Live From MSC Poesia: 11 Ways You Know You’re Sailing With a First-Time Cruiser

January 20, 2012 | By | 41 Comments

I’m onboard MSC Poesia with a good friend who’s cruising for the first time. Throughout our weeklong adventure on the high seas, she’s said and done some amusing things and dragged me to events I wouldn’t normally attend otherwise.
1. She’s shocked that most cruise bathrooms are shower-only.
“I didn’t want to overpack, so I bought some laundry detergent in case we want to wash our clothes in the bathtub,” she excitedly told me on our way to port. I giggled before breaking the bad news. About halfway through our sailing, she took advantage of the ship’s laundry service, which set her back $12 for two items.
2. She asks if we can skip the muster drill.
After the announcement came (in five languages) that we’d be having the emergency drill (also in five languages), she calmly turned to me and said, “oh, let’s skip that.” Eyes wide, I walked to the closet, grabbed our life jackets and threw hers at her.
3. She leaves the balcony door wide open.
While I was busy blogging on my bed, she went out onto the balcony to enjoy some sun. I was too deep in thought to notice she hadn’t closed the door behind her — that is, until hurricane-force winds nearly toppled me over when I opened the main cabin door after our cabin steward knocked.
4. She puts her cruise card at the bottom of her bag in port.
Not realizing how often she’d need her card to get on and off the ship, she stowed it under everything else in her bag, meaning we stood at the ship’s entrance for 10 minutes until she located it in her bottomless pit of a purse. Flustered, she looked at me and said, “What? I didn’t want anyone to steal it!”
5. She drinks only water for two days.
Dinner in the dining room was consistently wonderful, but, afraid of getting slammed with extra charges for drinks, my friend ordered only water for the first two days of the sailing. I clued her in that iced tea is also free, which left her considerably more satisfied during our evening meals.
6. She wants a photo with the captain.
Sure, meeting the captain is fun. I find that it’s nice to put a face with a name, especially when that name controls everything onboard. But I generally draw the line at cheesy ship-sponsored photos, for which I’ll later be charged $20 a pop. However, on the second night, she begged me to go, so there I was — standing arm-in-arm with the captain, wearing a formal gown and a big smile.
7. She suffers with seasickness for hours.
As we departed Cozumel on the second day of the voyage, the going was a bit rough. She wasn’t sure if it was the choppy ocean or the Mexican food we had for lunch, but she spent a decent portion of the night hunched over our toilet. I finally suggested she try some ginger candy or check out the medical center or reception desk for some meds.
8. She thinks “tender” just means something is easy to chew.
The night before our call on Roatan, I mentioned that we’d have to tender the following morning, which left my cabinmate a bit confused. “What’s tender?” she asked. I smiled and explained.
9. She won’t miss a show.
Whether it was a Vegas review or a Broadway tribute, she was there. Granted, MSC has amazing shows, so very few were “standard” cruise entertainment, but even if they were, she would have made a point to go.
10. She spends $30 on postcards.
Wanting to brag about her trip to all the folks back home in snowy Syracuse, NY, she pulled a mile-long list of pre-addressed labels from her suitcase and announced she’d be scouring gift shops in port for enough postcards to send to a small army. She was thrilled — until the reception desk told her she’d be shelling out $2 per card to have them mailed.
11. She takes great interest in the location and speed of the ship.
Admittedly, they play some great music in the background on the in-cabin TV’s info channel. The reason I know this is because I was forced to watch it every waking second we were in our cabin for the past seven days straight. I heard some great tunes, circa 1990, peppered with comments like “Look! We’re going 21 knots!” and “Oh, hey! I can see Cuba from here!”
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    41 Responses to “Live From MSC Poesia: 11 Ways You Know You’re Sailing With a First-Time Cruiser”

    1. Michele Moore
      January 20th, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

      well we were all newbies once!

    2. Joanzmama
      January 20th, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

      Well, I hope after all of this you two remain good friends and bless you for being so patient!

    3. Lea
      January 20th, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

      As her “good friend” shouldn’t you have explained it all to her before the cruise instead of making fun of her? Just a thought.

