Trying to prepare for your first cruise can be overwhelming! Here are ten First Time Cruise Tips to make the cruising experience easier.
First Time Cruise Tips
I often hear that the fear of seasickness is the reason many people choose not to cruise. I, too, get seasick when I am in a small boat with choppy seas. But, when it comes to cruising, I have never had a problem.
Large cruise ships are equipped with stabilizers that make it hard to tell that you’re moving at all, let alone sailing at speeds of 21 to 24 knots. There are rare occasions when seas can be rough— to combat this, I always put together a little travel bag of everyday medications, from headache pills to Band-Aids and even anti-nausea meds. Chances are you’ll never touch the bag, but it’s there if you need it.
Alternatively, anti-nausea medication like Bonine and Dramamine can be purchased onboard in the gift shop.
If you’re like me, you want to have a good time while you’re cruising — it’s a vacation after all! For me, this includes a few frosty alcoholic beverages during the day and most evenings. And yes, your bar tab can really add up over the course of a week.
If this is something that you can relate to, make sure to look into the beverage packages that are available during your sailing. There are usually several to choose from — from non-alcoholic soda & drink packages to ones that cover wine, beer and liquor. It’s easy to calculate and see if they will be a value to you over the length of your cruise.
Most, if not all, cruise ships have some form of specialty dining with an additional fee, usually ranging from $10-$35 a person.
It’s easy to pass up on these as a first-time cruiser because so much food is included with the price of your cruise. But I can tell you from experience that these meals are not to be missed!
Some of my best meals EVER have been at cruise ship specialty restaurants. Two that come to mind are Ji Ji Asian Kitchen and ANY of the steakhouses on Carnival (they all have the same menu and it’s always an incredible meal!). Splurge and make a date night out of one of the specialty dining restaurants on board – I promise you won’t regret it!
Time and time again I see people lugging cases of water on board the ship on embarkation day … I may even be guilty of doing this myself on a few occasions. But you can really save the stress on your back (and a little cash) by drinking the complimentary water on the ship.
The water in the dining rooms and Lido stations has been filtered and is perfectly safe to drink. Because I like to drink water before bed, and take a bottle while I go ashore, I bring reusable water bottles that also have filters for each member of my family. I just fill up every time I pass by a water station so I have it when I’m thirsty.
Update: Carnival Cruise Line no longer allows guests to carry-on cases of bottled water. Now, bottled water can be pre-purchased and delivered to your stateroom for a nominal fee. The last time I checked it was $4.50 for each 12-pack of bottled water. We usually get 2 cases delivered for a 7-night cruise and use refillable bottles as much as possible in between — sometimes it's just easier to grab a bottle of water for an excursion if we don't have time to fill up. You can still buy 1.5-liter bottles in your stateroom and at the bars and restaurants.
Complimentary Child Care
I’m not going to lie. The complimentary childcare is one of the best perks of taking a cruise vacation. My daughter loves it. My husband and I love it. It’s a win-win for my family. Though, it’s important to be aware of the minimum age and requirements if you’re traveling with young children— you don’t want to start your trip with any surprises!
For Carnival, the minimum age for Camp Ocean is 2 years old, and children at this age do not need to be potty-trained. However, children who aren’t toilet trained are not allowed in any of the pools or water facilities. Other cruise lines have different policies and I know many require children to be potty-trained to attend camp.
You Can Make Special Requests In the Dining Room
There is so much delicious food on a cruise ship that you will want to try it all. And the beauty of cruising is you can do just that! If you see several appetizers you want to try on the same night, don’t be scared to order more than one. You can mix and match to your heart's content.
I know that my favorite night in the dining room is lobster night, but, it just so happens, that it’s also prime rib night. Every time I order both entrées and make my own surf & turf. It’s truly awesome! If you have dietary requirements or other special requests make sure to let your server know— they’re happy to assist!
Tipping & Gratuities
You can pre-pay gratuities in advance of your cruise to save the charges on your account at the end of your sailing. For drinks and other purchases, gratuities are automatically added to your charges giving you one less thing to think about. If the bartender goes out of their way, I give them an extra dollar or two per round of drinks, but for the most part, tipping is taken care of for you.
One of the greatest joys in cruising is room service! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even late night snacks can be delivered 24-hours a day. There’s nothing like sitting on your balcony during sunrise with a hot cup of coffee and croissants in your bathrobe! While this service is free, we always give the server a small cash tip for their time.
Update: Carnival has a new room service policy with complimentary room service between 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM with continental breakfast items as well as salads, sandwiches and desserts. The new room service menu also includes hot food options for a small fee. Late-night menu options, after 10 PM, are also available for a small fee— everything is priced per item.
Free Onboard Activities
If you can’t find anything to do on a cruise, you’re not looking hard enough! Never worry that you’ll be bored, or under the impression that everything will cost you money. Every activity we participate in is free. Some of our favorites are trivia, karaoke (both watching & singing!), Broadway-style shows, nightly live music, poolside competitions, and deck parties.
Even though you're miles and miles out at sea, you can still stay connected to loved ones back home. This may not be an issue for families traveling together, but for couples who sail for an anniversary, or just a romantic getaway, and have children at home, connectivity is very important.
Most cruise ships are equipped with Wi-Fi and offer packages at a discount making it easy to keep in touch. You can use this Wi-Fi on your smartphone while keeping it in airplane mode to avoid charges from your carrier. If you plan on using your phone during your sailing, be sure to check out my list of 8 Super-Helpful Apps for Cruisers.
Of course, this list of first time cruise tips is not the end all be all— But it's a great start and will definitely come in handy for anyone who is thinking about cruising for the first time.
Do you have any questions about cruising?
Other Cruise Posts You Might Like:
- 10 Food and Beverage Tips for Your Carnival Cruise
- Cruise Food That Will Change Your Life
- 8 Super Helpful Apps for Cruisers
- Top 10 Favorite Cruise Beverages
- Amazing Places You Can Visit By Cruise Ship
- Five Reasons to Take Your Family on a Mediterranean Cruise
- Top 5 Favorite Cruising Moments
- (Not So) Hidden Gems on Carnival Freedom
- The Best of Juneau, Alaska
This post was created as part of our collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are our own.
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This is a very good points you mentioned in this beautiful post, this is a great article and thank's for that..
