Cruise musthaves...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Nicolecat, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a

    Nicolecat

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    #1
    I'm going on a Royal Caribbean cruise in a week...and I've been packing and planning for quite a while. I wanted to get some insight from people who have cruised before.
    So here's a few questions...but feel free to add your own insight or suggestions.

    I've found a few helpful hints, like:
    -Bring your own roll of toilet paper...because theirs normally isn't that great.
    -Bring a traveling coffee cup for that breakfast buffet, because the little styrofoam cups don't usually cut it.
    -flashlight (because you just never know)...but we have an ocean view room, so I didn't know if this was needed.

    ...this one is questionable which is why I wanted to ask.
    -bring your own alcohol in a water bottle in your luggage (or grab some at port and put in your water bottle as you get back on the boat), because mixed drinks are overpriced when the cruise isn't all inclusive.
    (This one scares me though, because I'm not very bold)

    Oh, yeah...and there are two formal nights.
    Are we talking like prom kind of formal...or is more of a laid back formal since it's on the water?

    Thanks for any info everyone. :D
     
  2. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    I cruised on Norwegian last January for my honeymoon. So keep that in mind - it might be different with RC.

    We brought our own booze in our luggage - vodka in various water bottles. They *can* sometimes do a visual inspection, so it's probably best to make the alcohol color match what's supposed to be in the container. We had no problems at all.

    Alcohol wasn't cheap, but it really wasn't any worse than a typical bar. For example $5.00 well drinks, or domestic and non premium bottles of beer for $3.00. It's really not that bad - it's not like drinking at an airport or something. The problem is that you use your room key to charge everything, so it's easy to run up a big tab if you're not paying attention. :)

    Norwegian didn't have formal nights, but talking to other people that have cruised on other lines, it's usually a jacket and tie kind of thing - i.e. business casual won't cut it. But don't hold me to this - I don't have any first hand experience.

    If you're interested in seeing the bridge of the ship, talk to one of the people at the onboard reception desk. They'll generally deliver a note to the Captain, who will usually approve such requests as long as time and conditions permit.

    Have fun! We had a great time.
     
  3. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #3
  4. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island
    #4
    You can buy boose in port and drink it before returning to the US. Same goes for Cuban Cigars purchased outside of the US.

    Toilet Paper? Never really noticed.

    Flash light? If you need it, you have more serious issues to worry about.

    Bring lots of Shorts / Bathing suits / T-Shirts and comfortable shoes if you do any of the land based excursions.

    Business Casual is good enough except for formal night where most folks wear suits or sport coats. I've never seen anyone get booted from dinner for innapropriate attire.

    Sun Tan lotion (very expensive on board or in port).

    iPod to drown out the background noise when you want to rest.
     
  5. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
  6. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #6
    Check the rules with Royal Caribbean. Norwegian did not allow this. All booze we bought in port had to be surrendered to the cruise line before we got back on the ship, and they returned it to us once we disembarked back home.
     
  7. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #7
    I definitely vote for smuggling some rum or vodka in water bottles. You won't be at a port for a day and I liked my alcohol before.

    The formal nights are a dress for women and men a suit or sport coat and tie. You can go as dressy as you like but will feel way out of place dressing down. If you don't want to go formal, you can always eat in one of the other restaurants on that evening. The formal nights people like to get their pic's taken in the fancy surroundings and it could be a nice keepsake if you want to go in prom type gear.

    Done two RC cruises and loved them.

    Never brought a flashlight or toilet paper before. My ass is tough and I like the dark.:p

    The booze can be bought as DMR727 said. Actually my son got on with a port purchased bottle that he didn't surrender and they didn't question. You can always do the same w. port purchased alcohol as when first boarding - use soda/water bottles and smuggle on when returning.
     
  8. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #8
    Make sure your cell is completely off or you can end up with a ridiculous cell bill. Especially if you have a data plan.
     
  9. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    My wife and I have cruised on RC 3 times now, and we love it! Where are you going and what ship (it makes a difference as tow hat to expect).

