If you could give one piece of advise (i.e. something to take, something to do, something that would make the cruise more enjoyable) to a first time cruiser, what would it be? (I'm not looking for obvious things, but rather something I probably would never think of.)
Wow, that's open ended question! I'll give you a simple suggestion: if you have an inside cabin booked, take a night light. It's as dark as the inside of a boot with all the lights off. Or, if you don't want to bother, leave the bathroom light on with the door cracked slightly.
Serenade of the Seas b2b January 2016
Serenade of the Seas b2b January 2017
Bring your own beach towels. I'm not sure about Princess, but I know other cruise lines charge each time you use a towel at the pool. If you bring your own you can also take them off ship when you goto your excursions.
Karen, Princess gives you fresh beach towels twice a day in your room. No need to bring your own, yes you are responsible for them, all you do is leave them in the bathroom and you will have fresh,clean folded towels waiting for you in your stateroom.
If you are flying any distance to your point of embarkation, take a real feather pillow with you on the plane. Feather ones squish down to take up very little space in your carry-on bag. They also conform to small spaces and really support your head while flying.
For many years, I could not sleep at all on a plane. Now that I take a standard sized pillow, I can get a little sleep. Sometimes I've been able to sleep nearly the entire flight. Plus it is really nice to have your own pillow on the ship as well.
Sometimes cruise ship pillows are less than wonderful. Princess has fairly good bedding most of the time but I still like my own pillow.
I think we are on the same cruise..me and the wife will be on Caribbean Princess 10/23..anyway..enjoy yourself..we have been on several cruises and each time we go it's an incredible new experience..overwhelming so don't try to take in everything at once..tips:
1).go to Best Buy, or some other electronics store and invest in walkie talkies..the kids love them and it's an incredible way to stay in touch with them no matter where you are on the ship..some ships offer the service but it''s cheaper to use your own..and you take them off the ships..
2)take a basic first aid kit with you..band-aids, aspirin, pleanty of sun screen..etc..they have a doctor/nurse and facility on board..but take it anyway..
3) learn the layout of the ship..you can do this before you board, go on Princess web site..look at the ships, deck layouts..etc..but once you get onboard it will take your breath away and you will forget everything..lol
4)make sure your kids know where to go if lost..any ships staff will help them get back to you..tatoo the room numbers on them if necessary..make sure they know it..
6) buy a coke card for $20 if the kids drink alot of sodas, soft drinks are not free..and you can get a soda at any bar or outside venue with the card..
7) find out where the kids activities are..and use them!! they will love them..very supervised..and it gives you and hubby some time alone..
lol it seems I've strictly forcused on the kids..but you take care of them and your cruise will be so much more enjoyable for you..enjoy..we will see you onboard!!
1. Bring dollar bills for tipping the baggage handlers at the airport and the port.
2. For fun, order yourself, or your companion, some flowers for your cabin. They'll stay nice for a week, and make you feel special every time you walk in your cabin. Another special thing you can order is chocolate covered strawberries, in their own little tuxedos.............adorable and wonderful, too! You can order these things at the Princess website.
3. Great advice about the travel alarm and flashlight/nightlight. Bandaids and aspirin too..............if you buy any of the above on board, it will be VERY expensive.
4. Ask your steward for two Princess Patters each day. You can each have one.........we refer to ours often, to see what's happening when...........and where!!
5. ENJOY!!!!! Hope you have a great cruise!
The most important thing to take on a cruise is an open mind and lots of
patience. You will see and hear lots of things that will piss you off but just
go with it and you will have a great time. Security is a pain but a necessary
fact of life these days. Other things that will drive you crazy are people who pick
at the food and take forever to go through the buffet lines and all the non-US
citizens who will not report to immigration at the end of the cruise and hold
up debarkation of the ship
If you plan to do laundry, take a roll of quarters. The change machine hardly ever works and you can always sell unneeded quarters to the other passengers. Also, take your own detergent in a ziplock bag. By doing your own laundry in midweek, you can pack less clothes.
Do everything that you always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity, or nerve to do. (like karoke, or the passengers talent show). Take a "laid back" attitude, and don't let little things bother you. (like the people who insist on saving seats in the theatre, or lounge chairs) Try food that you would never spend the money to try at home. (It's no extra cost on the ship, and if you don't like it, the waiter will bring you something else). Don't try to do too many activities. (That gives you an excuse to book another cruise very soon!) Take it easy, let your blood pressure bottom out, and ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!!!!