You mention your daughter - is she an only child? Ours is, and I have always been afraid she would be miserable going to the Camp alone. Also, she has a VERY restrictive diet due to a medical condition. Do you know if ships can cater to that?
That's What's Up
Seriously - stop being a wuss. It sounds like your only child rules the roost
wow, really? Name calling, too early for that. It's about a cruise, she asked a question..
what a jerk
Testy? She was just asking a question geez. You don't have to reply with something rude. Grow up.
Yes & yes. My daughter is an only child, but I think that's one of the reasons that she enjoys camp so much. She meets new friends, some we've even kept in touch with, and enjoys the crafts and games. She usually begs to stay at the end of the night! As far as food allergies and other diet requests, the ships can absolutely cater to that. You will not have a problem getting what you need-- just make sure to note it when you book your cruise and again when you arrive. The chefs & waitstaff will take care of you!!
I am an only child and grew up going on several cruises per year with my travel agent Grandmother. I loved the feeling of freedom and loved making new friends. I also was shy, but so are many kids, and the camp counselors know how to help children come out of their shells and have fun.
What is the custom tip at the time end of the cruise? I was quite intimidated when I received several envelopes for tipping. I had already tipped several times through out my trip.
I actually prefer to prepay my gratuities in advance so I don't have to worry about it at the end of the cruise. If you don't choose this option, your gratuities of $12.00 per guest, per day will be added to your sign & sail card (most common) which is automatically taken out with the rest of your charges at the end. If you feel that anyone gave you exceptional service you can extend a few extra dollars at the end of the cruise. We usually do this with the bartenders that serve us all week. THIS IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. The $12/day is broken down like this: Stateroom service team $3.90 per day, Dining room service team $6.10 per day, and Alternative services team (included galley, entertainment, guest services & other hotel staff members) $2.00 per day. I hope this helps!
As a person who has worked and lived aboard many different cruise ships as a contracted full time musician, I have a true insiders perspective. Especially concerning tipping.
Cruise ship crew are like floating 'caste systems'. From a guest perspective, they see working aboard a ship as a glamourous lifestyle. Maybe for use entertainers, its relatively easy. But for most crew, they are low paid, indentured servants. You can safely assume that the poorer the country the crew member is from, the lover the pay, and the longer the hours.
Thus, I would implore you to consider how hard, and how long the lower tier crew work. The housekeeper/room stewards, and dining room/buffet servers. They are often working 12 to 14 hour days, 7 days a week. They often work an entire 6 month contract without a single day off. That is exhausting, and morally wrong. Cruise companies totally take advantage of third world staff, knowing they are desperate for work, and exploit the situation. Please tip them. For an American, $5 is nothing. But for that tireless room steward from a poor Asian country, who is working 14 hrs, that extra $5 tip could be more than he or she could earn at home working all day. And trust me, the cruise lines are not paying these people much. Some of them actually had to pay an agent to get them the job, which is absolutely shameful.
Thank you for this info, Kurt! You are right-- I have no idea how the gratuity is set up, so even though we pay a set amount, it would be interesting to know how much each person actually gets. I will definitely tip more going forward, especially to our room steward, servers and bartenders ... the service we receive is usually impeccable and at least I'll know they'll get the money in hand.
How do we know that our particular servers even get the tip money? I would like to leave more. Can they recieve cash from us personally on last day?
We usually do additional tips to our room steward team and to our wait staff team, and we do those in cash and directly to those individuals. I would definitely encourage giving it directly to them in person. They are very appreciative and know who it came from... and if we give extra, they most certainly deserve it.
The one extra tip that I'm not 'all in' with is one for the maîtré'd. Whatever they get with the included daily tips, in my opinion, is enough, even though the cruise lines all seem to overly push extra tips for them. We tip generously where we receive generous service, but after twelve cruises, we've yet to see anything warranting an extra tip there.
Our room stewards and wait staff always go beyond what we consider 'normal' service and they really appreciate what you do for them beyond the expected tips... and it's become a joy for us to be the source of an extra blessing for them.
Don't be intimidated by the many tipping envelopes you get on last day at sea. Tipping extra is completely optional. That said, there will always be at least a couple of people that you'll want to tip a little extra. One will be your cabin attendant, and the other will be your waiter in the main dining room. If you had a favorite bartender, I would reward them as well. These people play a huge role in how enjoyable your week on board the ship was. If you had a fun week, I would definitely encourage you to tip whoever helped make that possible whatever amount you feel was appropriate.
I've quite honestly been amazed at the level of service received while cruising, and I've always sailed on Carnival ships. I can't say I've ever had a bad experience, so I'm a little shocked by some of comments in this thread that are very critical of Carnival. I don't see how Royal Caribbean or Norwegian could be THAT much better. If they really are, then I've got to give them a try.
Camp Carnival provides so much fun for the kids, that when you go to pick them up the kids refuse to leave and ask if they can stay longer!!! Truly a great team if people running camp Carnival!!
I agree! They do an excellent job!
I offer this advice based on sixteen cruises: If you have no children, Carnival is the LAST cruise line you should try. Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian all provide a far superior experience for cruising when your plans don't include children.
I agree - Carnival is the "budget" cruise line and therefore the service isn't as great nor are the amenities. Royal Caribbean is my favorite (only on the newest ships, though - Voyager class and newer).
Our children gave us a cruise on Celebrity Cruise to Alaska for our 40th anniversary. We had a great experience with amazing excursion options.Being virgin cruisers, we didn't know how to choose a cruise line and just stayed with Celebrity. you seem to recommend Norwegian, Princess & Royal Caribbean.. if we were to go on a Carribean or Mediterranean cruise, which would you recommend and why?
Celebrity is fine. In fact, they are a division of Royal Caribbean. Celebrity is targeted more to the retirees and an older cientele, IMO. The price is a bit higher and there are more perks, such as wine. The regular RCCL ships are more for families and a younger crowd., IMO. There will be more to do for kids and teens on the regular ships, which are also larger. We have sailed RCCL more than a dozen times, and our favorite cruises were the ones in Europe. The newest ships are also AMAZING. (Allure, Oasis, Quantum)
Disney is another great choice, which we did once. It is specifically set up for families, and everyone will have fun.
Norwegian has great ratings, too. We will eventually try that line, too.
