13 More Things Not to Do on Your First Cruise

November 1, 2011 | By | 148 Comments

When we recently posted our suggestions on Five Things Not to Do on Your First Cruise, we were assuming our well-traveled readers would chime in — and you did, in a big way. From which cabins not to book to which spa treatments to avoid, we’ve culled through your tips and picked out more than a dozen other things that first-time cruisers should avoid. Then again, anyone heading onto the high seas — whether veteran or newbie — would be wise to get clued in on these cruising bugaboos.

Don’t pick the wrong cruise — or cabin. “For first-time cruisers, it is important that you match your personal preferences to a cruise line that best fits your personality or that best fits what you are looking for this specific vacation,” comments Steven P. That being said, be wary of creating too high a precedent. “Don’t book a suite as your first cruise cabin. You will be forever spoiled and NOT ever want to book anything else!” said Ali. (See our Tips for Choosing a Cabin.)
Don’t pick the wrong person to travel with. Said Holly K: “Don’t take the wrong person along. An anti-social misfit alcoholic is not going to be a fun cruise companion.” She’s not alone with this thought. “Unfortunately my first pleasure cruise was with a stick-in-the-mud ex-girlfriend (we were dating at the time) who had been on several cruises previously,” said Bob Rauchfleisch, noting that all she wanted to do was lounge in the cabin.
Don’t underestimate the power of the buffet. “Don’t forget to save your looser-fitting clothes to wear at the end of the cruise … you will gain weight as the week goes on,” said Gail Guilliams.
Don’t take packing lightly. “One if my tips is, don’t pack your passport in your luggage or you will not be let onboard until they find your luggage among thousands of luggage,” said Janet Ortega. In a similar vein, Sue suggests, “I have found that always having a backpack to go on excursions with is the best thing…Everything, including a light rain coat, is always at hand.” (Check out our Top 10 Cruise Packing Tips.)
Don’t forget to say “I’ve had enough.” “Keep a glow on, but whenever you feel a bit too tipsy, have soda water for a while and eat something … then you can start again!” suggests Robb.
Don’t neglect the staff. “We have taken many cruises over the years and we always bring candy with us to give to the staff. It is amazing this little act of kindness brings a smile to their faces,” said Woodenduck.
Don’t spend your money on things you don’t need. “Do limit your purchases of Caribbean-style clothing. It is easy to get caught up in the ambience, but I promise that once you get back home you won’t wear it like you thought you would. Ask me how I know…” commented Sandy B.
Don’t forget to save room for souvenirs. Splurging is one thing, but you’ll most certainly want to bring home a few mementos, so make sure you have room in your luggage. “Pack a collapsible extra bag for all the stuff you will bring home even though you swore you weren’t getting anything!” suggests Eilean.
Don’t use the elevators if you can avoid them. Waiting for the elevator could easily take you five minutes each way. “You waste a lot of time waiting, and there are many who really need to use it,” warns Jan Brandvold. Plus, taking the stairs could help you keep off the extra pounds Gail Guilliams mentioned in her tip. (For more ways to stay slim at sea, check out Cruise Critic’s 10 tips.)
Don’t forget to slather it on. Sunscreen, that is. “Sunburn isn’t fun at home, why would you want it on vacation?” posted Elisabeth.
Don’t get your teeth whitened. “Do not go for the teeth whitening, no matter how cheap it is. We made the mistake of doing it on our first day and our gums were so sore for a couple days, we couldn’t enjoy the food,” said Tonya.
Don’t forget to pack your chill pills. “Don’t complain! You are on an incredible ship, eating incredible food, having your bed made several times a day and people from around the world are AWAY from their FAMILIES to serve us, the cruise passenger guests,” insists Scott Lara. Remember that even when things go wrong, you can still have fun if you take it all in stride.
Don’t forget the obvious. This one’s a no-brainer. “Join the Roll Call for your cruise! You will get to make friends with fellow passengers in advance. You get to meet these friends at a ‘Meet and Mingle’ event on the first sea day,” suggests B’moreCruiser. (Find out about Cruise Critic’s famous Roll Calls.)
What should we talk about next in Sea-Mail? Tell us what’s on your mind at lido@cruisecritic.com.
Read other Sea-Mail columns on camera hogs, credit card horror stories, kids in hot tubs, the death of cruise traditions and bad balcony behavior.
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    148 Responses to “13 More Things Not to Do on Your First Cruise”

    1. Amanda
      November 1st, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

      What fun reading. :)

    2. may
      November 1st, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

      Our first cruise we chose a balcony(Fred Olsen) they gave us an upgrade to a premier suite. Now we don’t want to book anything less, so your tip is spot on.

    3. Frank Perez
      November 1st, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

      Try, try, try not to lose your temper at the animals in the buffet. They are starving to death and will push you out of the way to get a crust of bread. They have not eaten in their entire lives so they are desperate. Try to show consideration for these, poor, starving animals.

    4. Kelley
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:12 am

      FRANK — that is too funny!!! But it’s so true. I have seen some people at the buffet who do act like they have just woken up from a 10 yr coma and want to fit as much on their plate as they possibly can. Ever see “Fun with Dick & Jane” – when they go to the buffet. . . . . ?

      I do have a question – someone mentioned above that they give candy to the crew members as a little thank you. Is there anything else you can give them besides candy & money (which a cash tip is the most preferred “gift”)?

      Thank you!

    5. Linda Colwell
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:43 am

      Don’t BE SHY! ~ You are on a cruise Do the limbo ~ try karaoke ~ enter the contest ! HAVE FUN! After my last cruise a few of my travel companions regretting not being more like me. You may never see these people again or Maybe you will :)

    6. hamsterhead
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:46 am

      If the need arises to use the public access toilets onboard, remember happiness is a cold toilet seat

    7. Melissa
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:56 am

      So true about the cabins! We stayed in ocean view first, then balcony, then a suite, then my hubby booked a cheapie cruise in an inside cabin and I couldn’t stand it! Now when he suggests a cheap cruise with an inside cabin, I say I’d rather wait until we can afford the balcony! Sounds horrible, but sitting and relaxing on the balcony after an excursion day is just too great. Also agree with the comment on \chill pill\. There are annoying people everywhere, try to ignore them, or walk away. No sense in getting your stress level up dealing with them. If you let them, they will ruin your experience. Just don’t let them!

    8. Scott
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 7:47 am

      I always leave a few dollars for the room steward every morning. Be sure to leave a note that it is for them. Room stewards who are normally attentive get very attentive once they see you are leaving an extra tip each day. I even slip them a 5 or 10 on my first meeting with them. This is a relatively small expense and can make a big difference in the quality of the service you receive. Remember, your room steward is frequently your primary contact on the ship,

    9. Amy
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:00 am

      Don’t feel like you have to take an expensive excursion to enjoy your time in port. Some of my best memories are of hanging out at the beach away from all the tourists where the locals frequent, exploring a city on my own and soaking up the culture, and buying fresh fruit, bread and cheese for a picnic lunch. Be a little adventurous and try something new. The whole point of visiting a different country is to learn and appreciate other cultures. Plan wisely and get back in time so you don’t “miss the boat!”

    10. Linda
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:15 am

      Ladies, you do NOT need your purse when on the ship. Leave it in your room. This is a flashing neon sign that says “This is my first cruise”.

      All you need is a pocket for your room key.

    11. PIETER
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:25 am

      Perfect DOs and DONTs!


    12. Elisabeth
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:55 am

      Melissa – so true isn’t it? We were contemplating a 14 day back to back cruise, and opted for a 7 day in a balcony – since the only way we could afford a b2b was an inside cabin … “hmmmm 14 days without fresh air, or only 7 days with a balcony” … pathetic but true … this never would have been a problem before we’d stayed in a balcony room …

    13. Larry
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:42 am

      Yes, do join in the fun. The first night of our first cruise, my wife volunteered us for an on-stage couples contest. The audience thought we should have won…from that point on the entire ship knew Mary and Larry.

    14. Shirley
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:42 am

      Having been on several cruises, I agree with all of the above. This time around, I am traveling with cancer. The cruise line is bringing a wheelchair down to the entrance. Be sure to request this “special” if you are traveling with an elderly or handicapped person.