    4. Brian
      January 21st, 2012 @ 12:52 am

      Being interested in the speed and position of the ship is more a personality thing, I think. I do that whether I’m on a ship or in a plane.

    5. Ashley
      January 21st, 2012 @ 3:31 am

      @Michele: Definitely. That’s why I was so amused by this. It took me back.

      @Joanzmama: Hi! We definitely will. (She helped me write it.)

      @Lea: This post wasn’t intended to make fun of her. It was intended to make anyone who’s cruised before smile. Sailing with her, I realized I forgot how fun doing some of that stuff is.

    6. Shari
      January 21st, 2012 @ 9:34 am

      #12 You know a newbie by how much food they pile on their plate at the opening lunch. Let’s face it, experienced cruisers know that the food will never run out!

    7. Tim
      January 21st, 2012 @ 10:35 am

      Part of the fun as a newbie is to discover all of this on your own.

    8. J
      January 21st, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

      #13 – They explore every deck to see where everything is…and they haven’t even had the muster drill.

    9. Margaret Ann Gochenour
      January 21st, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

      Yes, I am hosting a cruise with newbie cruisers in Feb. 6 out of the 11 are new to cruiseing. So I will be doing a lot of hand holding. It aught to be interesting…

    10. Cathy
      January 21st, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

      Oh just think how fun it would be to be a newbie again!

    11. Joanie
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

      Thanks for all the comments! Cruising with Ashley was great!

      To clarify, we had many conversations about our trip beforehand. Despite that, there were still many things that I didn’t think to ask about and Ashley didn’t realize needed to be explained. I was grateful that she was there to explain things to me. These little missteps made for an even more amusing trip.

      Lastly, I have the ability to laugh at my own naivete. That’s why I encouraged Ashley to write this post. Hopefully, you found it funny as well!

    12. Dave
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

      Funny, I still like doing some those things, after 4 cruises.

    13. GypsyEye
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

      I have only been on one cruise, and I was very excited when we saw Cuba from our balcony! By the time I get to go on my second cruise, I’ll still be Newbie-ish. I will definitely not complain about the muster drill next time!

    14. Dave Morris
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

      @ “all the folks back home in snowy Syracuse, NY”

      HEY!! I live in snowy Syracuse and I “resemble” that remark… LOL {*_*}

      We sail to Bermuda in April from Baltimore … can’t wait!!
      PS I only drink water with dinner also.

    15. Dave d
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

      I’m on my 14th cruise and yes – I still do a few of those things – (except the sea sickness) and still enjoy every moment of it –

      I enjoyed reading of your experiences –

      Regards ddande

    16. Abby
      January 24th, 2012 @ 12:16 am

      I still love the navigation channel, veteran cruiser here(well, somewhat, with 6 cruises under my belt).

    17. Barb
      January 24th, 2012 @ 9:06 am

      That sounded like me on my first cruise in 1999.

      I brought waay too many clothes & shoes., and wanted to see & do evertyhing.

    18. CruiseHappy
      January 24th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

      OMG…How funny in a good way. It reminds me of my first cruise (except expecting a tub…I had done so much “research” I (smugly) knew those were only in suites-LOL). Never missing a show or an activity including napkin folding, although I only used paper napkins, and being totally interested in the positioning map and the speed of the ships. As one who listens to and studies the airline safety information, I was early to the muster drill. :)
      Thanks for bringing back such fond memories. I

    19. Vera
      January 24th, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

      Reading your comments put me in a very nice place. Looking forward to my up coming (7th) cruise this fall.

    20. nonna5
      January 24th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

      Loved you article. I have been on many cruises and just love going with a newbie. It really brings back how you felt being a newbie.

    21. CruisingGoddess
      January 24th, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

      Hey, after 7 cruises, I still load up on postcards (which I keep as souvenirs), want to meet the captain, and buy the $20 photos! =)

    22. CruisingGoddess
      January 24th, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

      Also, the ship/navigation channel is a great way to listen to onboard announcements without having to open your cabin door!

    23. Elisabeth
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:26 am

      I always bring a bar of ivory and hand wash in the sink … we can go for a 14 day trip with one carry on suitcase apiece.

