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Old 01-08-2013, 08:59 PM   #1
CLUCKINGHEN
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Goin on a Cruise

I will be goin on my first cruise in May. We will be leaving from New Orleans and going to Key West then to the Bahamas. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice about cruising.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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Enjoy yourself. Spend a little time your first day getting acquainted with the ship. It will make getting around much easier. Keep an eye on your on-board purchases, they can creep up on you, and everything is added to your credit card tied to your on-board account. You don,t use cash for anything on the ship. Gratuities will also be automatically added to your account. You can go to the pursers office to have them adjusted up or down as you see fit. You can check your daily balance on the TV in your cabin via an interactive app.
Check the book in your cabin for shore excursions for your upcoming Port of Call. That way you can plan what you want to do. Also attending the Cruise Director's seminars the day before can be helpful.
You can join into all sorts of activities, or just kick back and relax as you want.
Don't know where your cabin is on the ship, but we always get a balcony room which allows us to just sit on our own private veranda and just watch the ocean go by as we please.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:09 AM   #3
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You can join into all sorts of activities, or just kick back and relax as you want.
Don't know where your cabin is on the ship, but we always get a balcony room which allows us to just sit on our own private veranda and just watch the ocean go by as we please.
Yes, that is our FAVORITE part of cruising!!

The only thing I could add is that the port excursions scheduled through the lines can add substantaily to the cost of your cruise. At times you can book the same excursions yourself at the port at lower cost or just have fun wandering around on your own. We found after our first trip with a day at Nassau we actually preferred staying on the ship and enjoying all the activities there. That is also an option.

Also remember that a cruise ship WAITS FOR NO ONE. If you are late returning from you shore excursion the ship WILL leave without you. In Nassau we watched a late-returning couple run down the adjoining dock as a Royal Caribbean ship pulled out without them. You can literally "miss the boat".

Have fun!

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Old 01-09-2013, 01:56 AM   #4
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That is one advantage of the shore excursions booked on board. They guarantee they will get you back to the boarding area. Not on the ship though, if you loose track of time shopping all the places at the dock. There are places where the locals may take advantage of you, and leave you stranded somewhere miles from the ship. Cruise line approved shore excursions eliminate this worry.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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A bit of advice about excursions...

As a fairly new cruiser we book through the cruise line. ( A lot of folks will "go on their own" .. but I feel safer paying a bit more and booking through the cruiseline.. laugh..) BUT do your research and book as soon as you can PRIOR to the cruise. Especially since you're doing the Bahama route. If you are going to Nassau and think you're going to want to go to Atlantis book that ASAP. I say this because I dragged my feet and didn't get the excursion I wanted. It booked and I was stuck...

Have a great time! Sounds like you're doing Carnival (?) out of New Orleans? We've done the Key West / Bahamas cruise twice out of Galveston. We really enjoyed it!

Balconies are wonderful if you can swing it! If you can't (or don't want to) it's still a great vacation.. so much to do on a cruise! Even if it's just finding a quiet spot to read/relax/look out at the water!

Have a great time! I've been thinkin' about booking another one soon!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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Can you guys give me an idea of what type activities are available on board? I imagine there are a lot of lounges and bars...possibly a casino...but outside of those events what does one do? That has always been a mystery to me...lol!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:11 AM   #7
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but outside of those events what does one do? That has always been a mystery to me...lol!

E-A-T...
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #8
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E-A-T...
Then eat some more!
Of course you can then go to the gym for a workout. Walk, or run the jogging track. Maybe just walk around the ship. Or you can kick back on the deck where there is always some sort of entertainment going on. Swimming pools, and hot tubs are there to enjoy as well. There are movies to watch during the day, and shows to see in the evening. Lots of kids activities as well. There special youth programs and supervised activities for them to enjoy, and have a safe break from Mom & Dad (or the other way around). Then there is the shopping on board. Jewelry, watches, clothing, liquor, you name it. Or just sitting back, and relaxing. Even with over 2000 people on board you can find a quiet spot somewhere on deck to sit back, and watch the ocean go by.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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Also they usually have some trivia games, name that tune.. that kind of thing. At first I thought that would be kinda strange - but my husband and I kind of have a good time doing that.

We aren't "partiers" .. but for some reason we don't get bored. Both of us love to read and since we get balconies we tend to sit out there and read. We just sllloowwww down our pace .. that in itself is relaxing.. and yeah .. eating is part of it .. laugh .. We do enjoy the piano bar ..
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:05 AM   #10
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I've only been on Disney Cruises, so this may or not apply to other lines.