    15. Mark
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:51 am

      Don’t bring infants or toddlers. Cruise lines aren’t equipped to provide for anyone under three. It might be a legal liability thing, or it might simply be that too many parents have too many demands, so the cruise lines just give up and assume the parents will accept full responsibility for their kids’ food and entertainment. That’s a tough thing to do in general, let alone on a boat with no access to regular stores.

      My own full story and attempt to warn other parents is at http://www.royalcaribbeanbabies.blogspot.com/.

    16. Randy
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      Thanks for all the great tips everyone. Me & my wife are leaving on 11/12 Carnival Ecstasy . . . should be fun!

    17. Gretchen
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      When my husband and I cruised we always had pens made with ‘Thank you and our names’. People always need a pen! So, they were greatly appreciated.

    18. Kelly
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      Thanks so much for the great tips! We are going on our 1st Disney Cruise this April. A little nervous being out in middle of ocean. But kids really looking forward to it.

    19. Deb
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:26 am

      We (8) family members, cruise on NCL in January with our 19 month old granddaughter.
      We did not have any problems at all,in fact a lot of the crew would stop us an ask Josephine to do knuckle’s with them. She is a very easy going child.

    20. sbsquared
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:27 am

      Definitely check out the Roll Calls! We already had “friends” on the ship before we even sailed!
      And have little cards made up with your name and address, so you can keep in touch with the Roll Call people that you meet!

    21. Joyce
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      Candy is a great idea to give the crew members. I bring little cards and a few colored markers to draw little cartoons to leave in the room for the room steward . The last day my cartoon will show how much fun we had and will thank him for all he did

      . I have a feeling these are tacked up somewhere and enjoyed for awhile.

    22. sbsquared
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:34 am

      @Frank – Hilarious! You are completely right! This is one of my husband’s #1 cruise pet-peeves… I do wonder what is running through people’s head when visiting the buffets!

    23. Amber
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:38 am

      Loving all the advice! One thing I have learned is space is tight in the cabins, I love collapsable luggage. There are four of us so every bit counts, I like the wheeled duffle bags. Stuff them inside each other and save lots of extra room under the bed for shoppoing finds at port.

    24. Lori
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:41 am

      Don’t take all new clothes and shoes! The second you step off the ship it just screams “TOURIST” You also don’t want to be breaking in new shoes on a cruise. Look at the locals, they dress in their comfortable shoes and regular clothes. You should, too. Also, do some research and skip the excursions if you can. Our first cruise we took excursions in nearly every port, even the ones on the bus where you only get off for a 5 minute photo op. What a waste. Now, we know where to catch the bus, tram or metro, download a map, decide what we want to see and go. We’ve been doing that for 4 years, since our 2 daughters were 7 and have never had a problem, all over Europe and the Med. Learn please, thank you, how much? and where’s the bathroom in the language of the country you are visiting. We also learn please and thank you from the different staff we encounter on the ship and always use it when we see them. One last thing, Pack enough clothes for half your trip and do laundry midway through! I guarantee no one notices if you already wore that blouse to dinner!

    25. Patty P.
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:45 am

      My husband and I have been cruising at least once a year since 1998, All of the tips I’ve read so far are right on the money. Here are a few I value…*I know a few people on several different islands so I will go off alone with them….but if you don’t, DO NOT….the cruise ship will not wait for you if you’re late, some of the people who run these “private tours” are not professional and some are criminal. *Try different cruise lines. We started off with Carnival, then RCCL, Princess, and now we are Celebrity loyalists. They were all fun. *Inside cabins have thier own appeal…..if you like napping in the afternoon it’s pitch black. The insides on Princess ships are quite nice, and Holland America’s are huge. *Take time at the start of the cruise to exlore the ship, I always find a new spot the day before the cruise ends. Happy Cruising!!

    26. Laurie
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:50 am

      Parents of little ones, please leave the strollers at home, or just bring a collapsible \umbrella\ style and bust it out when you’re leaving the ship for a port. Wear your baby in a backpack or sling to free up your hands, give the kids a better view, and keep the VERY narrow paths through main areas and hallways as un-congested as possible.

    27. Richard Steiner
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:51 am

      I went in an inside cabin on two nine month cruises free compliments of the US Navy service.
      Our cruise tip is to rent a poolside cabana at about $100 per day with full service and forget the balcony. When in port days you really don’t need the balcony much.When I look at the price structure I just don’t see the $100 plus per day for the balcony rooms.
      Also we have found that most shore excursions are available to book direct as soon as you leave the ship for 50%to 75% less.
      We also have a drink often in our room versus $8 to $10 elsewhere.

    28. Donna
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:59 am

      One thing I love to do for our room steward is to make origami for them with money! Google \origami money\ for some fun ideas!

    29. Sherrie
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:28 am

      Do some research before you go. Take a look at the ports of call. You can start with the cruise lines website and then expand. That way you will know what each destination offers on its own merit. Look at cruise boards like Cruise Critic for ports of call see what cruisers who have been to your ports are saying about the excursions. You can even book before you sail. If you do research you will not be hit by a wave of panic at which excursions you will want. You’ll have substations in mind if your first choice is booked and you’ll know when to book independent of the cruise lines. Makes a happy trip even less stressful.

    30. Doug
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:32 am

      Great read. I have one comment regarding the candy gift to staff members related by one poster. It sounds very condescending to me. These are not children who are ga-ga over candy. They are adults with families to support. GIVE THEM CASH! Candy is a cheap tip!!

    31. rebecca
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:39 am

      Don’t meet a man and think this ship board romance is going to end at the end of the cruise!! It is what it is, a ship board romance..

    32. rebecca
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:40 am

      that should be “not going to end”

    33. lauren
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:41 am

      I am older now and very seasoned cruiser, I started in an inside cabin (which I will never do again) and have been fortunate to cruise my way to the best suites on the best cruise lines. That said, it’s all about the ship, my cruising partner and most of all the itinerary. Don’t spring for a major suite if your doing a port intensive med cruise where you won’t see your cabin for the entire cruise. Do book the best suite if you get a great deal and your in the Caribbean,will have a few sea days to enjoy your digs and the balcony. I used to pack my highest heels, but now jeweled flat sandals do just fine. One last thing ladies, don’t fall for the cellulite wrap thing it’s the biggest fraud on the ships. Happy cruising to all

    34. Lori
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:42 am

      If you must bring a stroller…PLEASE bring a stroller sized to store in YOUR STATEROOM!!! Don’t clog up the hallway of the ship with the over sized stroller that won’t fit in your stateroom.
      I have been on cruises with so many large (jogging, etc) strollers in the hall it would have been impossible to navigate in the dark in an emergency. Normal foot traffic during the day was clogged since it was single file navigating around the strollers.
      If I wanted to store an over sized piece of luggage in the hall due to it being too large to store in my stateroom I am sure this would be classified as a safety issue and an obstruction…a stroller is no different. If it won’t fit in your room leave it at home. You can purchase a small folding stroller for under $20.
      Better yet, wait and take the child when they are old enough to remember their first cruise. If the child is small enough to need a stroller they will most likely are not old enough to remember the cruise experience.

    35. Paula
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:49 am

      I have been cruising since 1981 so I have been on over 50 of them. Frank above is correct about the buffet. You can stand in line waiting patiently for the person in front of you to fill their plate and then someone will get between you and say something like, I only want this or that, don’t let it get to you and ruin part of your cruise. Just consider that these people have to live inside of their own minds and it must be stressful for them! lol My number one tip is to take a power strip. Many cabins only have one outlet and when you have a cell phone charger, laptop, curling iron etc, it really makes it nice not to have to argue over who gets the one outlet.
      Second is to take a little wristlet, that is a small bag that has a zipper and you wear on your wrist. It is the only thing you will need on the ship for your pen, lipstick, money, chips and the daily schedule.
      Third is check ahead of your cruise to find someone on a travel site like tripadvisor or cruise critic and find a good tour guide. The tours off of the ships are you and 40-50 of your closest friends stuffed into a bus and having to stick to the main road because that is the only road the bus will fit on. Arrange for a driver to be waiting at the dock to take you and your family on a private tour. It is not that much difference in prices and really adds to your trip. If you go to Rome check out Rudy’s Tours, he is amazing and speaks wonderful English.
      Fourth, don’t overpack. Believe it or not no one will care if you wear the same thing more than once, most cruises have a laundry room and those that don’t always have a day or two of special prices for them to do it for you.
      Fifth, unless you are with a group, request a large table at dinner and meet new friends. If you are just a couple you will get pretty bored sitting and staring across the table at each other for so many days. At the end of the day when you go to dinner it is nice to see your tablemates and discuss what you saw and did that day.
      Finally, check out the premium restaurants onboard. They do charge an extra charge but they are well worth it!

