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Old 10-21-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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Hi! I'm going on my first cruise in early January, Carnival Ecstasy 5 days from Port Canaveral to Key West and The Bahamas. I am not sure what kind of clothes to bring. I looked up the average temp for Key West in January and it seems it'll be low to mid-70's, but when the ship is at sea, should I assume the air temp will be much cooler than that? Is it likely it'll be warm enough to use the ship's pool that time of year? For sleeping, do the cabins tend to be warm, or do they blast the AC?

Also how do people dress on cruises? I know I need a dressy dress for the Captain's dinner, but how dressy does it need to be? (nice dinner dressy vs. NYE dressy) In the daytime, are people casual or dressy-casual (like do people wear jeans or jean shorts, T-shirts, etc. or is it more the Tommy Bahama kind of look?

How is tipping handled, and how much? Do you tip for each drink at a bar, for instance, or tip at the end of the cruise?

Is there anything you wished you'd known before your first cruise, or any tips for a novice?

Thanks!

Last edited by ocnjgirl; 10-21-2012 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:27 AM
 
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Things are pretty casual on Carnival. During the day you'll want shorts and shirts (anything from jeans shorts to Tommy Bahama, although I wouldn't wear cut-offs) and a lightweight jacket or sweater to wear if it feels chilly. At night in the dining rooms almost anything goes, slacks or a skirt and a cute top are more than adequate for all nights, on the dressy night a cocktail dress is the far end, something you'd wear to a wedding is fine. You'll see half the people not dressing up at all and wearing jeans and t-shirts. There might be a few in gowns, but they will be the exception and over-dressed for Carnival.

You can set your cabin temperature to your preference.

Your cruise docs will tell you about tipping. I think Carnival has a pre-pay option for the servers and cabin steward, bartenders automatically add on 15%, so you'll need to tip for spa treatments (15-20%), porters who handle your bags at the port ($2 per bag, more for really heavy or large ones), tour guides in port, cab drivers, specialty dining, or anyone who goes above and beyond. Those people should be tipped as service is rendered.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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Thanks so much for this info! I didn't realize you could control the cabin temp, that's great to know.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
5,188 posts, read 13,365,547 times
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Key West and the Bahamas are impacted by the U.S. weather systems....if there should be a big cold-front, it may be cool on your cruise. Just check the forecast a couple days before you leave, and adjust your packing accordingly. Some winters in those ports have been cool....they are not in the Caribbean...they're in the Atlantic (Bahamas, anyway!)....
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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after you figure out what clothes you will be bringing, set them out on the bed and then put at least half of them away.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:11 PM
 
9,228 posts, read 18,950,277 times
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If you drink, be ready to drink a lot and spend a lot!
I went on a Carnival Cruise in my late 20s with some friends. We got this card (like a credit card) at the beginning of the cruise, and you just swipe it whenever you buy drinks (food was all included in the cost of the cruise). You add tips to the total just like when you pay with a credit card at a bar.

We ended up drinking all day and night, without really getting drunk. What I learned was that if I drank "fun" alcoholic drinks during the day, I did not feel sea-sick. Otherwise, I'd be nauseous. So we had bloody Marys and champagne with breakfast, drank tropical rum drinks all day, and drank into the night. If I did not keep drinking in small amounts all the time, I'd get sea-sick.

Beware, if you have that swipe card, you might get very generous and buy rounds for people, and they buy rounds for you.

It goes on and on until the end of the cruise when you get the alcohol bill from the swipe card. Mine was over $3000, and that was low-average among my existing friends and my new cruise-friends. Some paid a LOT more!

But since we got such a good deal on the cost of the cruise, and I really wasn't into buying souvenirs, 3 grand for alcohol was affordable. Would I think differently today in my early 40s? Sure. But I was like 26 and already spending much of my budget on going out and drinking

The thing I didn't like about the cruise was that I NEVER had a chance to be alone. I tend to need a lot of alone time, and when I've gone on vacations with friends other times, I would take a half day here or a few hours there, to go off on my own. On the cruise ship, it's really hard, even impossible to be alone. Even at like 4 AM, when I thought I could wander around and just be alone, I kept running into people.

