U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel > Cruises
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-16-2009, 07:56 AM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,712,118 times
Reputation: 46025

Advertisements

Come March, my wife and I are taking the kiddos on a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise. We will leave Ft. Lauderdale, sail to Belize, Cozumel, and Cancun.

We decided on a cruise because there will plenty of programmed activities for our 15-, 13-, and 10-year olds, allowing my wife and I to have a much-needed break from the kids. We will have two adjacent cabins, one with a balcony (ours) and one on the interior (theirs).

So, what's worth doing? How do we make the most of the experience?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-16-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Lafayette
497 posts, read 1,297,736 times
Reputation: 403
Does Royal Caribbean have the kid camp? If they do, your children will have plently to do. You probably won't see then at all until meal time. The camp has plently of fun things to do. There is also shuffleboard, ping pong, a library with books and games, a game room, different contests throughout the ship and karoke and dancing. I went on one with my 17 year old in June and we had a blast. They will love it!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 08:20 AM
 
1,492 posts, read 6,956,260 times
Reputation: 1427
I'm not an 'experienced' cruiser but I have taken family on 5 so far and we are going to Western Caribbean in a few weeks (Key West, Cozumel) w/ Carnival on the Imagination.

Tips:

If you are driving- get there the day before and get a hotel room (you'll be so exhausted from the drive and your first day will be a blur) if you are far away. Many hotels will shuttle you to the port at no extra charge and even pick you up. This will also save on parking fees at your port.

If you are flying-same, get there the day before and have the hotel shuttle you.

Once you get to the port, RELAX, don't stress too much. It can 'seem' busy and confusing but if you just take a step back....the process is a breeze.

MAJOR TIP: Use cash on your onboard account. The cruise line will freeze $x.xx and may not release it until weeks after your cruise. Using cash allows you to stay in better control of your spending. You can always add more cash once you are out to sea-at any time.

Can you and the kids live without sodapop for a few days? If not, invest in the 'all you can drink' programs the cruise line offers. Some say a sodapop is like 4-6 bucks, each.

Bring sunscreen and keep it on your person (as your luggage may be in limbo being sent to your room)...you'll need protection from the minute you step off the plane or out of the car.
Hat, sunglasses and after you pack....remove HALF the clothing. This is the biggest tip most people talk about...they always overpack.
Bring a power strip to plug in all your electronics.

Before you start buying all sorts of souvenirs- ask yourself if you are REALLY going to use it once you get home. Those shirts and mugs are cool....but would you really wear it?

Bring a highlighter and go through your daily paper to mark the things you guys want to do.

Most of the 'experienced' cruisers take excursions at the port- not thru the cruiseline.
CruiseCritic.com is a great place to visit.

Just have an open mind and have fun.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,302,301 times
Reputation: 10014
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Come March, my wife and I are taking the kiddos on a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise. We will leave Ft. Lauderdale, sail to Belize, Cozumel, and Cancun.

We decided on a cruise because there will plenty of programmed activities for our 15-, 13-, and 10-year olds, allowing my wife and I to have a much-needed break from the kids. We will have two adjacent cabins, one with a balcony (ours) and one on the interior (theirs).

So, what's worth doing? How do we make the most of the experience?
Expect to get nickel-and-dimed real thoroughly by the cruise line. There are a lot of daily activities for adults as well.

Some areas of the ship, mainly the kid areas, may be a constant cacophony. Worse yet, some of those areas will be impossible to avoid. You might bring a set of earplugs because I have found that some of the best reading nooks are upstairs from those areas. Completely left alone with your drink and your book, and if you had earplugs in, you wouldn't hear the rock concert going on downstairs in the swimming pool.

On our cruise to Alaska there was a 24-hour buffet (we called it Denny's), several counter-type food places with stuff like pizza, and some fancy places with varying dress codes. Personally I think it is the biggest pile of bull bagels I have ever heard of in my whole life to even take a suit and tie on a cruise, much less wear them, but some people really get off on the whole Titanic dining room thing. Especially some wives. I was lucky on my cruise as the gals all went together in their finery and excused me from having to endure anything more formal than 'smart casual'.

There will probably be a standard gratuity charged automatically to your account unless you tell them to take it off. I don't think the standard gratuity amounts to squat for most people on the ship. What we always do is tell them to take it off, and then at the end of the cruise, individually reward those people who made it a special experience for us. On the Greece cruise we gave our cabin attendant like E50, which is a lot of money but considering how hard she worked and what a sweetheart she was, I felt perfectly fine about it. The cruise line will tell you that the standard gratuity shares out among all the cooks, engine room guys, laundry staff and all the people you never see. Yeah, fine, but the whole idea of a tip is to reward exceptional service in dealing with the public, which is surely the hardest work on a cruise because a lot of the public feels very entitled. Follow your own conscience. It's not like you are going back and worried they'll spit bacon flu germs in your food next time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,318 posts, read 21,872,221 times
Reputation: 33476
Don't be cheap, leave your tips "on", the room stewards are required to hand over everything they get and won't risk their jobs in with holding what they get on the side. The only way they get to keep the extra is if you keep your auto-tip active. Besides you'll likely spend as much on one umbrella drink as the amount your auto tip will cost you each day.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 07:33 PM
 
