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Since this is our first cruise, I'm really trying to figure out what to expect. I'm piecing things together from comments here and there. I'm just wondering, with 3,000 people on a ship, is there a lot of waiting for things we want to do? Like the water slides, pools, shows, food? I've seen people comment that they were considering staying on the ship during port days to take advantage of smaller crowds, and that makes me a bit nervous.

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You'll be amazed at how few crowds there are. Certainly there are things that most will be doing at the same time - eating at the windjammer at noon, trying to find a pool deck chair around 11am - but RC has an uncanny ability to make it feel like there aren't more than a couple hundred people on board. Of the things to be worried about for your first cruise experience, this is pretty low on the list. Just relax and have a great time!

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The only time I feel like I ever encounted a "crowd" was on the Promenade during the 70s and 80s nights.  There's no getting from one side to the other without some pretty assertive maneuvering (and at under 5' tall, let's face it, I'm not impressing anyone to give me an inch, they don't even SEE me!).  There was a line for the tender (but how could there not be, really? That's just expected).  I never saw any significant lines for water slides, Flow Rider or anything like that (keep in mind that there were very, very, few children on this sailing between the ages of 6-17 since it was the first week of Feb and everyone was in school.  What EXCELLENT planning on my part!

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As most have already said there will be crowds here and there but once onboard you will be amazed at how few lines there are.  The main times for lines that we have experienced across the board are the first night for the MDR, trying to get off the ship when we are in port, and trying to wait for an elevator during the formal nights especially for the first seating.  We have also noticed a line when waiting for popular shows to start and that is generally just to gain admission, once they let people into the venue the lines disappear. Other than that it is pretty clear for the most part!  We stay onboard during certain ports because we have been there several times.  When a ship pulls into port most of the people disappear, and the ship is almost empty, its not that there are that many crowds, it is just that the ship is almost empty when it is docked.  There is almost more staff onboard at that point than guests and makes for a rather easy, enjoyable day.

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3 hours ago, Joe Stahl said:

Like the water slides, pools, shows, food

You forgot one....Elevators.....there can be lines, teenagers/kids playing hide and seek games with smart phones/just screwing around, senior citizens, wheel chairs, etc. But, there is always a staircase nearby and there is NEVER a line for those. You didn't mention which ship you're on. I would recommend you do a Google search of that ship and select the Royal  Caribbean deck plans link. Study the deck plans so you'll know where the tings you are most interested in before you board the ship. Also, after shows in the theater/auditorium, etc. you can expect massive lines at the closest elevators as well as bathrooms. We always head to the other end of the ship and take the stairs/elevator (less crowded/minimal lines). For the bathroom issue, head up or down one level (use the stairs) and you will find less of a crowd, especially the ladies restroom. 

As it was said above, relax and have a great time! :27_sunglasses:

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1 hour ago, rjac said:

 

You forgot one....Elevators.....there can be lines, teenagers/kids playing hide and seek games with smart phones/just screwing around, senior citizens, wheel chairs, etc. But, there is always a staircase nearby and there is NEVER a line for those. You didn't mention which ship you're on. I would recommend you do a Google search of that ship and select the Royal  Caribbean deck plans link. Study the deck plans so you'll know where the tings you are most interested in before you board the ship. Also, after shows in the theater/auditorium, etc. you can expect massive lines at the closest elevators as well as bathrooms. We always head to the other end of the ship and take the stairs/elevator (less crowded/minimal lines). For the bathroom issue, head up or down one level (use the stairs) and you will find less of a crowd, especially the ladies restroom. 

As it was said above, relax and have a great time! :27_sunglasses:

That was very helpful, thank you. We'll be on Navigator, I've already been checking out the deck plans. I want to be as prepared as possible beforehand so I am able to relax and have a great time. 

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I can understand what Joe is asking. We feel the same way. Its our first ever cruise and we are anxious to kinda know what to expect. Its a bit overwhelming for me. My husband feels the opposite. He said we've never gone on a cruise. The employees have done hundreds. They will be able to help us. Yet, I still don't understand why we take our carry on with us when the room may not be ready. What do we do with our stuff.  I keep reading, when you get on ship, walk around get to know the ship, go for a swim. Where do we change?

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@Mitch  You want your carry on with anything you can't lose (medicine, jewelry, cash, a change of clothes, bathing suit, ipad, camera, etc).   When we arrive, we head straight to Windjammer for lunch.  After lunch we'll take care of any business (guest service, shore excursions, AO check in, specialty restaurant reservations) and maybe walk around and/or play mini golf.  At this point it is close to 1 pm and our rooms are ready.  We go to the room, drop off our carry on and change into our bathing suits.  Now we'll spend a few hours at the pool and about 3, I'll go back to the room to see if our luggage is there.  If so, I like to unpack before muster drill.  This is my typical routine and you may have a different one that works for you.

As far as crowds, I feel that the choke point is the elevators.  The wait will be long for the elevator after the muster drill, before dinner, after shows, etc.  I think that is when the crowds are most noticeable.  During the day, the crowds are spread out.  If you don't like crowds, you may want to eat lunch in the WJ before noon or after 2 or avoid the WJ and eat in the MDR.

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