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Trip January 7th, 2011 04:55 PM

Attention 1st Time Crusiers!!
First Time Cruisers, We at CruiseMates, want THIS forum, to be your first stop for information to help you really enjoy your cruise experience. NO question is silly...being an educated first timer means, a more enjoyable cruise! Ask Away! Spead the word....:)


Marsdude February 18th, 2012 06:22 PM

My DW and I will be sailing on the NCL Dawn in a few days for our first cruise. We run a resort so we know we will have a good time no matter what - because we don't have to wait on anyone! YES!

I wanted to thank you for this great forum. I have tried another forum. Nice people there. Good info. Lots of posts. However, the "cruise cheerleaders" there sour it for me. Really bad attitudes in my opinion. Could turn off a lot of first timers here.

This forum seems to common sense discussion. I would love to cruise with some of the posters I have read on here. Anyway - job well done and thank you again.

Trip February 18th, 2012 07:09 PM

Marsdude, I hope your cruise is wonderful,and we all appreciate youre kind words. If you ever have a chance to join a Cruisemates group cruise, you'll gat a chance to see how much fun you will have..I'm hosting one next month,and I can't wait. Please come back, and, share your "Happy Days" in paradise with us;)

Marsdude February 18th, 2012 07:12 PM

Thank you!

I am sure we will have a good time. We are really easy to please.

I would really be interested in a Cruisemates group cruise in the future.

I will be sure to report back about our cruise.

Thanks again.

Future Cruiser March 3rd, 2012 08:41 PM

Not changing my user name

Originally Posted by silverbolt (Post 1390006)
After your first cruise will you change your username? lol :)

Good question. I definitely will take some other cruises, both with and without my mom and sister, so in a different way I will always be a future cruiser. That is something for a lot of people with cruises already booked to think about.

I already changed my name once. First I was CrystalPrincess because I thought a very good ship for me on a port-intensive itinerary is the Serenity. Now I am not so sure that I want to sail on a small luxury ship because people say those ships have few activities and little entertainment onboard.

noeliacruz1 April 28th, 2012 10:34 PM


This is my first time to be in a cruise and alone. I am wondering if there are any information desk where I can able to ask for an assistance regarding my stay for 3 days 2 nights?

Kerr_Met May 27th, 2012 08:34 AM

This is a fantastic thread that morphed into something more than it set out to be. I used to travel with T-Checks all the time because they are like cash and taken everywhere but I have not used them in years.

So someone said 100 dollars a day or so in cash, that's not for all tips I am assuming, that is for tipping and other things off of the ship correct? Also, if I was to buy something in port, I would think i could use a credit card, or is cash just better? I totally didn't think about bringing cash, I was just going to put most of it on my cc as I pay it off every month. So thank you for this post. As silly as it may seem to most of you, its the little things that get overlooked that can dampen your vacation experience.

Fieldmouse May 27th, 2012 12:33 PM

We take cash AND a credit card. At the various ports, we take only a budgeted amount of cash with us and the credit card. But we always are careful WHERE (which vender) we use the credit card with. We never let the Vender/employee walk away from the counter where we are standing to some back room or??? to swipe the credit card no matter how nice or upscale the shop is. At restaurants we make it a point to use cash.

We almost never overspend on shore...its on board ship where our problem lies..tooooo much fun!!! :D

Ruggya July 17th, 2012 09:31 AM

First timer cruisers bound for the Baltic Sea and St. Petersburg
My wife and I are taking a celebrity cruise to the Baltic...leaving on Thursday, and I'm wondering what type of power outlets the CS Constellation has; 110 or 220? Anyone know? I've checked the website and either overlooked it or it's not available. Thanks.

Trip July 17th, 2012 09:42 AM

Pack a power strip with 4 to 6 outlets. You usually only have a couple of US 110 outlets in the cabin. With all the electronics we carry now you will need the extra outlets. You could also buy a converter if you want, but I have found the power strip works out fine for us.

annabellekane July 17th, 2012 09:03 PM

Hi there!

I'm planning to take a cruise soon but I can't seem to make any definite plans.Any travel advice?Where do you think will be good destinations?I want somewhere relaxing.

I hope you can help me. Thanks a lot!:)

jennlawrence July 18th, 2012 08:52 AM

Hello Dear

When I was on my cruise 3 weeks ago I discussed cruise message boards with a lot of people .I would say that 90% were not familiar with any boards . :confused:

BigMac July 18th, 2012 09:42 AM

I got my wife into cruising.. she has been on 2 so far. She just found out about cruise bords too.

I would have been suprised if there were none!

annabellekane July 18th, 2012 09:09 PM

hey there everyone!

I thinking about traveling to Alaska. I just came across this site :
Alaska Cruise Excursions - Cruises to Alaska - Best Rated Alaskan Cruise
but I don't know. I haven't really made up my mind though. What do you think? I hope you can help me. Can you suggest any fun activities I can do with my family?Any travel advice? I'll sure appreciate it.