    36. LLJ
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:49 am

      Candy for staff…sure – as long as it’s in addition to a top and not in place of!!

    37. Cindy
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 12:00 pm


      Great to hear you cruised with an 19 mont old. At the end of this month I am crusing with my family and I have one grandson who will be 19 months old. Any tips? Thank you.

    38. William Freeman
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

      We may expect that it’s fun to travel with our friends, but for a couple, picking the right travel companions (if any)is very important. It can make or break your cruise. Avoid alcoholics, “party animals”, hardened gamblers and clingy, helpless persons who are always in your back pocket. There are times when you and your spouse may want to be alone, so be sure the proposed companions are OK with that. Don’t travel with those on such a tight budget that they can never afford shore excursions or alternate dining arrangements, unless you are willing to treat, and conversely those wealthy ones or spendthrifts who are always wanting to do something you cannot afford.
      Ensure that the persons you choose as traveling companions have some advance knowledge of the destinations, so you do not have to serve as a walking Michelin Guide because they are utterly ignorant. Avoid traveling with relatives, other than your spouse.
      Pre-cruise discussions with prospective traveling companions are very helpful.

    39. Rick
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

      If you plan on spending alot of time in the room I suggest a balcony if you want the room just for sleeping and showering, go cheap, get the inside room. I did that in college. Just wanted to party back then.

    40. Beth
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

      My boyfriend and I are going on our first cruise this January on the Norwegian sky to the Bahamas with another couple. Are buffets included? What places should we NOT MISS? And should we fly into the port the day of the cruise since it departs @ 5? Any other help is welcomed as well!

    41. Bethany
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

      @Linda, I totally disagree that purses are not needed on a cruise–I buy a new purse for every cruise and I carry it proudly! How else can I carry my lipgloss, room key, camera, bathing suite coverup and emergency mascara? A cute wristlet or clutch is great for evenings and a fun colorful bag is great for sea days.

    42. Doug
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

      In regard to children/babies on cruise: actually Jo-Ann and I are thrilled to see some young ones and say hi, esp. on some longer cruises that start looking like nursing homes in some cases. And you know, if we can walk around all the stuff in the halls for the infirm and dodge the speeding scooters, for me I’m happy to see an occasional stroller. Bless the children. (signed parents of 4, grandparents of 7)

    43. Ruth
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

      I especially enjoy waiting for a slice of pizza to have the teenager in front of me demand the entire pizza! You really do need to not let things like that get you worked up (chill!) or you will have a miserable time. Same things goes for the other unsupervised children onboard. I do my best to ignore them (just like their parents). I will not let another person’s inconsideration ruin my fun.

    44. Ron
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

      I think it is great Carnival has done this. $11/12 is now the norm. Carnival is without a doubt one of the best value for your money Cruiselines! Great service, great food! I love Carnival I bought lots of stock in CCL.

      I just & pray that they never adopt NCL mandatory Service Charge BS! Ever since they made it mandatory (back in ~04/07), service on NCL has dropped, no plumetted!!! NCL without a doubt has the worst service and it is obvious why. Don’t believe me just go reads some reviews. I had a friend that used to work for NCL, when they changed the policy he noticed he was not getting his normal amount of tips (NCL executives were pocketing a percentage!!!) and so he quit and went to work for Carnival. You might get lucky everynow and then. I try not to even admit I used to take NCL cruises it is so bad now! If you think you have the freedom to lower them call NCL and just ask (never hurts right?). Go read the boards etc.
      Okay, I am getting off my NCL soap-box. Just amazes me that one policy can change a cruiseline so much!

    45. Dollhouse Duchess
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

      Tips? HAL adds $11/day for ALL tips – fine with us and we left extra for the cabin stewards, plus I tipped my favorite Lido server who looked at me, called me by name and served up my favorite breakfast without my saying anything but \Good Morning Oliver\
      Near the end, I found unused, unopened items, plus charity gifts that turned out to be wrong, and told the steward that anything I put in the shoe basket on the bed was for his family and friends – snorkel gear, a leftover carryon, plastic markers, etc., etc., etc. – he was delighted!
      Purses? I took a glasses case size zippered pouch for my room and security drawer keys, tissues, lip gloss, and most importantly, meds that had to be taken with every meal…for formal nights, I switched to my little black purse.
      Room choice? Yes, we’re hooked on verandas-great for cruises with lots of sea days, only a problem if your neighbors smoke too much, but we stay with the smaller, not deluxe. Our last cabin was marked as less desirable on cabin choice sites, but turned out to be just fine!
      …just back from 30 days on HAL Hawaii, Tahiti, etc. We’re strictly HAL mariners…

    46. Paula
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

      @Beth. I always fly into a city the day before the cruise for two reasons. First, you can start your vacation early but most importantly you never know what mishap can cause your flight to be delayed. Also you don’t have to stress on sail day because you have no worries you are already there. Food on a cruise, (except for the premium restaurants) is always included. That means breakfast at the restaurant, the buffet and room service. Most people who go on a cruise for the first time don’t realize that room service is complimentary. Just give the person who delivers it a small tip. On NCL there are usually more premium restaurants than the other lines because they are the freestyle dining pros. The rates usually are between $10 to $30 per person so splurge and try a couple. Most are romantic too…:) BTW, I have been on soooo many cruises and have only been seasick twice. If you feel a little motion sickness the onboard dr will have a miracle cure, plus get some fresh air, don’t stay in your cabin, go out on deck or on your balcony. You are going to LOVE it!!

    47. Suz
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

      I think all of the comments have been great.

      I have 2 things to add.

      1-When you are up on floor 9 and your room is on floor 2, its 10pm at night, THIS is the time to take that elevator. It came right away, we zipped down and back up again in 20min, having changed into our bathing suits, and watched the rest of the movie in the hot tub. A moment to remember on our honeymoon.

      Which leads to point 2-Sharing a table as a couple is fun, but if you are on your honeymoon, request request request a 2 toppper. We did and got one, and I am still thrilled 3 months later. My hubby and I would chat about our day, good and bad, and just unwind over the meal.

      Cruising is the best value ever.

    48. Sergio
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

      I wish I had seen the original article because this list still doesn’t have the #1 rule of cruising – NEVER, EVER wait until the last night of the cruise to party like it’s your last night of the cruise; that 6am disembarkation comes FAST and is PURE HELL, especially HUNGOVER!

      As for the next two rules of cruising… #2: On the first day, BE PICKY! Remember that whoever you hook up with on-board will be expecting your company the REST of the trip.

