After checking out the Celebrity website and seeing and reading everything, it's hard not to be excited. I've got a million questions, but I've been reading everything the Cruisemates website has to offer....anything I need to know can be found here.

Thanks again,
Angie
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Old November 14th, 2003, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale is very easy and its fun! There are these condos on the waterway just before you exit the harbor --the owner's greet the cruise ships as they pass by some have banners, some have air horns, some flash their porch lights, and the ships usually toot as they pass by, its a great way to start your cruise. I haven't been to DR yet, so i can't make any suggestions. As for Nassau - consider spending the day over at Atlantis Resort Casino on Paradise Island, - great casino, - beautiful. You used to be able to wander around the public areas but I have been hearing that they have beefed up security and certain areas are off limits. Take a tour of the aquarium & dig - really interesting. You can purchase a day pass to use the beach at Altantis but its $$$$. There are hotels that offer day passes at a much better rate. St. Thomas - hit the beaches - some of the most beautiful you will find. You can choose to stay on St. Thomas and go to the beach or you can grab the water taxi and head over to St. John Island ( this is what we like to do), amazing beaches over there also. - here's a link with beach info www.usvinow.com. Great duty-free shopping in St. Thomas (liquor, jewlerly, camera, perfumes, linens are the best buys). San Juan - i love San Juan. Stroll around old San Juan - go out to El Morro Fort - very interesting - overlooks the harbor you can watch all the cruise ships coming and going. A trip to the rainforest is also very interesting. Great beaches here.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 11:09 AM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Lisa,
Thanks for the insight! It sounds like a blast....I can't wait to actually get there, see the ship and then board...I think that's when it will finally hit me that it's real!!! I'll check out the websites you've suggested because I can't wait to see St. Thomas...I've always wanted to go to the islands...we just got lucky that it's all part of this cruise.

Thanks again,
Angie

PS: I'll keep ya posted!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old November 18th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Congratulations on your cruise Angie, but I have to say I doubt you'll like it. I say this because you will get tired real quick of being waited on hand and foot, you'll tire of all the food that's always being offered to you, you'll be bored with the shows and comedians, you'll hate having that frozen umbrella drink at the pool, you'll be aggravated at the sing-alongs in the piano bar, you'll seathe at looking at sunsets over the islands, you'll go nuts over the ding-ding-ding of the slot machines and you'll despise sleeping as late as you choose.

But what you'll really hate is leaving the ship when it's over!

Regards,
Thomas
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Old November 18th, 2003, 02:50 PM
aqusis
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Default Re: Re: Re: First time cruisers!

I am right there with you on the flying. I don't do it either and it has nothing to do with world events or anyting specific. We drove to Pt. Canaveral from WV and I was dreading the trip. It wasn't bad at all. We were going to do it in 2 days but got all the way to St. Augustine the 1st night so we only had about 2.5 more hours the next day. Luckily, I'm finding lots of cruises that interest us for the next trip that leave from closer ports, Norfolk, Philidelphia, and Baltimore are all within 5-7 hours!
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Old November 19th, 2003, 08:58 AM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Thomas,
I imagine I'll have to find a way to deal with all the "inconveniences" that you've mentioned!! :-) I'm intimidated but not fearful...I wonder if everyone else feels that way the first time they cruise??? It's weird because I'm usually not that way about many things...maybe it's the relinquishing of control!!! I was wondering about room service..is that something that you pay for or is that included also??? If so, then I would imagine you would just pay tips to the attendant??? Have you been to the Caribbean?? And if so, can you suggest some worthwhile offshore excursions?? Some people haev told me not to bother with the Domincan Republic excursions...any opinion on that??

Thanks for the email and advice,
Angie
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie, think of your cruise ship as a floating resort with all the amenities! There is no charge for room service, usually tip the server a couple of bucks when they deliver the food. Another useful tip: If you like those frozen umbrella drink thingys - check out the "drink of the day" specials, same drink reduced price. Any other questions?
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 12:04 PM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Lisa,
Does the ship have laundry facilities??? I know I shouldn't even think about doing laundry but then I can decide how much to pack or not pack!!! I have a million questions, but I will try to organize my thoughts before inundating you with it all. :-)

Thanks,
Angie
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

I don't belive that Celebrity ships have self-service laundry. There is laundry service available for a small fee,check your ships daily newsletter for laundry specials.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 12:34 PM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Lisa,
I was just checking out some of the other message boards here and discovered that you can reserve offshore excursions through other agencies (not through the ship?) and it's much cheaper???? Is that true??? And where do I find other companies that do offshore excursion for the cruise we're gonna be on??? Just in case you forgot..we're going to the Carribean on the Millenium in January.

Thanks,
Angie
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie,

You can book excursions on line through some of the independents web sites, BUT if you haven't done this I would not recommend it for first timers. If you're really tight on the budget then you might do so, but if not I'd recommend you book through the ship and pay the extra. There are just some things that are worth the peace of mind and knowing the cruiseline is your partner on these excursions is worth it IMO.

As for laundry: my advice handed out on these boards for a long time is, pack half the clothes and twice the money. Most first timers are way overpacked. You will be surprised at how casually people are dressed. Daytime attire is shorts, shirts, sandals. You can mix tops and bottoms for dinner. Two formal nights you can wear the same outfit.

Don't know what you're in to so I can't recommend any excursions for you. Mrs. Thomas likes to shop. I like to snorkel. She likes to sit in a bar and taste the local beer. I like to tour the islands. We always do both for each other.