Donna July 19th, 2012 06:50 AM

There are so many wonderful excursions in Alaska. Take the time and check what the different cruiselines offer and pick accordingly. You will notice, most are expensive, so be sure to pick things you really want to do. I may suggest at least one whale watching excursion, they are great.

annabellekane July 19th, 2012 08:47 PM

thanks a lot! I'll make sure to include whale watching in my planned activities. Any Do's and Don'ts? that i should remember?

sarah.stubbs August 12th, 2012 11:28 PM

My husband and I are planning on taking a cruise in January on Carnival Ecstasy to the Bahamas! I seriously have no idea what to do! I have so many questions going through my head I don't know where to start. It's the first cruise for both of us! Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks.

Donna August 13th, 2012 06:37 AM

Welcome to Cruisemates Sara,
A good place to start, would be reading through the section here for first time cruisers, will answer a lot of your questions:

First time cruisers

lemur August 14th, 2012 04:59 AM

no clue
never been on one.. just want to get out of town for a mental break.. single cruiser/ or singles cruise is for me.. where do i start looking and how many offer airfaire packages ... i just want a short 3/4 day or night trip... just to recharge so i can go back to my hell of a life with a smile...haha

thanks for any advice and help
pm would work best

[email protected]

janyova1 August 31st, 2012 02:17 PM

Soon to be first time cruiser

First time posting. :) We are going on a cruise for the first time for our 1 year anniversary. We are taking the RCI Monarch of the. Seas October 8. I was looking for some fun, inexpensive things to do in Nassau for a non swimmer. Any suggestions?

Donna August 31st, 2012 08:46 PM

I would simply take an excursion over to Paradise Island and visit Atlantis. Get a tour of the "dig", aquarium and some of the public areas, great way to spend a few hours. After your tour you can roam around some areas, icluding the beach...You can catch the bus back when ever you want, just remember where it left you off and ask the driver if he is going back to your ship.

aatmwilson October 19th, 2012 10:34 AM

First time cruiser
Ok.... I am a first time cruiser. I have been researching the heck out of everything. I think I have a handle on everything. However....... ;)

1) We will be cruising from Oct 29th to Nov 2nd. We are in port (Cozumel) on Halloween until 10pm. I have 3 kids. They are all whining about not celebrating. Does Carnival do anything for Halloween?

2) I have a 3 yr old that is Autistic. She is super sensitive. For the muster drill what should I expect? I have read that there are alarms :-/

3) What documents do I need to print? I have our boarding passes, and luggage tags. Do I print the camp stuff for the kids?

4) What do I expect for the boarding process? Like step by step. I also have a 9 year old that has Aspergers. So I need to totally prep her for anything that may happen.

5) As far as motion sickness.... I have read a lot of differing info. Do you really feel like the ship is rocking? If my 3 yr old gets motion sickness should I just keep her on a steady diet of dramamine (Which is ok for kids)

6) We do not have passports. So when we get to cozumel do we need to take our birth certificates with us when we get off the ship?

7) Is the air conditioning in the cabin controllable?

8) Is the soda card really necessary?

9) Is there a lot to do that you dont have to pay for onboard?

10) Is there a good guide out there? Like cruising for dummies? lol. I have watched a million youtube videos, read all kinds of stuff online, stalked the facebook pages..... I think I have a good grasp of everything. However..... As I mentioned I have 2 kiddos with special needs. I need to be more prepared than a general entering battle!

Thank you for the help in advance. And if anyone has any advice I welcome it with open arms! October 19th, 2012 12:48 PM

My first advice is you should always you a travel agent as they are ready, willing, and able to help answer all your questions and assist in getting all your required items together. They'll spend as much time as you need to insure you have all the information.

Okay, with that said, you'll get alot of good information on this forum from alot of great people.

1) Yes, Carnival will have some special programs for the kids.

2) Yes, there will be alarms and they are quite loud. So if she is super sensitive, I would suggest having her wear some ear phones, perhaps with some nice music she likes to listen to.

3) The only document you should print out is your boarding pass. In order to get that, along with the luggage tags, you need to complete your online check-in. But don't forget your identification. Everyone must have either; a) a valid passport, or b) an original birth certificate and a government issued photo ID such as a driver's license. Minor children traveling with parents just need the birth certificate.

4) Checking in at the pier and boarding the ship is relatively quick and painless, but it depends on when you arrive at the port and when boarding starts. You have to be at the pier 90 minutes prior to sailing, so I suggest getting there 2 hours prior to sailing and you'll usually not have any lines at all.

5) If anyone is prone to motion sickness, you might want to start them on ginger pills a few days before the cruise. They're cheap, easy, and work very well, especially for kids. But it's possible you may feel some motion, so it depends on their ability to handle it. Whatever you take, you need to start it a few days before in order to take affect by cruise time. Waiting until they get sick is too late.

6) The only ID you need to take off the ship is a driver's license and your Sail & Sign card. Kids just need their S&S card.

7) Yes, the A/C & heat is controllable in your stateroom.

8) No, the soda card is not necessary unless the drink alot of soda. Figure about $1.50 plus tip (15%) if you purchase one.