      BUT… #3: If half way through the cruise you have not hooked up but were hoping to, DON’T BE PICKY! Because even that “4” that you blew off on day 2 has probably already had better luck elsewhere, and with someone even less picky than you. And whatever might still be available, won’t be there for long, because NOBODY wants to be the last goose left without a place to sit! =P (23 cruises)

    49. Stephanie
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

      “Don’t forget your CHILL PILL” is right on the money! We just got back from our Mexican Riviera cruise and I was standing in line waiting for an omelet. There was this gentleman in front of me who was order for his 3 children and himself (4 omelets total) and so it was quite a wait. The woman behind me started mouthing off and pushing peopl out of the way because all she wanted was a fried egg and didn’t want to wait. When she finally decided she wasn’t going to wait anymore, she went around us and started waving her hands and complaining to the cook…

      I felt like telling her to chill out.. she is lucky that someone is cooking for her…

    50. Lori T
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

      @Beth – If you see something on the menu that you’ve never had TRY IT! If you hate it you can order something else. I tried caviar for the first time docked in St Petersburg, Russia and escargot after a day in Normandy. Caviar? eh, not so much, but the escargot? That’s something I look forward to every time we cruise now lol

    51. Beth
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much for the tips! Now I’m even more excited!

    52. kayakbride
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

      Linda, I have been on plenty of cruises and must take exception to your comment about purses. They do NOT mean you are a new cruiser. Very little of my clothing contains pockets for my key card, and now I find I need glasses to read the menu and a fold-out fan for hot flashes. It also helps to reapply a little lipstick after dinner before heading to a show without having to trek back to the stateroom. During the day, it helps to have a tote for your book, reading glasses and sun glasses, Kindle or iPad, sunscreen and bottle of water by the pool or a backpack for shore excursions.

    53. Jenny
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

      I have a slightly different approach to gift-giving to the cabin steward. Before each cruise I sew a whole lot of new outfits, & take along some of the previous cruise’s clothes for the cabin steward. Also, after overeating during the cruise, there are quite a few things that don’t fit any more, so that’s a few extras for the hard-working cabin stewards. With the extra space in my suitcase, I can now fit more souvenirs. This also works well when doing shore excursions in the very poor countries, as I can donate my clothing directly to the people who really need it.

    54. David
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

      Here’s a couple. We’ve been on ten cruises and have enjoyed them all.
      (1) Remember, it’s a VACATION! Enjoy yourself.
      (2) We bought our favorite poolside waitress a pink baseball cap at one of the ports. She loved it, wore it the remainder of the cruise and we never wanted for good service.
      (3) Take all you want, but eat all you take. (I know, old cliche)
      (4) Smile a little.
      (5) Don’t miss the sail-away party.

    55. bob
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

      monetary tips are the best way to show the staff your appreciation. Condoms are a close second.

    56. Barb
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

      I am amazed by the number of people who complain about both kids and older people on cruises. We have been on a couple cruises with my grandkids, who we keep with us — we simply enjoy being together as a family, and don’t think they are old enough to be on their own. And I am entering the “elderly” years, and have waited many years for the opportunity to get to do something so very nice. My kids are great to travel with, and most people are very considerate of those of us who don’t walk so fast — I try to tell them to scoot around me, as I know they will be faster than I am. And just remember, we all start out young, and if you are fortunate, you will be the “older” generation someday!

      My older traveling companion and I, when on our own, try to hire taxis and have our own tours. That way, we see plenty, meet someone from that country, and don’t have to worry about keeping up with the younger people.

    57. Louie
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

      DO bring some of those flat indiglo night lights (especially if your in an inside cabin) remember, your in small unfamiliar surroundings and it can be really dark!!

    58. James
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

      Great ideas. Learn the name of the staff members you encounter. Servers in dining room, your cabin attendant, bar tender, etc. Thank them by name. They will remember you!

      Also, use room service. It makes a nice change to simply be alone, and still enjoy the same food and service as in the dining room. Also a late dessert and coffee, in your PJs.

    59. James
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

      Another suggestion. On our last cruise, we reserved a cabin just 1 flight above the main dining room, and only a minute walk to the stairs. It was a breeze to get to the dining room. On a previous cruise (one of our first), we were in a cabin at the very front of the ship. The walk to the extreme stern of the ship to the dining room was tiring, and through long corridors that all looked alike!itir

    60. John
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

      Well, Sorry folks, I’ve only cruised twice. For now. I will take an inside cabin like we did on the second cruise—down from a window suite, from now on.I spend more time on deck, chatting with new friends, visiting areas, and of course SPA. Many are quite right. Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.The food is what it is and the drinks are what they are.
      I spoke for 1/2 an hour with our last cabin steward. From that time the service was so incredible he deserved the extra tip I gave him.All people on board will respond to a gentle smile or a quiet joke.
      MOST of all–remember–YOU ARE HOLIDAY> enjoy

    61. Margaret Kruse
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

      In defense of inside cabins–I prefer them because I like to nap on vacation. They’re dark as a cave any time of day. Especially if you’re traveling a distance and will be jet lagged, its a good option. Also economical. More funds for excursions, future vactions, etc.

    62. Kennicott
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

      Great advice on this thread.

      Not so big on the candy bit, we try and give souvenirs like toys, T-shirts, teddy bears, etc. if they have kids. Most important though is currency, these people are usually poor and have families at home who need to eat.

      Do use the C.C. “Roll Calls”,a must. Saved our bacon more than once. One time we booked a four week back to back, found out from a C.C. couple that was getting on midway that all on board needed a yellow fever shot, even if they stayed on the ship at Devil’s Island. Travel Agent checked it out with cruise line, they said not required. I insisted, three times, they said we were dreaming. Those shots were hard to find but we did get them anyway. Got on the ship, anger everywhere, as everyone was being told they needed yellow fever vaccinations. One couple even contacted their attorney. Thank you C.C. brethren and sisters.

      As mentioned, habitual complainers are real drags, that is a for certain. Sometimes they are so ridiculous though it is comical. One time, month long cruise on the Regal Princess, I had read up on the ship. Some criticisms had me concerned. Got on board, Momma unpacks and I stay away until she is done, she not pleasant until all is put away. So I did a recon and much to my surprise the negatives were not that bad at all and way overblown. So I was happy. l had a little time yet so stopped by a bar called the “hole in the wall” or something like that. Just one customer and the barkeep. I told the bartender how glad I was that the ship was so nice and met my tastes. The other customer spoke up: “I hate this ship, if someone would torpedo it I couldn’t be happier. Only reason I’m on here is my wife wanted to take this cruise.” Four and a half weeks later he was still in there, drowning his sorrows. Crazy.

    63. terry
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

      I’d add “Don’t buy those coupon books they push on the day(s) before you hit your first port. They’re just a way to get you into the tourist trap stores in hopes you’ll buy even more. The Diamond expert presentation is more of the same.

    64. Marie
      November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

      I have stayed in suites, inside rooms, balconies forward and aft. Unless you are the type of person who just loves to hang out in your room alot I find it doesn’t really matter. I have had wonderfull service in all room types because we always try to get to know the stewards. Of course an extra tip is always appreciated since they do make so little and are away from their families for months at a time. We always have our fridge cleared out on the first day so we are able to use it. We do bring our own Coke products and bottled water for in the room and buy drinks when we are out. Once we have the steward clear the fridge we tip him immediately and always have great service from then on. One thing we have found out is to fill out good comment cards for anyone you feel goes out of their way for you. Alot of lines actually give incentives to staff who get good comment cards like extra time off. Just remember if you have any problems that a bad day cruising is much better than a good day at work.

    65. regena
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:16 am

      Health tip—I used to always come home sick from the cruise until a Dr told me to Stop touching the elevator button! Use your elbow or just step back until the door opens. Never been sick since. Of course this tip works for all your travels, not just cruising.

    66. Joe King
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 2:40 am

      Don’t stand towards the front of the ship and smoke cigs or worst of all CIGARS. The smell drifts all the way to the back and ruins the fresh sea air for those out trying to walk the prom deck. If you HAVE to smoke at least have the courtesy to stand or sit at the BACK of the ship where the wind will quickly blow it away from others. Thank you.

    67. Marianne
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:41 am

      Hmm, need fresh air? We go on deck to enjoy the sea breezes and the view. We only use our cabin to sleep and change clothes and shower naturally. Rather go on more and longer cruises with an inside cabin.

    68. Heljond
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 5:38 am

      Phone cards are great to give out to staff…it really blew us away how greatful they were to get them! Small change for us and much appreciated by them!

    69. Carmellia
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

      KELLY: Im live in Canada and I always bring a momento that is truley Canadian (Maple Candy) Hat with Canada Flag, pins, postcards of our area and put it all in a gift bag. I have one for each of our waiters (We always go Traditional Dining),Our room Stewart and a few extra for those extra special staff. We dont renage on the tip, we add a little something for them in there as well. And the room they take getting them to the ship, I use for souvenoirs to come home!!

