Hubby and I are taking our first cruise Dec. 4 on Navigator of the Seas. We have passports and have our reservations complete. Other than that, all the options are a little overwhelming and expensive!
What are the best free things to do onboard? We will stop in Georgetown and Cozumel - best options there? The snorkling interests me but I'm not a good swimmer at all and rarely get in a pool. I'd like to try something new and fun, but don't want to pay a ton and then be too out of shape to enjoy! We're both larger people in good health, late 40's early 50's.
Onboard, what packages are worthwhile? I am surprised that you even have to pay for softdrinks...sheesh.
Who should we tip and how much? It's a 5 night cruise and we have a balcony room.
ANY help or tips would be so appreciated! We probably have an additional $400 - $500 we can spend on the cruise. I am also a professional photographer, so those opportunities would be great. Thanks so much!!! I will be checking back here regularly.
Congtrats on your first cruise. I would read all the info you can, you can check out the First Time cruisers here at Cruisemates to get all the tips you will need.
As for shore excursions, go to the Royal Caribbwean web-site and look through them all and get a feel for what you want to do, many to choose from. If there is anything that you truly want to do, I'd suggest to pre-book it before you go. You can do that usually by 60 days before your cruise.
Also, remember that while on the ship, you will be using your sign/sail card for all your purchases, no cash is involved. They will charge your credit card at the end of the cruise for all the purchases you had. Keep an eye on those, they add up rather quickly.
Congradulations on you first cruise. I have been on 15 so I will try to help.
First of all. Pack 12 cans (No Bottles) of your favorite soda in your checked
luggage. No booze allowed. And stay away from those tall glasses like frozen Bahama Mamas. There $7.15 plus tip. For parking use Park-n-go they have good prices and round-trip shuttles or If you park at the Port you are looking at $15.00 a day I think there 8.00 a day or so.
Grand Cayman - First Timers MUST go to Stingray City. It is the best of the tours.
You will love this and you are only in 3 feet of water and if you like you can snorkle with the stingrays. They don't bite and the dont sting. Also Grand Cayman is very Expensive.
Stay away from Hell and the Tuttle Farm- Tourist trap- you can go to both of those places on the local bus for 5 bucks.
Cozumel - Take the ships tour on the Cattamaran. They used to call the tour Snorling and rum punch tour and wow what great rum punch. Keep in mind Cozumel is cheaper downtown than by the ship.
Wear sunscreen even when you do not think you need because trust me you do. Have a great trip. I'm on the Carnval Glory 7 day leaves Dec 5th. Ed
Stingray city is GREAT and as mentioned, you can stand on the sandbar to mingle with the gentle creatures. Tips for the drinks are taken with each drink (15%) but everyone else totals around $10 per day per person (so about $100 fo your 5 day cruise unless you add a few bucks ).
My wife and I just returned from the same cruise itinerary on Navigator. Same age group. There is more than enough entertainment on board to keep you busy for 5 nights. You don't want to miss the ice show.
We opted for dinner at both Portofinos and Chops. No regrets. Gratuities were included, drinks were not. All other meals were at the Windjammer so no need to tip the wait staff upon departure.
If you like to drink alcohol you can run up a tab pretty quick. I love beer. $4.89 per Budweiser (includes tip). I left a $20 cash tip for our bartenders at both the Sky bar and Boleros.
We also left a $40 cash tip for our stateroom attendant. Total cash tip bill was $80.
$30 for a memory card for the camera. $35 for a pair of sandals. $30 for a carton of cigarettes. $?? gifts for family and friends. $40 on the slot machines. You'll want to purchase pictures which are taken when exiting the ship at ports of call. $20 for a photo album to hold the pictures.
In the end the total expense registered to my SeaPass was $800.
There is very little time spent at ports of call. So, little time to spend money. We spent $45 on liquor in Gerogetown, and $70 on trinkets in Cozumel. If you want to visit the beaches you'll need cab fair. $3 per person in Gerorgetown. $7 per person in Cozumel. Beware of shopkeepers in Cozumel. They are exremely annoying.
What's a trip to Mexico without eating Mexican food? We had lunch at a place called El Abuelo Gerardo. $33 including 4 drinks and tip. Great food, great price.
I can go on for hours, but I hope this gives you an idea of the additional expenses.
One more piece of advice. Check RCCLs prices online every day between now and the Dec 1. If they lower the price for your type of stateroom online, you may qualify for a price reduction. I believe this is good up to 72 hours prior to departure.
If you don't drink or gamble, have no intention of buying gifts or memorabilia, and eat all of your meals at the Windjammer Cafe, you can walk off the ship leaving a $35.00 tip for your stateroom attendant, and be done with it.
If you don't drink, but you also don't want to walk back to the Windjammer Cafe every time you want a soft drink or glass of water, you can purchase an unlimited beverage refill package for $30. You'll get a special glass that can be refilled for free at any beverage station or bar on the ship.