What Not to Pack for a Cruise: An Updated List of Things You Should Not Bring Onboard

April 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

banned items

We don’t know why, but Carnival’s FAQ on “Are there restrictions on what we can bring aboard?” tends to spark either controversy or hilarity. Five years ago, an attempt to ban high-wattage hair dryers had female cruisers up in arms. A more recent perusal of the list shows that the Beards at Carnival, as the line’s own blogger John Heald calls them, have left no stone unturned when it comes to being clear about what you cannot bring onto a Fun Ship.

Here are some of our favorites:

Electrical and household appliances, i.e. coffee makers, hot plates, toasters, etc. (See Exceptions)

Nope, sorry, toasters and hot plates are not an exception to this rule. If you balk at room service’s continental breakfast options, you cannot cook toast or fry up an egg in your cabin. Remember, you came on this cruise so someone else would do the cooking.


When smokers refuse to pack light, Carnival will step in. Not sure whether this applies to souvenirs purchased at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.

Read on for more

    Hot on the Forums: Are Cruise Ship Showers Turning to a Trickle?

    April 24, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

    shower head

    Clingy curtains aside — and happily they are now becoming a thing of the past — nothing beats a nice shower after a long day’s sightseeing.

    However, it seems high-pressured soaks aren’t what they used to be and a number of Carnival cruisers are no longer singing in the shower. They have taken to the Cruise Critic forums with a touch of the bathroom blues to report that showers have become sprinkles due to the installation of water-saving shower heads.

    The thread was started by member crazyfrazee who writes: “On our last cruise I had the worst shower I’ve ever had in my life… The shower head wasn’t the metal one they normally had, it was a Walmart looking el cheapo plastic one with a plastic hose. I checked our other two rooms and they had the same. One had the water-saver washer removed so it was a great shower. I’ve always loved their abundance of water in their showers until now. Anyone else notice the change?”

    Read on for more.

      My First Cruise: Independence of the Seas

      April 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

      Heidi Jones

      In the My First Cruise series, Cruise Critic reaches out to first-time cruisers who recently returned from their very first cruise to find out why they chose a cruise, how they liked it and how it compared to what they expected and where they want to cruise to next.

      Want to be featured? Contact dsaltzman@cruisecritic.com.

      Name: Heidi Jones
      Age: 49
      Cruised with: Husband and two other couples
      Ship & itinerary: Six-night Western Caribbean itinerary on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas

      Q: Why did you decide to take a cruise?

      A: It was an economical option to see a number of different places. So rather than going to an all-inclusive and only being in one place, it was a way to see multiple places and then not having to worry about traveling all around.

      Full first time cruiser interview

        Steal of the Week: Free Upgrades on Anthem of the Seas

        April 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

        piggy bank sailing worldwide
        Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
        THE DEAL: Royal Caribbean International is offering you the chance to sail its newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, with free upgrades and half off deposits when you book your sailing by May 31.
        WHAT WE LOVE: While Anthem is much like its predecessor, Quantum of the Seas, it will ultimately sail from Bayonne, NJ, while Quantum will migrate overseas to Shanghai. Book an Anthem sailing between November 10, 2015 through April 18, 2016 and sail in a balcony cabin for the price of an oceanview, along with 50 percent-reduced deposits (just book by the end of May). From weekend getaways to weeklong stints in the Bahamas and 12-night vacations across the Caribbean (including holiday sailings), see what Royal Caribbean’s newest ship is all about firsthand — including the ship’s most famous passenger, Gigi, the 32-foot-tall giraffe.
        What’s unique to Anthem of the Seas? We sailed onboard to find out.
        WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: New Jersey doesn’t offer T-shirt weather in the winter, so many of these cruises will take a day or two to defrost as the ship sails toward warmer waters; meaning that balcony may be a bit nippy at first. The upgrade offer only applies to outside cabins, so if you’re looking to get a window from an inside cabin or upgrade to a suite, it will have to be out of pocket. As a brand-new ship, pricing is pretty high — starting at $1,149 per person (not including about $148 in taxes and fees). The upgrade is a nice offer, but a discount would probably be a better value.
        HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
        Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
        Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ‘em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
        Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

          Five Awesome Features on Anthem of the Seas — and Nowhere Else

          April 22, 2015 | By | 6 Comments

          Decor on Anthem of the Seas

          Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas, debuted this week in Southampton in a whirlwind of two-night sailings that saw the ship christened in a music-filled celebration.