I didn't care for Carnival at ALL, with our one experience. They seemed to be pushing liquor sales on you every couple minutes, and attracted a different kind of client because it was perhaps a couple hundred cheaper than the other lines. There were smokers all over, who didnt care that they were doing it in the wrong area. The food was mediocre, as was the entertainment. People fighting over chairs, fisting fights on the deck, puking around the pool seen a few times. It was like Jerry Springer on the high seas, and I didnt feel safe on that cruise line. They are the one that had a lot of problems recently with 3 ships having complete electrical failures due to fires that should have only taking out half of their operation and let them maintain basic services. (the ships were since re designed) They also owned/operated the Concordia which went down in Italy due to poor leadership. My opinion and experience may have been isolated to the one cruise we took, but I have no interest in going back again.
I have sailed on many lines, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America, Disney and Carnival. I can tell you that of the dozen or so Carnival cruises that I have sailed, from the Caribbean to Alaska and Europe, I have never experienced anything that you're describing. I think each cruise line has its pros and cons, but I'm guessing your experience was an isolated incident.
NO Stefanie you are wrong. I found the same thing and will NEVER go on Cranival line.
By your comments you must work for Cranival. Anyone who has been more then two cruses know
your comments are pure BS.
Actually you are mostly incorrect. We have been on four Carnival cruises (Dream, Inspiration, Legend, Breeze) and had a great time on all. We had our children on our 2nd and 4th, they greatly enjoyed Camp Carnival. We are scheduled for our 5th in June on the rebuilt Sunshine. I have not been on other lines but I know many people who do and have been told both good and bad. Some of them prefer Carnival, some prefer HAL, some RCCL, and some Celebrity. Choose what is good for YOU and don't assume that what you like is what everybody will like. And yes we choose Carnival on our first cruise because it was $600 less than the RCCL for the same voyage. What happened to the Concordia was a mistake by the Captain. They are operated by the Costa line, whose parent company is the same as Carnival. Costa did not require the muster drill before each cruise in Europe, so many people didn't know where to go. Other lines have had problems also. Again, choose what YOU like. Cheers!
Good advice, Mike! Have a great time on Sunshine-- it's currently my favorite Carnival ship (do try Ji Ji Asian Kitchen & the pork belly appetizer!}
appropos of nothing, our favorite is holland america...i cannot imagi...ne anything being nicer than the week we spent with them...everything was first class...there was NOTHING that we think could have made the trip any better than it was...we don't drink or gamble, so we saved the price of the trip right there...early on, we learned to bring 12-packs of crinks onboard to avoid the 4$/can charge (plus tip)...as nice as they are, they are out to separate you from your money as actively as the casinos in vegas...you can spend a king's ransom just buying photographs if you're not careful...that boarding picture you've always seen when you're checked on?...with the life preserver with the ship's name?...what are they--5$ apiece?...art....jewelry...all charged to your room if you buy it and presented to you as a lovely parting gift as you're preparing to disembark...that little moment has the potential to ruin the whole week that you WERE enjoying...not to mention next month's budget...but i'm preaching to the choir...everyone can and will tell you the same things...i will offer this--considering how much money they can get from you onboard, you wonder why they even bother charging for the cruise...the cruise line isn't even paying the help---YOU are!!...yadda yadda yadda.....bon voyage...
Carnival is a good name for the line because the staff reminded me of the hucksters who work the midway at Carnivals trying to part you from your money. Constant sales pitches to buy the special drink of the day so you can keep the cheap glass it comes in. Speciality desserts in the dining room available for a "small extra charge". Of course the food in the speciality restaurants seems so good after you have been eating the extremely mediocre selections available in the main dining room..
When did you last sail with Carnival? I think every major cruise line, excluding the luxury lines, offers a drink of the day in a souvenir glass outside on the lido deck. I don't recall any extra charges for desserts in the dining room either. I think a lot has changed over the years and you may be surprised that it's not the "Carnival Midway" that you're describing.
In the last seven years, we have had five cruises; all on carnival ships, and I have never had anything to complain about on any of our cruises. All of the personnel have been extremely helpful and always cheerful. We have never had any bad experiences that I read about on some of the blogs.
People like you remind me of the first half of the movie "Titanic". you can sit with the critical stuffed shirts smoking cigars in the dining room, or you can join me with Jack and Rose having a blast dancing with the fun crowd.! If you can't do anything but look down your nose at fellow passengers having a good time, enjoying the amenities of the ship, please stay home and shut up!
I'm thinking about surprising my wife and two kids (12&10) with a cruise, but I don't even know where to start.
Are the Disney cruises fun? And if not Disney which companies are best for families? I want my family safe and have plenty to do.
When our daughter was young we went on a Disney cruise.... It was spectacular !!! The accommodations were top notch, food was excellent, crew was superb, entertainment was outstanding. A wonderful experience.
This year we took our (now teen) on a Royal Carribean cruise. It was a little perfect cruise - the room was spacious, food delicious and entertainment was top notch. Lots of activities for the teens.
My daughter has been on 7 Carnival cruises with me and she's loved every one of them. There is so much to do, and the new Camp Ocean is awesome! I have some articles on this site -- just go to the cruise section under travel at the top of this page.
Stefanie - don't forget to tip your counselors if your daughter enjoys her time at Camp Ocean. Your daily gratuities do not include the children's programs on cruises.
Disney Cruises are the best. I went on the Disney dream and they have so many different clubs for kids. They split it up into different age groups and they have sleepovers in the club rooms. It is very fun! I suggest cruising Disney.
I would love to cruise Disney - but, I don't want to pay twice what it would cost on another cruise line for the same itinerary. I know there is all of the Disney stuff - but, I can go to Disneyland any time.
My favorite part of going on a cruise is never going on a cruise.
Hope that is super helpful!
Funny but not so helpful. 😉
Dont worry...some day you might be able to afford it. Keep your head up!
You think money is the one and only reason people pass on cruises?
You poor soul.
Plenty of people, myself included wouldn't go on a cruise if we got paid for it. For reasons that are perfectly obvious to anyone with more than a pedestrian idea of the concept of "fun".
Then why are you here? 🙂
I guess it's not fun to see the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, the Acropolis, Pompeii, Ephesus, the Vatican, St. Peter's, etc. My husband and I looked at our cruise as a way to see things we would never be able to do financially or logistically on our own. Our first cruise was 12 days on RCl with a 2 day stay in Rome at the end. Frankly I wish there had been less emphasis on shopping and more on lectures, etc. about the ports, but I think they don't want to take away from the excursions that you pay for lol.. We didn't go in for the "let's make fools of ourselves" activities--just relaxing on the ship was perfect. To each his own.