    70. Evonne Morrison
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      One Important Document: Having worked at a cruise ship terminal embarking passengers, I met so many people without their passports. It is true, you don’t need a passport to cruise HOWEVER: If there is an accident or you become sick and have to stay over at the port of call and can’t travel back on the ship then you will have a problem. You need a passport if you are flying back to the US.

    71. Pat
      November 3rd, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

      What kind of phone cards….that sounds like a great idea since those that work the lines are away from their families for long periods.

    72. bob
      November 4th, 2011 @ 12:52 am

      I love ncl cruises i have been on two its great that they pre charge for the tips its takes the pressure off on encounters with the stewards an other tip employees room service is great!! but the pizza was horible, also the buffets were not that great, good but not great the entertainment on ship was ok some times good the best fun was watcthing the 2 story tv the casino didnt have enough mini- bac tables the staterooma are awsome you gotta have a balcony the views are worth the money

    73. Ruth
      November 4th, 2011 @ 1:28 am

      Please remember your manners when you sit down to eat after putting that mountain of food from the buffet on your plate. It seems as if on every cruise there is a person, usually male, who rapidly shovels his food into his mouth, as if he was a contestant at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest. Chewing with his mouth open, not emptying it before the next forkful. Fortunately we have not encountered this person at the MDR so far, but they do exist at the buffets.

    74. JP
      November 4th, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

      Carrying a purse does not scream first time cruiser, that is so patronizing!

    75. Mary Ellen
      November 5th, 2011 @ 12:25 am

      I have been on 17 cruises and never have a purse with me but I do carry a “beach bag” or cruiseline bag to hold my book,glasses,journal and suntan lotion plus other stuff.

    76. Rusty
      November 5th, 2011 @ 9:15 am

      I just completed my 13th cruise and the only time I do not carry my purse is to the gym. Then, I have my fanny pack. I use a crossbody bag, so it doesn’t get in the way.
      As for passports, my husband and I use the holders that go around your neck. It goes on the moment we get in the car on our way to the port. It gets locked in the safe until we are ready to get off. DO NOT wait until the last minute to get it out. Same thing when you are returning to the ship. You need to show your sea pass. Have it handy when you are still in line.
      I brought candy bags along on the Halloween cruise. The staff loved it. Sometimes, I will pick up little souvenirs for them when I am in port.

    77. Doug
      November 5th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

      We’ve cruised 28 times, from Vista and owners suites on Oceania (old Renaissance ships like Princess’ small ships), owners on Costa, to many balconies. We decided to try an inside since we’re cruising even more now since retirement and thought we could save some dough. Did an inside on Celebrity Summit New England in early Oct. and you know what? It was fine. Same size (cabin itself, 170 sq ft) as balcony. HOWEVER, this was a cold weather cruise, so we thought we wouldn’t spend any time on a balcony anyway, which would have been correct. I think the itinerary makes a difference for us. (We’ve booked Celebrity Silouette BALCONY in early Jan. Carribbean).

    78. Andrew
      November 7th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

      If you are traveling with a lot of people in a cabin bring an over the door shoe hanger. These fold easily to go in your suit case and then all the people can put their different toiletries in it to avoid cluttering the small bathrooms.

    79. Shelley
      November 7th, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

      We have been on 2 cruises and have booked a transatlantic cruise for June 2012. We live abroad so thought this would be a way to travel back to the states and not arrive there so jet-lagged and in a frenzy. There will be 4 of us. I had heard the over-the-door shoe hanger idea and will be taking that along – wonderful idea! This cruise will be on Queen Mary 2…any suggestions?

    80. Lynne Coppoletta
      November 8th, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

      One idea I always use is to use the plastic zippered bags that sheets, pillow cases, and pillows/blankets may come in. Nightgowns, panties and other necessities go in one, scarfs, and socks in their own, shirts/blouses in another, bath items in another (you can see these so easy and they don’t weight anything). You can always throw the blouse bag under the bed if there’s not enough storage.

      You all are so right about tipping up front…especially the bartenders! What service and good drinks we get.

      Thanks for the heads up about prepaid tips. We didn’t even get an envelope with printed papers for our service people. (Celebrity Summit September 24). I will definitely check with Oceania on our next cruise to see how tips are distributed.

    81. Jerry King
      November 9th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

      Hello all my fellow cruisers! Ok alot of talk about nicer rooms vs. cheaper rooms.We have taken many cruises.I cruise we booked a Balcony…it was awesome! But we have also had inside cabins …they are great also! Nice and dark….you can sleep forever in the inside cabin…..so the point is…..take a cruise and enjoy it! No matter what you can afford…obtw the next cuise is on Freedom of The Seas Rccl….Balcony…hahahah….

    82. Bob Bear
      November 9th, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

      OK, let me start this way, buy what you want, and can afford in a cabin; if you’re in front of the buffet pig, get out of the way; if you don’t like some of the people you meet on the ship, its OK, there are others to meet; keep your complaints to yourself cause no one really cares; do what you want, when you want, trying not to be rude to anyone else, and you should be OK!
      Remember, on a crowded ship, you’re bound to run into people that aren’t your type, and most likely you’re not their type!
      Just enjoy yourself without bothering others, and if it happens, apologize, it won’t kill you to be considerate! Everyone has a bad moment or day!

    83. DEE
      November 9th, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

      CAN SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT Carribbean Cruise on Grand Pricess thanks

    84. Ralph
      November 22nd, 2011 @ 12:57 am

      Had an outside cabin on the Nieuw Amsterdam, nr reception,very noisy from engine etc. Would cruise again ,same ship but with a balcony. The ice bucket is filled daily, didnt find out until last couple of days on cruise and until then I was hopping up to the 9th deck for ice….dumb Aussie

    85. Dave
      November 24th, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

      1. Choose an aft cabin a few steps (NOT close) to the elevator for fast trips to the aft (adult) pool and restaurants.

      2. Choose an inside (cheaper) cabin for a first cruise. If you don’t like cruising, you have spent less to realize that fact. Work you way up (outside, balcony, suite) on subsequent cruises and enjoy the experience of each in it’s turn.

      3. Go to the casino cashier ONCE, at the start of the cruise, to get a hole punched into your room card and a free springy necklace to which you can afix your room card around your neck. Thereafter, stay out of the casino and the terrible odds they offer to a captive clientele.

      4. Bring your passport, just in case. Lock it in the safe along with most of your cash and all but one credit card (which is used to lock the safe).

      5. Don’t bring expensive jewelry. Who are you impressing? If you must, be able to prove that you purchased it in the USA, so if you are challenged by Customs you don’t have to pay import duty.

      6. Refrain from throwing noisy, undisciplined, unsupervised children overboard. Remember, ocean pollution is an illegal act, and there are security cameras everywhere.

      7. Leave your laptop home. On-line charges are horribly expensive and unsecured on-board the ship.

    86. Barbara
      November 30th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

      My husband and I took our first cruise this past April on the Gem. Loved it! We booked an inside cabin on deck 4; my husband referred to it as steerage!! LOL. We took part in the tour of the ship and met a couple who we would meet for drinks and the shows in the evenings during the cruise. My husband and I will be cruising again April 2012 on the Gem. We will now be on deck 5; still an inside cabin.

    87. Carol
      November 30th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

      Be sure and take a night light and extention cord with several outlets. You can than charge all your toys and see to get into the bathroom. If you take medications or vitamins, use Glad wrap to make small packages which are handy to carry with you.

    88. Judee
      December 3rd, 2011 @ 6:43 am

      Agree with Andrew about the over-the-door shoe hanger. This is the one thing I would never cruise without. All our toiletries, medicines, grooming tools, etc. are out of the way in the bathroom yet visible and close at hand. Best tip ever!

    89. Finni
      December 30th, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

      Hi and thanks for the tips;

      Going on honeymoon in early June 2012 and we are thinking of going on a Caribean cruise for one week.We heard that you can get great late deals if you wait til you get to near the departure region…Any advice on this would be much appreciated…

    90. Smith
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 12:13 am

      My fiance and I were planning on getting married on a cruise possibly carnival or norwegian and having immediate family attend. Any tips?