And if you're a single woman, there will be guys constantly hitting on you. I was right in the middle--in terms of ag--on my cruise, so I had a bunch of guys right out of college, like 22-23 hitting on me, and then lots of older guys in their 30s and 40s. At first, my friends and I were like "wow, this is great, all these guys like us!" but after like 3 days it got really old. We starting joking about getting some kind of citronella to repel men! We would go to different events, bars, clubs, shows, etc, all over the ship, and there were just guys hovering around like mosquitos. And it wasn't like we were supermodels or anything, just average, possibly cute, 20-something girls. There was this one guy who I had to literally, physically, HIDE from, because he decided I was his cruise-girlfriend or something.

So if you like fun in the sun, drinking, and meeting guys, you'll have a blast.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:02 PM
 
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is it forbidden to bring your own liquer aboard (for in-room consumption)?
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:08 AM
 
20,603 posts, read 16,652,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb at sea View Post
Key West and the Bahamas are impacted by the U.S. weather systems....if there should be a big cold-front, it may be cool on your cruise. Just check the forecast a couple days before you leave, and adjust your packing accordingly. Some winters in those ports have been cool....they are not in the Caribbean...they're in the Atlantic (Bahamas, anyway!)....
I kind of figured it may be chilly, and will probably have to bring clothes for both warm and cool. I'm not a good packer anyway (I am a nervous traveler and tend to bring too much of "home" with me to make me feel better - thank God for Southwest's generous baggage policies, lol) so packing for all kinds of weather is definitely going to be a challenge.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:14 AM
 
20,603 posts, read 16,652,763 times
Reputation: 38701
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
If you drink, be ready to drink a lot and spend a lot!
I went on a Carnival Cruise in my late 20s with some friends. We got this card (like a credit card) at the beginning of the cruise, and you just swipe it whenever you buy drinks (food was all included in the cost of the cruise). You add tips to the total just like when you pay with a credit card at a bar.

We ended up drinking all day and night, without really getting drunk. What I learned was that if I drank "fun" alcoholic drinks during the day, I did not feel sea-sick. Otherwise, I'd be nauseous. So we had bloody Marys and champagne with breakfast, drank tropical rum drinks all day, and drank into the night. If I did not keep drinking in small amounts all the time, I'd get sea-sick.

Beware, if you have that swipe card, you might get very generous and buy rounds for people, and they buy rounds for you.

It goes on and on until the end of the cruise when you get the alcohol bill from the swipe card. Mine was over $3000, and that was low-average among my existing friends and my new cruise-friends. Some paid a LOT more!

But since we got such a good deal on the cost of the cruise, and I really wasn't into buying souvenirs, 3 grand for alcohol was affordable. Would I think differently today in my early 40s? Sure. But I was like 26 and already spending much of my budget on going out and drinking

The thing I didn't like about the cruise was that I NEVER had a chance to be alone. I tend to need a lot of alone time, and when I've gone on vacations with friends other times, I would take a half day here or a few hours there, to go off on my own. On the cruise ship, it's really hard, even impossible to be alone. Even at like 4 AM, when I thought I could wander around and just be alone, I kept running into people.

And if you're a single woman, there will be guys constantly hitting on you. I was right in the middle--in terms of ag--on my cruise, so I had a bunch of guys right out of college, like 22-23 hitting on me, and then lots of older guys in their 30s and 40s. At first, my friends and I were like "wow, this is great, all these guys like us!" but after like 3 days it got really old. We starting joking about getting some kind of citronella to repel men! We would go to different events, bars, clubs, shows, etc, all over the ship, and there were just guys hovering around like mosquitos. And it wasn't like we were supermodels or anything, just average, possibly cute, 20-something girls. There was this one guy who I had to literally, physically, HIDE from, because he decided I was his cruise-girlfriend or something.

So if you like fun in the sun, drinking, and meeting guys, you'll have a blast.
OMG, $3000! Fortunately, the gf I'm going with is great at finding the bargains. She told me we'll get the "drink of the day" which is usually cheaper and comes with a special glass for cheaper refills, too. I too like alone time, but can handle crowds for a few days! I'm not worried about guys hitting on me, at my age it'll be good for my ego, lol. My bf at home will probably be more worried about it, which is good, too!
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
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3k for an alcohol bill? I drank quite a bit on my cruise last year () and my [total] bill was only $550.
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