You might be right. The ship with the bad experience was the Carnival Fantasy and it was a 3 day cruise. The fellow cruisers seemed to be mostly from southern states.
Now that Carnival has cleaned up its act with improved safety(since several recent incidents), we may have to consider them again in the future. We're taking a couple years off because we are "cruised out", and have been doing all inclusive resorts instead (Twice this year at Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Cancun). Highly highly recommended, also. But eventually we will be cruising again. I'd love to check out RCCL's new Quantum of the Seas technology ship, before she goes to live in China. (or her future sister ship, in 2015)
You have some very useful info in this article, and Id like to thank you for sharing it with potential first timers! I'm not sure if you are aware, but the webhosting company has been down quite a but in the past few days. They are having technical problems and the site keeps timing out with errors from the server. (not your fault, but theirs)
Thanks for letting me know, Mike! I will check with my host 🙂
What does "The fellow cruisers seemed to be mostly from southern states." have to do with anything?
It was a snarky comment, meant to make it seem like he was the sophisticated one in a sea of the great unwashed. Thankfully, it's having the opposite effect. Hopefully the nice folks he cruised with had a grand time.
One of the ships with a "problem" was Carnival Triumph. Set sail from Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, February 7 and supposed to arrive home Monday, February 11. A fire in the engine room started appx 5:00am on Sunday, Feb. 10. The ship finally arrived back in the states at appx 10:00pm Feb 14. I know because I was there. I hope Carnival has finally gotten their act together because in that emergency situation they seemed like they did not know how to properly handle an emergency. It would take me too long to list ALL the things that happened while we were stranded at sea to validate my point.
Anyway, I'm here reading this info trying to prepare myself to go on the free cruise I was offered because of this incident. My boyfriend has never been on a cruise so I will (nervously) use my free one so he can hopefully enjoy the Carnival Cruise experience. After this, no more Carnival Cruises for me.
We have done 4 Caribbean cruises with Carnival over last 3 years and have had lots of fun. My kids loved Camp Carnival and gave me and my wife some great us-time. Food was very good and we didn't even try speciality restaurant. Being a low cost cruise line, you will find more smokers and some 'shady' passengers, but it's not unexpected when you pay significantly less that other cruise line.
I have been on two cruises, one was royal Caribbean and one was carnival. I found them to be VERY similar. Same rooms, same foods, same shows, same deck layouts, even. Why are all cruise lines so similar? I wish there was more variety to experience. Has anyone ever been on a cruise that was unique and not just the same old "lido deck, comedy club, newlywed show, piano bar" kind of thing?
Try somewhere real instead of all you can over eat drink fest floating souvenire stand i.e. cruising. See some of America
Dave, your's is the best advice I have seen in this forum. I made my living for many years as an air ambulance pilot flying injured cruise ship passengers home from their drunken excursions where they crashed a motor scooter or got mugged onshore. Cruise ship passengers are trapped on a floating hotel/bar that creates all kinds of activities to keep passengers from realizing that there is no way out. My opinion is that these cruise ship itineraries appeal to people who are not very well traveled or informed of what is out there in the world.
I am considering a cruise next spring. I have a 15 year old and I am wondering if you could recommend a choice for us. I am wondering at his age if he will have any fun by himself or if we should allow him to take a friend so that everyone has a great time.
I have a 17 year old son who has sailed with me at least 7 of the 16 cruises I've been on (2 Royal Caribbean/ 14 Carnival) so I completely understand your concern and feel that I can answer this for you!
I DEFINITELY think your son would enjoy carnival because of the amenities available, the down to earth kids/teens that are typically aboard the ship and that the overall FUNship theme is played out through all of the planned activities on the ship! There is a TOTALLY different vibe on RCCL! Mostly older ppl, lots of wheelchairs, adults having a blast, teenagers that look bored out of their mind and little kids that are in strollers... to sum it up best, here is the way I compare the two based on the goal of the trip:
Royal Caribbean= RELAXATION
Most teenagers that I know of don't prioritize relaxation over fun! LOL!
Soooooooo.... whichever one you decide to sail with Will be a really nice vacation for you, and since you're paying, I think you should decide if your objective is FUN or RELAXATION and go from there 🙂
But whichever cruise line you choose, I would definitely let my teen bring a friend or cousin to hang out with even though they will make other friends during the sailing it makes them more likely to get involved in activities and improves their overall enjoyment on the cruise.
2 more tips on sailing with teens:
Timing is everything! Summer cruises are awesome because lots of kids their age will also be there for them to party n hang out with. Holiday cruises have lots of little kids but not as many teens... maybe their going traditional stuff or having sports tournaments, I don't know, but I do know that last year we decided that would be our last thanksgiving cruise because they were bored to death due to the low number of kids (girls;) compared to the summer time. LOL
Finally, if you are traveling with a companion, spouse or friend and you decide to allow your teen to bring a buddy, get them their own cabin! It doesn't cost that much more, it gives everyone More rim to move around and( frees up the bathroom) they will make sure your assigned to the same muster station in case of emergency and you can link your sail and sign cards to your account. Another plus is that adjoining cabins are often available or you can just have them next door or across the hall from you. The walls are very thin though, so if any funny business is going to be happening in YOUR cabin you might wanna put the tweens a little further down the hall if you know what I mean 😉
Hope this helps!
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have never taken a cruise.
I have probably traveled more than most.
It seems to me that a cruise would be made much more fun if there were some purpose to it.
That is, if there were serious, worthwhile activities for the passengers.
1. Excellent Baroque music performances by a variety of outstanding professional musicians;
2. Erudite, articulate academic lectures by extremely well-educated, genteel experts on the history, geography, politics, botany, zoology or sociology of the countries to which the ship will travel;
3. Other professional improvement lectures such as CME, CLE, etc., of extremely high quality; and
4. Classes on scuba diving or other sporting activities appropriate to the areas to be visited.
It seems obvious that without purposeful activity, a cruise would quickly degenerate into a few Barbie Doll parties among the girls, raucous mischieviousness among the boys, gossipping among the ladies and drinking and gambling at cards among the men.
I think this would be true especially for theme cruises, because I fear the "professional entertainment" or "professional speakers" are appallingly mediocre.