    91. April J
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

      We just returned from our first cruise (loved it!), and we definitely see a lot we would do differently. One big one is buying the “soda package” on RCL. The fountain drinks weren’t all that great. Water, lemonade, and iced tea were always available, and flavored water was served at lunch. If I really needed a soda, I’d buy a can for $2.50, which was much cheaper than the soda package.

      Someone else mentioned leaving the high heels at home and wearing cute low-heeled sandals–I agree 100%!

    92. Elisabeth
      January 13th, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      “Don’t bring infants or toddlers. Cruise lines aren’t equipped to provide for anyone under three.”

      WHAT??? Just because most cruiselines don’t offer childcare before the age of three, does not mean they do not cater to families with young kids … My first cruise with my son was when he was 7 months old. My first child. I did pack a small amount of babyfood and brought formula, just like I would on any vacation. You do need to pack enough diapers for the entire trip, etc. But other than that … the staff on Carnival Victory were simply amazing! They offered pureed veggies in the dining room for my son and treated him like a little prince. A lovely couple working as bar staff (Ida and Komang if anyone from Carnival happens to read this) were missing their own little man about the same age and gave us extra special attention. I never felt so well taken care of as when travelling with my son … cruises before paled in comparison. Yes, it is a little more WORK. But that is because being a parent is a job, and you don’t get to stop parenting just because you are on a ship. I love cruising with my son – this February he will be going on his 6th (he’s 4)

    93. Elisabeth
      January 13th, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

      My favorite tip is to choose a cabin close to the aft Lido elevator. Makes for easy trips to the Lido buffet and back to the cabin if you want some coffee or lemonade, or a bite to eat in the cabin with a little more variety than room service. You can use the trays or big buffet plates to carry a meal down to the room and enjoy on the balcony. Someone has also suggested filling the coffee thermos you get with morning room service with juice from the morning buffet, as most lines only offer complimentary juice in the mornings. I have never done this, but it wasn’t a bad idea.

    94. Elisabeth
      January 13th, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

      “Carrying a purse does not scream first time cruiser, that is so patronizing!”

      Agreed – I carry one around because I have to have my son’s epipens handy at all times due to his peanut allergy. People carry a handbag for all different reasons … I personally go back to the room 2-3 times a day, max. So I like to have all my little items: book, camera, sunblock, etc. in a small little bag and carry it around – ie a purse.

    95. Arch
      January 13th, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

      Many great tips and suggestions, but when it comes to what to give your steward(s) or serving staff in the main dining rooms – I believe that cash is most appreciated. They work for months away from their families at the lowest wages possible depending on the cruise lines and most send all they can back to their families when in ports where they can use trusted banking facilities.

    96. Tiffany
      January 13th, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

      On my first cruise RCL, we didn’t buy the soda package. When we got to the port we bought a 2 litter soda for the room and saved on buying from the ship or snack bar.

    97. Jerry
      January 14th, 2012 @ 12:04 am

      I always leave my passport and wallet and all my credit cards in the safe. I use a hotel key card that I kept from my last hotel stay to open the safe. That way I won’t lose any important cards. If I go off the ship, I keep my stateroom key card and driver’s license and some cash. Unless you are buying something like jewelry, cash is much easier to use. Also don’t forget to notify your credit card company that you are leaving the country–otherwise if you try to use your credit card, it may not work. Happy Cruising. I am soon to book my 11th cruise. It is a great value considering you get your lodging, food, and transportation all for one price.

    98. Marcia
      March 28th, 2012 @ 11:21 am

      Here’s the thing. If you really love lugging that big old heavy purse around and you feel comfortable doing it, then do it. (even though it shrieks \insecurity\). Personally, a light weight beach bag or ship’s bag is perfect for what few things one might need.

      My husband and I are always amused by the buffet animals who have obviously been fasting for months in preperation for mass eating. Sometimes we sit back,view the buffet \butt-ers\ and have a good laugh.

      While on a cruise, don’t take yourself so seriously. You are not as important as you think you are. Just have fun and don’t critize.

    99. Gill
      May 19th, 2012 @ 7:47 am

      This is a wonderful blog. Your tips and advice are great . Im off on my second cruise next week with my partner and son (6) and cannot wait. Im hooked after only one. The buffet comments are priceless and had me laughing to myself here..and those who like to complain a lot I never understand it .You are on holiday with your family and friends and nothing should spoil that . Its true that some people need to take a chill pill and just relax … lets face it I doubt any of these people get this type of service at home so should be grateful of it on holiday. Im just glad to have no cooking or cleaning to do for a week :) And I am extremely grateful to to cabin stewards waiters etc who make my holiday that bit more special.

    100. Fred
      June 6th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      Don’t call it a “boat”, unless you’re on a boat. You’re on a ship… the crew hates the ship being called a boat.

    101. Jerry
      June 6th, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

      To Dee #83: My very first cruise was the Grand Princess to the Western Caribbean. It was awesome, except for the coffee [LOL}. I loved sitting by the pool watching the giant screen TV. I was with three other people in an inside cabin which made it a bit crowded but we made do. That cruise spoiled us since I have only cruised with Carnival since [coffee excellent but food not as good] I loved everything about the Grand Princess, the seven days went by fast. We had one stormy night and being in a forward cabin we didn’t get much sleep because we were laughing so hard trying to stay on our beds while the cabin rolled and bucked in the storm. We were not allowed outside for about six hours but it was still fun. Staff were great and very attentive and I loved the single price for unlimited diet cola, perfect for me.

    102. anne
      June 6th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      we usually always go back on the same ship, we had one cabin steward that really left an impact on us. So now everytime I go I bring her all kinds of personal products, deoderant, toothpaste, razors, shampoo. Reason being when we stopped in Antigua we saw her get off the ship and thats the kind of stuff she was going to buy, costs a fortune there. So I always give her that kind of stuff when we go, in addition to a nice tip :)

    103. Debra Mc
      June 6th, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

      Be careful about using an extra tip to thank your room steward. We gave extra to our room steward & wait staff at the end of our last (Princess) cruise only to find that they must turn this in & share with the rest of the crew. Check the cruise line’s policy first. We also gave our room steward a bottle of wine & he was over the moon. He could share that one with whomever he wished.

    104. Joan
      June 6th, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

      don’t forget your feet. I forgot the sunscreen on my feet the first day (St Thomas) and had blisters the size of grapes on both my feet and had trouble walking the rest of the cruise.

    105. kona_wahine
      June 7th, 2012 @ 12:08 am

      If it wasn’t for cruise critic I would have been lost on our first cruise. Now, heading to our second and totally looking forward to it. It’s nice going in knowing what we know now.

    106. Carolyn Terlouw
      June 7th, 2012 @ 6:41 am

      Not actually a cruise tip, but a port tip. Don’t forget you are a guest in the ports you go to. Treat people with respect. It doesn’t make a difference what their living conditions are, these people deserve respect and kindness. I have seen too many cruisers get into a port and treat the residents like dirt. Not a good reflection on your country. A little kindness goes a long way. Think you won’t see these people again? Think again, the world is getting smaller all the time. We have been back to some ports of call three and four times and have run into the same people who have remembered us:)

    107. Eris0303
      August 29th, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

      How about not taking every cruise packing list you see online to heart? Look at them for guidance but also think about how you are as a traveler. Someone else says you NEED a over the counter shoe holder? Think long and hard about whether you would actually use one.

      “Ladies, you do NOT need your purse when on the ship. Leave it in your room. This is a flashing neon sign that says “This is my first cruise”.
      All you need is a pocket for your room key.”

      I carry a small bag on ship – just big enough for my key, camera, lipgloss, hankie, and mints. Not the full-size one I would use at home.

    108. Jessica
      September 14th, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      Rebecca- not always true!
      I met my husband while on a cruise in the Caribbean! I was travelling with my mom and he with his parents….
      We ended up being sat next to each other at dinner!
      20 year ago!!!!!!
      We have the picture that was taken of us ( as strangers) that first night!!!!
      Never say never- it does happen!!!!