See you aboard,
Pace yourself at meals. Just because they serve food 8X daily does not mean you need to eat it. You won't gain as much weight, and you won't feel all bloated and loggy. Salads alone are fine for lunch. Skip the fancy midnight buffets...the displays look good but the food usually does not taste that great.
Take a fabric shoe bag and hang it on the bathroom door for all those little items that will just slide all over the counter in the bathroom.
Definately take a power strip if you have anything at all you want to plug in. The hair dryers on the ship are whimpy...take your own.
A night light (for the bathroom) and alarm clock are definately pluses.
Room service breakfast on port days will save you a lot of time getting ashore.
If you have second seating, do laundry during the time first seating is eating. Less crowded.
Skip the ship's photos. They are way overpriced. Take a good camera, and shoot your own.
Take a small first aid kit: Pepto Bismal tablets, Immodium AD, Benedryl, sea sickness capsules or wrist bands, a couple of band-aids, triple antibiotic ointment, waterless hand cleaner, Tylenol or an NSAID. Sure, you can buy on board (when the shops are actually open) or get at the ship's infirmary (for a price) but much easier to have available when and if you need them.
Too often we go on vacation and take all the stress from work with us. If at all possible don’t go to work the day before embarkation. Better yet, if you can. plan to spend at least part of the day before, enjoying the city from which you embark. The most important thing you can bring is a positive attitude. Don’t let “little” things spoil the vacation you’ve worked for all year! If something or someone annoys you, walk away or do something else. If the activity is not fun, leave and find something more enjoyable to do. Don’t stress out over what “things” to bring with you. Everything that you could possibly need is available onboard. ( for a price of course ;-) )
__________________ Carnival Conquest - January 2, 2005
Thanks to everyone for this fantastic asdvice! My husband and I are going on our first cruise (with my sister and her husband) this Saturday, to Alaska on the Island Princess. Wht awful syntax, but you get the message!
These message boards have been informative and so reassuring. I was totally obsessing over what clothes to bring, worried that I would look like a fright while everyone else was in ball gowns and tuxedos! I just did not want to stress over clothes on what is supposed to be a relaxing, fun vacation (also our 35th anniversary!!!)
Will definitely bring a nightlight and a clock. Can't tell you how many times I have tripped over suitcases in hotel rooms!
If you fall in love with cruising like we did, pre-book your next cruise while onboard. You can do a specific cruise or an open booking (good for 4 years) for $100 pp and it's completely refundable plus you get onboard credit too.
May I ask how booking on board works? I see people line up all the time and am curious.What exactly IS an open booking? The $100 that you deposit goes towards what? I guess what I'm trying to say is: what is the advantage of doing this with the four year window..can it be applied to sales too?
The $100 deposit goes toward your next cruise, whenever, within the next 4 years that you book it. It is also completely refundable if you never cruise again. When you make the open booking and then choose a specific cruise at a later date, you don't have to make another deposit and the cruise is held for you until the final payment date (which I believe is 90 days prior to sailing). I think the biggest benefit is the onboard credit. I paid $100/person for a deposit which also entitled me to $75/person onboard credit (inside room for 10 days). There is a different onboard credit amount based on if you eventually book an inside, outside and the length of the cruise. The issue is that if you do not do this onboard, you cannot make the booking afterwards. So you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
All good advice, here are a few more..
A small scented jar candle is good to have to mask stale or offensive odors (the cabins are small)
If you enjoy a pre diiner (or any time) cocktail on your balcony or in the room, bring your own booze in your carry - on. Unless, of couse, you can afford a bar bill larger than your cruise bill!
As for formal nites, in a successful effort to pack lighter (we always take 10 or more day trips), I now take a mid calf black skirt and two fancy tops. It works out very well.
Research the ports of call before you go, it amazes me how people will shell out 100 $ for a shore excursion just because they don't know what there is to see or do. Also it helps to have realistic exspectations, for instance some ports are in third world countries , the people are poor, the streets may be dirty, and there may not be a Walmart. It may have a incredible rain forest jungle though, so go with an open mind, and some knowledge!