First Time Cruiser Tips - Things to know before going on your Cruise

March 27, 2018

General cruise information

Pack: 

Cabins usually only have 2 outlets at the desk area & 1 in the bathroom (sometimes in ceiling) An outlet strip is helpful when more than one person wants to charge a camera/phone/etc. plus use the hair dryer.:  https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tripp-Lite-Protect-It-6-ft-Cord-with-6-Outlet-Strip-TLP606/203139348

Most walls in your cabin are steel.  Bring these magnetic hooks to hang hats, towels, etc. to save space on your counters.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016Y9IZ3Y/ref=asc_df_B016Y9IZ3Y5360780/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B016Y9IZ3Y&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167125548420&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8240536835886416813&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031179&hvtargid=pla-315892226581

Bring reusable water bottles so you don’t have to pay for the ones in your cabin.  There is usually free lemonade, ice tea & water on the lido deck.  Fill up every evening before bed or morning and bring to the pool and/or on excursions.  https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/products/water-bottles.jsp

If you have a balcony, bring a good, long, strong bungee cord.  You can use it to keep your door open and listen to the ocean while resting or getting ready for the day.  The air conditioning automatically shuts off while the door is open (I think).

Balcony room?  Bring clips so that you can hang out your swim suits, etc on the balcony without them blowing away J https://www.amazon.com/IPOW-Plastic-Hanging-Loungers-Cruise-Keep/dp/B01HXXC45A/ref=sr_1_6?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1517857785&sr=1-6&keywords=towel+clip

Ladies, the bathroom is small.  If you are sharing with anyone, bring this kind of mirror.  In the evening/when getting ready for dinner, I usually shower first and then put on makeup, etc. at the desk area.  If I want to put on my make up with “natural light”  I use the handheld mirror by the window.  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Professional-1x-Plain-Hand-Held-Mirror-9110/45057178?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&wl13=3523&adid=22222222227036861758&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=82848280952&wl4=aud-310687322322:pla-163083995552&wl5=9031179&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=local&wl12=45057178&wl13=3523&veh=sem

If you like soda and want to save some $, usually you can bring a 6-pack on per person.  (maybe more - check with your cruise peeps).  We like to bring a small soft cooler (packed in our suitcase) and keep it in the room with ice (housekeeping will fill with fresh ice every evening – if requested – we tip more for that)  keep sodas chilled in there.

If you like wine & want to save $, I think you can bring a bottle or 2 per person (again, check with your cruise peeps).

If you like liquor & want to save $... we drink vodka and crystal lite usually while on vacation.  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sneak-Your-Alcohol-Cruise-Liquor-Flask-Kit-with-Funnel-9-FLASK-SET/824430310?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1804&adid=22222222227070136522&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=178027932869&wl4=aud-310687321802:pla-284054404481&wl5=9031179&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=113126007&wl11=online&wl12=824430310&wl13=&veh=sem

Or these J  “sham-booze”  https://www.amazon.com/ShampBooze-Cruises-Smuggle-Mug-bottles/dp/B00JYAEUGM/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=zimfamilysupe-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=D4UE7C2M75JGZEAS&creativeASIN=B00JYAEUGM

Fill them With vodka ( or other liquor)  and bring crystal lite powder packs.  Yes, it is “sneaking it in” in your luggage.  I wrap it in a few heavy duty ziplocks too. (so it doesn’t leak)

You can save a lot of $ by bringing your own liquor aboard.  However, the cruise line wants a monopoly on liquor sales, so they generally do not allow you to bring your own liquor aboard.  Every piece of luggage brought on board is x-rayed, and if they spot something in the shape of a bottle…they will open it and confiscate any alcohol.

pool toys, goggles for pools (filled with ocean water)

beach toys, water shoes, snorkel(s) for beach days and/or excursions.

sunscreen.  We start with 15/30 sunscreen to get a little color, then by mid-week, it’s all 50+.

Watch and/or travel clock cruise events are scheduled throughout the day. You will always want to know what time it is.

Highlighter ­–we like to look at the daily schedule (delivered each morning) and highlight which activities we are interested in.

Small flashlight – the cabin lights are on, it’s bright!  We leave the bathroom light on I the bathroom during the night and sometime use a flashlight for the late night/early morning bathroom visits.

Speaking of bathroom visits…I’ve shared a cabin with 3 boys, so, this has been a lifesaver!  Poo-pouri!  https://www.target.com/c/air-fresheners-household-essentials/poo-pourri/-/N-5xsz0Z4upbl  YOU SPRAY BEFORE YOU GO AND IT CANCELS OUT ‘MOST’ OF THE ODER.