    109. Judy Boyer
      September 18th, 2012 @ 3:33 am

      Thanks everyone for the wonderful pointers! In November my husband and I will be taking our very first cruise on The Carnival Magic and we are like children at Christmas!
      I appreciate all the kind ideas on tipping and/or gifting our steward and waiter. Also, I agree with being kind when in Port…we do represent our country.
      This is the best site ever! Bon Voyage!

    110. Jennifer Lingerfelt
      September 23rd, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

      Just loved going through all these. Will be cruising for the first time in 2013. Traveling with family, I am planning on meeting lots of new people.. and maybe a special guy too!

    111. Lindsey
      September 26th, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

      When some girlfriends and I went on a Valentine’s cruise this year we brought skittles valentines for all the staff we interacted with. Our head server had never had skittles and and she as surprised when they weren’t chocolate! It made for a great experience!

    112. Rhonda
      April 4th, 2013 @ 12:02 am

      @Lindsay #92 – In regards to the baby comment: Why -would- you bring something that takes extra work on your vacation? #1. Your baby won’t remember anything. #2. The point of a vacation is to get away from things that make you worry and work 24/7. Did I pack enough diapers/food? What if the baby gets sick? How will I go ziplinning with a 16 mos old baby? #3. Children have the potential to scream, cry, throw tantrums, and make life miserable for other adults not only on the cruise, but on the plane getting them to and from the cruise…why would you do that to yourself and us?

    113. Lenore
      April 25th, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

      Has anyone cruised on Uniroyal? Haven’t seen any comments. Going May ’14.

    114. Jenn
      August 7th, 2013 @ 3:32 am

      @Rhonda – I have three children and would never consider traveling without them. Your comment is very disturbing.

    115. Deb
      August 18th, 2013 @ 5:56 am

      I’m with you, Jenn. We never travel without our son. He was three years old on his first cruise. I packed an inflatable baby tub which fit perfectly in Carnival Glory’s shower so I was able to give him a bath. Also packed his little folding camp chair for out on the balcony. Rented a stroller on the ship-he got tired-he could sleep and we could still be out exploring. Easier to push a stroller than carry a tired 3 year old. We leave next month for our next cruise. He’s now ten. Packing a camp chair again so we can all sit out on the balcony and also bringing an extention cord so we can plug in all our gizmos. I’m still amazed at the number of people who still ask us if we are bringing our son.

    116. andrew
      August 25th, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

      First of all, on cruises you will NOT have fun unless you find a group of people to hang out with your age. I am 29, and the age group 19-30 is neglected on cruises as they are forced to entertain them selves.

      If you come on a cruise with a family or with friends, try to immediately walk around the ship and talk to as many people your age as possible. Get them together in a group so you feel more confident and happy. Cruises are about social wars, you will be judged on what you are wearing, where you are eating, who you are with etc.

      Key element for any guy age 19-30 is to find a girl to hook up with on the first night. Most cruises have a singles event on the first night, it is crucial that you attend, same goes for women. IF you do not find a hook up on the first night then you immediately need to make that happen the following, as a cruise without a hook up is a waste in my eyes.

      Trust me, nothing will seem fun or exciting or awesome to you on the ship unless you find a person to hook up with and have a group of friends to drink with, that is why people cruise. For the challenge, the adventure, the social war that goes on.. it is very stressful and challenging and takes a lot of calculation on my part and knowing what to say to impress the girls, how to act etc.. but in the end it is all worth it!

    117. Phyllis
      November 18th, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

      Don’t forget to walk the ship, including all staircases, to enjoy some very unusual art. Consider the ship a museum.

    118. Phyllis
      November 18th, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

      I read the comments regarding children on cruises. The simple compromise is for cruise ships to have adult only cruises, not for the purpose of encouraging conduct that is not family-oriented, but for adults, who wish to do so, to avoid interacting with running, noisy, elevator-button-pressing, messy children whose parents do not wish to vacation without them. My children first went on a cruise at ages 5 and 7, and my husband stayed with my son and I stayed with my daughter if they were involved in different activities. Now that they are adult, I prefer adult cruises and don’t travel during traditional vacation. periods.

    119. soccerstud
      December 18th, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

      Andrew: I would’t come near you (or have my girlfriend come near you) even within the range of a 10 foot pole. Hopefully you’ll stay on those lower end cruise lines where hook-ups are the norm.

    120. Izzy
      February 6th, 2014 @ 1:32 am

      9th cruise coming up. Enjoying all the comments. Please don’t forget the ‘chill’ pills. Many outstanding recommendations written.

    121. Ed niewinski
      March 14th, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

      Cruising the first time with wife and teenage kids…I feel overwhelmed already. Especially how to do the off shore excursions for the right money and not be left behind…any suggestions regarding the port canaveral port?

    122. Ed niewinski
      March 14th, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

      Cape canaveral….apologies

    123. Teresa
      March 17th, 2014 @ 2:13 am

      Really enjoyed reading most of these going on my first cruise with my husband in September .
      Will re-think my packing my handbags and shoes so thanks for those comments .

    124. Jasmine
      March 20th, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

      I can’t wait I’m actually going on Carnival Dream in 2 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO EXCITED!!!

    125. Jami
      March 30th, 2014 @ 7:11 am

      We’re taking our first cruise to Alaska in June on RCCL, and I’m wondering about the beverage packages. If we don’t buy one, can we take a cup of tea out to a deck chair? Someone told me that we can drink only in the dining room without a beverage package. True? Thanks for help!

    126. Brok Bates
      April 5th, 2014 @ 2:09 am

      my juices are flowing! can not wait to go. awesome tips, i suppose it comes down to personal preference on most tips. hoping to meet some new friends come october 8 2014 on carnival spirit with 9 nights of fun!

    127. Glenda
      April 30th, 2014 @ 3:44 am

      My husband and I are going on a Hal 12day cruise celebrating our 25th anniversary with our awesome friends celebrating their 29th anniversary. This is our first cruise but not their first one. The comments I have read being new to cruising are wonderful and helpful, Thank you all for sharing. Cannot wait to Cruise and see Europe in August/14.

    128. Rhonda Bowman
      May 14th, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

      There are some great comments and suggestions posted here :) I’m not a newbie cruiser but each one I have been on has been a new adventure. What I can suggest is check the weather report for the various ports as time gets closer..that will help you with the packing. The first one I was on was horrible weather the entire week which made for a pretty miserable excursion experience. If you are planning on taking the excursions please book them through the cruiseline, I have seen people get left behind because they were late getting back when they just went off on their own. Also set your watch to the ships time..depending on where your cruise is going there is a time change do not rely on your cell phone since now they automatically adjust to the time zone you’re in. Ladies and your purse..no it doesn’t scream out tourist/newbie etc but I have found that a cross body purse keeps your hands free. Interior rooms vs exterior rooms vs balconies I’ve stayed in them all, first time it’s nice to be able to sit outside and watch as you pull in and leave from the different ports especially if you have never been there. If you’ve been there before..take the inside room and save the money to spend on drinks,shopping or an excursion. I always pre-pay the gratuity but will also leave extra at the end of the cruise. Get on board and do the things that you don’t do at home..go sing terrible karaoke, play the games with the staff, go into the clubs and dance, enter the hairy chest contest etc..you are there to have a good time. Don’t worry about other people since there are rude people no matter where you go anymore just ignore their ignorance. I don’t usually waste my time or money on the portraits except for the formal nights and that’s only because we don’t normally get dressed that formal at home and it’s fun to have those as a keepsake. The only other thing that I always seem to forget are q-tips and aloe gel for sunburn. No matter how much sunscreen I use the sun is different and I do occasionally get sunburned (Hawaii was 1 place that I burned to the point of blisters-no fun at all)Most of all just go with an open mind and a huge desire to have fun.

    129. Rhonda Bowman
      May 14th, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

      Ed, If you haven’t had your cruise yet I’ve left from Cape Canaveral several times. As the previous post I put up there and the excursions, the only excursion I haven’t enjoyed so much was the motor coach bus around Freeport..originally supposed to do a dolphin swim adventure but the weather wasn’t so good and it was cancelled so rather than staying on the ship we went by bus..obviously bummed to be on a bus rather than dolphins. Wear a watch and set it with the ships time and book the excursion through the ship..that way the ship will wait since you probably will not be the only ones late getting back. Port Canaveral isn’t far from Disney or the space flight center..both places you wont go wrong.