    24. Lary
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:07 am

      Just returned from a BTB a couple of days ago. ( a retirement gift to myself). Will be going again on Valentines day with 3 newbies.. should be fun!! BTW also enjoy watching the navigation channel.. It lets me know which way to swiim if I have to!!

    25. Richard H
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:50 am

      Whether it’s planes, trains, automobiles or ships, I still pay a lot of attention to the ship’s channel. I also pack light, but with one exception, the ships that I’ve sailed all had passenger laundry rooms available.

    26. Kilian Metcalf
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:09 am

      I was so ignorant that I didn’t know I was expected to pay for the photos, so when I walked by an unattended display of them, I picked out mine and took them home. It wasn’t until afterwards that my brother filled me in that I was supposed to pay for them. How was I to know? There was no sign or anyone around to fill in the clueless like me. I’ll know better next time.

    27. anonymous
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

      im a newbie, going on my first cruise april 2012 and i know nothing! why cant you leaver your balcony door wide open?

    28. Pat McCulloch
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

      Maybe the newbies can teach Margaret Ann how to spell!

    29. Alan Spence (UK)
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      Loved the blog – made us (& wife) LOL !
      Been there – done that !!!
      Oh suggestion #14?
      Take photographs of every towel animal wearing your sunglasses or scarily hanging from a hanger in the middle of your cabin !!!

    30. Kathy Wilson
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

      AS a mewbie that just returned from our honeymoon cruise (my husband was not a newbie but he enjoyed my excitement at the new things to me)

      I did take pics of the animals left on the bed and have posted a few on Celebrity’s fb page

      This was a great blog, thanks for sharing and I too left the balcony door open a few times when the hallway door opened – creates a suction right through the room to the hall.

      And it is always fun to laugh at ourselves.

    31. lCaptn Cruise
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

      Love those first timers! They make cruising more enjoyable. Remember how thrilled you were with your first?

    32. Deena Broussard
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

      Every cruise my husband and I take we feel like newbies!!! I too buy postcards at every port. I also take photos of every towel critter. That’s part of the excitement of the cruise trying to anticipate what animal will be found in your cabin each night.My husband and I are senior citizens and also go from deck-to-deck exploring. All the MANY photos I take while on the cruise are the way we share it with children and grandchildren.

    33. Joan Enders
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

      Newbies make good new cruisers. Relax and enjoy it all. You never know when it may be your last.

    34. Jeff
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

      You should have asked her to ask the cabin steward for shore line :->

    35. Maura
      January 26th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

      Can’t stand cheap. She obviously saved her money to go on a cruise and can’t spend $ on even just a soda in the dining room?

    36. Ashley
      January 26th, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

      @Maura: Not everyone has unlimited funds. I expect the massage and multiple rounds of gelato she tried onboard were more important than a soda.

    37. James
      January 26th, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

      Having completed my 14th cruise this brought back memories of my first cruise on the SS Norway, and I still do some of those things, especially if it’s a new ship for me. The postcards have been dropped, and so have most of the the shows, but water remains a staple at every meal.

      @Shari: I’ve seen even very seasoned cruisers pile food on their plates at the buffet, and order every sinlge itme on the menu for “one-bite tastings”.

      @J: I explore the decks on a ship I’ve never been on before – while waiting to set sail. I don’t like staying in the stateroom waiting for my luggage so I explore while the ship is relatively empty.

    38. James
      January 26th, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

      Apologies – it should read “every single item on the dinner menu for “one-bite tastings.” Then they send the rest to the trash.

    39. Janna
      January 27th, 2012 @ 11:39 am

      Wait half of that sounds like me and I’m going on my 6th! (Captain pic, seeing the shows, drinking water, watching the ship channel.)

    40. nadge
      January 29th, 2012 @ 3:29 am

      Hi there
      I enjoyed your posts.
      The main thing i got out of this however is that i would never ever cruise on MSC!

    41. Whistlespitter
      February 19th, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

      I’ve been on 11 cruises an I still like to know where we are and how fast we are going. If the “where are we now channel” includes the depth of the ocean, even better! It is especially helpful to in figuring out what islands are visible from the balcony.

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