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Old 05-07-2010, 11:33 AM
Location: southwest TN
8,227 posts, read 15,011,322 times
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Originally Posted by Statz2k10 View Post
We'll be going on a cruise to the Bahamas in July. I'll be staying in Miami prior to the cruise and Orlando on the way home from the cruise.

It will be a 8 day trip. Leaving Saturday, getting on the boat on Monday, leaving boat on Friday a.m. and leaving for home on Saturday.

I'm hoping to get some advice on the little things that you realize when it's too late.

I know about the basics: sunscreen, lots of clothes, NO!!! asprin, cash etc.

But curious if you had any advice that might get overlooked.


We have cruised several times and have our next one in October all set to go - 13 nights in the western Med - we are so excited!

OK, the most important thing - DO NOT OVERPACK!

Take 3-4 days worth of clothes MAX. There is a passenger laundry available - use it. It only takes a few minutes - drop your stuff in the washer, go have breakfast. Come back, drop into the dryer, change for the pool, or whatever, get the clothes, put away and you're good for another 3-4 days. Also, keep in mind that there is not a ton of space in your cabin - unless you are going super first class. Besides, the more you pack going, the less room you have for stuff you buy elsewhere.

Pack 1 triple duty outfit - dress-up for dinner or anything else you want to do. We NEVER do the formal night - plenty of places in NYC to dress up formal - it takes space in the luggage and is no big deal to us. But it is for a lot of folks - so you can plan to rent something (rather than pack and incur extra airline fees).

Walking Shoes - Beach-shoes/sandals (If you have sandals that are comfortable for lots of walking, that's best.) 1 Pair of semi-dress shoes - for the formal night if you choose. DO have at least 2 pair of footwear but don't try to match with your outfits - remember, less is best.

DO use the expandable soft luggage and pack a soft-sided extra piece of luggage to use for the way home, just in case.

A light, fold-into-a-pouch windbreaker. You'd be surprised at how chilly it can get on deck while the ship is moving. And you never know if you're going to hit a rain shower on an excursion.


DO take some dramamine with you just in case (we hit one storm and someone else in our party started to feel the effects after 3 days of rocking and rolling).

Rx - have duplicates. I always pack 1/2 my needs in one suitcase, 1/2 my needs in a 2nd suitcase, and 1/2 with me (in a pocket not a purse). This way, if anything happens to one suitcase, I'm fine for the trip. If it happens to both suitcases, I have enough to figure something out for the remainder of the trip - like having some mailed/shipped to meet us 1/2 way through. (I have a heart condition.)

Antacid/laxative/anti-diarrheal - you will be eating like a king and queen. And the food is nearly non-stop. Ya never know - be prepared.

mini first aid kit - you never know. - bandaids, antibiotic ointment (they make them in individual size packets, takes almost no room.

DO go read at specific cruise information sites (competing forums so I can't link) but I can tell you the google term to use: cruise first time

Our very first cruise we were poor - after paying for the cruise and airfare, we had exactly $300 extra to spend and some of that was earmarked for the travel from airport to ship. We had a blast!

Go to the shore excursion talks. We made a decision and paid for one excursion before boarding one cruise and were very disappointed. Since then, we go to the talk and either grab a taxi and go on our own or go to the planned excursion. We haven't been disappointed since.

That said - go and have a blast! You will love it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Statz2k10 View Post
I've been told that water is free. Does this usually include bottle water?
Definitely not.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:54 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Originally Posted by Statz2k10 View Post
I've been told that water is free. Does this usually include bottle water?
On our cruises, bottled water was not free - but the beverage dispensing machines with 'free' beverages available 24/7 included iced tea, lemonade and water.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:39 PM
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Where are you going on your cruise? To Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Grand Caymen? The port stops are only about 3 hours, not enough time really, and the snorkeling outings are pretty expensive around the Carribean, about $65.00 per person. Have fun and take lots of pictures. Wait...$35.00 sound more like it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:55 PM
Location: Bel Air, California
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Believe most (Princess does) cruise lines will let you bring your own water, pop and juice on board with you. We picked up a 12 -16 gal Rubbermaid-type tote box for $8 in Santa Monica and stuffed it full of two weeks worth of orange/tomato juice, bottled water and pop all stacked on top of a case of beer. Taped it up, affixed a luggage tag on it and left it at the curb with the rest of our luggage with no problems.

However they did take our coffee pot (returned at end of cruise) and asked to see my leatherman which they let me keep.