Location: SW MO
1,238 posts, read 4,039,109 times
Reputation: 986
A few hints:
1. If you choose to use a credit card, call the customer service number in advance and tell them which countries you will be visiting. Otherwise, they may flag it as suspicious and put a hold on it.
2. I have heard several accounts of the Belize City tours not being very good. The islands are wonderful, if you have time to go there. We stayed on Ambergris Caye for a week and loved it. Best snorkeling I have ever done. If you go to shark-ray alley, get in the water first, as the nurse sharks leave when it gets crowded.
3. The cruise lines push "buying" very hard. Artwork, jewelry, booze, souvenirs, Bingo, casino, photos, videos. Be very careful with your sign-and-sail card (that's Carnival, I assume RC does a similar program) or you will be SHOCKED at the end of your cruise!
4. Avoid on-board phone calls-even if you can get cell service, you will be charged outrageously.
5. Take some small clips with you and a retractable clothesline so you can hang wet swimsuits to dry.
6. Eat at least one meal AWAY from the boat when you are in port. At a small Mom-and-Pop restaurant. Try the local food, not the chains at the cruise ship terminal.
7. Ditto on arriving a day early. Many people have missed their ship because of delayed or cancelled flights or other unexpected mishaps. Rushing around means forgotten items and stressed nerves. Make it easy on yourself and allow plenty of time!
8. The Fury Catamaran snorkeling trip in Cozumel is a lot of fun.
Have a great trip-hope this helps!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 08:11 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,537 posts, read 39,914,033 times
Reputation: 23634
If you are flying to cruise port BE SURE to put your cruise tags on your bags!!! BEFORE departure from home.

I flew internationally every week for 10 yrs, and the only time my bags were lost was on the way to a cruise.... If you go the the airport to 'find' your bags DO NOT grab them and run for taxi. That is not well received in Miami You may get a ride to the POKEY, and still miss the cruise departure I made that mistake cuz the bags were sent via another carrier and got 'lost' for a day floating around baggage claim. I did get an escort to the cruise departure, BUT it wasn't as planned, and it was a very stressful day, for no reason.

Be smarter than me

AND Bargain for your port trips once on the dock. There are many operators who want your $$, you can get same trip for 50-70% off by 'negotiating', and you have more 'adventure' like Rent-a-wreck, and the fear of being 'broke down in a remote location', very exciting at times.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 05:48 PM
 
Location: SW MO
1,238 posts, read 4,039,109 times
Reputation: 986
You can get much cheaper rates on the dock for the same trips the cruise line sells HOWEVER if, say, your boat breaks down and you miss the return time to the ship, you are SOL with a private local tour guide. If you are booked through the ship and an emergency happens, they will hold the boat for your group. Just something to think about.....PS you do have trip insurance don't you? Just in case something happens between now and the cruise....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
39,527 posts, read 47,687,050 times
Reputation: 110326
When you book independent tours off dock you'll find them much cheaper as said above, and yes you are on your own if you don't make it back to the ship at departure time. You'll have to pay to fly to the next port to catch your ship. If you book tours with the ship you'll never miss the boat and you'll also be insured and by traveling in groups have more security.
We pay everything by credit card and carry little or no cash. The primary reason is that if there is a problem you can dispute the charges, or problem, with the credit card company. If you pay by cash and have problems later on then all kinds of hassles may occur. I find it better to be safe than sorry later on.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-18-2009, 06:53 AM
YBF
 
Location: Atlanta, Ga
1,260 posts, read 2,988,213 times
Reputation: 581
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Come March, my wife and I are taking the kiddos on a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise. We will leave Ft. Lauderdale, sail to Belize, Cozumel, and Cancun.

We decided on a cruise because there will plenty of programmed activities for our 15-, 13-, and 10-year olds, allowing my wife and I to have a much-needed break from the kids. We will have two adjacent cabins, one with a balcony (ours) and one on the interior (theirs).

So, what's worth doing? How do we make the most of the experience?
Def participate in some of the island adventures like snorkeling or what ever they have going on at each destination. On the RC ship I was on they had bingo......(I know it sounds lame but it was very fun and the grand prize was a free upgrade to the biggest/best suite on the ship worth abotu $2500 and its so funny because the person who one the suite also won a couple hundred dollars as a another prize playing bingo)....you can sit pool side on the ship but I must warn you that the pool and the jacuzzis all use salt water in them (this was somewhat of a shock to me). Also if you exchange your wet towel for a dry by the pool they charge you a fee for that...so if you car about stuff like that then just bring it up to your room and house keeping will change it for free. Im sure they have all sorts of actvities like basketball, tennis, night clubs, teen nights clubs, my ship had a meet and greet night, a singles night (although you wont need this), they are all sorts of activites to do, they have shopping (from jewlery to trinkets and things like tylenol or band-aids)on the boat and the tvs in the room have a channel to tell you all the activites you can participate in for the day and the next day. this way you can pick ad choose what you would like to do. Dinner of course is at whatever time you are assigned (either 1st seating or 2nd) but they have Johnny Rockets or something else on the boat that is open late with pizza and drinks maybe some fruit or what ever......trust me you wont go hungry on the boat. I had a blast on my first cruise in 2007 with them next cruise I am trying Carnival. Have Fun!! Wishing I was going with you!!!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel > Cruises
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top