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Splurge on Specialty Dining

  1. 57 Important Tips, Advice, and Info For First-Time Cruisers |
  2. 15 First Time Cruise Tips: What You ABSOLUTELY Need To Know Before You Go!
  3. What I Wish I’d Known Before my First Cruise
  4. Related articles
  5. Book a Balcony Room

Looking to plan a romantic getaway for you and your better half? Finding the best fit is easy! Take your pick of rooms with balcony ocean views , family-connected accommodations, unrivaled experiences like the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Family Suite seen above and so much more. For a quick run-through on the different staterooms you can find on board, check out this guide.

Finally, the most important thing to remember before embarking on your first cruise is to be ready to experience thrills like never before. Kids and teens are covered, too, with our dedicated youth programs. Every traveler, no matter their preference and age, can vacation like they mean it on our ships. Security: I was surprised at how quickly and easily our boarding process went. We arrived at the Port of Miami and were greeted by port officials who marked our luggage with the proper tags, and then had it delivered to our ship.

Officials strongly suggested but did not require that we unlock any locked bags because they were subject to being searched by port security. If security deemed it necessary to open a locked bag, they would simply cut the lock off.

57 Important Tips, Advice, and Info For First-Time Cruisers |

I used inexpensive zip ties instead of a lock on my baggage and, when my bags arrived in my room, they were still intact. Identification: Next we had to establish citizenship with immigration officials. I was concerned because I did not have a passport, but the law states that if your cruise departs and arrives at the same port city you are not required to have a passport.

You can use alternate forms of identification. I used my birth certificate and drivers license. Setting up: We were directed to cruise officials who checked our cruise documentation and set up our "sign and sail" accounts the on-board account that we would use to purchase everything from drinks to gift shop items. You can either use a credit card for your "sign and sail" account and have all of your purchases charged to it or use cash to set up a debit account.

You receive an actual "sign and sail" credit card that lists your name, room number, and dining room assignment. It's important to keep this card with you at all times because it is also your room key and your ticket back onto the ship if you go off board on a shore excursion. Photographs: Once we had our "sign and sail" cards, we boarded the ship and had our pictures taken for the first of many times. The photographers are everywhere on the ship and on all the shore excursions.

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I got so fed up with the photographers that I started making faces at them when they snapped a shot of me, thinking they wouldn't process the picture. Boy, was I wrong. Here is one of my funny-faced pictures taken in the dining room when a photographer jumped in front of me and told me to smile. I think it's pretty funny! The Room: We were on the actual ship in less than 30 minutes from the time we got to the port to the time we were fully processed in. We found our room relatively quickly and were pleasantly surprised to see how big it actually was. Our room had 2 twin sized beds, a fold out couch, a vanity area, 4 large closets, ample drawer space, and a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and full-sized shower.

The bathroom was also stocked with necessities like razors, soap, toothpaste, and towels. There were sodas and water on the vanity too. My sister and I opted to go to the buffet instead, where there was no charge for water, juice, coffee, tea, and milk. Take a Tour: Before I go any further, here is a very helpful piece of advice for first time cruisers: take the guided tour of the ship that is offered when you check in.

Sounds like a no brainer, huh? My sister and I thought that we wouldn't need the tour. We could find our way around the boat; it couldn't be too hard, right? Once we got to our room, we had a very difficult time navigating the passage ways and finding anything. We didn't realize that the ship was broken up into 3 separate parts and that it was necessary to walk through areas to get to where we were going.

On the first day, we got lost numerous times until we figured out that we had to walk through the bars and casino to get to the other parts of the ship. If you take one piece of my advice to heart, remember that you have to walk through. This will save you lots of time and loads of frustration!

15 First Time Cruise Tips: What You ABSOLUTELY Need To Know Before You Go!

Sit-Down Dinner: Everyone is an assigned a dining time on the ship. This is the time that you go to the special dining areas and have sit-down table service. There is an early session and a late session. We were assigned the early session at daily and ended up missing several of the services Not to worry. They served the exact same food at the buffet. I would strongly recommend requesting the late session at If you go on a shore excursion it is very difficult getting to the dining room at You are randomly assigned a seat at a large table so you will have fellow cruisers as table mates.

This can be good or bad depending on who your fellow cruisers are. We also had a less than pleasant table mate: a very large woman who loved to eat. She ordered at least 2 dinner entrees nightly. She was also an expert on cruising and bore us with her non-stop talk of her many cruises.

My sister and I had a few drinks before coming to dinner one night and she was clearly NOT happy with our behavior giggling, silly. I was glad that was the last night we had to spend with her. Buffet: The buffet was always a winner.

What I Wish I'd Known Before I Went On A Royal Caribbean Cruise

If you couldn't find something on the buffet, there was an outside grill available that served burgers and hot dogs. There was also a deli with sandwiches and wraps as well as a Chinese food place. There was a sushi bar open outside of the casino, and pizza was always hot and ready. Note: the buffet was not open 24 hours a day.

The only place that was open all the time was the pizza place.

What I Wish I’d Known Before my First Cruise

If you didn't want pizza, you could always order a sandwich from room service. Excursions: When it came time to book our shore excursions, we were surprised to find that many of the things we wanted to do were completely booked up! I wanted to go para-sailing in Grand Cayman but, unfortunately, there were no spots left, so we went snorkeling instead it was awesome.