The resulting disillusionment would quickly prompt all the passengers, old and young, to do what they know will make them happy: play, gossip and drink.
Add to that the tattooed, the smoking, the drinking and cursing, the halt, lame and infirm, the sick and desperate, and you have a recipe for bedlam.
Have a Dovely.
1. I have not yet taken a cruise....'yet' being the operative word.
2. I have, in all likelihood, traveled quite a bit less than you.
3. When I finally make time to enjoy a cruise, it will be for total relaxation of my mind and body. The other activities you mention would also be nice, enjoyed in their own appropriate setting.
Would like you to check out TCM's annual cruises. The entire theme is built around movies
But the opportunities at each port run from snorkeling to scuba (lessons if needed),to historical forays inland (pyramids, temples and museums). Always has Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz aboard as well as other screen illuminaries. All sorts of activities and discussions, too. Sailed on the first one. Wish I could do more. Enjoyed entire experience. Would recommend for movie buffs but anyone would appreciate the effort TCM puts into making it fun and memorable. Please look into taking one.
We've never been on one of those Big cruise boats either ..... BUT
What you are asking for is available on a "Small Ship Cruise" -- usually Under 100 passengers vrs, 1,000's on the Mega-ships. Specialty cruises with lectures from experts in the area. Check with your Major University Alumni Travel Dept, Smithsonian, or National Geographic. Before the Arab spring, we did Egypt & the Nile with Nat Geo and our Lecture Program featured Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Dr Hawass and a private tour of the Cairo Museum and access to tombs and sites usually closed to the general public.
....... and we are about to leave for a tour of Hawaii with a visit to the Observatories on Mauna Kea with an MIT Physicist as our Guide.
Yes....... They are more expensive than the " Major Cruise Lines" but how many times are you going to visit Machcu Pichu? Wouldn't you rather have access after the crowds leave for the tourist traps in the Valley and stay in the small hotel at the top of the mountain? That's the only way.
Small ship cruises are absolutely the way to go. You actually feel like you are on a ship and you can choose the tour that you want which focuses on intellectual activity rather than drinking, smoking and singing karaoke.
We went on one cruise, on a small ship with Lindholm and it was great. Lovely local cheeses and wines, lots of talk about where we were going and what we would see. Interesting passengers (only 50). Yes, it was costly, but it was perfect for 2 middle aged adults who like learning!!
Its a type of we are better than they are prejudice. You know , the mentality of because they are from the south that they are trashy people. With that type of attitude it just goose to show that some individuals that have abit more cash than others think it makes them a better human being . Its not how much money you have that matters or where you come from, its about your character as a human and what kind of soul you have that makes you a better person. Obviously the person that commented about southerners are very stuck up and do not know how to relax and let go enough to have a good time. They are obviously very prejudice. I'm just stating the obvious. LOL
Hello everyone..my husband and I have recently been contemplating taking our children on a Carnival cruise... my question to you seasoned cruisers with the ages of me sons being 8 11 and 13 and my youngest being autistic what are your opinions on this family vacation..god idea or no..neither of us have been on a cruise and aren't sure if this would be a good option..Ty Krista and Dallas M.
I've been on 6-8 recent cruises on multiple lines and while I like your advice in general, you might as well entitle this post "Reasons why I like carnival". Without a doubt, Carnival attracts a different type of person. I don't know of one person (yourself excluded) who has sailed multiple cruise lines and would pick Carnival as their favorite-unless they were a boozer.
No matter the comment, you defend Carnival-improperly, I might add. Are they "good enough" if you're on a very tight budget? Yes. Would I pay 20% more to go to a different cruise line and avoid all of the problems others have mentioned? Yes.
Full disclosure Stephanie- what perks do you get from carnival? If you get absolutely nothing and yet choose carnival over Disney or RCCL for families, I cannot understand why. If you're without kids and choose carnival over RCCL or Celebrity, I'm dumbfounded.
In no way do I want to be a hater, just asking for full disclosure. Every time someone here points out a problem with carnival, you explain it away rather than accepting that it is the cheapest of the major cruise lines and does, in fact, attract a certain type of individual.
People look to you for advice and if they are trapped in a floating, partying frat boat for 7 days because of misadvice, it's not right.
You have hit the nail on the head. Carnival is widely known by anyone who has been on a cruise even once, as the cruise line for the more rowdy types of people. Let's not mince words. Carnival is cheap. They attract a clientele who are looking for a particular type of "fun." Which of course means alcohol. The more alcohol the better. If people spend any time looking at the comments section from people who travel aboard Carnival, you will invariably see many references and links to alcohol consumption and how to smuggle alcohol. That alone should sound the alarm for people who are above the age of 23 to stay away from Carnival. If anyone needs any additional insight into Carnival and their "typical" passenger, try youtube.
Now, at the time of my writing, I have yet to see a response from Stephanie to your comment. I too believe that Stephanie is a shill for Carnival. No one in their right mind would EVER take their daughter on Carnival over Disney. That would be akin to taking one's child to a bar vs taking one's child to.....well, Disney. The only reason a sane person would choose Carnival 7 times over Disney would be that they are being remunerated.
Ok, now that I have trashed Carnival, I will defend it. Carnival is cheap. They have lots of cruises to offer. They have many more choices than the other lines. Food is edible. Remember, this is a cruise line not a floating 5 Diamond Restaurant. Steaks are pretty good. They do have a lot of activities for people of all ages.
Bottom line: If you want to go on a cruise and you can't afford any other line, go ahead and try Carnival. If you can squeeze out a little extra money to go on any other cruise line, please do. If you are 23 and under and like to get drunk, yes please, go on Carnival. Do not go on any other line if your sole reason for going on a cruise is to make a fool of yourself. Like I have said several times before, Carnival is cheap. There are many definitions to the word "cheap" and they all apply to Carnival.
PS........Remember, you get what you pay for. Happy cruising!
Yes-- I have partnered with Carnival for this post, but I would never write something that wasn't true for me. I have sailed Carnival as well as all of the other above mentioned lines, and the fact of the matter is that I love cruising. I've never had a negative experience on Carnival and I personally haven't witnessed any of the rowdiness described here... I don't know if it's because I tend to go on the longer itineraries or different destinations, but our experience has been nothing but great. I do think Carnival has changed a lot over the years ... all for the better, and I will continue to sail on my own dime.