**Disney offers activity centers/clubs for all age groups of children, toddlers through teens. All of our children being adults, I can't give you any details about them.

**Movie and stage show presentations in theaters on board, as well as nightly moves shown on a massive video screen overlooking the pool and main deck area of the ship.

**Entertainment and Dancing at nightly deck parties, including fireworks at one of them.

**A full range of spa services.

**Gym and sports-type activities.

**Shopping at a number of stores on board.

**A number of informational offerings, ranging from wine tastings to cooking classes and art gallery presentations.

**Bingo and other "game type" activities. Disney does not have casinos on board, but most other cruise lines do.

**A half dozen or so clubs (adults only) in the "entertainment district" of the ship. Each has a different type of atmosphere/entertainment, including quiet places to talk, piano player singing Sinatra-era tunes, sports bar, rock DJ and dancing, comedy shows, audience participation, etc. A few of them offer a nice variety of (free) appetizers, others offer only beverages for sale. One thing to note is that while soft drinks area available at no charge throughout the rest of the ship, in the clubs you will be charged for them.

**Of course the expected swimming and water-park activities. Disney's newest two ships have the "Aquaduck" which is a water propelled coaster where you ride a raft (one or two-person) through an acrylic tube coaster layout. It is a LOT of fun.

**Disney being Disney, they have character "meet and greets" at various times of the day. Can't say I've ever spent any time at one of them.

**As rj mentioned, one of my favorite activities is to just hang out on the veranda of our stateroom and watch the world go by.

**And as the Bluesman mentioned, EAT. Offerings range from gourmet meals in the main dining rooms to buffets to a half dozen or so "quick service" type places on the main pool deck. All meals are at no cost except for an upgrade charge that applies to dining in one of the premium "adults only" dining rooms.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:42 PM   #11
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BUT do your research and book as soon as you can PRIOR to the cruise.
We do just the opposite - wait as long as possible and then visit the excursion desk and ask them which excursions are still available and how many people are signed up on each. We then pick from what's available and which have the least amount signed up.

It's more fun, for us anyway, to find the excursions with 8-10 people rather than the ones with a whole bus load!

Agree with the others that for the first few times it is less stress to book excursions thru the ship. But, the local firms do a good job and realize that in today's internet world, bad news travels fast, so they are fully aware of the ship schedules and the "bad rap" they would quickly get by not getting guests back in time. We've done it both ways.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:32 PM   #12
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We do just the opposite - wait as long as possible and then visit the excursion desk and ask them which excursions are still available and how many people are signed up on each. We then pick from what's available and which have the least amount signed up.

It's more fun, for us anyway, to find the excursions with 8-10 people rather than the ones with a whole bus load!

Agree with the others that for the first few times it is less stress to book excursions thru the ship. But, the local firms do a good job and realize that in today's internet world, bad news travels fast, so they are fully aware of the ship schedules and the "bad rap" they would quickly get by not getting guests back in time. We've done it both ways.
I guess because I got burned once I'm twice shy.. laugh... We have done both .. but for first time cruisers I think it's a good idea to book the excursions ahead.

On our Alaskan cruise I did both .. and in a couple ports no excursion .. just getting off the ship and walking around. Of course I was coordinating a group of 12 so that was more difficult.

Still think it's wise if you're planning on Atlantis to use the waterpark.. book EARLY through the cruise line.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #13
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for us, we have been on 3 cruises. what we learned, pack what you think you will need. then take about half of the clothes out because you wont need as much as you think. 1st cruise didnt wear half of what we thought we would.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:13 PM   #14
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Man, all this talk about cruising really has me in the mood to go on another one. They are truly my "Happy Place"... there is something about having your own private little "home" on a vessel that goes from place to place that just can't be beat. And Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, just can't be topped.

But Ann wants to skip next year since we've been to the Bahama's three years in a row. She wants to go on one of the Western Caribbean Cruises which are longer and take more Disney Vacation Club points than I have allotted in one year. So she wants to do something else next year and then go on a mega-cruise the following year. I had agreed, but now this thread has me jonesing for another cruise.

We could do a longer cruise now with a lesser accommodation, but Ann wants the Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda so that she can smoke any time she wants. I would be fine with just going to the smoking area on the decks to have a cigarette.

What to do?

God, I HATE tobacco addiction!!

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:14 PM   #15
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She wants to go on one of the Western Caribbean Cruises which are longer and take more Disney Vacation Club points .....
Not sure where you choice for departure is, but I read something recently on cruisecritic that Disney was already pulling out of Galveston in 2014 (IIRC). Sure didn't stay there very long!!
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