          Coming just six months after Quantum of the Seas debuted, Anthem is a near twin to its fleetmate, with only a few changes made either in design or philosophy. If you’ve cruised Quantum before, the experience will feel a bit like deja vu.

          But look closely, and you’ll notice some subtle and not-so-subtle changes: art is completely different and totally fun, and there are 200 more seats among the four main dining rooms (Chic, American Icon, The Grande and Silk). But that’s not all.

          Here are five awesome things you’ll find on Anthem of the Seas — and no other cruise ship (at least for now).

          5 things that set Anthem of the Seas apart.

            Member Review of the Week: A Spa-Goer’s Southern Caribbean Cruise

            April 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Persian Garden Spa and Pool on Celebrity Summit

            Cruise Ship: Celebrity Summit

            Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

            Member: Jupiter567

            Background: Two weeks of pampering, two different cabins and endless Caribbean sun were a few of the many highlights on Jupiter567 and her husband’s back-to-back Celebrity cruise. While she enjoyed hours in the spa and downtime with a good book in the Persian Garden, her husband kept busy playing trivia. Read on for her favorite experiences on and off the ship.

            Onboard Highlight: The Persian Garden, spa and pools — in particular the Thalassotherapy pool for cruisers 16 and older, which made for a nice escape.

            Port Highlight: Dominica, where a snorkeling trip to Champagne Reef turned out to be the best excursion they ever purchased.

            Don’t Miss: Trying out salt scrubs in the Turkish bath — one of Jupiter567’s favorite features in the spa.

            Watch Out For: The distance between the new Aqua Class cabins and Persian Garden. Jupiter567 warns it’s a far walk.

            More: Read Jupiter567’s full review for a full recap of the two-week sailing.

            For their efforts, Jupiter567, BSinPNS, mearsfaninboise, Abmin9 and kasowell2 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

            Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.

            Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

              Cruise Critic Live! Q & A with Michael Bayley

              April 21, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

              Michael Bayley

              We caught up with the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, ahead of his Cruise Critic Live! chat today at noon onboard Anthem of the Seas.

              He told us why he’s excited about Anthem, why the ship won’t be permanently based in the U.K. — and what’s on his cruise bucket list.

              Cruise Critic: Tell us why you are excited about Anthem of the Seas.

              Michael Bayley: What isn’t exciting about Anthem? It’s the world’s newest and most advanced cruise ship and British travelers will be the first to enjoy a memorable holiday on Anthem of the Seas. There is no other ship in the world like Anthem of the Seas with its dining, entertainment, decor and exciting onboard amenities. And, guests are going to just love the high-speed Wi-Fi Internet service on Anthem of the Seas. You can stay connected to family and friends at home, Skype with them and even stream Netflix on Anthem of the Seas. No other cruise ship sailing from the U.K. offers this.

              CC: How will it appeal to the U.K. market?

              MB: I think Anthem of the Seas will have a great appeal for British holidaymakers. From the amazing activities onboard like the North Star, bumper cars, disco roller skating — to 18 different restaurants such as Jamie’s Italian, which features rustic Italian favorites by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver — to great entertainment  like the West End musical “We Will Rock You” – Anthem of the Seas offers the most unique Europe holiday.

              Read on for the full interview.

                Q&A with Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver

                April 20, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

                Jamie Oliver

                With Anthem of Seas‘ debut this month, the Royal Caribbean ship will have the second of U.K. celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s at-sea restaurants, Jamie’s Italian, onboard. The for-fee restaurant focuses on seasonal ingredients, many with a unique twist, like crab and avocado bruschetta (of course, there’s more traditional items, including penne pomodoro, linguine with prawns and eggplant parmigiana).

                We caught up with Jamie Oliver to get his views on bringing his signature style to the high seas.

                Did you ever think that one of your restaurants would be on a cruise ship?

                Never! When we opened our first restaurant in Oxford six years ago, I’d never have dreamed that we’d be opening on a ship! If someone had told be that I would have laughed. I wouldn’t have thought  it was possible.

                Read on for more.

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