My advice to you on this front is to book shore excursions early. If there is something special you want to do, they fill up quickly. You also need to remember that the cruise ship is on a schedule. If the ship is set to depart the port at , it will leave at , whether you are on it or not.

Several college students who went on a rum-run didn't make it back to the ship in time and were left stranded in Jamaica. Onboard Activities: There is a lot to do when you are on the ship for a day at sea. There are shows to watch, bingo to play, sunbathing to do, etc. You can also go to the casino, but you need to realize that the slot machines on the ship are not designed to pay out.

They are designed to take and keep your money. We found this out after our first losing night. Your best bet when it comes to playing the machines is to stick to the penny slots. I had never played them prior to this cruise, but we had a great time, and occasionally, we would make a good hit. Drinking: One of the most debated aspects of going on a cruise is whether or not to bring alcohol in your checked baggage onto the ship.

The guidelines for our cruise stated that each person could bring one bottle of wine aboard in their checked luggage, which I did. I later found out that others had brought lots of alcohol aboard in their checked luggage. While I wouldn't recommend bringing so much, I will bring some liquor aboard next time.

Also, you are allowed to bring other drinks sodas, water aboard the ship. I saw several people lugging on cases of pop and water. While you can buy bottles of alcohol duty-free on the ship or in your ports-of-call, those bottles are confiscated and you will not receive them until the last night of the cruise. In-Room Entertainment: If you just want to stay in your cabin and relax, there are first-run movies on the television for you to enjoy that run constantly. My sister and I ordered room service one night and watched The Blindside.

I was concerned about the disembarkment process, but it was relatively easy. You can either take your bags off the ship yourself or have the ship take them, and have them available for you during your disembarkment process. We chose to take our bags with us and zipped right through customs. The people that had their baggage sent off the ship had to retrieve it much like you would retrieve baggage from at an airport baggage claim. This didn't appeal to me at all. We were able to get a taxi right away and were at the airport within 15 minutes. My last piece of advice for a new cruiser is to disregard the cruise line's recommendation that you don't book your flight until after p.

On a ship, there are way too many places where you can slip and fall — especially around the pool. Upgrade to a pair that have a nice rubberized sole with plenty of tread. Think again. Potential thieves would love to get their hands on your passport.

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If you run into a situation where you need a passport rare , this page can serve as ID until you get back to the ship. If you want to gamble, head to Las Vegas. On the ship the games are the same, but the payouts are usually worse. For example, on most ships blackjack pays 6-to-5 instead of the usual 3-to Craps games heavily limit the amount of odds bets you can make.

When the ship is sailing and the sun has gone down, the combination of cooler temps and a strong breeze make it downright chilly on the deck. In addition, many spots in the ship are well air-conditioned, meaning you can be cool indoors as well. If you want to hang out with a younger crowd, then the time of year you sail is the biggest factor.

Months of January and February, as well as September and October will see the oldest crowds. The rule of thumb is that cruises are most expensive when school is out. If you want to have a calm, quiet cruise, then look for trips that are 7 days or more. Shorter cruises, which are less-expensive overall, tend to attract younger and more wild crowds. You can either leave it on shore as you swim and risk it getting snagged or risk it getting soaked in the water. Your first thought when you see the prices of shore excursions is that they are expensive.

But we think this is one spot to splurge on your trip. Know how cruise lines advertise ridiculously low fares? Be prepared. Prepare to pay.

Book a Balcony Room

Out at sea, the only communication is via satellite. Every cruise ships will have packages that allow you to call or get web access, but they charge a high price. Check out the video below. You should be back on board by that time and not a moment later. Many of the ports in the Caribbean and Mexico are Spanish-speaking countries, whereas others may speak Dutch or French. The cruise ports thrive on tourism and they make it as easy as possible for foreign tourists to get around.

Practically everyone you encounter will speak English, so you can leave the Spanish dictionary at home. Not the sort of person that likes having your picture taken by strangers? Get ready, because it will start before you even step foot on the ship. The pictures are then sold in the photo store on the ship. If you think that bottle of tequila you just bought in Cozumel will make for a fun evening, think again. Anything bought in port will be held on the ship and delivered back to your stateroom the night before you leave.

You sure you want to take that first cruise? A week of being catered to, eating great food, and visiting multiple exotic ports is hard to forget when you head back to work after your trip. In fact, many people book their next cruise while on the ship. Have more tips that are ideal for first-time cruisers? Let us know in the comments below! They really helped! Yes there is, but only in designated areas. My family and I are going to look for a cruise trip for summer because it has been of our dreams ever since my husband and I got married.

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  6. Our kids were also very excited when we told our plans with them. We will keep these tips in mind. Thanks a lot! My favorite part of this article is when you said that booking the balcony room is the best choice. As you mentioned, it is perfect for those who take their time in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee with a view. This is perfect for my husband and me because my husband is way too slow in the morning since he is a night owl.

    Actually, ever since we were dating, he would never choose to go out in the morning. When choosing a balcony cabin on a large cruise, is it better on the upper decks, middle or lower? There seem to be price differences for different decks. Rom is there no difference? Thank you for infor. For example, most of the indoor amenities casino, shopping, etc are in the middle of the ship. Outdoor amenities are on the higher decks. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

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