    1. If you use AT&T I would call before you go and enable the on-board cellular (but disable data roaming); it's expensive but MUCH cheaper than the phone lines provided on the ship.

    2. On formal nights you will see anything from suits/sport coats and nicer dresses to full tux (either black tie or white tie) and formals; they do have formal wear on the ship to rent if you really need it, but it is not cheap. If you will even have a formal night depends on the type of dining you select (traditional or casual). The traditional is assigned seating at set times in a formal dining room, and casual is more relaxed buffet-style; formal dress only applies to traditional dining, and only at night. No shorts or t-shirts are allowed in the formal dining rooms.

    3. There will be LOTS of people trying to take your photograph at almost every turn, but don't waste your time or money unless you really want it. The photographers are generally pretty awful (I think my dog could do better).

    4. I don't drink so I can't comment on that aspect. However, we do always take canned sodas with us. You can purchase a cruise-long soda ticket that gets you a large soda cup with endless refills.

    5. I wouldn't bother with a laptop either. None of the ships I have been on offered wifi in the rooms, only at specific location on the ship. There are internet stations available (they cost, but I forget how much). You can sign up for a block of time or go by the minute. Note that they are all Windows PCs so you may not can use MobileMe if you have it; get a gmail account and forward everything to that while you are away.

    6. I can't think of anything else, but feel free to ask!
     
  10. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    #10
    I've been on 5 cruises, 4 Royal Caribbean and 1 Carnival. Royal Caribbean is by far a lot better, so good choice on that.

    I find that the toilet paper on the boats are fine. It's not like a quilt or anything, but it's normal.

    I've never brought any alcohol because I didn't feel like spending $4,000 only to get kicked off before I even get on the boat. If you are bold, I guess you can try, but remember, you're on vacation. Money is no object! The beer is normal bar prices, $3-$5 a bottle. Once you get to the ports, it's a little better.

    I would suggest that you bring plenty of cash so you don't have to pay expensive ATM fees.

    Always, always, always talk down the price of anything you buy at the port from shops. We've got stuff well over 50% off by bargaining with them.

    I've always just worn a collared shirt, tie and dress pants. I've never worn a suit coat or sport jacket because I don't own any. I wouldn't recommend dressing down any more than that on formal nights.
     
  11. hotzenplotz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #11
    Not realy a must have, but rather a FYI:
    Cruised with NCL (freestyle):

    A few days before we got back we were able to sign up for early disembarkation: With 200 other people we were first in line to leave the ship; the rest had to wait most of the day.

    In one of the ports the disembarkation line was not moving at all. Once we snail paced to where we could see outside I saw crew members at the bottom of the stairs planting each and every passenger in front of the camera to take a picture. I was hopping mad :mad:...there was no way around it. I just wanted to get on land and do my stuff.
     
  12. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Great recommendation, I somehow forgot that oen important point. I take one daily and have never had any problems; my wife uses the patch and has not had any problems either. On these large ships you hardly ever fell the sea motion, but you will if the seas get really choppy. Be prepared!
     
  13. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    #13
    I would recommend Dramamine since it's your first time. If you get motion sickness, you'll definitely need it. I never get motion/car sick, so it never bothers me, especially if your on the bigger ships.

    I would recommend going to every one of the main dinners. You get so much food and you can try many different kinds you might have never had. If there's something you don't like, they will get you something else.
     
  14. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nicolecat

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    #14
    I know this is random but when I go on car trips I like to take dry cereal like Cherrios for those moments that you need something to munch, but you don't want a full fledged meal.
    Is this okay to stow in my luggage?

    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm really looking forward to my first cruise.
    ...and yes, I am loaded up with some patches (which I heard don't make you drowsy/sleepy).

    I am so excited! :D
     
  15. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #15
    I would imagine it would be OK, but you can get snacks almost anytime onboard and you can even order room service anytime (free - I ordered a hamburger at 3AM last time). I never bother taking snacks because they are so freely available.

