My husband and I went on our first cruise on the Carnival Elation. As most people do on their first cruise, we learned many things about Cruising on this trip.
A huge tip we could have used was to never book a cruise during hurricane season. Tropical Storm Lee started brewing in the Gulf the week before we were supposed to set sail and we did become a little worried that it might interfere with our itinerary, and well, it did. We were supposed to leave on Sept. 5 and due to the condition of the water (huge waves) our embarkation was moved to Sept. 6. So, our trip was delayed a day and our itinerary lost one of our ports of call. We were, to say the least, disappointed. Since we were already in Mobile we stayed at the Renaissance across the street from the Port. The hotel gave us a discount due to the cruise being delayed and hopefully insurance will reimburse us for that night. Carnival also gave us a 20% discount and a $60 credit on our sail & sign for the inconvenience of losing a day. They really went out of the way to accommodate and make up for the shortened cruise.
Another tip we could have used is to never leave out of Mobile. It was pure chaos getting on the ship. From the moment we pulled up men were throwing our bags onto dollies and paying for parking was insane. They claimed that they prefer cash, but the credit card line moved much faster. The lines inside were congested and not one worker seemed to have any authority over the actions of other cruisers. This might be because they were all mostly over the age of 70 and everyone ran all over them.