Our family will be going on our first cruise ever in the next couple of weeks. We'll be embarking on a Hawaiian Cruise on the Pride of America. Were extremely excited to say the least!
I was wondering what kind of tips anyone had they could give us on taking our first cruise.
The family's make up is my wife and I, plus two teenage daughters (13 & 17).
I've already done all my pre-registration online, booked numerous excursions (I hope not to many), that consist of:
BEST OF WEST MAUI - HIGHLIGHTS
PACIFIC PARADISE LU'AU
LAHAINA ON YOUR OWN
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK ODYSSEY
WAILUA RIVER & THE FERN GROTTO
I also purchased the teen packages for the girls.
I've been reading lots of reviews and must say they have not all been good, but I checked out reviews for all other cruises only to realize quite a few people are not happy and hard to please. I can't imagine everyone has this many bad things happening to them on cruises, resort stays and so on.
So I thought I check on this board since the folks posting seem to have excellent experience in cruising.
Any tips would help and I promise upon my return that I come back to give any advice I may have from our experience.
I have not cruised the Hawaiian itinerary *YET
But I can give you some in general tips about cruising.
Take post it notes! You will need them to give messages to your cabin steward, and also to keep track of each other while on the ship. We tried walkie talkies with our children, but they turned them off by middle of the first day. We resorted to checking in at the room every three hours, they had to leave a post it note with their whearabouts for us if we hadn't seen them. They will LOVE the teen program and other kids that they meet. The program keeps them constantly busy. Make sure your kids go the first night to the meet and greet and again to the activities the next day...after that, they may decide to just hang out with some of the kids they met rather than going to the organized activities.
Take swimsuits and gear in a carryon rather than leaving it in your packed luggage. The pools are ready as soon as you are onboard, but your luggage may not arrive for several hours. This way, once you get your room key, the kids can change into their suits and have fun in the pool before sail away.
Excursions, Im not sure how many day's you're going for, but that does sound like alot. If you are used to being on the go at that pace though, it's probably going to be a blast! We usuallly book two excursions on a three port cruise, the third city we just walk thru the port city on our own shopping and exploring. My husband prefers spending one port day, on the ship, rather than going sight seeing at all...he likes having the pool area to himself, and there are discounts on spa services on those days.
You will have a great time and I look forward to hearing your trip review upon your return! Just remember to go with the flow : )
One other thing I forgot about, the youth program employees, they don't share in the daily tips/gratuities included on your bill. So if your kids are having a blast, please remember the youth staff at the end of your trip.
As for tipping elsewhere, you are charged per person to your room per day, but if you felt someone gave outstanding service, or substandard service, you can go to the purser's desk before the last day and have the amount adjusted, it is not set in stone.