Also google this and get a couple of these to offset your liquor bill... "rumrunner". Nothing like a nice baileys at the end of the day (or hell with your morning coffee).

Coffee is usually extremely nasty and made from a syrup. We have used a french press that brews a great cup and bring our own beans and little grinder. This is perfectly acceptable and you can have them bring you a hot caraffe of water (just tip) or go up to the buffet and fill it there.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:40 PM
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Going to Bahamas Tiny
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:39 PM
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Check out drinks "packages" when you go on board. Some cruise lines will sell you an unlimited soda package. Most offer a wine package with dinner, etc.. Remember that you are on vacation so don't go overboard on the "nickel and diming". Set yourself a realistic budget and stick with that.

We tend not to do many excursions any more. On our last 14 day cruise we did just three of which one was free (from our TA). I prefer to research the ports and do my own thing. There are plenty of books and the internet is a great resource for finding out what to do. Also, there are usually plenty of locals port side who want to earn some money. At one port we shared a taxi with another couple and got a 90 minute private guided tour for just $25 each which included some great recommendations for shopping , lunch, etc..
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:50 PM
Location: southwest TN
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It does matter what cruise line and your age. Carnival has one excursion that is for the 20s heavy drinking group - it's to a "party island" - and I was really upset we had agreed to - and paid in advance for - this excursion. The only thing that made it semi-bearable was having 2 friends along on this trip.
The different cruise lines have different ports in the Bahamas. I'd check with folks on the cruise critic site and see what other opinions are. The Bahamas is one of the two places I really don't ever want to visit again - the other is Tortola. Both have an air of desperation and I actually felt under seige when I was in the Straw Market. I got separated from my husband and friends and was literally being manhandled and grabbed as I tried to get myself out.

I totally agree with the horrendous coffee. However, some of the newer ships have a coffee cafe (to purchase) good coffee.

Additional comments on what to bring - a sun visor/hat AND sunglasses. Sun reflecting off the water is brutal. Also, if you wear Rx glasses, a spare pair is a good idea. We also have the sports straps we use when on board - they aren't going to stop the ship if my glasses fall overboard - and it's too deep to dive down to get them anyway. Also, if you have hearing aids, bring spare batteries - they aren't so easy to find elsewhere. Keep a list of just in case numbers:

ICE phone numbers
Rx (generic names and amounts)
Doctor contact info

We travel often - and something we do when travelling out of this country is to get a one-time use or disposable credit card. Some banks also have a re-loadable credit card which you can get linked to your main account. We do this just in case: it gets stolen, lost, damaged, credit slip is copied, card info copied. Also take all cards you are taking with you and copy them, front and back - along with your driver's license and passport info. Keep a copy at home (or with someone you trust at home) and put a copy in your luggage. It will simplify getting replacements should anything happen.

Carnival has a section on bringing only small coolers:
"small, personal-sized coolers, no larger than 12”H x 12”W x 12”L for the purpose of housing small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and/or medications are permitted as carry-on luggage. Screening and movement of large coolers through embarkation is an impediment to the boarding and security screening process...." IIRC, Carnival does have a no alcohol brought on board rule.

RCI says this: "The following are examples of items that guests are not allowed to bring onboard. These and other similar items will be confiscated upon being found. Alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, flammable liquids, explosives, and dangerous chemicals will not be returned....Alcoholic Beverages (Note: Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call or from sh
ops onboard will be stored by the ship and delivered to you on the last day of the sailing. Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned.) and on a subsequent page states:
Q: Can I bring liquor or non-alcoholic beverages (from home or from a port) onboard?A: Guests are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages onboard for consumption or any other use. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call or from Shops On Board will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the sailing. Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned.

Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol. Guests who violate any alcohol policies, (over consume, provide alcohol to people under age 21, demonstrate irresponsible behavior, or attempt to conceal alcoholic items at security and or luggage check points or any other time), may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense, in accordance with our Guest Conduct Policy.

I have found nothing to indicate you cannot bring soft drinks aboard but I definitely would not run the risk of trying "smuggle" alcohol on board. If you can't afford to pay for it on the ship, drink off ship! Some cruiselines, Carnival is one, that permits you to buy wine and have the waitstaff open it for you (corking fee) to have with meals. Do check on your cruiseline's individual rules.
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:34 PM
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A great place to find things for traveling...

Magellan's Travel Supplies
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