My sister and our husbands are leaving Sept. 24th on the Grandeur of the Seas. We are all really looking forward to it. I found these message boards and have learned a lot already. I am wondering if anyone can describe what it's like when you get to the ship. I'm pretty nervous about that part of the experience and would like to be able to picture what it will be like. Waiting, how you get on, what the ship looks like up close??? Any help would be much appreciated.
welcome to the wonderful world of cruising..your nervousness is really your excitement...there is a great feature on the home page of this sight that speaks directly to what to expect for first time cruiser..I highly recommend that you read it...
no matter if it is your first cruise or your 100th cruise..the first time you see your ship up close you will be in awe..pictures, videos, what other cruisers tell you will come no where near what the experience thru your eyes, so enjoy every moment of it...
You may want to find out what other CM cruisers are on your ship ahead of time and perhaps buddy up with them the day before departure (and please if you can give yourself the breathing room of going in the day before, you'll be able to start your cruise in a much more relaxed state of mind). They can help guide you thru your embarcation process which for a first timer can be overwhelming. However with veteran CM's help you'll be fine..
Also the nice aspect of this board is you can ask anything (and you will have tons of questions before you cruise) and you will receive alot of support. Don't be afraid to ask even things you might think are stupid questions, because there are none
The biggest thing that I remember from my first cruise was getting lost! On the next one, we took the time to get a map and get familiar with the layout. It can be very confusing and it's not fun to wander around trying to find your cabin after a night in a bar or in the casino! The next thing that I learned the hard way was to get your tender tickets EARLY! In some ports, you can only go onshore by tender (boat) and it's very frustrating to stand there and wait your turn while the day passes by.
It's also easy to overpack. Try to think through your wardrobe to mix/match outfits. There is not a lot of storage. Taking a shower, putting on makeup and doing your hair can become a challenge in some of the bathrooms in some cabins. Only take what you have to because there is ususally limited vanity area.
If you are in 2 or more cabins, take some post it notes to leave msgs on doors. Take an expandable or fold up canvas bag for those take home goodies. Take advantage of all of the photo opportunities and SMILE! The more pics you pose for, the better selection to buy! Use the daily activity schedule that is delivered to your room to plan your entertainment that day. It's hard to remember everything announced over the speaker and most of the time you can't really hear them anyway!
Buy a little waterproof dive wallet. It hangs around your neck and can hold cash/credit card and room key. We wore ours everywhere - on the ship and on shore. It beats carrying a wallet or purse. Get a comfy backpack for "stuff" when onshore. (camera,sunscreen, towel,etc.) Sightseeing gets very tiring when you're lugging around a beachbag and it is HUMID and HOT.
Before you book an excursion with the cruiseline, do some research on here and other cruise websites. There are much MUCH less expensive excursions that you can book yourself. We met some great people in Belize in booking a tubing trip and we still stay in touch. There are pros and cons so if you want more details, email me! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Gosh, there is so much more! One thing that we learned at dinner, you can order more than one entree. We took 3 teenage boys and they learned from our tablemates that they could order whatever they wanted. If you order something new and you don't like it, ask for something else. If you are a big eater, order the steak AND the chicken. If you come in from a day in the sun and just don't want to get dressed for dinner, you can usually find the same selection of food on a buffett somewhere on the ship. It's a vacation - relax! Order room service for breakfast and feel indulgent.
I have a million things that I have learned from these message boards that helped so much for my first cruises. Please email me if you have any questions!
Hi. We have been on two cruises so far and have the third booked for April 05. It is unimaginable to stand beside one of these ships. Some are as big as aircraftcarriers. I feel ilke a movie star on the ship. The people are so friendly, as are the passengers. You won't be sorry you are going. We are hooked on cruising. We don't take other vacations but instead save for 1-2 years to book the next. If I ever win the lottery, I will live onboard cruise ships all over the world. You can't beat it. If you have any questions, please feel free to e -mail me. Believe me, I have asked all the questions you have on your mind. Have a great time. Wish I were with you.
When you get to the port, a porter will take your luggage from you, you will just have your carry ons with you. You will enter the building and they will look at your cruise documents and direct you to a line to go through security. Then you will go to get your Sea Pass. This is where they will check your passport/birth certificate, etc. They will then direct you through a walkway where photographers are taking pictures (it starts right away!). After stepping on the ship you won't even really realize you are on a ship. I felt like I was in a hotel or mall! Find your room, get a drink and browse the ship. We got on the ship early (around noon) and seemed to have the ship to ourselves for the first couple of hours. They were serving lunch in the Windjammer restaurant. I felt that they handled the large numbers of people well and never felt like I was waiting in huge lines. It is a pretty painless process. Enjoy!
It is a wonderful feeling. The main lobby area is usually several decks tall and you will just feel in awe. Enjoy it. On the Magic they announce your name as you board the ship over the loudspeaker and everyone applauds. Not sure if they do that for RCI, but nonetheless you will love it.
If you want to swim, bring your bathing suit in your carry on, you will be alone at the pools.
If you want any spa treatments or to dine in one of the alternative restaurants book your times soon after boarding as the slots fill up fast. You may end up on a waiting list and sometimes the only openings are when you're in port.