This is a very good list. I have cruised a handful of times with a couple different cruise lines. I think you have to go out of your way not to have fun on a cruise. #3 let to the best single meal I've ever had in my entire life. Happy cruising!
Just to chime in on the RCL/Celebrity/Carnival debate, I'd like to offer another observation.
I used to hate cruises (too confining, too many people in too small a space) and preferred all inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, usually in Punta Cana, DR (best value for the money), though I'll admit that speaking Spanish helps. My mom and sis were avid cruisers and finally convinced me to try it. I'll admit I wasn't convinced at first, but with the price of all inclusive hotels rising steadily while the cost of cruises dropped significantly, I came to the conclusion that cruises were the better deal. If you shop around, a five day cruise on RCL cost me $320 last month (10/2014) including taxes, port charges and tips! Carnival will sometimes run even cheaper. Do your homework. Living in S FL helps. No airfare.
I've had a lot of experience on both. Carnival attracts a younger and a bit rowdier crowd than does RCL, but even at 62, that's not necessarily a negative. I will say that not all cruise ships (both Carnival and RCL) are created equal. For Carnival, I recommend the Freedom, Liberty, Breeze and Sunshine as their best. I like to play volleyball and opportunities to play on Carnival far exceed those on RCL. If you need relaxation, Carnival offers the Serenity deck where only adults are allowed. Great place to unwind. They also offer many more hot tubs than most RCL ships. For RCL I like the newer ships that include the promenade deck, sort a mall/atrium running almost the length of the ship. I also like RCL's Vision of the Seas, (a smaller ship with no sports deck,) out of FLL.
RCL seems to be quieter, with fewer kids, but some of the amenities are better. The shows are usually better but they lack the dedicated comedy club offered on most Carnival cruises. The food is slightly better on RCL, but not a major factor. The dining experience on Carnival is definitely more fun, with waiters singing and dancing most every night in the main dining rooms. I recommend anytime or my time dining rather than a specific seating at 6:30 or 8:30. Only drawback is you must prepay tips for anytime dining (not a problem for me since I prefer that option)..
Celebrity (owned by RCL) is also a great cruise line. A step above the RCL standard (with better food but an older crowd) and sometimes they will offer the standard booze package for free as an incentive. Great deal if you can find it as the booze packages run about $45+ per person per day on all cruise lines and most ships requires that all adults in the same cabin must sign up for the package. That can get expensive, especially if one of you doesn't drink much (or not at all).
Bottom line, look for the best deal. I don't recommend any cruises shorter than 5 days. Everyone goes crazy trying to squeeze in as much "fun" in the few days available. Beware of excursion packages. They can get expensive (might double the cost of your cruise) and frankly, I find that a 4 to 6 hour excursion is somewhat of a tease. I usually stay on the ship. Much quieter and relaxing.
Hope this helps... 🙂
My favorite cruises have been from San Diego ( where we live) to Hawaii. To get away from a hectic work schedule & having 4 days to relax on the sail there, was fabulous! We could have done many on-board activities but relaxing was our goal. The meals were wonderful as was the evening entertainment then dancing till bedtime. By the time we arrived at the Hawaiian Islands, we were refreshed & ready for the daily trips ashore. It was a great way to see 5 Islands, spending a day on each one. Then the beauty of sailing past the gorgeous NaPali Coast and watching the active lava flow from the Big Island. On the way back to San Diego we got to relax some more. We have taken that trip twice - once with Princess and then with Holland. Holland was definitely the better- we won't go on Princess again. Our favorite is Norwegian Cruise Lines. But their clients are usually older, which is good if you don't want to be around a lot of drunken partyers. Like they say, cruises are mostly for " Newlyweds & Nearly-deads". 🙂
By the way, you can always get free anti-nausea meds from the main desk. They give them out like candy!
Looking forward to planning another cruise... Enjoy!
I have been on 3 carnival cruises, the norwegian breakaway and in a few months, royal carribian quantum of the seas. I can only comment on Carnival and Norwegean. Carnival=best kids club, far superior to Norwegean. I "highly" recommend not taking a 3 or 4 night carnival cruise. I guess since they are cheaper the guests that go are ones who cannot afford more. I felt like I was in "the hood". One night there was a fight outside of my door in the hall with a bunch of thugs. Another night (at 2:30am) two shady looking characters knocked on our door several times. When I opened it no one was in front of me but there was one guy to my right and another to my left-wearing gold chains, low lying pants and visible underwear. They said nothing as I yelled at them and told them to go to bed! Then I thought of my two children who were in the room next to ours. What would have happened if those thugs knocked on their door and they had opened it? Honestly, I felt unsafe and that was it for Carnival and my family. I loved Norwegean it was amazing. I cannot even begin to describe how great it was. I heard royal carribian quantum of the seas is amazing too.
I'm almost 60 and have been cruising since my 20's. I love it so much that I have been on well over 40 cruises on everything from Princess, Carnival, Holland America, RCCL, NCL, to lines that are out of business like Commodore, Admiral, American Hawaiian etc. Back in the 80's Carnival was all about the party, just a bunch of drunk people acting like it was spring break, but today's Carnival is amazingly superior. Their ships are clean, crew is super nice, food is amazing (especially the steak house) and to hear someone criticize it surprises me. To all the others reading these comments, the unhappy passenger was a rarity. Carnival always far exceeds what you are expecting for the price you pay. I used to take my kids, they loved Camp Carnival, but now that the kids are grown we will go aboard and almost never see children, it is not just a bunch of families, it is mostly couples. As with any cruise/hotel/resort there will occasionally be the parents that lack parenting skills but these are few and far between. Try Carnival, you won't be disappointed.
Customer service on Carnival is minimal when it comes to room repairs. It took 3 nights to fix a whistling doorwall to balcony. Lame excuses like we were not in our room so they couldn't fix it. When I finally told the front desk that I had to put the curtain in the doorwall to stop the whistling, it was fixed the next day. If the worker had listened to my husband on the 2nd day and put in new weather stripping that would have fixed it. Royal Caribbean is much more customer service friendly. In fact when I reluctantly went on a carnival ship with a friend and mentioned to customer service that Royal Caribbean has much better customer service I was actually told by 3 workers. This is not Royal Caribbean.