MUSIC / A SMALL BLUETOOTH SPEAKER/HEADPHONES   To listen to in the cabin and by the pool.

Noise cancelling headphones/buds – some people are bothered by the engine noise or that drunk guys who is sitting next to you by the pool and has no clue how loud he is talking. J

Small bills in cash – at most ports you can barter while shopping (mexico for sure).  Don’t barter something down from $20 to $10 and then hand them a $20 expecting change.  Also, $1’s are good for tipping for baggage guys and really special cruise employees who make your trip even more amazing.

pack your swimsuit(s) in a carry on – Most people pack their suits in the checked bags.  If you have kids who want to hit the pool immediately or you would like to sit in a hot tub by yourself or with a spouse (instead of 8 hairy men), put on the suits and enjoy asap.  Most others passengers will have to wait for their luggage which may be delivered late that afternoon.  P.s. you can grab a towel on the lido deck.

No need to pack pool/beach towels they are available near the pool.  You check them out with your room #.  You can also bring them to the beach, etc. during port days.

Small Hand sanitizer – the ship has hand sanitizer everwhere! But, if you want to keep it close at hand or bring it off the ship, it would be a good idea to pack one.

Another germ fighter – I bring an oil diffuser for each room and have it on 24/7 with this germ fighter essential oil:  this one acts as a nightlight also  https://www.amazon.com/URPOWER-Essential-Humidifier-Adjustable-Waterless/dp/B00Y2CQRZY/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_201_bs_lp_tr_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=3PVH9GYQ2Z0NMASMXH6P

Germ fighter essential oil https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0069SQVK0/ref=sxr_rr_xsim_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3008523062&pd_rd_wg=5hZUE&pf_rd_r=G7V2RVX5E9CGHPWA67FG&pf_rd_s=desktop-rhs-carousels&pf_rd_t=301&pd_rd_i=B0069SQVK0&pd_rd_w=9g2Yt&pf_rd_i=germ+fighter&pd_rd_r=8265b798-37e9-4fcd-8148-d385ec9d8611&ie=UTF8&qid=1517863791&sr=1

If you have kids and they will have a cabin key, bring a lanyard!  They can have it around their neck and never lose it (hopefully). Don’t write your cabin # on it for safety reasons.

To help your kids (& you after a long night of partying) find your cabin, bring decorations and have your kids (or you) decorate the door! (I,e, spring break..decorate with easter/spring décor or tropical vaca...palm trees, suns, etc.)

Other helpful info

Embarking

Someone is at the entrance to help you with your bags.  if you know you are going to use them, remember to bring some cash for a tip.

You turn in your bags when you check in at the port.  You can bring all carry-ons with you.  Bags are delivered to your cabin door anytime between afternoon/early evening. I like to unpack the 1st evening.  You can put your empty suitcases under the bed to save room.

You embark in groups, not all at the same time.  While we wait (sometimes for an hour or 2), I let the kids take advantage of their final day with electronics.  They are collected before we embark on our “non-electronic family vacation”. J

Internet/communicating with onboard friends/family

Ship internet is expensive and slow.  Here are the packages:

Carnival:  https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1152/~/carnivals-wi-fi-service-and-hub-app

if you want to pay minimal on carnival so you can snapchat friends/family ONBOARD, this is the best package: Social Wi-Fi Plan ($5 USD per day)*
Access the most popular social websites and applications including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat and the most popular airline sites. Does not include access to most websites and email. Does not support access to video and music streaming (such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora), iMessage or Skype. Cellular-network-dependent Wi-Fi calling and Facetime services are also not supported. 

Royal Caribbean:  PRICES STARTING FROM*$15.99 USD Adult per day (what a rip!)- Unlimited WiFi & Streaming - Purchase VOOM on Cruise Planner to get an exclusive discount off onboard prices.  Enjoy unlimited high-speed internet and stream all your favorite movies, shows and music while at sea. Share every unforgettable moment of your vacation in real time. And stay connected with video chat, texting and email – with VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea.

Excursions

It’s always best to book excursions before your cruise.  There are looong lines onboard the first 2 days.

It is always best to buy your excursions through your cruise line.  Although it is more expensive, if something happens in your tour and you can’t make it to the ship on time (lighting storm, so boat has to wait until it passes before taking you back or jeep tour gets a flat tire) your ship will wait for you ONLY if you booked through them.

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