    EDIT: I took my wife on a 25th anniversary cruise for my first, and I had a blast. I have always gotten seasick on small craft before, so I was scared she would have a good time and I would just endure it for her sake. I never dreamed I would love it so much! We have seriously been bitten by the cruise bug. Be careful, that bug can get expensive after a while!
     
  16. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #16
    You're practically surrounded by free food on a cruise ship. There's no need to bring your own.
     
  17. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #17
    I've done Royal Caribbean twice and Celebrity once. Can't think of a better way to spend a week.

    The flashlight is a good idea (so long as it's small). As for TP and coffee mugs, I wouldn't bother. The toilet paper has always been fine. You won't find much styrofoam -- RC especially sells itself as a "green" cruise line -- though our boat had a "Seattle's Best Coffee" on our cruise this past summer to Alaska. The cups were the standard coffee shop variety.

    As for formal nights, dress as fancy as you like. They might make noises like they'll throw you out if you're in your bathing suit, but I'm sure they won't.

    Definitely bring a camera and extra batteries. Get an extra data card, if you've gone digital. Plenty of film if you haven't. And spend a couple of days learning how to use all the settings on your camera you've let slide. You'll appreciate coming home with better snaps.

    And I'd make sure you pack an extra layer, maybe a sweater or light jacket. I assume you're going someplace warm? You'd be surprised at how chilly it can get on deck.

    Otherwise, pack LIGHT! It's a real pain to lug heavy bags through the check in. (Though I wish airports were that efficient.)

    Be sure to write back on how your trip went.

    mt
     
  18. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #18
    My family was on a Carnival cruise this past summer, and to be honest, we only ate at the dining room once or twice the entire week, and didn't even bother with the formal night. Instead, we ate up on the Lido deck, where they had the same food they served at the dining room, but in buffet form, plus we could wear whatever we wanted and it was nice being out in the open air for our meals. We could eat on our own schedule, not when they said we could eat (you'll have assigned meal times in the dining room).

    If you wish to get dressed up for formal night, go right ahead, but remember, if dressing up fancy isn't your thing, the formal nights are completely optional. I personally didn't travel halfway across the country and board a giant boat to dress up in a tuxedo. I can do that at home. In my opinion, getting dressed up like that defeats the purpose of a vacation, but that's just me.

    And for the love of all things holy, don't use your cell phone for data and voice calls, without knowing what your carrier charges you. I saw people walking around yapping on their phones and surfing the web on their iPhones and BlackBerries, and I bet most of those people were in for a huge shock when they got their phone bill a few weeks later. For me, I found the cheapest way to stay in touch back home was to text. I don't know who your carrier is, but I had T-Mobile at the time, and I didn't pay anything to receive texts (it came out of my 400 txt/month bucket) and 35 cents to send. For exchanging quick messages with my friends, that was by far the cheapest. But if you have AT&T or T-Mobile (don't know about Verizon or Sprint), if you stop in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, knock yourself out. They consider that part of the US so you don't pay roaming.

    Oh, and finally, bring your passport with you. They've gotten a lot stricter lately. We cruised back in the late 90s and a drivers license was enough, but this last time we needed passports.
     
  19. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #19
    I have never sailed Carnival before, but I can tell you for a fact that the food in the dining room and on the buffet of a RC cruise is NOT the same, not even close. On our last curse we ate several times from the buffet at lunch because we wanted to try it out and it is open longer hours, but it was not the same. The choices are far different, and the food is not as good, although it is quite passable. I would never eat in the buffet for dinner. to me a full course steak or lobster dinner is worth getting a little bit dressed up. But to each his own. I loved the chance to wear my tux, since the chances for that in Austin are very few indeed (very casual here).

    You make a very good point about cellphones that should be heeded by all. I had data disabled and enabled the cellphone charges, but only for emergency use. I think AT&T charges $2.95/min in the Carribean, which is far cheaper than the ship's phones (I think $8.95?), but still expensive.

    And yes, make sure that you bring your passport.
     

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