My family loves cruising together. It's a great way to take a family vacation because there is something for everyone and a lot of family activities too. We've been on 13 so far, many with our extended family too. My son, who is now 14, loves the camps and the older he's gotten, the more time he likes to spend there. In fact, he was potty trained on a Royal Caribbean cruise. He wanted to go to play in the camp but pull-ups were not allowed. Generally the camp is open 9-12 in the morning, afternoon 2-5 and then in the evening. We told him he had to wear his underwear and made sure he went to the bathroom right before we dropped him off (he had just turned 3).. He had no accidents and was all trained by the end of the week. We always laugh when we think of it. Best money ever spent on a vacation. We've only had one time where we ran into some very heavy waves (18 ft). Usually, the ships will try to avoid a storm if at all possible but we were heading to the Bahamas from New York, right down the Eastern seaboard and a winter storm was coming up. The cruise line had put samples of motion sickness medicine in the bathrooms when we boarded in anticipation of the storm (we did know it was coming). There was no getting around it. It was a little rough for 24 hours but we all got through it together, a total shipboard bonding experience LOL.
We've cruised in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Europe and the excursions can be pricey but you can find some excellent private tour companies (especially in Europe) that actually end up costing quite a bit less. We did a private tour in Rome with a couple of other people from our ship, had a great time and saw so much more than we ever could have on the big tour buses for 1/2 the price. If you do some research, you can really find some good tour operators. I would NOT recommend getting off the ship and hopping into a van or car at the port. If you're planning an excursion that is not through the cruise line, do the research, find reviews and make sure it's a reputable company.
The only other thing is the refilling of water bottles you mention. That's prohibited on the ship because of the risk of the spreading of illness. They don't want you refilling your personal water bottle from the filtered water machines (where your mouth touches the bottle could come in contact with the nozzle for the water coming out). If they see you doing it, they will tell you. Just fill a clean cup with the water and use that to fill your own water bottle. Safer and much more hygenic for all!
I was on carnival once and felt it was wonderful. It was my first cruise and would go again today. I think its wonderful for first time cruisers. Me and my partner felt it was wonderful that they had a LGBT meet and greet every night and were very open about our life style. The family's on board were very opened mined also, we felt free to dance and hold hands. I would recommend going in early may if your not into dealing with children there were no to many on our ship also the 24 hr room service was great and food was wonderful. Do yourself a favor and get a room with a balcony its worth the extra cost. As far as some people are saying about the type of people on the ship, we had no problem let's remember you are on a ship with about 2500 people no matter if they are wealthy or not you can run into problems. I would rather have fun and not be a snob like some of the people that think they are better then others. Its not the QE2 so get to know people on the ship and have fun
Re: Speciality Cruise... I have only done 1 cruise, a Broadway theme with past broadway stars (none current as all big stars started getting gigs while we were waiting for departure). By the time came to leave, the schedule of talent had completely changed. Concerts were good and talk sessions fun and interesting. Paul Gaugin via PlayBill and Judy Pearl Cruises was a great cruising experience. All inclusive (made more expensive due to the addition of stars and their kids that we had to pay for) allowed for all meals, room service and drinks (high end booze was extra). Oh yeah, the best part was it was a smaller ship (300 ppl) and we were in the South Pacific, Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc.
this is one of the most "blinded" side of an article i ever read..."order as many app or entree as you can" ? they will oblige it?really???if the meal would cost you money like on the land probably you wouldn't dream of "killing" your waiter and waiter assistant by ordering infinite amount of food just to try and then waste..is not likely that you would eat it all so it will go to waste..but then again this is what you've been brainwashed from little..to be a consumer and not care about others"cause you are entitled (you paid for it)"...only you are a fool to believe that you r paying the whole cost,you're not paying not even a fraction...but yeah..go ahead and"teach" others to be such of wasteful people....and on top...to under tip...cause is ok to give "couple"of dollars only...cause they have a salary...Take your blindfolds off and SEE most of the servers r paid like 1500-2500 a month..but they work they ass off(like more then 280 hours a month...so that is like 5-8 $ an hour.....some of the assistants they re paid half...the cooks half of the half..and they work the same hours...and the dishwashers whom need to wash all your dirty plates cause you eat from 10 plates then 3....work for $700 a month (280 hours) so you do the math how much is that and hour and then learn to appreciate what you have and do not waste it for others
Water might not be in those bottles. I have friends and they buy big packages of water, remove the water and fill them with Vodka. haha.... saving on alcohol at the bar.....
Just a thought that like a drink and don't want to get stuck with a big bill.
I once was on a ship during a storm. When I went to dinner only a handful of passengers showed up, the rest were too sick. I was surprised, since I am usually the first to get sea sick on a small fishing boat, but for some reason felt fine on the large ship ship. Still, bring along some pills just in case.
I gave been on many cruises, most on one specific cruise line, but there is definitely a difference in the atmosphere based on the lengthof the cruise, and novelty, of the itinerary. You get what you pay for.
I nicknamed Carnival "carnihell" years ago. I am not sure I would get on another carnival cruise lines ship if it were free.. I am glad Stephanie has never had a bad experience. I agree with Adrian's comments about tipping except I think the staff is paid even less than she thinks. Does the cruise line take a cut of what you a billed for tipping or does it go entirely to the worker ?
you can have loads of fun on a cruise but you should also be aware that you are no longer under the jurisdiction of the USA. Lawlessness is entirely up to the cruise line and they are reticent to do anything about any crime that occurs onboard. Be careful and check out this site started when my cousin disappeared from a cruise and the cruise line made no attempt to find her or notify anyone that she was missing. (She went alone)..
Stephanie said she purchases the gratuity package in advance, so her wait staff has been tipped. She stated that she adds a few extra dollars to the servers, bartenders, etc., that wait on her consistently throughout her cruise, which as opposed to being a horrendous injustice, is a kind gesture. Also, I didn't read anywhere within her comments whether or not she only eats some of each entrée or shares them with her daughter, or perhaps a fellow passenger. It seems to me, and obviously, this is only my opinion, that some individuals come onto forums such as this to cause disturbances, as opposed to discussing the topic at hand.
I appreciate all the information from everyone who genuinely gave thoughtful and considerate answers on cruises, no matter your geographical location, your level of education, or even your affiliation with a particular cruise line. The information was helpful for those of us trying to decide if a cruise is a good fit for our family. Your experiences on different cruise lines, as well as your tips were all very educational. Thank you.