9) Yep, lots to do on a ship. There will be a daily newsletter in your cabin showing all the activities - most of which are free.

10) Lots of good information out there. Start with the Carnival website.

Let us know if you have anymore questions.


aatmwilson October 19th, 2012 02:49 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! :)

I have to especially thank you for the Ginger suggestion. I really didnt want to have to keep giving her Dramamine since that makes her super sleepy. And I would much rather something natural be used anyway. :)

So as far as the soda goes.... My kids generally are not allowed to drink soda anyway. The get soda on holidays and birthdays, haha. So I think I will skip that as long as there are plenty of other options. I saw that there is water, juice, tea and coffee.... What about milk? My family goes through about a gallon a day.

When we get to Cozumel I want to take my 14 year old to swim with the dolphins. However my 9 yr old and 3 yr old will not be able to do that. Actually my 9 year old does not even want to get off the ship (she saw something on the news about kidnappings and shootings in Mexico and now believes that we are all going to get shot or kidnapped :oops:) So will she be allowed to stay in camp if my husband and I are not on the boat? October 19th, 2012 05:11 PM

About the milk, not a problem. As with the usual drinks; milk, tea (hot & cold), juices, water, etc. are free and available during meals in the dining room or anytime in the buffet area.

As for Cozumel, you won't encounter any problems there. We've spent probably 2 months there over the last 10 years, with all the cruises. We even stayed there twice for a week each time.

But that's what I hate about the press - they tend to blow everything out of proportion and make people afraid of everything. The violence is in some of the border towns and a few places on the western coast. In Cancun, Cozumel, and many other tourist resorts, there are no problems. It would be tantamount to people in Europe seeing there were crimes in LA and deciding not to come to the US at all.

As for whether your daughter can stay onboard while you get off the ship, I'll tell you their "official" policy on the matter. You can leave her in Camp Carnival while you go on a Carnival shore excursion. This way should something happen, they know how to get in touch with the tour operator. If you're not on a Carnival shore excursion, they say they have no way of getting in touch with you.

Now, with that said, once you get onboard, I would go talk to them and let them know you can provide all the information they need; where you'll be going, the telephone number of the place, your cell phone number, etc. They may (or may not) be able to accommodate you.


aatmwilson October 20th, 2012 12:30 AM

Thanks Pete!

The excursion we booked in Cozumel was actually done through Carnival. So I guess that wont be an issue leaving her there. We are in Cozumel until 10 pm. So I am going to try to talk her into getting off the ship. If I can then I will take the 14 yr old swimming then go back and pick up the 9 year old.

And yes the news sensationalizes everything. And with her disorder everything causes extreme anxiety in her. That is partially one of the reasons we have never booked a cruise before. But last year we took the kids to visit family in San Francisco. And she did pretty decent (after about 2 months of prep work on my part, lol) So I am praying this goes as smoothly.

Our ship leaves at 4pm. So would you recommend getting there between 1 and 1:30? With two special needs kids I want to make this as easy as possible for them. October 20th, 2012 02:33 AM

Normally, and this is normally, you'll find boarding beginning around noon - give or take 30 to 45 minutes. It's usually most crowded for the first hour or so. And as I said, they want you at the pier 90 minutes prior to sailing, so the latest you'll want to get there is 2:30. And keep in mind that on many ships now they don't allow you to get into your cabin until around 1:30. So if you arrive before then, you have to hang around on the Lido Deck, which is quite crowded. This is why we normally arrive around 1:30 - 2:00, as there are usually no lines and when we check in, we can go right to our cabin.

Just some food for thought.


Lucky Guy October 20th, 2012 10:10 PM

I am new hear and have many questions about cruising . Not sure if this is the place to ask .In the meantime I am looking at the different topics on this board .

I am on a strict diet . Should I get a letter from my doctor and submit it to the cruise line or do I do this threw a travel agent ?

My firtst cruise will be to Alaska . How do I know how to pack ?

Donna October 21st, 2012 06:34 AM

Hi Luckyguy,
Yes, I would highly suggest using a good travel agent and let them know of all your needs, etc. The tip for packing for Alaska is dress in layers. The days start off cool and can get warm. What month did you plan on going?

klabat October 29th, 2012 02:30 PM

Booking first cruise
Hi to all! What a great site you have answered so many questions already!

Here are my remaining questions
1. We are going on a 3 night from miami to the bahamas in Februrary. We are either going to book carnival imagination or the norwegien sky (both have same dates and since I am in miami on business it works perfect!) Any thoughts on which is better. in our 30's have 2 kids AT HOME not with us. not big partiers love activities and quiet time
2. How much more than the booking cost should I be figuring in to the trip budget. how much are excersions? alcohol etc. (probally 4 drinks a day between the 2 of us)
3. advice on getting an guarnteed oceanview vs a balcony- I am a big cheapskate! but I have had issues with small spaces in the past, not sure if a balcony would help that issue or if I can just sit on the deck and use the room only to sleep.... then would I even need the ocean view?

Thanks for any help/advice!

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