Regards,
Thomas
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old November 19th, 2003, 02:10 PM
AMG57
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Thomas,
I appreciate your honesty (re: excursions). I think we'll stick with the cruise ship and use their services for that. I, too, love to shop so I'm sure we'll spend some of our time doing just that...my husband and I are not big drinkers, so that's a plus...but what we don't spend on alcohol, I usually spend on stuff I don't really need. Normally, we travel via motorcycle, so you'd think that I would have this packing thing down to an art...but, no....we actually tow a small cargo trailer (made just for motorcycles) to accomodate my stuff..which is usually far more than I need. I think my big concern is what the heck to wear on this cruise. There are so many different opinions about this. Some people have told me I need to have a very formal (like wedding or prom) dress and hysband needs a tux....well, he just won't go there!!! I've convinced him to do one of the formal dinings just for the experience and he's game, as long as he only has to don a suit. I, myself, don't mind getting all dolled up but I'm just not sure what to buy. When they say casual, do they mean jeans, etc. or dress slacks, etc.???

Thanks,
Angie
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Old November 19th, 2003, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie,
Most of the cruiseline websites actually have pretty detailed info about what they mean by casual, informal, formal, etc. check you line and see what you find.

I'm a first time cruiser, too, but have gleaned SOOOO much info from Jim, Donna, Thomas and others that I feel almost like I know what I'm doing!

My sister recently cruised and agrees with Thomas that she took too much. She has helped me pare down my wardrobe (and will probably help more because I am stopping in to visit her in Florida for a few days before my cruise in January) to:

- one dressy dress for the formal night, complete with nice heels, jewelry, etc.(I might go black cocktail dress)
- two casual sleeveless dresses for dinner two other nights - maybe sundress type with a little silk jacket
- nice slacks and blouse for dinner 4th night and for land excursions (we *are* going in January to the Bahamas and it might be in the 70's)
- shorts, shirts, sandals, sneakers and of course, bathing suits.

She swears that 's all I'll need. I camp a lot, so am accustomed to packing light (which is real easy to do when you have to CARRY everything on your back!).

Sounds like you and I are both trying to know EVERYTHING before we go. My travel agent and my son keep telling me to relax, but frankly, I'm too excited!

Happy sailing!

dorothy
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Old November 20th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers!

Dorothy,
I know what you mean. Once my husband and I reached a compromise about how we were going to get to Florida from CT (I don't fly...ever!), it's all I can do to focus on my job. I swear I dream about this cruise!!! I am looking forward to it...I need it, BAD! I can get used to some pampering. Where and when are you going and on what ship???

Thanks for the insight!
Angie
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Old November 21st, 2003, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

I can feel your excitement through the monitor. You will absolutely love it.

Dorothy is on the Carnival Fantasy............as you can see in her signature.

Since you don't fly Angie you can start looking at cruises leaving from Boston or N.Y. This will limit your choices of available itineraries but will save a bunch in cost and time. That will allow you to cruise more often.

We live in Florida and own a restaurant so for us the 4-day cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral which leave on Sunday and return on Thursday work out perfect for us. We have taken longer cruises but being away from the business on the weekends is dangerous so we don't do this very often.

The most brilliant thing the cruiselines have done in the last few years IMO is moving the ships to where the people are. People like yourself who don't fly are now able to cruise because they are close enough to drive to the ports. People who are on a tight budget can now cruise because they don't have to pay for air fares. The overall cost of their vacation is now affordable. Jacksonville (where we live) is now the home port of Celebrity Zenith and Carnival Holiday (in 2004) and the Carnival Miracle is stopping in the spring for a few cruises. We can now cruise on these without driving to Port Canaveral or Miami and can even avoid the cost of parking the car since we can have friends drop us off and pick us up.

Hope you have a great cruise.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old November 21st, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Hey again Angie! how's it going today? You are sailing an Eastern Caribbean itineary, correct? that usually includes a stop in St. Thomas - the most beautiful beaches you will find, soft silky sand and warm turquoise waters. Some really great beaches on St. Thomas,you really don't need to book anything here. We like to hop on the water taxi and cruise over to St. John island. Trunk Bay Beach is gorgeous! this is where all the cruise lines head, so it tends to get a bit crowded, we like to go basically next door to Cinnamon Bay Beach, same beautiful beach, less crowded. St. Thomas has some really good duty-free shopping - especially for liquor, cigs, electronics,jewlery, perfume and linens. Are you going to St. Maarten? again great beaches and great shopping, especially on the Dutch side of the island. We are taking the Golden Eagle Catamaran tour when we go in Feb. Don't forget to sample some guavaberry liquer!
As for the dress code: Celebrity tends to be a bit more dressier than some of the mass-market cruise lines. DH will be fine with his suit for formal nights. If you have a nice cocktail dress or a long black or navy blue skirt - pair it up with a sparkly or shimmery silk blouse-dress heels and you are all set. Casual nights - i like to wear sundresses and a light sweater with a pair of flat sandals - its just much easier to throw on a dress somedays! Khaki or Dockers type pants and a nice collared shirt work well for both men and women, capri pants and a twinset are also a great outfit. Water shoes or water sandals are a must, the sand and the ships decks get very hot. Pack a good pair of walking sneakers, SUNSCREEN and a hat for the both of you. Fanny packs or small backpacks are a must to carry your basic everyday cruise essentials- leave your pocketbook at home - put everything in the fanny pack. I like to use an evening bag on formal nights. Pack a couple of swimsuits and a cover-up(both of you will need some sort of cover-up over your bathing suits when away from the pool areas.
Do you and DH like to snorkel? if you have your own gear, bring it.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers!

Angie,

I, too will be a first-time cruiser (in April for me). I would also recommend you look at amazon.com, bn.com, or any other book site and try to get a copy of the book "Cruise Control" by Pamela Kane. I was supposed to take a cruise earlier this year but didn't (broken engagement). I had this book, and it answered a lot of questions my ex-fiance and I had.

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