Took my first 7 day cruise on Carnival Glory and I really enjoyed myself. I also took my 6 year old son who spent two days at camp carnival and loved it. We did experience the motion sickness from the rough waves so it was recommended to me to next time get the patch that goes behind the ear. I will do a Carnival cruise again but I will try some of the other lines. But for know good job Carnival!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself!
#7 Tipping, the bartender really goes out of their way and you give him a dollar or two????????
Aren't you generous, stingy is more like it. I work in the service industry. I deal every day with people like you. Fancy luggage, fancy clothes, fancy trips, arrogance and superior attitude. Lousy tipper, you said so yourself in this article. Reminds me of the Doctors wife with fancy leather luggage from a top of the line luggage company who came back from a trip to Europe. After my co-worker hauled her luggage, that weighed a ton, listened to her brag about her luxurious trip, and delivered her to her home she gave him a whole 50 cents for a tip. My friend is a good driver and provides a safe comfortable ride. For 50 cents, she can walk. As for you, you'll find out how important these service industry people are when one of these days you car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, your AC goes out in the middle of a hot summer day, or your furnace goes out during a January blizzard, or you need your dry cleaning done in a rush, or your hair cut and colored on short notice so you can go to one of your jerk off parties and eat food prepared by service industry workers, and drink booze poured from the same people you treat like garbage on your cruise. I hope that one of these days your children work in a service industry job where people don't tip and then we'll just see how you react. Your probably so rude you don't even say thank you to the people you look down upon. I work around people every day with their advanced degrees, PhD's mostly. They look down on my coworkers and I. Little do they know about my education, scientific publications, career successes. Or a coworker who was a career police officer and detective and heavily involved in investigating the Tylenol killings in Chicago several years ago. Or the coworker who was career military (support the troops) and now all three of us do this work for something to do and because we want to.
Don't hate the rich. I've worked most of my life in the service industry. Now I'm in trucking in the oil fields. I'll soon be starting my own company. If you want to get over your poor attitude better yourself instead of putting down others to conceal your lack of achievement and poor planning.
Woah woah woah. I should have been more clear. It's a couple of bucks per DRINK ORDER (that could a Coke, a beer or a cocktail). It not like we're handing over $2 to a single person at the end of the cruise.. I am editing your comment because I need to keep it a little more family friendly. My husband has been in the industry for 17 years, so we don't need a lecture on tipping.
Great article. My only advice is to stay off Carnival if possible. Royal Caribbean is far superior and the service is better. We did RC one summer and C the next - there was no comparison. Cardinal Ship was dirty...
Back in the 70's I went on a Jazz cruise. I knew nothing about jazz before the cruise. A week with Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Fatha Hines, Sara Vaughn, Betty Carter, Dave Brubeck, Mercer Ellington, and others, plus band members jamming till the wee hours in the clubs, fostered a lifelong love of jazz and blues.
In June my next cruise, since then, is on Celebrity's Millennium along the coast of Alaska. So looking forward to it, and seeing how cruising has changed. We'll have a "pillow menu" and "savories " delivered to our room in the afternoon. Say what??!!
I had to giggle at the mention of people bringing on cases of water. My husband and I went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise back in 2005, and that was how people usually smuggled alcohol on board. We did it too- vodka, and silver spiced rum.
Are there any cruises just for adults besides gay/lesbian and swingers cruises?
I get sea sick and have to use the patch on every cruise I take. The bracelet, bands and ginger did not work for me. My last trip I tried Bonine and it actually helped alot. It did not get rid of sea sickness totally, but made it managable. The patch cures the sea sickness for me, but I hate its side effects.
Relating my one and only cruise experience: I know thousands of people regularly go on cruises without incident, but I also know my experience is not an infrequent occurrence and I was not the only person on my cruise to have it. I boarded a Royal Caribbean ship in Miami on Sunday at noon and soon thereafter had some pizza and salad at one of the deck serveries. By 2 am, I was vomiting continuously (literally every 5 minutes) with severe diarrhea and by 11 am I was in the ship's infirmary hooked up to an IV, dehydrated and shivering violently. I was there for roughly 8 hours before I could be transferred back to my room. I spent the rest of the 4-day cruise in two places: bed and the infirmary. By the end of the second day, my husband was in almost as bad shape, and we were hearing from other passengers that we weren't the only ones. To their credit, the on-board doctors and nurses were professional, kind, and efficient. Royal Caribbean, however, was another story. They told me if I wanted a refund or exchange, to write to such and such an address when I returned home, which I did. My only response was a form letter stating that "Royal Caribbean has determined that we are not at fault" and all they would offer me was a $500 voucher towards my next RC vacation AFTER I returned a dozen signed and notarized liability releases forfeiting any right to make any legal claim against RC, regardless of outcome or future health issues arising from my sickness.
Needless to say, those papers went into the circular file pretty fast and I will never consider Royal Caribbean again.
some of you people crack me up! So southerners are idiots, people who go on carnival are cheap and the type of people who would choose carnival are somehow less than you???? Well as I'm sitting here in beautiful St Augustine Florida on my back deck of my brand-new home drinking coffee looking at the ocean, I am reminded that I need to go pack for my Carnival cruise on Thursday. Could I afford more? Yes! There is a time and a place to choose carnival cruise… In my case it's with 19 of my closest friends and their teenage daughters and we arent looking to have a booze cruise or see the sights of this beautiful world that we live in. I encourage you to get your panties out of a wad and enjoy life a little… It's not all about what cost the most are your best meal of your life, it's about time with family and friends and making smart decisions with your finances. If you can afford to go on a fancy cruise and not second-guess what you could've done with the extra money that you spent then go for it! Don't judge those of us who prefer to live a more frugal life even when we have the same capability that you have. Got to go… As you're sitting in your northern state with snow around you I'm going to go listen to the waves crash on the shore and go sit out by the pool and get a little bit of sun before my fanastic cruise on Carnival!!
I enjoying cruising and Carnival is my cruise line of choice. Don't forget to do tea time on sea days. It is a nice treat that is free. On my last cruise I introduced my almost Platinum roommate to it and she loved it!
Stefanie, Thank you for the great tips. I am planning my first cruise this summer on NCL for our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Any tips for making the anniversary extra special? BTW NCL charges a convenience fee for room service $7.50.
It's hard to say