    130. Lyndsey
      May 23rd, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

      My husband and I will be going on our very 1st cruise to key west,Freeport,& Nassau Oct. 5-12 on Carnival Magic. I am completely clueless as to what we should and shouldn’t do at each port. Also,we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary while on board. What types of things do they do for that?

    131. Joseph
      June 27th, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

      I have heard that before you go on a cruise be sure to get some ones! Kinda like going to a strip club because taking taxis and stuff on the island people will say they don’t have change for larger bills, to get you to pay more!

    132. Maria
      August 4th, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

      Lyndsey, we went on a cruise from Cape Canaveral last September. We booked a snorkeling tour from a private party with great reviews. I didn’t go but hub and daughter had a great time. In Nassau we took a taxi to Atlantis and bought the beach package for $69 which included lunch. We had a great time at the beach and enjoyed the pool. They’re are locals on the beach fighting for you to get your hair braided or buy time on the jet skis. We did both and thought the prices were fair, do be careful they’ll try to give you a low price then change it in the end. $40 for 30 minutes on a jet ski was worth it for us but the waves were a little rough. You are not bound to the cruise ships time of only 3 hrs. Have fun! We’re heading to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica on Carnival Magic in 3 weeks.

    133. Tanya
      August 9th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

      Going on my first cruise on Monday 8/11/2014! Loved all of the comments and saw a common point…have fun! I do agree with the no children posts…my son is 21 (he will be cruising) but I was always respectful of OTHER people who are on vacation…may be taking a break from their OWN kids, lol and just don’t want to hear disrespectful, mannish un-watched children in a place where there’s no where to run. I took my son to Disneyworld every year…where a kid can be a kid. But, I am looking forward to having a good time, will watch out for the buffet hoarders and tip the room stewards! Thanks for the tips!

    134. Susan
      August 13th, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

      I am a solo traveler and want people to know that it IS a great way to travel – you meet such nice people on the cruise, and you’re never “alone”. Regardless of whether you’re a solo traveler or not, if you’re at an open seating restaurant, please request a table to share – that helps solo travelers like me not having to eat alone (I’ve only had to do so once at a speciality restaurant where no one else had requested a table to share – and there was no extra charge for this specialty restaurant since it was on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner; however the waiters all kept coming by and talking to me so I wouldn’t feel too alone which I thought was nice.) – it’s nice to meet people from all over and chat about your day or your country or whatever.
      Also, bringing a power strip is key – everything requires charging nowadays – your cell phone, your camera, etc. It really comes in handy.
      Always arrive the day before – especially if you’re in another country. It also helps a great deal to book a hotel through the cruise line with transfers and to have a good travel agent. My flight was delayed from the US and so I missed my connection in Frankfurt on a Saturday night. I was stuck there for 9 hours. My travel agent was able to contact the cruise line (the after hours number I was given I called but never had anyone answer) and they made arrangements to pick me up at the airport and take me to my hotel which was a godsend after such a long day and not needing to find a cabbie who spoke English or worrying about having the right currency to pay him.
      Take part in all you can – the shows are terrific, the games can be a lot of fun. Strike up a conversation with someone waiting in line and you might learn something about the ship or an upcoming port that you didn’t know and find something that really appeals to you. I know so many people who go on cruises and spend all their time just sunbathing and drinking. If that’s how you want to spend your time, fine, but on a cruise ship there is much more to do.

    135. Mary Smith
      August 14th, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

      Hi everyone! I loved reading the posts here. I am trying to book a cruise for my family in Feb/March of 2015. The advice and comments have been very informative. I would like to get to FL the day before we board the ship. What is the best and cheapest way to make all of my travel plans? Should I go through a travel agent in my home town or book online? I am hoping to have it all tied together somehow. Thank you in advance for any advice.

    136. FAY
      September 16th, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

      Your comments were great! my first cruise will be next year im excited yet nervous. Carnival for memorial day weekend should be exciting. So on a 4 day cruise how much money should i have, do i tip everyone? and when we port how long do i have?

    137. NBeth
      September 17th, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

      My first cruise was in Western Europe – not intimidating at all. Next month off to Asia on the Celebrity Millennium. Visas! Vaccines! So much more to think about and plan for. A bit nervous, but all the great tips here will help. Thanks!

    138. Yola
      September 19th, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

      @marcia #98 I don’t understand, why on earth would you care if a woman carries HER OWN big bag or a pocketbook around. That means she’s insecure? You simple girl you. That’s her business. Then you mentioned you and your husband will sit around watching other people eating and laughing at them? Boy you guys are pathetic! I’m pretty sure it was someone looking at you, and laughing at you too for not having a life! Was that you guys excursion? You really need to find something better else to do with your lives, rather than looking and laughing at complete strangers! Let’s just pray that you and your weirdo husband don’t stare at the wrong people, because you might not be laughing! Btw you need to take heed to what you’re saying, “don’t criticize” WHAT???

    139. Sandy
      November 14th, 2014 @ 8:25 pm

      Going on first cruise with hubby of 47 years – Christmas week 2014 out of Ft. Lauderdale Celebrity Constellation. I don’t understand what a drink package is? You mean coke, iced tea are not included with your meals or at the pool, etc??? Like all the suggestions but some I don’t understand. Also what is a phone card as part tip – is that just to your steward or to all? I am in Concierge room – will that be yet another special person to tip?

    140. Kris and Candy
      December 8th, 2014 @ 3:08 am

      Andrew, Why bother even booking a cruse if all you’re worried about is hooking up. You can do that down in one of the back allies in your town or at one of your local bars. If your only goal on these cruses are to hook up why don’t you stay home and hook up and let someone who can use that room who can really enjoy it for a vacation.

    141. Deb
      December 29th, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

      Some great tips on this long thread. Some incredibly shallow ones, also. LOL. Carrying a purse does not scream Tourist – you are a tourist. We are all tourists. LOL. Some people on here seem really relaxed, laid back and looking to enjoy their cruise and others are just too uptight. However, that occurs no matter what type of vacation you choose.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Since I only do a musical based cruise – it is all laid back, pretty fun people and not a lot of drama (perceived or otherwise).

    142. Jonathon (Australia)
      March 1st, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

      I am a solo middle aged male travelling cruising in December 2015. First Holiday in 24 years. Not looking forward to it at all. But I need the rest. Any tips for an extraordinarily unattractive male to spend his time in port and on board?

    143. Terry
      March 28th, 2015 @ 9:09 pm

      Great tips- Especially to remember the chill pill! For anyone that doesn’t know if they get sea sick, I have had good luck taking Meclizine the night before I get on the ship and every night on the ship (like non drowsy Bonine). Never got sick, even in the Pacific in February.
      Jonathon, I would recommend you look up the cruise critic roll call for the ship and sailing date you are on and post there. We have met many nice people before we got onboard, and received much good info from them

    144. Jonathon (Australia)
      April 1st, 2015 @ 1:49 am

      Thanks Terry, I shall. God bless!

    145. Carrie
      April 9th, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

      Jonathon- that Australian accent will make you attractive on any cruise from the US :) And people shouldn’t be so hard on Andrew. I was worried about the same thing for my son travelling with his mom and dad. Not much fun for a young man to hang out with his parents. We all remember how hard it is if you don’t fit in with the cool kids. So I think attending the singles mingle is a great idea so you don’t have to spend the whole cruise alone. Even if you’re just hooking up as friends.

    146. Danny
      July 9th, 2015 @ 1:16 am

      unfortunately I have never ride on a cruise ship, but this will be to my knowledge

    147. win her back for goods
      July 11th, 2015 @ 1:26 am

      Wonderful info many thanks sharing and reaching us your subscriber list.

    148. Holiday packages
      July 17th, 2015 @ 11:29 am

      Great remarkable things here. I am very glad to peer your article. Thanks so much and i’m having a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

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