What was the one biggest mystery you had going into your cruise that got resolved once you were onboard?
Or another way to ask this is - what one thing were you most worried about only to find out it was mostly unnecessary worry?
I think for me it would be the dress codes - even the casual dress. I kind of thought that most people would have "deck shoes" and wear nautical looking clothes. I thought you would have to know some nautical terms or risk looking foolish, like when you ask where the bathroom is and someone says "behind the port bulkhead amidships."
I also wondered if there would be a lot of grease, ropes, pullies and other things like that around.
Little did I know a cruise ship would be mostly like a really nice hotel - and that's it.
I think that was my biggest surprise too Paul, I expected a ship to look like, well, a ship! I was surprised to see I was in the lobby of a 5-star hotel!
My other "worry" was that everyone would be so "rich and snobby" and dressed to the nines. I was pleasantly surprised to see most people in T-shirts an shorts around the pool, just like me!
Yes, the clothing issue was one that my wife was concerned about as well. I know we over packed, and tend to still do that. My concern was more about the ship rocking. I have vertigo and so I am probably more concerned about this than others. I remember being in the hall and my wife told me the ship was moving. I could hardly believe it as it seemed so still.
Of course it did start rocking a bit in open water. This was the Carnival Celebration which was much smaller than other ships we have now sailed.
I traveled alone on my first cruise, Norwegian Spirit, and was concerned about being lonely or bored. I was very surprised that the cruise director found me right away as I sat by the pool and put me at ease. People were so friendly and I met people to hang out with and the cruise director kept track of me to be sure was having a good time- which I did
My biggest concern was that the cabin would be a walk-in closet with a bed in it. I would look at the cabin descriptions and mark out what X square footage would be. That is why I booked a suite for my first cruise. I figured that a 300 square foot cabin would be about the same size as my bedroom. I later learned that a 165 square foot cabin, with balcony, was large enough for me not feel cramped.
I also had concerns about "the dress code" and over packed to the max. On our first cruise we wore far less than half of the clothes we packed. I had the idea that people would be dressed up at all times. My wife pointed out that the cruise brochure said what I should wear "onshore". My response to that was: "Why the heck are they telling me what I should wear off the ship." I learned quickly that this was a guideline for people who hadn't traveled before.
I was actually a bit disappointed that you really didn't feel like you were on a ship but my wife was ecstatic about it.
I laugh, and get a little irritated, when some people give new cruisers a hard time for not using the "correct" nautical terms. Calling the galley the kitchen or using the term stairway instead of ladder or calling it a bathroom instead of the head. Sorry purists: People are taking a cruise, they are not joining the Navy.
The best thing was that it is a much more relaxed atmosphere with extremely friendly people who didn't seem worried about what you were wearing or if you used the correct terminology. Everyone was just having a great time.
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I think you summed it up with that idea that most novices think it is going to be a navy-like nautical experience.
I think the envision something like a summer camp at sea - people sleepingin hammocks (like on Pirate ships) with oil pipes, wheel valves & greasy ropes everywhere.
They think you should buy clothes with epaulettes and shows that won't slip on wet constantly wet decks.
They envision a cruise director with a megaphone waking you and telling you its time for breakfast.
I think that when you tell novice cruisers they actually get room service coffee every morning - with eggs, fruit, cereal & yogurt - AT NO CHARGE - that it just goes over their head. It doesn't register.
I love the story about you thinking 300 sq feet would not be enough. I learned from working on ships that you easily adapt to any size of room as long as you have what you need. Space is really over-rated. So, when I moved to NYC is already knew I would be fine in a smaller apartment.
Now I live in a bigger house, and my wife has utilized all the space, but before she moved in I lived in the bedroom & kitchen.
I am most worried about the definition of "casual" on port days. While in port I will want to wear t-shirts and shorts, not a blouse and dress slacks. Crystal's website has some pictures of each dress code category. For "casual," the pictures show what I wear at a full-service restaurant - blouse and dress slacks - instead of t-shirts and jeans. So I got the idea no completely casual clothing is allowed on the ship ever, even on port days. If you were ever on a Crystal ship, let me know what the staff thinks of casual clothing on port days.
Andrea... the dress advice or codes only really apply to the evening for dinner, apart from normal courtesy of wearing a cover up when eating, or swimsuits at inside venues, you wear what you like during the day.
As far as surprises go, for us there were none, our first cruise was exactly as we envisaged it..but then it was Ocean Village, an easy going ship with a smart casual dress code throughout.
I was going to Bermuda .I was concerned about the Bermuda Triangle but was told not to worry because the ship does not sail in it but around it .Well,we hit a storm that was not on the charts .Every passenger and crew member became very sick .
Statement...."most people who don't like cruises have never been on a cruise"..These are the one's who think you are confined to a broom cupboard in the bowels of the ship & are subjected to crowds & instructions to have "fun"...all pre-conceived ideas about cruises.
I thought the ship would be more like a boat rather than a resort hotel or small cities. I was also surprised at the variety of activites available onboard - I was thinking the activities would consist of deck chair sitting and shuffleboard. The variety and quality of food in the main dining room, as well as the service, was outstanding. I had been told it would be on the level of banquet food. The people who say that must go to some pretty fancy banquets.